Monday, 8 May 2017

2nd Line Dragoons

There were only two Line Dragoon regiments in the French order of battle at Waterloo: the 2nd and 7th.  Many more were with Grouchy under Exelmans.

The 2nd and 7th Dragoons were in Kellerman's Corps and therefore took part in the charges of the Reserve Cavalry.  They were in L'Heritier's 11th Cavalry Division, brigaded together under Picquet.  Kellerman, the son of the victor of Valmy had distinguished himself in his own right at Marengo.  At Quatre Bras on the 16th he had continued to show the dash that had marked out his career to date and had to be rescued when his horse was shot beneath him.

Kellerman at Quatre Bras

Both regiments had red facings and would have worn the Bardin jacket.  There aren't many pictures showing dragoons in the Bardin uniform, perhaps because so many were in Spain until 1813 and 1814.


A number of manufacturers have made French Dragoons.  I've saved my Italieri figures for my Empress Dragoon regiment (already published) and so have used some of the others for this initial group of the 2nd Dragoons.  They consist of the new Zvezda Art of Battle set, a triumph of packaging over content - while the figures are nice, there are just so few of them! 

There are a couple of old Rose figures here - surprisingly nice given their age, some NapoleoN figures, a couple of the HAT set and some Art Miniaturen.  As I mentioned last week, I've been doing odds and sods and this is just a taster of the full unit. 

The front rank are mostly the Zvezda set

Some Hat and NapoleoN in the rear.  The three men firing their carbines are Zvezda - too many for a Waterloo diorama, and one wonders whether any French cavalry were cool enough to stop, take aim and fire within range of a British square doing the same, but with 200 musket balls coming the other way!

A Zvezda trumpeter with an AM figure on the rear right of the line.

This guidon feels more like a flag!

Something that has always puzzled me is whether Dragoon regiments had an elite company in bearskins by 1815.  These dragoons in Bardin jackets show what looks like a Farrier, but he could be from the elite company.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

French Infantry

I've resisted showing my French Line Infantry, mainly because there are quite a few (10,000 Line, 3,000 Light Infantry) and it will need some space and time to unpack them.  So here is a taster, the recently produced Strelets Polish infantry, with heads removed and replaced by some of my supply of metal heads which were made for me by John Cunningham in industrial quantities.  These have been supplemented by some Falcata French infantry kindly donated by M S Foy on a visit at Christmas.  Many thanks to both of you!

I've painted them in campaign dress with blue trousers which seem to have been prevalent in 1815, having previously been the preserve of the Guard.  Sadly, they have two cross belts when of course they should have only one.

The falling figures are Falcata

These Strelets figures are a distinct improvement and what was once a manufacturer of the slightly grotesque is now producing some very well sculpted figures with the possibility of supplementing Hat, which seems to have lost its way somewhat.

I like this Falcata officer.  The rear drummer was a Waterloo 1815 Pole.  The wounded man and his assistant is a conversion from Esci. 

This company have orange pompoms, used by the third company in a battalion.

1st Dutch Carabiniers

The 1st Dutch Carabiniers were commanded by Lt Col Coenegracht and were in the Dutch Heavy Cavalry Brigade commanded by General Trip van Zoudtlandt.   The majority of sources show the 1st and 3rd Dutch Regiments in bicornes and their counterparts in the 2nd Belgian Regiment in Grecian helmets.  A Belgian of the 2nd Regiment is shown below with a pioneer and a gunner.

The retention of bicornes seems curiously retro and out of sorts with every other regiment (of any army) at Waterloo.  Given that the uniform, less facings, is the same for all three regiments and based on the French Bardin style, the bicornes seem even more incongruous - one would have expected all three regiments to be in the same headdress.  And yet it's hard to ignore the few sources that show bicornes (and there aren't many).

Clear evidence of a bicorne.

This picture from the year before may explain the mystery: the trooper is shown in a pre-Bardin coat  -  I've seen pictures of Dutch Garde D'Honneur wearing a similar uniform - many of the newly raised units of that year originated from city Gardes D'Honneurs units.

This figure has the Bardin jacket

Here, all three regiments are shown.
My figures are Italieri dragoons with head changes.  I've gone for quite a dark pink, which in hindsight could be a little strong!

I've got quite a few more of these to come.

And just as you think you have it right another source suggests they wore a Grecian helmet.   Who knows the truth?!

Monday, 1 May 2017

General Staff

I am a sucker for staff officers and the recent splurge of Art Miniaturen figures, coupled with some Franznap and Hagen has given me the excuse to paint some more.

Meissonier's picture is my inspiration for this group

Chasseurs a Cheval of the Guard

I have already painted the Chasseurs a Cheval of the Garde, but wanted to add figures for the Escort Squadron.  Once again, Art Miniaturen have come up with some outstanding figures.

Despite this being perhaps the best known uniform of any Napoleonic regiment, I've always found one aspect enigmatic: an objective understanding of the colour 'Aurore'. Too often, this is shown as a yellow, perhaps because the officers wore gold (see portrait below).

Officer of the Chasseurs a Cheval in full dress

Les Invalides

But when the real uniform is examined, Aurore seems a very different colour.  Even allowing for changes brought about by the ageing process, the colour of the frogging on the dolman and the edging along the shabraque is much closer to orange-red than yellow.  The frogging on the pelisse also looks a different colour to me but I'd accept that it has darkened up from its original orange-yellow.

This trooper shows the right shade of Aurore on the shabraque edge, but something much more yellow on the frogging of the pelisse. Could it be that the frogging on the pelisse was indeed a different colour from the dolman? This would have allowed more differentiation from the background red of the pelisse.

This trooper's frogging looks more like an officer's.

These Art Miniaturen are a mixture of converted Russian hussars looking distinctly exhausted and the new AM figures.  The Napoleon is Hinton Hunt.  They should be wearing just their dolmans, but I've converted them to the more colourful pelisses.

The officer is a Kamar Prince of Orange, re-purposed.

Detail of an officer's pelisse

This Marc Claus figure reprises the famous Gericault portrait of Lt Dieudonne, killed in Russia.

An early version of the same subject

The trumpeter is Lamming, an S Range officer is behind

The full regiment behind