Monday 15 March 2010

WAS/SYW French Generals

I like to paint up some generals when I’m starting a new project as it’s the character of the individuals that will partly determine how well their troops perform on the battlefield.

The top two pictures show Lt. General the chevalier de Nicholai (a Foundry figure that is meant to be Lt.General Chevert) and an ADC (a Front Rank figure).

Antoine Chrétien de Nicolaï (1712-1777)
Active it the Italian campaign of the War of the Polish Succession, he was promoted Brigadier in 1744 and fought at the battles of Raucoux and Lawfeld in the WAS. Promoted Lieutenant General in 1748 he was again active in the SYW and sustained a wound at Rossbach. Active at the battles of Krefeld and Minden. In 1775 he was made a Marshal of France. He seems like a very experienced officer and sadly, I cannot locate an image of the old warhorse.

This Foundry figure is rather decent, unlike most of the SYW French range, and I like his haughty look. He seems very irritated with the ADC whose arrival has interrupted his train of thought. The sashes are French (red) and Polish (blue) which were awarded to Chevert but probably not to Nicholai, but these are too hard to remove so he has been promoted to membership of these orders. Nicholai will command the first column or division and I see him as solid and reliable, if somewhat lacking in inspiration.

Of his three infantry brigades, the first (which includes Regiment Limousin already painted) is commanded by Brigadier marquis de Voyer.

Marc René de Voyer (1722- 1787) de Paulmy d’Argenson, marquis de Voyer, comte de Paulmy, vicomte de La Guerche, baron des Ormes, then later comte d'Argenson. Son of the Secretary of War during the SYW. Distinguished himself at the battle of Fontenoy on 11th May 1745 at the head of the regiment of Berry where, according to Savory, he was also wounded. He was promoted to maréchal de camp on 10th May 1748. Here he is portrayed as a Brigadier commanding the first brigade, though as he hailed from Touraine, he would probably have preferred command of the second Brigade which includes that regiment. During the SYW he was a Lieutenant General and his specialty appears to have been commanding light troops. His family fell-out with Madame de Pompadour. He seems to me to be brave, even inspirational, but perhaps none to bright.

Its nice to find a portrait upon which to base the figure and the figure himself is by Front Rank but on a Foundry horse. Some of you might notice that officers to be portrayed from the WAS will sport a white cockade while those from the SYW will have a black one. Given that most of these generals will have participated in both wars, and that this French army is designed to serve in either, you will see that I am employing a certain latitude as to their rank in my army.

Saturday 13 March 2010


I’ve painted this two battalion regiment, numbered 25, commanded by Monsieur le marquis de Miran, which was raised in 1635 and whose flag remained unchanged until the end of the Ancien Regime.

All the figures are Crusader except for two in the first battalion – the officer waving his hat and the chap falling wounded, who are from Front Rank. The officer in the 2nd battalion is a Crusader figure but I plan to substitute many of these for aesthetic reasons of variety with those from Front Rank or Foundry. I think these Crusader figures are excellent although I wish Mark, when he’d sculpted them, had shown a bit more of the waistcoat which was, more often than not, coloured like the cuffs. Still I plan twenty four battalions using these figures and four with the turnbacks showing, which I’ll use for the German regiments.

As for the Armypainter, I’ve been much more sparing this time and hope the results have a campaign feel but not too much of one, if you see what I mean from the results.

The flags are not Grahame Black’s, which are the best available, and in the fullness of time, I will replace these temporary ones with his. I’m also unsure as to whether I like the Front Rank finials with scarves that he has made for use with the French. I have used them, see the Royal Pologne regiment picture which I’m posting again, but I think they are a bit fussy having both scarves and tassels. My understanding is that the French only used scarves and I’m looking for a manufacturer who makes them or to find a friendly sculptor who might design them. Your thoughts please.


NB: Just to say I have finished my ACW armies now so I'm hoping to put on a game in April or May. Anybody interested in attending, please drop me a line.

Wednesday 3 March 2010

SYW French and Armypainter

I'm starting on my French WAS/SYW army in earnest and with Regiment Limousin, one of my favourites. The figures will mostly be Crusader (excellent and more about them in future posts) mixed with some Front Rank officers and wounded figures. I like to have as many varied officers as possible and I've found that you can mix figures from Front Rank, Crusader and Foundry without serious size anomaly. So, work has started on the 32 figures that make up this two battalion regiment.

I have obviously used Armypainter quite a bit in the last couple of years and it tends to work better on lighter uniforms than darker ones. To that end, I was not sure how it would work with the pale grey (I know some people swear the colour should be white, but I’m a creature of habit and my French have always been pale grey!) so here is the result. The top picture shows a completed pair of figures – with new figures I always paint myself a sample – with the lower picture showing the same figures but with Armypainter (Strong tone – the middle of the range). By the way, and I’ve said it before, but I really suggest you don’t dip the figures but rather paint on the product with a brush. Then matt varnish to finish.

Now, to my eyes, the Armypainter gives a much more realistic campaign look to the figures. These guys look like they have walked a good twenty miles, though just about everything that Mother Nature could throw at them, to reach the battlefield and that is a thumbs-up from me. Your comments are always appreciated.

The rest of the regiment will be ready to display over the weekend.