|Maurice de Saxe at the Battle of Fontenoy, shown with his African bodyguards from his Volontaires de Saxe.|
I have long been fascinated by the idea of someone creating a vignette of French Marshal Maurice de Saxe shown riding in a wicker wagon or chariot during the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745. Maurice was terribly ill prior to the start of the battle and he could not mount his horse, so someone found a small wagon that the marshal could use during the battle. Some say that Maurice was suffering from the effects of Dropsy, probably a result of his life of hard living and drinking. But I digress...
So several months ago, several of us on the "A Military Gentleman" Forum, were discussing the wagon that Maurice used during the battle. Niels indicated that he was interested in creating such a model in 1/56 scale (suitable for 28mm and 30mm figures). I chimed in that if he would make the wagon, I would commission Richard Ansell to sculpt a model of Maurice sitting in the wagon. So quicker than you could say, "Bob's your uncle", Niels set to work on the wagon and had the model completed in record time. Here is a picture of the finished model below:
|Marshal de Saxe's wicker chariot used at Fontenoy. Model created by Niels R. at Westphalia Miniatures. Limber horses are from the Minden range.|
Once Niels' wagon model was cast in metal, he sent a copy to Richard so that he could sculpt the figure of Maurice de Saxe that is shown below:
|Marshal Maurice de Saxe at the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745|
Now it occured to me that we would need a pair of horses to draw the wagon and a driver to ride on one of the harness horses. Looking at the picture at the top of this page, one can see that the driver had to be one of the Volontaires de Saxe. As a result, we had Richard create the following driver figure:
|Marshal de Saxe's wagon driver|
The drawing also depicts one of Maurice's African uhlans that comprised his personal bodyguard, which were a part of the Voluntaires de Saxe. So we had Richard sculpt the bodyguard as well, as shown in the picture below:
|African trooper - personal escort of Marshal de Saxe|
By this time, I was thinking, "in for a penny, in for a pound" so as long as we were adding some of the uhlans to the Minden range, why not make the rest of the figures that one would need to create the whole regiment. Thus we had Richard work on adding another uhlan, an officer and a trumpeter, shown in the following pictures.
At the end of the day, this joint project between Westphalia Miniatures and Minden Miniatures came together quite nicely. I think that Niels' work on the chariot is outstanding (you ought to see what one of these vehicles looks like when painted - WOW!) and I think that I am running out of superlatives to use in describing Richard's sculpting work - that Maurice de Saxe personality figure is amazing, as are the rest of the Voluntaries de Saxe.
The greens will be sent to Griffin Moulds next week, along with the French Cuirassiers du Roi and some horse team riders (2 civilian figures, 1 Austrian and 1 Prussian rider, both in uniforms) and hopefully we can get these little master pieces into production very quickly.
The Maurice de Saxe vignette will be sold as a set to include the chariot/wagon, Maurice sitting in the wagon, two harness team horses, and one uhlan harness driver. The rest of the Volontaires de Saxe will be available as individual figures for purchase. Crann Tara Miniatures in the UK will handle all orders in the UK and Euroland while the USA and the rest of the world will be handled from the USA. I'm assuming that Westphalia Miniatures will also have the complete Maurice set added to their product line.
I am really really pleased with how well this project came together and the results are quite impressive. I look forward to collaberating with Westphalia Miniatures on some other projects in the future.
As always, click on the pictures to enlarge the view so that you can see all of the details.