Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blue Moon Napoleonic French Infantry in Campaign Dress

I spent the past four weeks lavishing my painting attention on 120 Napoleonic French fusiliers.  These are all French in the 1806-1812 uniform, campaign dress, from Blue Moon Manufacturing. 

I base my infantry four to a stand, with 3/4" frontage and 1" depth.  This is the preferred basing for Age of Eagles, which is my usual rules set for large, multi-corps battles.  It also works well for General de Brigade, my favorite tactical set.

Old Glory has done a great job promoting their new Blue Moon line, but I have seen many gamers complaining that the figures may be too large to fit comfortably on bases for 15mm figures.  I had no problem at all getting these figures to fit, and I find the end result very pleasing.

I wanted my campaign dress French to have a suitably scruffy appearance, so I went with five different colors of shako cover and seven different colors of trousers.

As these are line infantry, I went with uniform grey for their rolled overcoats.  For light infantry, I would have made them all tan.  Although these figures are small, I went all out and painted the white piping on cuffs and collars and the red piping on shoulderboards and turnbacks.

Once I applied the flock, I gave the base work a glue wash to ensure that it stays in place.  The figures then got a sealing coat of gloss clear lacquer, an airbrushed coat of gloss acrylic lacquer, and a spray of Testor's Dullcote.  The figures thus have two solid layers of lacquer to ensure that they will not chip, and the Dullcote eliminates any sheen.

(L-R: Battle Honors, Blue Moon, AB, Blue Moon, Eureka, Blue Moon, Old Glory, Blue Moon, Old Glory)

I've read comments from a number of gamers who write that, while they admire the sculpting on the Blue Moon figures, they do not plan to buy any "18mm" figures for fear that they will look too large on the table.  To show just how mistaken this view is, I took a series of comparison shots, mixing Blue Moon with the other manufacturers that I field in my armies.  As you can see from the picture, Blue Moon actually offer a good compromise between the larger and smaller "15mm" figures.

(L-R: Battle Honors, Blue Moon, AB) 

AB remain the largest figures in the 15mm-18mm size.  Battle Honors are some of the smallest troops in my French army.  Although the Blue Moon are larger, they do not seem out of scale.

(L-R: Eureka, Blue Moon, Old Glory) 

Eureka and the old Old Glory line are both larger than Blue Moon, but only slightly.  The long bayonets on the other figures make the Blue Moon figures appear smaller than they are.

(L-R: Blue Moon, Old Glory)

The smallest figures in my army are these ancient Old Glory figures.  They are indeed short, but they are also leaning forward, which makes them appear even smaller.  Again, I have no problem fielding both of these ranges on my table.

That's probably enough on the size of the figures.  How do I like them overall?  Well, they are not quite up to AB's standard.  Still, they are in the ballpark.  If AB gets an A+, these figures get a solid B.  I love AB figures and consider them the best historical miniatures available in any scale.

Still, for wargaming, AB have one large drawback: their bayonets tend to bend and break.  I have some veteran AB units where a third of the figures have broken bayonets.  These Blue Moon figures are much more robust.  I doubt I ever get a broken bayonet or musket barrel on these figures.

Cost does matter to me too.  I will splurge from time to time, but for the rank and file of my army, I look for the best compromise between price and quality.  AB cost $.70 apiece.  These Blue Moon cost me $.30 apiece.  I like a lot of figures on the table, and that $.40 difference really adds up when my figure count tops 1,000.

I'm sold on these Blue Moon figures.  As I add more troops to my Napoleonic armies, I will turn to Blue Moon first.


  1. amazing detail for the 18mm figures perhaps its just better sculpting of the Blue Moon figures

  2. Hi Scott, wonderful painting on the Blue Moon figures - I must confess mine are still sitting in their undercoat on the "to do" pile. I think you've hit the nail on the head when you say they sit between AB and OG in quality terms. Unlike you, I paint so slowly that the additional cost isn't a concern with the ABs.

    You've done a great job with these - but I wish BM had made more than three variants for each rank and file pack. Very impressive painting indeed.

  3. Beautifully done, detail goes unpainted in your armies!

    I agree on the scale issue. When I read rants about Blue Moon (or Xyston) figs being too tall, I can't spot it at playing distance and its not a significant factor in the photos. I've got to try BM ancient figs one day.

  4. Great post. Insight piece on Blue Moon bayonet and rifle length. I too have a mixture of 15 and 18, and it doesn't bother me.

  5. Magnificent photos! The BM figs are really hitting the mark, and your painting shows that to the nth degree!

    If I wasn't already so commited to 28's, I'd go with these in a heartbeat.


  6. Nice to see these painted up. I've been a little leery of the posing, but here it doesn't seem so dramatic, just gives a nice sense of movement. You've done good work here, especially in breaking up the figures with colour variations.

  7. Wow these look great. Beautful paint jobs.

  8. Nice post on scale as well as some great painting, great work. Thanks for making my mind up for me, I think I'll be getting some Blue Moon chaps soon I think.

  9. They all look TOO GOOD! Well done, have you ever happened yo hear of a book collection by Historie and Collectible (?) on the Napoleonic Wars, they're expensive but quite good! As I said earlier, these figures are really well painted...and based! Look forward to your next army! Regards David