Sunday, 19 February 2017

French Marie-Louise Infantry - 28mm Perry

Added to the late French Empire ranks, here's some Marie-Louise infantry. 

At the sunset of Empire in 1813/14, Napoleon was desperate for troops and young conscripts formed an increasingly large part of the French army. They were referred to as "Marie-Louises" in reference to the fact that the young Empress Marie Louise signed the conscription orders. And as I understand it, also perhaps because many of them looked as young and small as the Empress.

Increasingly often these troops did not have proper uniforms, instead being equipped with a grey greatcoat and Pokalem headgear instead of the more expensive shako. That's how I've chosen to depict them here.

Most of them would have been added to regular line units to help make up numbers, but I wanted to have some separate units to clearly represent provisional infantry regiments, so did them up in their own units.




Each box of Perry French Line Infantry contains 18 spare heads with Pokalem, so you end up with heaps of them lying around. You have to snip off the shako head, trim the collar area with a craft knife, then stick on the pokalem head. It's pretty quick after the first few, though it also generates a slightly disturbing feeling like you're guillotining the little chaps!

This is a closer look at a Pokalem. Apparently the term 'Pokalem' comes from 'Poka = Polska, Lem = helm', the 'Polish helmet'. Though of course it was made of felt. Not very pretty but quite practical. Having done the blue, I decided that adding the very fine red trim was not worth the time investment for the moment given how hard to see it would be on the table. Maybe later! 


And lastly here is a portrait of Marie Louise, Empress of the French 1810-1814, after whom these troops take their name.

18 comments:

  1. Wonderful job, 'Vive l'Empereur'!

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    1. Thanks Phil! 'Vive l'Empereur' indeed, I've read that many of these youthful conscripts (together with the guard) ended up being some of the last fanatically loyal troops to Napoleon. I guess they had been brought up on the legend.

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  2. Great figures! I like the pokalem look - not sure i'd have the patience to do all those battalions though!

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    1. Cheers, yes bit of an effort but much easier than dress uniforms!

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  3. I like the idea of entire units in Pokalem that can represent Provisional or even National Guard units; I use my units in greatcoat and covered shakos that way. I'd be inclined to paint at least a single red line around the top of the unright part of the cap where it joins the wide, flat top to break up the blue and grey, but whatever!

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    1. Yes I kind of copied your idea with that Peter! And yeah I may do that red line at some stage!

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  4. Outstanding work! I, too, like seeing the forage cap.

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    1. Thanks Jonathan, it does make a nice change I guess!

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  5. Great looking conscripts in greatcoats, even if I don't like the forage cap, the previous one is so much nicer! Lovely finish none the less.
    Best Iain

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    1. Thanks, yes not a great uniform but I will get used to them hopefully! :)

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