Saturday, 28 January 2017

From AlanD - Women from the Retreat from Moscow (35 points)

In a shameless bid for the coveted Sarah's Choice, I present some women from Napoleon's Retreat from Moscow in 1812.

The experience of women in Napoleon's invasion of Russia is very difficult to reconstruct, given the nature of our sources. Certainly hundreds of women at least accompanied the Grande Armée, ranging from officers' wives to cooks and providers of other services to the troops. They suffered terribly along with the men during the Retreat, and none more so than the unfortunate young mothers trying to protect their children, some of whom were born during the campaign. Memoirs written by (male) survivors of the retreat, such as that by General de Segur, often include poignant episodes of the suffering of women and children, and the efforts made to protect them. 

Kudos to the Perry twins for not shying away from this aspect of the Retreat, but including a number of women in their figure range for 1812. They range from women acting as combatants, to those trudging wearily through the snow, as well as a young mother sitting in despair. 

I have also included a vivandiere, from Westfalia Miniatures. She isn't really dressed for the Russian winter, but is too nice a figure to go unpainted.

Assuming the vignette of the cuirassier and his (perhaps) wife count as two figures, these should add 35 points to my total.


Ahh, you've beat me to the punch on these Alan. I had a few of these models racked-up and ready to go, but as you've done such a marvelous job I think I'll quietly tuck them aside for another day. 

What a poignant and themed entry. We've chatted in the past about the Perry's Retreat figures, and I think we both agree that they are probably the most evocative range of miniatures that the brothers have produced. The abject misery and suffering is so readily apparent in both their facial expressions and their postures. One looks at these castings and can almost feel the freezing wind and muscles ache at each laborious step taken through the snow and ice. 

Your snow basework looks excellent and I like that you've added frost to the cuffs and hems of their clothing along with their faces and scarves. The entire set gives a snapshot of many of the emotions these women must have felt during the retreat from Russia, from terror to bitter resolve, misery to grim companionship. Really good work here.

35 well-earned points for you, sir.


  1. These really look great, the woman firing the pistol looks terrified


  2. Nice figures well painted.

  3. Very fine work, Alan! I do like the Retreat historically. They could've surrendered, they could've given up, that they didn't quit is what gives it legendary status.
    Nice to see the Perrys included these in the retreat line. I may have to check that line out now! I like the one firing the pistol and the other helping the cav trooper along, the frost on them all just adds to the misery they must've felt.

  4. Great stuff Alan, wonderfully painted.

  5. I have to say this post made me tear up a little. The couple (is she the trooper's wife?), and the woman who is sitting down, her face showing that she has given up, are incredibly sad. Very well painted and based, it's snowing outside my painting "studio" as I type this but it feels colder inside as I look at this photos. Bien fait.

  6. Really wonderful idea and job on these.

  7. Just looking at your figures really makes me feel cold! Those tough ladies came out excellent.

  8. Smashing job on such a poignant subject.

  9. Really characterful figures poignantly painted terrifically evocative.
    Best Iain

  10. Alan, these figures are wonderfully evocative of the horror these women would have experienced. Women "attached" to an army have always had precarious security, and the retreat from Moscow would have been unspeakably terrible,

    Yes, a shameless bid for the Illustrious Sarah's Choice, but truly a top notch contender!