On parade: French white-coats of the 18th century



The French army of the mid-eighteenth century was one of the most colourful: white-coated infantry, foreign regiments in blue or red, light infantry in green or beige, cavalry in all sorts of hues!  They might not have been the most effective army of the period, but – mon Dieu! – they dressed well.

In my previous ‘On Parade’ postings, a series in which I intend to inspect every figure in my collection,  I’ve covered  my Napoleonic and fantasy armies. Now it is the turn of the eighteenth century French, the first historical army I painted when in the late 1990s I  returned to the hobby of wargaming after a twenty year hiatus.

This army is mainly made up of 28mm Front Rank figurines. The 24-figure infantry regiments and 8-figure cavalry squadrons are not based for any particular rule-set.


It is many years since I’ve had this army out on the table. When I began setting them up for my inspection parade today, it immediately came back to me just how charming Front Rank figures are. They might not be the most anatomically correct (the large heads for example), but there is just something about them that captivated me back in the 1990s, and repeated that feeling today in 2019.

True, I do also like the more correctly proportioned figures from some other manufacturers’ ranges. But the ‘chunky’ style of the Front Rank figures in my opinion gives them an appealing toy-soldier look that I just love.  


So let’s start the inspection parade! I’m going to break this up into several postings over the next week or so, starting with a march-past of the French infantry in their pearl-grey uniforms. Don’t forget to click on the pictures if you want to enlarge them for a closer look.





The uniform of the Regiment Brie is the basic French soldier’s white coat, with red cuffs and a red waistcoat. I painted the uniforms white, then covered them with a black ink wash, then dry-brushed with white again to bring up the highlights.

This regiment was made up from some Front Rank models that I bought second-hand, and includes a bigger range of uniform and pose variations than most of my other regiments. You’ll see several soldiers wearing the colourful ‘pokalem’ hats, as well as a few bare-headed.




This was one of the regiments sent to America to take part in the French and Indian Wars. I particularly liked the combination of red and blue in the uniform (waistcoats were red, while cuffs and collars were blue), which was the main reason I chose to model this regiment!

As with many of my other units, the drummer wears the royal livery, consisting of a blue coat with red and white lacing.

This regiment features one of my favourite figures made by Front Rank, the red waist-coated officer carrying a spontoon (to the left of the drummer in the pic below). I’ve also included another officer, whom you can see to the right of the flags, hat and sword in hand, exhorting his troops to advance.

The flag is a rather sombre brown and black, which is certainly not the brightest flag on the battlefield, but is still very distinctive.




Regular French infantry regiments were mainly dressed in white uniforms, with various combinations of coloured cuffs and collars. I decided to model the Belsunce Regiment (also known as the Monaco Regiment) for no reason other than the fact that I liked the violet colour of their cuffs!

The figures on the left are wearing bearskin caps because they are the grenadier company. Grenadiers were also permitted to grow moustaches, which are portrayed on the models.

Like the Regiment de la Sarre,  to the right of the flags you can once again see my favourite model of the officer with his spontoon – he looks so “eighteenth century” in his clothes and pose!

The simple but colourful yellow and violet flag is by GMB Designs.





This next regiment hails from a slightly later period of the eighteenth century than the remainder of my French army. My miniature Regiment Soissonnois is portrayed in the uniforms they would have worn when they were part of the Comte de Rochambeau’s expeditionary force during the American War of Independence. Several French regiments were involved in this war, and played a major role in the victory at Yorktown in 1781.

Some of the uniform differences from my earlier Seven Years War French regiments include a more modern cut to the coat, white shoulder straps for carrying the cartridge box, higher tricornes with no coloured edging lace, back-packs with shoulder straps, gourd-shaped water bottles, and different facing colours.

French regiments at this time had done away with the bearskins for their grenadiers, but American eyewitnesses state that the Soissonnois had somehow kept theirs, making an imposing sight.

The range of AWI miniatures produced by Front Rank are beautiful figures. I like the way they supply several head variations for the basic fusilier (some with chubby faces, some with slightly tilted hats and younger faces, and a couple turning to the side). I also added a bandaged figure and one in the act of being shot (it is a bit hard to see in the photo, but the sculptor has made a beautiful job of the casualty’s hat flying off his head)





The Regiment de la Reine marked a new direction for my French army. Unlike the remainder of all my units, this regiment is not made up of my beloved Front Rank figurines, but instead were from a range of 30mm figures sculpted in anatomically-correct proportions by a short-lived french manufacturer, Capitulation Figurines, now sadly long gone.

Capitulation set their range during the War of the Austrian Succession, which is a little earlier than the era depicted by the remainder of my army. But I chose to paint them in the later uniforms of the Seven Years War. I selected the Regiment de la Reine because of its colourful combination of red cuffs and blue waistcoats, and also the flag with the interesting crowns in the white cross.

These figures are markedly bigger than those of Front Rank, so there is no way that this regiment could ever fight alongside the rest of my army. However, at the time a friend was building up a collection of ‘Last of the Mohicans’ figures made by Redoubt, which my Capitulation figures didn’t dwarf quite so much. Thus my Regiment de la Reine was intended to fight in skirmish games set in New France (though in the end I don’t recall that we ever had a game with them).

The real regiment was issued with a slightly different uniform when it served in America. But as these figures are equipped for the European theatre of war, rather than America (swords instead of tomahawks, and the officers with spontoons instead of fusils), I depicted them as perhaps they might have looked just as they first landed from France.

I love the character of the command figures. The officers look like real 18th century dandies. I emphasized this by painting them with lavish white wigs, faces with make-up, and even a beauty spot or two!

And if you look closely at the photographs, you’ll see that each fusilier is different. They are in various poses, and have quite individual faces. This makes the whole regiment look very lifelike.

These figures are very authentically equipped, right down to details such as the musket sling on the side rather than beneath.


So, that’s the whitecoats. Next time we’ll take a look at the foreign and guard regiments in my French army. See you then!

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On Parade: 1990s Warhammer Orcs and Goblins


Carrying on with this series of ‘On Parade’ postings in which every army in my wargaming collection is taking its turn to parade for inspection, we come to the Warhammer orcs and goblins, the sworn enemies of the Empire army from my previous posting.

Actually, this isn’t really my army at all, but my son’s.  In the late 1990s I came back into the hobby of wargaming, after having had a two-decades pause since my early twenties. I was drawn back in because my young son had become interested in Warhammer. He began buying and painting orcs and goblins, so I started collecting the Empire so that we could have opposing armies.

Therefore, this army actually belongs to my son, and was mostly painted by him at the age of about 10-12 (with a little help from Dad, who was just as much a beginner anyway!). My son’s in his late twenties now, and sadly didn’t carry on with miniature wargaming after he was captured by computer gaming – but I have kept his army for him!


If you don’t know what orcs are, they’re one of the highly primitive and warlike ‘Greenskin’ races of barbarians and raiders of the mythical Warhammer World.  Orcs are strong, brutish and savage warriors. Goblins, who are smaller and weaker, are cunning and conniving creatures.

By the way, much of the following text is based heavily on (well, copied from)  the Fandom Warhammer Fantasy wiki. I hope I have captioned the photos correctly – Greenskin identification is not my forté!

Oh , and remember the painting was done when we were both beginners to the hobby. But these photos show that even a very basic paint-job can look great en masse.


Orc Boyz – These hard-fighting warriors form the backbone of all Greenskin armies, and often do the bulk of the fighting upon the battlefield. Orc Boyz are generally just simple Orcs who have taken up arms to fight the enemy of his tribe with nothing but ramshackle armour and crude weaponry.

It is possible these models are Big ‘Uns. When an Orc grows to become considerably large, wealthy, and high in status, they form the elite of the Greenskin armies, and are equipped with some of the finest weapons and armour within a tribe.




Night Goblins – Living within the fungus infested tunnels of the Old World, the Night Goblins are renowned for their consumption of madness-inducing fungus that gives them both the courage to fight against foes that the average Goblin would be too afraid of facing. The black hoods are to protect these subterranean-dwelling creatures from the ravages of sunlight. We’ve got two regiments of them, one mainly armed with crude spears, and the other with composite bows. 



Night Goblin Fanatics – A Fanatic is a Night Goblin that wields an iron-ball so heavy it should be impossible for such a scrawny creature to lift. However, once a Night Goblin has consumed large quantities of the deadly Mad Cap Mushroom, he has the uncontrollable urge to spin madly. Once equipped with an iron-ball, these Night Goblins become whirling shock troops that can plough through the enemy lines.


Orc Boar Chariot – By lashing together roughly hewn logs, the otherwise dull-witted Orcs have managed to create through sheer luck and determination, crude yet formidable war chariots. With the weight of both the two boars and the chariot itself, this shock cavalry has the potential to break apart even the thickest of enemy formations so long as the chariot still holds together. This model marks our first experimentation with using ink washes to pick out the woodwork.


Goblin Wolf Riders – These Wolf Riders are the scourge of the open plains, where their swiftness and speed can outpace even the most determined Boar-mounted Orc within a matter of seconds. Equipped with either spears or composite bows, Wolf Riders serve as a dedicated force of scouts and skirmishers for many marauding Greenskin armies.




Doom Diver Catapult – First developed as a means for nomadic Goblin tribes to scout the surrounding areas of their territory, the Doom Diver Catapult has since been used extensively as long-range artillery. A Doom Diver is used as live ammunition for this artillery piece. His leathery wings allows him to glide to a specific target, where he tries to impale his victim with the top of his pointy helmet.


Snotlings – These small and dull-witted creatures are amongst the most mediocre of the Goblin race. Equipped with pathetic weapons such as tree branches, mushrooms or bits of bone, a horde of these little monsters are nothing more than a nuisance or a distraction to even the weakest enemies they face. Fun to paint, but not much else!


(left) Orc Boar Boy – Only the most daring of Orcs have the capability to mount the savage war boar into battle, for the animal’s hot temper often results in the deaths of many Orcs who try to ride them. In battle, mobs of Boar Boyz fulfill the role of heavy cavalry.

(centre) Orc Great Shaman – These psychotic individuals are amongst some of the most powerful spell-casters known to the Greenskins, capable of everything from melting brains to summoning the great foot of the mighty Gork himself, in order to stamp out their foes.

(right) Orc Warboss – The biggest, meanest and strongest Orc within a tribe, being both the supreme tyrant and a hulking behemoth, and considered (by himself) to be the greatest Greenskin warrior around. This powerful individual is relatively cunning, and is an exceedingly powerful warrior, having fought and pummelled his way through his tribe’s hierarchy by winning battles and killing every challenger that would dare to defy his tyranny. Equipped with powerful weapons and armour, this brutish warrior is nearly unstoppable upon the battlefield.


So there we have it, my two fantasy armies. Colourful, imaginative and great fun! But in my next ‘On Parade’ posting, we’ll return to the annals of history. See you then!

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On Parade: 1990s Warhammer Empire army


Continuing my series of postings in which I am doing an inspection parade of every army in my wargaming collection, we turn away from historical Napoleonics, and move into the realms of fantasy.

The figures in this small Warhammer Empire army were the first I ever painted after I returned to the wargaming hobby in the mid-1990s. Like many gamers, I had dropped the hobby in my early 20s because of increasing family and job commitments. But when my young son became (temporarily) interested in wargaming, I became intrigued again myself.

While my son’s futuristic Wahammer 40K Space Marines didn’t really do it for me, accompanying him to the Games Workshop store I spotted the Warhammer Fantasy Battles range for the first time. The Empire figures in particular struck my eye, what with their flamboyant renaissance landsknecht look. So I splashed out on my first box of figures for many a year, and took them home to paint.




Here was the result. This regiment of Averland infantry was the first unit that I had ever painted since my early 20s. This was also the first time I ever used ink, something that didn’t exist when I had last painted model soldiers. The ink gave them depth, especially the faces and the yellow parts of the uniforms.



The figures in the above pictures are the Carroburg ‘Great Swords’ (no doubt named that on account of their blooming great swords). I recall I was relatively new to the internet at this time, and so searching for the flags and uniform colours for the various state armies of the Empire was my first experience of online research. Yes, fantasy can involve as much research as anything historical!



The figures in the above Nordland crossbow unit were an absolute pain to assemble. Whilst all the other figures up till now had been plastic, these had metal arms and weapons that you had to glue to the plastic bodies. And would those very heavy metal arms stay stuck? No way! Even now, I occasionally have to re-attach the odd arm that has fallen off.


I had the same problem with these Talabecland hand-gunners. Nowadays, of course, I know all about drilling in pins to secure such fragile joints, but back then I only knew how to assemble straight out of the box.





I love the Warhammer artillery. The huge ornate cannon, and the intricately diabolical multi-barrel organ gun are terrific. These infernal machines look as though they have just stepped out of a Leonardo da Vinci sketchbook. And one of the organ-gunners even looks like him!



This is the only cavalry unit in my small army. These renaissance-style figures opened up the possibilities for all sorts of decoration, especially the embroidery of the horses’ barding. My efforts were pretty crude, but I think still give a good overall effect if you don’t look too closely. Nowadays I probably would’ve used some of the many lovely decals that weren’t round back then.



Games Workshop do hugely character-filled figures for their generals, as can be seen here in with Marius Leitdorf (Elector Count of Averland) and his fearsome battle standard bearer. In fact, the detail is so intense that sometimes it is hard to see the human being beneath it all! The flag was a printout from some website or another.



So, that’s it … my Empire army. Painted last century, and only ever been on a tabletop once so far as I can recall.

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On parade: 40mm Napoleonic French


This is the second of two ‘On Parade’ articles featuring my 40mm Napoleonic figures.  This time we look at the French. These are a mixture of Perry Miniatures and Sash and Sabre figures.

The shako numbers indicate that these men are from the 85ème Régiment d’Infanterie de Ligne. I picked this particular regiment because back in 2005 my son and I were invited to participate with the recreated 85ème in a reenactment of the Battle of Waterloo.


Here’s my entire French contingent – a unit of grenadiers, and another of volitguers.











This is the last of the Napoleonic postings for ‘On Parade’. Next time I’ll be featuring  something completely different from my wargaming collection. See you soon!

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On Parade: 40mm British & Spanish Napoleonics


In my last ‘On Parade’ article I mentioned that the next posting would still be Napoleonic, but a little bit different. Well, here we are, and the difference is that these aren’t my usual 28mm figures.

Back in June 2008 I bought a few of what was then a relatively new line from the Perry Miniatures – 40mm tall Napoleonic figures.

I was impressed at the excellent sculpting, realistic posing and fine detail of these lovely models. Each figure seemed to have a character and personality of its own.


I eventually added a more figures by other makers (including some rather Sharpe-ish figures). These ranges included the Honourable Lead Boilersuit Company, Sash and Saber, and Trident Miniatures.

Sad to say, I never progressed any further in actually playing with these 40mm figures than in one test skirmish game. But truth to tell, many of my other wargaming units seldom get to face battle on the tabletop either, as I game so infrequently!

One issue that did emerge during our sole play-test with the 40mm figures was that they could only be used on a flat battleground. I had made the mistake of glueing them onto such light plastic bases that their height and weight caused them to become top-heavy, and they continually fell over at the drop of a hat.

But even though they haven’t been gamed with much, I really enjoy the look of these figures, and they form a treasured part of my overall model soldier collection.


In this first of two ‘On Parade’ articles about my 40mm collection, let’s look at the British and their Spanish allies.

By the way, the windmill in the background of many of these photos is a resin Grand Manner piece that really sets the scene for any Peninsular War game. The walls and fences are by Games Workshop (Warhammer). All these scenic items are actually designed for 28mm figures, but as you can see they work well enough for 40mm as well.

As usual, click on the pictures if you want to examine them more closely – but prepare to be shocked by my rather impressionistic painting style that looks good from a few feet away, but very messy when seen close up!

British light infantry





British 95th Rifles



Royal Navy


Spanish guerillas





The next ‘On Parade’ will feature my 40mm French collection. See you soon!

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On Parade: Troops of the Confederation of the Rhine


Today’s ‘On Parade’ posting features the beginnings of a Confederation of the Rhine wargaming army I had planned to build up during the early 2000s, but never really got too far with.

But despite having painted only two regiments, this ‘army’ can still fight alongside my Napoleonic French forces (subject of previous postings).


The Confederation of the Rhine (or Rheinbund) was a coalition of German states created by Napoleon in 1806 as a buffer between France and its European enemies. Austria and Prussia were the only German states not included in the Confederation.

The armies of these satellite states were allied to France, and took part in many of the famous campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars. Some of the bigger states such as Bavaria and Saxony had their own armies, while smaller duchies and principalities furnished contingents to make up the composite battalions. It was these latter forces that I had planned to portray in my miniature Confederation army.

2. Nassauisches Infanterie-Regiment


I feel sorry for the men of the 2nd Nassau Infantry Regiment. In 1813 these German allies of Napoleon defected to the British. One would have thought that defecting to the eventual winning side would have been a fortunate move. However, things didn’t turn out so well for the 2nd Nassau.

They were initially shipped to Britain, then in February 1814 they embarked to sail to the Netherlands. But disaster struck as two of their four transports ran onto a sandbank off the Dutch coast, and over 400 Nassauers perished in the wrecks. To survive so many years of harsh campaigning in Spain, including saving the day at Medellin in 1809, and then to die in a shipwreck, seems an incredible stroke of bad luck.


When Front Rank advertised their Nassauers, I just had to have them for my army. Besides the beauty of these figures, I also liked the fact that, with their defection, I could use them to fight on either the French or the Allied side in a conjectural battle. And their ornate uniforms would make a nice contrast with the rest of my army.

The 2nd Nassau Infantry Regiment wore a smart green uniform with yellow trim (the Hungarian knots on their trousers are particularly nicely modelled by Front Rank). The grenadiers are resplendent in fur colpack hats with red plumes. One special feature of Nassau units is their yellowish leather equipment.

Großherzogtum Würzburg Infanterie-Regiment


In the Confederation of the Rhine, the former Bishopric of Würzburg became the Grand Duchy of Würzburg under Grand Duke Ferdinand of Tuscany. Würzburg supplied a regiment of infantry and a dragoon regiment to Napoleon’s war effort in Spain.

This unit of 28mm Front Rank miniatures started life as a French infantry battalion. But I decided that their advancing pose clashed with the attack march pose of all my other French infantry at that time, so I decided to repaint them as a Confederation of the Rhine battalion instead.

In the early part of the Peninsular War the Würzburgers wore helmets, but by 1812 they wore French shakos. So all I had to do was repaint my French infantry with white coats faced with scarlet, and – hey presto! – a Confederation of the Rhine regiment.


The drummer is an old Hotspur figure. His smaller dimensions make him look like a drummer boy against the larger Front Rank figures.

The flag is from the Warflag and Napflags sites. I’ve resized it to be about the correct size for my 28mm miniatures.

The next ‘On Parade’ posting will still be Napoleonic, but a little different this time. Keep checking!

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