Sunday, 19 October 2014

1st Foot (Royal Scots) finished (ish)

So here they are - all a bit rushed, and sort of finished - in almost every photo I've noticed a plume or nose or button etc. which I've missed! This is a bad habit of mine - I'm pretty patient, slow and methodical for the early stages of a project, but as I near the end I get bored and impatient, excited to get on to the next job, so I end up hurrying through the final stages (basing figures which haven't been properly finished) and thus there's lots of little bits which I'll need to go back and fix one day. Even after the carnage of Quatre Bras, these 270 are probably a bit understrength for Waterloo so I will also one day add some more men. I have actually painted another 60 rank and file but I just don't have enough kneeling figures. If anyone has any (French or British - all can be used with a bit a conversion), I'd be keen to buy them from you.

 The rear rank of  2 Company being kept straight by Serjeant James Campbell. Campbell was from Comrie in Perthshire, served in the militia from 1799-1802 (the Breadalbane Fencibles) before enlisting in the 1st Foot in 1805 aged 27. He was wounded at Waterloo and was discharged in 1817 in consequence of this wound and opthalmia.

 Drummers: Daniel Crampton (aged 29), Robert Mills (aged 26), James Downie (wounded, aged 24), James Lang (aged 22), Norman McDonald (aged 24), George Grey (aged 19). And yet still some people like to think that Napoleonic British drummers in battle were "boys".

 Some men of the Grenadier company.

 Serjeant Robert Buchanan points out which Cuirassier to aim for. Born in Glasgow's Gorbals, Buchanan was aged 33 at Waterloo and a veteran of Badajoz, Salamanca, Vitoria and San Sebastian.

 Men of the Light Company. To the right is Captain Robert McDonald who commanded the Light Company and, from midday at Waterloo, on everyone senior being wounded, the regiment. He was himself then wounded in the evening. He later became the British consul in Belize and died in 1860. He is seen here talking to Serjeant James Ferrans, an Irishman from Monaghan. Kneeling in front, his shako lost at Quatre Bras (the cost of which will later be deducted from his pay!), is Private James Broman. Aged only 20 he was already a veteran of Vitoria, San Sebastian, the Nive, and Nivelle).

Lieutenant George Lane - lost an arm at Waterloo and received compensation of £70 for its loss.

So...what next?  The 28th Foot? Some artillery? Some Life Guards? I quite fancy a crack at the 15th Hussars...I do requests and children's parties

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

7th Hussars - completed squadron

I've been working on these, the 7th Hussars, for ages. Things have not been helped by two cock-ups which  meant a lot of time wasted and a lot of time trying to fix things. Firstly, I tried to save time by spraying on an undercoat instead of doing it by hand. This resulted in a much too thick coating, which in some places destroyed a lot of detail - for example, the braiding on some of the pelisses. For the first time, I found a drawback with plastics - you can't just chuck them in white spirit and start again. Instead I found myself trying to pick out the detail but the overall result has been generally disappointing. Then, just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, I had a whole batch of Vallejo paints come out gloss - the dark blue I use, the "flat" red, even the black. Again, I had to go back to try to fix things, resorting to digging out my old Humbrol matt enamels to repaint the shiny parts.
All this has meant I've increasingly fallen out of love with this lot and probably rushed the end to get them based and move on to something new. One day, when I have stopped fuming, I might one go back and try to add some of the details I have hurried through but for the moment - this is yer lot!

The 7th were the only British regiment to suffer significant casualties on the 17th June - the day between Quatre Bras and Waterloo. At Genappe they skirmished with French lancers, didn't cover themselves in glory, and ultimately needed the Life Guards to come to the rescue and send the probing French attacks packing. It was a filthy day, witnesses describing men and horses covered from head to toe in mud, so that the colours of their uniforms were indistinguishable. It would take a brave chap to try to recreate that in 28mm but I have tried to muddy up this lots' sheepskins, gloves etc. and take some of the parade-ground sheen off.

A nominal starting strength of just over 400 men (6 troops divided into 3 squadrons) would have been reduced by at least 100 in casualties and horses lost on the 17th. These 65 men therefore represent the approximate strength of one of the three squadrons remaining at Waterloo (so I just need to repeat the above another two times!)


The Regiment suffered a particularly high casualty rate amongst its officers – all the Captains serving with the Regiment were wounded, in addition to Captain Wildman who was wounded while serving as a staff officer.

  In the evening of the 17th the two armies took up their respective lines and minor skirmishers took place between various pickets.  In one such incident Captain Heyliger led his Troop in a charge. This was observed by Wellington who was so impressed as to ask for the officer’s name.


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Farewell to the Union Brigade?

I'm currently putting the finishing touches to the 1st Foot (Royal Scots) 3rd Battalion who were part of Pack's predominantly Scottish brigade in the Waterloo campaign. The brigade consisted of the 1st, the 42nd (Black Watch) and the 92nd (Gordons) - only the 44th (East Essex) were a non-Scots regiment, it's a pity they couldn't have been swapped with the third kilted regiment - the 79th (Camerons) who were in Kempt's brigade.
The nearly finished 1st Royal Scots. These are 95% Victrix and will of course be in square when finished. As you can see, I get through far too much tea when painting, there are actually another two mugs out of shot!

10 companies of 24 men plus drummers and command = about 265 men. I actually have enough 2nd and 3rd rank men for the companies to be 30 strong, to take the regiment up to a more realistic 320  (after Quatre Bras they had lost a lot of men) but, as always, I don't have enough kneeling 1st rank men. Are you reading this Justin and Steve?!! :)

 Anyway, it's weird to think that by the time I finish painting and basing this lot (hopefully by Friday), they might belong to a "foreign" country.
I read somewhere that 95% of current Scottish servicemen would prefer to continue serving in the British army than join the new SDF of an independent Scotland. I can't imagine how it will all be sorted out - so many regimental traditions, so enmeshed in being a part of "Queen and country" etc.It will be interesting to see - in the meantime here are some pics of my Scottish regiments. The 71st are missing, I have barely started painting them - maybe the next job!

42nd - work in progress

92nd - work in progress. Can you hear the pipes?

79th (Camerons) - yes I know they were in one long line, but my table isn't long enough!

Ironic too that a year short of the 200th anniversary of the legendary charge of the Union Brigade (the Scots Greys charging alongside the mainly English 1st Dragoons and the Irish (Inniskilling) 6th Dragoons), this Union may cease to exist. So here are some more repeat pics of Serjeant Ewart and his comrades, perhaps for the last time that we're all together!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

New home, same project

So I have finally completed moving into our new home and started to unpack all the boxes of my Waterloo army. Although I have been working on the British army for the last few years, I have always had at the back of my mind that they will need some opposition, and so have also picked up any French 28mm bargains I could find over the last 15 years or so.
This week was the first time I had all my boxes out of storage and I was able to do something of an inventory. I unpacked all the bits and bobs I had collected here and there over the years, and found that I have quite a French force! Here are two complete line infantry battalions of 600 men each.

Years ago, when you could buy them individually, I collected about a hundred Foundry French, and used to think this was a massive army. Now, however, thanks to Perry and Victrix, the ranks have increased on a scale that would have been a thing of fantasy when metal was the only option.
I would love to paint these - all those greatcoats would be such a breeze compared to the horrific intricacies of British infantry lace/tartan etc - but they will have to wait, I mustn't get sidetracked! Maybe I can start on them in another 20 years or so!

The new place has a shed (hurrah!) and a garden where I have been enjoying painting, after my dark old flat it's such a pleasure to finally have some light!

The new project is the 7th Hussars. Again, these have been amassed over many years, starting off with Foundry, but plastic Perrys have certainly made things more affordable and added such a wonderfully infinite variety of poses.

Early days for this lot obviously, but I'm enjoying painting more than ever before - the new experience of sitting outside in my own garden - with a beer/tea and cake - well, it takes some beating.
Updates of progress with the 7th to follow soon I hope.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Happy 199th Anniversary! (Halkett's squares completed) year to go....

I've been working on these two squares since January and can finally (pretty much) put them aside and tick that box. I still have to complete two of the four light companies and do the command stands for the 33rd and 69th, but the rest is pretty much done. As mentioned before, the 30th/73rd are a mix of Perry/Victrix/Foundry and some other makes, while the 33rd/69th are 99% Victrix. Praise the lord for plastic 28mm! Without the advent of these I'd never have embarked on this madness.

The combined square of the 30th (Cambridgeshire) and the 73rd Foot

Of the four regiments in Halkett's Brigade only the 30th, wearing white trousers in 1815, could be considered a veteran battalion. They had seen action at Fuentes D'Onor, Badajoz and Salamanca and this greater experience perhaps explains their more solid performance at Quatre Bras which, to a large extetent, spared them the mayhem and casualties of the other three regiments.

 One day I will get round to adding some flags! The 30th were without their Colonel, Alexander Hamilton, who had been wounded at Quatre Bras. As a result the regiment was commanded for most of the day by Major Thomas Chambers (seen here at the front) before he fell, tragically killed with one of the last shots of the battle.
The mounted officer is Lieutenant and Adjutant Matthias Andrews.

An errant Nassau casualty lies among the colour serjeants of the 30th. I need to get some sort of mat or terrain to take pics - I know this white sheet doesn't look great!

Many of the men of the 30th were Irish, with the largest number coming from Tipperary.

The 73rd Foot, though once a Highland regiment, had long ago abandoned its kilts and the great majority of its rank and file consisted of Englishmen (291 men) and Irish (133), with only 58 Scotsmen.

 Here is the command party of the 73rd. On the right is Lt-Colonel William Harris.  An account of Waterloo relates "Despite heavy losses only once did the 73rd hesitate to fill a gap torn in their square, Harris pushed his horse lengthwise across the space saying, "Well, my lads, if you won't, I must." He was shot through the shoulder late in the day.
On the left is Ensign and Adjutant Patrick Hay. He received a severe wound through the left arm breaking the bone. He had earlier been knocked from his horse and recieved severe contusions from the bursting of a shell. He had previously been the Regimental Surgeon but through friendship with Colonel Harris was able to exchange to an Ensigncy. He received a personal commendation from Halkett for his bravery at Waterloo.

The year after Waterloo the 73rd were posted to Ceylon where yellow fever would kill far more men than had lost their lives at Quatre Bras and Waterloo combined.

A Serjeant keeps the lines straight through judicious use of his pike!

 There are only 18 companies in the square - the two light companies combined with the light companies of the other square to fight as a light battalion, skirmishing in front of the two squares. I've nearly finished them, will post pics when they're eventually done.

 Here is the other square  - the 33rd (West Riding) and 69th (South Lincolnshire) combined together due to the severe casualties they had suffered at Quatre Bras. As well as the command groups I want to add lots of other debris - ammo cases, powder barrels (thanks TMP guys), muskets and drummers, plus more dead, dying andwounded.

Unlike most British regiments the 33rd (West Riding) Foot did actually contain a large number of men from Regiment's "county name" - there were a large number of Yorkshiremen, particularly from Leeds, Keightley and Sheffield

Both the 33rd and 69th were relatively inexperienced (neither had served in the Peninsula. In the first attack of the French cavalry the combined square square broke and ran away in disorder. That they were not then completely anihilated was thanks to the intervention of the Life Guards who arrived in time to see off the French curraisers. The square was then reformed in its original position and remained there, ablbeit often shakily, for the rest of the day.
 Looking through the pension papers of these men at Kew, the number of sabre wounds to head and hads suffered at Quatre Bras is noticeable. These impassive, burocrat remarks, scribbled on pension forms "sabre wound to both hands 1815", "wound to scalp and loss of eye 16.06.1815" etc. conjure some of the horror that these men must have experienced as the big French horses broke through the tall corn and among their scattering ranks.

 The 69th Foot consisted, approximately, of 57% English (Lincolnshire and Essex being the two most common counties of origin), 35% Irish and 7% Scottish.

I'm still working on the command groups for this square. The 69th had lost their King's Colour at Quatre Bras (so I won't need one!) and at Waterloo the 33rd, fearing the same disaster was about to befall them, sent Ensign Smith (a veteran ex-Marine) to the rear with one of theirs. Seems odd to only send ONE colour to the rear, so I'm not sure whether to depict the 33rd with both colours, just one, or none!

I still need to actually do Halkett himself and his ADCs, and will have to squeeze them into one of these squares.

Not sure what to do next - maybe some artillery, maybe some hussars - maybe even some green-jacket Hanoverians - anything to have a break from red tunics and endless intricate white lace!

I'm hoping to move home (again) in the next few weeks. The new place has a shed - it's tiny but I might at last be able to unpack some of my Waterloo army and put them out on shelves rather than have them living permanently in boxes. I look at blogs from lucky guys in Canada/New Zealand/Australia/anywhere except this massively overpriced little country, and weep at the space that most people seem to have as standard. Anyone buying property in south-east England can only dream of such luxury!

Anyway, it might be a while before I get any time for this project, but will try to get back in the saddle soon!