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"Love the Line, Save the Guard" Topic

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian03 May 2012 10:12 a.m. PST

Writing in Battlegames magazine, Mike Siggins observes:

Learn to love to paint French Line, and save the Guard till last.

Do you agree?

John the OFM03 May 2012 10:24 a.m. PST

That would be counter to the way every wargamer on Earth paints.
Who does he think he is kidding? Is that the way HE painted his French, or is this a case of "Do what I say, not what I do!" grin

Napoleon9103 May 2012 10:28 a.m. PST

That has been my approach to collecting various "armies" over the years. I NEED that carrot on the end of the stick to keep me going…

Besides, you need all of those line troops to shield those precious guardsmen from enemy fire!

JimSelzer Supporting Member of TMP03 May 2012 10:32 a.m. PST

not only that but by the time you are ready to paint your guard your painting skills will be at its best in theory

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP03 May 2012 10:32 a.m. PST

Yes, all elite units ger painted last.

myxemail03 May 2012 10:36 a.m. PST

yep, that is how I do it too. When I did my French years ago I even was disciplined enough to actually write a list of the units and what order they were going to be painted in. The club already had plenty of guard troops on hand and I was not in the mood to use my painting time on stuff that probably was not going make it to the table or have to assert myself to have my guard used in a battle vs someone else's guard figures.

Even to this day I paint my WW II line troops first as well. I want to have a good inventory of mundane stuff before I get into the paratroops, naval infantry, etc.


Tommy2003 May 2012 10:39 a.m. PST

In THEORY, I try to make it a point to paint one line unit for every other unit in the army:

One line company, one cavalry troop.
One line company, one artillery battery.
One line company, one rifle company.

In practice, I usually go online for a couple of hours & then to bed…

Inkbiz03 May 2012 10:40 a.m. PST

Agreed. Elites last of all to be painted. For reasons already mentioned, a reward, a better paint job, and, for some odd anal retentive reason, I like feeling that I've 'earned' my happy time to paint them only after I've put in the time painting loads of regular units.

Lord Raglan03 May 2012 10:42 a.m. PST

Yes, I always leave guard and elite until last.


richarDISNEY03 May 2012 10:56 a.m. PST

Not a Nappy player/painter.

BUT! I do paint on pant lines on some of the troops for my pirates games.

Cerdic03 May 2012 11:22 a.m. PST

My Austrian army is 30 infantry battalions strong. No grenadiers yet and only one battalion of jagers.

SJDonovan03 May 2012 11:23 a.m. PST

I don't agree.

If I had followed that advice and tried to make myself paint all the French line I need before starting on the occasional Old Guard grenadier or Polish lancer I would have given up on Napoleonics years ago.

Why not go the whole hog and say you should paint your artillery limbers before you can paint any infantry? (And don't tell me you don't have to have limbers; because deep down we all know that you do)

Diadochoi03 May 2012 11:45 a.m. PST

Austrians have line, landwher and one battalion of jager, but no Grenadiers. In contrast my French have 4 btns of guards out of a total of 14.

GenWinter03 May 2012 11:55 a.m. PST

Siggins is right. I painted the French line first. There is no such thing as painting a unit or two of the guard. So paint it all or not at all. The guard was deployed in its entirety or, generally, not at all. I am using a qualifier there because I am sure someone could come up with an example or two of an individual battalion of the Guard fighting by itself or deployed with the line troops.

I have never taken on painting the guard because, in 28mm, it would crowd out the rest of the army on the table top.

Also, it is always satisfying to defeat the enemy guard with your line troops.

Greg C.

boomstick8603 May 2012 12:19 p.m. PST

When I began painting my first Napoleonic miniatures, I took this approach to shield the best troops from my initial inexperience. There's such a difference between the first and last ones I rolled out.

pancerni203 May 2012 12:40 p.m. PST

As a Napoleonic wargamer for over 30 years, with an extensive collection of both 28mm and 40mm units, I have one unit of the guard…middle guard fusilier grenadiers…and I'n not sure why I have them.


torokc03 May 2012 12:43 p.m. PST

I have approximately 5,000 French and French allies in my collection and not one member of the Guard! Although I do have the Russian and British Guard in my allied army collections.

Kevin in Albuquerque Supporting Member of TMP03 May 2012 1:04 p.m. PST

Not me. I painted Line and Guard (or other elite, but the Old Guard Grenadiers were the first elites) at the same time. I find I have to paint two different units (with differing uniforms at least) in order to not become bored with the whole thing.

Esquire Supporting Member of TMP03 May 2012 1:13 p.m. PST

Whenever any new member to the group asks what he/she might paint, the answer is always the same -- "You can paint French line and we know that you will use them." Paint guard and it depends. I hate having units that don't fight because we don't need them. Can't recall the last time I pulled out my OG gren and chasseurs.

rabbit03 May 2012 1:28 p.m. PST

There is a saying in our Group… "it is funny how everyone gets the best first"

I am proud to report that after 1700 or so 28mm Russian figs, collected over more than 30 years I do not possess a Russian Guard Unit, I do not count the Pavlovs as they did not join the Guard until 1813 and my orbat is for Borodino.

I am glad I have no Guards as
1, my painting skills have got better,
2, the detail on the figs has got better

So if I had rushed in in the late 70s, they would look lousy against the later stuff.

Maybe once I hit 2000 figs…

No get the line and the Militia first, the guard can wait.


COL Scott0again03 May 2012 1:58 p.m. PST

I like Flintloque's advice it seems to give a bit of a reward after laboring although he still didn't talk guards just breaking the monotony.

I personally don't have guard, but highlanders --- hello check out my last name. (I even listen to bagpipe music while painting)

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP03 May 2012 2:03 p.m. PST

I've been in and out of Napoleonics for nearly 40 years and I've never painted the Guard. Because you hardly ever get to use them, and because there's always someone else willing to paint them (just try stopping them).

I think the real advantage of waiting to paint the Old Guard last is that they are, in fact, easier to paint than the line – there's none of that *&@%'ed piping! It's kind of a gift to one's self for suffering through all that line and legere.

Note that I've never felt I had enough line and legere to justify painting Old Guard, so for me that gift is still in the wrapping.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP03 May 2012 4:03 p.m. PST

I don't like the guard, pansies, not worth their fancy uniforms, I take the 13th Legere over the old guard any day.

pessa0003 May 2012 4:14 p.m. PST

Years ago, the first bit of advice on painting I ever read was Quarrie advising to paint line first and get your painting skills up, then do the guard. Good advice too.

But I realised recently I was still doing that 25 years later! 25 years where I have painted as an amateur and as a full time professional. Ridiculous. I would say I am sufficiently experienced by now!

Even still, however, I always paint a standard unit of any new army first before going onto anything ‘special.' Just to get a feel for the miniatures (particuarly if from a new manufacturer), the uniforms for the period and all that stuff..

Maxshadow03 May 2012 5:28 p.m. PST

Yes good advice from Mr Siggins. Except that personaly French line are one of the few troops I enjoy painting.
I have 21 French Line and Leger three more and I'll start on my AB young Guard.

John the OFM03 May 2012 5:48 p.m. PST

I don't believe any of you. grin

Keeping the Guard to last is like keeping Tiger tanks or the Iron Bigade till last.

pessa0003 May 2012 6:30 p.m. PST

John, the look I'd get from across the table if I deployed em would be enough to stop me doing the French Guard (though I did sneak in some Italian Guard)

uruk hai03 May 2012 8:41 p.m. PST

If you're painting Austrians don't you detach the grenadiers from the parent unit?

Personal logo Narratio Supporting Member of TMP03 May 2012 9:13 p.m. PST

Personally I prefer the grunt units. line over Guard, MkIV's over Tigers and such.

But, you have to admit that it gets a bit irritating when the first product out on a manufacturers list(And yes Airfix, I'm looking at you!) is Scot highlanders or Imperial / Grenadier Guardsmen or Tiger II's or similar. This has obvuiously improved a lot over the years (okay, decades damn it!)but there's still a leaning by makers to put out the flashier stuff first.

pessa0003 May 2012 9:34 p.m. PST

Hence many peoples disappointment when Victrix released French Guard before, say, French line foot artillery!

Not everyone, but many…

pbishop1203 May 2012 10:43 p.m. PST

I game the Peninsula 28MM, General de Brigade. No Guards in either my French or British armies. I may get around some day to 2 battalions British Foot Guards, but have no reason to acquire French. It would become imagi-nation gaming then.

Spanish are still in the planning stage (I'm in Iraq so everything is dormant for a while). If I do some Spanish Guards, I would treat them no different to a line regiment, so I suspect I'd lack the enthusiams to devote any labor of love.

DJCoaltrain03 May 2012 11:04 p.m. PST

John the OFM 03 May 2012 5:48 p.m. PST

I don't believe any of you.

Keeping the Guard to last is like keeping Tiger tanks or the Iron Bigade till last.

*NJH: I have untold numbers of ACW. No Iron Brigade, No Stonewall Brigade, and I don't miss them. There are scads of battles that took place without either of them. I do have some Berdan's Rifles, but only because they came as part of a trade – otherwise I wouldn't have them either. I have limbers for my artillery instead.

I painted tons of Napoleonics Brits, Prussians, Austrians, Russians, French, again no Guard for any of them. First, too many others had already painted Grds, and I didn't have to. Second, there are a lot of battles to be done w/o any Grds units present, much less used.

SJDonovan04 May 2012 1:51 a.m. PST

Well, who knew that TMP-ers were such a sensible bunch of chaps? I'm surprised manufacturers bother making the Old Guard. There clearly isn't a market for them.

advocate04 May 2012 2:30 a.m. PST

Only one or two said they hadn't bought them – they may be taking their historical role and sitting in reserve in the lead mountain :o)

SJDonovan04 May 2012 3:34 a.m. PST

Good point. Maybe this is why Napoleon was so reluctant to commit the Guard – he hadn't got round to painting them.

kevanG04 May 2012 3:45 a.m. PST

I save the best until last…

so it was French line lancers…but I have a corp of 360 guard figures!

I did do the paint line…paint something else…paint line… paint cavalry etc etc method.

I always have…i just do it in batches of 60 to 100 figures at a time!

Hazkal04 May 2012 5:26 a.m. PST

I don't paint units, but in painting up singles for skirmish I did start with French Line. After all, if they came out looking bad, it matters less; I do like to mix in voltigeurs, grenadiers, officers etc to break up the monotony.

myxemail04 May 2012 7:40 a.m. PST

When I was first getting into Napoleonics, it was mentioned to me that "if everyone has guard, then no one has elite"


le Grande Quartier General04 May 2012 7:52 a.m. PST

I am just finishing my 1809 French 6mm efforts up, and am about to move on to Bavarians. There are 5000+ pieces, and only one bit left to do- all the Guard inf, Art, and Cav, and the figures for Napoleon and his staff! I'm pretty sure they will end up some of the highest quality painting I've done after all that practice…

Lion in the Stars04 May 2012 9:05 a.m. PST

My problem is that I get burned out after painting ~40 figures all the same, and I have ended up with 40-60 figure battalions, plus skirmishers…

So I need to do *something* to break up the monotony. No Guards in my Napoleonics, but I'm building Craufurd's Light Division. I think I only have two battalions of actual redcoats in the force! (Fuentes de Onoro, why do you ask?)

The more interesting part of the discussion will be for my colonial troops… all that drab and khaki…

TMPWargamerabbit06 May 2012 8:33 p.m. PST

Started painting Napoleonics 25/28mm 1975. After 3400 or so French Napoleonics… I still have no French OG infantry. Finished the French Guard cavalry in 2011, but they tend to see some action. As for the rest of the 17k napoleonic miniature collection, the Austrians have their grenadiers, no Russian Guard infantry yet but the Guard cavalry is painted, a few English Guard units (btns.) and the Prussian guard painted. Minor states generally have their "Guards" painted.

Some day….. till then, I borrow a friends OG infantry.

Clay the Elitist06 May 2012 9:59 p.m. PST

I agree with this…

1968billsfan Supporting Member of TMP07 May 2012 5:05 a.m. PST

I find that everyone has complete French guard units, so why bother- you version will not get on the table very often.

Also, the Imperial Guard was a body escort for Napoleon, a training ground to generate new officers and a final threat that influenced much without fighting often. Rules should punish the French player who gets them shot up!

le Grande Quartier General07 May 2012 9:49 a.m. PST

If I'm playing the French in a campaign, I sure want them! Mighty handy in a pinch…but they are, and were, always a calculated risk to use, and would be husbanded. Rules that don't count a dead guardsman as a greater negative than a line soldier in the victory/defeat tally aren't a good model.

le Grande Quartier General07 May 2012 1:52 p.m. PST

Coincidentaly read earlier--

"The truth is, it is difficult to give a proper idea of the conduct of the Old Guard. To the cursory reader it seems strange that it acquired such a reputation. This arises from the fact that it always acted as a reserve, and had nothing to do with the main movements of the army, which it is the duty of the historian to describe. To stem the torrent of defeat, to give impulse to a great movement, to strengthen an exhausted column, and by being here and there and in every place where help was needed, and with unbroken front in the midst of disorder and calm resolute hearts in the midst of fear and panic, that it gained its renown. The discomfited soldier gazed in astonishment on the cool courage which triumphed where he had failed, and broken ranks viewed with wonder the steady march on batteries which had shattered them to fragments. Called in only when the other troops gave way, and manœuvring and charging with the same determined bravery in the midst of a panic as in the flush of victory, they were looked upon as superior to the ordinary emotions and fears of mortals. And nothing does show the sublime elevation of this invincible body of men more than their freedom from the contagion of example, being always sufficient in themselves, and steadiest and bravest the moment of greatest disaster and fear. It was this peculiarity that gave the Guard influence over the soldiers and made its presence like the shout of victory. The whole army came to regard it as exempt from ordinary duty in a battle-field, too great to be employed in ordinary fighting, and to be called upon only when the bravest troops gave way. Its charge was looked upon as an unalterable decree against the enemy written in the book of fate. Its stern and measured tread never faltered, against its adamantine sides cavalry thundered in vain, while before its levelled bayonets the firmest array went down. Napoleon knew its power and increased its strength to the greatest limit it could bear."

14Bore07 May 2012 3:32 p.m. PST

Only if it's a painting contest, or your planning to go to a painting contest. If your going to a war game paint what you need

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP07 May 2012 3:47 p.m. PST

I paint line units first. No, I do not have limbers for Napoleonics. I have them only for ACW.

heavyhorse07 May 2012 5:29 p.m. PST

I always picked a historical orginazation..usualy from one of Nafzingers orders of battle and did that as my corps or division, depending on the senario..our club would pick a period like 1805-1807 and go from there…read some background on the battles and get a feel for what you liked and build it..we used Empire and 25mm/28mm later we converted the scale from 1:60 to 1:20 got better visuals but everyone picked out something from the historcal record to build…

14Bore08 May 2012 2:55 p.m. PST

I was thinking today my Prussian Light Cavalry Regiment is pretty shabby at 30 years old, maybe time to re-do it

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