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"French Guard Heavy Cavalry Aiguettes" Topic

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Action Log

02 Jul 2019 2:53 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "French Guard Hvy. Cav. Aiguettes" to "French Guard Heavy Cavalry Aiguettes"Removed from Medieval Discussion board
  • Changed starttime from
    02 Jul 2019 3:27 p.m. PST
    02 Jul 2019 3:28 p.m. PST

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Comments or corrections?

Widowson02 Jul 2019 2:27 p.m. PST

Did I spell that right?

I'm working in 1/72 plastic, and the only figs with the correct aiguettes seem to be the HaT Hrs Grenadiers. Not a very good set, so I see myself doing a bit of converting here. Cannot find a good close up of this shoulder braiding. Anyone have a good picture?

Camcleod02 Jul 2019 5:29 p.m. PST



Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP04 Jul 2019 12:47 a.m. PST

These were a feature of Imperial Guard units and remember that which shoulder varied according to unit (eg Grenadiers a Chev vs Dragons or Gendarmes d'Elite) or rank (eg Chevauleger Lanciers).

Aiguilettes design? They are complicated. Generally most start from one lapel button on the chest (or central if no lapels). A couple go out to the epaulette edge, a heavily braided one goes under the armpit and back up to the epaulette and a thin one is a simple loop (nicely shown above) which hangs down the back with no button attachment

Prince of Essling05 Jul 2019 8:27 a.m. PST

See Rousselot:



Prince of Essling07 Jul 2019 12:20 p.m. PST

Empress Dragoons:




Prince of Essling07 Jul 2019 12:35 p.m. PST

Gendarmes d'Elite:



Widowson07 Jul 2019 2:58 p.m. PST

I seriously do not know what I would do without this forum and all you helpful guys.

As for which shoulder the aiguillettes hang from, I always thought it was a practical consideration. Troopers for whom the sword was the primary weapon wore them on the right shoulder, whereas lancer troopers wore them on the left, so they would not interfere with the use of the lance. In the case of the Gendarmes, I'm going to guess that their primary weapon was thought to be the carbine, which might tangle with the cords as would a lance.

All these wonderful illustrations raise another question that has plagued me for years. IIRC, all the Guard Heavies began with 2-flap holster covers, with the Dragoons and (apparently) the Gendarmes graduating to 3-flap covers some time around 1810. The Grenadiers seem to have never got them. Can anyone confirm that?

Also, I see a dragoon trumpeter in a white uniform with sky blue facings, and another in a sky blue jacket. Was this a full dress vs field dress issue, or did the uniform change over time?

Thanks again.

Prince of Essling08 Jul 2019 1:17 a.m. PST

Empress Dragoons:
The white uniform with blue lapels in the illustration above was the parade uniform for 1807-14.

The plain blue uniform was the campaign uniform.

Below (on the right) was the earlier parade uniform


Prince of Essling08 Jul 2019 1:28 a.m. PST

"All these wonderful illustrations raise another question that has plagued me for years. IIRC, all the Guard Heavies began with 2-flap holster covers, with the Dragoons and (apparently) the Gendarmes graduating to 3-flap covers some time around 1810. The Grenadiers seem to have never got them. Can anyone confirm that?" Looking at all my illustrations and books the Grenadiers a Cheval stayed with the 2 flap holster covers; the only change was the grenade on the rear corner of the saddlecloth being replaced by a crown in 1808.

Garde de Paris08 Jul 2019 8:38 a.m. PST

I believe the three-flap holster is an artist error. No one had them.


Widowson08 Jul 2019 9:01 a.m. PST


That can't be right. I've seen them in WAY too many illustrations for that to be true. I've seen the early Dragoons with the 2 flap, and then the 3 flap later in the era. Never for the Grenadiers.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP08 Jul 2019 10:23 a.m. PST

Very consistently, the two flap replaced by the three flap in Guard Dragoons. Three flap also for Gendarmes d'Elite (and some Royalist Household Cavalry after First and Second Restoration eg Gendarmes du Roi and Garde du Corps). Notice change of shape to a more rounded look as they went to three not two.

The Grenadiers stayed with two even after their change to Royalist Cavalry

Too many artists show this for it to be any one individual's error. No idea why this change should have happened mind you!

Widowson08 Jul 2019 10:59 a.m. PST

So the 3 flap is a restoration thing? No sooner than 1815, for Napoleonics?

Also, the gauntlets appear to be cuirassier style. That is, with buff glove and white gauntlet. Could be just my screen, but that's what it looks like from here?

Widowson08 Jul 2019 11:01 a.m. PST

Dragoon helmet body is extended in the Minerva form. I thought I could just handle the front peak or visor portion with some green stuff, converting a line dragoon, but the body of the helmet looks extended.

Prince of Essling08 Jul 2019 12:41 p.m. PST

Looking at JOB's "Tenues des Troupes de France" – volume 1 "Corps Royal de Dragons de France" says for the 1st Restauration only the Grenadiers a Cheval changed their uniforms as they became "Corps Royal des Cuirassiers de France". The other guard cavalry formations merely changed the eagles of their uniforms for fleur de lys; and N was replaced by L. For the Dragoons their helmet's horsehair tail was replaced by a comb; while the aiguillette was moved to the left!

The accompanying illustration shows the 3 flap saddle with a grenade in the bottom corner of the saddlecloth.

The early Dragoon gauntlet shown by Rousselot is certainly in the style of the cuirassiers (buff hands and white sleeves).

Widowson08 Jul 2019 1:02 p.m. PST

You forgot the "accompanying illustration."

Prince of Essling09 Jul 2019 12:34 a.m. PST

Here is the JOB illustration…


Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2019 7:51 a.m. PST

Sorry for causing confusion. I meant that three flaps was ALSO a feature of some Restoration Household units. It is very unusual otherwise and unique to Guard Dragoons and Gendarmes d'Elite. For the former, they appeared in 1811 I believe.

The helmet issue? The Minerva could be converted from a plastic line dragoon, fairly convincingly. Fill in the space between the tip of the peak and the base of the crest and it will look right-ish. OK the Minerva helmet itself had a slight backward slope to the whole thing. See Perry Guard Dragoons in both the beautiful traditional helmet and the horrible throw back of a vertical look (much as Job's illustration above. Has anyone ever seen another image to confirm that this ever really was issued)

Widowson09 Jul 2019 8:49 a.m. PST

Thanks for all that. As for the conversion, that's pretty much the way I had it figured.

von Winterfeldt09 Jul 2019 11:43 a.m. PST

grenadiers cheval stayed with the two holster flaps, Empress Dragoonst started with two but changed to three

Marc the plastics fan11 Jul 2019 2:02 p.m. PST

PoE. That item number 12 in one of your linked photos showing the lace in detail off of the uniform. Brilliant. So clear now how many loops, and how they can all be used

Widowson11 Jul 2019 3:15 p.m. PST

Yeah! Finally, eh? After all these years of wondering. Just wish I could figure out how the one strand is woven into that much thicker chord. I guess it's a moot point at 1/72. LOL

Prince of Essling18 Jul 2019 2:30 a.m. PST


"Album du Guide l'usage des artistes et des costumiers … uniformes de l'armee francaise de 1780 a 1848"
by H. Malibran
Editeurs Boivin & Cie
Paris 1907
might possibly provide the answer to your question…

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2019 6:04 a.m. PST

any girl with ong hair seems to have it hard wired into them from birth. Is it not just simple plaiting of the single cord?

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2019 11:33 a.m. PST

ong? I meant long. I have seen girls take two, indeed three, strands of hair and one goes over and under the ones before, but all I could wish was that I had remotely hair that dense or long as I did in 1974. Plaiting is dead simple if you have XX chromosomes and are stone cold sober

Widowson19 Jul 2019 11:35 a.m. PST

Oh I can braid hair, even without the sober. But that thick braid ending in a single strand with a brass thingamabob on the end. Now that's a challenge. The book recommended by the Prince is in French and $268 USD on Abebooks, so this will remain a mystery to me. Like I said, I think I can fake it at 1/72.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2019 1:31 a.m. PST

Well for 28mm you cannot beat the brass wire cage that encases many a nice bottle of red wine, say a Rioja par example.

Dead easy and comes ready braided in sections as here;


Lambert Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2019 3:23 a.m. PST

Deadhead, I know you've shown these pictures before and I have to say that grey horse in close-up shows fantastic painting. It looks alive. Apologies for wandering off topic but it's the horse that caught my eye, not the braid – nice though that is.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2019 9:25 a.m. PST

Yer kdding. You are far too kind about that grey
I can see the mould line across his face and harness.

Two seconds work with a file would have fixed that…sob.

This was meant to be a late evening photo, with the Tuilleries in the background. It is over exposed. The horse in reality is FAR better than shown…I have never seem an image of a trumpeter of the 2e company of the Mousquetaires du Roi, but I went with this as guess for how he might have looked.

But not remotely like Von W's recent work, if you want to see a grey horse ;

TMP link

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2019 12:04 p.m. PST

Just thought. The chap above is a trumpeter of Gendarmes du Roi, not the Black Musketeers (but you all knew that!)

He is well documented, in complete contrast. Grey Musketeers, yes. Quite possible 2e compagnie did not even have a trompette?

Prince of Essling21 Jul 2019 12:39 p.m. PST

@Deadhead – of course, but I cannot imagine 2e Compagnie not having a trumpeter. The commander would have needed to issue orders to his mounted men. He couldn't have gathered them round and say "Look here chaps I want you to do the following manoeuvre…."

dibble21 Jul 2019 2:31 p.m. PST

Every Rousselot plate and text can be found starting from here. link and carry on to page 165. There are more Rousselot pictures further on and a nice Conrad set of the 2e Hussards.

Paul :)

Widowson22 Jul 2019 12:08 p.m. PST

That braid looks great, although I don't think it will work on 1/72 plastic.

Widowson23 Jul 2019 11:28 a.m. PST

I've got some super thin brass wire. Maybe I could braid it.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP23 Jul 2019 12:03 p.m. PST

You could. I was taught this as a junior by a max fax surgeon. It needs a diagram and I will bet Google shows it, but everything depends (and I used it for 35 years in practice) in having both free ends at 180 degrees to the angle of rotation. No idea why, but anything else and the whole coil starts to revolve. I must do a diagram I now realise.

Slowly and must be at 180 degrees for best result.

Later before the hour is up…

Now done. Royal Marsden Hospital in London 1978. I was just assisting him as Max fax was not my thing, but he showed me this wrong and then right. That was teaching in those days, except I cannot remember his name, only his teaching. Respect.


Widowson24 Jul 2019 11:13 a.m. PST

Uh . . . I really don't get it. Are those diagrams of two strands of wire being "braided?" It looks like they are just wound around one another. When I said "braid" I meant the three strand method women use for their hair.

Maybe you could add some explanation so I can understand the sketches. I'm always on the lookout for new techniques, and this one looks fascinating.


Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2019 5:43 a.m. PST

You want a three strand flat braid then. Dead simple. Three wires in row just keep bring in the one on the right, then the one on the left…..see this and it will seem so simple.


The snag is keeping to some sort of scale. 28mm hard enough, 1/72 getting a bit massive.

The brass cage on many a red wine bottle works for me. One bottle will do dozens of cavalry!


Widowson26 Jul 2019 10:07 a.m. PST

For scale I'll be depending on VERY thin wire, and lots of magnification. I'll try one and get back to you. I have a number of conversions in the planning stages. If I can ever get around to them, I should have some great photos to share. Last night I completed STEP 1. That is, a work space.

Widowson26 Jul 2019 10:14 a.m. PST

By the way, I keep meaning to ask:

Deadhead: I assume that you are a Grateful Dead fan, and also British (never heard of that before). I live in San Rafael, CA, just outside San Francisco, where the Dead had a communal house that I pass every day. Do you think the local Rock Station could EVER be induced to play a Dead song? Hell no! It's ridiculous.

For Pete's sake, THIS IS SAN FRANCISCO. My wife had a near miss car experience with Jerry just before he died. If there had been an actual collision, Jerry might have gone to the hospital and lived. Carlos Santana used to call her to come pick up her dog when he was visiting Carlos' dog. Never hear any Santana either! No shortage of Rush, tho. Same three songs, over and over.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2019 11:04 a.m. PST

Huge following over here once (indeed in Europe, esp Germany). I saw them in 71 at Bickershaw open air festival (it only rained for three days, non-stop and I was unconscious throughout their entire act…seriously, missed it completely) and 73 at Alexandra Palace.. that was indoors. Missed their last tour as I was working non stop by then.

British yes. Irish passport though (thank God) as born in Waterford. I spoke only recently at a conference to the ENT surgeon who saw JG about his hearing loss. "I am not worthy" was all I could say. He told me what a nice gentle guy he was, who never stopped smiling.

Amazing the folk who ARE still alive. Imagine Grace Slick survived (OK, not the girl who sang White Rabbit…God she was stunning then). Shame about the Dead is the list who did not make it, from Pigpen on.

I used to hang two speakers out of my window in central London in 1976 when I was a very very junior hospital doc. Pub called the Duke Of Wellington opposite UCH. Played Dark Star at full volume several nights, in a summer that broke all UK records for sunshine. The punters had never heard anything like it and loved it.

Now apologies to everyone else. Lately it occurs to me….What A Long Strange Trip It's Been.

Lambert Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2019 1:09 p.m. PST

Great story…so far off topic, but hey.

I'm just a bit confused: "Carlos Santana used to call her to come pick up her dog when he was visiting Carlos' dog."

Why was Carlos Santana visiting his own dog?

Widowson26 Jul 2019 2:14 p.m. PST

Lambert, no-no. Carlos was her next door neighbor up the hill, some distance away. They both had dogs and the dogs were friends with each other. At the end of the day, when Carlos was calling his dog indoors for the night, he'd see my wife's dog hanging around and call on the phone: "Hi. This is Carlos. Come get your dog."

Lambert Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2019 2:25 a.m. PST

Ah, that makes sense. Maybe I had too much wine last night before reading your post.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2019 3:20 a.m. PST

Well now I am stone cold sober I am going to try the three strand flat braid using much thinner wire from an old telephone cable. It really is so simple and will be more effective than the simple two wire twist I have used to date. (I have always squashed the result slightly to flatten it for aiguilettes)

I must do a photo. The linked site shows it best. All you have to do is repeat the mantra "fold the right cable over and into the centre….fold the left cable over and into the centre….fold the right etc". It is quicker than you think but I never used it as the wire I used was too thick.

and my Deadhead Icon sits proudly on the windscreen of my Grand Cherokee…baffles folk

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