Sunday, 11 April 2010

Je vous présente...

Hippolyte-Garçon de Vallée, Chef-de-Bataillon of the 2/28e Regt. Légère
A native of the town of Bouaye near Nantes on the Loire, as an irresolute youth he was sent by his parents to work as a assistant to the town surgeon.
But upon finding that much of his apprenticeship was being spent merely in painting the doctor's country house and in tending the grounds and lawns, he left the doctor's service in disgust and in search of adventure. 
Caught up in the revolutionary fervour of the times, he joined the army as a simple soldat in the light infantry. Over the years he took part in many a campaign, and rose slowly up the ladder of service to find himself in command of the second battalion of the 28e Légère in the 1813 campaign. 

Rumours persist that he was unable to progress further in his career due to the result of repeated overindulgence in Burgundy and Pinot Noir, ultimately leading to a claret-fuelled fracas that resulted in de Vallée haughtily challenging an officer of the Old Guard to a duel.

This officer was a veteran of Rivoli and Marengo, and a favourite of the Emperor.  Thus it was widely circulated that the fight proved fatal, not only to the grognard, but also to de Vallée's chances of any further advancement in the service.  

However, evidence is sketchy and the story remains unsubstantiated.

As usual, he wears the green leather gloves affected by officers of this regiment. 

Very heavily converted Front Rank miniature.  While their Napoleonic French range has many uniform variations, Front Rank doesn't go for a lot of variation in poses.  Not a problem for me as far as most rank-and-file go, but I like to see flair, movement and elán in my officers!  

So I took an advancing officer in overcoat, and swapped the head with one from a Russian infantryman (who had lost his bayonet).  I then replaced one arm and repositioned the other, and finally perched a spare shako to the top of the sword.  En Avant!

I've done a lot today.  I started on the metalwork of the last remaining infantry of the 1/28e, but this will take a week or so yet as I'm pacing myself so as to preserve my eyesight.  I find that after an hour or so of that kind of detail work,  I need to work on something easier on the eye muscles.  

So I've also been working on the less arduous task of blocking in the main colours of the 1/69e de ligne as well as the 2/28e légère.   I hadn't planned on working on the latter unit yet, but when going through my boxes of figures "in progress", I found to my pleasant surprise that I had already had all the miniatures I needed for it primed and ready.  Some of them had already been worked on, with coats, faces and trousers blocked in, so that the unit itself is about 1/4 of the way done. 

While in complete breach of "Iannick's Law", I now find that doing things this way actually keeps me motivated as well as reducing eyestrain.  

The trick for me is to keep to the period rather than go off into five or six other projects at the same time (to this end I'm flogging off a bunch of ECW figures and books to Iannick, who will now know how easy it is to become a wargames butterfly!).

I've added a new page to the blog, "Official" Inspection Returns, that will track the (pitiful!) progress I'm making.  The goal for the French is to have four infantry battalions, an artillery battery, and  two squadrons of cavalry in action by the end of the year.  Not so unreasonable, I think.


One thing that has been evident is that the club has very little in the way of horse-and-musket era terrain and buildings, so I also dragged some Hovels buildings out of the closet, which I'll work on from time to time as a change from painting minis. 

I have to say that making terrain and working on buildings are some of my favourite aspects of this fascinating hobby.


Rafael Pardo said...

Hippolyte-Garçon seems a strong and colourful character!

Galpy said...

What a beatifully painted minature you've done an amazing job really inspiring.

Robert said...

Thanks for commenting! I appreciate it very much.

Giving each figure a name, and speculating on his background and military record just helps to maintain interest and focus in my painting. Comes from having read all those Brigadier Gerard stories!

Now if I could only apply a consistently good paint job on the other 200+ figures I need to finish- groan!