Tuesday, 23 January 2018

West Country Quatre Bras: Kevin's latest units, not to be missed!

You lucky people!!!!

Kevin East has been busy preparing some of the, shall we say, more specialist units for our final part of West Country Quatre Bras in April.  What follows is his description of preparing and painting the models for the French Imperial Light Cavalry Division.

As I understand it the Light Cavalry of the Guard were the advanced guard of Reille's II Corps in the approach to Quatre Bras on 15th June 1815. They had a brief skirmish with men from the Prince of Orange's Corps and then retreated to report on the enemy positions. After that they were held in reserve and Ney had instructions from Napoleon not to use them as they were so valuable to the Emperor. Yet they were not withdrawn or sent to aid Napoleon at Ligny; so why not assume that our French wargamers in the  QB refight could use them under certain conditions. What those circumstances will be are only known to "the Man" since Kevin is busy planning the orbats and victory conditions for QB 2 in the next few weeks. The game takes place in mid April and if you are reading this and have an email invitation from me, please reply soon!

Over to Kevin:


Since QB1 it became clear that the French Guard light cavalry Division was going to be potentially employed in QB2. I say potentially as I am hoping they will be employed as I have just painted all of them at 1:20. 103 cavalry figures in total. Deep joy……but deep pain if they’re not required!!!

pic1 :The Guard lancers and Guard horse artillery 
I already had the Guard lancers and horse artillery, albeit Tony (Ney) Dillon has procured the 2nd Guard horse artillery battery, as I had created the latter for QB1 but the Guard Chasseurs were yet to be mustered.

Perry (my favoured manufacturer) do a full charging and also swords shouldered pose so I decided to opt for full charging for most the models. I don’t know about you but I hate model sabres bending into a contortion during a game and the charging models for these figures are particularly so inclined. I decided to manufacture my own and replace those flimsy lead ones at once! 

I remembered a method from an old Foundry book penned by Kevin Dallimore.
Panel pins once curved to shape and flattened between hammer heads do the trick. Once shaped, edged and sharpened (I use a dremel) with a fine handle ground at the end to fill the drilled hole in the models’ sabre hand once the old lead sabre is removed. Hey presto – a much more appropriate weapon! Do these en masse and do more then you need as some will just not work out the way you want.  Here they are sabred up and ready to go!
Pic2a – Having curved the panel pin a quick hammer does a flattening job.
Pic2b – Grinding away the head of the pin into a thin stalk or handle and creating the sabres ‘edge’.
Pic2c -  Sabres completed.

Pic2d – Sabre handle glued into drilled hole in sabre hand of model.
Pic3 (chasseurs with metal sabres)
Pic 4 (painting table with toolzone) Painting for proper.
To paint 54 chasseurs lined up with a paint brush in hand is daunting  so I split them into three groups of 18 (squadron size for QB2 as it happens) . Some were one piece castings others were separate horse and rider. OPC riders first. With my newly acquired toolzone glasses i've managed to gain more detail - at last I can see what I'm doing!! What a revelation :-) The  lenses were very easy to adjust and work with (although I didn’t like the LED light source so I remained with my trusty Tizio lamp). Results were immediate and very effective……at least I felt so.

Pic 5 One Piece Castings
then all the horses using oils in my case.
Pic 6 Horses
Then all the riders

pic 7 riders
A coat of gloss and matt varnish then brought to the finishing line; basing. I really enjoy this aspect as it brings the whole activity to a pleasurable visual conclusion.
Pic 8 bases sand based ready to be painted and flocked, etc
Then the Chasseurs were complete!
Pic 9: the whole regiment complete
That left only, a favourite of many, the squadron of Mamelukes to paint in their delicious colours. They may not have been involved in the 100 days but I couldn’t resist temptation and their likely participation with 130 sabres = 6 models at 1:20. 
Pic 10 Mamelukes - 6 of the best! Spanking Gringo Napoleonics – a very hefty 28mm!
Assembled together they look a menacing force in a final image of the entire Guard light Division to put the fear of God in the Allies! These represent the best part of 7 weeks painting with the Christmas holidays bringing a cessation to my wargaming habit.

pic 11 :The Chasseurs on their way to Quatre Bras en masse! Ney will be pleased!
Well, I wonder which lucky wargamer will get to command them in our refight? If we don't get enough players it might end up being me!  It's a tough job being Kevin's wargaming mate, but someone's got to do it :-)

Talking of tough, he's given me about 20 photos in addition to the ones for the above article and let me choose which ones to use. I'm rather weak willed so I hope you enjoy all these too..........


  1. WOW!!

    What a great post Kevin and Chris. Those figures are simply outstanding and have to be some of the best painting I have seen in a long time. What a great level of detail in those faces, the Chassuers are simply superb and the Mamalukes are first rate. Incredible looking lancers and horse battery with the usual superior level of support staff and casions. Truly amazing. Just so talented mate. Great to see the pictures on the sabre making Kevin and I would love a few more details please as I too have been contemplating this for a while but lack the confidence to take the leap.

    1. Hi Carlo, thanks for your appreciative comments. I'll email you a little more detail for the creation of the sabres. They don't take long once you're set up, but expect some failures in the creation of the sabres themselves. Once a production line is started its an easy process so no need for lack of confidence - just go for it!

  2. Jaw hits the floor.
    just WOW!

  3. Close ups are just superb, and the mass effect incredible...What a wonderful job!!

  4. Awesome Kevin, lovely figures and a tribute to your ability to keep concentration and artistic standards high across such a large project. Love your rusty anvil!

  5. thank you so much for sharing - they are amazing! I wonder why the Perrys never produces the iconic Mamelukes - they made the Gendarmes d'Elite after all! I wish I could paint so well and so fast - bravo!

  6. Hi Paul, Phil, Roy, Rodger and unknown. It is heartwarming to gain your very favourable comments - so thank you as it helps me to achieve even more! After our 1:3 ratio games painting a 1:20 project seems much more manageable in comparison even something like the Guard Light division. I only have about 80 figures to paint for QB2 and then it's game on! Now that will be a feast for the eyes hopefully!

  7. Thanks from me to everyone too (Unknown turns out to be Oscar from my village - thanks mate!). It's always very gratifying to get comments on the blog whatever the subject, but I'm very lucky that Kevin enjoys supplying such splendid ammunition.

  8. Absolutely fabulous. Just the thing to drive the Allies off the table in April.

  9. It is a truly great job. Congratulations! You have inspired me to try to do something, more modest, but similar to the Light Cavalry Division of the Russian Imperial Guard (Uhlanos, Dragons and Hussars). A cordial greeting from the distant Argentine Republic. Carlos

    1. Carlos, you set a high standard with your historical blog so I know , when you paint them, they will be super. Happy New Year greetings from the UK.

  10. My favourite French unit.Chris get him to paint the Young Garde version with the crimson 1814 shako. Oh and also the Lancers de Berg in their white and amaranth uniforms.Beautiful work.

    1. Robbie - you always make excellently colourful uniform choices and a look back at my previous blogs will show I act on them! So, Kevin, looks like you will be doing the 1814 campaign next mate!!

  11. They look absolutely magnificent Chris. While it seems a huge fiddle to create and add all those sabre blades, the effect is well worth the effort. There is a lot of satisfaction in personalising figures, isn't there?

  12. Thanks James. Kevin is the super detail modification nerd in this case and deserves the credit!