Wednesday, July 11, 2012

French Imperial Guard Artillery

    The first unit of  artillery to join Napoleon's new Imperial Guard was the Artillerie a Cheval de la Garde, formed in April, 1806. It originated from the Light Artillery company of the Consular Guard, first formed in December, 1799, and later increased to 2 and then three companies; when it was established as a Regiment in 1806, there were six companies. This was later reduced to four companies in 1808; in 1813 a Young Guard company was added.

Horse Artilllery of the Guard, in full dress; these are 28mm Foundry figures; guns are old Minifigs.

Note the grey fur and gold lace on the pelisse of the officer; initially armed with four 4 pounders and two howitzers, per company, later 8 or 6 pounder guns were used at various times. 

The trumpeter's full dree uniform is especially spectacular with it's white colpack, crimson dolman faced sky blue, and sky blue pelisse and breeches. This unit was painted up about 15 years ago, but enhanced by an application of the Magic Wash last week.

Brand new last week was this 2nd company of Guard Horse Artillery; this time these are all Perry figures, including the guns... the first Perry figures to appear on this blog!

These figures depict the men as they usually dressed on campaign - in their long coats, and with the showy plumes, cords, and bags of  the colpack removed to minimize wear and tear (and expense).

These very fine figures were easy to pain; a bit large and chunky compared with, say Sash and Saber or Old Glory, but they look perfectly fine in their own unit.

    The Artillerie a Pied de la Garde was formed in April, 1808, with six companies, plus a company of ouvriers-pontonniers. They were usually equipped with twelve pounder cannons. The uniform wasn't particularly different from that of the Line Foot Artillery, at least until the distinctive bearskin headress was added in 1810.

These are Essex figures, painted about 10 years ago and similarly recently enhanced with some magic wash. The 12# cannon are Sash and Saber guns; great models and a great value, too.

The white gaiters were worn for parades; like the visored bearskin, they are fairly unique, so my own Guard unit wears their "Sunday Best" for the tabletop!

The patch or "cul de singe" on the back of the Artillery bearskins was red with a yellow flaming grenade device; the bearskin also had a leather visor or "peak".

 The final addition to the Artillery of the Imperial Guard were the Young Guard or "Conscrit Artillerie" Foot Artillery companies; this began at just three in June, 1809, but reached as many as sixteen (!) companies by 1813. There uniform was essentiallly the same as the Old Guard Foot Artillery, except that the shako was worn (officers could wear the bearskin, however). 

This unit, also just finished last week, uses Old Glory  (I think!) Line artillery crew and guns. 

I should consider adding red epaulettes using some 'Green stuff" as the Young Guard companies did wear them (as did some of the Line Foot Artillery companies as well). 

Like all French foot artillery, armorers were distinguished by a solid red collar (instead of dark blue, with or without red piping), while ouvriers-pontonniers were distinguished by red lapels.

So that's it - something old, something new, Perry, Essex, Sash and Saber and Old Glory, all in the same post. Now, back to packing for Historicon next week!



  1. Looking good. Interesting idea about the basing! How do you ahndle minis the need to be placed infront of the gun (like spongeing the barrel or ramming the shell down the barrel)?

  2. As far as figures like that.... eseentially, I don't worry about it. I plcae them towards the fro nt of the stand like the gun was in the middlle of the base. To make figures like that look right would require *very* deep bases. Never had anybody even notice, at least when the figures are on the table!.

  3. Very nice painting Sir!! I do like the labels on the back of the guns.

  4. Nice to see all those artillery units!

  5. Well, there will be a LOT of Artillery units at Borodino, on both sides!

  6. Really nice Peter,
    A beautiful uniform on the battlefield.
    You done them proud.

  7. Thanks, Paul... appearing soon beneath the gates of Moscow!