At some point during their life all war gamers have to answer the question
: When is it time to get into Napoleonics? In my case, the answer to the question is yes.
Some of the things that have drawn me to Napoleonics are the flashy uniforms and the sheer number of rulesets and miniatures manufacturers to choose from. The variety is bewildering. Not being captive to GW is a nice bonus. As the title of this thread suggests, I have decided to start with the omega (and possibly the alpha too) of Napoleonic wargaming: the battle of Waterloo. The main reasons for this are that my ruleset of choice, Black Powder, has an attractively priced Waterloo starter box and that it'll let me collect some units from my own country, the Netherlands.
The Waterloo starter box gives me two British infantry battalions, one Hanoverian infantry battalion, an artillery battery (represented by one gun with crew) and a brigade commander. The French get two infantry battalions, one regiment of chasseurs à cheval (rolls right off the tongue doesn't is?
)and a brigade commander. I'll eventually get to the French too, but for now I'm concentrating on the allied army.
The plan is to collect a force that is more or less a cross section of the allied army that faced the French at Waterloo. In terms of contingents, that means:
26% Dutch-Belgian (as part of the shortlived United Kingdom of the Netherlands)
17% Hanoverian (this German state was in a personal union with the UK at the time)
9% King's German Legion (a foreign legion of Germans in British service)
I'm yet to decide on which specific units I'll include. Between the British, Hanoverians and King's German Legion, nearly 60% of the force will be in red coats. The Waterloo starter box has plenty of suitable models, so I'll get started with a British line infantry battalion. The unit I've settled on is the 2/33rd (First Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment of Foot. The plain and simple reason is that their facings and turnbacks are red, which means one less colour on my palette.
This project is a first for me in a few respects: First time I'm painting anything non-GW, first time I'm using Vallejo paints, first time I'm painting anything historical and first time I'm using a grey primer. Also the first time I'm painting anything in... 15 years? I hope I've still got it.
Here's a view of the minis with a WHFB free company fighter and a ruler for scale. As you can see they are much less chunky than what GW produces.
Here they are again after getting their Vallejo grey base coat. I've blue-tacked them to a cardboard box to keep them in place (another first for me). The battalion will have a total of 24 men. The 6 metal command figures haven't been delivered to my doorstep yet.
The first order of business is to paint a test figure. I have volunteered Private Tommy Atkins for this duty.
70.957 Flat Red: coat:
72.050 Cold Grey: trousers and gaiters
70.836 London Grey: shako, backpack, cartridge pouch and shoes
72.041 Dwarf Skin: skin
72.034 Bone White: haversack, blanket
72.045 Charred Brown: musket
72.023 Electric Blue: canteen
72.001 Dead White: straps
I then gave the model several ink washes:
72.093 Skin Wash: skin
72.088 Blue: canteen
72.094 Black (undiluted): shako and shoes
72.094 Black: everything else
I then reapplied the paints I used before everywhere except in the recesses to give the colours their vibrancy back. In addition I did the following:
72.004 Elf Skintone highlights on the skin
72.010 Bloody Red highlights on the coat
70.801 Brass for the buckle on the chest
70.865 Oily Steel for metal parts
72.045 Charred Brown for the canteen's strap
72.001 Dead White lettering on the canteen and backpack
Egads, the camera is rather uncharitable to poor Atkins. He looks better in reality, I swear!
I'm glad I did a test mini because it's given me some ideas on ways to improve the process:
- Use red ink instead of black on the coat. The black ink makes it too dark, making it hard to get the coat nice and bright again.
- Carefully drybrush some white over the shako before applying the black ink. The highlights on the shako are not as noticeable in reality as the picture would suggest.
- Blue-tack the backpacks in place during basecoating and remove them for most of the painting process. The backpack was a right pain while trying to paint the mini's collar and back. It's too late for this batch but this is a lesson I won't soon forget.
- Use a lighter blue for the canteen. For now I'll have to mix some white into my Electric Blue.
These sites were invaluable for reference:Les Uniformes pendant la campagne des Cent Jours - Belgique 1815His Majesty's 33rd Regiment of Foot
Next up I'll paint another test figure. Will keep you posted on the results! Please let me know if you enjoyed this because it motivates me to keep going.
EDIT: Picture sizes