Recently I found myself, quite accidently, on the website for Perry Miniatures. I was absolutely amazed by the Perry brothers’ Napoleonic line of metal and plastic 28mm miniatures, and became very interested in their boxed set of plastic Waterloo-era French. Though I’ve always been fascinated by the Napoleonic era, I’ve never painted any miniatures from the period. Actually, I’ve hardly painted anything 25mm+ with the exception of a fantasy figure here and there. But I just couldn’t resit these. I ordered a box, and then ordered another box from Victrix (which also make outstanding plastic 28mm Napoleonics, as well as metals. I’m still waiting for that order to arrive from the UK. I’ll post a review of them when they get here).
While awaiting my Perry order, I started looking into Napoleonic rulesets. A FoW friend who is an avid rules collector, and who is also interested in Napoleonics, pointed me in the direction of Shako II and Age of Eagles. I ordered a copy of AoE, and he was nice enough to lend me his Shako II books. I was hooked. So I decided to base my figures for both Shako II and AoE, with the compatible 4 figures per 1 1/2″x2″ bases, which I promtly ordered from Litko Aerosytems. Though I’m still waiting on the bases (And the Victrix French, which I’ll use select figures to mix into my units), I decided to start painting. Being my first 28mm, I spent quite a bit of time browsing forums and reading up on techniques before I started. After a week of painting, here is what I have so far (I apologize for the blurriness in the pictures. My camera just isn’t very good at closeup shots)-
I decided to base my force around the Order of Battle for the Quatre Bras scenario in the Shako II rulebook. From what I’ve read, the French at this battle, though generally well supplied, often had a hodgepodge of uniform items, with some rallying to the colors in little more than a greatcoat and a shako for a uniform. Hence, I decided to vary up some of the colors, specifically the pants and greatcoats, somewhat. I also decided to muddy them up slightly, to reflect the weather and ground conditions in which they fought. Plus, fighting is just plain dirty regardless. I wanted to show some of that grubbiness. Though I do like the parade field look, given the miniatures, with the various clothing items and shako covers, I thought this fit best for my army.
The unit I decided to start with is the 6th Division, commanded by Jerome Bonaparte. I’m not sure why, exactly. Probably because the first wargame I ever owned was Avalon Hill’s War and Peace when I was 11 years old, and I became attached, for some reason, to using Jerome Bonaparte commanding troops alongside his brother in that game, which led me to read a little bit about him.
The short term goal of this project is to model the 1st brigade of the 6th Division. 6 battalions, I believe (I don’t have a copy of Shako II with me right now). The basing system I’m using calls for3 bases totalling 12 figures per battalion, for a grand total of 72 figures. Though I’ve seen some add a base of 4, which is pretty effective. I’m debating doing that instead, for a total of 96. The next goal will be to move on to the 2nd brigade and finish the division, then another division, until the entire French force is complete. Whether I’ll ever get that far, only time will tell. Then, because I seem to be the only one around here who is interested in painting armies of 28mm Napoleonics (15mm is popular though), I’ll paint the Anglo-Dutch forces. Thats the way-off don’t-even-want-to-imagine-it-too-much goal.
In the picture above, you can see my attempts with both white and black primer, a debate I’m still having with myself. After doing both, I can’t tell much difference looking at the miniatures, but there is a subtle difference in some of the pictures I took. The contrasts on the black primed are sharper, but the overall crispness of the white primer is noticeable. I’m beginning to lean to white. Any comments on this would be very welcome.
I still have a long way to go to be able to paint as well as some of the Napoleonic painters I’ve seen while browsing forums and websites, but I think I’m on the right track. And with so many miniatures to paint, I’ll be getting alot of practice.