Lace Wars: French Horse Grenadiers

Introducing my latest addition to the Lace Wars project, the prestigious Royal Horse Grenadier regiment of the French King.

You’ll notice straight away that I still have a flag to sort which is just an ominous black at the moment.. Some research needed before I tackle that, I think.

The most distinctive aspect of their uniform is the fur-trimmed cap. The red peak was according to Plastic Soldier Review, originally a standard grenadier cap of the period, having “a hanging bag like any other grenadier, but by 1720 this was stiffened with a point at the top, which is what we find on all these figures“.

 Each man is armed with a curved cavalry sabre, flintlock carbine and two pistols.

An elite force, the Horse Grenadiers were a small formation, rarely more than a couple of hundred men in total. Their elite status as grenadiers however would mean they would often lead a charge, thereby adding to a fame which exceeded their actual clout on the field of battle.

The set includes a flag bearer and a mounted drummer.

The two officers included see one of them (the ‘big wig‘ sports a cuirass over his coat. Lots of extra clothing detailing on the cuffs and coats with these command figures – well, it is the Lace Wars project!

There seems to be a wealth of different War of the Spanish Succession mounted formations in the pipeline from good old Strelets, including Dutch and Austrian Cuirassiers, British Dragoons and Late War-era Horse, French Garde du Corps and French Chevau-Legers / Gendarmes de la Garde. As for French dragoons, they are being released “on the march”, “in reserve”, “in attack” and “in skirmish”! Strelets, you’re spoiling us.

My hobby plans have taken an unexpected turn very recently. This has resulted in my needing to revisit an old set last seen a few years ago on Suburban Militarism. What this set is, and why, will be revealed in the next post.

Chevaux du Roi

Back to the 1/72 scale horse and musket era, so that means, ah, horses. Not just any old horses. Horse Grenadier horses!

If these equines are familiar it will be because I painted the same very recently as Strelets’ British / Saxon Cavalry from the War of the Spanish Succession era. Strelets have used the same horse sculpts for this French set.

This small herd wear blue-edged white horse cloths as can be seen on the cover French Royal Horse Grenadiers box. Illustrations show double white edges but I’ve gone with painting a single line as I value my sanity.

Box art from Strelets French Royal Horse Grenadiers

Their distinctively-dressed riders are well-advanced in their painting so hopefully should be united with their exotically attired human companions soon.

A Saxon Infantry Brigade

As promised in my last post, I present my entire Lace Wars Saxon infantry brigade.

Below are the Kurprinz Regiment (yellow flag and facings).

To their right are Martiniere’s Grenadiers in the centre of the line.

Next are the elite Polish Guards with their white facings and red hat lace:

To their rear, Zeitz’s Regiment with their distinctive olive green facings:

Reuss’ Regiment of infantry with their light blue distinctions:

And finally, the smaller formation which is Hayn’s Grenadier Battalion.

Well, that’s enough of the Saxon infantry regiments for now. I’ll be moving on to something a little different which I intend to post on shortly.

Saxony Soldiers VIII

A short post this to announce that my final infantry regiment in my Lace Wars Saxon Army by Mars is complete. A smaller group, Hayn’s Grenadier Battalion has red facings and mitres.

Family photo: Hayn’s Grenadier Battalion

The usual flag bearer and officers accompany 9 grenadiers.

With all six of my regiments now complete, I’ll very shortly be posting the whole infantry brigade together which I think comes to over 90 figures.

Lace Wars Cavalry

I have greatly enjoyed painting Strelets new War of the Spanish Succession-era British cavalry. In fact, I think this is one of the best sets I’ve painted of theirs for a while.

The sculpting of Strelets has gone through some changes over the years. Initially, their figures were considered a little ‘ugly’ by some but were infused with lots of character. More recent sculpting has seen their figures become much more anatomically and proportionally accurate but at the loss of some of that personality. This latest set happily seems to combine a little of both.

My regiment of horse has black facings and white hat lace around the tricornes (except the officers who have gold).

Having painted much Saxon infantry recently, I declared in a recent post that I’d paint them as Saxon cavalry – Beust’s regiment. This move was also inspired by my misplacing a key War of the Spanish Succession source book. I’ve now recovered it and have discovered that my figures could also possibly pass for the Schomberg’s Regiment of Horse (later in the century becoming known as the 7th Dragoon Guards).

There are four command figures, including two officers, a trumpeter and a standard bearer.

The two officers:

For the standard bearer below I’ve provided a guidon freely downloaded from the Tacitus website. I’ve changed the colour to a black to match their facings. Lit by lamps and photographed, it appears a little grey in images. The flag bears a very good resemblance to the regiment’s black damask flag from 1788.

The trumpeter:

Schomberg’s Horse had the origins of its lineage going back to December 1688 as one of a number of regiments of horse raised for William of Orange after he took the throne to replace James II. The regiment was present at all of the Duke of Marlborough’s major battles of the War of the Spanish Succession – Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet.

Troopers at the trot or canter:

Troopers at the charge!

All in all, a fine addition to my Lace Wars project. I’ve a couple more boxes of cavalry to paint from Strelets for this era, so happily there are more to come!

Saxony Soldiers V

Yet another infantry regiment is completed for my Lace Wars Saxon army, the third out of six for the infantry corps (apologies if I’m boring my more regular visitors). The Zeitz Regiment now has its full compliment of officers, musicians and troops.

Now, I say ‘full compliment’ but it seems as though the drummer and fifer – ah – forgot to make parade for the purposes of this photoshoot. Both are up on a charge.

Those who did manage to turn up for parade involve a front rank firing their muskets and another loading.

The flag bearer I displayed in a previous post but as he made the effort to turn up – here he is again with a few extra views. As before, his flag is based on the elite Polish Guards flag but with a green background.

The officers of Zeitz’s Regiment:

I’m already well into painting two of the remaining three regiments and I will share progress when they’re done. In the interim, I’m also pushing on with that Saxon regiment of cuirassiers, Beust’s Regiment, so plenty keeping me occupied with the brush of late. Spring very belatedly seems to have decided to put in an appearance lately, although so late as to be more accurately called early summer. Nevertheless, it is most welcome and when not hiding away from the nice weather painting toy soldiers, I’m out working on my new garden.

Back in the Saddle

I’m back painting cavalry again. The last cavalry I painted were Ottoman Sipahi back in November last year. This is the first cavalry regiment for my Lace Wars armies. The figures I’m using are Strelets new “British Cavalry” of the era 1701 to 1714.

With my 2021 being so focussed upon painting Saxon infantry, I immediately thought about painting them as Saxon cavalry. The Saxon armies infantry and cavalry colours being so similar to British regiments, figures could be easily used interchangeably on the wargaming field of battle. Once again, the glorious Tacitus website has lots of information on Saxon cavalry and after mulling over the options I’ve decided to paint them as Beust’s Regiment of Cuirassiers which had red coats and black distinctions.

I’ve started on the horses first and it felt good to be back painting them again. Strelets horses have not traditionally been rated very highly, their principal problem (I always felt) was that they were too chunky being very over-fed equines with seriously stocky legs. Strelets equine sculpting has certainly improved over the years, I think. These horses are very decent indeed and much better proportioned.

Strelets have mostly sorted the legs out. Always a tricky challenge for the sculptor, these horses are much better proportioned while the gait seems more natural and sensible than inn previous sets. I’m also particularly impressed with the detail on the horse tack, cheek pieces and bits being very clear and detailed.

At the moment, my horses are majority reddish bays but I recall Stokes over at The Grand Duchy of Stollen mentioning some time ago that he had painted the majority of his horses for a regiment as chestnuts because he recalled it being described as the most common horse colour in the Napoleonic era. So, with that in mind, I’m going to make a few changes to some to make the manes lighter or the same colour as the coats (i.e. true chestnuts). I may leave some Bays with dark manes and legs.

The all-important riders are next and again Strelets seem to have done a nice job!

Saxony Soldiers IV

I admit it. I’ve been quietly continuing on with my Mars Saxon infantry. It’s almost a mania.

To cut to the chase, I’ve now completed two of my six regiments – the Kurprinz and the elite Polish Guard. Each regiment consists of 9 troops, 1 NCO, a few officers, a flag bearer and two musicians (a drummer and fifer). The flags are based on the Polish Guard’s flag, featured on and downloadable from the Tacitus website. I’ve reproduced the same flag and given them a different background where appropriate based on the regimental facings.

Flag bearer for the Saxon Zeitz regiment.

The Kurprinz regiment in full:

Two dapper and haughty-looking officers of the Kurprinz Regiment:

Incidentally, I’ve given all the Saxon officers black sashes for no other reason than I liked it!

The full Polish Guard on parade:

Some officers of the Polish Guard:

Musicians of the Polish Guard:

I’ve also been working on a few other command figures for the other regiments:

A couple more regiments are nearly finished – so watch out for them. In other news, I notice that Strelets have been pushing on with their expanding War of the Spanish Succession range. It’s an embarrassment of riches, including

  • French artillery
  • British artillery
  • British dragoons
  • A ‘late war’ British cavalry regiment
  • Four separate boxes of French dragoons in various guises (skirmishing, ‘in reserve’, marching and attacking)
  • French musketeers of the guard
  • French Garde du Corps
  • French Royal Horse Grenadiers

A box of the last one on the list finally arrived this week and the figures look very nice indeed. My collection of troops from the Lace Wars looks set to grow over time!

March Painting Challenge: Saxony Soldiers

I’ve properly got stuck into Ann’s “Neglected but not Forgotten” painting challenge with two examples of Saxon regiments from the manufacturer Mars now already painted. It only amounts to 10 soldiers, but it feels great to be back in my comfort zone of painting 20mm high plastic figures in colourful uniforms.

Five men in each regiment, sharing the same pose, representing two regiments of the Saxon army during the Great Northern War; these are the Kurprinz Regiment and Martinière’s Grenadier Regiment.

The Kurprinz Regiment:

The Kurprinz Regiment is numbered the 5th and has ‘Lemon Yellow’ facings. I’ve painted the collars on these figures in Lemon Yellow although according to the Tacitus website, “the collar was usually reserved for the coats of officers, NCOs and drummers, but possibly the guard regiments had it as well”. The hat lace is white, a colour typical for the Saxon infantry with red being reserved for very high status regiments.

The figure is sculpted quite effectively albeit the long coat looks a little unnaturally wide at the base. I quite like the somewhat shifty look of the faces. As with all my Great Northern War / War of the Spanish Succession figures, I’m keeping the bases deliberately very simple and uniform indeed.

Martinière’s Grenadier Regiment:

Using the numerous grenadier figures in Mars’ box to the full, I’ve replicated one of the two dedicated grenadier formations in the Saxon army – Martinière’s Grenadier Regiment. As with many early 18th century uniforms, details are scarce about this regiment but Tacitus relies on information in Lars-Eric Höglund’s book “Stora nordiska kriget 1700-1721, III” and an article from a defunkt website by Daniel Schorr; “Notes on the Saxon Army 1700-1716″.

Höglund’ had no information on this regiment but Schorr had “a speculative illustration of the uniform” which showed a blue grenadier cap with a gold plate, with blue breeches, stockings and cuffs. It all makes for a pleasingly exotic and colourful regiment!

There are more figures on the painting desk from this box and I’ll see how many more I can get done by the end of the challenge on the 2nd April. Currently, there are two more regiments going under the brush and they are well advanced already!

Regiments of Saxony

Ploughing straight into the The “Neglected But Not Forgotten” Painting Challenge…, I’ve been having fun selecting the regiments I’m going to paint from my Mars’ Saxon Infantry set. In this, I was aided by my copy of Knotel, Knotel and Sieg’s classic work of uniform history – “Uniforms of the world” (Handbuch der Uniformkunde). The section on the infantry of Saxony has a useful list of regiments and their ‘distinctions’ (collars, cuffs and facings).

I was also helped by Tacitus, a terrific Swedish website which specialises on the Great Northern War. Lots of information on the Saxons including fully researched colour illustrations of each regiment.

A screenshot of Örjan Martinsson’s excellent Tacitus website, an essential resource for anyone with an interest in the Great Northern War.

The regiments I’ve selected to start with are:

  • Kurprinz Regiment (No.5) – Lemon yellow facings.
  • Zeitz’ Regiment (No.8) – Green facings
  • Martinière’s Grenadier Regiment – Blue facings, breeches and caps
  • Hayn’s Grenadier Battalion – Red facings, breeches and caps

You will notice that the last two above are exclusively grenadier formations, which I thought would at least enable me to make full use of the many grenadier figures included in the box.

I’m already well underway with examples of the Kurprinz Regiment and Martinière’s Grenadiers, so should be able to present them soon. Being realistic, I’m not sure how many I’ll get finished before the end of Ann’s challenge on the 2nd April, but I’m making good progress!