Category Archives: Eighteenth century

Lynden Hussars join the army of the Barryat of Lyndonia


Looking somewhat Toytown-ish in their blue, yellow and red uniforms, a new regiment of hussars has just joined the army of my wargaming ‘imagi-nation’ (imaginary nation), the Barryat of Lyndonia.

After I bought these wonderful Minden Miniatures French hussars last year, I ummed and ahhed as to which French regiment to paint them as. Although my army is imaginary, I like each unit to match a real-life regiment from any of the warring nations of the mid-18th century.


So, were they going to be France’s famous Bercheny Hussars? Or perhaps those cut-throat rogues, the Chasseurs de Fischer? I just couldn’t decide … until the decision was made for me when I found out that the French army had a hussar regiment named the Aspremont-Lynden Hussars. How could the Barryat of Lyndonia possibly not include this unit in its army?!

Lynden hussars 3

The standard French light-blue hussar uniform would look striking in my army, especially with the colourful yellow facings and red horse furniture.


I painted the horses using oil paints, which give a lovely depth of colour, and a sheen that makes them look lifelike.


The regiment consists of 24 troopers, two trumpeters, a standard-bearer (yes, I know hussars didn’t carry standards into battle, but this is an imaginary nation, remember!), and an officer. They’re not based for any particular set of wargaming rules.


One problem was that I couldn’t find any information on the colour of the Lynden trumpeters’ uniforms. As French trumpeters often wore the livery of their regiment’s owner, I decided to paint them in yellow and red to mach the heraldic arms of the real-life Aspremont-Lynden family.   220px-Lynden_wapen.svgBy the way, in case you’re wondering, my imagi-nation is named after the Stanley Kubrick movie Barry Lyndon. And whilst the Barryat of Lyndonia might sound a weird name for a country, it’s no worse than the the real-life Banat of Temesvár,  part of the Austro-Hungarian empire!



Filed under Eighteenth century, Minden Miniatures, Uncategorized

Huzzah! French 18th century hussars


After a rather long hiatus in my painting activities, caused by not being able to recreate the sheer euphoria of painting figures for the WW1 Chunuk Bair diorama during the first half of the year, I’m now finally back in the saddle again, as it were.

I’m working on a large unit of 28 Minden Miniatures French hussars to accompany my imaginary Barryat of Lyndonia army.

To fill in those who don’t know about the Barrayat of Lyndonia (ie nearly everybody in the world!), it is an imaginary nation – or ‘imagi-nation’ – I’ve created for my wargaming army, based on the Stanley Kubrick movie, Barry Lyndon.

The Barryat does not recruit its own army, but instead contracts regiments from other states in Europe – which provides the backstory to allow me to mix and match whatever real-life nations’ units I wish.


Here’s my painting board.  So far, the hussar riders have been undercoated in black, and are just being tested for how they’ll fit alongside each other when their horses are attached in pairs on pre-cut bases.

You might be able to see that I’ve also converted one officer to hold a standard – hussars didn’t normally carry standards, but, hey, this is an imaginary army!

Also visible in the above picture are a couple of my previously completed Prussian dragoons, and various small items I’ll paint at the same time as the hussars, such as a Minden French general and some Brigade sailors, as well as a few miscellaneous bits of baggage.


A few of the wonderfully energetic galloping Minden horses, showing the results of my oil-based horse-painting technique. This entails spray-painting the horses with rust-coloured car primer, then painting on black or burnt sienna oil paint, and immediately rubbing it off again with a tissue so the rust primer shows through – quick and dirty, but effective!

Now, the big question, which I still haven’t answered for myself, is which French hussar unit I’ll paint these up as?  At the moment I have the following two options in mind.

Le régiment des hussards de Bercheny


The Régiment des Hussards de Bercheny was one of the regular hussar units of the Ancien Regime.  Like the other French hussar regiments, they were clothed in light-blue.  Their distinctive colour was red, as can be seen in this anonymous painting Le régiment des hussards de Bercheny en marche, vers 1752-1763 [Photo (C) Paris – Musée de l’Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / image musée de l’Armée].

You can also see that the Bercheny trumpeters were dressed in brown coats with green turnbacks.

Bercheny Hussars Grantjpg

These aren’t mine!  This picture is only to show the look I would strive for with my painting of these figures. These Bercheny Hussars were painted by noted British wargamer and author, Charles S. Grant, the picture coming from Jim Purky’s Der Alte Fritz Journal blog.

I like this colour scheme, one of the nicest of the regular French hussar regiments. However, the standard French hussar light-blue is coincidentally also the colour I painted my one other cavalry regiment for the Barryat of Lyndonia, the Prussian Truchseß dragoon regiment.  Ideally I would like some more variety in my imaginary army.

Les Chasseurs de Fischer


The Chasseurs de Fischer were a volunteer corps of both foot and cavalry, established in 1743 by a former officer’s valet who made a reputation for himself guiding other valets in and out of the islands of the Moldau River.

I really like their uniform of green and red, as depicted in this great old print of one of the mounted chasseurs, entitled Frankreich. Fischer’scher reitender Jäger. 1743 (French Fischer’s mounted chasseur) by Richard Knötel.

MySYW-Chass de Fischer-8501

Here are some exquisitely painted flats from Crogges’s My Seven Years’ War blog from Germany. Though in my case  would prefer the shabraque (horse cloth) to be red rather than green, more like the Richard Knötel picture above.

The Minden figures are also cast with the fleur-de-lis insignia on their sabretaches (bags), whereas the Chasseurs de Fischer had a device with three crossed fish – but maybe at this scale that won’t show too much.

This is also the only picture I’ve been able to find that shows the uniform of a Fischer trumpeter (French hussar trumpeters wore entirely different uniforms from the rest of the unit).

So, choices, choices!  You’ll just have to wait and see which way I go …




Filed under Eighteenth century, Minden Miniatures, Uncategorized

More preview pics of Crann Tara’s forthcoming Gardes Françaises


Crann Tara Miniatures have released some further preview shots of their forthcoming range of 1/56th scale Gardes Françaises figures modelled on the famous Philippoteaux painting, which I’m hoping will be my next project.

The sculptor is now apparently working on the command figures. I’m looking forward to seeing which of the poses from the painting he is going to recreate.

IMG_2592 (1)


Leave a comment

Filed under crann tara, Eighteenth century

Recreating a famous painting of Fontenoy in miniature

After all the build-up and excitement of the amazing Chunuk Bair diorama project, I’ve been at a bit of a loose end as to what to do next. I didn’t want to start a new period from scratch, plus nothing really appealed for adding to my existing armies.  It was almost looking like I had lost my painting mojo all together.

But then the other day I came across some news that I think has solved my crisis!

Ever since I first read Charles Grant’s 1975 book The Battle of Fontenoy many years ago, I’ve been fascinated by its cover illustration, Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux’s 1873 painting entitled The Battle of Fontenoy, 1745: The French and the Allies Confronting Each Other.

I even did a posting about this picture here on my blog a couple of years ago.

So when I came across a snippet of news the other day that Crann Tara Miniatures are planning on making 1/56th figures based specifically on this painting, my heart sang!

I would now be able to recreate my favourite military painting in miniature – a perfect project to go with my somewhat stalled Barrayat of Lyndonia imagi-nation project.


So far Crann Tara’s Gardes Françaises range only has a couple of infantrymen in it – and these aren’t in quite the right pose to match the painting.

But owner Graham C. says, “The next two Garde figures will be the kneeling and standing figures from the painting. They’re being sculpted at the moment. Some of the other pieces, NCOs etc will make their appearance later.”

I really hope these forthcoming figures don’t have separate muskets, though. One of my pet hates is attaching weapons to figures. Not only is the gluing job a real pain, but the hands never end up looking right, and the joins are fragile.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to seeing this new range develop, and getting my teeth into painting what has to be one of my favourite 18th century uniforms.


Filed under Eighteenth century

I should be dead …

lead mountain

There’s a wargaming superstition that if you reach the bottom of your ‘lead mountain’  of unpainted figures, you’ll die.  Well, I’ve been at the bottom of my lead mountain for a few weeks now, and I’m pleased to say that I’m still hale and hearty!

I’ve had several projects on the go over the last few years, but all have now either concluded, or are awaiting the manufacture of new figures.


Samurai:  I’ve painted two opposing factions (or ‘buntai’) for 28mm skirmish gaming, and made a lot of terrain.  But I seem to have used up all my enthusiasm for this period in getting this far.  No other possible factions really interest me.  And I have no intention of taking this period beyond skirmish anyway. So I’ve got enough figures and terrain for now.



Pirates:  This project has been pretty well completed for some time now.  We only play with smallish units anyway, so adding more figures to my already more-than-enough collection would be overkill.

More pirates


18th century ‘imagi-nation’:  I’ve painted all the units that were in the film ‘Barry Lyndon’, so the next step in this project would be to paint some totally fictional units.  I’ve always fancied the green and red uniforms of the Russians.  Whilst such a unit would be imaginary, it would seem stupid not to paint actual Russian figures rather than simply re-colour the uniforms of some other nation.  However, my manufacturer-of-choice for this project, Minden Miniatures, doesn’t do Russians yet.  So this project is now on hold until they do (in 2015, I’m told).



Napoleonics:  I’ve got more than enough battalions of British, French, Portuguese and Spanish to play a reasonable Napoleonic game.  Adding more will be just repetitive, and I never use all my units at once anyway.  I’ve also got hordes of individually-based ‘big men’ for leading my troops under the ‘Sharp Practice’ rules – but as most of them haven’t even seen action yet, no more are required.

dtl_Spanish Guerilla Ambush


Colonial New Zealand Wars:  I’ve now got a couple of sides sufficient for  large skirmish games.  Like my Napoleonics, adding to them at the moment would be just ‘more of the same’, for which I really have no need.  However, this is  period dear to my heart, so if Empress Miniatures ever make anything else for this period, I’ll be in like Flynn!



Victorian science fiction:  I’ve only painted one unit for this, and it is barely Victorian science fiction, being a French Foreign Legion unit as they appeared during Maximilian’s Mexican Adventure.  But I just can’t drum up any more enthusiasm to continue with this project.

whole legion_IMG_1290


American Civil War:  I have a couple of miscellaneous units painted up , but this period doesn’t interest me enough to buy any more.



What about starting a completely new period, then?  Well, I hate being at the start-point of a project.  There is nothing out there that is calling to me sufficiently to overcome the hurdle of starting from scratch.

So, where does that leave me?  Well, I’m seeing his as a holiday from painting.  I think I’ll just wait out until either Minden Miniatures (for my Russians), or Empress Miniatures (for new NZ Wars figures) come through.

Another possibility is to do some vignettes to decorate the battlefield, especially for my Napoleonics.  Perry Miniatures and Westfalia are currently making some very nice wagons and other background stuff, such as this lovely little sutler’s cart.

westfaia sutler's cart


So, I aten’t dead yet!

aten't dead





Filed under Colonial New Zealand Wars, Eighteenth century, Napoleonics, Pirates, Samurai, Victorian Sci-Fi

Baby singlehandedly closes lord’s wargaming room


Lord Ashram of the blog Lord Ashram’s House of War advises that he is closing up his wargaming room for the foreseeable future, due to his second baby on the way.


To celebrate (the baby) or commiserate (the closure of the room) he is running a very simple little “What was your favorite blog post?” contest over on his blog.  Sam Mustafa has kindly agreed to give a copy of his Maurice rules and a set of cards to the randomly-selected winner.

Lord Ashram asked if I could  post a link, as he would love  to be able to spread the word on such an easy contest with a neat prize.  So here it is …


Leave a comment

Filed under Eighteenth century

Pics of my visit to Les Invalides in Paris – museums and Napoleon’s tomb


During my family’s recent trip to Europe, I was able to spend a morning by myself at Les Invalides in Paris. I spent several delightful hours wandering around looking at the huge range of artifacts, paintings and models from French military history, culminating with a visit to Napoleon’s tomb.


L’Hôtel National des Invalides (to use the correct name of ‘Les Invalides’) is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. The building’s original purpose when Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670 was to provide accommodation and hospital care for wounded soldiers – and it still contains a hospital and retirement home.

But it is for its military museums and the burial site of some of France’s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte, that most visitors come to Les Invalides.

Musée de l’Armée

The Musée de l’Armée was created in 1905 with the merger of the Musée d’Artillerie and the Musée Historique de l’Armée.  The museum’s seven main spaces and departments contain collections that span the period from antiquity through the 20th century.

I spent much of my visit in the Modern Department, covering from Louis XIV to Napoleon III, 1643-1870.  I also had time for a very quick scoot through the Contemporary Department which tells the story of the French Army from 1871 to 1945.

The displays include uniforms, artifacts, paintings and computerised battle reports.  They’re housed in glass cases in dramatically-lit rooms and galleries.  While this lighting makes everything look splendid, one downside is the difficulty in photographing the exhibits.   But here goes …


I also photographed one or two dioramas that were part of the displays.





In the museum foyer were these wonderful displays of large-scale model soldiers, all about a foot high, and clothed in real material uniforms.






Musée des Plans-Reliefs

I made a point of not missing the Musée des Plans-Reliefs in the attic space of Les Invalides, having read that it was well worth the climb. And so it was – at the top of the stairs you enter a door and find yourself a long low and very dark attic gallery, in which moodily-lit models recede into the distance in both directions.

These are all three-dimensional models of fortified cities for military purposes, known as ‘plans-relief’. The models gave particular attention to the city fortifications and topographic features such as hills, harbours, and so on.

The construction of these models dates to 1668, when initially the models were constructed in the field, by military engineers. In 1743 two central workshops were established for their construction in Béthune and Lille. A large number of models were built during and after the War of the Austrian Succession (1741-1748) to represent newly captured sites.

In 1774 the collection was nearly destroyed when its Louvre gallery was re-dedicated to paintings, but was in 1777 moved to Les Invalides.

All told, some 260 plans-reliefs were created between 1668 and 1870, representing about 150 fortified sites. The museum displays 28 plans-reliefs of fortifications along the English Channel, the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, and the Pyrenees. It also contains presentations on construction and use of the plans-reliefs.

Unfortunately whilst I was busy photographing some of these spectacular models, I forgot to record which fortifications they represented. So you’ll just have to guess …


One interesting part of the Musée des Plans-Reliefs was a display of the equipment and materials used by the model-makers. Most wargamers would be totally familiar with much of what was on display here!





Cathedral of Saint-Louis des Invalides


In 1676, the Secretary of State for War, Marquis de Louvois, entrusted the young architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart with the construction of the chapel, which the architect of Les Invalides, Libéral Bruant, had been unable to complete.

He designed a building which combined a royal chapel, the “Dôme des Invalides”, and a veterans’ chapel.  This way, the king and his soldiers could attend mass simultaneously, while entering the place of worship though different entrances, as prescribed by etiquette.


Tomb of Napoleon

One of the highlights of any visit to Les Invalides is of course to see where the body of Napoleon lies entombed.  First buried on St. Helena, Napoleon’s remains were exhumed and brought to Paris in 1840 on the orders of Louis-Philippe, who wanted to return the emperor to French soil.


On entering the church, you come to a balcony surrounding a hole in the floor looking down at the tomb. Some say this is a trick to ensure that even in death Napoleon’s enemies would have to bow their heads to him.  In fact I read a story somewhere that an Englishman was advised to use a small hand-mirror to view the tomb without bowing his head!


The heavy bronze door down to the crypt is forged from cannons taken at Austerlitz. Above the lintel is an extract from Napoleon’s will: “I wish my ashes to rest on the banks of the Seine among the people of France whom I so much loved”.


The sarcophagus lies on a green granite pedestal and contains a nest of six coffins: one made of soft iron, another of mahogany, two others of lead, one of ebony and finally the last one of oak.



Filed under Eighteenth century, Napoleonics, Uncategorized, WW1