Thursday, June 30, 2011

Are we the baddies?

They have skulls on their hats, but unlike the Brunswickers, these guys are definitely the baddies.

I've been eyeing the Quatre Bras and Waterloo scenarios included in the Command & Colours: Napoleonics scenario book for quite some time now. I had intended to field a mixed bag of Belgians, Dutch and Nassauers, but some practical considerations have come to the fore.

I play as much Command & Colors: Napoleonics as I can - generally with anyone who will stand still long enough. However, few of my friends and regular players are aficionados of Napoleonic uniforms. Consequently, I have had to make some compromises in the way I play the game - I no longer field units of British Grenadiers or Guards. I usually replace them with Highlanders because players who are not entirely au fait with the period often have difficulty spotting a shoulder wing or blue facings on a 1/72 scale figure.

My Waterloo Anglo-Dutch army will to muster some extra troops before it's ready to take the field. I need six line infantry units, two units of light cavalry, one units of light infantry, one unit of militia, one general and two units of foot artillery. These will represent the mix of Hanoverians, Nassauers, Brunswickers, Dutch and Belgians that were on the field. I had considered using a similar mix of figures to represent this polyglot force, but after play I think it might be fairer to at least have some consistency between troop types. It will make it easier for novice players to distinguish between them and I can add additional regiments as and when I wish.

I've decided that the line infantry will be Dutch, supplied by Hats offering, which gives me an admirable two units per box. The militia will be Dutch militia, that is Hat Peninsular British infantry with a paint conversion.

For guns, Waterloo 1815 do a Dutch-Belgian Artillery set. The guns will need to be replaced, something I can't pretend that I would have realised without plastic soldier reviews trenchant review of the set. But I have some replacement French guns that will do very well.

I've never been taken with HAT's cavalry figures, so I won't be fielding any of their Dutch light dragoons. In fact, I can't think of a single HAT cavalry figure that I've really liked. Their cossacks are passable, but more useful than attractive.

I have a unit of Brunswickers; they dress in black and they wear skulls on their hats*. I like to think of them as the rebellious teenagers of the Napoleonic era. How could I not? I'm also a big fan of Millais as it happens, but these fellows will not be taken into account as I'll only be fielding them when I feel that they won't confuse the situation for new players. Much the same can be said of the squadron of Kennington Dutch-Belgian Carabiniers that I ended up with.

Which brings me back to the problem of Light Cavalry and Light infantry.

The Light Cavalry are a more complicated question. I ended up with the Carabiniers due to a mix up when I ordered some Brunswicker Hussars at rest from SHQ, but didn't send them back because I liked the castings. I would like some Brunwicker Hussars, but I don't want to muster a unit from a range that lacks officers or trumpeters.

And who shall my light infantry be?

It is indeed a puzzlement.

*They are also quite clearly not the baddies - this is important.


  1. I suspect I may have had some "input" into this post. It may have been somewhere between the sixth and seventh times I asked "are the guys with the feathers in their hats the heavy or light cavalry?".

    I still don't know which is which. But the look of pain in Kinch's face was worth it!