Sunday, 9 November 2014

The 15th (King's) Hussars

These have taken a while - I've been working on them on and off over the last year whenever I needed a break from scarlet tunics. Various sources mention that the 15th wore shakos at Waterloo and while I've done the 10th in their glorious red shakos, I decided this lot would look a bit more "campaign" and thus modified them all to have covered shakos. I really like the "rag-tag" look of this lot - they were a hardened load of veterans and colourful characters from the Peninsula, so I think it suits them. Figures are a mix of Perrys, old Foundry and my own Frankenstein creations. These last were made with spare French hussar legs, Warlord horses, and various Victrix/Perry arms and heads. Ages ago I asked if anyone had any spare legs and received two very generous donations from Stefan Schultz and Fons at Mabuhay Miniature Painting Service - so thanks very much again guys! Here at last is the completed project! All the heads have been converted (using Perry French infantry in covered shakos).

In addition to some sources mentioning the 15th in shakos I was also swayed by this premlinary sketch by the artist George Jones for one of his Waterloo paintings in 1815. Sold at Christie's for £2,100 in 2008, it shows his preparation for a larger painting through copying the details of various uniform details - there is a beautifully detailed shako of the 10th Hussars but it's the full sketch of the hussar that I found so interesting. Maybe it's not a hussar from the 15th - it could be a Prussian or some KGL unit - but whatever, it does clearly show how shakos were covered in oilskin. If it IS an officer from the 15th then I have painted all the trousers stripes the wrong colour! Most sources show them as red, but this chap's are clearly white. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it, just thought it was a fascinating painting.

 The 15th Hussars had a nominal strength of 460 men (and thus probably an actual strength in the field of around 390 men divided into 6 Tropps. These 60 therefore show No.1 Troop. 

 Being stationed on the extreme west of the battlefield, the 15th saw little action at Waterloo and sufered relatively minor casualties, most of which came from artillery fire. Wheeler of the 51st Foot, posted nearby, recalled, “A shell now fell into the column of the 15th Hussars and bursted. I saw a sword and scabbard fly out from the column.”

The average date of enlistement of all NCOs and Privates was 1806, meaning that on average a soldier had already served 9 years before Waterloo. The average date of enlistment of Privates was 1812, with nearly all having served in the Peninsula.

The Regiment was predominately English with only a handful of Scots, Welsh and Irish. The most common county of origin was Wiltshire, with Berkshire, Hampshire, Somerset and Middlesex also strongly represented.

 No.1 Troop was also known as "Wodehouse's Troop" being commanded by Captain Philip Wodehouse (front above). Wodehouse was a Peninsula veteran and had received two musket balls through his shako at the siege of San Sebastian. The National Army Museum holds a letter penned by him on the day after Waterloo – written, he says, on the battlefield using a drum as a desk – addressed to his beloved, a Miss Parry. The brief note assures her he suffered no harm in the battle and closes "if a cannon ball hits me tomorrow I believe I will die thinking of you."  He later rose to be a Colonel of the 1st Life Guards and retired in 1837.

To the right of his Captain rides Serjeant Thomas Bishop who had served with the regiment since 1800. From Stoke-under-Ham, Somerset he was aged 33 at Waterloo. Behind them rides Regimental Trumpet Major William Hyde.

Three characters of No.1 Troop - Private Adam Brewer was born in Middleheim in the German States. He had enlisted in 1805 and took part in the Coruna campaign, seeing action at Sahugen. He later returned to the Peninsula and was present at Vitoria, Orthes and Toulouse,
Private Samuel Morgan, from Amersham, had worked as a saddler before joining the Regiment. He had served in the Peninsula from 1813-14.  He died of his wounds at the General Hospital, Brussels, on 5th July.

Private Robert Daintry, also wounded (in left shoulder). Born Pangbourne, Berks, he enlisted in 1804 and served in the Corunna campaign and later at Vitoria. He was discharged shortly after Waterloo and in 1843, then aged 57, was admitted as a Chelsea Pensioner.

I've now done a squadron of each of the 4 British hussar regiments. I'm still building more, so next I suppose I need to start working on a second squadron of each. As long as I live to be 324, I should have everything completed eventually.

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!