Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Saturday, 30 May 2020

French Refurb - 70eme Ligne

With an enforced break in the WSS factory, I have had a chance to make a return to my ongoing rescue of some bought-in French Napoleonics - the boys of "Carlo's Army". Here are another two battalions, 1st and 2nd of 70eme Ligne, to join the 3rd Division of the Armée de Portugal, circa Spring 1812 - a period which has always been my natural home. The figures are mostly Les Higgins, vintage 1971 or so, with a few command bods brought in from Art Miniaturen, SHQ and Schilling. My approach to refurb work these days is such that there is probably none of the original paintwork of these figures still visible!

1st Battalion
2nd Battalion
I also took the opportunity to spruce up a couple of colonels which I have based to act up as brigade commanders - I was never happy with them; so here's this morning's picture of the newly-augmented 2nd brigade of the 3rd Divn, led by Colonel Dein of the 47eme, who is relishing his new, cleaner paint job.

Bde Col Dein - 70eme in front, 47eme behind - the brigade awaits the official 9-figure converged voltigeur "battalion", which will be along sometime soon. I've never been able to work out who the official GdB was. The brigade came to the Armée de Portugal from II Corps when Marmont re-organised his new command in Oct 1811, and the brigadier, GdB Roche Godart, returned to France around that time, subsequently serving in Russia. At Salamanca there is no official GdB in place, so maybe the colonels covered the gap throughout this period. GdB Menne had the other brigade. Sorry - this stuff interests me!

18 comments:

  1. A couple of fine looking regiments there Tony. Beautiful refurb. They are excellent looking figures.
    Spring 1812, you may have to change the flags--or just say it took longer to get the new ones to Spain?! (Don't worry, this is definitely tongue in cheek!)

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    1. Thanks James - funny you should mention that - my army has always had 1804-pattern flags since I started. This is fine with me anyway, but I recall that I read somewhere (back in another century) that the 1811 flags didn't get to Spain for a long time. Something to do with the local practice of losing the blighters!

      My soldiers spend a lot of time fighting in earlier years anyway, and it's just another detail to be glossed-over, like the Bardin jackets and the strange anachronistic hair-queues. To misquote Don Featherstone, what are a few years among so many thousands?

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    2. I absolutely agree (in case you were at all worried). Mind you, the dream is to have sufficient to field each in the 'appropriate'** uniform for each phase of the Napoleonic wars! :)
      **Whatever that means, given the vagaries of supply, colonel's pleasure and local trends.

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  2. Loveley stuff Msr. I'm frequently amazed by how much detail is known about the Napoleonic period from uniform minutia to in this case where a brigadier was at a certain time. Are there a few prime and universally accepted sources for all this stuff (that someone starting in it could dip into) or are you, as I suspect, just exceptionally well read on the subject?

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    1. I got into the habit of trying to find out more about the original chaps - I love to find contemporary portraits or engravings of the generals (freebie digital copies, naturally), and am (or was) a great reader if autobiographies. I have a well-thumbed copy of Georges Six's 2-volume "Dictionnaire Biographique des Généraux & Amiraux Français de la Révolution at de l"Empire", and would swap several key teeth for the Waterloo supplement!

      Yes, they are only toys, but I have an unhealthy relationship with the historical originals.

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    2. Apologies, JBM - that was a poor answer. These days the best place to find the fascinating trivia I enjoy is almost certainly the Napoleon Series site - Robert Burnham is the central organiser - in passing, his history of the French cavalry in Spain, "Charging Against Wellington" is one of the greatest books of this type ever - everything you can think of about who was where on what date, and what happened next...

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  3. Smart looking troops, Tony! Reminds me how much I enjoyed tackling your battalion of Frenchmen. It was good to read that the Freitag battalion "almost" saw action in your latest game.

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    1. Hi Jon - yes, these chaps are destined for the same division. The Freitag battalion certainly saw action in my last battle here, but managed to avoid much in the way of direct involvement. It looks as though my Zoom Period is here for a little while, which means Peninsular War, mostly, so there will be plenty of opportunities coming up. A complete division of Les Higgins figures is an attractive idea - to me, anyway!

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  4. They are really very attractive, Tomy! It seems the "Gonsalvo" battalion will continue be distinguished by the presence of "proper" red piping on the turnbacks. Hrrmpf!

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    1. Indeed, sir, they are another fine unit - they were also involved in our recent Action on the Coa bash, though, like the Freitag Battalion, they mostly provided a latent threat. They will appear again soon - and I was only the umpire, by the way...

      Point on red piping is well taken - I can only plead that there is a war on! Since I lack your skill with a brush, I have developed a house convention whereby I avoid adding piping if I believe that the soldiers will be damaged more by having it than not having it. Other prominent examples occur in my Spanish army - I decided that a unit in white uniforms, with (for example) purple lapels piped white looks neater and better if I suppress the piping. Of course, if the piping is of a different colour to both of its neighbouring bits of uniform then they look wrong without it. Which, you would think, would be an argument in favour of making a special effort for French turnbacks.

      The particular soldiers in today's photos were previously painted as Young Guard (approximately), complete with red turnbacks, so for a while I fancied the idea of leaving a miniscule red stripe on the edges (piping by default), but the results produced an early change of heart! Only the light infantry to do for this division now, then add the little, "converged" voltigeur units, pinch some of the reserve field artillery (sorry, re-allocate) and check there is enough staff, and Ferey's Division will be ready for rearguard duties at Salamanca.

      Which reminds me - the light infantry regiment required is the 31re Légère, who are ex-Piedmontese, and I have a sneaking suspicion that one of my JM Bueno books suggests that they had green uniforms...

      Sapristi!

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    1. Thank you Michal - greetings to you from locked-down Scotland!

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  6. Very elegant figures - they almost look as if they're dancing!

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    1. Hi Ian - given the choice I would prefer to use the Les Higgins "advancing" pose, with angled musket, rather than these "at the ready" figures, which are tricky to arrange close together and seem to consist mostly of specially vulnerable bayonets (!), but I bought in a biggish stack of these chaps, so I'm trying to make the best of them. They are quite easy to paint, so they have a lot going for them! Next up should be some light infantry, though there is also the potential of doing a Swiss battalion.

      What do you reckon? A sneaky foxtrot? Military two-step? It couldn't possibly be the Gay Gordons.

      A new departure for me this time was the eagle bearers, which are Schilling castings. Things have become so desperate for the light infantry that the eagle bearers will be (whisper it) plastic...

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    2. I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that!

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    3. I've just realised - it's a tango, isn't it? I see it now - in fact I will have some difficulty getting it out of my head - they should have had roses in their teeth. I wonder if it would be possible to get a regimental bandoneon player...

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  7. A lovely looking unit Tony...
    Those bayonets certainly look to be at an uncomfortable angle... for the chap in front anyway 😱
    Looking forward to the multi media light infantry...

    All the best. Aly

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    1. Thank you Aly - Les Higgins figures are odd in a number of ways, this pose is one of the eccentricities, I think, along with the pointing officer with his foot on a hillock ["I think they are over there, mes enfants..."]

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