Saturday, 28 November 2009

A Burgeoning Library

Before the rest of my post, I would like to say thank-you to Noel of Garage-gamer. After asking about books on Napoleonic uniforms he kindly and generously gave me a copy of Uniforms of the Peninsular War, despite me being a complete stranger on a message board. Jolly stand-up chap.

Since deciding on learning about the Napoleonic period, I've gathered together about half a dozen books on the subject. Currently, I have:

  • The Campaigns of Napoleon, Chandler
  • The Art of Warfare in the Age of Napoleon, Rothenberg
  • Napoleon, Cronin
  • A Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars, Chandler
  • Uniforms of the Peninsular Wars, Haythornthwaite
I've read through The Art of Warfare twice, and Campaigns and Napoleon are both in a state of being read.

I'm finding Campaigns a fairly hard read; it's very information-dense, which I'm finding means often the minutiae obscures the ebb and flow of the campaign it describes. However, I can't fault it on being thorough, so I shall plough through it.

, on the other hand, is a more general biograph, filled with the sort of biographical details that make interesting reading. It has a lot of anecdotes about Napoleon, some of which I'm not sure whether I need to take with a pinch of salt, but in general I'm finding a good read.

The Dictionary has been consulted once or twice, but only over small things. It also seems more focussed on personalities than some of the more technical aspects of war (it has no entry for brigade or battalion, when I wanted to check what sort of size these were).

My first offerings!

I've uploaded a couple of pictures of my first painted Napoleonic French soldier. They aren't the best pictures in the world, but hopefully my photography will get better. I've painted a couple more since him, slightly varying my technique each time but not making much in the way of technical progress.

My first thought? Lots of white belts and trim that need to stand out against other colours is a right pain to paint! I've tried using a grey basecoat, white on top, black wash for the recesses and then more white. It looks...okay...but not brilliant. I'm thankful of the side-of-the-box guide to the uniforms and good box artwork which I used as my painting guide so far.

In comparison to GW plastics, the Victrix are very slight, much better proportioned (whilst I still like the GW style, put some Empire humans next to the Victrix and they'll look like mutants!). This, combined with a couple of years out from painting (being a student and flitting between home and Uni means I haven't done much painting over the last few years) means he isn't my best work.

Whilst I've painted a half-dozen so far, my plan is to radically change the way I paint in the future. Inspired by this post I'm going to use a white undercoat and inks (which did me very well in my early days) and hopefully perfect a method that is very neat.