Monday, December 10, 2012

One Very Small Step For Napoleonics

"Zee cassions, zey go rolling along, n'est-ce pas?"

A while back, I made noises here about starting a Napoleonic project in 6mm. In due course a small package of small chaps came from Bacchus. "Allons-y, mon brave!", I said to myself, "let's get these fellows done before Thanksgiving! Vites depeches-toi!"

Well, Canadian Thanksgiving came and went in October, followed by American Thanksgiving (we celebrate both at Casa Padre) and no tiny Frenchmen were finished. A big part of the problem was fear. A small part of that fear was painting in a very small scale, something I have limited experience with. A much bigger fear factor was that I very quickly realized that I was way out in deep waters, with no real knowledge of Napoleonic uniforms.

Fortunately the base library has a good stock of Ospreys with several titles on Napoleon's infantry, so I'm ok there, but nothing on the artillery. My limited book collection told me that the French Army created a specialized artillery train, vice the civilians used early on in the Revolutionary period, and I ransacked the internet for images, using the chaps found here as my model. If you know something about the uniforms of the artillery train and have any suggestions, pray leave a comment.

Here are the results.

I primed these fellows using a black spraypaint, which I think will be preferred technique in this scale from now on, even though I am using white for larger figures. The black undercoat allows a few shortcuts, such as having the shakos and boots already done and giving the impression of lining out on crossbelts, etc.

For horses and tack, the black undercoat has obvious advantages as well, especially for black horses. I suppose I could go back and give these nags some white socks and blazes, perhaps in future when I do some cavalry.

The artillery wagons were painting in Vallejo Yellow Olive tempered with some black, giving me a colour which seemed accurate based on my research. I did find that Foundry makes paint for French artillery limbers and gun carriages in three shades, but I think I'll pass on that for now.

The bases are handcut MDF, and show my unsteady efforts with a craft knife, but they are ok from a distance, methinks, and sized as per the Poleomos rules from Bacchus that I ordered with these figures. I am not sure if I really NEED a four stand artillery train, but after working for years in 28mm, where I had to question the purchases of limbers, cassions and limber teams as an expensive luxury, creating artillery supply assets in this scale is too easy.

There is a four gun battery with limbers, plus a whole brigade of French line infantry, plus some accompanying light infantry, ready to go next, but I won't start them until 20 December, for reasons to be outlined in my next post, reasons which I am sure some of you can guess at.

Before I go, I am quite thrilled that my blog, a fitful and irregular thing, has reached 95 followers. Among the more recent, I welcome James, a Napoleonic gamer and blogger and devoted family man from the great state of Tennessee, and Andrew called Loki. Welcome and thank you, gents.

Blessings to your brushes and die rolls! Mike+


  1. Welcome to the dark side that is Napoleonic wargmaing! I hope you don't go blind painting those teeny-tiny chaps!

  2. A very good start Padre. You¡ve done a terrific job on those tiny little tin men. Napoleonic is also a long standing challenge for me: although I started with 20mm minis many years ago, they still stand as WIP.

  3. These guys are looking very good to me, Padre. The trick is, I think (based upon my own limited experience of painting in this scale), not to 'overpaint', and also to have some bright colour in there. I've seen some excellently painted Napoleonic figures that once were placed upon the table, simply disappeared, merged into the base cloth. Those light blue uniforms of the train stand out nicely.

  4. That really is some excellent painting Mike. I only really do 28mm so seeing anything at all in a smaller scale is very impressive, and you've really done a fantastic job there. As the good Archduke has said they stand out very nicely. Looking forward to seeing what else you get up to with Napoleonics!

  5. Very nice. I've never had the inclination/guts to do an artillery train. If you need information, contact me by e-mail and I'll do what I can. (I've been collecting Osprey's and Hippocrine books since the '70's. I also have other good sources on Napoleonic uniforms.)

  6. A good job done Vicar! I trust now you've done your first batch of 6mm, the fear will have gone. I find them easier than large scales like 25mm, so much more forgiving and there's none of this eye painting nonsense!

    Good basing helps too. A couple of years ago I re-based 2 SYW armies on similar ones to yours and it made all the difference.

  7. WEll done Mike. The black undercoat and not trying to 'overpaint' is the key to success with micro figures. The Archduke's advice about brightening the shades used is also very wise. You want them to pop on the table not disappear.


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