“La Garde au Feu!”: My 15mm French Imperial Guard (Part 5 – The Artillery)

Just a short post this time, covering the Foot and Horse Artillery of the French Imperial Guard.  I’ve finally finished the Guard Cavalry, so will save them for the next post!

I painted the Imperial Guard Foot Artillery a very long time ago, right back when AB Figures first made them (1994, I think?).  At the time we did a couple of large show-games of the Battles of Lützen and Bautzen (both fought in May 1813) and they’ve since been incredibly battered by innumerable games.  I’m pretty sure that they were also painted as a rush-job on the day before one of the games!  They were also originally gloss-varnished (as was all of my stuff back in the day…).  However, I recently gave them a little spruce-up and a spray of matt varnish (although they still look very shiny).

The Guard Horse Artillery were painted much more recently, in 2015, for our Waterloo Bicentennial games.  Again, these are by AB Figures and at the time they replaced some 1980s-vintage Battle Honours Guard Horse Artillery, which were also sculpted by Tony Barton and were very nice in their day, but had been battered to hell and back during the intervening 30 years…

Speaking of Napoleonic French artillery… The subject of French Artillery Green is a perennial topic of discussion on wargames fora and Humbrol once did such a colour in their ‘Authentic Colour’ range of enamels*.  The actual recipe for French Artillery paint of the period was a hundred parts ochre to one part lamp-black.  By a spooky coincidence, this is EXACTLY the same basic recipe as WW2 US Army Olive Drab paint, which is quite a brownish-greyish-green, akin to cow-pats and represented very well by Humbrol Enamel 155 and demonstrated by my Cold War tanks.  However, I prefer it to look a little greener, so instead use Humbrol 159 Khaki Drab, which is the colour I use for Late War WW2 British Army vehicles.

I’m pleased to say that the painting on these is MUCH better than that on the Foot Artillery! 🙂

As part of the Waterloo Bicentennial project I painted the AB Figures Guard Horse Artillery mounted officer figure to represent Général de Division Jean-Jacques Desvaux de Saint-Maurice.  St Maurice was an aristocrat of the Ancien Régime and graduate of the Artillery School of Châlons, who somehow survived The Terror and served very successfully as an artillery officer, eventually rising in 1809 to Général de Brigade and command of the Horse Artillery of the Imperial Guard.  In November 1813 he was promoted to Général de Division and in 1815 he was appointed as General Commanding the Artillery of the Imperial Guard.  As a general of the Imperial Guard, he may well have worn the typical general’s uniform with Imperial Guard aiguillettes on the right shoulder (as shown in the Wiki page linked above), but as honorary Colonel of the Guard Horse Artillery, he was entitled to wear the uniform of that corps, as shown in the portrait here.  In full dress, St Maurice’s colpack (busby) would have a white egret-feather plume, but the figure’s plume broke off long before I painted it… 🙁 But no worries, as the portrait above shows the plume removed for campaign order.

That’s it for the Artillery of the Guard.  It’s the Cavalry of the Guard next time…

* Humbrol Authentic Colours was a range of paints where they charged you an extra 10p for a black & gold label and tin-contents that were most likely already in the main range under a different name…  Adherents will pay a king’s ransom on eBay for old tins of ‘Authentic Colour German Camouflage Yellow’, even though the exact same paint is still available as Humbrol Enamel 83 Ochre.  If you’re interested, ‘German Camouflage Olive Green’ is Humbrol Enamel 86, ‘German Camouflage Red Brown’ is Humbrol Enamel 160 and ‘Polish Crimson’ is Humbrol Enamel 153.  The only Authentic Colour that I want but have never seen in the main range is Imperial Purple – a constant source of frustration…

This entry was posted in 15mm Figures, Napoleon's Battles (Rules), Napoleonic French Army, Napoleonic Wars, Painted Units. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “La Garde au Feu!”: My 15mm French Imperial Guard (Part 5 – The Artillery)

  1. Ian Dury says:

    They look really nice!
    You are probably aware, but just in case, there is a mapping of the Humbrol authentic colour range to their modern equivalents here: http://www.ipmsstockholm.org/colorcharts/stuff_eng_colorcharts_humbrolauthentic.htm

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers, I’ve spotted one wrong ‘un in there though: German Overall Sand/Dark Yellow was definitely 83, not 94.

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