Finished Supply Wagon
After a few evenings of work, the wagon is now finished. I painted up the horses quickly and went to work on the base. It's in MDF and actually warped noticably from the spackling paste that I put on it. I shaped the spackle into wheel and hoof marks, and after painting them muddy I used a brush to put small pools of gloss varnish in them, making it look like wet mud.
The real hero of this paint job was a liberal amount of mud painted on. I first used a stippling technique (basically "stabbing" the wagon a worn out brush) to apply some Vallejo Light Mud, to represent dried mud. You want this layer to go the furthest from the source of the mud spray, in this case hugest on the wagon sides and across the wheels. Then, I used a darker brown, representing freshly stuck wet mud. Together, they really do a good job at hiding the "squareness" of the MDF wood, especially on areas such as the wheel spokes.
There's a driver that was left behind, and I'll probably paint him up later on. But for now, the wagon is ready to serve my French army, either as a deployment point or as a scenario objective.
Painting the mud
After this one I have an engineer cart to finish, but it would also be nice to paint up a battalion specific supply cart, as I've seen contemporary sketches where they wrote which battalion the wagon belonged to on the sides or the roof of it
Last Christmas, I got eight sprues of "Late French" from Warlord Games. The sprues come with four fusiliers and two flank company infantrymen in greatcoats. The greatcoats mean that they paint up very quickly, so I painted them up in two large batches.
Meanwhile, we're gearing up for the campaigns, and I needed a unit of engineers for some scenarios. So I got a few engineers from Brigade Games, together with an engineering cart that's still being painted.
These units were painted up to represent campaign uniforms - somewhat ragged greatcoats and shako covers protecting the troops from the elements. To add to the variation, I also took some left-over heads from a box of Perry French infantry. The blue caps are pokalem, forage caps that are usually rolled up under the cartrige box.
All in all I now have more than enough fusilers now for even large games of Sharp Practice. The only reasons to add more now would be if we start to play larger scale games, or if I were to collect an entire company in 1:1 ratio, just for the fun of it.
I must say that I really prefer these to the other Warlord French. While the details are still a bit on the cartoony side, they also mean that they paint up very quickly. Also, the poses are better than the ones on the other French box IMHO. Overall a pretty solid option for quickly painting up masses of French infantry.
It was time to rectify my horrendous lack of grenadiers. These were the second type of flank company soldiers, chosen from the tallest and sturdiest veterans of the battalion. By 1812 they were distinguished by red epaulettes on their shoulders and red plumes or pompons on their headgear, which by now had largely been exchanged from bearskins to shakos. However, some diehards stuck to their bearskins as long as possible, so if you prefer that look you have an excuse to use them instead.
The only thing missing was someone to lead them, and until I get them some proper officers I painted up a Perry grenadier without greatcoat as a caporal. Two units is enough to shore up my French honour, but later on I'll probably want to add another unit or two.
Sapeurs du Génie
It's a bit confusing, but there were several types of engineers in the French Napoleonic army. Going into Russia, you had the regimental Sapeurs, the famous big-bearded, bearskin-wearing men with axes. They were tasked with clearing out obstacles for infantry and cavalry regiments. But there were also the Sapeurs de Génie, organized under the artillery, and the Sapeurs de la Garde impériale, under the Imperial Guard. Both of these formations worked hard on larger scale engineering works, such as digging gun emplacements.
The defining trait of the Sapeurs de Génie were their issued cuirasses and helmets. And while equipped to keep somewhat safe when digging around in exposed areas, they were also prepared to fend off enemies that got too close using muskets.
That's it for this batch of troops, which in itself is almost an SP2 force in itself. Now, with this many French infantrymen finished, it's almost time to start looking at other nationalities to add to my Grande Armée.
"Glory is fleeting,