Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Feu de Joie For Les Francaises

Les Gardes Francaises - 30mm Suren figures and GMB Designs flags with Front Rank finials - painted by Der Alte Fritz (or should that be Le Vieux Frederic?)

The French, Austrians and other assorted "bad guys" have not gotten the attention that they deserve on the pages of The Alte Fritz Journal, so I thought that I would post a few pictures of the victors of the recent Battle of Muhlenberg. Bill and Randy have been adding to their collections of French, so my painting of the same has ground to a complete halt over the past year. I have a French brigade of 4 battalions that consists of single battalions of the Regiment d'Eu, the Irish regiment Bulkeley in French service, Les Gardes Francaises, and a battalion of the Arquebusiers de Grassin.

The Gardes, shown in the picture above, are those wonderful 30mm Suren figures (also known as The Willie Range). I like the slenderness of the figures and animation is very lifelike. If you peruse the picture up close (please click the picture to enlarge it for a better view), you just might spy the Gardes officer doffing his tricorn and bowing at the waist to honor his opponent or perhaps to honor Lady Pettygree or one of her comrades. The Suren range also includes a nice selection of line infantry poses that include marching, firing and running poses. I would recommend against using the running pose as only one foot is affixed to the lead base, posing potential breakage problems. Bill has a battalion of such figures, and I do admit that they look very nice and so I'm tempted to paint the castings that I bought.

Regt. d'Eu (Capitulations Figures) and Les Gardes Francaises (Surens)

Above you will see a picture of the Regiment d'Eu, using Capitulations Figures from France. I like these castings very much because they are lifelike, their coats do not have the turnbacks fastened, and the faces are very well rendered. In most cases, you have to glue the right arm onto the figure and it can get a little dodgy at times, but it is well worth the extra effort. I also have a second battalion of Capitulations figures painted as the Irish regiment Bulkeley (shown below). Regiment d'Eu is famous for its defense of the redoubt d'Eu that it defended at the battle of Fontenoy in 1745. It seems to have performed well during its service under Monsieur le general de Chevert in our little campaign. It was a mere 30 figures for over a year, but last summer I finally boosted d'Eu up to 60 figures so that it could stand up in a prolonged firefight with the 60 figure British and Prussians that we have in our collections.

Closeup shot of the Capitulations command figures, painted as the Irish Bulkeley Regiment - by Der Alte Fritz.

The above picture provides a close up of some of the command figures from the Capitulations range, painted as the Irish regiment Bulkeley. Don't they look rather grand in their red uniforms and green cuffs. And I really like the Irish regiment flags for some reason. GMB Designs does an excellent rendition of these colorful Irish flags.

Regiment Bulkeley - an Irish 'foreign' unit in French service.

And above, here is a picture of 45 members of Bulkeley ( I was having problems fitting the fourth stand into the picture, but I do have 60 figures in the battalion). One of the nice things about the French army during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740 to 1748) and the Seven Years War (1756 to 1763) is the variety of infantry types fighting under the fleur-de-lys for King Louis XV. You can field the basic French regiments in their white coats and various colored cuffs (red, white, black, blue, purple, yellow, green). The for variety, you could add some Swiss and Irish foreign regiments in their red coats and some German regiments in their light blue coats, and there is some speculation that an Italian regiment wore brown coats. Then add into that, the veritable potpouri of light infantry legions that were raised to fight in French service. One of the most famous of these are the Arquebusiers de Grassin, shown below.

Arquebusiers de Grassin - 28mm Eureka Miniatures - by Der Alte Fritz.

The Arquebusiers de Grassin were formed in 1744, under an ordinance authorizing Simon Claude, Chevalier de Grassin, a captaine in the Picardie regiment, to raise a corps of light troops. This grant was in recognition for the zeal and distinguished action of the Chevalier during the Bohemian and Bavarian campaigns in 1742 and 1743. The regiment was formed in Metz with an initial strength of 1,200 men, including 900 fantasins and 300 cavaliers. The corps was organized into 9 companies (100 men and 3 officers) of infantry and 6 companies of cavalry (4 officers and 50 men each. In the field, the cavalry operated as 2 squadrons. In the infantry companies, the grenadiers were amalgamated with the grenadiers of the other companies to form one grenadier company. Eventually, two permanent grenadier companies were formed so that the line companies would always be near full strength.

The Arquebusiers achieved fame at Fontenoy in 1745, where they were deployed in the Bois de Barri and caused fits and havoc among the British infantry given the unpleasant task of routing them out of the woods. After Fontenoy, the cavalry component was increased by 200 troopers, thus giving them 8 cavalry companies. The corps was disbanded in 1749, after the conclusion of the War of the Austrian Succession, with its men amalgamated into the Volunteers de Flandre.

By the way, I want to thank Greg Horne for coming up with the idea to have these figure made by Eureka Miniatures under the auspices of their Eureka 100 club. I also am grateful to Nic Robison of Eureka for putting them into production. Greg and I flogged the idea of getting these figures into production by rounding up a total of 10 people who collectively would be willing to buy 150 figures. That averages out to a mere 15 figures per person - something that should be manageable under most people's budgets. Using this marketing model, we were subsequently successful in getting Eureka to produce SYW Saxon infantry and cavalry as well as Dutch WAS infantry, cavalry and artillery. There are similar efforts to get the WAS French and British infantry into production via the Eureka 100 Club.

Comparison photo of (left to right) Stadden, Suren, Capitulations and Eureka figures in the collection of Der Alte Fritz. Click picture to enlarge.

The picture above shows a comparison of Staddens, Surens, Capitulations and Eureka figures that we use in our SYW armies for Gallia and Hesse Seewald. While each figure has its own style, you can see that they are all compatible ranges and therefore fit well on the tabletop.


  1. Jim,

    Very nice indeed. I like the unit histories along with the photos.

    Please feel encouraged to so highlight all of your Brigades.

    -- Jeff

  2. Jim
    Vive La France! I love the De Grassin's - in particular especially the musician. The enemies of Prussia look a fearsome and stirring bunch- I look forward to seeing them on the table in another game soon.The comparison photos are very helpful when I am thinking what to buy - thanks .

  3. Its a pity that Capitulation are unobtainable at the moment. When they reopen I'll be buying some more as they are far better than the new Foundry range.
    de Ligne

  4. Excellent work.
    Hopefully this will convince Frank that I'm right about the French being a far more colourful opponent than the Austrians and I won't have to bully him so hard into making them ;-)

    Richard A

  5. Morning Jim,

    Amazing! And I especially like the Irish troops in those red coats. Well done!

    Best Regards,


  6. Hello Richard A. : I'm a big fan of your work, as evidenced by what you are doing for Frank and for TAG. I really like seeing figures that look like real people. They are the best looking figures on the market by far. I have a unit of Prussians and plan to include a lot of your Austrians in my army in the future.

    Nigel: I will see if I can find the e-mail (at my work PC) for the gentleman in France who has the Capitulations range. I believe that his name is Christophe Duquet. Even though his web site is down, he was still taking orders a year or so ago. He is just hard to reach.

    Alan: I will do more comparative pictures in the future now that I'm starting to figure out how to use the macro (close up) mode on my camera. I probably have 4 or 5 pictures that don't turn out for everyone that is good.

  7. Jim,

    Absolutely wonderful figures. I'd love to have them in my army!


  8. Re: Capitulation, there's an email for him under Capitulation in the Manufacturer directory on The Miniatures Page (www.theminiaturespage.com). Can't say if it works or not, but I just emailed it this morning inquiring whether he had a figure list and price list for SYW.

  9. (or should that be Le Vieux Francois?)

    It should be Le Vieux Frederic :)

    I just discovered your blog and as an old school Napoleonic minis gamer who is thinking of moving to Seven Years War I've found it very useful.

  10. Thank you Arthur, and welcome to the blog. I like Napoleonics almost as much as SYW, so you will probably see some of both. Thank you for the grammar note - I knew that I had it wrong. :)

  11. The Grassins are really excellent, a pity that they were not around in the SYW, but perhaps I should create a unit of them anyway as I don't have any French light infantry for the SYW, thanks for an inspiring post.


  12. Lovely figures! I like them all. The Irish part of me is really taken with Bulkeley's. Tempting...

  13. The Grassins are such nice figures that we use them in our SYW games. I haven't had any complaints about them yet. They are always giving my Prussians a hard time, so they earned the right to fight in the SYW.