Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Chevau-leger Lanciers: Figure Review Part 1 of 2

My very first Napoleonic French unit in 34 years since my plastic Airfix teenage wargaming days will be the 3rd Chevau-leger lancers for the 100 days. Overlapping slightly with my near complete Dutch Militia, I have built my lancer models ready to prime coat them but wanted to make a number of observations.

These are Elite Miniatures models and to be frank, they have been hard work. Now I'm a long time fan of Elite Miniatures and their Australian distributor and it would in fact be safe to say it was this range of figures which got me back into 28mm Napoleonic wargaming over 14 years ago. I love their infantry but am not such a fan of their cavalry. Don't get me wrong - I think they are a good looking figure and at the best price on the market but they have their limitations.

The riders come in only three poses - an officer, a trumpeter and a trooper. To gain variation, arms must be twisted, heads likewise, and the positioning of the integral rider/saddle can vary the seat of the trooper. Manipulation of the Elite alloy is a tricky undertaking as it is rigid and prone to snapping if you aren't very careful.

The casting of the saddle interior required vigorous filing with a proper workman's tool, as does the back of the mount to enable even a snuggish fit. I drill and pin my riders to their mounts with steel wire and plenty of Selley's Araldite and make my own lances with steel wire and fix them with the same glue at two points all prior painting to secure the best bond.


I've never made lancers before and thought to experiment with their pennons. In recent years I've migrated from tissue paper flags to cloth but was not convinced about fiddling with cloth pennons and dislike the paper variants I have seen. A scotch snob when I can be, my current preferred drop comes with medium grade foil capping which is easily marked and cut. I cut the swallow tail leaves from the foil, rolled the lance end of the pennon over a wire sufficient to hook and glue onto the lances. I then fixed them to the rider and mount after 24 hours. Once fixed, only then did I curl the foil pennons to represent the effects of momentum and breeze depending upon the pose of the casting.
In the end, between turning some horse heads in a vice and even the accidental collapse of the back legs of one mount (see left figure in the first image), I ended up with a varied looking regiment (20 figures) in a series of fully animated poses. I am confident that once painted up and based, they will look the part.
 
 

1 comment:

  1. Nice use of foil. It used to be common on wine bottles but now seems to be either plastic or hard metal. One cap does plenty of pennants. I've used it to replace broken swords and bayonets as well.

    A unit I always wanted from the old Airfix days - I never thought of converting the cuirassiers, but that would have been an option. I ended up going with HAT, but my main army is 15mm and my lancers (which are a one piece casting from Lancashire Games) only came in one pose - trooper.

    Looking forward to seeing your finished unit.

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