Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mambo Italiano - or, How I Got my Panting Mojo Back

This battalion seems to have taken for ever to finish. It just shows you that you really need to be in a mood that allows concentration for you to be able to focus on painting. Lately, all sorts of real life has got in the way of me finishing this unit. The weather, for one, has been atrocious. As I write, the digital weather gizmo says it's 29 deg C and 55% humidity, but yesterday it topped at nearly 70% humidity. For a Melbourne summer, that's humid and sticky, which doesn't lend itself to painting. This morning I started on the Chasseurs of the Italian Royal Guard, but it was like painting with mud.

Anyway, I cracked the painter's block last week and powered through the remaining Grenadiers of the Guard, based, flocked and varnished them ready for the table-top. As I hoped, the AP Dark varnish has brought out the detail of the cross-belts that were obscured by the painting. I was considering attempting highlighting the belts a la John de Terre Neuve at La Bricole, but decided against it, as I didn't want to risk obscuring the detail again. I did paint around the NCO's collar, where a big blob of varnish had collected, but otherwise left them as is. Overall, quite pleased with the result.

I've started on the Chasseurs of the Guard using HaT's 8170 French Guard Chasseurs kit, which, compared to Zvezda is a lot more crudely sculpted. However, Zvezda is just head and shoulders above anything else in 1/72 plastic, so I can't really complain too much. The main problem is that this kit doesn't feature any officers, which I find odd. I've converted the flag bearer from HaT's latest Legere Command set, and used the converted metal Kennington officer figure shown in a previous posting as the command figures for this unit. Pictures to come soon.

Next, I'll paint up some Velites of the Guard Chasseurs, do a few more head conversions to create the Honour Guards cavalry using dragoons figures with Lancier Bleu bicorne heads (H02) I've ordered from MBM models in the Netherlands. I've also ordered a few of the other heads (H01-H05 & H08) to vary the line troops I'll be painting in the future, plus I intend to use the cylindrical shakos to make a couple of messenge/aide-de-camp type figures, too.

PS. weather has just broken with lovely cool south-westerly winds bringing rain and thunder and lightning. It's dropped 10 deg C in 30 minutes! Hooray!

Completed 12 figure battalion unit awaiting Army Painter treatment

Closer view
Unit varnished with AP Dark
Close up. Officer is a bit muddier than intended, but happy with the rest.
Battalion in line with recent scenery creations in background
Battalion in attack column
Line from the front. The 3 march attack figures are all wearing the Order of the Iron Crown, Napoleon's Italian version of the Legion of Honour.
Attack column from the left


  1. Some stem looking customers - the Zvesda figures are just beautiful. I can't say I've ever heard of these chaps, where did they see service ?

  2. Thanks Conrad. 'Stem' isn't a colloquialism I'm familiar with but it sounds positive ;-)

    I've painted them up for our 2012 Big Battle, which in this case will be Wagram. As we're going to do it in 1:120 I only needed a couple of figures, but painted up the whole unit for our usual 1:60 ratio.

    They were part of Eugene de Beauharnais' Army of Italy that fought the Austrians in northern Italy in 1809, pushing them back into Hungary in time to join Napoleon at Wagram

  3. An impressive bunch of grenadiers. I'm glad the dark Army painter has come in handy.

  4. Hi
    Nice paintings as always is the case with your work!
    For the history of these units the best internet source is

  5. Nice looking unit, very well painted as well!!

  6. Ahem - I actually meant stern.

    I get a bit lost outside the peninsula, though I am aware that there was some pushing and shoving on the continent at the time.

    Thanks for the link Rafael.

  7. Thanks all for kind words.

    Tim - Yes, I prefer the dark to the strong I previously used. Thanks for passing it on!

    Rafa - That's the exact link I used for all my Italian Guard info!

    Conrad - 'Stem' sounds slightly exotic; maybe I'll work it into conversation and see if it catches on. You can claim copyright if you wish! I was planning to paint Italians to use in my Peninsula armies and volunteered to paint the Army of Italy to kill 2 birds with one stone, only to find that the only Italians at Wagram were the Guard who didn't fight in the Peninsula. D'Oh!


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