Wednesday 7 March 2012

French 21e Ligne - Wagram 1809

Regiment of the Day

Today we have ....

some more French line units !!

This one is the 21eme Ligne, which fought as part of Gudin's 3rd Division, III Corps, at Wagram 1809.

After the unfortunate death of my trusty old camera .. (bike accident, coming down a hill at speed, a little too much front brake ... over the handlebars - ouch.) - I have stolen my girlfriend's camera, and am getting used to the macro / super macro functions.

After some playing around, I have settled on a new framing background, which I hope you like. 

Not only does the old camera fail to wake up when turned on, but I also managed to bend the derailler hanger on the bike, scratch up my shiny new Dura Ace grouppo, put some ominous cracks in paintwork on the carbon fibre frame of the bike, tear my bib shorts open, and write off a very nice lazer helium helmet as well.

All good !  All in a hard day's riding as they say.

Turns out it this stolen camera s a very super camera after all, with a decent macro ability. This blue is still bright in the macro shot, but it looks close enough  to the 'real life'  blue on the models when they are right in front of you.

I don't know why it is, but shades of blue seem to be extremely difficult to photograph properly. 

I know I could easily fiddle with this in an editor to correct the colours .... but I am loathe to do that, as part of the whole point of doing miniatures for me is to get away from software and do something tangible instead.

4 bases of line infantry, with 1 skirmisher stand. Figures by warrior miniatures. Nice clean castings, great value, and free postage worldwide with bulk orders.  Good way to get a large force on the table.

I have also completed this unit using a slightly modified painting schedule, which knocks around 20% off the time to complete, whilst sacrificing only a tiny bit of detail.

If I hadn't mentioned that, you may not have noticed the difference. Its bascially applying the layers of colour in a slightly different order to delay the glazing process till right near the end, and then finally skipping some of the highlight processes.

I was glazing midway before that, and then spending time layering up highlights on top of the glaze shadowing. I don't think the extra work makes that much of a difference for tabletop use anyway.

Relying on the glazing to do most of the highlighting on auto-pilot here. Still more complicated than 'the dip' of course, but I am enjoying the extra speed.

But realistically - zero perceived difference on the tabletop, where most of these details are not even visible.

A quick glance through the complete OOBs for the insanely huge Wagram campaign confirm (in my mind at least) that speed is becoming more important, and that quantity really does have a quality all of its own. 

Whilst the painting queue for Wagram grows ever longer ... another regiment for III Corps marches off the queue and onto the tabletop - Vive le Emperor  !

Another small point - if you go back and look at the first couple of shots from the front view, and look closely ... you will see that I have committed the great sin of severely shortcutting the cockade paintjob !

I have just gone for a red dot in the white cockade, and left off the inner blue dot.

Why ?

Firstly, because at any sane distance with the human eye, the blue blends into the red to become virtually invisible. If you paint the whole unit of cockades perfectly well, then the result is that you cannot really see the blue dot.

However, if you get so much as 1 blue dot incorrectly centred on a cockade ... then this sticks out like the proverbial dog's hind leg, and just looks a little sloppy.

So I will trial this approach with the next large batch of French, and see if it makes sense in 15mm. Its not so much the time saving, as we are only talking about shaving 5 minutes off a batch, if that ... but more to do with neatness.

If I was on 28's then this shortcut is probably borderline inexcusable, but I reckon it might be a good plan for 15s, where the inner blue dot needs to be a fraction of a millimetre in diameter.


  1. Let's go to Wagram...Vive l'Empereur! Good work!

  2. "If you're going to do Napoleonics, you'd better get used to painting a lot of French Ligne"; so true. In 15mm I don't think you really miss the ble dot in the center of the cockade; even in 28mm I have trouble centering it. I do put the red piping on the white lapels and turnbacks,and the white piping on the red cuffs and collars though (hah!), but skip the various turnback ornaments - have to go up to 40mm before THAT would become worthwhile!

    My 28mm French now stand at 28 Line and 7 Light infantry units of 18... and I'm not quite sure if I'm done for good with them at that!

    I loomk forward to seeing your Wagram some day. The convention game we did of Wagram back in 2009 is one of my favorites ever.