Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Imperial Guard Cavalry

I was fortunate a few months back to acquire some French Imperial Guard cavalry figures for my Napoleonic collection. At the time, I had three regiments painted of Old Glory figures that had seen a number of tabletop battles. Now, there's nothing wrong with the OG figures but the new ones are from Front Rank. If I were to start a 28mm Napoleonic collection from scratch again, I would use Front Rank figures exclusively. I wasn't able to resist the deal I received on the new Front Rank figures and in the transaction, I acquired eight figures of each of the five main cavalry units in the Imperial Guard:
  • Grenadiers a Cheval
  • Chasseurs a Cheval
  • Dragons de l'Imperatrice
  • 1er Chevau-Legers Lanciers
  • 2e Chevau-Leger Lanciers
I've just finished up the Grenadiers and Dragoons recently and, after receiving the appropriate GMB flags in the mail last week, they are ready to go. The Front Rank figures are relatively easy to paint because the details are so exaggerated. Some gamers don't like the almost cartoonish and bulky nature of the sculpts but I do (and that's what really counts). The GMB flags really set the units off nicely. These are by far the best flags on the market and are well worth the cost.

Grenadiers a Cheval
The most difficult aspect of painting these two units was trying to mix the edging/facing colour of "aurore." This is a strange mixture of orange and yellow that translates as "dawn" or "sunrise." You can see it on the saddle cloths and aiguilettes of the troopers.

Dragons de l'Imperatrice

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year's Day Mega-Game

On New Year's Day, a number of us gathered at MIGS to play a massive 28mm Napoleonic game. Steve Thomson and I had spent the previous Wednesday at the club setting out terrain and deploying troops. One thing that quickly became apparent was that although I thought I had a lot of terrain pieces (particularly buildings) for our Napoleonic games, this was not the case when setting up a table this big. Here is a rough plan of the table:

This was the original table plan and the only significant change in practice was the loss of one of the seven tables on the long axis (so the length changed by four feet). Regardless, Steve and I began to realize how much space we really had to fill (480 square feet). Once we had all the troops on the table we were much relieved to see that there was little space left open. When we had finished a rough count of the figures we were pleased to see that there were in excess of 2200 figures on the table! This included one Russian infantry corps, a Russian cavalry corps, a Russian Imperial Guard division, one Austrian corps (with reserve grenadiers and cuirassiers attached), two Prussian brigades and two divisions of British. On the French side were three infantry corps, a heavy cavalry division, and a small Imperial Guard contingent.

We had 12 (?) players for the game and fun was had by all. In fact, of all the "big" games I've hosted (and there have been a fair number), this was one of the most easy-going contingents of players I've gathered. Maybe it was the post-New Year's Eve depression of the senses but it was certainly a friendly gathering with few or none of the flare-ups that are an expected part of big games. The game ended in an Allied victory (which was not unexpected) but the result didn't really seem to matter. We all got to push toy soldiers around on a massive table and enjoy the spectacle. My thanks go especially to Steve Thomson for his planning and set-up assistance, and the inclusion of his truly enormous Russian army! Thanks also to Derek Watson, who contributed the cupcakes and the urn of life-saving java! Kudos also to those who contributed troops to the fray: Derek Watson, Austrians; Andrew Lunny, Berg and Hesse-Darmstadt; AJ Harkness, Bavarians; and Alex Harkness for his new Saxon contingent (which, as per normal first appearance rules, was thoroughly trashed). My apologies if I've missed someone.

Now the bad news: I seem to have misplaced the photos I took of the table before the game started to show the length and breadth of the undertaking. I was, however, able to retrieve my in-game photos. I hope to gather some photos from other participants and post them in a later blog.

Part of the massive cavalry battle in the center. Steve deployed an entire Russian cavalry corps in this area (14? units) plus two cavalry units from the Russian Imperial Guard. These were faced by ten French cavalry units, and later the addition of two French Imperial Guard cavalry units. All of these are 8-figure units, making a grand total of 224 cavalry figures in this part of the table alone!

The artillery of the French Imperial Guard (Napoleon's "beautiful daughters") support the French cavalry and fire on charging Russian cavalry.

A view of the left center of the field. The massive cavalry melee can be seen in the background and part of a French infantry corps deployed to the right of the town. Napoleon and staff can be seen just to the right rear of the town.

The French lines await the inevitable Russian assault.

The Russian Imperial Guard begins to break through the center of the French lines. Napoleon himself was threatened and had to move away from the danger zone!

Steve's newly-painted Baden cavalry mount a spoiling attack on the Russian lines. The Russians shrugged off this annoyance and continued their attack.

Les Grognards of Napoleon's Imperial Guard arrive from central reserve to bolster a threatened French center. Unfortunately, they were a classic case of "too little too late."