Monday, March 10, 2014

Starting on Napoleonics

So here they are, my first painted Napoleonics. 

This genre is an old love of mine, as I'm obsessed about the period, but for a long time I couldn't get myself to start a collection as I was doubtful of my disposition to paint that many miniatures to have an army ready to play. But turns out I learned to become a very effective painter, able to paint at a fast pace while keeping a level of quality I'm very pleased with.

This kit in display here is the Zvezda French staff. Until just recently, I was completely oblivious to the existence of companies out there making high quality plastics in smaler scales than 28mm. This kit, for instance, is simply stunning.

While I was deciding which scale to go with Napoleonics, several issues were considered. Availability of a multitude of different armies, plastic miniatures, space required to play and price.

All things considered, I went with 1/72 (20mm). 28mm is a passion of mine due to richness of detail, but not even I could get to paint that many models on 28mm scale. 15mm is metal, and no way I would deal with hundreds upon hundreds of metal torture, chipping all over the place after so many precious hours spent on painting and cleaning.

So I went with 1/72. They are plastic, they look great, the detail is outragiously good, you can find more army options on this scale than in any other, plus, the price is ridiculous. This Zvezda kit, for one, costed me less then US$10.00.




The ruleset I'll be using is Black Powder. I read several systems, including Field of Glory, General de Brigade, Feu Sacre and Sharp Practice, but Black Powder stroke me as a simple yet deep ruleset which was very fun to play (only played it once, so far).



In Black Powder, the commanders have their range to units measured from their heads, instead of their bases. This gives players freedom to base them on larger bases, creating scenes full of character. This rule was particularly captivating for me.





This base below is my favorite one. Berthier is delivering orders to one of his subordinate Generals, while assisted by an Aide de Camp and escorted by a Grenadier of the legendary Imperial Guard.





After finishing the bases above, I'm still left with some minis, which are going to be used on additional french commanders, once I get to work on the Italeri kit of french staff.

Here are the Chasseurs a Cheval:



Those below are Couriers, and are stand alone minis. On rulesets such as Field of Glory, they can be used as tokens to show that a General Commander has given an order to a Brigade. You simply move the courier next to that brigade. On Black Powder, if I can't find a use for them, I'll simply leave them next to my commanders to enhance the visual of my army.



And finally, these guys below are duplicates of one of the bases above. Since I didn't want to have 2 identical command bases, I figured I would use each mini separatedly on the next bases I come up with.


That's all for today. I already have other Napoleonic units painted, which will be featuring here soon.

*End of Transmission*


  1. Love your fleets and love your Napoleonics. Best sales pitch for the 1/72nd Napoleonics I've seen in a while! You're right they are great value and there's a huge range these days.

  2. Looking really good, and a most impressive start! Although 25/28 mm is my scale, and Field of battle are my rules, i think you made very reasonable choices in going with 20mm plastic and Black Powder.

    Are you using Army Painter as a ":dip" on these? It looks like it. If so, you might want to give the "magic Wash" a try". Much less noxious, dries faster, and I personally like the effect better, although of course tastes and styles vary. Also. you might want to try a little circle of light blue paint on the end of the telescope to suggest the lens.

    As you may have noticed, I am kind of a fanatic about Napoleonic uniform information, so although I'd never raise an issue like this in person I'm going to point out a few little bits of bit of real uniform trivia, which you of course are completely free to ignore.

    Old Guard grenadier figure has the red epaulettes of a guardsman (private), but the gold cords (on the bearskin) of an officer. An officer would have gold epaulettes, where a guardsman would have white cords. To make things complicated, an Old Guard Grenadier NCO would have gold mixed with red cords AND epaulettes!

    Also, on the back of the bearskin is the "cul de singe" ("monkey's butt"!). The OG Chassuers had none, but for the Grenadiers the patch is red with a white Grenade (red with a gold cross for officers). Finally, the Grenadiers had a coper plate at the biotom front of the bearskin, none for the Chassuers.

    I can well understand if you aren't really concerned with this level of detail, and if so feel free to tell me and I'll shut up about uniform trivia henceforth! :-)

    1. Hi, there, Golsavo.

      I am in fact interested in painting my Napoleonics as accurate as possible, so I welcome your advice, and warn you that I'll be looking for more whenever I'm in doubt on how to paint a unit (I intend on collecting all 5 major armies of the time, so brace yourself, haha).

      I'll definitely apply your suggestions here. The copper plate I was aware of, but it isn't modelled on the mini, so I figured I'd leave it be, but maybe I can make it appear to be there if I just paint and wash that area.

      As for the wash, it is Citadel wash. It doesn't glow at all in flesh, but the minis are varnished, and on pictures it unfortunately gets that look as if they were wet. In flesh, it doesn't show, and is in fact hard to tell the ones which are varnished already from the ones that aren't. Odd, really.

      I guess I should take pics before varnishing from now on.

  3. Mateus,

    OK, good - don';t want to be another obnoxious "button counter" type, LOL!

    I've had French Austrians and Russians for at least 40 years, but didn't start Prussians until 2003, and painted my first British this Fall, with more to come for Waterloo. Of course, I also have have Danes, Swedes, Italians, Portuguese, Poles, Bavarians, Saxons, Wurtemburgers, Westphalians, Badeners, Hessians, and Brunswickers, and I'll be adding a few Dutch and Belgian units for 1815, then Spanish and maybe some Nassau, Wurzburg... Might be "done by age 65... or not, LOL! So it can take quite a while to cover "all" the ground that is Napoleonics. If you'e nuts like I am, that's half the fun, though!

    I usually take my pics after the units are varnished; sometimes that can make them shiny looking, more so than in actual fact. I was really more wondering aboput the way it looked like the wash or dip had pooled a bit more than we might want in some areas (like the saddle blankets of some). Of course, these are close up shots of 20mm figures, and that shows things no one is ever likely to notice first hand, and even less so in a game. I've been very happy with the "magic Wash" formula which I make up from another guys recipe:

    It's certainly inexpensive enough, and a single set of ingredients will mkae more than an enough Wash to last for a decade or more!