Chasseurs à Cheval de la Garde [Nappy Cavalry Project Regiment #33]

I have already presented the painted horses for the latest regiment in my Napoleonic Cavalry Project, so now it’s time to show them with their riders in-situ. I can announce that the 33rd regiment is Napoleon’s Chasseurs à Cheval of the Imperial Guard.

Wait a minute! That regiment has already appeared in the project, so I’ve got some explaining to do. I felt it was worth attempting this set for a number of reasons;

  1. When they first appeared it was as a mere 5 mounted figures, (certainly not a full ‘regiment’) and were acting simply as an escort to Napoleon himself.
  2. Those figures were by a different manufacturer; Italeri, not Revell.
  3. Italeri’s figures had the men wearing full dress uniform with a pelisse and a plume and bag on their kolpaks. Revell’s men appear in plainer service dress.
  4. Finally, both figures were of sufficient quality as to demand inclusion, these Revell ones being just too good not to attempt.

Unlike the 5 mounted and 2 unmounted figures in the Italeri French Imperial General Staff set, there are plenty of figure in Revell’s Mounted Guard Chasseurs set – a whopping 18 in total which includes a single standing figure.

Did I say they were of ‘sufficient quality’? That undersells it a bit as these Revell figures are very good. My only observation is that the detail is just so finely produced that it makes the painter’s task very tricky. Larger, crisper details may not be reproducing details accurately to scale but it makes the details pop out better to the eye. I’ve matched the basing to my original Italeri versions from 2015. They go together pretty well, I think, the difference between the styles of dress and sculpting can be seen when comparing them to the crisper Italeri versions I painted.

I was particularly impressed with Revell’s officer figure. The pose of his rearing horse with it’s leopard-skin shabraque is an audacious piece of sculpting and works well, I think, with the officer mounted. It’s a piece of dramatic hero posing that’s really memorable.

Other unique figures included in the box was this chasseur below standing on guard with musket and fixed bayonet. The trumpeter meanwhile is unmistakable with his dramatic white colpak and sky blue uniform.

It’s been a pleasure to work with these figures. What a shame that Revell aren’t producing any more Napoleonic cavalry – these guys are over 26 years old now! They didn’t make many Nappy cavalry sets, (aside from reissuing Italeri figures, their only other original set being the excellent British Life Guards), but what they did produce was a real boon to the hobby.

In time-honoured tradition, that just leaves me to share more of the finished figures with a regimental biography to follow:



Note: As I already created a regimental biography for this regiment when they appeared with Napoleon (Regiment #14) back in 2015, I have simply reproduced once again here;

Biography: Chasseurs à Cheval of the Imperial Guard [France]

The Chasseurs à Cheval of the Imperial Guard originally began life as a part of a regiment of Guides raised by Napoleon when just a general in the Revolutionary Wars in 1796. They would go on to become one of the most prestigious regiments in the army, providing the personal guard to the Emperor and nicknamed by some ‘The Pet Children’!

In 1800, a single company was raised of Chasseurs, commanded by the emperor’s stepson, which formed a part of the prestigious Consular Guides. This company took part in the narrow victory at the battle of Marengo. By 1802, they finally became a full regiment consisting of around 1000 men with a single company of Egyptian Mamelukes joining them as a part of the regiment later.

Richard Knotel’s illustration of a Chassuer trumpeter and Chassuers in both full parade and service dress. Uniformenkunde, Lose Blatter zur Geschihte der Entwicklung der militarischen Tracht, Berlin, 1890, Public Domain.

They performed a distinguished role at the battle of Austerlitz, badly mauling the Russian Imperial Guard. Missing the battle of Jena in 1806, the 1st Hussars (a regiment painted earlier in this project) had the privilege of escorting Napoleon on that occasion. They would return to personal escort duties in time for the triumphal entry into Berlin. They later took part in the great charge of Murat’s cavalry at the battle of Eylau in 1807.

During the Spanish campaign, this regiment performed well but was surprised, outflanked and badly cut up by British cavalry, their commander, Général de Brigade Charles Lefebvre-Desnouettes, being wounded and captured.

“La Revue 1810” by Auguste Boulard. Public Domain.

In the war of 1812, once more under the command of the returned General Lefebvre-Desnouettes, the regiment (as with the rest of the army) lost heavily over the course of the campaign, though distinguished themselves protecting their emperor from a particularly threatening attack by Cossacks.

Guard Chasseur a Cheval re-enactors. Photo by Steffen Prößdorf – Own work.

During the final campaign that led to Waterloo, they formed part of the Light Cavalry Division of the Imperial Guard, numbering some 1200 sabres. Though leading the initial advance on Quatre Bras, they were not seriously engaged and suffered light losses. At Waterloo, they were deployed as part of the cavalry reserve. The Guard Chasseurs were sent in leading the 2nd wave of fruitless attacks against the Allied squares in the afternoon and thus their proud history as Napoleon’s favoured cavalry regiment would finally come to an end.

Notable Battles: Marengo, Austerlitz, Wagram, Eylau, Somosierra, La Moskowa, Quatre Bras, Waterloo.


Guard Chasseurs a Cheval, with Napoleon [Nappy Cavalry Project Set #14]

After the better part of 10 months, after 15 regiments representing four nations, the Napoleonic Cavalry Project is now virtually complete. The 14th regiment is the Chasseurs a Cheval of the Imperial Guard, Napoleon Bonaparte’s personal escort. These dandies look like hussars, though wear colpacks on their heads. I’ve painted Napoleon in his familiar guise wearing the green uniform of a colonel of the Chasseurs a Cheval.

Napoleon and escort (2)

His horse is painted as being his famous grey which bore him throughout many a campaign; the Arabian stallion Marengo (a brief biography of the two is below).

Now it just leaves me to photograph a final parade of the regiments some time before Christmas!

Napoleon and escort (3)

Bring on those photos!

 

Biography: The Chasseurs a Cheval of the Imperial Guard (France)

The Chasseurs a Cheval of the Imperial Guard originally began life as a part of a regiment of Guides raised by Napoleon when just a general in the Revolutionary Wars in 1796. They would go on to become one of the most prestigious regiments in the army, providing the personal guard to the emperor and nicknamed by some ‘The Pet Children’!

In 1800, a single company was raised of Chasseurs, commanded by the emperor’s stepson, which formed a part of the prestigious Consular Guide. This company took part in the narrow victory at the battle of Marengo. By 1802, they finally became a full regiment consisting of around 1000 men with a single company of Egyptian Mamelukes joining them as a part of the regiment later.

They performed a distinguished role at the battle of Austerlitz, badly mauling the Russian Imperial Guard. Missing the battle of Jena in 1806, the 1st Hussars (a regiment painted earlier in this project) had the privilege of escorting Napoleon on that occasion. They would return to personal escort duties in time for the triumphal entry into Berlin. They later took part in the great charge of Murat’s cavalry at the battle of Eylau in 1807.

During the Spanish campaign, this regiment performed well but was surprised, outflanked and badly cut up by British cavalry, their commander, Général de Brigade Charles Lefebvre-Desnouettes, being wounded and captured.

In the war of 1812, once more under the command of the returned General Lefebvre-Desnouettes, the regiment (as with the rest of the army) lost heavily over the course of the campaign, though distinguished themselves protecting their emperor from a particularly threatening attack by Cossacks.

During the final Waterloo campaign, they formed part of the Light Cavalry Division of the Imperial Guard, numbering some 1200 sabres. Though leading the initial advance on Quatre Bras, they were not seriously engaged and suffered light losses. At Waterloo, they were deployed as part of the cavalry reserve. The Guard Chasseurs were sent in leading the 2nd wave of fruitless attacks against the Allied squares in the afternoon and thus their proud history as Napoleon’s favoured cavalry regiment would finally come to an end.

Napoleon and Marengo: The emperor Napoleon and his horse Marengo formed a partnership at the early years of his rise to power. Imported from Egypt in 1799, the small stallion was a reliable mount and was present (and occasionally wounded) in many of his campaigns during the wars between 1799 to 1815. Together they experienced the battles of Austerlitz, Jena, Wagram, amongst others, and campaigns across the continent from Spain to Russia. They faught their last battle together at Waterloo in 1815. Parted, Napoleon was sent to St Helena in the South Atlantic whilst Marengo was brought over to Ely in England and, no worse for those years campagining, he finally died at the ripe equine age of 38.

Notable Battles: Austerlitz, Wagram, Eylau, Somosierra, La Moskowa, Quatre Bras, Waterloo


 

 

The face of Napoleon

And here he is, approaching his final lick of paint, the man himself; Napoleon Bonaparte!

I still have a few things to do such as hair and the tricolour cockade in his bicorn. He looks somewhat crazed with a wild stare! I don’t usually ‘paint’ eyes because at this scale, I feel it’s more effective to ‘shade’ them. However, Italeri seem to have sculpted them larger and more distinctly than usual with this figure, so I had little option but to try. More through accident than design, I’m pleased with the result.

Napoleon’s wearing the uniform of a colonel of the Chasseurs a Cheval. He’s holding some rolled papers in one hand and his gloves in the other.

Napoleon (2)

His escort, the Chasseurs a Cheval of the Imperial Guard are nearly painted too (a couple of examples are below), so I’ll soon turn my attention to all the horses. Napoleon Bonaparte, of course, will be astride his famous Arabian grey, Marengo…

Vive l’empereur!

Baby, baby, naughty baby,
Hush, you squalling thing, I say.
Peace this moment, peace, or maybe
Bonaparte will pass this way.

Baby, baby, he’s a giant,
Tall and black as Rouen steeple,
And he breakfasts, dines, rely on’t,
Every day on naughty people.

Old British nursery rhyme

I’ve made a start on what are the final figures to be painted in my Nappy Cavalry Project. Not a regiment as such, but rather a special person and his entourage intended for the end of year parade and review. Yes, as the poem suggests, my dignitary is Napoleon Bonaparte himself, the very man who dominated Europe and gave his name to an entire series of wars at the beginning of the 19th century.

Using Italeri’s French General Staff set, I’ve chosen to also paint a handful of the Chasseurs a Cheval of the Imperial Guard, a regiment which acted as his personal guard right up to the battle of Waterloo. Indeed, such was the bond between the man and the regiment that Napoleon often wore the uniform of an officer of the Chasseurs a Cheval. Incidentally, I’ve painted Chasseurs a Cheval of the line early on in this project in April / May.

Further updates on progress to come!

DSCF8662 (3)
In progress: Boney is waiting to be fully revealed. He is guarded by two of his mounted Chasseurs of the Guard.

 

 

4th Regiment of Chasseurs a Cheval (Nappy Cavalry Project Set #2)

Following on quickly from the first completed regiment in my Napoleonic cavalry project, I’d like to introduce the second offering. It’s another French regiment – the 4eme Regiment de Chasseurs a Cheval!

4e Chasseurs a Cheval
4e Chasseurs a Cheval

The set is coyly named “French Light Cavalry” by Italeri but in fact specifically depicts the Chasseurs a Cheval. These regiments were the mainstay of Napoleon’s cavalry, being cheap and easy to equip, unlike those equestrian ‘dandies’ – the hussars. With their all-green uniform, Chasseurs wore the standard black shako, whilst the officers sported a more exotic fur Colpak (similar to the hussar’s busby).

4e Chasseurs a Cheval
4e Chasseurs a Cheval

4e Chasseurs a Cheval
4e Chasseurs a Cheval

4e Chasseurs a Cheval
4e Chasseurs a Cheval

4e Chasseurs a Cheval
4e Chasseurs a Cheval

This is another impressive set by Italeri, albeit not quite hitting the same quality as their French hussars. Perhaps the main problem with the set is that Italeri have got confused about the horses. Consequently, there are an awful lot of officer horses (those wearing shabraques) and only a few trooper horses (ones with sheepskin saddle covers). To solve this problem, I decided instead to use some of the handy spare horses that came with those hussars that I’ve just painted. The problems didn’t end there: even getting the figures to sit on any horses was a real challenge requiring plenty of glue.

The Officer - A view of the 'boss' on his grey charger (one that actually came with the set...)
The Officer – A view of the ‘boss’ on his grey charger (this is one that actually came with the set…)

Officer of the 4e Chasseur a Cheval.
Officer of the 4e Chasseur a Cheval.

It took a little research to find detailed information on regimental uniforms. Eventually, I found a very wonderful French website which enabled me to specifically depict the 4th Regiment of Chassuers a Cheval. These wore an attractive yellow trim with their green uniform.

Figure #1 - The Trumpeter
Figure #1 – The Trumpeter

Figure #1 - another view of he Trumpeter
Figure #1 – another view of he Trumpeter. His sheepskin is black instead of white.

Figure #2 - The Guidon: note the green staff and the famous 'eagle' on top of the staff.
Figure #2 – My first attempt at a Guidon! Note the green staff and the famous ‘eagle’ on top of it.

Figure #3 - Another figure with a horse from the Italeri French Hussars set.
Figure #3 – Another figure. This one with a horse taken from the Italeri French Hussars set.

Figure #3 - Another view
Figure #3 – Another view

Figure #4 - Riding a rare horse supplied with the kit, not a hussar substitute.
Figure #4 – This one riding a rare trooper’s horse supplied with the kit, i.e. not a hussar substitute.

Figure #5
Figure #5

Figure #6
Figure #6

Figure #7 - Side view.
Figure #7 – Side view.

Figure #8
Figure #8

Figure #8 - Rear view.
Figure #8 – Rear view.

Figure #9 - Another officer - Oh dear, looks like I missed the metal on all that horse tack. (shakes head in shame)
Figure #9 – Another officer – Oh dear, looks like I missed the metal on all that horse tack. (shakes head in shame and reaches for brush…)

They may not have been the most glamourous of cavalry regiments, but the popularity of the Chasseurs a Cheval in the French army suggests something of their inherent quality and usefulness. The Imperial Guard had it’s own version of this cavalry in which both officers and other ranks wore large colpaks as well as ostentatious hussar-style scarlet pelisses. They provided the personal escort for the emperor himself. In fact, Napoleon often wore the uniform of an officer of the Chasseurs a Cheval of the Imperial Guard – perhaps the ultimate accolade! Revell have produced an adequate set depicting this more prestigious regiment – maybe some day, I’ll attempt those too. For now, though, I’m much happier with this very fine ‘line’ version.

Biography: 4th Regiment of Chasseurs a Cheval (France) 

Formed in 1675 as a dragoon regiment Comte de Dreux-Nancre, they were renamed as the 4th Chasseurs in 1788. Featuring in campaigns throughout the Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods, they formed a part of the Grande Armee in Russia. Here they took part in many actions including the great battle of Borodino, and the desperate encounter on the Berezina river. Later, they featured in the ‘Battle of the Nations’ at Leipzig and in the subsequent campaign in France in 1814. That year saw them acquire the title “Regiment de Chassuers de Monsieur”.

By coincidence, Francois Clary, the regimental colonel of the first painted regiment the1st Hussars, was also the colonel of this chasseur regiment as well! Attached to Napoleon’s Armee du Nord, the 4th regiment witnessed Blucher’s Prussians defeated at Ligny during the 100 days campaign. But their next action was their final Napoleonic engagement: Waterloo. The regiment was then soon disbanded on the 16th July 1815.

Napoleonic regimental battle honour – La Moskowa.