Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Marins de la Garde Imperial

Originally part of the Consular Guard, Napoleon incorporated the sailors’ battalion into the Imperial Guard on becoming emperor in 1804. At that time the battalion consisted of 5 crews totalling 818 officers and men with each crew commanded by a ‘capitaine de fregate’.


Their first assignment was to join the force at Boulogne earmarked for the invasion of Britain but when this was called off they travelled to Austria where they were present at Ulm and Austerlitz. The battalion subsequently fought at Jena, Eylau and Friedland during the campaigns of 1806-1807.


After Tilsit they were sent to Spain where they suffered heavy losses at Bailen, with many becoming prisoners. Because of this the unit had to be rebuilt from scratch in 1809 but with only a single crew of 150 men who fought at Wagram as gunners.


In 1810 more crews were added and the battalion rose to a strength of over 1,000 in time to take part in the invasion of Russia. Only 85 of its officers and men returned to Germany following the campaign but it was brought up to strength again in time to fight at Leipzig alongside the Young Guard.


A small detachment of sailors accompanied the emperor in exile to Elba and during the Hundred Days one crew of 150 was re-formed and fought at both Ligny and Waterloo. The unit was disbanded in August 1815.


My own unit of Marins has a few Engineers of the Guard mixed in the ranks in recognition of the combined attack these units made at Ligny (and to give me an excuse to paint up some engineers). The unit is comprised as follows:

16 x FN/93 Marine (charging)
1 x FN/90 Officer (charging)
1 x FN/4 Colour Bearer (charging)
1 x FN/6 Drummer (charging) – Variant
1 x FN/180 Officer, reading map
1 x FN/177 Guard using pickaxe
1 x FN/178 Guard, digging with spade
1 x WN.10. Officer, charging
1 x WN.15. Officer, marching

I’m hopeful that this unit will be seeing action quite soon.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Last of the Marines (and engineers)

After a bit of a dry painting period I finally found time to paint the last few of my Sailors of the Guard. Shown here in the front are, FN/177 Guard using pickaxe (donated by Roy) and FN/90 Marine Officer, charging (donated by Mark). All that remains to do now is base them all.

When I started this unit a couple of years ago I was quickly distracted after painting just 3 figures and this is partly because most of the figures are reproductions rather than vintage figures. However in the end this has turned out to be an interesting unit to put together incorporating engineers and various command figures. The blue and orange uniforms also seem to come alive once the gloss varnish is applied.

Next I’m going to be painting a couple more French gun batteries and then it will be time to expand the Guard cavalry.

Friday, 30 March 2018

More Marston

Last week I was over at Tony’s playing out his excellent C&C Marston Moor game. I played a dashing Prince Rupert whilst Goya took on the role of the dastardly Parliamentarians. It was great fun as always and I was delighted to get to use Tony’s spectacular collection of 20mm ECW troops. Most of you will have already seen Tony’s blog post on the subject but here a few more photos from the day.

View along the huge table at the start of play - Royalists on the
left, Parliamentarians on the right. I hadn't realised just how
extensive Tony's collection is and was pleasantly surprised.
That's me (Prince Rupert) with my faithful hound 'Boye'. I was
fascinated by Tony's lovely model coach which apparently
housed the Earl of Newcastle. I think he may have been
snoozing in there as he took no part in proceedings.
After an enjoyable affair of cavalry on both flanks (I got the
upper hand on the left whilst Goya was victorious on the right)
I decided to attack with my infantry in the centre.
This was perhaps not the best plan as the Roundheads had
defence in depth but I felt it was worth a gamble.
With the cavalry on my right defeated by a certain 'Cromwell'
fellow I had to draw in a tight defence with infantry. The stout
chaps here were mostly Hinton Hunt - well of course!
At the end of play you can see there is little left of my army.
How will I explain this to the king?

I was particularly interested to re-fight Marston Moor as I had played this same battle as a demo game in the early 1970s using Minifigs armies put together by myself and a couple of wargaming school friends. I can’t remember who won on that occasion, but we had a clear-cut victory for the Roundheads this time.

Rewind 43 years and here's the same battle played (I think)
somewhere near Colchester. The Royalists (on the right this
time) are my collection of 'intermediate' Minifigs.

Tony put a lot of effort into the research for this game which (along with the superb veggie-haggis, tatties and neeps lunch) was much appreciated by the players. His clever adaptation of C&C for the ECW worked very well and provided just the right period feel to the ebb and flow of the game. I very much hope I get to play another of these.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Marine Eagle-bearer


Thanks to Ken, who sent me details of the flag carried by the Guard Marines, I have been able to complete my eagle-bearer for the unit. I used a reproduction casting of FN/4 Colour bearer (charging) which is notably flimsy compared to vintage castings however as I’ve now run out of these he’s had to step in.

The whole time that I was tackling the flag I was wishing Wellington Man was doing the job for me as I knew I wouldn’t be able to produce anything like the two amazing flags he painted for me last year. However, I persevered and in the end I’m pretty pleased with the result which is the best hand painted flag I’ve done so far for this project (and yes Ken, I did paint tiny anchors in each corner of the flag!).

I was fortunate this week to receive from Roy a few more engineers including a lovely casting of FN/177 Guard using pickaxe. As with the chap with the spade the pickaxe needed a repair as half the axe head was missing. This was rectified with a lot of cursing and fiddling around with Magic-Sculp but I intend to find room to squeeze him into the ranks.

Finally as you can see, I also repainted the waistcoats on my officers red as I was finding the white jumped out too much. Looking at uniform prints on the web it would appear that both colours were in use for the marines but I thought the red blended in better with the rest of the unit.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Guard Marines Command

FN/145 Dragoon Officer (marching) - on the left
WN.10 Polish Officer (charging) - on the right
I’ve painted some command figures for the Guard Marines this week, nothing too taxing as there are only three of them. I don’t have any proper Marine Officers so I’ve had to improvise and use one Duchy of Warsaw figure and one French Dragoon figure as they seem to have the right sort of hat.

The drummer is a bit of a mystery and I can’t remember where he came from. The base has “HH” stamped on it but it’s not a figure from the original range so could possibly be a Clayton variant. It appears to be based on FN/6 Drummer (charging) with an added plume which was just what I need for the Marines. The sky blue uniform will add even more colour to this unit.

Next I need to finish the eagle bearer and then it’ll be on with the final six of the rank and file.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

The cabinet is back

The only casualty of our house move last year was my acrylic mirrored display cabinet which suffered a broken shelf. I can’t even blame the removals company because I broke it myself taking it off the wall in our old house.

It’s taken a whole year but I finally got around to replacing the broken shelf with a new piece of acrylic sheet which was a tricky and rather nerve-racking experience. Today I fixed it to the wall in my study and was finally able to get the Hinton Hunts out of their storage boxes and back on the shelves where I can see them.

The cabinet is very tricky to photograph because of the mirrored back so apologies for the quality of the photos but I thought some of you would be interested to see the collection en-masse. There are 600 figures on the shelves and I have another 200 or so that wouldn’t fit in.

The cabinet is 60cm wide by 50cm tall and has 6 shelves.
Repairs involved fixing a replacement bottom shelf and wooden
support strip. The tricky thing was trying not to get too much
glue on the clear acrylic.
Top Shelf - a mixture of British, Brunswick, French and
Prussian cavalry. You can see the mirroring effect on the
second shelf showing the backs of the troops.
Shelf 2 - the Poles are sharing a shelf with the Austrians.
Shelf 3 - mostly Prussians.
Shelf 4 - the Duke's finest on parade.
Shelf 5 - Vive l'emperor!
Bottom Shelf - French, Prussian and British heavy cavalry.

The question now will be which troops do I displace when I finish the Guard Marines?

Friday, 9 March 2018

Engineers of the Guard

FN/176 Officer, reading map
FN/178 Guard, digging with spade
I received a couple of vintage Hinton Hunt Engineers of the Guard figures quite a few years back (the Officer came from Don and the chap with the spade came from Mark). I got as far as restoring the damaged shovel head of one with Green Stuff and undercoating both but never got around to painting them as I couldn’t think of a use for non-combatants.

In the last few days though while looking up information on the Marins of the Guard I came across this in Mark Adkin’s Waterloo Companion “At Ligny, with the Engineers of the Guard, they (the Marins) formed a small assault column that stormed the eastern part of the village.” That seems like a very good reason to include them in the ranks of my Marins.

I’m not sure whether the Officer with the map will be much use in an assault however the guy with the shovel looks like he could be dangerous to somebody's ankles in a melee. I thought they would add a little bit more colour to an already colourful unit.