Since getting back into my first wargaming love of Napoleonics in 2015, thanks to our Waterloo Bicentennial games, I’ve been steadily working my way through the lead-pile. In 2015 this stood at around 2,000 unpainted 15mm AB Figures Napoleonics.
Thanks to painting 1,000 or so figures for Waterloo and around another 2,000 since, I’ve now managed to reduce my pile of unpainted AB Napoleonics to… around 2,000 figures…
I really need to stop buying more… 🙁
One of my major objectives after Waterloo was to build up sufficient French and Austrian forces for the 1809 Danube Campaign. The main task was to paint LOTS of Austrians, as I only had a small Austrian army in my collection, but I also needed to expand my French army in pretty much all areas. I’ve also been expanding my Young Guard for later campaigns, so I’ll cover those in a separate piece.
Note that all of my troops are organised for Napoleon’s Battles rules, whereby each unit represents a brigade or large regiment and each figure represents about 100 men. Rather than trying to represent every uniform present in a brigade (which I’ve seen done, but looks messy), I paint a single battalion or regiment from that brigade to represent the brigade as a whole. Unless otherwise stated, all models are by AB Figures, sculpted by Tony Barton and painted by me:
Above: The 9th Light Infantry Regiment.
Above: The 10th Light Infantry Regiment. At first glance these look exactly the same as the 9th, though there are subtle differences in cuff detail, headgear, epaulettes and gaiter-trim.
Above: The 7th Chasseur a Cheval Regiment.
Above: The 4th Cuirassier Regiment. I have actually cheated here slightly, by painting them in their 1810 uniform with ‘aurore’ (pinkish-orange) facings. Up until 1810 the Cuirassiers only had scarlet or ‘jonquil’ yellow facings. Scarlet was worn by the 1st to 6th Regiments, while jonquil was worn by the 7th to 12th Regiments. In 1810 that changed to scarlet for the 1st to 3rd, aurore for the 4th to 6th, jonquil for the 7th to 9th and pink for the 10th to 12th.
The trouble with Cuirassiers in historical refights is that they were generally either completely absent, or they were ALL there en masse (along with the brigade of Carabiniers)! So you need a ton of the things for those relatively rare moments where the Reserve Cavalry Corps is committed. This is my sixth and final brigade of French Cuirassiers. In 1809 all the Cuirassier and Carabinier brigades were very strong, so I’ve also been painting up extra bases of Cuirassiers for my pre-existing units.
Above: The 5th Hussar Regiment. All the French Hussar regiments have gorgeous uniforms, but the 5th has to be my favourite of the lot. However, while the basic uniform details of sky-blue breeches, sky-blue dolman, white pelisse and yellow braid is easy to discover, exact details of headgear and trumpeters’ uniform are much harder to find! Note that Tony Barton generally depicts figures in ‘field dress’, so the Hussars are wearing their pelisses as jackets, instead of slinging them over the left shoulder as a cape. I think this is a shame, as I’d like to see the contrasting colour of the dolman. ah well…
Above: The 5th Hussars again. I must admit that I’ve cheated here slightly, as I’ve depicted them in the uniform recorded for 1805-1808, which featured sky-blue shakos with black trim and trumpeters in scarlet uniforms with white shakos and yellow plumes. By 1809, the shakos for the rank and file had changed to plain black and the trumpeters were wearing ‘reversed colours’, with sky-blue shakos and white plumes. Note that as with all AB Figures cavalry in ‘charging’ poses, they often benefit from a bit of arm-bending, so that some are pointing their sabres at the enemy. Some careful plume-bending can also look good, as here.
Above: The 1st (Polish) Light Horse Lancers of the Guard. In 1809 these were actually simply ‘Light Horse’ and didn’t become Lancers until a year or so later. However, AB don’t do the correct figures for 1809, so these will do for now, as we need them for subsequent campaigns.
Above: One of the Lancers had a mis-moulded lance, so I decided to convert him into an Eaglebearer with the help of a drill, some brass wire and the Eagle cut from a spare infantry Eaglebearer. I think he looks rather nice and I now wish I’d done the same for the 2nd (Red) Lancers! 🙁
Above: For some reason I had a load of spare Guard Lancer officers knocking around, so I painted some as Duchy of Warsaw generals and this one specifically as General Krasinski; some time commander of the 1st (Polish) Light Horse Lancers of the Guard and latterly a Guard cavalry brigade commander. Even as a general, he typically wore a sumptuous version of the full dress ‘gala’ uniform of the Guard Polish Lancers, as shown here.
Above: For the Italian theatre of the 1809 Campaign and for the Battle of Wagram, I needed a model for General Grouchy, in his role as commander of a corps of Dragoons. Grouchy has in latter years attracted something of a bad reputation, thanks to Bonapartist propaganda slating his performance as a Marshal during the Waterloo Campaign. However, in earlier campaigns and particularly in 1809, he proved himself as an extremely capable cavalry commander
Above: Prince Eugene de Beauharnais, Viceroy of Italy. Although not a Marshal of the Empire and having almost no military experience, Eugene, as Napoleon’s adopted son, was given an independent command as commander of the Army of Italy. After a shaky start, Eugene surprised everyone by not only defeating an Austrian invasion but also then pursuing the Austrian army back into Hungary before joining Napoleon at Vienna and playing a decisive part in the subsequent victory at Wagram. He also proved to be a very popular civil governor of northern Italy – sometimes nepotism works!
Above: Eugene is frequently depicted in a Marshal’s-style blue uniform, heavily laced with gold and with white Marshal’s ostrich-feathers edging his hat. However, I’ve depicted him here in the green uniform prescribed for him as Viceroy of Italy. I’m not sure if he was actually wearing this in 1809, but this seems to have been the uniform he wore at Borodino in 1812 and it does mark him out as a commander of Italian troops. With him is an Italian staff officer (green uniform, faced sky blue), an Italian line infantry colonel in regimental uniform and a French staff officer in a sky blue concoction of his own (based on a uniform worn by Baron Lejeune).
Most of these models come from the AB Figures Napoleon & Staff set. Had I realised it at the time, I could also have included a Mameluke manservant, as according to a painting on the wall at Fontainebleau Chateau, Eugene had a Mameluke manservant, just like his step-dad. I have a spare Roustan from the Napoleon set, so will add him at some point in the future!
Above: Lastly, we have Marshal Bessieres, resplendent in his typical uniform; the ‘undress’ uniform of a Colonel of the Guard Chasseurs a Cheval. He is escorted by a pair of Guard Chasseurs in full dress and a dismounted Chasseur officer, in undress like his boss.
The Bessieres figure is actually one of a set of Marshal Murat figures by a talented new sculptor from Estonia called Sho Boki. Although Sho Boki’s sculpting isn’t quite up to Mr Barton’s standard, he is rapidly catching up with the great man and his models fit in with AB Figures extremely well. The two Chasseur escorts are taken from the AB Napoleon & Staff set, while the dismounted officer figure is actually an officer of the Sailors of the Guard (I had one spare) and his horse is taken from an AB French ADC set.
Anyway, that’s it for now! 🙂