Thursday 16 February 2023

28mm French and Indian Wars - Compagnie Franches de la Marine


Back to one of my favourite periods of history, the French and Indian Wars.  Oddly I don't have  a lot of figures for it.  I started playing the period with 'Age of Reason' rules over 20 years ago. This was ok at the time, but I did switch to Black Powder a few years ago. As all of my troops were based for Age of Reason, it meant 12 man units and very tightly based figures.

Black Powder played well and the 12 man units didn't seem to matter as the casualties are recorded separately anyway.  Despite being a favourite period I just never added any more figures after an initial delve and I have not added any figures for at least 20 years!

My most recent game rekindled my interest in the FIW (first time on the table for about 6 years!).  Watching 'Last of the Mohicans' combined to push me even further in. I found some more Osprey books and also purchased a 1930's ex-school book on General Wolfe on Ebay.   In addition I purchased 'A Dark and Bloody Ground' published by Warlord Games and this ensured that the whole thing snowballed again!  

I have been toying with doing more skirmish gaming and I realised this period could lend itself to some really good games. This means that I could get more use from the troops in skirmishes as well as the larger battles. There are so many raids and missions which can be played and with really interesting terrain, a land that must have seemed as strange and as distant as the planet Mars for those living in Britain or France!

I bought 2 sets of rules recently which gained my attention. 'Musket's and Tomahawks' and 'Sharp Practice'.  I have read through both sets of rules and am really looking forward to playing them both.  I suspect that I might find Sharp Practice easier to get into as I have several sets of rules by the Too Fat Lardies already and find them very enjoyable.

It's quite funny but I used to think skirmish gaming was a really inferior way to play games. I think it was caused by early experience in the 1980's with some really bad sets of rules (15 turns to load a matchlock!) and other oddball things.  These days there are so many really fine sets of rules and there are many that I have not yet tried.

Back to the figures, these are 28mm Compagnie Franches de la Marine produced by Warlord Games in metal.  I understand that these were originally made by Conquest Games.

The Compagnie Franches de la Marine are really interesting. They were formed as Companies under the budgets of the Navy. So they are designated 'Marine' being under the Ministry of the Marine but they are not Marines as we know them.  The companies were formed throughout New France as Independent companies.  As a result they could be mixed in their background, training and operational service.  The troops from non-urban areas could be superb woodland fighters and greatly skilled.  Dress and equipment would have been adapted with many native American items.  The troops in the urban garrisons probably wore the more formal uniform of tricorns and uniform coats.

The Warlord figures were great fun to paint up and my enthusiasm for them ensured that I finished painting them in 9 evenings and basing took a further 3 evenings.  There is a small magnet in the base which will help them to stay in their storage boxes on the magnetic sheet, as well as keeping them in movement trays.  I need to give movement trays more thought, as they might just speed up group movement.

What added to the fun of painting was the mixture of equipment,  The native American items added lots of colour and interest.  Getting the uniform shades of colour right led to lots of research and I think this is pretty close.

Paints used were largely Vallejo.  Basing was made with less grass than usual and more pieces of tree. I wanted a good 'forest floor' look to them

Despite using less static grass than usual, I still managed to get grass over the figures. In my joy of completing the figures today, I again completely forgot to brush off the figures before taking photos.  So please excuse the bits of grass on the troops faces and uniforms!  It will all brush or blow off!

There are some quite dynamic poses and also some marching/more static figures.  These again lend themselves well to being characters in skirmish games..

I have some more figures to paint for this collection and I look forward doing them soon.  This weekend will be a challenge as my interest might get diverted by a planned WW2 game using 'Panzergrenadier Deluxe'. Hopefully I will still remain focussed on painting FIW as I really do want to play with these soon.

I'll stop typing now and let you enjoy the many pictures.