Saturday, 13 January 2018

From PeteF: Old School Minifigs 56eme Ligne (120 points)

I have a lot of painting old school 25mm Minifigs ahead of me. I started wargaming with Airfix soldiers and Minifigs in the 1970s - using Bruce Quarrie's Airfix rules (I'd love to get hold of an old copy - but $150 on Ebay!).

At the time - and up until the early 2000s my Dad collected and painted the Anglo Allied 100 days army - aiming for 1 figure per 25 actual men - the battalions are 20-30 strong. Mostly Minifigs with some Hinchcliffe/Foremost. This army was to have been adopted by my brother, but he passed away in 2016, so the army is coming to me. There are thousands of them - most still wrapped in boxes in the UK ready for transportation when people visit us here in the US.

The problem is balance - the army needs opposition, mainly in the form of French line infantry. Minifigs can be had from Calivers (and I give them a lot of credit for taking over the molds) but they keep the VAT AND charge a lot for shipping (much more than actual cost, especially if you take the VAT cheekiness into account) - so I am always on the lookout for cheap French Ligne. Calivers orders are a special treat.

I picked up most of these guys at Enfilade! 2017 (sidenote: if you are in the PNW over memorial day weekend Enfilade! is a lot of fun) where somebody had donated them to the NWHGMS - they ended up costing me 15 cents each (instead of $2.20 from the UK). This is the second of my Enfilade! battalions and I'm looking forward to hunting around at this year's bring and buy to see if I can find any more like this.

Out of habit I base these for Airfix even though there isn't much chance they'll ever fight those rules - 15mmx20mm for each infantry figure. 6 companies of 4 figures each. In Airfix rules each figure representes 33 men making for largish - fully manned - battalions of around 800 men. They work great for Black Powder and I'm looking at trying some other rulesets this year (ESR, Over the Hills and Shako) with our wargaming group.

Most of the 100 days army that are based are blu-tacked onto card - one of my projects it to get the whole lot onto wood with the PVA/crushed cat litter/flock/static grass/tufts/moss combo that I use.

The flags I do are from and home inkjet printed on linen paper. I like the way they come out. 

French Blue - I never found a Vallejo colour that works for Ligne but thanks to someone's blog I discovered Lifecolor Matt French Blue - I like the way this turns out (mixing with Vallejo dark prussian blue for basecoat and magic blue for highlights).

It was a lot of fun to paint these - Minifigs mean reminiscing about taking over the dining room table for days on end and thinking about family. I don't mind the somewhat static look of the serried ranks compared with modern 28mm, or 1805 uniforms standing in for 1815 uniforms. Still trying to figure out the best way to paint piping and the little "N's".

Voltigeurs get the horn. Fusiliers get an "N".

Nassauers fighting for the French

The last time I wargamed with my brother I was the French and had to use Nassau troops for one of my Brigades. The 56th Ligne takes me 1 battalion closer to the goal of an all French French army. 

My brother contemplating his next move against the turncoat Nassauers

1st & 2nd companies with command group

24 x 25mm all infantry - Minifigs (standard bearer might be another manufacturer) mostly from 1980s - 120 points.

What a fabulous start to the day Pete, wonderful work Sir.  I do marvel at the sheer spectacle of Napoleonic troops, but strangely have no desire to paint any myself, probably to do with my lack of patience and the fear of falling foul of the dreaded button counters.  These have a wonderful nostalgia  to them and I do hope that you are successful in completing your army.  A well deserved 120 points.


  1. Lovely to see Minifigs, especially in such spectacular array. Excellent style of painting, too. My first metal figs were Minifigs, around 1970, and I still have some of them. They've a certain unique character.

  2. Wow, that really takes me back! I had absolutely loads of Minifig Naps when I started gaming. Mine were never anything like as beautifully painted though.

  3. You had me at Minifigs! Love these minis. The old school Minifigs had a simple toy soldier elegance that still looks great when painted up nicely like you've done. Excellent brushwork, and looking forward to more.

  4. I always thought the minifigs proportions were pretty good, you've done them justice, I'm just surprised you didn't use them in the childhood bonus round!
    Best Iain

  5. The first time I went to a war game show was in the 80's and these fellows remind me of the Napoleonic battle a club was playing there. They are exquisite! All that piping and detail on these little lads and eyes too!
    Wonderful work!

  6. True nostalgia this! I owned only a few before moving onto GW games but they are still special to me. You've done a great job on them!

  7. Well done! I get to see Pete's Napoleonic figures on a regular basis. He does excellent work.

  8. I solder a heap of these to a guy at the club I see if he still has them I might be able to get them and if so I'll send them to you. Great job on these figures very very nice

    1. Thanks - I'm always looking to add to the Minifigs Mountain Galpy! Until I get to 3 or 4 thousand I won't have enough French. And I don't have any Prussians at all... Let me know what you find out.

  9. This takes me back - quite the collection of vintage lead there, Pete, well done!

  10. Great looking figures but maybe more importantly a great story about the history of gaming in your family. Great to hear that it has been a family thing and that you got to keep the collection. Too often those things pass out of the family after the original gamer passes on.

  11. A wonderful post and an excellent unit of French line - I'm sure your brother would be delighted at the new addition. My first experience with Napoleonic gaming was in the 80s with a friend's massive collection of Minifigs. In my mind, that collection is still the benchmark for my own work. I've been thinking of Minifigs for a few months now, so I might take a dip into the catalogue (though the idea of them keeping the VAT for offshore purchases is repellent to my sensibilities). Thanks for the great post.