Saturday, 7 January 2017

From ByronM: 28mm Napoleoinic French Dragoons (120 points)

Let me preface this whole entry with the statement....  I HATE HORSES!  Both in real life and in miniatures. 

In real life I have never understood why after the invention of motorcycles people would ever choose to ride something with 1 horsepower when they can have something with 150 horsepower, I mean the choice is obvious.   
I mean really, is there even a choice as to which is better to ride?
150+ HP and pure sex on wheels, or 1 HP and smells like manure....
In miniature, painting horses intimidates me as they are much like painting human flesh, just a lot more of it.  It is really hard to get right, insanely easy to screw up, and everyone will notice and point out when it isn't right.  Therefore I really try to avoid painting horses if at all possible.

I have however needed to get a unit of cavalry done for my (very slowly) growing 28mm French Napoleonic force for a while now, and this unit got primed for last years challenge and then set aside as I just didn't want to deal with them.  This year I decided I better get to them sooner rather than later or they would once again roll over to the next years challenge.



Theses are all the plastic 28mm Perry Miniatures Dragoons with a Flag Dude banner.  Knowing that I disliked the horses, I started with them.  Having read that the Dragoons were the bottom of the Cavalry types (having started as infantry being trained as cavalry) and therefore very often had to deal with any mounts they obtain rather than being able to count on standard or uniform mounts for a regiment, I decided to make the unit up of as many different types of horses as I could.  Not knowing anything about horses though I had to go looking to find out what kinds and colours they did have.

 After finding out about Bays, Palominos, Chestnuts, Greys, and more, I got to work.  Then I found out about facial markings and socks.  Did I mention, I hate horses?  Anyway, after far too long on the painting table, I came out with the following which I am actually OK with.  Which is fairly uncommon for me, as I tend to think of 80% of the stuff I paint as crap, but despite my dislike for the animals and painting them, I am actually OK with how these look.


Done with the horses and basing, it was time to move onto the Dragoons themselves.  Which led to another love/hate issue.  I really love the Napoleonic era and the games it produces, and I really love the figures when completed, BUT could they not have made simpler uniforms!!!!  Jackets one colour, piping another, facing another, every unit having little modifications to the standard, ARRRRRGGGGG. 

The Dragoons traditionally had a green jacket with scarlet facing, white gloves, and wore a gold helmet with a black mane.  Several units had slightly different piping around the facings or cuffs.


I am very sure I did some things wrong with the colours, for example I found 2 sites that said grey pants, then later found several others that all said a light tan or beige pant was the standard.  However, at this point they look OK on the table as a unit and that is how they are going to stay that way.  I am sure I will get slammed for not being historically accurate with them at some point.


Minor issues aside, while I disliked painting the project, I am actually OK with the results close up, and I am very happy with how they look on the tabletop.  Which is what Napoleonics are all about, tabletop effect, and that they have. 

So one full unit of 12 Dragoons based and ready for some games.  That should net me 120 points for my total.  

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Beautiful work Byron. These Dragoons look tremendous! Your whining aside, I think you've done a terrific job on your horses, troopers and groundwork. I especially like the blending and definition on the horses -  really lovely stuff there. I like this box of Perry plastics - the figures produce such wonderful looking units all of which just cries out to be painted and enjoyed.

'Simple uniforms' and 'Napoleonic Period' are two completely divergent concepts, Byron. You have to come to terms with that or move onto something like Necrons. ;) The entire reason I collect and paint Napoleonics is the completely mental uniforms. Next to Italian Wars and Samurai, I don't know anything that can beat Napoleonics for variation and colour.

121 well-earned points for you Mr. M; including a little extra for the proud Eagle and it's banner. I look forward to seeing these on the tabletop soon. Great job.

31 comments:

  1. Well done Byron, those turned out very well. Quit beating up on yourself, and on the equines of the world while you're at it. Curt's right that the colours of Napoleonic (or any horse and musket) period is a lot of the attraction, and IMHO horses are the fun part of painting cavalry.

    As for the detail, I think you'll find that white pants were dress and grey (or brown) overalls were worn on campaign. Either works fine, as does a mix. FYI, I find the minutiae of small differences in camo way more daunting than facing colours any day.

    Anyway, great entry.

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  2. Wonderful work Byron. For someone who (clearly!) doesn't like painting horses you have done a cracking job! I really like it when someone takes the time to paint a breadth of colours and markings as it makes a unit look a lot more convincing.

    PS. For future reference, musicians often rode greys to help them stand out but it is not an absolute rule. On campaign anyone who lost a mount often had it replaced (if it was replaced) with whatever was available.

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    1. Thanks Micheal, yeah I had planned it that way, and the guys are not glued down yet so i may end up moving the musician to the grey next to the comander and shuffle the order. The issue is, i glued the horses in for basing and with the spacing they end up fitting and looking better (I think) as they are now for the 3 important ones (banner, commander, musician), you are correct though that its not the proper layout...visually I like this layout though... Sigh, see, too many rules with napoleonics.... :-)

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  3. Excellent work they look tremendous!

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  4. I can sympathise with your aversion to painting horses, I often put off painting my cavalry units too. However, yours look lovely! Taking the time to paint them differently and the little details like the numbers on the saddle cloths really brings them to life!

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  5. If I had just looked at the pictures before reading the post, I would have thought "these were done by someone who loves painting Napoleonic cavalry" as you are clearly very good at painting them! Those Dragoons look much nicer than Space Marines on motor bikes.

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  6. Painting cavalry units always feels like a chore to me, but they look great once they are finished. Your Dragoons look fantastic and will look great on table!

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  7. Great work Byron - the unit looks fantastic.

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  8. OK? You think they are OK. Good grief man these are beautiful. I love them,

    Ian

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  9. They look grand. What a shame you don't like horses still each to their own. But despite the dislike I personally think they look very good indeed.

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  10. these are fantastic i think you can put aside fears of painting horses well done

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  11. Well I think you've done a great job on these including the horses!! I also think we need to see MORE Napoleonic horse from you....how about some Hussars next?!?!?

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  12. Bravo on overcoming your fear and loathing of painting horses Byron - you've done a superb job on these and on their riders too :)

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  13. Fantastic stuff! Those horses are really well done, so worth the considerable effort. And let me get this right, you painted this unit despite disliking both horses and napoleonic uniforms? Tell me you enjoy basing at least!

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  14. My name is Sander and I HATE painting horses too, perhaps we could start a self-help-group? Back on topic: for someone who hates doing them, you painted these horses up brilliantly! The riders are great too ;-)

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    1. I am so in that group! I have a little less hatred of painting them now after doing all the research and learning a bunch on these, but they still are pretty far down my list for what I would prefer to paint.

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    2. OH you poor damaged souls. What childhood trauma led to this sorry state of affairs?

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    3. See, this is an argument for painting as a group activity. I know that goes against the sacred tenets of our hobby, but everyone seems to have their preferences. I, for example, have always enjoyed painting cavalry; I like painting tanks, too, and I've heard people grouse about that. Whereas I find painting large numbers of infantry to be an eye-bleeding slog. What I need to do is find someone who hates painting cavalry and tanks but loves painting infantry, then get our styles to match, and then we'll be all set!

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    4. I am with you David, group painting goes a long way to help solve issues. As you learn more, things get easier. Sounds like we are at similar thinking about a few things. I hated tanks too before, when I tried to paint them GW style all clean and perfect, now that I know how to do them chipped and weathered, it is FAR (2-3x) faster and far easier to come out with something I like the looks of. I am with you on large numbers of infantry as well, I find that as I have gotten older I find it harder and harder to stay on 1 group or type of figures, I find that working on skirmish type games or groups of figures up to 10-15 is far easier to maintain focus and interest on.

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  15. You may have hate the journey, but the destination is worth it I think - these guys look fantastic

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  16. Great looking dragoons and horses they both look fabulous!
    Best Iain

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  17. Lovely looking dragoons Byron! I wouldn't sweat the button counters in the hobby as they are your figures and if you are happy with them which it appears you are then that's all that matters.

    I used to not like painting horses, but I've done quite a few so I've pretty much come to terms with them, but don't get me started on straps....

    Christopher

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  18. For somebody who professes to hate painting Napleonics, you've turned out a product that would make any grognard satisfied. Quite lovely.

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  19. I feel your pain with painting horses! Absolute pain! Great job on them though!

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  20. Your perseverance paid off! This is one impressive unit of horsemen.

    (I feel your pain re: complex outfits. My masochism of choice is samurai, and every time I paint them I have the same thoughts - "Why couldn't you guys have opted for simpler patterns??")

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  21. I suffer the reverse of your condition Sir...I wouldn't swing leg over one of those 2 wheeled death machines and go out into traffic with vehicles that could snuff you in an instant and never know it! And there is indeed something profound about the relationship between man and mount. Bikes just don't appeal to this old trooper. That said, your Dragoons are awesome! Glad you took the time to bring them before us!

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  22. They look good. I really enjoy painting horses now. Much more than human skin tones. ha ha! Conquer the horse flesh and you won't look back.
    Nice painting. Cheers

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