Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Leap Frog Cavalry Conversions ___________ presented by Beano Boy.

                                                             A FOREWORD

                      There are lots of pictures after i spin out this very true story.

A few years ago there were no decent French Cuirassiers,or Line Lancers,or French Horse Grenadiers. The Hat ones were just to plain and quite naff. However guys that's my own opinion,and i`ve seen some great paint jobs done on many a Hat figure. So in no way shape or form am i the Fiddle Wood Gnome slanting any ones efforts of indeed their private Collections. One paints what one can get is it not true? Being a fellow of heart for the hobby i began converting Napoleonic Boxed Cavalry into those three Regiments above,and many more besides. Using a sharp new blade in my craft knife , dress makers pin`s,and bristles cut off our new yard brush,i set to upon what i call my Leap Frog Conversions.

 Simple you take two boxed sets. Chop off the heads,and swoop them over,creating two new Cavalry Regiments. So no waste at all,and by buying two boxes of each set of models ,the end result gave one four regiments instead of two.  Magic!
Of course things are hardly as simple as that. Researching both uniforms and models available was,and still is required. Italeri make fantastic model figures,but they also make WHOOPER MISTAKES! That they never apologise for even when they know they got it wrong. Italeri Light Cavalry. Monster Figures.   Nearly all the troopers ride Officers Horses. Upon buying lots of them i realised that i needed to find replacement horses for hundreds of troopers. A Costly Mistake!

 i wait now until `Plastic Soldier Review`,show off new sets before buying,but they sometimes fail to see very obvious mistakes too,especially concerning Italeri new sets. The British light Cavalry again monsters are riding  the wrong style furniture on every troopers horse. Quite fit for Parade at Horse Guards,but taking on the French a resounding no.

Knowing things were wrong made me think long and hard,about a situation that had cost me several hundred Pounds .  UK Sterling! I decided to buy Italeri Hussars an old set true,but one which had the horses i needed to set things straight. French light cavalry on the Hussar horses,corrected the situation,but i needed to spend a lot more money,but fear not for always i like to see a rainbow during a storm,and i did. I turned the French Light Cavalry into French Line Lancers,buy buying Zvezda Russian Cuirassiers. Simple I cut the heads off these and stuck them onto the Italeri Light Cavalry. I had begun multiple Leap Frogging using Three boxes to make two Regiments of correct cavalry up. However at extra cost,but all that seems quite foolish to some might be seen in a different light as i explain the next set i bought in order not to waste all those Zvezda body parts and horses.  I bought Italeri or Revell French Dragoons,and chopped off the heads and stuck them onto the Russian Cuirassiers creating French Heavy Cavalry that was unavailable on the market. The horses were simply converted by use of the craft knife.So i had French Cuirassiers ages before anyone produced better ones. Italeri produced very small Cuirassiers,and still do.

So  lets review the Napoleonic French cavalry that i had converted.

French Cuirassiers,
 French Light Cavalry, replacing the horses.
French Line Lancers,

I also had French Dragoons, and Hussars too that stayed as they came. So out of a mess i now had five regiments of French Cavalry. Very Nice! However i had hundreds of headless French Dragoons. What a shame! After all there must be some wast? Very true,but not yet,for i had seized  upon the idea of creating French Horse Guards,but how?
I bought Zvezda  Old Imperial Guard,chopped the heads off and stuck them onto the headless Dragoons! Oh My all those headless Old Guard!  Well i then bought French Foot Artillery chopped the heads over for a swop onto the Old  Guard. Yes i had Leap Froged over onto creating good French Infantry. But then i had all that headless artillery crew! Sometimes you have to except a loss,but i thought. I`d buy more of the Zvezda Old Guard and i did so ,and swopped the heads over onto the headless French artillery crews. So i now had French Foot Artillery,and French Imperial Guard Artillery.  Will the Leap Frog ever end? As it was i had several hundred useless Italeri horse and inspite of asking them to send a few cowboys to look after them they never replied.

Having a few odds and ends i put Zvezda  Cuirassier heads onto some headless French Old Guard which although having no sword i used as French Foot Dragoons. One can overlook a tiny exstention to a sword a lot easier than a huge horse.

                                                  Some replacement horses.

                                                         All present and correct upon their new mounts.

                                   Six correct horses out of 18 in a box is a Massive Mistake!

                                                         French Light Cavalry.

                                                           The Head Swop`s

                                              The first French Line Lancer

Not all were armed with the lance. Others were well armed with Musketoons and of course swords. 

Fred and MayBell and the Ducklings, really took a shine to the first of the French Line Lancers,to trot upon my table,but could not understand one word he uttered.

As you can see i am no painter of model figures but seen on mass they make for  Panoramic viewing splender.

                                                    Three Leap Frog Conversions

Opps ! Where are their  Heads?

Figures above easy converted into the Earl of Uxbridge, becase he wore a Shako at Waterloo.

                                 Lose the Plume! Can also be converted into the Prince of  Orange!

                                           Converting the Russian Horses with a knife

                                             Pointing to the tiny pieces to be trimmed off.

Russian Cuirassiers never wore a back plate to their currass,but this created no problen whats so ever because when painted in silver for this metal back plate it looked Preaty Darn Cool,and Correct!

                                         The holes were eventually filled in.

                                             They ought not to gang up against one.

Play on my table

Behind a Cavalry Screen
The French are on the Move 
                                               The Old Guard advances at Waterloo

                                  My Cuirassiers and Line Lancers. Sorry these are very old pictures

Little Boxes of heads every where

                                               Italeri got this one correct!
                                           An Old Set But Beautiful Horses

                       A mix of French Line Lancers and Light Cavalry. French Dragoons are to the right.
Painted ones in the background.

                                                              JUST A TIP

                                        Italeri Horse With Broken Back Ankle

                           As you see a useless pose,but hang on i had an idea.
                           Quite An Awful Mistake! Not my idea,the horse.

A Horse with good legs with bits pointing in the right direction is seen above with the other poor injured one.

                         Just a simple Finger and Thumb pull. No twisting involved at all.

By doing that simple pull on that back ankle it saved a wast of over 200 horses in my cavalry collection. Not a perfect correction but one well fit for my purpose.

To Close This Topic An Old Picture

Total 683 on this table

Some of my conversions along with Boney too.This part of the Collection represents 16 Regiments of  French Cavalry. Sorry no French Carabiniers  in this shot. This was upon my old table which had wheels which i miss greatly because i could swivel it around to take shots from the other side.

That`s it Guys Thanks 4 Looking. BB


  1. That's a impressive sight BB, I'm struggling to complete 12 French Dragoons never mind manage to field such a fantastic cavalry collection as seen above. It certainly is a beautiful sight!

    1. Hi Russ,thanks for your kind comment.i have a few more besides those shown in the picture. The Waterloo British Square shows an illustration of what i aimed for.As does Hougoumont and La Haye Sante with both cavalry and infantry.Which i feel are well worth the looking at on this blog,not because i am a good painter,but that they show the four parts of the Waterloo Battle that i modeled. There is another which i never finished painting and which are still on hold. It being the complete 84 Guns of the Grande Battery, and the first French infantry attack routed by the British Heavy Cavalry. I converted all the Scots Guard Dragoons,but never finished painting them.I stopped three years ago because a bad experience happened with a supplier in Germany that just killed off my wish to continue with it.A mental block! One day i will start to finish them off. Yes One Day! BB