Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Modest progress

Posted by Martin on March 15, 2012

Completed French drummer and officer montage.

Completed French drummer and officer montage.

The minimum number of figures required for my La Bricole painting competition entry is eighteen. With two weeks to go, the total completed stands at two! Only sixteen more required then. Not much chance of that by the deadline I’m afraid so I bet the other entrants are breathing a sigh of relief 🙂

At least I’ve been able to use the competition of carry out some successful experiments and brush up on my uniform research. One of the most useful resources I’ve relied on are the Rousselot plates (which, frankly, deserve a whole posting of their own) but even they are silent on some detailed subjects. A case in point being sword knots. Yes, it’s easy enough to pick up the colour of these for officers (gold), grenadiers (red) and voltigeurs (green or yellow) but what about the members of fusilier companies that are armed with a sword, such as NCOs or drummers? One contender appears to be white but another option is the company colour (i.e. green, sky blue, aurore or violet).

Given that I’m looking for a bit of colour to spice up the greatcoated campaign look figures I’m painting at present, I’ve decided to opt for the latter. So the drummer above has got a fetching sky blue sword knot (not to mention the the cord on his water bottle and some gratuitous cuff piping in the same colour) to help reinforce his membership of the second company of the battalion. In a way, I think it’s only fair to give him these splashes because by being bareheaded, he’s missing out on his shako lentille.

The officer is painted in an almost entirely conventional way. He closely follows one of the illustrations in the Rousselot plate that covers line infantry officers (Planche No. 62) which shows the grey trousers that were popular with officers on campaign. The small satchel worn by the officer is mentioned in Rousselot’s notes but strangely not illustrated in any of his Napoleonic plates though I’m told it does make an appearance in one of his Restoration period plates.

All of this work is also grist to the mill for the painting guide to go with the Calpe French infantry range. Peter F. has got most of the uniform references sown up from all his research for sculpting the figures so I’m hoping I’ll be able to contribute a good range of paint suggestions. I also feel a posting coming on about paint dilution and additives in which I’ll share the recipe for the little glass jar of stuff I’ve mixed up and have been using successfully over the last couple of months.

UPDATE: I’ve received an e-mail from Peter F. on the topic of sword knots. He concurs that Rousselot doesn’t really cover the topic but mentions that Rigo does address it in his series of plates. According to Rigo, sword knots for fusiliers carrying sabres should have been in company colours with senior NCOs having the addition of relevant gold threads and decorations. However, Rigo then goes on to say that this regulation was honoured in the breach because each regiment appears to have had its own tradition. Rigo himself has documented wide variation from one regiment to another. Peter F. finished his e-mail to me by saying that Rigo’s comment is essentially “God only knows!”. So I think that pretty much gives each of us the opportunity to follow his own preference.

5 Responses to “Modest progress”

  1. Ralph Hart said

    Thanks Martin, lovely looking painting as usual. You have me mulling over Fusilier sword knots now…I am dredging up thoughts of white strap, with the actual knot itself being in the Coy. colours….but can find absolutely no evidence for this…And for what its worth the knots on our swords at Dartmouth were of the same bullion cloth as the central ‘knot’, which is actually a clever cloth tube for easy tightening of the strap.

  2. Dave said

    The examples shown look quite grand Martin, I’m sure the sighs of relief were deafening. It would be improper of me to offer advice on uniform colours but I could look-see what Knotel via Elting has to offer on the subject?

    Your little glass jar of stuff is working quite well, very well really (glaze and wash painters see these things) and your use of saturated colours make the models literally pop off the screen. On the table they would be a delight to view.


    • Martin said

      It’s certainly not improper, Dave. I’m always on the lookout for good sources and the Elting collection of Knotel plates is one beyond my current financial means. so if you can find anything indicative, please let me know.

      Thanks for the kind words about the painting. I’ll pull together something useful about my little glass jar of stuff soon.

  3. Martin said

    I’ve added an update to the posting based on an e-mail Peter F, has sent me about fusilier sword knots.

  4. Burkhard said

    They do look great (as always)!
    One question that has been on my mind for ages… why are the canteen straps in compnay colour? I have always done for simple un-dyed string on my minis.



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