Mamelouks de la Garde impériale!

After some dithering over the choice of the next regiment in my Napoleonic cavalry project, I can announce that it will be Napoleon’s Mamelukes of the Imperial Guard by Italeri.

Mamelukes
My ever-helpful assistant presents the latest box of cavalry to paint.

Part of my wariness with this set was down to tackling a regiment somewhat out of my comfort zone. Firstly, they are from Egypt and a far cry from the European cavalry of which I’m familiar.

Mamelouks_à_la_charge_-_Raffet
Mamelouks de la Garde impériale à la charge by Auguste Raffet

Secondly, they are irregulars and as such don’t wear a uniform dress, never mind the traditional Napoleonic European style uniform. But I paint military uniforms – that’s what I do! Before I hyperventilate any further, here’s a useful guide to their dress which suggests some general uniform guidelines:

During their service in Napoleon’s army, the Mamluk squadron wore the following uniform: Before 1804: The only “uniform” part was the green cahouk (hat), white turban, and red saroual (trousers), all to be worn with a loose shirt and a vest. Boots were of yellow, red, or tan soft leather. Weapons consisted of an “Oriental” scimitar, a brace of pistols in a holder decorated with a brass crescent and star, and a dagger.

After 1804: The cahouk became red with a brass crescent and star, and the shirt was closed and had a collar. The main change was the addition of a “regulation” chasseur-style saddle cloth and roll, imperial green in color, piped red, with a red and white fringe. The saddle and harness remained Arabic in style. The undress uniform was as for the Chasseurs-à-Cheval of the Guard, but of a dark blue cloth.

So that gives me something to go on. They are certainly going to take longer to paint given their disparate colour schemes. One thing is for sure, the figures are beautifully sculpted by Italeri, possibly amongst their finest. The figures are very large for the scale, but this will be of more concern to a wargamer than a mere figure painter like myself.

Painting oriental irregulars certainly provides a different challenge, and it’s one I’m looking forward to. I’ll post updates once I’ve got something to show, until then here are some images of Mamelukes as it seems these exotic horsemen were a favourite of artists over the years.

François-Antoine_Kirmann,_chef_d'escadron_des_mamelouks_de_la_Garde_impériale_(1808-1811)
François-Antoine Kirmann, chef d’escadron des mamelouks de la Garde impériale (1808-1811).
Mamelouks_au_défilé
Mamelouks de la Garde impériale au défilé by Felician Myrbach (1853-1940)
Capitaine_français_des_mamelouks
Capitaine français des mamelouks de la Garde impériale by Ernest Fort (1868-1938)
Porte-étendard_des_mamelouks_(E._Fort)
Porte-étendard des mamelouks de la Garde impériale.

 

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2 thoughts on “Mamelouks de la Garde impériale!

  1. Good luck with this project Marvin. A good reference is Histoire et Collections book “06-French Imperial Guard Vol.3 Cavalry 1804-1815”. It is only illustrations and it tackles with every aspect of Mamelouke equipment and uniforms plus horse harness and saddles. Also Osprey, Men-at-Arms #429 Napoleon’s Mamelukes is a good book. Personally I’m waiting for Alan Perry to make them in 28mm . Along with the exotic nature of the unit, it hold a special interest to me , as ther were many Greeks serving in the unit, for the duration of the whole Napoleonic wars .
    I am waiting to see your progress
    Andreas

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Andreas, I hope you’re well. The Mamelukes seem to be a very popular subject and its easy to see why, they’re amongst the most flamboyant regiments in Napoleon’s army.

    I’ll give them my best efforts – though they are very different to my usual subjects and some way out of my ‘comfort zone’! Thanks again,

    Marvin

    Like

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