For good or ill I have always had an interest in many different eras in both wargaming and in history in general, and it often happens that I drift off to some new or continuing project or another. In this case, I have been working on a WW1 project set in Italy, and have been working on a large terrain piece as well as a selection of French and Austro-Hungarians.
But this prodigal son always seems to return, sooner or later, to the eighteenth century and the spectacle of lace, tricorns, and the dandified elegance of the French army. So here is a lengthy post to mark the return of the Marquis to my attentions.
Aside from wanting a change from painting field grey and mud, two events are lurking on the horizon that indicate a return to the War of the Austrian Succession is in order. The first is the imminent, if now once-delayed, release of the latest edition of the Koenig Krieg rules. And very nice they are too, if the teasers on the website's forum are anything to go by.
The other is the impending publication of a reprint of Sir Reginald Savory's His Britannic Majesty's Army in the Seven Years' War, a project masterminded by Nigel Billington. While postdating the War of the Austrian Succession, it is well within my sphere of interest, and I am really excited to be able to get my hands on a copy. The last time I read it was back in university, and there is no other comparable work out there on the western theatre of the war.
So, with all this in mind I was happy to have had the time this week to take out some of my Front Rank French, clean then up and give them a coat of primer, and then get to work. I've stared on the 2nd Battalion of the Regt. de Condé.
Twelve figures strong, Koenig Krieg battalions are piddlingly small when compared to this, but given space restrictions and the excruciating time it takes me to paint, units of twelve miniatures are more manageable for me.
The mini standing on the left is completed. I always do a "test" figure first as that way I can find out what I shouldn't do before I have to end up repainting a whole unit, or realizing that I could have saved time and tears if I had painted some parts of the mini in reversed order.
With these figures I found out that it really is easier to start with a black undercoat for all but the justeaucorp, which is undercoated in Ceramcoat's Bridgeport Grey before being highlighted in Soft Grey.
And it really helps to do the face first. I've always left it close to last before, and realize now that this was a big mistake.
Part of the Auvergne brigade in my semi-fictional l'Armée de l'Oise, the Regt. de Condé was unique for having it's drummers wear chamois coats with red facings and carmine lace that was the livery of the Condé family, rather than being dressed in the more familiar blue of the Kings' livery. They were a very powerful family of great repute, so no doubt they could get away with it!
The guy in black skulking around the rear of the photo is a dismounted hussar, to be painted as one of the Hussards de Sarkozy who will be part of a command stand. My miniatures when in the middle of painting always tend to look so demoralizingly messed up, and these are no exception. I'm a slow painter, but I have to say that these are proving very enjoyable to paint- at least once they begin looking like the one on the left!
It has become very obvious that it will take a long time indeed to finish even a brigade. I have decided that I will need either to outsource the lion's share of the painting, or to purchase some painted minis from eBay and touch them up rather than start from scratch. Considering that I need to work on the Pragmatic Army as well, this is really the only way to go.
Not a cheap option, and this will all have to be done in increments, but the problem is that I want to get gaming soon. The answer is to do what the old rule set The Complete Brigadier did. The rules, from way back in 1985 or earlier, came in an attractive box complete with cardboard counters that one could use while the army was being built up.
Yeah, I know, why not just play boardgames then? But I am a miniatures gamer at heart, and the idea of attractively coloured counters is as least as appealing visually as is a table full of unpainted minis, so I sat down at the computer and created some sets of counters using PowerPoint.
Here are some examples. Click on them for a larger view.