Thursday 24 June 2021

Developing the love of two

French 9e cuirassiers at two scales.
A few comments on my recent 'update' post lead me to check when I first purchased some 2 mm figures. It was back in the mid-2000s. I think that I was looking at Irregular Miniature's website and happened to click on the 2 mm section. "What a marvellous idea", I thought. Wouldn't it be fun to set up a wargame at such a small scale, perhaps even on the tray at the back of an aeroplane seat?!

So, I duly ordered a few figures (French and Austrian army packs) to see them up close and what I could make of them. I liked them immediately. I was astounded at the amount of detail on something so small and also the huge scope for interpretation and adaptability of the figures. 

Some photos below taken by my non-wargaming, but camera savvy friend Chris G. showing how amazing these little fellas are.

Photos to illustrate that they can look like something (c/-  Chris G.; finger and pencil for scale).

A couple of years or so later I had sufficient figures painted, or somewhat painted, to try out a game. I had found a free set called "2 by 2 Napoleonics" on the web and Stephen N. was interested (crazy) enough to have a go.

Below are some low-resolution photos of the first try with 2 x 2 Napoleonics in May 2008. You'll see from the photos and those that follow (all c/- Stephen) that I was using the bases 'as was', stuck in my paradigm of battalion/regimental scale.

First game of 2 by 2 Napoleonics

Fiddly to handle as single playing pieces.

Despite the fiddliness, we both had a bit of fun and so were prepared to try them again. Two more games followed, in June 2008 and April 2009. I had added a bit more terrain and a few more figures as we went along. We adapted and adjusted the rules to try to make them work better but, in the end, decided that they were not up to scratch. There was a pause in the 2 mm 'experiment'.

Second game of 2 by 2 Napoleonics; now with felt roads, fields and rivers!

Still using single playing pieces.

Third game, now on felt mat.

Further thinking, discussions and exposure to Baccus' Polemos rules (ostensibly for 6 mm figures) brought me to basing as a regiment, brigade or division, which I duly did. Other projects and activities took precedence, so the 2 mm figures remained incomplete, with only a few French ready for use.

Below are some photos of my completed French in 2011 based as larger formations.

The French re-based ostensibly as regiments, but easily scaled to brigades or divisions.
Left to right: two line infantry regiments and a légère to right
Left to right: the two line infantry regiments and légère with artillery battery and limbers to right

Left to right: those 9e cuirassiers again, Polish Guard lancers, then line chasseurs.
Left to right: the Polish Guard lancers and line chasseurs once more with 5e hussars at right.

Advance another few years and they are back, 'bigger' than ever, as part of my desire to work at multiple scales, hopefully 'concurrently'. I have a sizeable Austrian force in my painting sights and, once they are done, there are some part-completed French to add to that force. I am flexible in how I consider my bases (regiments, brigades or divisions) for painting any little details/colour on the figures. The scale affords plenty of latitude!

Wednesday 23 June 2021

Progress various

Early Austrians in 1/72 and a more generic version in 2 mm scale are the figures currently getting attention from the brushes chez moi. I recently moved proceedings inside the house as night-time temps have been consistently just a few degrees (celsius, of course).

It has been kinder steps with these Austrians, but they are coming along.

It has turned d@mned cold lately, it don't get much lower here.

Now that I have completed faces, packs and muskets on the above 216 infantry (and a bit more on their 2 mm counterparts), I am ready to move to the facings, white uniforms and white/blue trousers (a couple of Hungarian regts being amongst them), so will also pick up on the early French that have been waiting patiently for some months!

Early French, patiently waiting their turn for some more colour.

The next four of my '21 Napoleons' are a bit more advanced and will be progressed to completion, with guides and consular guard in tow.

Consular Guard, Guides de Bonaparte and three of my next 21 Napoleons.

Closer look at four of my next 21 Napoleons, which are a bit more advanced.

I also have some figures for later years of the Napoleonic era that will get additions when I have some of an appropriate colour paint dispensed that I want to use up.

French infantry in greatcoats and hats for 1805 (although they likely only had 'liberated' Austrian greatcoats then) to 1807.

Oudinot 'grenadiers' of 1805–07 (infanterie légère).

Oudinot 'grenadiers' of 1805–07 (infanterie de ligne).

Russian infantry of 1805–07.

French dismounted dragoons, chiefly for 1805–07 (although may get a 'run' in the Peninsula).

Assorted, including more Oudinot 'grenadiers' (infanterie de ligne).

Vistula legion, all four 'regiments'.

French infantry in greatcoats and shakos for 1808—15.

At the other end of the production line: more early Austrians in kasketts and figures for future vignettes/command stands for my 21 Napoleons.

We had rain and cloudy days before it cleared up and turned *freezing*, leading to a recent glorius pre-sunrise (above) and sunset (below).

Monday 14 June 2021

1800 l'ultime année d’un siècle de sang

 The third in the trilogy is available as a pre-order, due for publication in May!

Visit the page dedicated to the book on the Éditions Heimdal website to pre-order, or put it in your 'pocket' to consider once published.

Wednesday 9 June 2021

Book quickview: 1799, l'année la plus longue

Pre-purchased in September, printed in May, released in June, arrived in our PO box yesterday. The speed with which it reached me after publication was the first of many aspects of this book that have impressed. I have titled this post a book 'quickview', rather than a review, as I have not read it, but flicked through it extensively, over several hours of last night, enjoying each turn back and forth through the pages.

Marquis' earlier work, 1798, Bonaparte et la campagne d'Egypte, joined my collection soon after it was published in early 2020. That book, covering 1798, with particular focus on the Egyptian Campaign (a little over half of its 192 pages) is effectively part one, the current tome being the second part. I was so impressed with the 1798 book, that this one was an immediate purchased. There has been no buyers' regret.

The table of contents
1799, l'année la plus longue is a visual delight. There are images of people, battles, events, troops, uniforms and maps. Many, many are contemporary prints, others are classical paintings (some known and many that are new to me) and quite a number of the cartoons (pen and ink drawings) by Job (Jacques Onfroy de Breville) from George Montorgueil's Bonaparte, first published in 1910—a real treat. All of the images are reproduced clearly and most of them are in colour. Each image has a caption clearly describing it as well as noting the creator and source.

The book is a visual delight, with loads of reproductions of contemporary paintings.

Along with numerous, classic paintings from the late 19th C.

The inclusion of several cartoons from Job are a real treat.

My 'gooey-ness' for this book so far comes from the visual, but even a skim of the book's five chapters reveals the excellent content. They cover France at the start of 1799 (nation, politics and internal divisions), the states bordering France and their armies, the campaign in Syria, the campaigns in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Holland and, lastly, 18 brumaire. Five appendices round out the book with information about the members of the commission of sciences and arts who accompanied Bonaparte's army to Egypt, the formation and activities of the Egyptology Institute, the full text of the new constitution that was proclaimed in Paris on 15th December and a chronology of the year 1799.

Several double-page and near double-page spread paintings of battles are presented.

The book is not a uniform book, but loads of lovely images of troops of all nations adorn its pages

In various chapters there is information about the armies, strength, organisation and make-up down to the unit level. This is complemented by orders of battle that are dotted throughout; in appropriate locations related to the battles under discussion. The third and fourth chapters covering the vast number of battles that occurred in 1799 includes information about the leaders, movements and numbers of troops, with some actions described in great detail (e.g. the Siege of St John d'Acre, Battle of Mount Thabor, Battle of Aboukir, Battle of Ostrach, Battle of Stockach, Capture of Alessandria, Battle of St Gothard and first and second battles of Zurich).

A real bonus in the book are the 77 pages of biographies of the main people associated with the events of the year. These are divided into the key actors (political and military); non-military people; Austrian, Russian, British and Egyptian-Ottoman generals and French generals. These biographies are inserted, a group at a time, between the chapters. For each person we are given their place and date of birth, date of death and biography up to 1800 (or sometimes a little later).

The 77 pages of biographies were an unexpected inclusion and a real bonus to me.

Several tables of orders of battle are included.

Maps are probably the book weakest point, but there are several showing regions, places, specific events and battles


I'll read this gorgeous, hefty and beautifully printed book properly and in its entirety in time, as my chronological approach dictates. For now it is a joy to leaf through, looking at the plethora of piccies, reading the captions and dipping into the text. A delight to have on the shelves.

I thought that I'd conclude with this photo of a full-page reproduction of a Maurice Orange painting of French soldiers sampling the delights of the Orient!



Marquis, L (2021) 1799, l'année la plus longue. Éditions Heimdal, St Martin-des-Entrées, Bayeux, France. 304 pp.

Marquis, L (2020) 1798, Bonaparte et la campagne d'Egypte. Éditions Heimdal, St Martin-des-Entrées, Bayeux, France. 192 pp.