Thursday, February 7, 2008

15mm Napoleonic Austrian Hussars

I like painting all figures in all periods. I have painted everything from ancient Egypt through the US Army of the 1990s. I have armies in 6mm, 10mm, 15mm, 1/72, 28mm, and 54mm. I have only been painting for ten years, but I've managed to at least sample every scale and every period.

Last summer I built a 28mm Napoleonic Austrian army. I know, I know. How did I avoid snow blindness? Well, it was partly by wearing my Ray-Bans, but it was mostly through taking breaks to paint some of the Austrians' more colorful units.

And there are no more colorful European units in the Napoleonic Wars than the Austrian Hussars. They were the originals; every other country imitated the Hungarian horsemen. The Austrian hussars performed admirably throughout the Napoleonic Wars. If a game or scenario designer rates them anything less than elite, you can safely assume that designer has an anti-Austrian bias.

My first Austrian hussars were the Hesse-Homburg Hussaren, and I fell in love. Hard. I admired the cut of that uniform in a way that made me very uncomfortable. The apple green jackets. The bright blue shako. The cherry red breeches. The gold and black braid. What could be more beautiful? When I die, I want my Hesse-Homburg Hussaren lacquered and affixed to my tombstone so that future generations will know that I experienced some beauty in my life.

So when it came time to build Austrians in 15mm, I dove right in to the hussars. And they've left me a little cold. It's not the figures. It's not the colors. It's just that 15mm may be too small to capture the awesome splendor of the Austrian hussars. Maybe I was meant to paint 28mm Napoleonics instead.

The figures are Old Glory "Austrian Hussars / Full Dress / Reserve." They're fine. There isn't a thing wrong with these figures. Nothing I can point to and say "that's a little disappointing." But they just don't have the magic.

Stipsicz Hussars
Click pictures for larger images.

Palatin Hussars