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Gardes Françaises

By smacdowall, Feb 6 2016 07:34PM

It must be the turn of the Guards!

Having just completed the Gardes Suisses circa 1706 in 15mil, I have moved up a scale and back a half century to finish up the Gardes Françaises for my Battle of the Dune’s project.

This will be the only uniformed regiment in my 1658 French army. I have painted them in their first uniform which was recorded in 1661 as being grey with red rather than the more familiar blue and red of later years.

There are some hints in the memoirs of Monsieur d’Artagnan that the Gardes Française may have been uniformed before 1661 and I thought that giving them uniforms would make them stand out above the rest. I have also used the rather excellent Northstar 1672 range of figures rather than ECW or Thirty Years War ranges. My logic is that if the King was going to provide them with coats they would most likely be in the latest fashion.

This NCO figure is listed by Northstar as the young Marlborough who saw service in the French army. This is based on a drawing in the Osprey Blenheim book although it does not actually portray ? Churchill. The very short jacket which exposes the shirt is a late 1650’s fashion and so perfect for the Dunes.

The basis of my French army are battalions of 3 bases with 8 shot and 4 pike, representing 600 men on a 1:50 scale. The guards usually had several battalions present so I have made this unit up of 6 bases with two standards so that they can be deployed together or separately.

The officer carrying the ‘drapeau blanc’ has enough feathers, ribbons and lace to satisfy anyone’s inner transvestite. Later versions had crowns on each of the arms of the cross but It seems that this was not yet in use. I decided to give the cross a gold border just to make the flag look a little more guards-like.

The colour scheme was inspired by this rather wonderful 19th century painting of Condé’s reception at Versailles. It also shows some pages in the short jackets worn by the NCO.

The clothing for the other ensign is loosely based on the painting of the Battle of Seneffe (1674) below. He is carrying the blue company colours which may have had as many fleurs de lis in each quadrant as the number of the company.

Given than four fleurs de lis are easier to paint than 40, I decided that this should be the 1st company rather than the 10th! It looks remarkably like the modern Quebec flag.

Mar 6 2016 08:44PM by Ray Rousell

Beautiful looking troops Simon!!! Its a period you don't normally see, I shall be following the progress with interest!

Mar 9 2016 11:47AM by smacdowall

Thanks very much!
Some French Dragoons on the painting table at the moment

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