Napoleonic French Infantry – Regimental Identification


There was a recent posting on the Napoleonic Discussion Forum on TMP (The Miniatures Page) about how wargamers distinguished between French Infantry Regiments .  I thought that I would post a blog explaining how I do this.

I have based this on the French 92nd de la Ligne.  Their 1st Battalion is shown here in a Column of Divisions.


I do tend to use “artistic licence” in the painting of my model soldiers (for example all my British Fusiliers are in Bearskin caps, although I know they only wore these for parades, and all of my figures are in parade uniforms).

All of my French Infantry have company coloured pom-poms, Grenadiers Red, 1st – 4th Fusilier Companies Dark Green, Sky Blue, Orange & Violet, Voltigeurs Yellow.  The Command Stand is always the 1st Fusilier Company.  The pom-poms are a bit oversized, but the only suitable items I could find to make them were glass-headed dressmaking pins, and that is the size they are.  Here is the 1st Battalion 92nd de la Ligne in Line, to show this more clearly.


The Grenadier and Fusilier Companies are all in the same pose, the Voltigeurs are firing (as are all my Napoleonic Light Infantry, so as to distinguish them more easily).



I wanted to be able to distinguish between my French Infantry Regiments, so I painted them all with the pre-1812 diamond shaped shako plates, even although they are wearing post-1812 Bardin style uniforms.  I then painted Regimental numbers on those shako plates.

Here is a close up of 2nd Fusilier Company of the 92nd de la Ligne.





The Command Stand comprises a Sapeur, an Eagle Bearer and a Drummer, as do all of my French 1st Battalion Command Stands.

The flag is hand painted, with the inscription “92 REGIMENT INFANTERIE DE LA LIGNE”.

The Drummer is in Imperial Livery.






The 2nd Battalion 92nd de la Ligne is in a different pose to the 1st Battalion.  For Regiments with 3 or 4 battalions, each battalion would be in a different pose.

The 2nd Battalion pom-poms have a white centre with the battalion number on it, as would the 3rd or 4th Battalions.

Here you can see the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Company.




My 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions have Command Stands comprising a Fanion Bearer, Officer and Drummer.

The Fanions are 2nd Battalion – white, 3rd Battalion – red and 4th Battalion – Blue.  I do not have any 5th of 6th Battalions, but the French did have colours for these if I need them.

The Fanion inscription says “92 REGT DE LA LIGNE 2 BN”.


5 thoughts on “Napoleonic French Infantry – Regimental Identification

  1. 4th Cuirassier November 20, 2016 / 11:32 am


    What are you using for command figures? The Airfix boxes are a bit short on these; you can repurpose the marching figure into an NCO as he has his weapon in his right shoulder, and the drummer and bugler are usable. But the flag bearer is a bit useless and there’s no officer on foot. You seem to have found replacements that are the right size to blend in; what did you use?


    • rodwargaming November 20, 2016 / 3:04 pm

      Hi Phil,

      The 1st Battalion Eagle Bearers are converted from the Airfix infantry bugler. He looked right standing at attention, with the flagpole up against his face. The Sapeurs are either converted from a marching Airfix infantryman or Airfix artilleryman, by welding the shako into a bearskin, moving the musket to slung, adding a scratch built axe and welding on a piece of plastic bag as an apron. Occasionally I have used Airfix Old Guard as Sapeurs, but they are a bit on the small side. The drummer is unconverted.

      The 2nd (3rd, 4th etc) battalion officers are converted from marching Airfix French artillerymen. The sword is either a spare one from another figure or a piece of cut off sprue. The Fanion bearer is a marching Airfix French Infantryman, with a scratch built Fanion sticking out of the top of his musket (actually modelled by cutting off the musket barrel, sticking a cut off pin in its place, then welding a small bit of plastic around the lower half of the pin to re-create the musket barrel.



  2. James March 29, 2018 / 3:58 am

    How do you keep them from peeling after you paint them?


    • rodwargaming March 29, 2018 / 6:45 am

      Hi James,

      I have always used Humbrol enamel paints (it was all that was around in the early days, and I stuck with it). I have never used acrylic paints, which seem to be more fashionable today. The only peeling which has ever occurred, and that only occasionally, is to muskets or swords, since they do protrude. If that happens, I just touch the paint up again.

      I suppose it also helps that I have so many figures that any one unit does not get a lot of handling.

      Best wishes



      • James March 30, 2018 / 7:03 am

        Thank you. I have not tried. Humbrol paints. I have been using Veljeo paints. They tend to peel alot on 1/72 scale airfix and hat figures.


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