Saturday, March 4, 2017

SYW French Pioneers

Taking a break after hard labour

Just one small post for me this week as I continue to stumble along to not making my Challenge goal!  This week it is a group of 6 French pioneers for my ongoing Sharp Practice project on the  Seven Years' War in Western Germany. 

The figures are from the Perry's AWI range and are sold as British Dragrope men, hired (or "volunteered") help for manhandling artillery pieces around.  As with the rest of this range they are lovely figures with lots of character and very nice to paint.  I had previously painted up the Continental Dragrope men as Hanoverian Pontooniers.  I've been focusing on the Anglo-Allied side of the equation for the most part during the challenge but these figures seemed better suited to their French opponents. 
Side view
While dedicated corps of Sappers and Miners exist in most armies, they were small and kept to fortress duty.  Therefore in the field the job of digging and other engineering labour went to ordinary infantrymen detailed in work parties.  If they were lucky there was an Engineer officer to tell them what to do properly, if not they'd make due with an Infantry or Artillery officer who had some idea of siege work or the like.  In this case I have "volunteered" a group from the Royal Baviere Regiment, one of the German Regiments in French service.  They served in the western theatre and were at several of the major actions, getting quite roughed up at Emsdorf in 1760.  The Regiment was named for the Count de Baviere a bastard son of the King of Bavaria.  It was a different age....

Rear view

The is one of those cases where the figures were bought before I figured what I was going to do wit them.  I liked the poses and they looked like they could be morphed into SYW pioneers or sappers with a bit of work.   I have painted them as if they had taken off their uniform coats and are dressed in their sleeved waistcoats, which are left open for comfort to show the white shirt underneath.  In addition they have taken off their gaiters and swapped the tricorn for forage caps made from last years uniform coat.

If the War-games Fashion Police are watching I am in big trouble here.  The figures were cast to represent British Infantry in the AWI with their long coats cut down.  Originally I had some idea to trim down the lace etc to make them fit better but then realized that Swiss and German regiments in French service had laced waistcoats and an easier plan fell into place.  Also it meant that I didn't have to take an Xacto to these lovely figures.  So if anyone from the WFPD is watching I confess to the following.
  • The"waistcoats" should close but in this case won't close - the figures are wearing (in cut down form) the AWI coat with lapels cut in the Prussian style (like early French Nappy Infantry).
  • The "waistcoats" have inappropriate cuffs and collars if you look closely enough.
  • The "shirts" are actually the original waistcoats, there's a pair of pockets placed like suit jacket pockets visible in several figures

I especially like the figure squatted on his haunches and the fellow offering help to his comrade who is obviously in some distress. 
However, if one is prepared to not look too carefully, I think that these guys work nicely as a work detail.


  1. That's another wonderfully characterful set Peter, bravo Sir.

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  2. Don't forget, if you make these infantry do manual labour you have to pay them extra!

    A good gloss varnish helps distract people from these minor technical uniform bits on a well imagined and executed group like this.

    1. Heck double nothing is still nothing. Thanks for the comments.

  3. Nicely done, nice to see support troops