Regiment de Toulouse (Lace Wars)

Introducing the fourth in my series of French infantry regiments from the War of the Spanish Succession, the Regiment de Toulouse!

Described by C.S. Grant’s “Armies and Uniforms of Marlborough’s Wars” as having light blue stockings, cuffs and collars. With wide variations as to what ‘light blue’ could be interpreted as, I’ve chosen a shade I simply liked the look of.

At Blenheim, under Tourouvre’s Brigade, the Regiment de Toulouse consisted of two battalions in a total of 1000 men.

The officer looks pretty relaxed, but then his large wig could probably stop a well-aimed musket ball or two.

His sergeant looks a little more animated, bellowing orders at his men.

Pleasing figures once again from Strelets. I was a little concerned that being sideways on the sprue would make them less effective to painting, but I think they’ve come out very nicely.

I may boring regular visitors with these figures, but I am enjoying this project very much. My desire is to continue with another regiment but something tells me that I should go for some variety and do something else for a bit. So, I’m at that pleasurable stage of wondering what to paint next. I’ve certainly plenty of figures to choose from, so I better go and check out my enormous unpainted pile!

A Field Day!

It’s a Field Day for my Lace Wars legion! At the suggestion of Suburban Militarism friend and follower Markus Sharaput, I thought I’d parade my 2020 vintage War of the Spanish Succession troops as an indication of overall progress:

The Royal Scots – “Damn forward fellows with a bayonet!”
The Regiment de Champagne advance with typical French elan.
The Foot Guards convincingly demonstrate that frilly lace is no defence against hot lead.
Right back at you! The 1st Poitou let loose a shattering volley in reply.
Ooops, looks like somebody forgot to load and is hastily putting it right…
The Foot Guards prepare to halt the onward advance of the Champagne.
The Regiment de Montfort in action. Their black flag reminds me that I really need to get around to finishing something…
Patiently awaiting a flurry of lead ball are men of Sankey’s Regiment.

Well, the good news for the French is that reinforcements are on their way! As I type this, another regiment of white-coated Gallic infantry is already well advanced with paint. More on that anon…

Le Regiment de Champagne Marche!

“By the left… (wait for it, wait for it!)… quick march!”

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been very happily painting more Strelets French infantry figures from the War of the Spanish Succession. Being mostly a shade of white, it might be thought that these could become a little dull to paint. On the contrary, with a number of different poses to choose from, and being so nicely sculpted, I’ve been very content to keep on painting these.

I’ve previously painted two firing lines for the following regiments:

Crack open the bubbly for my latest addition to the Sun King’s steadily growing army – the Regiment de Champagne. The uniform is virtually all white (or more particularly a white-grey) even including the hat lace (which I now realise my source book informs me is yellow but, hey….) The only concession to any colour is a small glimpse of their red waistcoat.

Another key difference is that these men are all marching rather than firing. What’s more, they’re marching in step, which was apparently not a practice that had been adopted by the French army by this time. Nevertheless, I’ve used the same pose to give them that extra visual cue of being a single regiment.

The pose is a well-animated one by Strelets and I like it. Rather than stiffly marching forth, these Champagne soldiers have something of a swagger about them suggesting either an easy confidence or a bone-tired weariness, or even both.

As with the previous regiment, I’ve settled on Vallejo Sky Grey for the coat’s base colour. It contrasts nicely, I think, with the more wholly white looking stockings (actually Vallejo’s off-white).

Les Beatles, “Route de l’abbaye”, non?

I’ve painted an officer for the regiment to also join the march. It’s another very nicely sculpted officer by Strelets and I like him!

The regiment’s sergeant:

Strelets have been issuing / developing a number of new boxes of French WSS infantry in recent weeks including;

  • “French Grenadiers”
  • “French Musketeers on the march” (which strangely only partially includes marching figures)
  • “French Pikemen” (another odd one given the generally accepted notion that pikes were virtually abandoned as a weapon by this time).
  • French Musketeers Firing”

Both the “firing” and “march” sets have been the subject of pretty intensive criticism over the markedly short muskets, virtually musketoons. I’m keeping well out of this particular nerd’s bun fight, but basically it seems Strelets believes that French musketeers had these short muskets but many others do not. The “firing” set also features the old ‘matchlock’ musket rather than the newer ‘flintlock’, the former (like the pike) all but abandoned by the time of the WSS. Controversy aside, the sculpting is remains top notch and the pike and matchlock figures could at least stand for some earlier conflicts.

For me, it’s back to the War of the Spanish Succession and I’ll just conclude with some more views of my ‘Champagne’ boys.

More Soldiers of the Sun King

After a brief hiatus, I’ve been dipping into the Strelets Lace Wars figures once more by adding the Sun King’s army with another French Regiment. Introducing the Regiment de Poitou, which in the Blenheim campaign consisted of a small battalion in Prince Isenghein’s Brigade.

They wear the usual white-grey coat with blue cuffs, white gaiters and a tricorne with yellow trim. I think they make a nice contrast to their sister regiment, the de Montfort.

Regiment de Poitou
Regiment de Montfort

I’ve used the other loading and firing figures which came with Strelets French Fusiliers (Early War) box, using the same two figures to further emphasise the regimental distinction.

I’m pleased with my officer figure who carries a spontoon. This figures fully justifies the “Lace Wars” label with his exuberant wig, frilly white neckerchief, white fur trim on the tricorne and lacy sleeves. Unfortunately, I seem to have yet to paint his white gloves which remain a distinctly less-than-foppish-dandy shade of black. I’ll reach for the brush soon to put that right!

I’ve not fussed with the shade of grey-white worn by the regiment and I think they look better for it. At John of Just Needs Varnish suggestion, I’ve staggered the two ranks in the firing line, front firing rank to the left and rear loading rank to the right, so the bases still line up;


The loading pose:


The firing pose:

I know that Strelets are working hard on the production of more WSS boxes including the very recent release of French grenadiers and marching musketeers. Some British cavalry masters have already made an appearance on their website too. Distribution in these troubled times remains a problem however, so modellers and wargamers may have to be patient for a while yet.

Strelets Standing Soldiers: Napoleon!

Having showcased the Old Guard figures in my last post, as promised I’ve now painted the head honcho himself – L’empereur Napoleon Bonaparte!

It’s my submission for Ann’s Immaterium’s April Painting Challenge!

You’ll notice that I’ve thrown some sand down to act as an ersatz parade ground and pressed my 18th century country house into action once again (last seen acting as a St. Petersburg palace).

Forming a hollow square, my Old Guard are waiting to listen to him say a final farewell, prior to leaving for exile on the island of Elba.

Eventually, he appears before them, wearing his traditional bicorne hat and long grey coat. The emperor is visibly emotional. His voice, passionate and breaking, echoes across the parade ground as he begins…

You can now view the epic scene in this YouTube movie what I made:

Alternatively, the non-video version of my scene is below:


“Soldiers of my Old Guard, after 20 years I have come to say goodbye!”
(a dramatic pause ensues)
“France has fallen! So remember me!”
Très dramatique, non?
“Though I love you all, I cannot embrace you all...” (now, you wouldn’t catch Wellington saying that!)
“With this kiss, remember me!” (relief all round – it’s just the flag he’s snogging)
“Goodbye my soldiers!…”
“Goodbye my sons!…”
“Goodbye, my children!!!!”

The scene was brought to you with apologies to Orson Welles, Dino De Laurentiis and Rod Steiger. Any resemblance to actual films, past or present, is entirely intentional – The original, and in my view vastly inferior, scene is viewable on YouTube.

To help my painting of Strelets’ Boney, as a guide I settled on some portraits of him wearing a grey overcoat and the uniform of a colonel of the Chasseurs a Cheval. He seems to be consistently shown wearing a silver medal with a red ribbon, so I’ve reproduced that too.

Is it me, or does my Napoleon have more than a passing resemblance to Marlon Brando?

There was also the small matter of finishing my pioneer sergeant. Admittedly, it looks a little like he’s wearing a skirt with an apron but, given the size of his axe, I won’t be saying that to his face.

And with that, this submission for “Paint the Crap You Already Own” is complete. Needless to say, there’s plenty more I could get my teeth into and with some days left yet of April, I may yet even have a go at something else.

Until then, I say – goodbye my followers, goodbye my visitors, and goodbye my children!!!!

Strelets Standing Soldiers: The Old Guard

Following the issuing of April’s challange by Ann’s Immaterium to stop buying new shiny things and paint up some of our backlog of figures – I’ve made solid progress with my 2018 box of 1/72 scale Strelets Old Guard figures. Nearly complete, there’s 28 of them in total, including a pioneer sergeant, an officer and Napoleon Bonaparte himself.

I’ve so far just concentrated on the rank and file plus the officer, so I’ve still got the sergeant to finish off and Napoleon himself still to paint. I’ve based them very simply on a kind of parade ground type of surface.

One of the things I thought was great about painting these figures is the facial features which seem to give each pose character. Perhaps my favourite is this fella below who seems to be casting a quizzical glance askew.


Eyes right!


The officer:


Apparently, the Old Guard did not have buttons to turn their coats back. Whether that’s true or not, I like the look.






Boney (and his Pioneer Sergeant) will be reviewing his Old Guard in a future post…!

Regiment de Montfort

Presenting the Regiment de Montfort, a Walloon/Spanish auxiliary regiment consisting of 2 battalions of upwards of 1200 men. Part of the Marquis de Montfort’s brigade, the regiment was present at the battle of Blenheim.

My first French Infantry regiment makes uses of two poses from Strelets new French Fusiliers (Early War) figures. The title on the box is something of a conundrum as the uniform is perfectly serviceable for the entire duration of the conflict!

The box also contains two other firing and loading poses similar to these figures which I will use for another French regiment. Also in the set are some command, advancing and kneeling figures. Knowledgeable people may point out that French infantry at this time fought in three ranks, not two. In terms of basing, I just based them all individually, forgetting previous good advice to stagger the figures on the bases – which was more than a bit dim of me!

This officer figure carries a spontoon but lacks a gorget below his neck, an essential device of rank for the time. Nonetheless, a lovely figure in a great pose.

My loading figures are cleverly pictured biting off the end of their cartridge ready to pour powder down their musket. A very effective pose with good facial features to boot.

The French at this time wore coats of Pearl-Grey, a light coloured coat in an off-white hue. I’ve seen many interpretations of this shade and in the end simply went for a very light grey which I hoped would work. I admit that my feelings vary between “a little too grey” and “satisfactory”, but I shan’t lose any sleep over it!

I won’t be pitching straight into another French regiment for a little while as I’ve recently signed up for Ann’s Immaterium’s April challenge to paint up some of my other many, many unpainted figures from the pile.

Strelets French Army Sledge Train (Set 2)

These are dark nights and short cold, wet days here in the UK. Winter can seem a little like something to be endured at times but my latest painting venture puts it all into perspective. Strelets 2nd French Army Sledge Train set includes yet more scene of tragic suffering from the Grande Armee’s retreat from Moscow in 1812.

Once again, as with Set 1, the sledge is being driven by a man wearing a polish czapka, possibly a Polish lancer missing his mount. Cracking a whip, he is seated in an impresive half-lotus posture! The previous driver didn’t fit on the sledge well, so this yogic flexibility at least helps me fit him to the sledge more easily.

Also seated in the sledge are a hussar and a lady holding a baby. This lady is sitting on top of a barrel and wrapped in a shawl. A nice little figure and a poignant one too.

The hussar meanwhile cradles a horse’s leg and hoof, possibly the last remnant of his beloved mount, now a source of food in these desperate circumstances.

Bringing up the rear of this vignette are two comrades in arms. I think that Strelets has again produced impressive and moving figures here. Badly wounded, relying on one’s comrades would be the only slim hope of making it home alive.

Likewise with another pair of Napoleon’s soldiers. Although sculpted separately, these two seemed to go together nicely to me. The blind grenadier’s outside outstretched hand found a natural home on the backpack of the other soldier carrying a heavy sack. Together, they stumble through the Russian snow back to Vilnius.

Whilst others hobble homeward, one character is sprinting to catch up with the sledge. A senior officer, I like to think there’s a backstory to his running; catching up after answering the call of nature; or recovering from a rude awakening when falling face first off the sledge into the snow having dozed off; or maybe he’s seen Cossacks approaching…

Laden with desperately needed provisions, the final figure from the scene is trudging alongside the poor imaciated horse.

Here are the two French sledge train sets, 2018 and 2019 versions of the winter retreat together.

As a reminder, here are last year’s retreat figures. Below: a soldier carrying a small drummer boy and his drum, with a barefoot dragoon looking appallingly cold.

Above: the figures in the sledge; another officer in a bicorne and a mysterious bespectacled gentleman who wears a luxorious fur coat and cradles a locked casket which possibly holds the source of his securing a fur coat and a ride in the sledge – money!

There are two other sledge train sets produced by Strelets for the Russian army. These make for a nice contrast to the French ones, being far better dressed for the cold and well fed too. I’ve kept these back to continue the tradition next winter.

Well, I’m feeling very cold now. Reckon it’s time for drop or two of something to keep out the cold…

It’s Snow Time!

It was around this time last year that, taking some inspiration from the onset of winter, I tackled the first of Strelets French Sledge Train sets. The results were really pleasing, unusual and inventive, albeit in a somewhat macabre way.

So it’s a perfect time of year again to attempt Set number 2 of the Strelets French Army Sledge Train sets. This one contains the exact same sledge and horse but with different occupants and walkers.

The figures are nearing the end of the painting process, with just a few things still to attend to or improve. I’ve yet to start on the sledge itself and the base, so I thought I’d share the characters before they get included in a little diorama, similar to that produced last year:


1. The Hussar:

This chap is wearing an hussar uniform with a less-than-regulation, broad-brimmed hat that he’s taken from somewhere. I painted him in what I believe to be the colours of the French 7th Hussar Regiment.

Depicted as as lucky occupant of the sledge, what perplexed me at first was what he was craddling in his arms. Predictably, Plastic Soldier Review got it quite right by suggesting that it was a horse leg! With a little paint, it indeed became clear, hoof and all. All in all a typically odd and delightfully imaginative figure from Strelets.


2. The Blinded Grenadier:

A grenadier of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard is a pleasing inclusion. He is blinded, presumably from a combat wound. Strelets have signified this by a bandage around his eyes, a walking stick and a hand extended out to feel the way. He appears to be wearing a scarf but he needs to urgently button that coat up against the winter snows!


3. The Comrades:

I’ve not quite finished them but I like these figures in particular. In a moving scene, Strelets have created two comrades struggling through the snows together. One is clearly wounded, his arm in a sling. His other arm is around his comrade who helps him walk. His comrade is wearing what appear to be very similar to the Opanci peasant shoes I last painted on the Serbian WWI infantry last year. Perhaps a sympathetic local took pity and helped him out?


4. The Plunderer:

This fortunate chap wears a warm regimental forage cap, that looks like a night cap. He’s well-equipped, smartly dressed, and in a piece of great fortune has managed to get his hands on a sack of something. Whatever it is, it’s clearly valuable enough to carry with him.


5. The Mother and Child:

In a reminder of the women and children which accompanied armies of the period, Strelets have included a lady sitting on a barrel in the sledge. She appears to be holding a tiny baby wrapped up on her lap. Appallingly, the outlook for both on the retreat would not be good whatsoever.


6. The Littlest Hobo:

Another well-equipped soldier who stands a better chance than many of survival. He has full packs on his back and has even tied a bundle of privisions to his musket. He’s ditched or stowed away his shako and wraped his head in a warm covering.


7. The Running Man:

A senior officer, perhaps even a Général de brigade, runs through the snows. Perhaps his horse has bolted or the Cossacks are hot on his heels? I think it is more likely that he’s another occupant of the sledge who’s now chasing after it after answering the call of nature! Run, Monsieur Général, run!


8. The Yogic Sledge Driver

The driver of the sledge wears a Polish lancer’s cap but otherwise could pass for an infantryman. Cracking a whip, he is sitting in an extreme crossed-legged position which can only be described as a half-lotus! Very flexible!

9. The Pitiful Pony

The same half-starved labouring pony from Sledge set 1 makes a reappearance. Definitely one of Strelets best horse sculpts, in my opinion. A sad reminder of the very considerable animal suffering experenced in the retreat from Moscow.

So, just final touches to the figures, and the sledge to paint and assemble, before I start to put the whole sledging expedition together and then this suitably snowy scene will probably be the last completed project before Christmas!

The March of Time: Old Soldiers to New Recruits

Back in 2013, I was new to painting figures. I had dabbled before in 25mm metal castings before but only began to really dedicate regular time, patience and, ah, money in 2012. At the time, on the 1st floor of a huge model and toy shop in my home town, boxes of 1:72 scale plastic soldiers of every description occupied an entire room. Then, one day, I walked in to the shop to find it all gone. The floor to ceiling high wall coverage by countless boxes of plastic troops of every description and from every manufacturer had all but disappeared.

The venerable old store was closing down and clearly, in the weeks since I’d last visited, I’d missed the ensuing super-sale bonanza. Modelling vultures had already picked the carcass clean. There would be time to have a little cry about the old shop’s fate later back home but at that point I could see a handful of boxes still remained on a shelf – the last remnant half-companies from an army on sprues once numbering many 1000s of figures.

The Marmite sculpting style of the early Strelets figures ensured they featured heavily amongst these final unwanted boxes. I decided to pick up two of their marching French Napoleonic infantry sets; French Infantry on the March (1) and French Infantry in Advance. The unloved kits hadn’t remained unpurchased due to over-pricing – priced only £2.50 each with the added inducement of a ‘buy 1 get 1 free’!

Hmm, whatever happened to French Infantry on the March (2)?

As I took them home to mourn the passing of that enormous model soldier department (not to say it’s ever helpful, knowledgeable, but sadly soon-to-be-redundant staff) I suspected that these figures would probably go forever unpainted, stowed somewhere in the loft. In truth, it was a purchase motivated by sympathy rather than by desire.

And then, a few years later, in March 2015. I decided to paint some with a view to maybe submitting them to an international group painting project. In the event, they weren’t sent abroad but I had at least now made some effort on 18 of them. To my surprise, I enjoyed painting them a lot, with no less than 24 individual poses across the two boxes, there was real personality from a crowd otherwise depicted doing more or less the same thing. Both boxes featured the troops wearing greatcoats so mixed perfectly well together.

These painted figures remained un-based for a long while until, during a heavy blizzard on a December day in 2017, I realised that their greatcoats suggested they’d do well marching through snow (an obvious idea given one box’s art even depicts snow) and somehow, I ended up adding a further 26 to make 44 marchers. And last year, continuing what was becoming a yearly tradition, I dutifully painted another dozen to follow the Strelets French sledge train I’d painted. This latest dozen painted only this week takes the painted group it up to 68.

Since 2008, both of these marching sets are now virtually unavailable but Strelets have recently made a new replacement; their French Infantry on the March (1), with apparently more on the way! I’ve tackled a sprue of these new figures to compare with the old figures. These will be the future of my French winter marching tradition once the old sets are finally exhausted.

New recruits on the march!

They are very different to the original sets indeed.

Firstly, the new set has its marchers appearing sideways on the sprue, rather than face on. This has the effect of the figures being quite slender, almost appearing as a semi-flat.

Two of the figures wear some unusual headgear. PSR identify it as a pokalem, also known as a bonnet de police. Blue and piped with red, this early kind of informal headdress was warm and comfortable with ear flaps which could be worn up or down (as in these chilly examples), it could even be worn under shako.

Details, as with all newer Strelets figures, are much more subtle than before but overall the proportions and poses of these figures are impressive, even allowing for their semi-flat thinness.

To more clearly differentiate between the older regiment and the newly raised troops, I’ve adopted a grey greatcoat for the new recruits with a green ball plume.

The old style figures are now down to their last couple of remaining sprues. Do I have a preference between the sets? Plastic Soldier Review prefer the new set of figures. But for all that, when it comes to painting, I can’t help but have a fondness, perhaps even a bias, for the ‘Old Guard’, those original, ugly and unloved refugees from a dying High Street model shop.

They march and sing:
“Napoléon avait cinq cent soldats.
Napoléon avait cinq cent soldats.
Napoléon avait cinq cent soldats.
Marchant du même pas !”