February 23, 2015



Dupas, Chef de Brigade of Mamelukes - 1803
Romeo Models - Ref. RM75-44
75 mm - Metal
Sculpted by Maurizio Bruno
Box art painted by Andrea Terzolo



"Even though Bonaparte destroyed the power of the Mamelukes in Egypt, he had no negative opinion of them; on the contrary, he openly admired them for their beauty of their horses, their fine horsemanship, their élan in battle and their disdain for death. They were born cavalry men and, with a little European discipline, he considered that they would make the best light cavalry in the world. Without really having thought about raising a native corps in the French army, Bonaparte would soon be confronted with the idea".
(Napoleon's Mamelukes, Ronald pawly, 2006 Osprey Publishing)

In 1801 the expeditionary force returned to the homeland after the unsuccessful campaign in Egypt. Several Oriental troops who had been fighting alongside the French army were allowed to migrate to France, alone or with their families; amongst them some 760 Mamelukes, Syrians, Copts and Greeks.

On 13 October, Bonaparte decreed that an squadron of Mamlukes of the First Consul was to be raised and organized. This task fell on his aide-de-camp colonel Jean Rapp. Apart from the French commanding officers, the rest of the force was fed with the Oriental soldiers who were now living in France with their families. However, soon after the initial decree, Napoleon already decided to reduce the formation's numbers to a mere 150 men because a lot of the Mameluke veterans were clearly unfit for army service as a result of their age or health. Some also would or could not obey to the strict European military discipline that was imposed on them.

When Rapp was transferred to the 7th Hussars on May 2, 1803 he was replaced by colonel Pierre-Louis Dupas, the man of our interest. His command of the Mamelukes did last only just a couple of months however, and no later than August 23, Dupas himself was promoted to general. Once again a new commanding officer was asigned to the Mameluke force. This time it was captain Charles Delaitre and it was he who succeeded in organizing the Mameluke force as decreed by Bonaparte. Finally, when Napoleon was proclaimed emperor in May 1804, the Mameluke company became attached to the Chasseurs-à-Cheval de la Garde Impériale.

Throughout the 'Premier Empire' the Mamelukes served and fought with distinction in many major engagements up to Waterloo in June 1815. In the aftermath of Napoleon's doom, the Mamelukes were ordered back to their quarters in Marseille in Southern France. There, many were assassinated as a result of the purges of the so-called 'Deuxième Terreur Blanche' (Second White Terrror). In 1830 at last, some surviving Mamelukes took part in the conquest of Algeria under marchall Bertrand Clauzel.


Being released by Romeo Models near the end of 2014, this spectacular miniature representing colonel Pierre-Louis Dupas of the Mamelukes was given to me for Christmas by my darling wife. What a great present!

When I opened the box I was rather surprised that the kit contained no more than 18 parts, base included. The added photos of the laid out parts attest that casting quality is great with rich detail on the saddle, shabraque and pistol holsters, all masterly sculpted by Maurizio Bruno. The horse, reigned in by Dupas shining in his flamboyant Mameluke garb, is nicely animated too. I confess, I am a huge fan of the sculptings of Maurizio Bruno because he always bestowes something sumptuous on his miniatures.

I checked the fitting of the parts and everything looked to be excellent with no or only negligible gaps to cure. So given the small number of parts and the quality of the fitting, the construction of mount and driver will be straightforward and easy to accomplish.

Mamelukes are always colourful subjects, and represented in 75 mm these will be center pieces of any collection of Napoleonic miniatures. I let the box art photos here below speake for themselves.


© Romeo Models - Painted by Andrea Terzolo

© Romeo Models - Painted by Andrea Terzolo

© Romeo Models - Painted by Andrea Terzolo

© Romeo Models - Painted by Andrea Terzolo