My friend Austin intended to build his Napoleonic French army from Old Glory figures, but he soured on the line and bought ABs instead. He offered me his 500 Old Glory French for a song, and I let him talk me into the purchase. I added these to the hundreds of unpainted French I already possesed. I'm running out of space to store them all.
I don't know that I'll ever paint all the French I have. With about 150 bases of French line already painted, I'm fast approaching the maximum number of bases I'll ever need for an Age of Eagles scenario.
Still, I do enjoy painting French infantry. They wear what must be the most beautiful uniform ever fielded, and it's a uniform that rewards a good paint job. As I've developed my painting style, I've gradually started adding more and more detail to the French uniform. I started with red collar, cuffs, and shoulder straps, white lapels and turnbacks, and not much else. Then I started painting the blue cuff button strap and the blue in the center of the shoulder strap. Next I added the white piping on the red cuffs and the red piping on the white turnbacks and lapels. Finally, on this batch, I added the white trim on the red collar. Somewhere in there I started painting all the brass buttons on the cuffs, lapels, and coat vents. If you've followed this blog for any time, you'll remember that I started using two tones on the white bits of the uniform.
The result of all this is that my current French look much, much better than the figures I first painted. And it doesn't take me much more time to acheive this. I used to paint six figures an hour, on average. Now I paint about four per hour. It's not much of a sacrifice in time to produce better quality. I may end up replacing all my earlier French with new figures. Or I may begin basing any newly painted French for a more tactical game system like General de Brigade.
Well, enough of this. The point of this post is not to muse on my lead compulsion, but to exhibit a pose I've not painted before. These are Old Glory's French infantry in full dress, advancing. I much prefer marching poses, but Austin had some advancing figures in his abortive army. These are not quite up to the high sculpting standard of Old Glory's road march figures, but they are still very nice.
French Infantry Full Dress Advancing
Usually when I paint French, I do 24 figures at a time, 4 each of each company. That way I have something approximating the French battalion structure on the tabletop, even if each unit is a brigade. Here we have a company of grenadiers, a company of voltiguers, and four companies of fusiliers. The bases are from Litko, with a metal base from Wargames Accessories glued to the bottom so my figures will adhere to their magnetic carrying case.
Here you can see how I paint the cuffs, collars, and turnbacks, complete with their piping. The greatcoat rolls are just grey over black, but I try to leave enough black in the recesses to show the actual roll. I like this shot because you can really see the bands and barrel on the musket. I do a silver drybrush to bring these out.
I drybrushed the elite companies' plumes on this batch, although I usually just paint them solid. I found the faces quite a challenge on these figures, half hidden as they are behind the muskets. I do try to paint the tricolor cockade, but sometimes the blue doesn't quite stand out enough.