Thursday, March 9, 2017

Bays to Chestnuts

Not only am I easily distracted, I also tend to work in fits and starts as the inspiration takes hold or slips away.  As part of my Austerlitz project I have a final unit of French dragoons to paint.  I decided that they would be the Empress Dragoons, Dragons de la Garde impériale to give them their proper title.  Figures were acquired.  Figures were cleaned up, assembled and undercoated and then put aside to gather dust.  Sad.

Then I was inspired by a horse painted by Paul Alba (it was posted to the Facebook group: The Napoleonic Wargamer  - this link.  WARNING It might not work as it is within the Facebook island of the Internet and the group is closed).  But this is the inspiring pic:

With eight horses almost finished (only have eleven in the unit) I decided to check up on the trumpters.  While doing so I found that Napoleon had ordered the Dragoons to be mounted on chestnuts.

"procure chestnuts"

Of course I had painted up bays...


A chestnut is a red(ish) horse with no black pigment. Chestnuts vary greatly, from pale with a light mane and tail (flaxen), to a deep burgundy that can be mistaken for black. Although there is great variation in this color, most chestnut horses will fall into the middle of this color spectrum and are easy to recognize. A chestnut will never have black legs or a black mane and tail. They can however have a mane and tail that is darker than their body even to the point of being “almost” black.
A bay is a red(ish) horse with a Black mane and tail and also black lower legs. They also have black "ear tips" meaning that the very tips of the ears will be black. The black areas of a bay horse are referred to a "points". The bay horse's body will be the same color as the chestnuts above and can vary to the same degree. Although the body color and amount of black will vary from horse to horse, at least some of the lower leg (pasterns) and mane and tail will be black in a bay. 
But now my Bays are Chestnuts

Next step is the horse furniture and then the troopers.


  1. Very well researched Mark. Mr Alba is very talented isn't he?

  2. That is a very inspiring pic.
    I tend to be agnostic about real world horses in my own painting, but I admire your diligence in getting it right. Never pass a fault, as my first RSM liked to say.

    1. I was lucky I found my mistake before I got too far.