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"A Beginners Perspective " Topic

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1,328 hits since 7 Mar 2017
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mysteron Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 5:46 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 5:50 a.m. PST

Welcome to the wacky world of Naps :)

Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 5:52 a.m. PST

You're doomed…

Guthroth07 Mar 2017 5:53 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 5:55 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 6:02 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 R Inactive Member07 Mar 2017 6:18 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 6:29 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 6:39 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 6:45 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 6:55 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 7:02 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 7:23 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 7:25 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 7:36 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 7:45 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 8:00 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 8:24 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 10:09 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 10:24 a.m. PST

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

Hafen von Schlockenberg Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member07 Mar 2017 11:43 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 11:56 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.

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 1:26 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 4:49 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 5:10 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 6:40 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.

Gonsalvo07 Mar 2017 7:05 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 General Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2017 7:27 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 Miller Inactive Member07 Mar 2017 7:56 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 3:15 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 General Supporting Member of TMP08 Mar 2017 4:17 a.m. PST

Mr. Miller sends wise words.

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