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Thread: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleonics

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleonics

    Hullo, it's a new historical plog! By me!



    Around this time last year I gave in and got me a 6mm Napoleonic French army. Sooner or later everybody dabbles in Napoleonics, right?


    I mean I have before in 28mm/25mm.

    With these guys I painted for our huge Waterloo game last fall:


    My review of the chaps above:
    http://www.battlebrushstudios.com/20...-infantry.html




    My review of these Austrians:
    http://www.battlebrushstudios.com/20...apoleonic.html


    ..and of course the Polish lancers:





    ...but that's all 25mm/28mm models and thus kinda unwieldy for my purposes: playing proper battles. Of course I'll hold on to the 28mm figures I have to play Sharp Practice or Song of Drums of Shakos.

    If I want to play Napoleonics at division or army level the choice of scale/size to me is clear - 6mm. Affordable, very comfortable to store, you can have a proper game on a 6' by 4' table and still have some space or flanks to make move of and it's got the proper battle look, which I believe is hard to achieve with 28mm figures.

    Plans for this project were fired up by last year's release of Blücher.



    A very nice, sleek set of rules (whilst going for historical viable results and tactics) for playing army level Napoleonics.

    Last year we made a test game to see if the rules were any good. For this we used the free-to-download scenario Along the Danube. All required units are included as printable paper bits.





    A little close-up of the unit cards:



    Each player commandeers an army consisting of roughly 3 or 4 Corps (the corps the unit belongs to you can see in the bottom left flag symbol. 1st corp, 2nd corp, Reserve, etc.). Infantry units depict a few batallion, cavalry units 6-12 squadrons and each artillery unit depicts 2-4 batteries. Each unit has an Élan value (the row of numbers in the bottom) by which damage and combat strength are counted (unit takes damage --> it's less capable of doing damage). The little sword symbol on the Grenadiers' card means they are extra dangerous in close combat.

    Activation is a funny thing in Blücher: At the beginning of each player's turn the other player rolls for the number of activations he gets. Example: it's Blue's turn, Red secretly rolls 2 to 4 dice (depending on the size of the game). The sum the dice show is the activation score Blue gets for moving units around. Giving a whole corps an order or moving reserves behind the line of combat around is much easier and costs less points than ordering one specific unit around to do one specific task. The thing is that Blue of course doesn't know the number of activation points he gets and as soon as the value of his orders surpasses the number Red rolled in secret, Red yells 'Halt!' and Blue's activation turn is over. Not dissimilar to what Black Powder does, but pretty much the other way around. I like it.

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleon



    You can play Blücher either with cards or miniatures, so you don't necessarily need to get an army of minis. But then again I never heard any convincing reason not to get an army of miniatures. You will need cards though for the earlier game phases because units only get revealed once they fire at an enemy, are fired at and take damage or get close to the enemy. until then you only see the back of the card with the unit's name on the other side (and units move much faster and more free if the card's turned down as they don't have to move under fire or anything like that). So it's basically a blinds system. Cool.

    You can get cards sets directly from Honor Games or one of their affiliates or as print on demand. Or you just make them yourself.

    Basing in Blücher is up to the players, distances are measured in Base Widths. For our games we decided to stick to the cards' format for unit sizes: 80mm by 60mm (ca. 3.1" x 2.36" ). So rather large units. I plan to use a sheet of metal foil with a number of steel bases on top. Each unit will consist mainly of four bases of 40x20mm (my favoured size of base for smaller scales. The same I use for my 10mm TYW minis) with a 1cm strip in the front and 1cm in the back for unit labels/élan counters and such.

    The advantage of course is that I get some flexibility out of it and we can depict different unit formations (not necessary for Blücher, but smaller scale stuff may require it) and the Prussians had mixed brigades IIRC, so that's handy. So we can play big battles with Blücher and other things as well.

    Other things:



    Also written by Sam Mustafa, but Division level stuff, so smaller level. But also pretty cool.

    So yeah, I'll be doing the French army. At first we had grand plans of doing Austrians vs. French, but both of us wanted to play Austrians. Add to this the fact that my gaming buddy already has an army of Prussians lying around we went with the more sensible way of going Frenchies vs. Prussians, mostly 1813 and beyond. I'm really happy with this outcome. Legendary army, great uniforms, proper cavalry - perfect.




    Of course Napoleonics is a period which is problematic on some levels. There is an overwhelming number of sources, there are people who are really educated on the subject, there are people who think they know a lot about the subject and there are people who studied the subject properly for decades and therefore know that they know nothing. And that they can't know everything, that's for sure. Napoleonics is probably the premier period for people to just dive in and never get out again. I am pretty much a complete newbie, but I think the draw of the subject has to do with several factors: On one hand it was a time in warfare when there was this equilibrium of power between infantry, cavalry and artillery. In Europe there were several superpowers of approximately equal potency (well, and Prussia :P ). There were incredibly cool uniforms, a wide variety of theatres of war and on top of that all legendary figures and battles.

    So yeah, I took the plunge and made an order with Baccus Miniatures:



    The whole subject is extremely daunting to get into. In this thread I'll try to give some chopped up info bits to the French army and the period which I hope you find interesting! And on the side I'll share my steps to getting my 6mm French army together.

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    Chapter Master mrtn's Avatar
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    Re: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleon

    Ayup, that looks daunting enough. Good luck!
    A plus with that scale is that not even the nerdiest button counter can see the buttons at that size.

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleon

    Moving swiftly on, let's have a look at the minis.

    I thought it would be best to get as much line infantry done as possible. So clean them (only a minimal effort on these I have to say), mount them on wooden spatulas (I use watered down PVA glue. Works a treat.), prime them and work out a recipe for getting them painted.

    Originally I had started with a white basecoat, which of course helps with all the white and red bits, but ultimately I deemed it much more work than just going black for the base. So I gave them all a black basecoat on top and then got to work on a bunch of test minis:




    I was happy with how it worked out, so I did the rest:



    The minis will look much better once they're based. Note the pompoms on top of the shakos still are all white. As I'm not quite sure on how I'll put the strips together exactly and if I'll take into account the differently coloured pompoms (each company within the battalion was identified by pompom colour) at all I thought I'd leave them white for now. Same with the flag poles/eagles.

    Of course there still was refining to be done on the recipe. Apart from that I hadn't painted 6mm historicals in a while, so there's something to get used to. However, I was surprised how quick and how much fun painting these chaps is. Painting 6mm Napoleonic line infantry really is a relaxing thing and you can get stuff done pretty fast. Just entirely pleasant. I am aware that at some point I will get sick and tired of painting French line infantry, but usually if I start a project with so much impetus I try to make full use of it and then put it aside and switch to other stuff (cavalry?) as soon as I get sick. The simple fact of the matter is that I'll need a LOT of infantry, so better get a lot done.



    You can tell that these guys are post-1812 due to the uniforms on the drummers. Being able to identify your drummers or any sort of signaller in the midst of battle of course was hugely important for officers, because after the start of the battle it pretty much was the only way to issue commands. So signallers had to stand out as much as possible.

    Before 1812 the drummers' uniform was either inverted colours (=regimental colours as main colour, dark blue cuffs, turnbacks and collar) or an extra fancy version of the regular uniform:




    After 1812 the general idea was for musicians to wear the same look of uniform across all formations in the army. This was called 'Livrée Impérial' (usually translated as Imperial Livery). Green Jacket with lots of brass/gold:


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    Chapter Master Easy E's Avatar
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    Re: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleon

    Blucher is on my "To Buy" list, but I can only find the PDF from Sam's site now.
    Do you like free wargames?
    http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleon

    @Easy E: Yeah, I think I heard something a few months ago that Sam said from now on he'd have to do all things pdf-only from now on as shipping cost have increased so much that shipping books around the world just isn't viable any more, even after price rises on his rulebooks. I hope you can still find a book, because it's a tip top quality book. Thick, glossy paper, colour print throughout. And even if you can't get the rulebook printed, get the pdf. It's really good. Hey, Firestorm Games have 2 copies lying around for GBP 36.00 (quite a deal considering the state of the pound, and free worldwide shipping on all orders over GBP30.00).

    edit: Dude on facebook bought his copy from Brigade Games just a few days ago.

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleon

    Le ker-blam! Another unit of line infantry. This time fewer models, and in greatcoats. Handy for telling units apart (veterans vs. new conscripts / 'Marie Louises') and for general variety:




    Detail shot:




    Today my bases arrived!


    (you are not dead and have gone to heaven. This was taken with my phone, so everything looks messed up)

    Here you can see how I plan to have my infantry units organized: Either three or four bases of 40x20mm. If three then add two 20x20mm bases with either extra Artillery, Officers, Cavalry (for mixed brigades for the prussians) or just nothing. Mostly it's just so I have some variety in my infantry units. The smaller stripes in the front (40x10mm) are either just plain ground or skirmishers.

    Today I glued the first few units to their bases and threw on some base goop. Also affixed the bloody flags. Very, very fiddly stuff.

    Hope you like them so far. I know it's barely impressive so far. Should be better once I got something based up and such.

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    Re: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleon

    This looks really impressive.

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleon

    @Engel: Thanks.

    Right, a little change of subject, because I think if I post another infantry batch done this thread may get a bit boring. Here are one and a half units of Chasseurs á Cheval!





    Bit of a weird number, eh? That's due to how the Baccus packages work in relation to my basing. No biggie though. For Blücher each unit is a bunch of several squadrons, and different kinds of cavalry were often brigaded together, so i can mix and match pretty much.



    I'll go with one base depicting one to two squadrons (it will be six figures to a base). Four bases of the 7th regiment, two bases of the 15th. Or 'four bases of one of the pink regiments and two bases of one of the orange ones' as several regiments used those colours. Regiments were told apart by the colours of the cuffs/collars/turnbacks, the uniforms of the chasseurs was dark green in general. Handy choice for their job.

    Musicians are wearing pre-1812 style uniforms, so inverted colours rather than Imperial Livery (because inverted colours look way better than the post-1812 uniforms, as seen in the picture below):






    Chasseurs á Cheval ('Hunter on horseback')

    Bit weird, are there no Jäger/Chasseurs equivalents in the British army? Was that all called just light infantry? Anyway...



    Along with Dragoons Chasseurs á Cheval were the most numerous of all cavalry arms within the French army. They were pure light cavalry and thus the 'eyes and ears of the army'. Their job was scouting, flank guard, raids, communication, harassment of enemy movement and logistics. They also saw extensive use in battle as well. Chasseurs were armed with the light cavalry sabre as well as the cavalry carbine (a shorter and lighter variant of the standard issue musket). Just like all the other horsemen they were trained to fight on foot as well as on horseback, but Chasseurs did so more often than say Cuirassiers (who didn't get far on foot anyway) or Hussars (who were impossible to remove from their horse anyway and would chop up people who would try to do so).

    Chasseurs probably were the least glamorous kind of cavalry, so their ranks consisted of relatively few volunteers and more conscripts. Napoleon was very much aware of the importance of the Chasseurs though. The green uniform he used to wear in the field most of the time was a Chasseur uniform and his personal guard in campaign consisted of the Chasseurs of the Guard.



    In general the French paid comparatively large attention on keeping the light cavalry well in order.

    Next - Hussars!

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleon

    @mrtn: Thanks. Painting 6mm is really nice. Not having to bother with highlights, transistions and whatnot - just get the paint where it belongs and that's that.



    Bon, here are several squadrons of the 10th Hussars!







    Hussars!


    Hussars were the bomb, the dog's ********, the bee's knees. And scoundrels. They were over as hell. A very nice website I found uses the term Hussar-mania going around in Europe from the late 18th century on. Everybody loved Hussars. Well, almost everybody ("Hussars are loved by wives and hated by husbands."). Of course there are hundreds of examples of Hussars being referenced in folk songs, operettas, stage plays, books and so on. They were really en vogue and every European army of any significance had several regiments of Hussars, and the French had the most of them. (closely followed by the Austrian and Russian armies)



    Where did Hussars come from?

    Hussars originate in Hungary/Serbia/Croatia and trace their origins back to nomadic tribes who raided these lands in the 13th century. Later on this area of course had the dubious honor of becoming the border to the Ottoman Empire. This means that life certainly wasn't boring and that people who lived there (to either side of the border) were constantly at war with each other. On horseback of course, due to the geography and the opponent. After Hussars had seen wide use in the Polish and Austrian armies during the early 17th century (Thirty Years War!) as irregular light cavalry regular Hussar regiments were set up.



    Due to their tradition as skilled horse- and swordsmen and their temperament (not dissimilar to 'Croatian' cavalry a bit earlier, there probably were overlaps too) each European army had to have them.



    Hussars in Napoleonic Armies


    Hussars were true light cavalry, but other than Chasseurs á Cheval they were not just the eyes and ears of the army, but also its ego. They had a firm ésprit de corps and were were deeply convinced that they were the best fencers and horsemen in the world. Apart from wine, tobacco, cursing and chasing women around they held big, impressive mustaches in high regard. Other cavalrymen, especially Dragoons were viewed as inferior and there was a lot of fighting going on. Hussars had several songs to express their disregard for dragoons.

    Amongst those guys Antoine de Lasalle is regarded as the ultimate Hussar. You can read stuff about him. Very impressive/insane. Amongst other things, he problaimed that every Hussar who lives to see the age of 30 was a blackguard (I found an old German translation of his phrase in which the word 'blackguard' was replaced by a very nice word for a female dog's anatomy).



    Uniform/Equipment

    Making up for much of their appeal, and expressing their nature, Hussars wore dashing, elaborate outfits in gaudy colours. Each regiment had their own colour scheme. The common trademarks was the cut. Originally they wore Kolpaks - the traditional tall fur hat with a colourful cusp hanging out to one side (Elite companies still went on to wear them, and elite Chasseurs took on this habit as well). Later on these were replaced by the shako.

    The other trademark item by which you can always identify a Hussar is the Pelisse - the fur-adorned jacket worn across the left shoulder. The name stems from a bastardized version of the German word Pelz (= pelt, animal hide). Traditionally eastern european steppe peeps wore animal pelts as a form of protection from sabre hits. The Pelisse in the 19th century had the same role. When worn 'properly', the Pelisse was a very tight-fitting, short jacket which eventually became a very fashionable item for men and women alike in Paris.

    On top of that Hussars wore the aforementioned big mustaches and their hair was parted into three tight braids: one hanging form the back of the head, the other two on top of or right in front of the ears. The reason for that (apart from - again - looking smart) was to protect the neck of the horseman to some extent.


    My little figures are meant to depict the 10th Hussars (or part thereof), like the chap in the picture above. Mine wear the shako rather than the Kolpak, but otherwise that's the colour scheme.


    In combat Hussars wore the light cavalry sabre and one or more pistols. Some units were said to have carbines as well, but they weren't really used. Rather than that Hussars would charge right in - sabre in one hand, pistol in the other, reigns between the teeth.

    There could be so much more said about Hussars and it's not hard to find sources on those dudes. In terms of film, of course Ridley Scott's first big film, The Duelists, is all about Hussars. According to wikipedia the first film about Hussars was made in 1897 and there were a LOT of films about them. And of course fashion and all of that reference the Hussar outfit all the time.

    Interesting chaps, those Hussars. Wild scroundrels and ne'er-do-wells. Of course they also were romanticized to no end and I believe that their mindset is very, very hard to understand given our notions today. Hard to tell from these tiny little metal figures, but it's true.

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    Re: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleon

    If you're looking for a fun read you can't go wrong with Exploits and Adventures of Brigadier Gerard by Author Conan Doyle (of Sherlock Holmes fame). It's all about this old veteran Hussar reminiscing about his days commanding a regiment of Hussars under Napoleon. Lots of great over the top duels, rescues, escapes and lovely women from Germany to Spain.

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleon

    Quote Originally Posted by Davout View Post
    If you're looking for a fun read you can't go wrong with Exploits and Adventures of Brigadier Gerard by Author Conan Doyle (of Sherlock Holmes fame). It's all about this old veteran Hussar reminiscing about his days commanding a regiment of Hussars under Napoleon. Lots of great over the top duels, rescues, escapes and lovely women from Germany to Spain.
    Thanks for the suggestion! Sounds like fun.

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleon

    Time for a little overview:



    That's what's painted. A bunch of line infantry units I didn't document because it's all the same really. I also painted a pack of Voltigeurs skirmishing.


    Light Infantry Voltigeurs. Light infantry wore dark trousers and a bit less gaudy uniforms. Their Grenadiers were called Carabiniers and their Fusiliers were called Chasseurs. Other than that they were pretty much the same as line infantry.

    These were the guys doing the skirmish screen in front of the infantry line. One company - so one sixth of the men - in each battalion was Voltigeurs (1 company of Voltigeurs, 1 company of Grenadiers, 4 Line fusilier companies). Usually the shorter guys of better stamina and marksmanship than average were chosen to be Voltigeurs, while the tallest, hardiest and burliest guys were made Grenadiers.



    Having a similar elite status as Grenadiers within the battalion, Voltigeurs wore epaulettes (usually green and yellow), yellow markings on their shakos and even had sabres up to 1812 if I remember correctly. Even after that some carried on to carry them in battle. They also got better pay and rations.

    At a command, the Voltigeurs would detach from the line and work as skirmish screen for the line, harassing the enemy, targeting enemy officers and so on. Outside of battle they were used as scouts and for setting up ambushes.


    You can see the Voltigeur in the bottom left. In the right you got a Grenadier (red epaulettes, sabre), the rest of the guys are line fusiliers.

    Voltigeurs and Grenadiers were known as the 'flank companies', simply because in line the were positioned to the left and right ends of the line as they were less likely to break than fusiliers.


    On my infantry units the skirmishing Voltigeurs will be standing scattered on the smaller bases in front of the line infantry bases:


    Two to three figures per base. Should be enough. There's something like 48 skirmishing voltigeurs to a pack, so I get enough for about 8 units out of that first pack. I've got about 10 units of infantry painted now (50/50 4 bases and 3 bases) and more voltigeurs in regular uniforms and greatcoats on the way too.

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleon

    Taking a break from painting bloody bases (I'm starting to see the downside of 6mm - painting the minis is great fun, basing them is annoying. But I think I still have to figure out the right way to do it), I found this rather useful picture.


    French Cavalry and how you can tell them apart by their hats!


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    Chapter Master Easy E's Avatar
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    Re: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleon

    Harvey Keitel in the Duellists! The thread is full of win!

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075968/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRPfJ8GZFWg
    Do you like free wargames?
    http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleon

    @Easy E: Indeed. Thanks for adding the links.



    My latest Baccus stuff arrived:


    More Voltigeurs than I'd ever need (in Greatcoats and regular uniforms), more flags for line infantry, 4 more cannons, 4 howitzers (you never know when you'll need them) and another 4 horse artillery with limbers. And 1.5 units of Polish Guard Lancers. Mwahahahaha. I couldn't resist.

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleon

    A little update on my little armymen. These days I'm mostly busy basing them.




    Still lacking vegetation of course. Not quite sure what I'll use yet. Any ideas?

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleon

    For completeness' sake, here's the cavalry on their bases:


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