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mysteron Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 4:46 a.m. PST

This I think is one of the most complex periods I could have chosen.

I can compare it to treading carefully through a minefield with a pokey stick just waiting for a mine to go off. There seems to be so many pit falls and even manufacturers get it wrong occasionally . I saw a comment some time ago about the Warlord French Lancers with the blanket roll being on the wrong side of the figure.
I think a major problem is the uniforms changed through the ages which makes it more complicated in picking the right models. I am doing Waterloo and luckily for me the Perry's range is comprehensive and there is an excellent Waterloo Uniform guide on the web.
I havn't yet chosen a rules set for my own use but David Brown's new rules are looking favourite as I already have Pickets Charge for my ACW . Black Powder is the adopted rules for our club.
There are lots of books out there and sometimes you feel bombarded with information and sometimes conflicting information depending on when the book was written !

And I havn't started painting yet…………….

Jabba Miles07 Mar 2017 4:50 a.m. PST

Welcome to the wacky world of Naps :)

Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 4:52 a.m. PST

You're doomed…

Guthroth07 Mar 2017 4:53 a.m. PST

I'm a 15mm heretic. As far as I'm concerned Belgic shakos in the Peninsular are fine. Just enjoy the game and tell the button counters to s*d off :-)

setsuko07 Mar 2017 4:55 a.m. PST

Yes, the only one forcing you to get everything perfectly 100% correct would be yourself. I'm aiming for a force reasonable close to 1812, so some uniforms are a bit on the earlier side, and some are a tad too late in some cases. But it's close enough for me, and that's what matters.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 5:02 a.m. PST

The answer is surely just to get started and learn as you go along. Half the fun is picking up tips and retaining the info.

You'll, at first, have the spongeman wrong side of the gun 50% of the time, same applies to the King's and Regt colour or the Grenadier and Light Companies in line. Blanket goes over right shoulder to protect sword arm and chances are your opponent and will attack you from that side, so as not to cut off his own horse's head!

Just enjoy it and follow this forum. Nothin wrong with counting buttons, it just ds how seriously everybody takes it

Larry R07 Mar 2017 5:18 a.m. PST

Its like any other hobby. You can't let idiots ruin it for you. Decide what you want out of it and go for it. Having fun, camaraderie with the right people and learning history is what does it for me. I am pretty anal in other areas of my life without me bringing it to my hobbies.

smolders07 Mar 2017 5:29 a.m. PST

Yes, I agree that The Napoleonic period is very daunting for the neophyte, but I also agree that the answer to the issue is buy the figures you like and ignore the "button counters" (I term I shall steal and use in future 'cos its a good 'un!)

rick3207 Mar 2017 5:39 a.m. PST

I started Napoleonics with the movie, Waterloo, Waterloo battlefield guide and Airfix figures. Then into 6mm Heroics/Ros, Sharpe books and a book on a he 1812 campaign. My earliest "proper" wargames units have French units consisting entirely of Voltigeurs or Fusiliers or Grenadiers but never mixed. That is because I painted up packs of HR and based them when a pack was done. I shudder when these units take the field because my newest ones are much more accurate (although my fusiliers in regiments are all the same company because I do not like the Christmas tree look). My Napoleonic library is now in the hundreds and I paint up units at a time vs packs. Only I am concerned about cuffs, collars, turn backs, flags etc. Rivet counters have never ruined my enjoyment of the Napoleonic period and I now have figures in 6mm, 15mm and 28mm. I never wanted to do the Egyptian campaign but I do want to paint up the Perry miniatures that were just released. Call me a fanatic…

Welcome to the period. Relax, make yourself comfortable and stay awhile. And remember that every regiment will be better painted then the previous one so save the sophisticated ones for last…

mysteron Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 5:45 a.m. PST

I have already had to defend one of my decisions and that is the colour for my French musician. My friend said my musician should wear the green jacket. I said not as many wore blue. I guessing this changed from green to blue when King Louis 18th was on the throne and many wore this colour at Waterloo. For his French army of 1812 this was correct but for mine only some wore the green . That's just one example without lifting a brush yet! lol

So Deadhead can give me a cheer , I will be having my sponge men on the right of the gun barrel as they are with my ACW .Also my Brits colours will be the right way round as well as I know about that trap or mine in my case !

And I thought WW2 was complicated !

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian07 Mar 2017 5:55 a.m. PST

Getting the uniforms right is nice, but not necessary. Depending on the rules you use it might make a difference if the troops are painted as a particular battalion (one of the joys are the obscure units) but at 1 figure is 100 men you only need 6-8 figures for that uniform.

Napoleonics is often about BIG battles. Some of the details can get lost when there are 50-60 thousand of men on each side.

Pick the campaigns you want to fight and paint lots of LINE troops

4th Cuirassier07 Mar 2017 6:02 a.m. PST

Well, the problem with this era is this. Broadly, the wars of 1792 to 1815 split into four periods – Revolutionary (to 1796), Consular (1796 to 1802), imperial (1803 to 1812) and Final Phase (1813 – 1815). These are my labels by the way, but the sub-epochs are not too controversial. The size, operations and geographical theatres of the armies distinguish each, with some overlap. Unfortunately the uniforms also varied over the period but not in line with the above, and the battalion organisation also varied and that wasn't in line with either of the above either.

So if you put together a French army for 1805 with the line infantry wearing bicornes, it will be good till about 1807, but after that date they were in shakoes rather than bicornes. After 1808 the battalion organisation went from nine companies to six, and from 1813ish they were in a new coat style. Oh, and at several points, the flags also changed.

Other countries are just as bad, although the British aren't too bad as there was one headwear change and not a lot else. Austria had headwear, coat and organisation changes; ditto Russia, even more so.

It is in short very difficult to put together any army of any nation that's good for all periods of the era. The rational response to this is, frankly, to say "£&%¬ it" and build whatever you like.

Personally the only army I'd baulk at playing is one where someone has deliberately fielded the best possible units so as to try to win – all Guard, all the cavalry heavy, and so on. If you want armoured carabiniers in 1805, they're the same as cuirassiers so you go for it. But I have played games where someone had Guard lancers because they look cool but we rated them as line in the interests of game balance; games where someone had lots of Highlanders for the same reason and which we just treated as line.

Don't let anyone else ruin it for you.

Allen57 Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 6:23 a.m. PST

Good luck. I should have taken the above advice to heart. The button counters ruined Napoleonics for me. I may do Nappies again but it will be in 2mm (harder to count buttons).

mysteron Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 6:25 a.m. PST

Lots of great and sound advice .Thanks for that. I have picked an Orders of Battle from the General De Brigade Delux Version of which I am happily sticking to as it gives me perhaps quite a lot of variety including 28th in the old style Shako, Highland regiments, the 95th ,French Light and Line Infantry, Dutch and Belgium troops, British Heavy Cavalry and some French Heavies including the 1st Regiment of Cuirassiers. I am also going to throw in the South Essex with Sharp for good measure. So plenty of variety.

I think I need to down a few wee drams of Whisky before I start working on those kilts !

JLA10507 Mar 2017 6:36 a.m. PST

I've also recently 'taken the plunge' into Napoleonics as of January this year. The pitfalls are many, the sources in print and online are plentiful (research must've been much more difficult before the Internet!), and for me part of the pleasure is doing the research before painting a unit. Having said that, I agree that you pick a period and paint what you please, and the Devil take the button-counters (else you'll get nothing done!)

mysteron Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 6:45 a.m. PST

I think what gives me confidence is the knowledge of the guys on here. Basic questions like mine about the style of the British Officers jackets get answered without any fuss.

If I make any mistakes then its because I havn't asked first.

My aim is to get a brigade of British ,a brigade of French with a squadron of cavalry each and some artillery support. That will enable me to participate in the club games. Whilst I have picked 1815 for my chosen era , it doesn't bother me participating in say Penisular War Games of an earlier period at the club.

GlacierMI07 Mar 2017 7:00 a.m. PST

Ruining the thread with a WWII reference but there were George S. Patton's official Third Army regulation pristine spit and polish soldiers then there were Bill Mauldin's "Willie & Joe" Blanket wearing boys needing a shave and a haircut soldiers. Who was right?

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 7:24 a.m. PST

Mysteron, I think your response as directly above is inspired. Spectrum is Green……

There is nothing wrong with button or rivet counting (the latter is the earlier phrase). Folk can take or leave the information and one has to concede that one's own certainty may be ill founded.

I have posted on here, confidently, that French Light infantry Regts did not have drummers for example (and not my only howler).

The shame is that the response to well intentioned advice can be very hostile. It is very much "take it or leave it".

But if you can get it right, why not do so and learn for next time? Good luck trying to orientate a British Guards Colour party…..which goes right and which left? Which is King's and which Regt colour? Which side does the chap who fires the gun go, on a British or instead a French gun? Do you really care? Many do not…I would

wrgmr107 Mar 2017 9:09 a.m. PST

My humble advice, research yourself, if you don't find it, ask here. The chaps are very responsive.
Also as suggested, do what works for you. If it's not perfect, cut yourself a little slack. Most of all, have fun!

Footslogger07 Mar 2017 9:24 a.m. PST

And don't let the lack of completely accurate figures get in the way of actually having a battle.

Hafen von Schlockenberg07 Mar 2017 10:43 a.m. PST

Take a look at Xintao's award-winning Austerlitz game from last year's Historicon:

TMP link

I don't know if it happened, but anyone who sneered about figures not being in bicornes,etc. (despite the fact that Old Glory doesn't even make them) deserves a swift kick in the posterior.

Can't wait to see Eylau,BTW.

attilathepun4707 Mar 2017 10:56 a.m. PST

You are to be congratulated highly for having the good sense to do some research first before starting to buy and paint figures. I also applaud your decision to field balanced forces for each side. If you continue with that, you will eventually be able to hold your own wargame at home, possibly to demonstrate Napoleonic gaming to a potential recruit to the hobby. I think newcomers are often overwhelmed and intimidated by the atmosphere of a large group game as their first experience.

Cerdic07 Mar 2017 12:26 p.m. PST

By the way, mysteron. French musicians generally wore green coats in the early Empire period. Later they wore blue. I can't remember the change over date off the top of my head. Maybe it was the introduction of the Bardin uniform after 1812? Anyway, it was a 'Napoleonic' change not a 'royal' one!

I tend to just say "stuff it" and do 'em all blue….

mysteron Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 3:49 p.m. PST

Thanks guys for you comments of which I really appreciate. As regards the French musicians ,I will be doing them blue in the main but will have the odd green one for variety. I think something else which is important is that I like both armies which makes it a tad easier when collecting opposing sides. I will also be keeping both sides guard free for the foreseeable future which will help in keeping the sides balanced.

evilgong07 Mar 2017 4:10 p.m. PST

The information and detail can be daunting. I like to present my armies as accurately as reasonably possible for the time, effort and money I can dedicate to the task.

Mind you my standards are quickly abandoned to get a game going – 'these militia guys behind the hill are filling in for a standard line unit until I get around to painting more'

David F Brown

Lucius07 Mar 2017 5:40 p.m. PST

I treated Napoleonics like any other period. I bought a fun, easy-to-read set of rules (Shako), painted two armies, played it for several months.

It was great! Fun to paint, fun to learn about, fun games. Then I moved on. Napoleonics doesn't have to be a lifetime commitment, despite what I had been told before.

Personal logo Gonsalvo Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 6:05 p.m. PST

As other have said, the main thing is to have fun. Regarding the uniforms worn by French line infantry drummers (musicians might imply bandsmen, who were generally privately hired by the colonel and/or senior officers of the regiment, and were largely uniformed at their whim), prior to the introduction of the "imperial Livery" circa 1811 -1812, the vast majority of the drummers had blue coats, at least from 1804 on. They could have all sorts of variations in lace, facing colors, etc., which makes them kind of fun to paint. The imperial livery for drummers and trumpeters had green jackets with special green/yellow lace of specified pattern on the collars, cuffs, lace chevrons, etc. Personally, I prefer the variety and chaos of the earlier period. By late 1813-14, one suspects he worn out Livery jackets were not necessarily replaced, probably resulting in more v ariations once again.

le Grande Quartier General07 Mar 2017 6:27 p.m. PST

I agree with Gonsalvo. Have fun.
But it is important to do what it is worth to have fun.
That is key.
It takes work and time.
Learn your figures.
Learn your paints.
(Learn you brushes!)
Study Chandler first, then ALL the others- most importantly first hand sources, particularly Clausvitz, Ney, and Jomni.
This is well to understand as a beginning:

This is a lifelong study.

I wish you the very, very best.
May you find victory!
To start- Read everything!

John Miller07 Mar 2017 6:56 p.m. PST

mysteron: My advise would be don't let the intricacies of the period dampen your enthusiasm. While it takes effort, for so many reasons, romance, martial splendor, great personalities, the interaction of infantry, cavalry, & artillery, to name a few, it is the most rewarding of periods. Wargaming in all its' miniature magnificence!
John Miller

mysteron Supporting Member of TMP08 Mar 2017 2:15 a.m. PST

Many thanks guys. I have a feeling that this will be a long stay . I had this feeling when I started WW2 many many years ago and still find it interesting. With the front room at my disposal albeit with planning permission ! , I feel I can theme the room with Napoleonics as well such as hanging fine prints from the walls and porcelien ornaments . That way I can keep it tasteful for when we have visitors as well . A model Panther tank doesn't quite have the same grace and romance although others may disagree!

le Grande Quartier General08 Mar 2017 3:17 a.m. PST

Mr. Miller sends wise words.

Rusty Gold27 Dec 2018 3:47 p.m. PST

Imagine this discussion taking place ;
" Do you want to have a Battle ?
I have an 1809 Austrian Army "says Fred
John replies " Oh dear I have a 1815 French Army "
Fred " Thats a shame we can't wargame with those then ! "
Gimme a Break , who would talk like that ?
Who would do that if you built and painted that force over a couple of years ?
No one surely .
I am currently building 2 Regts of French Chasseurs .
One will be Kinski pre 1812 Coat , the other post 1812 spencer .
As far as I know there are no Wargaming Interpol to come and get me .
I tell you what Napoleanics is a great way to deal with stress if spending time researching on the Net and in books the vagaries of your Units .
Hell, I have seen a blog where the very organized chap paints up to 1500 figures per year . You never stop learning in this period

John Tyson27 Dec 2018 8:38 p.m. PST

I have been playing with my little Napoleonic 15mm miniatures since 1982. And, I'm still adding to them. I painted up my soldiers with the best information that I had at the time. Some of my units have been fighting under the wrong personally hand painted flags for decades, with the wrong pom-poms, wrong musicians, etc. I too want my soldiers to be reasonably accurate, but if I find out later there are errors; well so what! They are like old friends and they still seem to fight better than my newest, most accurate, and prettiest units. Lately, I have been completing my Austrian army and expect to have a big corps size solo battle soon using General de Brigade Deluxe rules. I can't wait to see these freshly painted, smart looking, Austrian units that I'm so proud of, get their butts kicked by my old crappy looking units. The bottom line is that I'm having fun and it's all joy for me. And mysteron, I strongly suspect your Napoleonic miniatures will be your joy for many years to come also.

Warning: Beware of the new pretty unit curse!!

God bless,
John T.

Lord Hill28 Dec 2018 1:29 a.m. PST

Blanket goes over right shoulder to protect sword arm and chances are your opponent and will attack you from that side, so as not to cut off his own horse's head!

Deadhead, I'm having difficulty picturing this. If we are cavalrymen facing each other in combat, both carrying swords in our right hands, then my natural (forehand) swing would be into your left shoulder, the left side of your neck. It would have to be like a tennis backhand for me to attack your right shoulder, which, as you point out, would endanger my own nag's head. Have I misunderstood?

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP28 Dec 2018 2:04 a.m. PST

A swordsman, who is right handed, has a much longer reach to his right than to his left for obvious anatomical reasons. Any sword stroke to his left has to be across his chest and across the horse's neck/head. Much more difficult to execute.

Instinct is to attack your opponent your right side to his right side, if given any choice in your target.

Now, as I always do I am speaking here with great authority, but profound ignorance as I have never wielded a real sword in my life and rarely sat on a horse!

42flanker28 Dec 2018 4:06 a.m. PST

I too have my doubts, since a) a padded roll on the right shoulder might impede the free movement of the sword arm, and b) in a man-to-man encounter the right shoulder should be reasonably well protected by sword parries, while the left shoulder is more exposed, especially in a melée. Protection on the left shoulder would better suit infantrymen as well, for obvious reasons

Contrary-wise, I believe the highest percentage of wounds recorded on cavalrymen in this period was on the lower sword arm and right thigh, However a rolled blanket/cloak on the right shoulder would not have mitigated those wounds.

Last Hussar28 Dec 2018 4:37 a.m. PST

Rolled blanket would block a sword.

42flanker28 Dec 2018 5:11 a.m. PST

That is not in question, I believe; it is whether such a measure would best employed to protect the right or left shoulder.

A rolled blanket on the right shoulder would not protect the sword arm or right thigh from sword cuts

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP28 Dec 2018 5:14 a.m. PST

Well I have to concede Haythornthwaite in "Weapons and Equipment of" says "rolled cloak or greatcoat, worn bandolier fashion…giving considerable protection against the cut to the left shoulder, the principal stroke of a cutting weapon". Oh dear

And yet…….the vast majority of castings show right shoulder (an exception the plastic cavalry from Warlord or AB 18mm G du C).

For example;
Black Hussars Saxon Chevauleger and Garde du Corps
Eureka 28mm G du C
Perry 11th Cuirassiers, French Dragoons, Netherlands Carabineers and Light Dragoons
Front Rank Chasseurs a Cheval and again Netherlands Carabiniers

42flanker28 Dec 2018 9:50 a.m. PST

A puzzle. Is it possible manufacturers are not infallible
(any more than authors of specialist history books)?

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP28 Dec 2018 12:44 p.m. PST

Or artists, such as the guy who did the Borodino Panorama…he got it right

I seriously have no idea, but simply know I am right. This is obvious. It is instinctive (to me).

I will always attack a chap on my right, given any choice (as will he), as chances are we are both right handed. Never mind that I have never ridden a real horse and any sword slash was against my kid brother in mid 60s, in North London.

The rolled cloak was to protect the neck, right side. Again this is something I just "know" for cavalry and an absolute reference I will shortly find (might be next year mind you)

Lord Hill29 Dec 2018 7:47 a.m. PST

Deadhead, I think you're actually agreeing with me (or else I am very confused – maybe you're talking about "my right" vs "your right").

I'll say it again. When two right-handed people face each other, the shoulder they're going to hit (without using a backhand technique) is their opponent's LEFT shoulder/LEFT side of their neck.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP29 Dec 2018 8:04 a.m. PST

If they are standing on foot absolutely right. They will likely be roughly facing each other (in battle. Less so in fencing) so a right handed swordsman will hit his opponent's left shoulder.

But two horsemen are different. They have to pass each other to come into sword contact. Now they are side to side. I think a right handed swordsman will instinctively select an opponent on his right side and, in doing so strike the opponent on his own right side. Longer reach on the right and one does have to lean awkwardly across the horse's neck to strike on the left side. Rolled cloak will not interfere with sword arm and would give good protection against a slash to the neck (as for "giving point" forget it)

(You make a good point about which "right" one means, but my life's career continuing depended on an absolute rule that laterality applied to the individual subject and not the facing operator!)

Poor Mysteron. (Can anyone explain the plot in Captain Scarlet? To this day I have never understood it) We have hijacked his/her thread but it does show how complex it can all get!

Lord Hill29 Dec 2018 8:34 a.m. PST

Yes, that's an interesting point – it depends which side a horseman would try to pass his opponent. I wonder if there were any formal regulations for which side should be attempted or whether such formality would be ludicrous in a pitched battle.

I do remember an illustration in a book I have somewhere of the difference in drill between French and British cavalry. The French would lean forward with the blade pointed at the opponent while the British drill called for the sword arm to be drawn back into a backhand position. Take your pick which would be more intimidating to face!
The French argument was that their extended point would meet the opponent first, the British argument that nothing was going to stop a full backhand swing. Interestingly, in my own Waterloo research, I have found several records of Union/Household brigade men who miraculously survived serious wounds where they were run through by a French blade. I also recall an eye witness account describing a French horseman being decapitated in combat and the grizly sight of horse continuing the charge with the rider's headless body still in the saddle. Both anecdotes support the differing styles of cavalry attack.

But I digress…and yes, you're right, we have hijacked mysteron's thread! Should have started a new one. Apologies!

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP29 Dec 2018 9:05 a.m. PST

The debate of the slash cut vs "giving the point" continued for decades after the Napoleonic Era. To some degree it was decided by sword quality.

The British Light cavalry sabre was famously a hatchet requiring a real swipe. If it did connect off came a limb or head easily.

The British Heavy cavalry sword was hopeless however used. Intended for the slash, many examples show its tip ground down to appoint for the stab. It was still badly balanced and the idea that Sharpe would have lugged one around…..

The French stab, with the point, was easier executed and somewhat fatal generally . The book you mentioned? P43 of Haythornthwaite's "Weapons and Equipment etc"

42flanker29 Dec 2018 10:46 a.m. PST

To cut at the right side of an opponent on his right hand side, the standard British cavalryman's cut would be the No. 2 backhanded, downward stroke to the right side of the head or upper right quadrant in general; less promising, the No. 6 horizontal backhand cut to the waist. The No. 4 backhanded upper cut would not be a starter.

A sword-armed opponent would have a number of parries available to defend himself. Whether or not those protecting the upper right quadrant might be impeded by a rolled cloak on the right shoulder, that would offered only secondary protection to an area better defended by the owner's own sword.

A rolled cloak over the left shoulder, passed across the body and secured under the right armpit, as well as protecting the unguarded left upper quadran might offer some additional protection to the right side of his torso when his sword arm was raised.

However, it occurs to me that a lance-armed soldier might well benefit more from a cloak rolled over his right shoulder, since, when holding his lance couched, or thrusting forward, his right upper quadrant would be more exposed than that of a sword-armed soldier.

My knowledge of lance parries is zero, although I believe that a trained lancer was more agile using his weapon in defence than one might imagine.

John Edmundson29 Dec 2018 11:25 a.m. PST

An infantryman protecting himself from cavalry would have his left foot forward when in square, so the left shoulder and side of the neck would be more in need of protection than the right.

LORDGHEE29 Dec 2018 11:56 a.m. PST


Welcome to the period if not the hobby.

Some advise.

The first book i recommend isBruce Quarrie,s :
Napoleonic Campaigns in Miniature A Wargamers' Guide to the Napoleonic Wars 1796-1815 (Paperback)

this is a reprint
the blurb.

Packed with information on every aspect of Napoleonic warfare, both land and sea, this book shows the wargamer how to make their miniature battles even more realistic and exciting. It contains detailed information on how armies were raised, trained, provisioned, led and equipped. The book describes the weapons and tactics of the period, giving precise information down to the price of a single musket ball or pair of boots! Stimulating and full of ideas, this book has stood the test of time and is valuable to anyone interested in the Napoleonic period. The original book went onto four editions and was reprinted five times. The book is published by the History of Wargaming Project as part of a series to make key developments in wargaming available to the modern enthusiast.

this book has a chapter on everything, countries armies a chapter on Generals, supply, battles, weapons ect.

This is the starting book.

there seems to be a lot of Napoleonic gaming in the Uk, i would suggestion the time, treasure and effort invested in traveling around and see what is being gamed. Who you game with and what rules they like will influence what you will do in the hobby.

and how did this thread change to sword parrys?

Stoppage29 Dec 2018 12:02 p.m. PST

Well, it started around Easter and it's Christmas right now!

forwardmarchstudios30 Dec 2018 8:12 p.m. PST

Use 2mm figures and you don't have to worry about the uniforms!

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