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!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

73rd Regiment of Foot

Here are some (terrible) pics of the 73rd Foot which are now nearly finished, I just need to finish the Grenadier company and then do all the basing. Oh and the light Company who will be out skirmishing with the rest of the brigade's Light Bobs.

 The 73rd were so reduced after Quatre Bras that they joined up with the 30th to form one amalgamated square, so what you see above will - one day - be one long side and one short end of a square.

 I don't know what the strange streaks of light are!

 Here's a Serjeant Luke McLaughlin from number 8 company keeping the lines straight with his pike!
McLaughlin, from Leitrim, survived Waterloo only to die in Ceylon in 1819 of yellow fever, like so many other men of the 73rd.

 Here's the 73rd's command base - I will probably add plenty of other bits and bobs and try to get a cluttered, chaotic look - the squares were so small, and the wounded so numerous, that eye-witness accounts describe the interiors as being very crowded. The four Colour Serjeants are Samuel Lowe (wounded through the thigh), John Meade "the tallest man in the regiment", Alex Muir (killed), and Thomas Scarret (grape shot wound to right arm).

 I'm looking forward to one day adding the regimental colours. The Ensign on the left is Aldworth Blennerhasset (aged 18) who by the end of the battle was commanding a company and to the right the dapper chap in the overcoat is Charles Russel Page (aged 19) who was killed.

 Old habits die hard - although the 73rd had stopped wearing kilts many years before this serjeant, John McLean of Berwickshire continues to wear his sash in the highland style across his shoulder.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Halkett's squares update

Not much to report - have just been pushing on with Halkett's squares. After Quatre Bras each of the four regiments didn't number much more than 200 men each, so I've gone for companies of 18 men in square (with a drummer and extra serjeant or casualty lurking behind them).
So far I've based
30th - 7 companies
33rd - 7 companies
69th - 9 companies & light coy out skirmishing (battalion complete)
73rd - still to start!

My main problem is photographing them - I can't fit them in one shot!
Here are some very bad pics I took today. I will try again soon.

 33rd - West Riding - on a bookshelf!

 69th South Lincs - not sure what's happened to that chap's forage cap! Will have to give that another touch of paint I think.

I'm looking forward to doing all the command figs, colours and casualties etc in the centre - a kind of reward to myself after these all these.

One day soon I hope to have both combined formations (30th/73rd and 33rd/69th) on display in square so they won't be as long (as they'll be L-shaped) and hopefully will then fit in my camera frame!

I'm still short 36 kneeling figs, so if anyone has any spares I'll happily buy them or swap stuff for them!

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.