Sunday, 11 August 2013

Sparring Partner

I've a week's vacation ahead of me, and as it far too hot and humid to spend much time outside, this means a golden opportunity to pull up my sleeves and to get down to some serious painting.  

So here is the first result, and should all go to plan this will be followed in a few days with a more substantial offering.
In our last game we realized the need for more brigade and division commanders.  This was more of a concern for the Anglo-Allied side, who found themselves having to elevate cavalry officers (or even pioneer figures of disgracefully low birth) to high command due to a shameful lack of appropriate miniatures.  

But even we French found ourselves scraping the barrel for adequate command figures, so I took the opportunity to tart up an old miniature I had converted many years ago, and put him on a command stand along with an unfortunate Russian jager who has given his all for Holy Mother Russia.

I usually go with fictional names with my generals, but this one represents an actual historical personage for once. Baron Louis Ernest Joseph de Sparre,  in the crimson facings of his regiment, the 5th Dragoons.  

Serving in Spain for much of the Napoleonic Wars, in 1814 he took his dragoon division back over the Pyrenees to serve his Emperor in the Campaign for France.  

After the disasters of the Russian campaign and Leipzig, experienced cavalry were in woefully short supply in the Grande Armée.  The arrival of Sparre's veteran dragoons made for a very welcome addition to what was by now a rapidly-shrinking French order of battle.

Sparre's dragoons were soon in the thick of things, seeing action against the advancing Allies under Blucher- hence the symbolic addition of the hapless Muscovite. 

You can read more about the gallant Baron here on the Histofig site.
This figure began life as a Front Rank French infantry officer in an overcoat.  The original was doffing a bicorne, but I cut off the bicorne-waving arm and gave him one from the spares box that was wielding a sword.  I then replaced with head with one I cannibalized from a dragoon which had been used in a previous conversion.  

After a bit of work with the epoxy putty to rebuild the collar and the new arm joint, I was very satisfied with how he turned out.  

I was a lot less happy with the shade of green I had originally painted his overcoat, which I realized later was much too bright and vivid.  So I gave it four or five thin coats of Games Workshop's Thraka Green wash.  

Not only did this bring the shading more to life, but it also gave the coat a deeper & darker tone, which I thought much closer to French dragoon green without being too dark for a 28mm miniature.  

The supine Russian is also a Front Rank figure, and I enjoyed painting him very much.  In fact, I'd love to get working on my Russians- trouble is we never seem to have enough French!
In this shot you can see the light blue armband worn by French brigade commanders.  This was also fashioned from epoxy putty. 

Now the only problem is that I find myself with a French General of Dragoons, but without actually having any dragoons for him to command!  Nevertheless, for the time being he will be equally capable of leading our lancers and chasseurs to victory until a more suitable commission comes along.


Rafael Pardo said...

Evidently you must to enroll some dragoons!
Nice painting by the way...

DeanM said...

Great looking dragoon officer - and nice background too. Best, Dean

paulalba said...

Very well done conversion Robert and sweet painting. Its good to hear you intend to return to your Russians at some point. I am the other way around. I am stuck going Prussian/Russians until the numbers are higher then I can turn to my French and her allies.

Phil said...

Great looking vignette, and a very nice presentation!

Blancard said...

I suggest next time you pull up your sleeves and start working on a dragoons division! you have left yourself no other choice :) more seriously, great job!!

Robert said...

Thanks, all.

I actually do have two regiments of Front Rank dragoons.

But aside from all the foot and guns I have to do, there are my cuirassiers and two regiments of carabiniers in the pipeline first before I can get around to them.

And like them, all the swords on the dragoons will need to be replaced by hairpins, so I don't expect to see them take their place in the painting queue until the bicentennial of the 1814 campaign- at least!

Iannick said...

Nice looking officer. and a great conversion.

NapoleonicSpain miniatures said...

very nice and carachter figure!