Thursday, 15 April 2010

L'État Major


Thanks to the figures of Perry's "French High Command" I was now able to establish part of my Allied Headquarters. Maréchal de Rochambeau is there, discussing plans with Maréchal de Camp Saint Simon. The Duc de Lauzun has joined them now. Also there is the Marquis de Chastellux, liaison officer to General Washington. The latter however is missing, together with his American staff officers. I know that there are some figures at Old Glory - but they wouldn't match the excellent Perry figures! So I abstained from buying them. A good idea was, I think, to have a Commissaire ordonnateur handing out a message to an Aide de Camp. What would be an army without logistics! An ingenieur with his big telescope, planning the siege of Yorktown, and an ingenieur géographe rummaging in his pouch for the right map, show that the French expeditionary corps in America was part of a very professional army, indeed, where nothing was left to Marshall Chance.
Comte de Rochambeau (with map of Yorktown siege)

Marquis de Saint Simon

Marquis de Chastellux

Commissaire Ordonnateur with Aide de Camp

ingénieurs (the second one originally a porte-drapeau who got a cane instead of his flag staff)
ingénieurs géographs
The figures will populate my Allied Headquarters, though their military value is not to be weighed in wargaming.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Duc de Lauzun

His full name was Armand-Louis de Gontaut, Duc de Lauzun. He was an extraordinary personality, a popular courtier, a romantic lover, and a fearless warrior. He was a wealthy man, proprietor of the Volontaires-étrangers de Lauzun, or Lauzun's Legion with which he served King Louis in North-America. We know of at least three different uniforms that he wore there, all more or less flamboyant. But most probably he had about ten of them with him on campaign overseas. 
Trumbull's painting of Cornwallis' surrender shows him in the row of French generals to the right, with high hussar's busby with golden cap strings, red bag, and the typical high white and black plume. This was the gift of a lady at Versailles!
I was glad when I discovered him among Perry's "French High Command" figures. He is wearing one of the most splendid uniforms. With lots of golden lace. As they would have said in the German navy about their admirals: a plain golden uniform with blue stripes. In this case with blue, red, and white stripes.
The problem with the figure is, however, that the plume is not positioned at the right side of the busby, and that the cords were omitted. I left the plume where it was. Otherwise I would have had to saw it off, drill holes into fur cap and plume, insert a wire and glue it into the right place. Or even make a completely new higher plume. The cords I made, though, with the help of a bit of thin wire and some painter's surfacer. The result does not accurately correspond to the picture. But the general impression is alright, I think.
The uniform actually is that of an officer of his Legion on parade, as depicted by Eugene Leliepvre in his publication about the Legion (Edition Hussard du Marais, Paris). Only that the Duke's plume is different. I have altered the drawing accordingly.