Le Hussard Bleu

I’m blissfully consumed with my hobby of late, happy to be entirely absorbed in the detailed painting of brightly coloured, ornately detailed, Napoleonic cavalry. The happy absorption that I find in these little soldiers reminds me of how I used to enjoy this as a child, which I suppose was one of the prime reasons I first took up a brush a few years ago in the first place. At present, there are no less than 13 cavalrymen nearing completion and another 5 British light dragoons ready to begin. That of course also means a whopping 18 horses needing attention too…

Various Italeri Napoleonic Cavalry in progress, including Scots Greys, Hanoverian Hussars and French Hussars...
Various Italeri Napoleonic Cavalry in progress, including Scots Greys, Hanoverian Hussars and French Hussars…

It’s probable that I would have already completed the latest cohort of Hanoverian hussars and Scots Greys were it not for the appearance of five French hussars. As you might have guessed from this post’s title; their uniforms are… blue! In a previous post, I mentioned the essential headgear of a hussar being ‘usually’ a busby, but these Italeri figures sport the equally popular shako instead.

Choosing colours for these troops was difficult. There were a variety of different uniform colours for the various French hussar regiments. Furthermore, my research threw up contradictory evidence on these uniforms, and it seems hussars had a reputation for wearing what the heck they liked anyway! So, I decided to reproduce the colour uniform on the Italeri box art which, at least according to some sources, suggest them possibly to be the 1st regiment. Their colour is a beautiful shade of blue for which I specially purchased a new bottle of acrylic paint (Vallejo’s Royal Blue – since you’re asking).

The Blue Hussar

That somewhat racy looking novel’s dust jacket suggests that blue hussars have been a source of passion for more than just nerdy modellers like myself over the years. Indeed the novel Le Hussard Bleu gave its name to a whole literary movement; The Hussards, albeit a somewat reactionary one. There was also a specific genre of poetry called ‘hussar poetry’. This was invented by Denis Davydov, a Russian hussar-poet, to extoll the virtues (and vices) that he well knew and practised from his own experiences. So, in addition to some more photos, I’ll end with a short but inspiring stanza from one of his poems; “Song of an Old Hussar”:

Scarcely appears the break of day,
Ere each is scudding o’er the field,
With cap askew in brave display,
Lets his pelisse to breezes yield.

Very romantic! Here are some photos of the figures still with a little work to do, never mind mounts to paint.

Italeri French Hussars in progress
Italeri French Hussars in progress
Italeri French Hussars in progress
Italeri French Hussars in progress

Italeri French Hussars 4

Italeri French Hussars rear view
Italeri French Hussars rear view

Italeri French Hussars 3

Italeri French Hussars rear view
Italeri French Hussars rear view

Italeri French Hussars 7

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