Monday, June 1, 2015


No, not the ice-cream!
In an effort to break the back of my painting ennui, I've decided to go way left field and start an 1815 Neapolitan army based on the OB of the Battle of the Tolentino. The driver for the project was the generosity of Francesco of Franznap Miniatures, who included a set each of command and infantry of his Neapolitan Velites of the Guard as a sweetener to soften the blow of the expense of my last order from him.

It was an extremely generous gesture from him, but at the time I was not really sure what I would do with them. They've been knocking around for over a year in my to-do pile, so after I'd finally painted the French lancers, I realised how beautifully detailed his figures are and that I couldn't put off painting them any longer.

After doing a little research on the Neapolitan army, I decided to settle on the army of Murat's last hurrah as King of Naples. Using the Nafziger Order of Battle website and the always useful Histofig (which seems to have gone pfft recently. Quelle horreur!), I have a quite decent sized army of 3 divisions  to tackle. I'll use Italeri 6066 French infantry for the line regiments, but haven't settled on what I'll use as the light infantry. I'm not that impressed by the only figures on the market which fit the bill, namely HaT 8042, though with a judicious use of head swaps, they may work. I don't like the virtually brimless shakos that they have been sculpted with, but I'm sure I can come up with a substitution. The other choice would be the expensive metal option, using the lovely Schilling figures.

As I still haven't completed earlier projects, like Eugene's Army of Italy from the Battle of Piave , or the 1809 Wurttemberg army, I can safely say that this project will also stall at some stage, but hopefully not before I get a useful tabletop force ready to be chased off the table by a more worthy foe. In our rules, the Neapolitans run a close race with the Spanish and Dutch-Belgians for some of the worst troops of the whole Napoleonic Wars! To paraphrase King Ferdinand of the Two Sicilies when asked what colour should the new uniforms his troops were to receive be: "Dress them in blue, red or green, the buggers will still run away!"

Column, from the left...

...and from the right.


Tete de colonne


Nonchalance personified

Rear detail

NCO and rankers

Command stand including drummer details

Command stand including standard bearer and officer


  1. Both the icecream and the troops look wonderful to me! Very nice work!

  2. The soldiers are beautiful, as ever - I don't have any Neapolitans in my French army, but I wish I did! Lovely job.

    Now - about that ice cream - can we have a quick check on the regs here? Your sample looks pretty good, but I think when I was young and impressionable Neapolitan ice cream was pink, white and GREEN (pistachio?), in imitation of the Italian flag. I have to say that I would prefer your version, but just thought we should check the official spec. Pistachio ice cream is an acquired taste, and in Liverpool in the 1960s I think it was unofficially just straight marzipan flavour, which was not unlike furniture polish - I'd rather not think what they made it with.

    1. Your version makes a lot more sense (though sounds nasty!), but here in Australia it's always been strawberry, vanilla and chocolate. Mysteriously, in our household the chocolate always seemed to vanish first....

    2. Interesting - a psychiatrist would have a field day with how people eat Neapolitan ice cream. My son would certainly eat the different colours separately, and might even leave any he was less fond of. I, as an ageing OCD freak, would feel obliged to eat it so that all the colours disappeared at the same rate - i.e. so that at any point, if I were commanded to stop for a check, the proportions of the 3 colours would always be the same. Then you have the issue of what order you eat the colours - you'd have to be a real weirdo to eat the middle vanilla first, so you were left with a separate pink bit and a brown bit, eh? And then there's the miserly version, where you eat the colours starting with the one you like least, saving the best till last. Hey, this is more fun than I expected!

      Franznap figures beautiful - how are they for size compared to plastics?

    3. There's one method of eating you missed: mix the three colours vigourously until you're left with an unappetsing grey-brown sludge, then slurp it up like you're eating soup. That's
      how my daughters preferred to eat it at one stage.

      The figures are a perfect match for plastic, especially Zvezda.

  3. Neapolitans will surely break any "ennui" ;-)

    Very nice work on those! As for the ice cream, in the immortal words of Homer Simpsons " Marge! We're all out of vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate ice cream!"

  4. They are lovely figures well done, terrific to see Neapolitans. I always admire a man who paints the "also rans" (or, "also ran away") of military history. It would only be more perfectly nonchalant if they were lounging about drinking espresso from little cups and smoking.My parents bought Neapolitan ice cream in large plastic buckets during the summer. I ate chocolate first, then vanilla, then, grudgingly, the strawberry. Now that I've tasted real Italian gelato, I'm not sure I could ever go back to the bargain buckets, though I still see them in the local supermarket.

  5. You've done a splendid job on them, great looking Napolitans...and ice cream!

  6. Expertly painted as usual Ben.
    Interestingly, our 'guest blogger' Phil recently completed a game of Tolentino. He used Franznap figs for the Guard too. He said that,
    "Tolentino was fun but I think I reversed the historical result by my own poor generalship. There are plenty of photos and lots of notes for the write up!"
    I'll put his report of the game on our blog.


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