Kapiti Fusiliers – 40mm Perry Napoleonics


Back in June 2008 I posted this article about my first 40mm Peninsular War figures onto the now defunct Kapiti Fusiliers website.  For your viewing pleasure, here is that article again, as the latest in my series of resurrected articles from the old Kapiti Fusiliers website. 

For those of my readers who are not so familiar with the hobby of wargaming, 40mm figures are seen by gamers as somewhat unusual in that they are much larger than the more commonly used 28mm or smaller figures.  

40mm Perry Napoleonic figures

Perry Miniatures have a very attractive range of 40mm Peninsular War figures. Fusilier Roly Hermans has painted his first few British and French figures for a future skirmish gaming project.

A group of British riflemen and light infantry face off against a similar number of French voltigeurs.

Private Costello, heavily laden with a cooking pot and his officer’s shoes to repair, joins another riflemen as they are beckoned into an ambush position by their sergeant.

A British rifleman and rifles officer (certainly not Sharpe, as he wouldn’t have been seen dead wearing a foppish pelisse!).

Two British light infantryman, their sergeant, an elegant officer, and the company bugler in reversed colours, about to cross a stream.

A French voltigeur cornet in yellow tunic with blue facings, an officer and a voltigeur in waistcoat order.

Three French voltigeurs advance in skirmish order.

A French voltigeur firing line in action.

An officer points to the way to the enemy.

British light infantry and riflemen engaged in a skirmish somewhere on the Iberian Peninsula.

Postscript, July 2013: As mentioned, the above article first published in 2008.  Since then I’ve added a few more figures to the collection (including some rather more Sharpe-ish figures) by the Honourable Lead Boilersuit Company, Sash and Saber, and Trident Miniatures.  I’ll try to photograph these over the next few days and show them in another posting.

But, sad to say, I’ve never really gotten any further than one test game to actually using my 40mm figures.  This is partly because I made a mistake in glueing them onto such light plastic bases, as the added height and weight of 40mm figures make them too top-heavy, and they fall over at the drop of a hat. 

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


At last, a full-size Napoleonic French flag!

I’ve always wanted a full-size Napoleonic French flag for my study wall.  And now I’ve got one!

A few years ago I tried to get a full-size French Napoleonic standard flag made when I was on a business trip to Cambodia. The company were going to do 20 for a very reasonable price. But then they began mucking me round, and by the time I left the country a few weeks later, they hadn’t produced a thing, despite my $100.00 USD pre-payment. I never got the opportunity to return to Phnom Penh and follow up, so I had to flag (ha ha!) that project.

But recently on TMP a guy called ‘Jomini’ posted a link to a German company, Universal Handel 24, that advertises a huge range of historical military flags.   These are made of synthetic fibres with printed motifs, so are not the heavy embroidered cloth that real historical flags were made of.  This keeps the costs down (relatively speaking!).

I ordered one French flag at 49.99 Euros to see what they were like.  They quoted 8 Euros for postage from Germany to New Zealand. They took PayPal and credit cards, so payment was easy.

I chose the flag of the 85ème Régiment d’Infanterie de Ligne.  This is the unit that my son and I were part of during the 2005  reenactment of the Battle of Waterloo.

I am pleased with the result, which arrived in today’s mail.  The flag is printed on a heavy nylon-like material (a bit like a rain jacket).  The printing is simple and bold, but effective.  The design is on one side only, so you see a back-to-front image on the obverse.  So the flag is only suitable for wall display, not flying on a pole.  It has gold threads bordering all sides.  All in all, while not absolutely realistic, this flag gives exactly the effect I was after for my study.  It’ll also be a great backdrop for display games.

Here is the link to the Universal Handel 24 website: http://www.universalhandel24.de/standarten-und-regimentsfahnen/

My Waterloo photo wins a national newspaper competition!

A photo that I took during the 2005 reenactment of the Battle of Waterloo has just won me a digital camera!  This occured in the weekly ‘Smugshot’ travel photo competiton in the Sunday Star-Times,  one of New Zealand’s national Sunday papers.

Coincidently, the camera I have won is the exact same model that my wife recently bought me!

Here’s the caption of the photograph in the Sunday Star-Times:

Waterloo, Belgium

Roly Hermans, Paraparaumu

My son and I travelled to Belgium to a reenactment of the Battle of Waterloo.  One morning we were walking across the site where the battle actually took place in 1815, when we heard the sound of hooves behind us.  We turned to see the French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, riding towards us with his cavalry escort.  Even though the ‘Emperor’ was only an actor, we felt awed, and as the cavalcade trotted past us it felt like we had not only had travelled halfway round the world, but also nearly two hundred years back in time.

Below is a better view of the winning photo (click on the pic to enlarge it).  I must admit that I have always been particularly pleased with this shot.  The composition worked out really well with the horsemen rounding a bend, and the morning light and dust in the background really emphasise Napoleon on his white horse.  And, if it wasn’t for the electric fence in the background, this photo could almost have been taken in 1815!

You can see lots more of my photos of the 2005 Waterloo reenactment, and also read my reminiscences of the event, on this posting.



A fun game of ‘Black Powder’

I played a superbly enjoyable Napoleonic wargame yesterday. It was a vaguely Peninsular War stoush, played at my friend Scott’s, and involving the two of us, plus Brett, a Hutt club member who has moved over our way.

We used the Black Powder rules, and they sure gave us everything we wanted in a game – fun, excitement, fingernail-biting moments, a narrative that worked and loads of action.

Some of the game highlights included:

    a French advance in column on a British line at the top of a hill (now, that seems a vaguely familiar scenario). Sadly, the French must’ve been commanded by a cadet, namely yours truly. They forgot to put out skirmishers, got flanked in the first move by enemy skirmishers in a wood, and in the end were thrown back in some dismay by a solid Spanish line – yes, Spanish!
    the French Old Guard battalion (I did say this was *vaguely* modelled on the Peninsula) that we were worried actually came from the Baby Guard, so badly did it handle itself compared to a lowly German militia battalion in the same brigade. However, it eventually redeemed itself by being the only French attack column to get into the British defences at the end of the game.
    a swirling melee of cavalry on the flank, that swung backwards and forwards all afternoon. It finally resulted in a ‘blunder’ (the one and only double six in the whole game) which hurled a French cavalry unit into the flank of an unsuspecting British infantry line – and yet the cavalry were still repelled!

Evening drew down upon us when the wargaming wives announced it was time for dinner (and, believe it or not, joined in for a post-mortem of the game!).

All in all, while the French possibly could be said to have got the better of the cavalry fights on the wing, the British horse were still in with a real chance to turn the result, especially once that infantry line chewed up the flanking cavalry attack. And in the centre, the British and Spanish infantry were mainly still in place on the ridge, apart from where the single Old Guard battalion had breached the line, but looked a bit forlorn and alone. So I think we can safely say victory went to Scott, which was only fair considering his hospitality in hosting!

Sorry, we didn’t have a camera, so no piccies!

Sharpe figures by Alban

My eye was caught by the following two new figures on the rather spartan Albans Miniatures blog. I’ve always fancied a good figure of Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill, the wily villain in some of the Bernard Cornwell books. And this one, coyly renamed as Sgt Shakewell by Alban, is just the bee’s knees. I like the way he is looking at the picture of his mother in his shako, as per the books.

Sgt Shakewell and Corporal Hammond

Alban figures are sculpted “anatomically correct”. No, not THAT type of antomically correct! But the type of anatomically correct that aims to get human proportions right. In the past, I have found this looks odd, as the heads look too small. But having got used to the similarly-sculpted Minden Minatures figures, the style is starting to grow on me.

The above figures will match well with the following pairs from Alban’s range, to make a nice Sharpe-themed set.

Perry plastic cuirassiers

When the Perry twins visited New Zealand last year, we had a beer or two with them, and they presented us with one of the very first boxes of their 28mm plastic cuiraissiers, hot off the press.   Well, in the long time it has taken to get a paintbrush anywhere near these little chaps, many, many boxes will now have been bought and painted all over the world!  However, I finally managed to put aside some time, and hope I have done justice to the amazing sculpting talents of the twins.

The figures are as beautiful as you would expect from the Perrys.  The posing is dynamic and realistic.  Two different arms allow you to have the figures either waving their swords in the air, or shouldering them – I’ve chosen the latter, except for my officer.  There are two types of heads, which allows you to make either a unit of cuirassisers or of carabiniers in their more Grecian-looking helms.

Plastic allows finer detail than metal (the plastic scabbards, for instance, are very intricate indeed).  On the other hand, the casting method used with plastic means some things can’t be done as well as in metal, the most obvious example on these figures being the in-fill between the reins.   But overall the effect of the plastic is a much ‘finer’ look than metal, I feel.

The horses are very cleverly designed.  They come in two halves, but any half can go with any other half, and still look right.  So this gives a good range of possibilities.  I’ll let someone who is better at maths than I am to work out the actual number of separate combinations you can come up with!

Assembly wasn’t all plain sailing, however.  I’m not used to plastics, and had an awful time glueing them together (or, more accurately, getting the glue to stay glued).  The horse halves were fine, as were the arms and heads.  But the scabbards and carbines don’t have much surface to attach to, and throughout the painting process I was plagued by these bits falling off.  In the end I got some super-glue, and so far (touch wood) these bits have remained stuck on. 

I used my normal black undercoat method.  The horses were all done with rubbed oils.  And the figures were painted with the Foundry three-colour system. 

The box includes painting instructions, so I went for the 4th Cuiraassiers in aurora facings.  The Perrys have also included flags, which are very nicely done in an almost GMB-like style.  The paper they are printed on is quite thick, however, and needed a bit of touching up where the folds broke into white creases. 

Cuirassiers charge up and over the slope!

I’ve had quite a few complimentary comments about the above dramatic photograph (don’t forget to click on the picture to see it full size).  However, I have to admit it came out so well through no particular skill or effort on my part.  It was entirely serendipity. One of those occasions where you get a lot of mediocre shots, but one stands out  just by fluke.

I had pushed some of the figures out of the way so I could concentrate on the command group, but hadn’t pushed them far enough, so you still see them blurred. The end result, by chance, gives a real sense of distance.

The hill is my own back yard, as the models were just perched on a fence. Even the leaves and blurred trees weren’t planned, but seem to add to the effect.

I did do a little photoshopping to remove some base outlines. I probably should also have photoshopped the ugly in-fill between the reins (which I presume is because of casting limitations). But I decided to leave them as is, otherwise it would be cheating!

So there they are, looking as though they’ve just charged up the slope. Must have been the spirits of the real cuirassiers at Waterloo who guided this particular lucky shot!

An advancing column of cuirasssiers.

A line of cuirassiers. As with the other photos here, click on this picture to see it full size.

The cuirassiers in column. Note the wonderful varierty of horses you can get by mixing and matching the halves.