Sunday, June 29, 2014

Merchant Ships - Brigade Models

I needed some commercial shipping to run some of my Galactic Knights scenarios at Historicon next month, so I decided to get the "Merchant Convoy" fleet pack  from Brigade Models in the UK.  It includes 12 ships in seven different variations.

Here's the finished "Convoy", on a 2" hex grid.  It consists of...

2 x Medium Container Ship. seen here in the bare metal,

These could have been assembled with any mix of gun and container modules

Here's top down view of the Convy after priming them white.

Another view of the primed Convoy. 

I then spay painted them a relatively bright Fluorescent orange color.

In part, this color isn't associated with any of the five fleets in Galactic Knights, 
plus it reminds me of the color of industrial steel drums of chemicals, etc. 

I then sprayed them with acrylic matt fixative, and then brushed on Magic Wash.

The Magic Wash has brought out the details in the models, as well as giving the ships a bit of a grimy, "used", look. They then got another coat of acrylic Matt varnish. 

Here's the spray paint I used on the ships. 

Close up of the finished ships.

Once again I have used "facing colors" to differentiate the ships; nothing too fancy for these workhorse craft!

White and light grey for most ships, black for the more heavily armed ones.

Silver for the gun mounts, few as they are. 

"Oily Steel" for the thrusters.

The Magic Wash  has worked especially well on these ships, I think. 

The smaller ships.

Light blue for the engine flares. 

The whole, finished Convoy!

The Convoy comes with six black plastic flight stands. I have mixed feeling about flight stands in general. Certainly, ships are much easier to store and transport without them.  Unlike aircraft, space is largely empty and without perspective, so I'm not sure that flight stands really add much to the look, although in some games they are part of the mechanics. They aren't necessary in Galactic Knights, and I am inclined to skip them for these merchantmen.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Artillerie a Pied de la Garde Imperiale

Rolling off the painting table with a few weeks to spare before their appearance at Historicon is this battery of French Imperial Guard Foot Artillery. An earlier post covered the organization of the Guard Artillery, so we can skip right to the pictures!

These are 28mm Essex figures, once again purchased recently from Wargames, Inc, as part of their ongoing sale as they clear out their inventory of this line. Napoleon was thrifty, and so am, I! :-)

The front figure with a slung musket is painted as a drummer - solid red lapels, gold trim on the lapels, cuffs, and turnbacks. 

You can barely see it, but the gunner at the lower left has the chevron of an NCO on his sleeve. 

Napoleon nicknamed these 12lbers his "beautiful daughters". Overall, I think I prefer brunettes, but they are handsome!

Group photo with my 1st battery of Guard Foot Artillery, also Essex, painted approximately 10 years ago. 

The first battery has the white gaiters worn for full dress; red cords were also worn on the bearskins for such formal occasions! The new, second battery will make its debut at Montmirail in less than 3 weeks.

La batterie d'Austerlitz
A bit of a play on (French) words, as the term "batterie" can apply not only to an artillery battery, but also to a piece of music, usually intended for military maneuvers, typically played on drums, sometimes accompanied by fifes. This particular drum piece is a famous one from the Empire, and it is interesting to see all the tricks the drummers use to execute it - using far more than just the drumhead!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

2nd Regiment, Chasseurs a Pied of the Imperial Guard

A second regiment of Chasseurs a Pied de la Garde Imperiale was first raised on April 15, 1806.  It was reabsorbed into the 1st regiment in 1809, only to be re-created again on May 18, 1811. After Napoleon's escape form Elba, the 2nd regiment was raised yet again (along with the 1st regiment, and the new and decidedly inferior 3rd and 4th Regiments in 1815. It was disbanded for the last time on October 1st, 1815. Its uniforms and organization were identical to that of the first regiment, whose origins dated back to the Consulate.

    I decided to add a 2nd Regiment of Chassseurs a Pied to my French Napoleonic army rather late in the process of planning for my two games to be run at Historicon next month. The scenario is based upon the battle of Montmirail, 1814, where virtually all of the Guard, save for some of the newer Young Guard units, saw active combat. My existing 1st Regiment, raised over 15 years ago, used Foundry figures. It turned out that there were still supplies of Essex Chasseurs (and Grenadiers) a Pied available as part of the clearance sale (at 67% off) by Wargames, Inc.  I could have used Old Glory, but those extra figures would have then demanded that they become the Neapolitan Guard or some such, and I didn't want to face that prospect just yet! So, Essex it was!

The 2e Regiment, Chasseurs a Pied de la Garde Imperiale. 28mm Essex figures. Note the casualty figure and spare drummer on the right of the picture - There were only 13 of the base pose available, so I had to fill the rest of the regiment out with a few different Chaseur figures (more on that later). Regardless, they give the regiment a little extra character, I think. 

The flag will be added later. my reading indicated that the drums for the Old Guard units had medium to light  blue rims, instead of the usual dark blue rims commonly used by French units, and that can be seen here. Seen also are the embossed grenades alternating with hunting horns on the brass body of the drum. Neat!

A rather poor quality photo of the rear of the Chasseurs. Eh bien, not a sight the enemy is likely to see anyway, ne c'est pas?

Another view of the 2nd Chasseurs, showing their pointed cuffs, and bearskin without frontal plate or patch on the back, the key features, along with the red and green plumes and epaulets, which distinguished their uniform form that of the Grenadiers a Pied. Partially visible also is a sergeant, with his cords and epaulets of red mixed with green mixed with gold. Guard uniforms were exspensive!

Because I couldn't be sure hoe many of the figures I needed were actually in stock, I got a few extras "just in case". These 2 Chasseurs kneeling may eventually become part of a HQ guard vignette. The center figure is supposed to be a wounded Chasseur. To me, he looks more like he is about to give an impromptu camp rendition of the "Chant du départ", the so called "brother of the Marseillaise", written by Étienne Nicolas Méhul (music), which remained popular during the Empire.

The "singer" might go well with my (still to be painted) Eureka late 18th century string Quartet, or...

this Connosieur cantinière!  It seems that she will have plenty of spirits on hand to keep his whistle wet!

Le chant du depart

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Gendarmes d' Elite of the Imperial Guard

In 1801, First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte raised two squadrons of Elite Gendarmes, which included an extra large contingent of officers. There were also 2 companies of elite  foot Gendarmes. In June of 1803, the Elite Gendarmes were incorporated into the Consular Guard, and passed into the Imperial Guard upon its creation in 1804. The Gendarmes numbered 632 men in total, decreasing to  467  after the foot Gendarmes were disbanded in 1806. .

The men of the Gendarmes d' Elite were recruited from the departmental police (gendarmes), and also the heavy cavalry regiments. In theory, the qualifications to enter this unit included being at least 1.76 meters tall (5'9"), a veteran of 4 campaigns, being between the ages of 25 and 40, and the ability to read and write. They were said to be highly disciplined and ruthless men.

Their many duties included protecting Napoleon's baggage, maintaining order and security in the area of the Imperial headquarters, guarding and escorting senior officers and other important persons in the Headquarters region, escorting and interrogating prisoners, guarding trophies to be handed over to the Emperor, and guarding money, important papers and correspondence, etc. At times they formed the the escort for Napoleon and the Imperial General Staff. They also followed the Emperor on the road  when he was traveling cross country in his carriage. They also attempted to suppress desertion and sometimes looting.

In peacetime, the Gendarmes d' Elite provided security for the Imperial residence and palaces, including Saint Cloud and the Tuileries. From 1800 - 1810, the Colonel of the unit was Anne Jean Marie René Savary, Duke of Rovigo, until he replaced the untrustworthy Joseph Fouché as Minister of Police.

Military Service:
Perhaps unique among the troops of the Guard, battlefield combat was not the primary role of the Gendarrmes d'Elite. This lead to the some what derisive nickname they were given by the rest of the Guard, "The Immortals" (Les Immortels). Napoleon was not pleased by this, and starting at Friedland in 1807, a squadron was assigned to combat duties at most major battles where the Emperor was present, but the sobriquet stuck regardless. The Gendarmes d'Elite of the Imperial Guard took part in suppressing the Dos de Mayo revolt in Madrid (1808), the Battle of Medina del Rio Seco (1808), Siege of Astorga 1810, Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo (1810),  Borodino (1812), The Berezina (1812), Leipzig (1813), Vauchamps (1814), Montmirail(1814), Ligny (1815), and Waterloo (1815).

The uniforms of the gendarmerie d'élite de la garde impériale were very similar to those of the Grenadiers a Cheval of the Guard. All buttons and lace, cords, etc were white, however, and the lapels were red. Their bearskin was slightly shorter than that of the Grenadiers a Cheval. A white plume was worn for Parade dress, otherwise red. The Elite Gendarmes were mounted on large black horses.

Here's my new, small, six figure unit of Gendarmes d'Elite of the Imperial Guard. The officer's uniform and horse furniture has silver where the men have white, and his aigulette is on his right shoulder instead of  on the left like those of the enlisted men.  

These Connoisseur figures are the only ones I know of currently available in the 28mm scale (I think this line was originally sold as 30mm back in the day). Perry is supposed to be releasing some Elite Gendarmes soon, as are Gringo 40's (in the 1815 helmet) but this unit is needed for the battle of Montmirail, to be run at Historicon in just 5 weeks, so I couldn't wait for those! The slung overcoats were routine practice to give some extra protection against sword cuts, but they partially obscure the glorious red lapels on all but the officer casting. 

I went for a fairly "yellow" color for the breeches and waistcoats; they are depicted anywhere from light tan to rather bold yellow in color in various illustrations. 

The Trumpeter rides the usual white horse. I did the trumpeter (just a paint conversion of a trooper) in the light blue uniform with crimson facings trimmed in silver, based on the results of the small poll I did here on the blog last month. As usual, there are many minor variations depicted in the uniforms of the trumpeters!

Here are the Gendarmes d'Elite brigaded with my 12 figure strong Foundry Grenadiers a Cheval, showing some of the similarities and differences in their uniforms...

as well as the difference in size, which is most noticeable with the horses. And now, off to Montmirail.
Vive l'Empereur !

[Grenadiers-gendarmes, gendarmerie d'élite de la garde des consuls et de la garde impériale, 1793-1815 / Notes et aquarelles par E. Fort.] - 29
Plate of the pre 1809 Trumpeter's uniform in "reversed colors" (more or less). This and the following image are from the French National Library.

[Grenadiers-gendarmes, gendarmerie d'élite de la garde des consuls et de la garde impériale, 1793-1815 / Notes et aquarelles par E. Fort.] - 33
Plate of the uniform of the Band director for the Gendarmes d'Elite; similar to that of the trumpeters, but a bit more elaborate, especially the horse furniture.

Some French re-enactors portraying the Gendarmes d'Elite of the Guard. Many more inspiring pictures on their site.  Note the rather deep yellow color of the pants and waistcoats!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Terran Fleet Part 3 - New Additions

In preparation for my upcoming Galactic Knights games. I have added a number of new ships to my Terran Fleet. Ship pictures are certainly a suitabkle post for the Glorious First of June... even if they are Sci-Fi!

A second Constellation class Attack carrier.

Underside of the Constellation.

Five  additional Swiftsure class Stellar Destroyers.

These are once agaion the old Superior Starfleet Wars Miniatutres, now avaialable as the Galactic knights range from Monday Knight Productions

Five new Dauntless class Star Armotred Pursuit Ships (SAPS). There were none of these in my Terran Fleet... until now!

In the Galactic Knight rules, these ships function more like frigates. 

Rear view of the 5 SAPS.

A fistfull of new Comet light Fighters. 

The design of these is a bit suggestive of Colonial Vipers from the original Battlestar Galactica series!

24 new Meteor heavy fighters.

No difficulty telling what *these* are remiscent of!

"The Force is sttrong with this one!"

Also new to my Terran fleet are these Lance class missiles. 

In the original Starfleet Wars rules these were called CAPTACS, a form of towed misiles used by capital ships to add extra long range firepower.