Musings on the Napoleonic Cavalry Project

As work continues steadily on the horses and men of the Soum Hussars, my 22nd regiment in the Nappy Cavalry Project, I’ve been thinking about possible future regiments to tackle also. There are plenty of other 1/72 scale plastic Napoleonic cavalry kits still out there, but they are of varying quality and style.

HaT are wonderfully prolific in their coverage of Napoleonic subjects, and their excellent range of figures are of a consistent standard. Whilst decent sculpting, I confess that they seldom excite me enough to include them in the project. I certainly can’t disparage them – they’re fine – but neither can I say they demand inclusion. They are somewhat lacking for me in some manner and are more suited to creating an overall wargaming spectacle, rather than my emphasis on detail painting.

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Nice enough – but not quite Nappy Cavalry Project material: HaT chasseurs a cheval

Strelets are another manufacturer who are prolific in their Napoleonic range. Now, I do love Strelets figures, indeed I have ‘far too many’ of their sets in their Crimean War and Russo-Turkish 1877 War ranges. Yet, I’ve not included any of their Napoleonic cavalry in my project and neither am I likely to.

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More ‘corpulent carthorse’ than ‘elegant equine’: a Strelets horse

The reason is that first of all, Strelets’ style is perhaps just a little too unique to fit easily into the project. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, while their riding figures can be good, their horses are relatively disappointing. I’m not sure I could comfortably ‘stable’ their stocky equines with some of the more finely sculpted horses as provided by the likes of Zvezda, Revell, Italeri or Waterloo 1815.

Yet despite a number of other cavalry sets in my possession awaiting attention, one new set came through the post only yesterday:

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Mars Austrian Uhlans (1805-1815)

Mars is a manufacturer that I’ve never painted before, so this should be interesting. Furthermore, Austria is a nation not yet included in the project either. It’s a little eccentric this set; there are three figures standing and holding a rearing horse which has not been specifically provided (presumably the other horses might suffice if one were to ditch some mounted riders instead).

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A Uhlan struggling to lead an invisible horse…

Despite being lancers, there’s only one figure shown holding a lance while the lances themselves are swamped in flash and lack any pennants. Indeed, flash is something of a problem with this set. It seems that the quality of Mars output is a little varied, but this one slipped under my radar a little and on close analysis I still like the sculpting and think they are worthy of inclusion.

Like their riders, the horses are certainly in dramatic poses. They are also afflicted by some flash which I will have to carefully remove, but anatomically I think they look pretty good.

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Plastic surgery required: Mars’ horses look good despite some flash on their faces.

Despite some reservations then, I think there are still enough good sets out there to provide me with possibly another 6 or 7 regiments. There are also a number of figures that I’ve previously tackled which I’d love to revisit and paint up as an alternative regiment (more Prussian Hussars or some Polish Lancers, anyone?). All of which means that there could be up to a dozen more regiments in the project to come in the future.

Well, you have been warned…

“The First Noel…”

On a snowy December’s night, Colonel de Winter rides his trusty horse ‘Tinsel’ through the streets of the small town of Advent. He is returning to his lodging at the Manor House. Indeed, all the men of his regiment, the 1st Noel Foot Guards, are billeted in the town for the Christmas season.
‘No doubt’, thinks the Colonel as Tinsel trudges dutifully on through the snow, ‘most of the lads are already enjoying the delights of the local public house; a most disreputable tavern named ‘The Holly and the Ivy’…

As stated in my previous post, I’ve retrieved my Christmas Infantry Brigade from storage. Two regiments take turns to parade on the mantelpiece over the Christmas period. Whilst for this year it is the turn of the 1st Noel Regiment of Foot Guards, I’ve been busy painting a half-dozen figures to add to my under-strength Yule Grenadiers.

Using, Revell’s increasingly rare “Seven Years War Austrian Infantry” set, this year I’ve added a drummer, five marching grenadiers and am just finishing off a mounted officer.

The Yule Grenadiers are now 17 strong. The flags of both regiments was designed by my young daughter on computer. The 1st Noel have a nice red flag with lots of baubles, the Yule Grenadiers have a flag featuring a Christmas pudding on a green background!

For this Christmas, my daughter has received an innovative advent calendar which builds daily into a snow-covered town using pressed out card for houses and trees. I thought this might prove to be a nice backdrop for parading both regiments (scale notwithstanding) and she kindly let me borrow it for these photographs.

On a snowy December day, the Yule Grenadiers take up their right to march through the streets of Advent, the regiment enjoy the honour of having the ‘freedom on the town’.
An NCO and musketeer of the 1st Noel Regiment of Foot, pieces of tinsel in their tricorns.

The 1st Noel Regiment of Foot:

The Yule Grenadiers:

Great news those with access to British television, the very wonderful Time Commanders returns after an absence of about a decade. The series features hour-long episodes dedicated to wargaming battles from ancient history. Episode one will feature the Roman-Cathaginian battle of Zama, 202BC. Previous episodes included such battles as Cannae, Gauagamela, Chalons-sur-Marne, Tuetoburg Forest, Qadesh and Stamford Bridge. It’s all done using virtual figures rather than painted versions, but makes for great television nevertheless!

Clip from the series Time Commanders

Best wishes for the season to everybody!


Festive Forces

Ah, did I mention Christmas in my previous post?

Yes, it’s that time of year again where seasonal decorations go up in the house and I parade one of two regiments comprising my Household Christmas Infantry Brigade up on the mantelpiece. I usually paint a handful of these figures to add to the growing regiments as well, just to get me properly in the Christmas spirit. Last year, the elite Yule Grenadiers took a tour of duty.

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Men of the Yule Grenadiers

This year the honour of taking a tour of duty on the mantelpiece returns to the 1st Noel Foot Guards; photos of their latest seasonal appearance to follow in the coming days / weeks.



It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

With Christmas Day barely 2 and a half weeks away, I thought it was time I started to do some traditional activities. No, I’m not talking about decorating the Christmas tree or rooting out the seasonal decorations. I’m referring to my annual painting of my 1/72 scale Christmas regiment!

In recent years, using Revell’s Austrian 7 Years War Infantry, I’ve painted a fictional regiment of 18th century soldiers in suitably festive colours, basing them in deep snow and even adding a little tinsel to their tricorn hats. The painted figures then take a ‘tour of duty’ guarding the mantelpiece for the duration of the Christmas period.

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Men of the 1st Noel Foot Guards regiment.

The regiment that I’ve painted hitherto has been dubbed the 1st Noel Foot Guards (bad pun, I know), sporting a deep red coat, gold facings and holly-green coat lining and turnbacks. My 8 year old daughter even designed them a flag last year on computer, which I printed and attached to the ensign.

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Flag of the 1st Noel designed by my daughter


This year, however, I’m painting a new Christmas regiment for a change. Still using the Revell Austrian 7YW Infantry, I’m selecting grenadiers only to form my Yuletide Grenadiers battalion. I’m opting for white coats with gold caps. Not sure about the trim yet, possibly a red or green combination. Here they are below after the first (as yet unshaded) lick of paint as a basecoat for their coats and caps.

Better get my daughter on to designing their flag. No more time to waste for me on these figures though, I’ve got to get back to Napoleon and his escort so as to complete this year’s Nappy Cavalry Project.

Featured Figures: Austrian Dragoons (Seven Years War)

While I’m finishing off the latest set of Prussian hussars for the Nappy Cavalry Project, I thought that it might be time for a “Featured Figures” post. And, I have to confess, it’s yet more cavalry…

Last year, I dedicated a good portion of my time to tackling four regiments (nearly 200 figures) of Frederick the Great’s Prussian Infantry of the 7 Years War. Once I these were complete, I considered that it was maybe time to paint some adversaries too, so I tackled Revell’s Austrian 7 Years War Dragoons set.

They are a nice looking set, delicately sculpted in the familiar style of Revell figures. They are perhaps just a little too delicate for my personal taste. I do like a little more distinct detail to hang my paint on, but painted with care there’s no doubt they make a very reasonable cavalry set.

The Austrian dragoons of this period were blessed with an astonishing array of brightly coloured uniforms, each regiment being different from the others. I chose to depict the Prinz Savoyen Dragoons regiment which wore an all red uniform with black trim. I decided to mount them all on greys for some reason or other! There is another set of these figures waiting somewhere in my collection ready for me to depict another Austrian dragoon regiment, whenever I get around to it…

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Oh dear, it looks like a little paint has flaked off his tricorn…!

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