Saturday, 4 July 2015

A missed deadlline...BUT...new Perry plastics!

I started this project in 2010 with the aim of representing each of the 31,500 British soldiers (and god knows how many horses, cannons, wagons etc.) at Waterloo in 28mm. Realistically, I would need several lifetimes to achieve this hasn't stoppped me from trying.

I had planned to get something special ready for the 200th anniversary but various factors combined to mean I have done no painting since March. Representing every British soldier at Waterloo with a 28mm figure originally came from my other loony pursuit which has been researching those men and compiling a database listing all 31,000 by company and troop and collating as much info on each man - birthplace, birthdate, profession, dates of enlistment and discharge, wounds, etc. This has been done over 15 years, and has involved countless trips to the Public Record Office in Kew.
Originally, I thought it would be fun to make a whole company in miniature and label the underside of the base with the actual individual's name. This then ballooned into maybe doing a whole battalion...and so on.

The main reason that I've done no painting since March has been due to spending more time with the research and trying to put a website together in time for June 18th. This is now up at www.waterloomen.com - it offers a series of booklets by county and regiment (to follow soon), a look up service for researchers, and a complete list of the British soldiers who lost their lives at Waterloo - the first time this has been done, as far as I know.

An extract of the database that contains details of 31,500 Waterloo Men, listed by company and troop
The first county booket is already on sale, I've been on Northants radio and in the papers, and the second publication (Leicestershire) will be ready soon. But I'm already missing the painting project and the itch to get back to my brushes has this week been exacerbated by the release of more fantastic Perry plastics; this time British Light Dragoons.
Before plastics came along, the idea of doing all 31,500 men had always been a pipe dream - but Victrix, Perry and Warlord have made the impossible seem more feasible (though I will still need to sell a kidney to buy all the figures I need, never mind find the time to paint them all).

But why let reality get in the way? My first five boxes of Light Dragoons arrived on Friday and I spent this morning cutting the figs off the sprues and assembling the horses.


They are lovely figs, as all the Perry boxes are, but this set is even more generous as it contains different legs, torsos and heads to make different periods of uniform. While I actually hate doing all the painting - I LOVE assembling the figs - especially doing conversions - and trying to come up with new Frankenstein creations. Hence my excitement on looking at this set and seeing the spare torsos and the potential for some creativity - Royal Horse Artillery?

I recently had a stocktake of my British artillery - accrued bit by bit over the last 15 years - and found I had actually got TOO MANY Royal Artillery! There were five batteries in action at Waterloo but I have somehow collected enough guns and men (thank you Victrix) for at least six! Oh well, the surplus gunners will have to be Cleve's KGL battery.
However, the rollcall of the Royal Horse Artillery was far less healthy - I had only enough gunners and limbers etc for 1 battery of 6 guns. So, on looking at the pre-1812 uniform and Tarleton helmet of the new Light Dragoon plastics I felt there might be a nice (cheaper!) option to bulk up this number. I found some spare bodies and arms from other sets and set to work.


Here then are the fruits of today's tinkering: some drivers, gunners, and horse holders.

Drivers
Gunners

Horse holders
They still need some tidying up but I'm quite pleased with them.

Hopefully there will be less of a delay before the next update on this blog - if only real life didn't get so in the way...

p.s. here are some more conversions - this time a hussar orderly watering the horses!, a mounted Rifles officer, and two standing light dragoons - an officer and a bareheaded orderly serjeant.






Wednesday, 4 March 2015

28th (North Gloucestershire) Foot complete

Here at last are the 28th Foot - part of Kempt's brigade at Waterloo and somewhat bandaged and bruised after Quatre Bras two days earlier. I've been working on these since mid-January, still a few bits to tidy up - I need flags, for example, and a whole load of drummers are still unpainted, but for now The Slashers are going away in the shed to make way for the next regiment.
As you can see, the firing line was too long for any table I could find so they have had to be photographed in double line. Light company skirmishing out front.



At Waterloo the regiment was moved up to the hedge to meet D’Erlon’s attack and spied through the smoke a French column in the process of deploying into line. Struggling through the tangle of the hedge the 28th poured a volley into the French before charging into the smoke in pursuit. 


As they advanced another column came into view, which through the gloom, several officers identified mistakenly as Belgian. These offiers began calling out “Don’t fire! They are Belgians!” but the mistake was soon realised when the “Belgians” suddenly turned on their heels and made good their escape. The regiment then returned to their original position where they remained for the rest of the battle.





The 28th was yet another veteran battalion, its ranks filled with old soldiers from the Peninsula campaigns. Many of the men carried the scars of wounds from Peninsula battles particularly from Albuhera in 1811 where the Regiment had been famously cut up after being caught out of square by French lancers. 



 The regiment was commanded by Colonel Charles Philip Belson but, on Kempt being wounded at Waterloo, Belson took over the Brigade and Lt-Colonel Robert Nixon assumed command of the 28th.  Nixon was then wounded around 6.30pm and was replaced by Captain Kelly  until he too was wounded.  Captain Caddell then took over and commanded to the close of the battle.



A large number of the men had started their army careers serving a year or so in the militia between 1803-06 before being transferred into the 28th. The average period of service already served by men of this regiment in 1815 was therefore a seasoned 10 years.  The average age was over 30 with several men being in their forties and fifties.  Private Thomas Kendall in Number 9 Company was 58.


 Men of Number 6 Company - with a nominal strength of 66 (pre-Quatre Bras) it suffered 24 casualties over the 3 days (36%). Among the twelve wounded was Private Richard Penny. From Culmstock in Devon he had enlisted in 1804, served in the Coruna campaign, and returned to the Peninsula where he saw action at Barrosa, Vitoria, the Pyrenees and Nive. He was discharged in 1823 aged 37 and lived to collect his MGS.




Pity poor Private James Murphy. Aged 22 at Waterloo he was shot through the thigh. By 22nd July it was deemed necessary to operate on his leg and the operation was carried out by Staff Surgeon Cole. By the following day, however, his condition had worsened and the leg was amputated. He died 2½ hours after the amputation. 


Here Private John Connors of Number 5 company is hit in the shoulder. From Doonaderry, Down, he had enlisted in 1812 aged 23. He survived his Waterloo wound but was discharged. Next to him stands young Ensign James Simkins who found himself commanding the company after both senior officers were wounded - Captain Thomas English was later awarded £191-12-6 for his Waterloo wound while Lieutenant George Ingram bled to death following the amputation of his leg having been been hit by a cannonball.



The predominant accents heard in the ranks were Irish (47%) and West Country  (42 % of the battalion hailing from the counties of Devon, Somerset and Cornwall).