Thinking about my collection of Napoleonic wargames figures

When doing something tedious – such as taking up a carpet, underlay, and gripper strips – I always find myself trying to occupy my mind with thoughts about wargaming. Today those thoughts were about my collection of 25mm/28mm-scale Napoleonic wargames figures … and the need to base them as soon as I can. Furthermore I decided that I ought to give some thought to both expanding the collection and using them.

It just so happened that during a break in my labours I happened to look at Ross Macfarlane’s BATTLE GAME OF THE MONTH blog, and read an account of his latest battle … and was struck by the thought that my collection of Napoleonic wargames figures would be more than suitable combatants for such battles. Ross’s battles and campaigns take place between a pair of imagi-nations (Oberhilse and Faraway), and as I have a penchant for imagi-nations, it would be interesting to develop some fictional simulacra of France, Britain, and Prussia … and – as I have a few suitable figures – Netherlands/Belgium and Brunswick.

I don’t know if I will ever act upon these thoughts … but it will give me something to think about as I continue decorating our conservatory.


14 Comments on “Thinking about my collection of Napoleonic wargames figures”

  1. David Crook says:

    Hi Bob,

    You can also add to the collection as these are readily available on Ebay – and a chap at Skirmish on one of the trade stands was selling them as well.

    All the best,


  2. David Crook,

    Funny that you should mention eBay, but I have made a foray there this evening … and I am now the owner of some French and Prussian 'reinforcements'.

    With luck I shall be at the next SKIRMISH show, and if I am still in the market to expand my collection, I will look out for them on sale there.

    All the best,


  3. My mind tends to wander in the same way. I have, though, learned to focus when hammers and sharp objects are involved.

    South American wars of Liberation and the like are another good setting for Napoleonic like games.

  4. Ross Mac,

    It's no wonder that my hands are covered in minor scraps and pin-prick holes! I should have kept more of my mind on the job in hand and not on wargaming.

    Seriously though, your suggestion about the South American Wars of Liberation is an excellent one … and one that I have experimented with before.

    All the best,


  5. Conrad Kinch says:

    It's funny, but while I have no problem with fictional scenarios – I would find Napoleonic imaginations odd. There's something about a red uniform that scream British to me and Frenchmen always look like Frenchmen.

    But, South American wars could be a good call.

  6. Good thinking time as the tools work. I look forward to following your plans .I don't personally have a problem with Napoleonic imagineering but each to there own.I sort of know what Conrad means- it would be ok with a wee German imagination in any colour uniform combo but when it comes to French/British they have to be some Albion or other such name in proper uniforms…
    Congrats on your new purchases and evolving conservatory…

  7. Conrad Kinch,

    I know what you mean … and I am giving serious thought to using the countries from my 1891 Imagi-world as they are based on their historical counterparts (e.g. Britannia = Great Britain, Gallia = France, Teutonia = Germany). Either that, or I will resurrect the South American imagi-nations I have used before.

    All the best,


  8. Tradgardmastare,

    One reason why I am thinking about imagi-nations is the fact that I can mix units (and uniforms) from different countries together.

    Another is so that I can get away from the influence of the 'Little Emperor' on everyone's thinking. I don't object to re-fighting battles from the Napoleonic Wars; I just don't want to be Napoleon (or Wellington) to do it!

    I find things like carpet removal, plastering, and painting walls intensely boring, and I find that filling my mind with thoughts about wargaming helps me to concentrate on the task at hand. Silly, I am sure … but it works for me. As to the conservatory … well we have been 'living' with the disruption for long enough now, and I just want to get it finished. The only problem is that it is going to take several weeks more before it will be. Buying my 'new' soldiers from eBay was partially a pat-on-the-back to myself for my patience and efforts. Very self-indulgent I know, but …

    All the best,


  9. arthur1815 says:

    I can understand Conrad Kinch's point about red uniforms tending to make one automatically think of such troops as British (though the Royal Horse Guards, all the light cavalry and artillery wore blue!).

    One solution, if raising two ImagiNation armies, would be to avoid red uniforms altogether; another would be to only paint figures with red coats that were modelled in uniforms that were clearly NOT British in style, such as French, Prussians or Russians, with bell-top shakos.

    For my own – yet to be purchased – armies, I have been considering simply creating Red & Blue armies, dressed in identical style uniforms, but with contrasting coats, facings and plumes, so that any figure could be painted as a soldier of either army to avoid waste/expense. (Shades of Right/Left Twix?) I wouldn't worry too much about a back-story, just use them as proxies for any historical troops or engagements I might sometimes wish to represent in games.

    Best wishes,

  10. Arthur1815,

    The figures I am using are pre-painted so I am left with the option of re-painting them OR leaving them as they are and making do with uniforms that are nation specific rather than generic. That said, the French uniforms were copied by so many other nations that I have less of a problem using them than I do have with my red coated British infantry.

    I suppose that I could re-paint the coats on some of my Redcoats. If they were blue, they would pass for US troops or Prussian reserves.

    Something for me to think about.

    If I was starting from scratch I would probably go for a number of generic armies (e.g. Blue, Green, and White) that used identical figures (possibly using home cast Prince August figures?).

    All the best,


  11. Ian Dury says:

    I know what Conrad means about the British and French, but both countries supplied uniforms to other countries. We supplied the Portuguese, the Prussians (some of their reserve regiments wore jackets and shakes that were originally intended for the Portuguese army) some of the Italian States and possibly others.
    One idea could be to do a French/British in India style rivalry overseas, but moved later in time. That would give you lots of options, including native troops…..

  12. Ian Dury,

    You are absolutely right. It is surprising how many countries used British-made uniforms … and how many countries copied the French-style of uniform.

    I like your idea of using these figures for a colonial campaign, both against each other and against native states. Shades of Napoleon in Egypt and Wellington in India.

    All the best,


  13. Napoleonics is one period I don't 'Imaginate' – I've never quite fathomed why. But I will put together imaginary campaigns, somewhere on the periphery of the main theatres of war.

    In the early days of this blog, I ran a sort of occasional 'logical campaign' set in 1813 Germany, but with a small Army Corps commanded by Marshal Dubonnet, operating between Davout's Corps around Hamburg, and Napoleon's main armies to the southeast.

    Marshal Dubonnet forced a river crossing (based on a Charles Grant scenario), and followed up with a hard-fought victory at Gross-Huntersdorf (a scenario based on Gross-Jagersdorf). What with one thing and another the campaign didn't progress beyond that, unfortunately.

    But I have a couple more in mind: one being an Italian Campaign in 1809, as the British (under General Sir Arthur Whitbread) effect a landing on mainland Naples in conjunction with an Austrian Army Corps (Feldmarschall-Leutnant von Carlsberg) marching down the leg of Italy. A certain General Dubonnet happens to command the French garrison (the Neapolitans having deserted en masse).

    I'm also thinking of a kind of Napoleonic 'Battle of the Bulge' type counteroffensive over the mid-Pyrenees, by an army (under the go-to guy for these sorts of operations, Marshal Dubonnet) operation in conjunction with Suchet in Catalonia and Soult on the Biscay coast…

    I gotta make a start on these one day…

  14. Archduke Piccolo,

    I have a feeling that your thinking about Napoleonic imagi-nations is by far and away the most common one around.

    Imagi-nations … No!
    Imaginary campaigns … Yes!

    Reading about your 1813 campaign – and the ideas for other Napoleonic imagi-campaigns – put me in mind of my favourite episode of CALLAN, where he and his opponent fight a campaign up the Loire valley. I can certainly see the attraction of imagi-campaigns like that, but it sounds as if you have snaffled all the best names for generals already. (Do I note a slight tendency towards alcoholic inspiration? Do the Russians have a General Smirnoff and the Neapolitans a General Limoncello perhaps? Will General Rioja command a Spanish army and General Dão a Portuguese one?)

    It sounds like you have lots of good ideas, and I look forward to reading about their tabletop incarnations at some time in the future.

    All the best,


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