Friday, 30 September 2016

Riding the Tiger

My Polish lancers are in need of a colonel, so the figure I've selected is the most Polish-looking figure I could find. He is, of course, none other than Prince Joachim Murat, Marshal, Admiral, Duke of Cleve-Berg and King of Naples.

Prince Charming, Prince Charming...
The figure is the David Clayton version of Hinton Hunt FN 351: Prince Murat, in plumed "lancer" cap & fur trimmed braided coat, seated upon horse FNH 11.

He's painted exactly as recommended in Marcus Hinton's painting instructions, which state that it was the costume Murat wore during the Russian campaign of 1812. Judging from the contemporary iconography, however, I suspect it more closely resembles the uniform Murat wore during the Polish campaign of 1807. Dazzled by the ecstatic public reception he had received on entering Warsaw, Murat began to fancy himself as the next Polish king and dressed himself accordingly. Napoleon, however, failed to take the hint, telling him: "Go and put on your proper uniform; you look like a clown".

Murat's reputation as a dandy with an eye for the main chance was more than made up for by his flashes of brilliance as a cavalry commander. His bravery, however, tended towards recklessness. It was a character flaw that would eventually lead to his execution by a Neapolitan firing squad in 1815. Having fallen from the tiger, Murat simply couldn't resist climbing back on again and making a reckless attempt to regain his throne.

...Ridicule is nothing to be scared of.!

I was quite daunted by the this figure when I first saw him as it required so many elements that I haven't attempted before. I also spent a very long time gazing at photographs of tigers!


Saturday, 24 September 2016

Polish Off

I have finished the 7th Lancers at last. They've only taken me nine months. The varnish has yet to completely dry on the last three, which makes them particularly shiny, but I suppose that's only to be expected from French Polish.

Der Kriegspielers and Hinton Hunt Polish Line Lancers

The figures are:

Der Kriegspielers 39: French Line chevau-légers lanciers (Regiments 7-9) x 8;
Der Kriegspielers 49: French Guard Lancers (Polish and Dutch) x 1, converted to a trumpeter;
Der Kriegspielers 49: French Guard Lancers (Polish and Dutch) x 1, coverted to a DK 39;
Hinton Hunt  FN 43: Guard Lancer, charging, x 1, converted to a standard bearer; and
Hinton Hunt FN 41: Guard Lancer Trumpeter, x 1, converted to an officer!

Der Kriegspielers and Hinton Hunt Polish Line Lancers

Der Kriegspielers and Hinton Hunt Polish Line Lancers

Der Kriegspielers and Hinton Hunt Polish Line Lancers

Many thanks indeed to all those who encouraged me to keep going when I was flagging a bit. Special thanks are also due, of course, to Steve for supplying the missing castings; and Richard, my neighbour, who found me the perfect piece of brass.

Have a splendid weekend everyone.


Sunday, 11 September 2016

Poles Apart

Hinton Hunt FN 43 Polish Lancers
It's been a very busy weekend on the domestic front, but I found just enough time to complete my 7th Lancers command group.

The figures this time are proper Hinton Hunt one-piece-castings, FN 43 Guard Lancer, charging, courtesy of Steve C.

Hinton Hunt FN 43 Polish LancersBoth had the benefit of partial conversion by Steve. The flag-bearer just needed his flag added. The officer, on the other hand, was a bit more complex. In his case I've added a new forearm and sword; swapped his epaulette and aiguillette to the opposite shoulders, and replaced his horse's front left leg!

I decided to repaint the hoist on the flag dark red as I noticed that this is the colour on the surviving second squadron guidon. It may simply have faded from blue, of course.

The final two shots show them next to the trumpeter. Only three more troopers to go and I'll have a regiment.

Salut maintenant


Saturday, 3 September 2016

Aide Memoire

Marbot: "He looks nothing like me!"
Although the lancers are progressing, they're not quite ready for their show-and-tell session.

What I have instead is my latest French command figure. He's the David Clayton version of Hinton Hunt FN 371: Aide de Camp, holding a letter, on horse FNH 13. He's a beautiful casting. His horse is also very fine, albeit a little on the slim side.

Marcus Hinton didn't specify his identity, but for me there can be no doubt. He is Jean Baptiste Antoine Marcellin de Marbot, ADC and beau sabreur par excellence!

 Marbot poses for his close-up.
I chose him once I belatedly cottoned-on that my combined voltigeurs are going to need a commander every time they fight in close order. As it is likely to be only an occasional command, an Aide de Camp seemed the ideal choice.

He's painted almost exactly as recommended in Marcus Hinton's painting instructions (which the Hinton Hunter has published here). It's the uniform worn by the well-dressed ADC to a general in about 1810, if my interweb searches are anything to go by. Something very similar is also depicted in one of Fred and Liliane Funcken's books.

Just don't call me Gerard
Born in 1782 and eventually rising to the command of a brigade at Waterloo, Marbot would probably have remained in obscurity had it not been for the publication of his memoirs, to great literary acclaim, in 1891. In the words of the ever reliable Wikipedia, "to ordinary readers and to students of history alike, these give a picture of the Napoleonic age of warfare which for vividness and romantic interest has never been surpassed."

Very Flashy!

Indeed, Marbot's escapades were so sensational that their authenticity was immediately questioned, and to this day scholars doubt the veracity of many of his tales. They are also (in places, one suspects, unintentionally) extremely funny, and thus ripe for satire.

Certainly Arthur Conan Doyle thought so. The result, beginning in 1894, was a series of short stories published in The Strand magazine charting the outrageous exploits of one Brigadier Etienne Gerard, an officer in the Emperor's hussars. Gerard's outstanding character traits are vanity, indomitable courage, unshakable loyalty and the most amazing stupidity. His adventures, needless to say, are utterly glorious.

Brigadier Gerard was in turn a major influence on George McDonald Fraser's brilliantly funny fictional adventurer, Harry Flashman. There's also not a little of Marbot, I think, in Rik Myall's superbly over-the-top "Flasheart" character in the BBC Blackadder series.

I hope you like him.