Before I wax lyrical about my Italian limber and the pretty paint job and basing I want to make something clear following something which happened on TMP recently. My post re the Highland Light Regiment attracted lots of complimentary comments, rightly as Tony Laughton has done a splendid job of some excellent sculpts. What also happened was a lively discussion about the apparent errors in the paint job and even in the basing, one person describing these as "howlers". This was all very chummy and took the form of a discussion BUT missed the point - these are MY toys NOT an attempt to faithfully reproduce the historical reality which is as vague as the shifting sands of time and possibly rather dreary. The fact is when I commission a paint job I agree with the painter/artist how I want MY toys to look in some detail, even checking out work in progress to keep the project on course. This represents the aesthetic I want on MY wargames table. Nobody else is consulted. People will of course discuss stuff on forums, this is what happens when you post publicly. I get that, I am old enough, ugly enough, & big enough to take this on the chin.
So, understand the above about where I'm coming from with this following set of models.
Back to the toys
Here is my very fantastical interpretation of an Italian limber train heading into Russia in 1812. The inspiration came many years ago when I was researching the Italians as allies of Napoleon, in particular the army which marched in and out of Russia in 1812.
In order to raise the biggest army possible Napoleon gathered formations from across the empire. The Emperor was keen to have as much cavalry as possible but was short of horses, always a problem for the armies of France. To this end Italian artillery and train were stripped of horses in order to mount French cavalry. This left Eugene to find alternative four legged power to draw his guns and caissons to war. My reading of one source suggested that oxen or bullocks were drafted to the yoke, I forget which book/essay/journal/article this was in, but the story stuck. As a postscript it was noted that none returned to graze in Italy again, which is rather sad.
|A proper big piece of ordinance - French 12lb cannon from Elite Miniatures.|
This project has sat on the back burner for about 25 years until the Perry's released these ox teams separately from the medieval set they were made for. This kick started the search for bits and bobs and a design decision process of how I wanted this to look. I was not simply after a few Italian artillerymen in overalls/campaign gear trudging eastward. Mine was to have a festive colourful carnival or circus like vibe.
|Perry Miniatures oxen under the yoke, painted by Tony.|
|Check out the face on the white headed oxen - it's so realistic you might expect it to look up and "moo"!|
|These two are crying out for a caption competition, go on have a go...|
|A beautiful cornet player beautifully painted, note the pockets on the waistcoat.|
"What's in his pocketses?"
|Lots of gaudy plumes nodding around in this shot!|
|The dappling on the rear ox is outstanding, keep an eye out for it.|
Sadly I desecrated the red plume whilst dry brushing the base, since rectified!
|The circus comes to town.|
|Slightly fuzzy aerial view of the procession heading east to their doom.|
That's a wrap for this lot. These are gaming pieces so watch out for their appearance in battle reports.
As usual please feel free to comment, best wishes,