I have been very satisfied with my slowly growing armies of Union and Confederate soldiers in 6mm for ACW Black Powder gaming, but for some reason, I am not really getting anywhere with my 6mm Napoleonics. I think this has mainly to do with my desire to paint them up to a rather detailed standard that I’m just not able to achieve in 6mm. The Civil War miniatures are a joy to paint, but when I attempt to paint the turnbacks and cuffs on my Austrian 6mm, the results are just depressing. Consequently, I’ve been contemplating a new scale for playing Lasalle Napoleonic games, and have decided to make one battalion of infantry in 15mm and one regiment of cavalry in 28mm. When I’m done with both, I figure that I’ll know which scale gives me the most pleasure painting, and which scale looks nicest with my basing scheme. I’ll stick with a 40mm base width for both scales.
So, my workbench these days is taken up by half a battalion of French Austerlitz-era line infantry and a test base of Prussian hussars. The French line infantry are AB miniatures, courtesy of Fighting 15s , while the hussars are Perry plastic French hussars.
Let me give you my first impressions on both ranges:
French line infantry (ca. 1805) in 15(18)mm: These are simply some of the most beautiful and detailed miniatures I’ve ever had the pleasure of painting in any scale. This is of course both good and bad. On the positive side, these figures are detailed, full of character, and part of an extensive range. On the negative side, they are so detailed that it takes me as long to paint one as a 28mm figure! I really want to do them justice, but the thought of painting up eight 32-man battalions with another four 12-man cavalry regiments and eight guns that I would need for a playable Lasalle army, is quite daunting. In addition, the AB figures are very expensive, and an army of these would end up costing much, much more than a 28mm one. Anyway, I’ll finish up this battalion, and see if the finished look of them is enough for me to go with 15mm (actually 18mm).
Prussian hussars (ca. 1814) in 28mm: The Perry brothers’ announcement that they are coming out with a plastic set of Prussian infantry inspired me to paint up a test regiment for a possible Prussian Napoleonic army. I’ve always been fascinated with the Prussian liberation-era army with its colourful mix of line, reserve, and landwehr infantry supported by cavalry and freikorps. I’ve considered getting some of the wonderful-looking Calpe Prussians in the past, but two things have made me hesitate. Firstly, they are rather expensive, and secondly, I like my online shopping relatively hassle-free, that is to say that I can’t be bothered to first fill out and e-mail order forms and then calling in with my credit card number. Now, these things are really no big deal, but it has been enough for me to postpone any purchase indefinitely so far. The Perrys’ announcement has changed all that! Filling up the rank and file with inexpensive, but high quality, Perry plastics suddenly makes building a Prussian army viable for me. In preparation, I have decided to try painting up some Prussian hussars based on the Perry French plastic hussar box. Both the French hussar uniform and the shabracks on the horses are perfect for the Prussian. The heads, however, not so much. In the end I decided to go with the heads in covered shakos that come in the box, as they would look alright from a distance. I’ll do my best to ignore the fact that the Prussian hussars used a different type of oilskin cover and that they weren’t wearing cadenets by this time. The Perrys have said that they will be releasing separate Prussian grenadier heads, and these would be a perfect with for my hussars. So, I’ll go with the French heads for now, and when the separate Prussian heads are released, I’ll just snap of the French heads (the beauty of plastics) and glue on some Prussian heads.
In my last post, I promised some more ACW regiments, but you’ll just have to wait another two months or so for those while I complete my scale experiment.
As for book reviews, I still haven’t decided whether to publish my review of Six Armies in Tennessee (see “Summer Reading”)now, or wait for a more complete post on my growing collection of books on the Chickamauga campaign. I’m currently reading The Maps of Chickamauga (first impression – fantastic!), and next up will be Failure in the Saddle . I’m thinking that a review of these three books together with a set of really nice wargaming scenarios for Chickamauga might make for an interesting post. However, Six Armies in Tennessee is really so different from the other books, that I might do a separate review of it. Watch this space!
Oh, and another bit of news – I gotten a new camera (actually a new charger for an old one), so these are hopefully the last sub-par pictures you’ll be seeing on this blog. The finished Napoleonic regiments (or at least the test figures) will hopefully be up within two to three weeks, and with better quality photos than has so far been the case.