The Emperor’s Birthday

If Napoleon was alive today he’d be 243 – too old to still be counting, but only seven years away from a special anniversary. I celebrated the anniversary of Napoleon’s birthday on the 15th by dipping into David Chandler’s Napoleon – the updated reprint. The campaign of 1809 is tucked away in Chapter Four ominously titled ‘The Path To Failure 1808-12’. But 1809 devotees of the French sparkle need not worry. Despite the first major kick-back and the struggle to drag victory from a resolute foe, the signs of genius of the earlier years were still very much in evidence in 1809. Rather than a path to failure, the Danube campaign tends to be thought of as a watershed – the cracks were beginning to appear while the brilliance still shone. As a watershed implies, it’s more of a level playing field. And a level playing field is a good place for wargaming. Although, ‘1809: The Watershed Year’ doesn’t quite have the Chandler ring to it.

Hussar Trial Figure

My new painting resolution meant that those pretty French hussars that I had been sensibly holding back on painting dashed recklessly to the head of the painting queue. My French 8th Hussar trial figure was also my first shot at 10mm hussar painting. With all their colour and élan, it’s all too easy to have a favourite hussar regiment. But as the 8th was the only full French hussar regiment at the battle of Aspern-Essling, it’s not a great battle for the French hussar enthusiast. Regardless of that, the 8th may not have been my first choice but they certainly sported a dashing uniform.
I didn’t usually paint the blue centre of the cockade on French shakos because it can all end up looking more messy than fine detailed – but here I did. The dark area under the front of the saddle and pits down the foreleg are holes in the figure. The big hole will need to be filled with green stuff.