Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Great SYW Miniatures Collection - Fontenoy

The French Gardes Francaises and Suisses deploy between Fontenoy and Bois du Barry.
French cavalry backs up the infantry in the center.

From time to time I would like to post pictures of other people's collections of wargame figures that really stand out in my mind. So today, let's start with a look at the collection of UK wargamer Steve Langen, who has built up an incredible collection of War of the Austrian Succession (1740 - 1748) French and British armies. Nearly all of the figures are sculpted by the talented Richard Ansell in 1/56 Scale (approximately 30mm tall) and include Minden Miniatures and Crann Tara Miniatures and some Fife & Drum Miniatures artillery equipment.

Steve recently refought the Battle of Fontenoy (1745) and was kind enough to let me post pictures of his magnificent collection of miniatures and terrain pieces.

A description of the French battle line, stretching from the Redoubt d'Eu on the left, to the town of Fontenoy in the center, and on to the town of Antoing on the French right. The pictures are posted in order from the French left to the French right.

Aeriel view of the French deployment at Fontenoy stretching from the Redoubt d'Eu at the top of the picture to the left of the woods; the French Gardes brigade and cavalry defend the gap in the center; the town of Fontenoy on the middle right; and more French in redoubts between Fontenoy and Antoing.

The French army's left wing was a strong position with the Bois du Barry woods to its front with two redoubts on the left. French light infantry were deployed in the woods and well placed to pepper the flanks of the approaching British with musketry. If the British survived the passing of the woods, then they would run into the Redoubt d'Eu, which could enfilade their attack on the right flank.

The Bois du Barry woods anchors the left flank of the French battle line.
The Arquebusiers de Grassines, light troops, defend the woods.

The Redoubt d'Eu is placed strategically at the edge of the woods
and can provide enfilading fire on any attack that comes in the center.
The French center stretched between the Redbout d'Eu on its left and the town of Fontenoy on its right. French general Marshal Maurice de Saxe correctly reasoned that the most likely point of attack by the British and allies would be in the center. Accordingly, de Saxe placed his best troops: the brigade of French and Swiss Gardes and backed them up with the cream of the elite French Household and line cavalry.

To the right of the Redoubt d'Eu we see the deployment of the French Gardes brigade,
backed up by  the elite Maison du Roi cavalry and other French cavalry regiments

Closer view of the French center at Fontenoy

Anchoring the French right flank was the town of Fontenoy. De Saxe had fortified the perimeter of the town and stuffed it full of cannon and French infantry. 

French infantry defends the town of Fontenoy.

Finally, the French defences behind Fontenoy stretched to the River Scheldt and the town of Antoing. The open areas between Fontenoy and Antoing were defended by more redoubts. French artillery was posted on the other side of the river, where they could enfilade and attack in this sector the battlefield.

The leader of the British and Allies (Dutch, Hanoverians and Austrians), the Duke of Cumberland, decided to attack the French center with his British troops, while the Dutch troops would attack the Fontenoy-Antoing position. The Hanoverians were placed to add weight to the British attack and to possibly attack the salient in the French line - the town of Fontenoy.

The British Guards advance towards the French center.

The British attack moves towards its date with the French center.

The defense of the Redoubt d'Eu

The French Gardes Brigade

The second wave of British support the first line of British Guards.

I hope that you enjoy this tour of Steve's collection of figures and terrain. I think that you will agree with me that this is an exceptional collection of painted figures. I can truthfully say that this may well be the best looking collection of mid-18th Century armies and figures. It sets the bar high for everyone else. 

I find Steve's collection inspiring and it gives me some ideas about things that I could do with my own collection.


  1. Wonderful lines of battle and spectacular pictures...What a great pleasure to look at such a report!

  2. Those look so beautiful! I am so envious!

  3. A gorgeous collection and set-up!

    Best Regards,


  4. What a stunning collection of Steves. Thanks for posting these Jim as they are truly inspirational for collectors and wargamers alike.

  5. I just love this battle, and I just love these figures! Many thanks for posting, Jim! Now I'm inspired to get back to the "man-cave " & start painting! Cheers, Rohan.

    1. They are indeed inspirational and almost make me want to start painting French and British.

    2. I'd be Russian to it, Jim!! :-D Sorry, it's late at night after a big day! And Federer is playing tennis in the Aus Open!! Hooray! Cheers, Rohan.

  6. Ah, THAT is how miniatures gaming should look!