Sunday, March 16, 2014

Announcing the Seventh, and Final, Theme Bonus Round: 'Last Stand' & Curt's 'The Eagle of the 18th'

We've made it! Here we finally are at the end of the seven bonus rounds and, wow, I must say its been quite a ride. I think I can safely say that the bonus rounds have been regarded a great success amongst both participants and visitors of the Challenge. Each round has seen dazzling entries where it is quite obvious that a lot of thought and effort has gone into their creation. This round, 'Last Stand' is no different and you will find numerous submissions that will make your eyes widen and mouth slacken in amazement. 

I wish to take this opportunity to thank all the Challengers for indulging me in this diversion off the Challenge's beaten path. It was a bit of work to administrate, but your enthusiasm and support made it a delight. I also want to thank our sponsors for their prize support for each of the bonus rounds. It has been wonderful to be able to award 'a little something' for each theme. Thank you one and all!

Please remember to leave a comment and vote for your favourite entries (you can vote for as many as you like).

For myself, I kept my submission fairly simple, deciding to return to where I'd started in this year's Challenge: the 1812 French retreat from Russia.

In reading about the French retreat from Russia I came across several references to Napoleon's order to his Grande Armee to burn their Eagles so as to deny them to the enemy.  
The colonel of the 18th Line ignored the order to destroy or even hide his regiment's Eagle. He, like many of his fellow regimental commanders, probably felt that his unit's Eagle would either come out of Russia with his remaining men or it would fall with them. 

This Eagle bearer figure seen here is part of the wonderful Perry range of 1812 Retreat miniatures. I present him as a line grenadier (I've taken to calling him Sgt. Bigeard) who is readying himself for perhaps his last defence of the regiment's Eagle. By the look of his bloody sword and bearskin at his feet he has already fought off at lease one assault. He is cold and exhausted, but he calmly prepares to do what needs to be done.* 

On the 18th of November, outside the town of Krasnoi, the Eagle of the 18th fell under the lances of the Russian Guard Uhlans.  Today the 18th's Eagle can be seen on display in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

*In our recent games 'Sgt. Bigeard' has been a rather ferocious opponent, swinging his standard like a makeshift polearm, savagely defending his Eagle from both cossack and peasant alike. It's always nice when gameplay falls in line with your imagination of a figure you've worked on. As we all know, it usually goes tragically (and often comically) wrong...