There are still quite a number of regiments I’m keen to see added to the Nappy Cavalry Project, of which there are now 18! One of these remaining sets I thought worthy of attempting was HaT’s French Horse Grenadiers (or ‘Grenadiers a Cheval de la Garde Impériale’ – en français) which I can announce will be Regiment #19.
The Grenadiers a Cheval were a Heavy Cavalry regiment of Napoleon’s elite Imperial Guard. They were big men, on big horses, wearing particularly enormous headdress too. Nicknamed “The Giants” on account of their imposing size, their large mounts were – just like the Life Guards I’ve just painted – mostly black horses. Oh no! I’m having flashbacks to the trauma I recently had with the varnish…
Anyway, HaT is a manufacturer that finally made a belated appearance in my project earlier this year (with their Dutch Light Dragoons and Belgian Light Dragoons set). It’s not that HaT produces poor sets, but rather I think other manufacturers capable of producing higher quality. With the French Horse Grenadiers set however, I’d say that this might be an exception; it looks pretty good.
The guiding principles of the project have always been quality and variety, and I’d say that this set ticks both boxes. Napoleon’s Horse Grenadiers, with their huge bearskins, are certainly distinct from any other regiment produced (although my Scots Greys wear a kind of oilskin-covered, mitre-shaped bearskin). Because of its age, HaT’s Horse Grenadiers is quite a rare set now and I’m glad I’ve sourced a box for the project.
Finally, I just want to talk about overalls; I mean to say the trousers worn by cavalrymen. The Horse Grenadiers are often depicted as wearing grey ones. However, they are sometimes also depicted wearing the buff-coloured versions too. I started off by painting their overalls grey but, given that the number of regiments I’ve painted in the project also wear grey, I fancied something different – so I’m painting over them now and going for buff instead. This requires me to specially purchase a bottle of Vallejo Buff, which I’ll give a try when it (eventually) comes through the post.