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"New to Napoleonics, looking for advice!" Topic

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Noodle the Great05 Oct 2020 3:34 p.m. PST

Hello everyone!

I am new to napoleonics, having generally gamed Ancients, WWII, and WWII at sea. I think I would like to do a pair of armies, one French and one austrian, based off the 1809 conflict between Austria and France. I think I would like to do 28mm. Can anyone suggest some good books on uniforms and maybe suggest some figures to look at? Thank you!

Rich Bliss05 Oct 2020 4:06 p.m. PST

Perry should be your first stop

skipper John Supporting Member of TMP05 Oct 2020 4:27 p.m. PST

Back out of that particular room as quickly as possible.

coopman05 Oct 2020 4:35 p.m. PST

Check out the Perry plastic 28mm figures. Very nice!

coopman05 Oct 2020 4:59 p.m. PST

Have you checked to see if there is a group of local gamers in your area? Maybe they've already got these armies and you can play with their toys and see what rules they are using.

Extrabio1947 Supporting Member of TMP05 Oct 2020 5:03 p.m. PST

For Austria, this site provides a massive amount of uniform and organizational information on the army between 1805-1809:

PDF link

Personal logo Gonsalvo Supporting Member of TMP05 Oct 2020 5:33 p.m. PST

Uniforms: Hourtoulle's Wagram 1809 is about as good as you're going to get for a single volume. Available from On Military Matters and elsewhere:


An even better value (and far more detailed) are the Rawkins e-books:


Unfortunately he doesn't cover France. That's hardly surprising, and the Imperial Guard alone would probably need 2-3 books all by themselves. The Guard was still pretty small in 1809, though!

You have to have some Confederation of the Rhine figures in your army for this era. Bavarians, Wurttemburgers, and BNaderners all played important roles. I am partial to the Baden contingent, myself (for those you'll want to use Murawski miniatures).

Figures: in 28 mm, there are a plethora of choices. If you're in the US and like metal, it is hard to beat the value of Old Glory. Perry are excellent, as is Front Rank. There are many, many others.

History: You want John Gill's 1809 trilogy, "Thunder on the Danube", nothing else come close in terms of history maps, Orders of battler, and prose. His "With Eagles to Glory" on the CoR in 1809 is well worth having as well.

A personal plug: My blog, "Blunders on the Danube" has an abundance of uniform information, scenarios, battle reports, and pictures of literally thousands of figures.


Another excellent source for scenarios are the books of Michael Hopper. There is a review and ordering information on my blog here:


(By the way. Michael is preparing to release a couple of new scenario books covering the early years of the Peninsular War in ? January 2021).

You didn't ask about rules so I'll leave that powder keg undisturbed. :-)

It is a great campaign for collecting, painting, and wargaming… my favorite, in fact!


T Corret Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2020 2:26 a.m. PST

As a student in the dark ages long ago, I decided to only do Napoleonics in 15mm. All my library is on the period and so is my great gray legion. Focus on what you really want to do, and you will still be able to pay rent and buy food.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2020 3:07 a.m. PST

Can't improve much on the advise already given. I would recommend that you think through carefully the battles you want to fight and the table size you have available.

It's possible to fight pretty much any pre-1914 battle with any scale castings on any table, but sometimes your choices are extremely limited. Deciding on representation and ground scale early on may save you a lot of grief later.

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP06 Oct 2020 3:28 p.m. PST

NTG- you havent come back with any clarification (if such is possible), so…

1- yes find a club if you can first;
2- Look at what kind of gaming suits you, -figure size/ table size, your own location (eg dining table?);
3- Ignore the rules and 'scales/ ratios' for now. If, when you become aquainted, you choose to mainline something, then go for it.

We all have a heap of what-ifs and maybes in our background- just try to avoid a pile of lead that comes with them…

mildbill06 Oct 2020 5:55 p.m. PST

Here we go down the rabbit hole.

Midgetmanifesto06 Oct 2020 7:25 p.m. PST

Blunders on the Danube has pretty guide guides that he writes up as he paints his minis. Conveniently most (?all?) of them are grouped together in one tab on his blog.


Uniforms, and the reality vs regulation vs shoddy historical documentation and natural dyes means that there are a fair amount of variability and discussion/disagreement. For your sanity aiming for close is good enough is highly recommended.

Cavcmdr07 Oct 2020 9:44 a.m. PST

Dear Extrabio1947

Thank you very much for the PDF. It has so much on the Austrians in one place. I had found a lot but this is great.

@Gonsalvo. Your site is very helpful too.


Vive L'Emperor of the Battlefield

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2020 8:32 a.m. PST

Napoleonics? That way madness lies. :-))

Noodle the Great08 Oct 2020 11:17 a.m. PST

Extrabio1947 and Gonsalvo, thank you for those resources! And to everyone who suggested the Perry's, I have a decent lot of them now on the way! Front Rank looks REALLY good too.

There are folks who play Napoleonics in Jacksonville, Florida where I am at. But I think most meets are on hold because of the world situation for now, unfortunately.

It seems like 6 40x40mm bases for a battalion of infantry is workable for a lot of 28mm systems?

I think I am going to mainly focus, at first, on the French II Corps and Austrian II Corps at Wagram, force wise, though I will of course have to paint up some French Old Guard and a little extra horse units for each.

The wife and I plan on buying a new house in the summer and I should have room to make at least a 10x6 table for some proper wargaming, though 16x7 would be my dream size.

For a getting started board a lot of folks discourage getting started with Napoleonics!

Thanks again for all the advice!

Wayniac11 Oct 2020 3:22 a.m. PST

As someone new myself, definitely plan it out. I am south of you in Tampa and our small group is in the process of deciding what we want to do with Naps. We also decided to go with 28mm using the Black Powder rules although we had a big discussion on going to 15mn but decided against it.

The biggest issue I've found in Florida so far is finding people lol. All the historical gamers are scattered and in hiding it seems and no game store I'm aware of in my neck of the woods even support historical gaming. So it's like a secret society sometimes.


Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2020 2:56 p.m. PST

>> though 16x7 would be my dream size.

Yes it would, however as a new gamer you may be overwhelmed by the vastness of it.

Unless you and your players are very tall, and have long arms, 7' wide is too far. Barely being able to handle/ finger the figures over terrain etc. in the centre and theres a lack of 'visual' enjoyment too. You also need to balance the height accordingly, or suffer back problems later!

A few decades back was in a group whos host had such a table in basement (15' x 6'). Most often we played basic side to side or end-on angles; about 25% of games may have been end-end affairs.

In railroad layout terms, a minimum working area width of 2 feet (630mm) 'for avergae size operators' between table and walls/ cupboards etc is required. For a games room you need to let people circulate, so 3' or more space is desirable.

>>It seems like 6 40x40mm bases for a battalion of infantry is workable for a lot of 28mm systems?

Yes they do. I haven't changed basing for 20 years, so adapt as we go with different rules and gamers come and go (I did a lot of home hosting with own rules).
So my 'old style' 30mmx40mmdepth bases of 4 infantry or 2 cav are just fine. Using BP with others now we avoid conflict of base sizes, its the number of bases that matter not their millimetre precise location on the table. If something is 'out of bounds' we declare it.

Your plan sounds good- hit the line troops first and get the other fighters in the queue as well, artillery before cavalry starts. My advice- do generals/ command for each formation (brigade/ division etc.) as they are completed. That way you have a 'ready to battle' force even when the army isn't complete.

Then when you have a 'corps' body, start the vanity troops. What you have learned doing he basics will enhance these by the time you come to get them.

>>So it's like a secret society sometimes.
Indeed Wayne, we have lived in shame for decades at our 'toy soldiers*' hobby- (*not a term I ever use with others to describe a lifetime of research and development/ creation BTW).

Stay safe and hidden down there- obviously the State remains in risk, regards

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