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)

So...one 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.

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!