Saturday, 26 June 2010

Victrix Napoleonic French Infantry 1807-1812

I'd assembled these from the plastic kits. Bit tricky at times, and I needed to fill some of the gaps between body parts with modelling clay. I guess Napoleonics are considered to be the 'classic' wargaming figures. I'd always been impressed by their appearance in battle reports and magazines. Ranks of colourful soldiers, all ordered and marching off to either doom or victory!

Researching which colour scheme/uniform type I'd use was mind boggling. I knew French uniforms were many and varied from the period, but this had me racing backwards and forwards between the internet and the Osprey book I'd picked up (French Line Infantry. 1). I settled on 30th de Ligne as it seemed straightforward and had a colour picture of a sergeant in the middle pages. However, I'm still slightly lost as to how the Drummer and officer are meant to look. Any help on this part would be gratefully received.

As you can tell I'm a relative newcomer to the Napoleonic era and my only background prior to this was seeing the 1970 film 'Waterloo' and Ridley Scott's 'The Duellists'. So I'm definitely not quite knowledgable enough to quibble about the cut and colour of a Curaisseur's underpants at the moment (haha).

These were also the first figures I'd done in many years with a white underbase. Upon doing the basecoat I thought I was struggling somewhat until I read someone elses blog who described thinning down the paint 50/50 and doing washes. Allowing the colour to seep into the creases and joins. I found this a lot easier and obviously spent less time having to tidy the model between colours and coats.
When this was complete I steeled myself for a first attempt with the Army Painter dipping method. My first reaction after submerging them into what looked like crude oil was "I've made a bollocks of it". Giving it five or six shakes to remove the access calmed the nerves a bit and I left them to dry. Coming back a couple of hours later I was much more impressed. I've always been a fan of gloss varnish on models so I'm unsure about going over them with the Anti Shine spray at the moment. Anyway, I'll definitely stick to the Army Painter for the rest of these Frenchies.


  1. Matt:

    Those Victrix French look great. I don't claim to be an expert in the uniforms field, but it appears you got everything spot-on - great work on the cuff piping. Just an observation, but it appears you may have painted some of the shako cockades on the two rear guys in the left of the picture. Easy to miss the cockades as they're sandwiched between the two upraised scaled chin straps and superimposed on top of the diamond plate. I also agree, that the gloss finish is charming, and not at all disagreeable for Napoleonic figures. Warm regards, Dean

  2. Thanks for pointing out the cockades dean! I'll rectify those a little later. One of the reasons I started the blog was to get some advice from people - particularly on the Napoleonics.

  3. Matt:

    You're very welcome. My first 28m Napoleonics were the Victrix British Peninsular set. I'm very happy with them and several other sets I now have. They hold up well on the game table too. Regards, Dean

  4. Not too shabby! As for Officers and Drummers, well; pre 1812 the Officer was essentially in a better appointed uniform than his foot comrades, though he would have some latitude to dress more grandiosely, but campaign experience often tauhgt them not to draw too much attention to themselves (to avoid being sniped).

    As for the drummers, they were uniformed at regimental expense and the most typical exception to standard uniform was reversed colours - e.g. red coats with blue facings. However most indications are that they generally looked identical...

  5. AKI. Very helpful! I've started painting the drummer this evening as you described. I reversed the facings etc and feel it gives a nice variation to the unit while satisfying myself that its historically within reason. Thanks.

  6. Nice job looks like the uniforms are pretty much spot on to me, Do you use a flash when you take the photos, sometimes it helps to use natural light and no flash gives the figures a more mat look and sharper, but great job keep up the work

  7. Galpy. Just using a small, cheap digital camera at present. I took the photos on a window sill in the hallway which is where we get the most light in the daytime. I tried previously with the flash off but I kept getting blurred images for some reason. I perhaps need to play around with the settings a bit more.

  8. Cracking blog. You might think of buying a little universal tripod for your camera, makes a big difference, you can find them online for about a tenner. Natural light is the way forwards (makes your painting look even better!)