Saturday, March 23, 2013

Common sense has prevailed - some more Napoleonic French cavalry!

I recently received my mega-order of mostly Napoleonic figures from Perry's - my retirement present to myself ;-)  (Hey - at least I get what I actually wanted!)  Despite my oft-indulged obsession with Napoleonic cavalry I was very restrained and only ordered one full cavalry regiment (Austrian hussars) but naturally also had to get some French, so I got a pack of Dutch Guard 'Red Lancers' to finish off Guard Eclairer unit as well as the command and elites for a regiment of Line Chasseurs.

The newly re-constituted 24th Chasseurs d'Ligne (Marbot's mob!)

Putting aside several body-weights of unpainted lead I immediately started on my French cavalry figures as I had an unfinished regiment of Line Chasseurs (Old Glory figures) for which I had an Elite command that didn't blend in very well being huge figures.  This little problem has now been solved with the Perry's version of the same.  As you can see they fit in quite well with the Old Glory figs. Apart from the horses (which are a bit average) the OG figures are nicely animated with good pose variety and crisp detail which makes them easy to paint - and they must be nearly 20 years old!

The Perry's Chasseur command and elite company
To be frank, the quality control on the Perry's isn't what is used to be earlier.  There is a lot of flash and some  weak casting points - particularly on the horses very slender ankles and where they join the bases - which can be very bendy and could easily snap off.  A friend of mine actually sent his entire order back because of the lousy quality of the casting and this specific problem. Fortunately after a bit of file and snips-work they all prepped for painting without too much fuss.  I also added a few blobs of super-glue to the offending joins to strengthen them before painting, just to be on the safe side.

Detail of the officer who sports a slightly taller cylindrical shako.  Many  Chasseur officers also wore the  furry kolpak  favoured by the elite squadron and continued to do so long after they were phased out.
The elites in their I'm-too-sexy-for-my-kolpak headgear!
From a sculpting perspective, the horses are superb and figures beautifully detailed as you'd expect from the Perrys. Although I didn't go as far as painting the eyeballs on the men (my eyeballs just aren't up to it much nowadays!) I did spend some time blending colours, highlighting and detailing to get a good finish on them.

The Perry's Line Chasseur elite and command sets finished
 I tried a slightly different approach to the finishing.  Instead of using the usual ruinously expensive and wasteful spray can of matte varnish, I painted Jo Sonja's polyurethane water-based version of the same.  This is an artist's acrylic varnish that also does the trick.  The water clean up afterwards is a bonus!  Mixed with the same brand of flow medium (which doesn't dilute the varnish) it will also go through most airbrushes so you can spray it on exactly where you want it.  I intend to use this when I have a lot of figures to do.  I am impressed with Jo Sonja's, its as good as the Windsor& Newton's version and really enhances the colours, going on nice and thin without  the pooling and satiny finish you can get with a spraycan varnish.

A stand of the Old Glory figures.  The horses are a little bit cartoon-ish but otherwise a great figure - I love the trooper with the bandaged head!
The Old Glory figures only required a few touch-ops with silver chin-scales instead of brass, that sort of thing. I was going to change the colour of the jackets but in the end didn't bother as the difference with the olive green ones on the Perry's was negligible. With the olive green (which is closer to the actual French Chasseur green) I used a Super Black Wash over the top to darken it and give a real depth to the colour.  I'm a big fan of washes, they go on easy and really make a figure appearance 'pop' with a bit of highlighting.

Well that's it for this post - after all the Franco-Prussian Wars then Bolt Action stuff, I felt it high time I got back to my figure collecting and wargaming roots - any excuse to paint up French cav right?  Down at t'cloob we also have a Napoleonic BlackPowder game booked in.  French and their Italian and Bavarian allies versus Austrians with maybe a brigade of Russians helping out.  Should be a lot of fun.  We also have a Crete 1941 game on as well, so I might post on that one first.  I'll have to see how it all goes, meanwhile there is a mountain of lead to paint! Such is the life of a (temporary) retiree!

            Doc the Pensioner


  1. Congratulations on your retirement, although temporary! Very nice figures. I agree the Perry horses are a nightmare with broken legs etc.

    I will have to try the matt in the airbrush.


    1. Thanks John - I note other metal makes like Victrix, Front Rank and the new Paul Hicks Poles that I've posted on do not suffer this problem. All make much sturdier horses! I believe its a quality control issue with their casting and degrades what are otherwise superb figures.

  2. Congrat's on your retirement, even if on temporary status. I tried it once after selling a business and discovered, via my my wife, that I'm actually quite annoying with nothing to do - who knew?

    I find the Perry's to still be the best mini's available - I haven't experienced any of the quality problems you've seen with the Naps, but then again I'm mostly doing ACW at the moment with the bulk being plastic figs.

    Your calvary looks superb - I will give the brush on matte coating method a try.


    1. Miles - the problems are probably those associated with mass production of such finely detailed figures. Its a pity as they are, I agree, the best figures on the market. I note their plastics do not suffer any such problems.

      Funny - my wife says the same as she heads off to work and I prepare for another day of... whatever I feel like! (for now anyway)

  3. Very good looking figures and now you are retired your collection can really grow! However temporary the retirement may be!

  4. Great to see you back painting Napoleonics, Doc! I look forward to seeing more painting progress and your next Black Powder batrep.

  5. what a powerful army, Doc! Hope the retirement will be fun for you :)

  6. Yep, they look lovely. I enjoy seeing French cavalry in a mix of headgear too. Well done!

    Best Regards,


  7. Fantastic work as always, Doc. Truly impressed with your production and quality - and enjoying your retirement no less. The three makes fit in very nicely - no doubt to your painting skills. I also like that bandaged headed OG guy. Aloha, Dean

    1. Thanks Dean - my retirement is going to be a very temporary thing so I will 'make hay while the sun shines' while I can - much to the delight of my wife (not)! Seriously though, the list of things to do at home is huge and ever increasing so that I wonder at times when I'm going to be able to paint the large pile of lead I've now acquired!

  8. Congratulations for your retirement! You can now indulge yourself in your hobbies!
    I love Marbot's mob after reading his Memoires