Saturday, 19 December 2020

Books: influential, favourite & a newie, plus back to preparation for the quasquibicentennial

It's great how a theme is picked up and passed from one blogger to another. Things like the painting challenge, the figure advent calendar and this one: influential books.

Back on 11th December, Nundanket at Horse and Musket Gaming made a most interesting post about books that had been influential in his getting into the hobby. Iain of caveadsum1471 followed suit with a post about a splendid tome, 'Military Uniforms: The Splendour of the Past' that had been an early inspiration for him, as well as images of his fantastic looking library. Matt of wargamesinthedungeon went to do the same but, realising that he'd done one already about that for his 500th post, re-publised that, along with some of his library!

Reading, collecting and admiring books is a huge part of the enjoyment of the hobby for me. I have even mused that, if forced to one of those 'choose your favourite pet' kind of choices, I would take the books over the figures. So, here's my little bit of input of influential books, favourites in the library and a quick review of a newie.

Influential books

For me the most influential books have to come down to the duo du Garde Peach's Story of Napoleon and Bruce Quarrie's Napoleonic Wargaming. The former took me down the path of an interest in Napoleon and all things napoleonic and the latter was the first book about wargaming that I owned/read and the first rules that Dad and I played. They have both been eclipsed since, many times over, but they remain special to me and I still remember how I enjoyed reading them and pawing over them as a boy.

I had numerous volumes in Ladybird's Adventure from History series, but none grabbed me quite like the Story of Napoleon. Add to this some sets of Airfix Napoleonic figures and I was on my way. Actually, I considered making dioramas rather than wargames. The idea of wargaming came from a suggestion from my dad and the purchase of Quarrie's guidebook and rules followed.

Quarrie's rules may have had numerous glitches, but his practical guide, suggestions, descriptions and photos were a fabulous source of inspiration to me. I longed to have sufficient figures painted so that we could play our first game. It took about four years to happen, but a life-long hobby/obsession was born.

Favourite books

Fast-forward some 47 years from du Garde Peach, or 40-odd since the first wargame, and the shackles are well and truly off! The home library has steadily increased over those years, particularly the past 20 and especially the last ten or so. I have been taking advantage of the fact that books (like figures) are cheaper than they were back then, in relative terms, plus a greater ability with age to invest in the hobby. In fact so 'crazy' have I gone in recent years that now even I consider that I have enough and am limiting myself to only a few, specific and/or really special additions.

One bookcase for 'periods other than Napoleonic'.

Main bookcase of Napoleonic books, organised from general history/biography then chronologically.

Smaller bookcases carrying on the chronology.

Some small bookcases with assorted periods and most of my wargaming rules.

I enjoy all the books that I have but, if forced to choose my favourites, it would come down to The Anatomy of Glory (a reprint of which I reviewed last year) and two series of books about Napoleonic uniforms: those by Eugène-Louis Bucquoy and Guy Devautour and the 'splendeur' series by G. Charmy.

A simple bookcase that I made recently to hold my now most prized books: about uniforms, especially Napoleonic.

Brief review of a newie—L'infanterie de ligne 1814-1845

Having greatly enjoyed the first volume of Jouineau and Mongin's book on French infantry of the line (reviewed here), I immediately pre-ordered the second. I was not disappointed.

The second volume has all the features that I enjoyed in the first: pages and pages of colour plates illustrating different types of infantry (privates, NCOs, musicians, ensigns, officers) and uniforms from several regiments, detailed plates of items of uniform and equipment, descriptive text in easy-to-comprehend French (for my intermediate level) and numerous reprints of uniform plates, photographs of extant items of uniform and other illustrations of troops.

Above and below, examples of the pages illustrating different uniforms of troops types and various non-regulation examples.

A sample of one of the many pages illustrating items of uniform of the Bardin regulations.

Plates showing examples of troops/uniforms or extant uniform items are also dotted throughout the book.

The text begins with a description of the uniforms of officers from the mid-empire to the 1812 Bardin regulations. The second chapter describes the Bardin regulations in detail, regarding both uniform and equipment, with copious illustrations of each.

A sample page of uniforms of the second restoration (above) and July monarchy (below)

The book is about half Napoleonic with the rest devoted to infantry of the period of the second restoration through to the July monarchy (Louis Philippe)—the period of Hugo's Les Miserables. I would, of course, have wanted all Napoleonic, but I knew it was across these periods when I ordered it. The post-Napoleonic French army is not one that I intend to collect and paint, although one learns to never say never in the figure collecting and painting caper! My only complaint about the book is that there is no mention of the specific nuances of the French infantry uniforms during the Hundred Days, nor any illustrations specific to that period.

Highly recommended: eight Napoleons

Back to the quasquibicentennial

The quasquibicentennial (a largely made-up latinised term for the 225th anniversary) of 1796 approaches rapidly!

I have not painted Napoleonic (revolutionary) figures for some two weeks or so, having decided, in an about-turn, to finish off First World War French and Germans first. Now, with these completed, it is back to Napoleonic figures.

Vistula legion, Frankfort am Main infantry and assorted others that are ready for the final stages of painting

Not much progress with my French for 1796 to early empire recently, save for some grey blanket rolls. While this is likely incorrect for the Italian campaign, the figures were designed for the Egyptian campaign and I'll use them through to 1805–6.

I'll complete some of those that have been waiting for final touches since earlier in the year and apply my usual approach of continuing the use of a colour to bring infantry of the Armée d'Italie to completion.


Bucquoy, E-L and Devautour, G (1977) La Garde Impérial: Troupes à Pied. Tome 1. Les Uniformes du premier Empire J. Grancher, Paris, France. 

Bucquoy, E-L and Devautour, G (1977) La Garde Impériale Troupes à cheval. Tome 2. Les Uniformes du premier Empire J. Grancher, Paris, France. 210 pp.

Bucquoy, E-L and Devautour, G (1979) Les Cuirassiers. Tome 3. Les Uniformes du premier Empire J. Grancher, Paris, France. 189 pp.

Bucquoy, E-L and Devautour, G (1980) L’Infanterie : L'infanterie de ligne et l'infanterie légère. Tome 4. Les Uniformes du premier Empire J. Grancher, Paris, France. 189 pp.

Bucquoy, En-L and Devautour, G (1980) La Cavalerie légère : les hussards, les chasseurs à cheval. Tome 5. Les Uniformes du premier Empire J. Grancher, Paris, France. 189 pp.

Bucquoy, E-L and Devautour, G (1980) Dragons et Guides. Tome 6. Les Uniformes du premier Empire J. Grancher, Paris, France. 189 pp.

Bucquoy, E-L and Devautour, G (1980) Etat-major et service de santé. Tome 7. Les Uniformes du premier Empire J. Grancher, Paris, France. 134 pp. 

Bucquoy, E-L and Devautour, G (1977) Gardes D’Honneur et Troupes Etrangers. Tome 8. Les Uniformes du premier Empire J. Grancher, Paris, France. 205 pp. 

Bucquoy, E-L and Devautour, G (1977) La Maison de l’Empereur. Tome 9. Les Uniformes du premier Empire J. Grancher, Paris, France. 123 pp. 

Bucquoy, E-L and Devautour, G (1985) Fanfares et Musiques des troups à cheval 1640 - 1940. Tome 10. Les Uniformes du premier Empire J. Grancher, Paris, France. 126 pp. Location: Fisher collection, York.

Charmy, G (2002) Splendeur des Uniformes de Napoleon: Cavalerie. Tome 1. Editions Charles Herissey, Rennes, France. 326 pp.

Charmy, G (2003) Splendeur des Uniformes de Napoleon: La Garde Imperiale à Pied. Tome 2. Éditions Charles Hérissey, Évreux, France. 234 pp.

Charmy, G (2003) Splendeur des Uniformes de Napoleon: La Garde Imperiale à Cheval. Tome 3. Editions Charles Herissey, Rennes, France. 251 pp.

Charmy, G (2004) Splendeur des Uniformes de Napoleon: Infanterie et Regiments Etrangers. Tome 4. Editions Charles Herissey, Rennes, France. 285 pp.

Charmy, G (2004) Splendeur Des Uniformes de Napoleon: Costumes Du Sacre-Armes Drapeaux Et Decorations. Tome 5. Editions Charles Herissey, Rennes, France. 269 pp.

Charmy, G (2005) Splendeur des Uniformes de Napoleon: Marine-Gendarmerie-Artillerie-Génie-Gardes-Ecoles. Tome 6. Editions Charles Herissey, Rennes, France. 288 pp.

du Garde Peach, L and Kenney, J (1968) The Story of Napoleon. Adventure from History Ladybird Books Ltd, Loughborough, England. 51 pp.

Jouineau, A and Mongin, J-M (2020) L'infanterie de ligne 1814-1845. Tome 2. Éditions Heimdal, St Martin-des-Entrées, Bayeux, France. 160 pp.

Lachouque, H and Brown, ASK (1978) The Anatomy of Glory. Arms and Armour Press, London, England. 564 pp.

Quarrie, B (1974) Napoleonic Wargaming. Airfix magazine guide 4 Patrick Stephens Ltd, Cambridge, UK. 64 pp. Location: Fisher collection, York.

Saturday, 31 October 2020


This is the second 'rant' post in a week. I shan't make a habit of it, I promise. This blog should be about figures, books, history, ideas, analysis and games in the Napoleonic era.

I beg your indulgence once more though.

How Not to Stand Out in Any Crowd, Steve Kayser

My topic relates, somewhat, to my tongue-in-cheek request last week asking people to post less frequently. As I said, I really enjoy following the blogs of others and derive great joy, knowledge and interest from the marvellous range of figures, games, projects, reviews, campaigns and so forth that are the subject of people's posts. Keep 'em coming.

There is one thing that detracts from this: TLI/TLAs.

Three-letter initialisms or acronyms, where the number three can also be two, sometimes four, occasionally more. I have even seen it done for one! Sheesh.

The Woodchips, by J Daniel

Sadly there is far too much of this in my field (agricultural science). It is not as bad as in medicine, for example, although there are still plenty of times when one reads stuff and thinks, “did that really need to be made into an abbreviation/initialism?” There is enough space. I particularly dislike it as notation for a treatment. I was most pleased to see this topic raised as a concern in a recent issue of Nature.

If it is bad in science, it is out of control in wargaming, particularly wargame rules. Every unit type, factor, test, many of the outcomes; right down to the near ubiquitous use of D6 (gosh, I am guilty of that one!). You find yourself having to flick back to find out what the BMV or UFF was.

It does not stop there. It is done for nearly every war—mind you, I have never see the Napoleonic Wars referred to as NW, thankfully. Just another way in which the period is a cut above the rest, haha?!

The one that really, really drives me bonkers is names of rules. It seems that no-one can resist. Have you tried BP? No, what about NB? Surely you have heard of DBN (which one?) or SII, GNBAS, FOG, B, ESR, BE, GdB, MdE, GdA, GdD, CDB, RtR, L, LB, MA, MN, M&M, NFD, SB, SN, VlE, V&B, GB?

Arrrrrgh! Just write it in full, so everyone knows what the hell you are talking about!

If you won't do that, then please, please take a moment to pause and ask yourself, "do I really need to abbreviate this or to create an initialism?". Is it really understood by all?

Here endeth the rant.

Friday, 30 October 2020

Tom the Wargamer

I was directed to this fabulous young fella's videos thanks to a post on Graham's Scotia Albion blog.

Open and genuine. I encourage you to have a look at his You Tube channel. Perhaps even subscribe? Great stuff from a youngster in the hobby.

Another chip or two

A few more kinder steps with these early French.



The brown that began with Ottoman Deli cavalry carried on to adding backpacks and musket wood to these before it took me to First World War German infantry!

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

First world problem

When I began blogging, back in the day (2010) it immediately became an enjoyable part of the hobby for me. Equally and increasingly, I came to enjoy reading and looking at other blogs with a wargaming/figure painting/amateur history type of bent. Initially I limited myself to 'follow' those blogs with a focus on Napoleonics or at least a lot of content related to the period. Progressively, and in recent times, exponentially, I have expanded the range and number of blogs that I follow. It is now up to some 359.


Hence the title of this post #. I am having trouble keeping up!

(# Unlike many, many words and expressions that are adopted by business, commentators and the public, 'first world problem' is not in my list of the 20 number 1 expressions that I hate. To me it is a modern version of 'poor little rich kid', but I particularly like it as it is self-effacing and a reminder to have a little perspective.)

This is not purely due to the number of interesting blogs that I am trying to follow. I don't know whether it is a factor of many bloggers having more time at home, but some of you are posting several times a week and I need you all to slow down. I could make this 'following' thing a full time job and I do need to get some work done!

All jests aside, I really enjoy the range of content and particularly the excellent photos that people take and post. Besides which, those with a lot of pictures are easier to follow!

Keep it up and long may you all enjoy your hobby and blogging.

Here is a list of the (current) top 20^ number 1 expressions that I hate (in no particular order)

1. Elephant in the room
1. Back in the day
1. Sounds like a plan
1. Like
1. Élite (the best example of this was a sports commentator speaking of ‘élite communication’ on the footy field)
1. Park that
1. Issues board
1. Workshopping
1. At the end of the day
1. Punches above its/his/her weight
1. It is what it is
1. Agile
1. Move forward
1. Take home message
1. Artisan (as in artisan toast)
1. Organic (when it has nothing to do with carbon-based molecules/lifeforms)
1. Evolve organically
1. Not Robinson Crusoe
1. Fake news

(^rapidly expanding to 100: new normal, unprecedented... probably should be in the top 20)

Actually, I do have a number one: elephant in the room. If there *was* an elephant in the room I reckon that I, at least, would point it out. Quite effusively, in fact. I was shocked, surprised and saddened to learn that the origin of this is not 21stC business but likely from Dostoevsky referring to a fable "The Inquisitive Man" written by Ivan Krylov in 1814. Of course, it was not over-used, back in the day.

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Fleshing out plans

An extended morning of painting today let me finish applying flesh to 233 early French infantry that are at the forefront of my 15-year plan; focussing my Napoleonic reading, collecting, painting and likely some games or other ‘recreations’ with miniatures around various quasquibicentennial / vigbicentennial^ events of 1796–1815.
^My best attempt at 'latin' terms for the 225th/220th anniversary; pleased to be advised of more appropriate terms.

French revolutionary infantry: undercoated with flesh applied

I really enjoyed the focused activities for the Napoleonic bicentennial, but, not starting until 2010 meant that the Revolutionary and early Empire did not get included (not to mention only re-fighting some of the battles of the latter Empire). I now plan to go back to the 'beginning', starting next year with the 225th anniversary of 1796.

The Revolutionary French infantry that I applied flesh to today will initially represent troops of the Army of Italy, later being pressed into service for the Egyptian campaign (initial phase) as well as part of the forces for the Marengo and 1805 campaigns.

The vast majority of the figures are Strelets' excellent French Line Infantry (Egypt), with half a dozen Hat Napoleonic Early-Mid French Marching, a couple of Italeri French Infantry 1798 - 1805 and four officers from the Hat 1805 French Line Infantry. They took a while to prepare ahead of undercoating with a number of head-swaps and some more major alterations to make drummers and standard bearers.

Hat 1805 French Grenadiers and Voltigeurs, with a pile of fusiliers in the foreground

These early French are now in the pipeline along with the other Napoleonic—early French in greatcoats, Oudinot 'grenadiers', French foot dragoons, early Russian infantry and later French in greatcoats—as well as non-Napoleonic figures that I am painting.

Oudinot 'grenadiers': infanterie légère

Oudinot 'grenadiers': infanterie ligne

1805 French in greatcoat (actually not issued until 1806)

Foot dragoons for 1805
Early Russian infantry

Late French in greatcoat—thrown into the mix

Friday, 3 July 2020

Book review: l'Infanterie de ligne 1796–1810 by André Joineau and Jean-Marie Mongin

I love uniform books; especially Napoleonic and particularly about the French army (doubt that I am alone in that amongst readers of this blog). When I saw this book promoted in an e-newsletter from Éditions Heimdal it took only a quick look at the description on their website before I decided to purchase it. It arrived last week and did not disappoint.

This book is largely a compilation of material from two issues of Soldat magazine (also published by Éditions Heimdal) into a lovely, hardcover, A4 format. True to the title, the book covers French line infantry from 1776 to 1810 with about a quarter of the 160 pages devoted to  pre-1789, around another quarter to uniforms of the revolution and consulate (including the Egyptian campaign, see later) and the remaining half to those of the early to mid-Imperial period. The book is a visual feast with a plethora of pages of full colour drawings of troops in assorted uniforms. I'll summarise these later, but firstly a bit of background that may be of interest.

Readers may recognise André Jouineau's name from the marvellous, soft-cover Napoleonic uniform books that were published by Histoire et Collections. Sadly, that publisher went into receivership in 2012#. Fortunately, the void that they left was filled by Éditions Heimdal. Based in Bayeaux, Éditions Heimdal. originally focussed on the middle ages and world war two, but since 2015 have expanded their range to "... cover history from the bronze age (1800 BCE) through to conflicts of the 21st century." Since that time they have been prolific in the publication of books about uniforms, campaigns and military history, ten of them of the Napoleonic era (a trilogy about the Imperial Guard, French artillery, Dictionary of the Grande Armée, Italians of the Empereur, Swiss in the service of France, Arcole & Rivoli, Egyptian campaign and now line infantry). I recommend them all. Most are in French only, but the trilogy of the Guard, published in 2017–18, has been translated into English. For this recent book, Jouineau combined with Jean-Marie Mongin, with whom he co-authored the magnificent trilogy about the Guard.
[#Pleasingly Histoire et Collections was brought out of receivership by Sophia publications (now renamed Sophia Histoire et Collections) and has been back in operation since 2016, specialising in "...current affairs and military history, vehicle collection and vintage fashion." Their focus are their magazines: Raids, Raids Aviation, Militaria Magazine WingMasters, SteelMasters, Charge Utile, Tracteurs Passion & Collection, Figurines, GBM et Styles Vintage, but they also publish books in both French and English, including their back catalogue.]

Jouineau's illustrations of uniforms, a full 120 pages of them, are the main feature of this book. These show various units, ranks and modes of dress of the line infantry. Images are presented from front side and rear, along with detail of equipment, flags and items of uniform.

Beginning with the late Bourbon era, the initial pages of illustrations show the units that served in America in 1780. This is followed by pages devoted to the regulations of 1786. The uniforms of every unit are illustrated along with accompanying pages showing the uniforms for privates, NCOs, musicians and officers and some of specific uniform items. We then move to the republic with illustrations of each of the initially white-uniformed units, during the 'transition' from the King's army—all shown in profile across nine pages, then to the blue-coated l'infanterie de la republique. This is followed by eleven pages devoted to the special uniforms adopted by the troops in Egypt 1798–1801; a fantastic inclusion for mine.

The uniforms and flags of all regiments according to the provisional regulations of 1791 are illustrated in profile.

Two of the eleven pages of illustrations of demi-brigades in Egypt 1798–1801.

A couple of pages of illustrations show the troops of the consulate before the second half is taken up with the early to mid Empire. Six pages illustrate regulation uniforms before this final section concludes with 50 pages devoted to each of the 3e, 4e, 6e, 7e, 8e, 9e, 12e, 14e, 16e, 17e, 18e, 19e, 21e, 22e, 24e, 26e, 27e, 30e, 33e, 42e, 45e, 46e, 57e régiment d'infanterie de ligne illustrating the variety of dress across time, rank and troop types.

Examples of the pages showing regiments in detail; here we have the 14e and 15e régiment d'infanterie de ligne in their white uniform.

Two of the pages devoted to the 18e régiment d'infanterie de ligne.

Illustrations of items of equipment and uniform add greatly to those of the troops.

Along with these beautiful illustrations, the book features 25 pages of text (in French) interspersed with reproductions of paintings of battles and illustrations of troops (some full-page), along with the bibliography, contents and publication details. The text packs in a lot of detail in support of the images including a brief history of the development of French infantry formations and organisation from the middle ages to the consulate and 1st empire. This is followed by details of the uniform and equipment of the infantry of the early to mid Imperial period, including key changes over that time.

An example of one of the reproductions of paintings included in the book; this of a grenadier in Spain with covered bearskin.

This is a fabulous publication that I plan to enjoy leafing through, reading and generally drooling over for years to come. My only complaint is that I would have liked more(!)—that greedy perception is the only thing preventing my giving it a score of a perfect ten! I look forward excitedly to the publication of tome 2.


I recently 'stumbled' across André Jouineau's website, Images de Soldats which has plates of uniforms and planes drawn by him that can be downloaded as thumbnails, or purchased for 2,50 € per plate. A book is cheaper, but this could be a good way to purchase specific examples.

Sample plate, available as a free download from Images de Soldats.


Jouineau, A and Mongin, J-M (2020) L'infanterie de ligne 1776-1810. Tome 1. Éditions Heimdal, St Martin-des-Entrées, Bayeux, France. 160 pp.


Saturday, 23 May 2020

Fun with latex

I prefer home-made scenery. It goes back to the early days of wargaming with Dad when everything was (relatively) so much more expensive so we used the small amount that we had from train sets and improvised/made the rest. Besides, it was all part of the fun. Even now, when professionally made scenery is so much cheaper I prefer the home made variety as the bought stuff, while flash, lacks character for mine.

Some old terrain squares have formed the base scenery for the games thus far at my new (as it still feels to me) wargaming shed. I want to move to using the overlay 'sheet' method—actually I have purchased some lovely, plush green stretch material which will add to player comfort, ha,ha. I was thinking about how I'd like to represent roads and rivers. Then I suddenly remembered; liquid latex.

I have a fairly large quantity that was left over from making soil peels (monliths). These are constructed by painting the stuff on the face of a soil pit. The soil sticks to the latex which is then peeled off and mounted on a board. The resulting impression shows how the soil changes down the profile and is an excellent, visual tool. Anyway, I thought that I should be able to paint the stuff onto plastic, mold it a bit, even stick things to it when wet and then paint it afterwards.

I had a test run making some items for a First World War game. I made circles to represent an explosion, the resulting crater and, what was going to be smoke for gas, but I decided would be better as a rock outcrop (not for World War I). I was pleased that it all worked. The latex peeled off the plastic when dry, assorted bits that I had stuck to it held tight and I could paint it with my acrylic paints.

Test run making terrain elements for First World War games, which I'll be trying out later.

Buoyed by this I decided to go into a bit of production making sections for rivers and roads. I painted various shapes on to an old piece of vinyl. I added some pieces of lichen and bits of model trees to some of the sections that I wanted to represent swampy areas around a river.

Sections of liquid latex painted onto vinyl. These are destined to be rivers and ponds.

Some would-be river sections with lichen and tree bits added to represent swampy areas.

The sections once partially dry (above), fully dry (below left) and painted (below right).

Once they had dried it was a simple matter of applying paint (two coats) and they were good enough for me.

Painted sections of river and swampy-banked river.

I was really pleased with the final result, particularly once placed on a tabletop. They will not win any terrain prizes but are functional and flexible. Most of the sections that have I made are quite short, so I'll now make some more of the longer ones.

On the table-top. This is the layout for a small, brigade-scale game of "Twilight of the Sun King".

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Laser-like focus

Painting is still largely restricted to evenings chez-nous. I am fortunate in having on-going work (I have been working chiefly from home since last year), plus some voluntary work that I do and there is always loads to do and/or to fix around our place. Not to mention getting myself into a play-by-email game of 'Diplomacy', which demands a bit of attention.

With painting I have a laser-like focus... that is if the broad ‘plastic mountain’ constitutes a focus! Of course, lack of focus is common to many (most?) wargamers, but I suspect that I have a very different approach from most when it comes to putting paint to figures.

I have literally hundreds of figures on the go at once. I switch my focus to progress some more than others during any particular painting 'session'. It means that it is quite a while before I bring figures to completion, but when I do there are many of them.
The figures that are at the front of the current painting queue: WWI French & German infantry (foreground), Napoleonics at three scales and Saxons, early Russians and Swedes of the Great Northern War.
Napoleonics at three scales: 2 mm at left, 1/72 at right and 1/32 at rear.

 1/72nd scale Napoleonics, most of which are almost completed. Ykreol, Hat, Airfix, Zvezda in foreground, Airfix and Italeri (as Vistula Legion) behind.
1/32nd scale Napoleonics, French line infantry and Russe Deutsch Legion (31st infantry regiment), Airfix, Armies in Plastic and Hat figures. These are for my 'telescoping scales concept'. Initially I'll use these for brigade-scale rules (Napoleon's Battles and Volley and Bayonet), but they could also suit for small-scale rules (Chef de Bataillon or Company Commander).
2 mm Napoleonics (French infantry, cavalry and artillery) almost completed and some river sections (all Irregular Miniatures). As with the 1/32 scale figures they are for my 'telescoping scales concept'. The blocks could be battalions, regiments, brigades or even divisions or corps. I think that I need to tone down the blue of the rives and lighten the bases for the figures!
2 mm Napoleonic French on the go. Keen-eyed readers will observe the 5e chevau-légers-lanciers at front right of photo.

Another departure from the norm, in recent years I have moved to painting figures after gluing them on their bases, including cavalrymen as ‘one piece castings’ (i.e. glued to horses). I find them easier to handle and any detail that is difficult to reach I will never see anyway! Many years ago I was introduced to the idea of using pill containers as palettes, so ‘decant’ paint into them to use (partly to protect the main paint in the container from deterioration). I put a small amount of the paint that I am using into an old pill case (different sizes for colours that require a lot or a little). I have the obsession about using up each colour that I decant, as far as possible, hence I go looking, for example, for figures with bits of red to paint, if I have some of that left over after having painted red coats, or such. Having a lot of figures on the go helps with this!

Currently Great Northern War figures (Mars Saxon infantry plus Strelets Russian dragoons and Zvezda Swedish artillery (the latter two as Saxons) and also some Strelets and Zvezda streletsi as early Russians) are getting first dibs of the paint. As I noted in a post back in 2014 Mars figures fit in the category of being ‘ugly’ in the raw plastic, but looking great painted and being lovely to paint as one finds more and more detail.

Currenty getting first dibs on the paint: Great Northern War Saxons, Swedes and some early Russians (Mars, Zvezda, Strelets figures).
Looking a bit more closely at the Saxon infantry. Mars figures that look a bit rough unpainted but look really good when painted, are most enjoyable to paint and have loads of detail.
I now only have flesh, silver, some white, some yellow facings, buff belts/some trousers and painting horses to go on these Great Northern War figures—as far as the base coat is concerned. Once that is finished, I’ll black-wash them plus the WWI French and Germans and Napoleonics that I will also have got to the end of stage 1. I'll then put on my basing mix (paint, PVA glue, sand/tea leaf/coffee grounds), next comes the final bits of touching up and highlighting before varnishing and a good coat of Plastidip. As with most things in life, the last 10% always takes a while.

I threw the Great Northern War figures into the painting mix a week ago because I took delivery of ’Twilight of the Sun King’ rules and want to do a small game with them (Battle of Fraustadt initially at brigade scale). These rules were brought to my attention by a review on the marvellous 'Un Marius Sinon Rien' blog. After reading a further review on website I decided to give them a go. I have nearly enough Swedes, but needed some Saxons to oppose them. I’ll compare the rules with the rules GåPå that I have tried once and liked and likely also the Polemos Great Northern War rules (by Nick Dorrell one of the authors of ’Twilight of the Sun King’). I intend to keep going with painting Great Northern figures so as to ‘finish’ Swedish, Saxon, Polish-Lithuanian, early Russian (and perhaps some later Russian and Danish) armies. As I paint units for these I’ll be including further Napoleonics (each scale), WWI and perhaps some 1/32 WW2.

WWI French and German infantry. I suddenly and unexpectedly got the urge to do WWI wargaming late last year.
Looking a bit more closely at the Germans. Fun to paint and I found them surprisingly fiddly with all their 'kit' in different shades of brown and grey. The brown blob on the centre-left base is an example of my basing mix.

Example of a pill container that I use as a 'palette' to decant a little paint (and sometimes to mix colours). Fortunately its a rare day when I take a pill, so I get the empties from other people.
Once the figures above have been completed, these 1805 French, Russians and Austrians will be first in line to get the paint. The Airfix British grenadiers of the American Revolutionary War are painted as grenadier companies of the 'Oudinot grenadiers'. Voltiguers of same above them (and a Russian gun). Russian infantry second from the bottom and Austrian grenzer in the bottom cake box.

I really enjoy painting and get ‘withdrawal symptoms’ when not able to do any (work, other commitments, too hot).