Sunday 19 December 2010

French Light Infantry

Napoleonic wargaming is probably my first love, having collected and painted the things for more years than I care to count. Strangely enough, in all these years I have never managed to systematically build a collection of my own. I have started many times and with the best of intentions, but they have usually ended up being sold to finance other projects.

The group I wargame with has, for many years used Peter Gilder's rules "In the Grand Manner", but the games have started to become rather predictable, as anything does when you have done it regularly for 25 years. One of our number, Chris Flowers, who has over 16,000 25mm Napoleonic figures and a table to match, persuaded me to get on with a job I have been promising for years; to write a set of fast play Napoleonic rules that would allow games of 2-3,000 figures per side to be played in a reasonable time frame. The first draft is well on the way and should be ready for playtesting in the New Year. One of the reasons for this change of rules is that we are intending to stage a re-fight of Borodino in 2012 at Sheffield Triples and we need to be able to complete the game (around 6,000 figures) in a weekend - a tall order.

Because I still love the period, I decided to make a start on building (and this time keeping) a collection of my own. As I am also eye deep in other periods - of which more anon, this is very much a long term project, but this time I am determined to persevere. Rather than the Gilder style units favoured by Chris - 1:20 figure scale and large battalions of 32-48 figures each, I am making the first and necessary compromise of a 1:25 figure scale and "campaign strength" units of 24 figures for infantry and 16 for cavalry, representing 600 man infantry battalions and 400 man cavalry regiments. Some units will vary from this norm - most Austrian line battalions will be 50% bigger, as will Austrian and Russian light cavalry regiments and French Guard cavalry units. Artillery batteries will be represented on the basis of 1 gunner per actual piece; so a typical 8 gun battery will have 2 guns each with 4 crew, a 6 gun horse battery 2 guns, each with 3 crew on a proportionally narrow frontage.

The unit illustrated above is the 1st battalion of the 10eme legere; the 2nd and 3rd battalions are hot on their heels. The figures are Perry Miniatures (metal) with a GMB flag.

The coming year promises to be a busy one, with over 1,200 figures still to do for Borodino and others for a re-fight of Lutzen that we are planning for next year. I am also hoping to press on with my Grand Alliance, Italian Wars, Carlist Wars and other things. I am also planning a WWII project, from scratch. This will involve making everything from the terrain boards, drop on pieces such as buildings, woods etc, the figures and vehicles. The subject will either be the Ardennes in 1944, or East Prussia in 1945, as I fancy doing a special snow terrain theme.

This is the last post of 2010, but hopefully there will be lots more to come in the New Year. So can I take this opportunity to wish everyone an enjoyable and restful Christmas.