NAPOLEON versus Ridley-Scott; 25MM MINIFIGS; and a thirty years passion.

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Napoleon and Staff.

As it is, with the current NAPOLEON movie creating a bit (or a lot) of disturbance in the pacific waters of History I have decided to refresh this Post from long time ago.

I went to see the movie in a theater, in fact I was invited by my eldest son&family… so I could not decline (I planned to go for the Blu-Ray extended version or director’s cut if it ever is commercialized…). You see… I am a fan of Ridley-Scott movies… since I saw THE DUELISTS!… Blade Runner… Gladiator…Black Hawk Down… are very good too. BUT: one thing is “MOVIES” and the other History (different from actual facts sometimes too often)… I think it is a mistake to judge NAPOLEON by its History standards (which are very much distorted or incomplete)… I am grateful for an epic movie even if it is a bit too dark for my aesthetic taste… Kubrick was not able to do it (to his credit)… and I think it is fairly impossible to resume Napoleon Bonaparte in a 2 or 3 hours film… the period is too long to condense… and if you loose precious footage decapitating Marie-Antoinette etc even worse…

From an strictly cinematic experience it was boring, full of cliches, too many flags and a lovely lass!… would not go to a theater to see it again. It is a pity in a way because it could have been so much better. Would I still buy the Director’s Cur?… of course matter of fact!… KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is much better in that format too!. Joaquim Phoenix can not represent a young Napoleon and a sick Napoleon 25 years later as hard as he tries… not a bad actor… a bad script!… as for the battle sequences any Napoleonic Wargamer will tell you ad nauseam all the mistakes… me included! (but we are a minority… a learned minority perhaps in the napoleonic period… but I confess I am not an expert neither in the Romans (well a bit) or The Crusades (only have read an interesting book about it!). It is the same with the Little Big Horn or Greasy Grass … I own (and have read more than a hundred books about it… I just hope Ridley-Scott does not a film about it!).

My recommendation?… go to see it and judge for yourself!… if not a moderate expert yo will probably enjoy.

More than 200 years… and still present in our collective memory for what it was… a genius (with faults and virtues) and I personally think quite ahead of its time. Nobody seriously studies Napoleon without noticing that it was not exclusively Napoleon fighting offensive wars (mainly) but defending France against old monarchies coalitions because of the ideas (seen as dangerous) of the French Revolution (which has also controversy attached). Of course having a military background (after all he was an Artillery Officer) and following the European tradition that Clausewitz will formulate a posteriori he went to war frequently enough (understatement) as it was the custom in Europe, nowadays he is still remembered for his Civil Code (nearly 200 years of life) and abolishing feudal privileges. He also reinstated slavery in the Caribbean Sea (to his shame). He was not perfect but had a great brain and “je ne sais quoi”.

This post has really a lot of pics!

Napoleonic wargaming was my passion for almost thirty years, in 25mm because I was stupid enough to do not choose 15mm in the first place (minis in the late seventies had no such vast offer and traders… even if MINIFIGS did 15mm too!) so MINIFIGS 25mm (after all I was coming down from plastic 54mm and up from AIRFIX 20MM) I went for… and no regrets, was quite happy with my collection who also extended to other periods and wars (I though it would be very difficult to paint such small figures in 15mm because of the lavish uniforms of the napoleonic wars!).

Was interested for many years (obsessed is a better description) with the battle of Waterloo, could the Emperor have won? In context and after years of reading about it, I arrived at the conclusion that it was a NO WIN – NO WIN situation, it would have been 1813 all over again… with Austrians and Russians and what not invading France which was exhausted… and that’s that.

Have some pics of my years indulging in that particular wargamers fetish. And remember the fact that I painted myself all the Waterloo minis!… LOL

Battling with my little brother… many years from now… yours truly on the left.
Waterloo set on my “wargames room” in fact part of my office!… weekend well employed.
Prussians arriving on the French right flank… 1815. The dark green area was a removable extension of the biggest table at my office.
French Grand battery close up.
Waterloo 1815 (Solo wargame).
Another view.
Waterloo lateral view.
Waterloo view from the French side.
The British Heavy Cavalry charge. Waterloo 1815.
British “heavy” (in fact medium) Cavalry close up.
Waterloo Allied Cavalry close up.
Wellington under his tree…
British and Hanoverian Infantry 1815.
French Heavy Cavalry of the Imperial Guard + Cuirassiers on their left.
French Light Cavalry of the Imperial Guard.
French Grand battery (background out of focus)
The fictional South Essex of Cornwell’s Sharpe (see right of pic).
Ditto.
Denmark Infantry. With a change of Command stand they become Swiss…
The Prussians arrival!
Austrian Grenadiers, Swedish Infantry and Russian Grenadiers.
Portuguese Line and Light Infantry (Ca├žadores).
The 9th Leger “L’Incomparable”
Napoleonic units: early Spanish 1808 , Duchy of Warsaw and Wurtemberg Infantry.
French Artillery.
Different Napoleonic units: Kingdom of Naples, Saxons and Bavarians.
Aspern-Essling 1809

After a deep crisis with 25mm wargaming I sold them all. After some years toying with Playmobil (75mm) conversions and quite classical 54mm toy soldier collecting I went back to wargaming but in 6mm this time! (see the other Posts). Cheers