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TOPIC: Starting With Napoleonic French
PM Fred
Standard User
Posts: 1
Starting With Napoleonic French
11th Aug 2016 11:48:28

I would say I was just starting out with Napoleonic French but I think I have had the figures for about eight years now and I am now getting around to painting them and basing them up for Marachel d'Empire. I understand that this is a big scale for gaming so a lot of the smaller elements dissapear. I wouldn't say I was confused but I would say that I lack a little bit of information.

I am enjoying the process of painting  and I am going through the figures quicker than I thought. I would be going quicker but despite the painting going well and the painting guides I have (there are an aweful lot of guides that miss out vital things like officers and saddles), which figures to use for some units is still a mystery. I am also worried about being hammered about the details by people who obsess a little too much (fly buttons of thw waffenn SS as a friend of mine puts it).I was hoping that I would get away with it in 6mm but apparently not.

So I am going through the list of miniatures and I am left wondering what to use grenadiers and elite infantry for. Are these seperate units or tag ons for other units, beyond the scale or sperate units.

I have worked out that I have too many Voltigeurs and I was planning to use some of them as a light infantry unit (front rank firing rear rank loading). Would this work and how would I handle officers, colours, drummers etc? 

Which figures do you use for light infantry? I am assuming that this would be either line of voltigeurs with a slight different paint job will suffice.

Finally, I wanted to do a variety of looks for bases. A lot of the bases I have seen online look pretty mundane so I would like something with a bit more variety. Most images I have seen use two lines of twelve (or sometimes three lines) and columns (sometimes one long column an sometimes two shorter ones). Could I get away with a firing line (already mentioned), a square or other formations?

Similarly with the cavalry, I like the idea of ding something a bot more interesting that simple straight lines. I have seen cavalry charges (in a limited way) and they do not keep in a straight line. I was planning something that looks more like a wave and smaller units in echelon. Would this be suitable?

Finally any suggestions for making the bases themselves a little more interesting?



Email dourpuritan PM dourpuritan
Standard User
Posts: 342
Starting With Napoleonic French
11th Aug 2016 01:47:15

I am in a similar position to yourself. despite gaming for the last 50 years, I've never really been bitten by the Napoleonic bug, mainly because the subject was just too big and complicated. However I now have two Peninsular armies for Lasalle. My own feelings are:

a) Get the basic uniform colours right, including cuffs and turnbacks, but don't worry too much about lace etc.

b) I put four grenadiers on one end of a French unit and four voltigeurs on the other. Grenadiers in shako rather than bearskin. 

c) Liven up bases with dead and wounded figures, tuft basing materials, a march column debouching into line - I did this for an ACW unit:

PM Glenn Pearce
Standard User
Posts: 178
Starting With Napoleonic French
Glenn Pearce
12th Aug 2016 12:45:38

Hello Fred!

Nobody really cares how you paint your figures. There yours, paint them anyway you like. Some people are very skilled painters that most of us just admire. The majority are just average. In 6mm your really only trying to paint a unit not a figure. So as long as your unit looks good from three feet away you hit the jack pot.

You don't have extra voltigures. A unit is six stands, one command, three line and two elites (one volt. and one grend.).

Your biggest concern is which basing to use the 60x60 or 60x30. In MdE you can use either two 60x30 = one 60x60 or the 60x60. If you plan to also play GdD or other rule sets then 60x30 would be your best option. The bigger base gives you more options to be more creative on how you mount your figures and what terrain features to add. But, as you can see from the above even the smaller base can be configured in a number of ways. This decision will help you decide your future design choices in 6mm.

Although most of us conform to the normal two lines of 12 infantry (24) or a single line of 9 cavalry thats just the standard that matches the way the figures are sold. So it looks good to most of us (me included) and it simply becomes part of the assembly line procedure to mass produce a number of armies. However some, like the above, are much more creative and produce a number of different looking bases. There are no rules, your free to mount your figures in any way you want, lines, squares, columns, etc. Probably the only thing pretty much everybody tries to do is to try and create the illusion of a unit or two rather then just a smattering of figures. The exception for me and some others is light infantry. For those I use the skirmish figures, four firing and four loading on a base. It also helps people who don't know what the different types of units look like to be able to tell them apart from normal line units.

Have a look at some of the bases on this and some other internet sites and you will quickly see a number of different ways to make the basing a little more interesting. The only limit is your own creativity. This is all part of the 6mm experience, you get to decide exactly how you want your bases to look.

Hope this has been of some assistance to you and if you have any further questions just ask.

Best regards,




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