The cat’s out of the bag
Posted by Martin on November 18, 2010
Do you know the feeling when you’ve been told a really big secret but have promised not to tell anybody about it? The sort of secret that feels like it’ll explode inside you? That’s how I’ve felt for most of this year because I’ve known what’s coming down the track at Calpe Towers but Peter F. asked me not to reveal it.
Well, now the pressure is over because some of what’s in the pipeline has been revealed on TMP. At first I was worried that there had been a leak but it turns out that the thread was started with Peter’s consent. Of course, as soon as it appeared, my in-box was full of people asking me if it was true. Having checked in with Peter, I now feel comfortable about confirming that, yes, there is indeed going to be a Napoleonic French range from Calpe. And most of what’s described in that TMP thread is accurate. With Peter’s permission, I’m going to add a little more detail here.
Firstly, French artillery. Work has been under way for some time on the ordnance and so far there are two types of howitzer, a 6-pounder cannon and a 12-pounder cannon ready to go into moulds. These will soon be joined by limbers and a caisson. At this point, it’s worth remembering that Peter’s period of special interest is the Spring and Autumn 1813 campaigns and that should give you an additional clue (along with the presence of a 6-pounder cannon) that we’re looking at the Year XI system of ordnance rather than Gribeauval.
Secondly, French infantry. The greens I’ve seen, handled and even had a minor role in (albiet for one afternoon) are of march-attack line infantry in greatcoats wearing a variety of different headgear. People are already speculating about whether they’re in Bardin uniform or not and, if so, how that might distinguish them from the existing Perry 1815 range. I can’t yet give you a definitive answer about Bardin vs. pre-1812 uniform but I can hint at what will be distinctive about the Calpe French infantry: like the Prussians and Saxons, they’ll very much be in well-researched 1813 campaign uniforms and that will make them different from the Perrys (and all other 28mm French ranges).
To illustrate this, I’ll give one example of something unique yet historically accurate that you’ll see on these figures. One of the lessons French infantrymen learnt from their experience of the 1812 campaign was the way that the Russian infantry folded over and buttoned back the bottoms of their greatcoats to stop them from trailing in the mud and getting too damp and cold. Many of the greatcoat wearing Calpe French are sculpted exhibiting this very behaviour.
One of the reasons Peter has previously been reluctant to talk about the French range is that to do so might build up to high a level of expectation that he might not have been able to fulfil given the many trials and tribulations of the last couple of years with vulcanizers and casting machines. But all that is fully resolved now and its full steam ahead for new releases. At present, the first French release is targetted for Febraury 2011. Prussian, Saxon and French releases will continue to be interspersed with each other from then on.
And what of the Saxons? The TMP posting mentions Saxon artillery but BfK regulars will know about his already because I’ve previously shared pictures of Calpe Saxon ordnance.
So there are exciting times ahead at Calpe Towers and I’ll keep you abreast of the latest developments as they occur. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, Peter might even let me take some photos of the French greens to share with you.