Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Warlord update - 1815

My second box of Warlord British infantry have arrived, 1815 this time, and very nice too. There are more great metal command sculpts - I love this officer and serjeant.

The serjeant's left arm comes with the pike option (above) and a cane option (below). It's great to have some new options - the cane will definitely be put to good use for some figure in the future.

 Here are the other metal figs - ensign, officer, drummer and pioneer.

Flank company figures are included in the box but each sprue also contains these epaulettes which can easily be added to create more flank company men as needed.

 I can't imagine how many of the Perry and Victrix British infantry faces I have painted so far - enough to not want to paint any more, that much is certain. So it's a pleasure to have seven new visages to work on. Lovely character, absolutely top quality.

Love this chap - but his bandaged head means that, for my purposes, he can't join his chums in the 27th Inniskilling as they had not fought at Quatre Bras. Instead this guy will be joining the 32nd Cornwall, who I also have in covered shakos and who appeared at Waterloo severely battered from the earlier conflict of the 16th June.

 Including some heads from French sets, there are 4 or 5 different bareheaded options from Victrix and Perry plastics which I have used in various conversions - artillerymen hard at work, wounded infantrymen, staff waving their bicornes etc.
So it's wonderful to have these two new additions for future figs - the head on the left comes in the 1815 set, the head on the right from the Peninsular set. They are both lovely, clean sculpts, full of character without being too cartoony - and there's more than a touch of old Nosey for the chap on the left I think!

Overall this is a superb set of figs - very nice detail and extremely easy to assemble.  I lay the figs out in lines of ten, then apply glue to their backs. Stand them up and do the same for the heads and the whole box can be put together in a few minutes.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

New Warlord British Infantry

This whole project has only been possible thanks to the advent of excellent plastic 28mm figures from Victrix and Perrys. I think these came out around 2008, so I have been assembling them and building my Waterloo army for 6 years now. It was really exciting, therefore, to hear that a third company would be introducing a range - Warlord Games launching British infantry for both the Peninsular and Waterloo.

My first box arrived this week and  I spent an enjoyable afternoon yesterday assembling them.
All the figs are in marching poses which, for my purposes (the static position of the Waterloo line) isn't really what I need. That said, I have two units marching - the 27th (line) and the 71st (light) - and so these figs can be added to those ranks, the flank figs (with epaulettes) joining the 71st.

I somehow managed to order a box of Peninsular infantry by mistake - and my 28th foot (the only regiment in stove pipeshako at Waterloo) are in firing line, so I decided to add Perry heads (like the rest of the 27th) and Victrix heads (like the rest of my 71st). The tricky thing about this was that, unlike Victrix and Perry, Warlord heads are attached to the collar. Thus, I had to cut off all the collars and glue them onto the figs, then glue the Perry/Victrix heads to these collars. Fiddly, but I love making these kind of Frankenstein hybrids.

New recruits for the 27th Foot (Warlord figs with Perry heads)

New recruits for the 71st Foot (Warlord figs with Victrix heads)

The Warlord heads are actually fantastic, I love them - full of character without being too "cartoony" and have already ordered a second box (Belgic shako this time!) which I will use, un-Frankensteined for more 27th Foot.

Interestingly, each box comes with a metal command - two standards, an officer, a serjeant, a sapper and a drummer. This seems to make the £18 per box seem even better value - more like £13 per box in terms of the plastic figs!

However, I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to do with the 2 standards - their hands are cast shut - am I really supposed to drill a hole through their clenched fists?

But I don't really care - the one thing I don't need more of is standard bearers - thanks to Victrix's 4 per box and Perry's 2 per box I have a plastic bag of standard bearers somewhere under the stairs containing over redundant 100 figures!

Much better are these two wonderful figs. Sadly I won't be able to use the Peninsular officer - a lovely casting - but I might paint him up and try to sell him to raise some funds. The serjeant is simply excellent and is one of my favourite figs ever - he will say goodbye to his comrades and go and join the ranks of the 28th, patrolling at the rear of the firing line, yelling encouragement, and keeping the line straight with his pike.

One thing I've always wondered about is the relationship (or lack of) bewteen Victrix and Perry.  It seems remarkable that 2 companies would launch such similar products almost simultaneously without any cooperation/agreement.  The fact that arms/heads/etc fit so neatly on each other's models has been a wonderful godsend for me and, I'm sure, many others, but how do THEY feel about it?
Now, Warlord has added to my head-scratching... 
Look at these two identical backpacks. But  wait, they're not identical. The one on the left is from the Perry box, the one on the right is from the new Warlord box. Do Warlord have to pay royalties for copying the design? Or do the Perrys not care? Are all the manufacturers friends and have a nice laissez-faire attitude to each other's ranges?
These are the things that I sometimes think about while gluing endless bits and pieces together!

Anyway, I hope Warlord extend their range of British Napoleonics - I really like them. Perhaps they will be the guys to finally bring out a box of heavy British cavalry (with different heads you could have dragoons, dragoon guaurds, and Scots Greys all in one box) and enable my charge of the Union Brigade to finally come into fruition!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

69th Foot

Been rushing to get these finished before the deadline of the Analogue Hobbies painting competition. Stayed up late doing the final touches, then spent all morning basing them, only to find the competition had ended already! Oh dear, 400 points! Never mind - it's been good to have a bit of stick and carrot to urge me on!
So here are four battered companies of the 69th Foot at Waterloo - they took a hammering at Quatre Bras having been caught out of square, the extremely high corn causing them to not see an oncoming mass of Curaissiers. Of all the research I've done at Kew over the past 13 years, the discharge papers of men of the 69th are among the most striking, bringing to life the horror of the 16th June as those big horsemen crashed through the corn, sabres slashing downwards, the rookie troops of the South Lincolnshire bolting for their lives. The documents tell the terrible story of these men (or mere boys), you can almost see them trying to fend off the terrible blades. - Private James Cunningham discharged 1816 aged 22 "in consequence of wounds to head and hands"" - Private Timothy Mulcahy discharged 1816 aged 19 "in consequence of extensive scar on the scalp and over the right eye which is greatlly impaired".

It was no wonder that the two squares of Halkett's brigade (so depleted were the 4 regiments that the 30th formed up with the 73rd, and the 33rd formed up with the 69th), were somewhat shakey to say the least two days later at Waterloo.
At least one, possibly both squares broke, at Waterloo and I many accounts remark on the number of men slipping away and making their way to the rear, some wounded but some just too terrified to stay in the front line.
So here are men of Halkett's brigade  - a mix of the 73rd, 30th in this instance - showing a clean pair of heels.
Here Corporal Richard Brown of No.3 Company, 30th Foot tries in vain to halt the stampede of men to the rear. From Weldon, Northants he had given his profession as "soap bailer" on enlistment. He was wounded at Waterloo and died of his wounds on 9th July.

 The chap with the bandaged head is Private John Cassells of the 73rd Foot. An Irishman from Ballyboy, Kings County, he was discharged in 1815 due to his head wound. Omitted from the medal roll (who knows why?) he was eventually awarded his Waterloo medal in 1848.

The poor chap in the foreground is Tipperary man Private William Ryan of No. 7 Company, 30th Foot.  He lost his left eye and was subsequently discharged in 1816.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Halkett's Brigade - Colonels and adjutants

I hate painting. Apart from maybe doing faces, there's not one bit of it I like. But the love for the finished unit drives me on and so I've been trudging onwards - more white lace, more redcoats, on and on. At the moment I'm working on the Grenadier companies for the 30th, 33rd, and 69th Foot. I didnt have enough Victrix kneeling figs so the front row are Foudry figs with Victrix heads stuck on.



What I do love is assembling plastic figures, especially making my own creations like a cackling Doctor Frankenstein. So, with the rain lashing at the windows, flashes of lightning and loud rumbles of thunder outside, I have been enjoying a break from painting and put these colonels and adjutants together. I've just put them on some horses that were lying around but I'll be finding them a better fit in the saddle.

Lieutenant John Lloyd of the 73rd - wounded at Quatre Bras but able to take over as Adjutant from Ensign Patick Hay who had been more seriously wounded.

Here is Lt-Colonel William Elphinstone who, through my research, I believe to have been an utterly useless commander of the 33rd at both Quatre Bras and Waterloo. Thirty years later his dithering ineffectual command would lead to the worst disaster in the history of the British army - the massacre of 16,000 troops and civilians in the retreat from Kabul by Afghan tribesmen.
I wanted to evoke an air of beleagured despair and I'm quite pleased with the result. Mounted beside him, hoping in vain for some strong leadership, is the young Ensign & Adjutant William Thain. He was wounded at Waterloo but survived,  only for Elphinstone to get him in the end - he was killed at Jugdulluk Pass, Afghanistan, 12th January 1842.

Adjutant Henry Oldershaw of the 69th Foot. An older man promoted from the ranks (often the case for adjutants) - he switched to the 33rd in 1832 becoming their Quartermaster.
Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Morice commanding the 69th, seen here checking his poket watch. He was killed at Waterloo, hit by four musket balls.
  Adjutant Mathias Andrew of the 30th. 

I'd be quite happy to make more of these if anyone likes them. Just send me some cavalry legs and a stamped address envelope and Ill do the rest!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Waterloo casualty waggon and other projects

Bit of a mixed bag coming up - I've been busy with Carl's competition at Analogue Hobbies, working on Halkett's Brigade.

I was very pleased to be voted into runner-up place in the vehicles round for this waggon full of wounded. Incidentally, just as  I prefer the 1815 spelling of Serjeant when referring to anyone with three stripes at that time, so I am going to obstinantly spell waggon with two gs as was normal until a century ago. 
I've always wanted to build up the cluttered roads of the rear echelon area, waggons and carts etc. but am usually put off by the price (Perry waggons are lovely but I just can't afford more than the occasional Christmas treat to myself).  Another thing is that even the larger waggons on offer are too small for the large baggage waggons I have in mind.

Sketches from the period show huge baggage waggons, usually "appropriated" from local farms. So I set about building my own massive waggons and this is the first completed vehicle to roll off the production line. It was all scratch-built using card (old Perry boxes!) and matchsticks.

The wheels are spares from Victrix artillery sets, pulled by a hotchpotch of spare horses/mules. The harnesses/traces are cotton thread glued on.

 The casualties are all from the 69th Foot, all wounded at Quatre Bras. Clockwise starting top left -
Private John Robertson (Light Company) , from Aberdeen
Private Thomas Garner , from Exton, Rutland, wounded hip and leg
Private Dennis McCaffery, (Light Company) from Wexford
Private George Wagdale, from Nottingham, wounded right breast
Armoury Serjeant Isaac Pierson (Grenadier Company), from Nottingham

Private Luke McGinnis, from Dublin, musket ball in hip
Private Richard Kemp, from Sotterley, Norfolk - died of wounds 27th June
Private Thomas Mulcahy, from Tipperary, wounded head and eyebrow

The driver is a Foundry artilleryman with a Victrix head.

 Next up are are two more companies in square - this time the remnants of No.2 and 3 Companies of the 69th Foot.  As before the figs are Victrix with a couple of Perry arms here and there. 

Captain Charles Cuyler, commanding Number 3 Company, has lost his shako at Quatre Bras and is wearing a greatcoat slung over his shoulder. He was the son of a general and was promoted to Major in 1817.

 Number 2 company had 16 casualties from a nominal total of 54 while Number 3 company lost 35 men from 61 - one of the worst rates for any British unit at Waterloo. Add to these figures the rear echelon men, plus all those charged with carrying wounded officers etc to the rear, and the 18 men shown here might even be too many!

 Last but not least is Major Harry Smith of the 95th who, aged 28, was Brigade Major for Lambert's Brigade at Waterloo. From Whittlesea, the son of a surgeon, he had joined the Rifles in 1805 and served at Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, the Coruna campaign, then throughout the Peninsula from 1809 until the end of the war in1814, Bladensburg, Washington and New Orleans.

 Amidst the murderous carnage at the fall of Badajoz in 1812, Smith had rescued two young sisters and later married the younger, Juana Maria de los Dolores de Leon. She would follow him throughout all of his campaigns including Waterloo where she searched the battlefield for his body, having heard that a Rifles officer acting as Major of Brigade had been killed (it was another Captain Charles Eales, Brigade Major for Kempt) Smith was wounded at Waterloo but survived to command a division in the Kafir War of 1834 and then to the Gwalior campaign in India after which he became Sir Harry Smith. In the First Anglo-Sikh War he was given his own command and in 1846 inflicted a crushing defeat on the Sikhs at Aliwal. He returned to the Cape Colony (South Africa) in 1847 and appointed Governor General. He fought the Boers at Boomplaats in 1848 and the Xhosa in 1850 and the town of Ladysmith was named after Juana Maria.

He returned to England and died at his home in Eton Place, London in 1860. He is buried at Whittlesea.

A common gripe of mine is that the choice of staff for 28mm British Napoleonics is virtually zero. The Perrys make no ADCs, nor any of the other many types of staff officer. Victrix make none. Front Rank make two ADC figures. Foundry have a couple as part of their ludicrously priced staff set (and I don't need yet more Pictons and Wellingtons). So this figure was cobbled together using a Perry hussar figure with a Rifles head.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

33rd Foot - Number 2 Company & Number 3 Company

The latest submission for Curt's painting competition at Analogue Hobbies are these two companies of the 33rd Foot. No 2 Company lost 36% casualties and No 3 lost 66% - the worst for any Company in the British army during the 1815 campaign.

A common thought that crosses my mind when painting British infantry is "I wish I'd chosen the French instead". I seriously believe that if this project had been to replicate the French army at 1:1, I would have finished already. I reckon one could do at least 10 French figures in greatcoat (especially if also wearing a covered shako) for the time it takes to do a single British infantryman - the endless white lace and webbing takes an age, the brown strap that goes around the blue canteen and so on. Even more time consuming are flank company men with those ******* winged epaulettes (maybe 14 Frenchmen in greatcoats?) and worse still a kilted Highlander (maybe 20 Frenchmen?).

Shouting orders here is Lieutenant Samual Pagan of No.3 Company. When not forming square to see off the French cavalry attack, the regiment were ordered to lie down to avoid casualties from the French artillery barrage.

Lieutenat Frederick Hope Pattison recalls.

“ When in this prostrate position it so happened that Lieutenant  Pagan, Captain Trevor and Lieutenant  Hart were lying on the ground close to one another in the centre of the square. I was standing up, much interested in what was going on to our left, when a missile, supposed to be the fracture of a shell, hit Hart so severely on the shoulder as to cause instant death, and, passing over Trevor, scooped out one of Pagan’s ears.  He got up staggering and bleeding profusely when I, with other assistance, placed him on a bearer to carry him to the rear.  The men thus employed had hardly left the centre of the square when a cannon-ball hit one of them and carried off his leg.  Another man took his place.” 

The unfortunate Pagan later gave up the military life and became a doctor in Edinburgh.

No.2 Company had lost one man killed at Quatre Bras, and a further five men were killed at Waterloo. A further four died of wounds. The 33rd (West Riding) Foot was unusual in that it contained large numbers of men who actually came from that county. For example, the men killed in action at Waterloo were: Privates Michael Slim (Hathersage, Derbyshire), Elijah Carter (Halifax, Yorks), John Ramsden (Halifax, Yorks), Ralph Marsh (Tilsley, Lancs), William Dryden (Yorks)

Saturday, 18 January 2014

69th Foot - Light Company

Work on Halkett's brigade continues with the Light Company of the 69th (South Lincolnshire) Foot. I put them all on one base as I will eventually with the light companies of the 30th, 33rd and 69th with whom they skirmished as a "Flank Battalion" at Waterloo under the command of Major Charles Vigoureux of the 30th.

Of the 59 men of the Light Company 24 were casualties with 8 of those killed or dying or wounds; a casualty rate of 41% (which would in fact be higher were the number of rear echelon men taken into account). Of the 8 men killed 5 were English, 2 were Scottish and 1 was Irish.

 In the foreground we can see Corporal Richard Williams of Rathdrum, Wicklow - one of the older men in this young regiment, aged 41. Behind him comes bugler Thomas Walsh, another Irishman from Cavan.

Private William Watkins from Norwich. Killed at Waterloo.

 The figs are mostly Victrix with a few Perry legs and arms thrown in for variety.