Monday 24 September 2012

71st Highland Light Infantry - serjeants

I spent the weekend doing more work on the Camerons - just waterbottles and haversacks but they're starting to look pretty good now.  By Sunday evening I'd had enough of painting and rewarded myself with my favourite part of the hobby - fiddling about with bits a knife, glue and bits of plastic to make new modified figs.
A problem that I've been wondering about is that nobody makes serjeants for the peculiar 71st Foot. If you're not familiar with the unique uniform of the 71st, I'll quickly outline the basics: they were a light infantry regiment so they wore the stovepipe shako and winged epaullettes, the same as the other light regiments at Waterloo - the 51st and 52nd.

The 71st, however, being a "highland" regiment (actually most men were from Glasgow or Edinburgh) retained some distinguishing features - the most noticable being a diced highland band around the shako. Incidentally, I'm not sure how I'm going to paint hundreds of these bands,  I think it might be beyond me and have been talking to Flags of War about possibly doing transfers. He says it would be possible so that might be a possible solution. For the shako I scrape off the plate of Victrix peninsular heads - I suppose at some point I will have to find a way of adding hundreds of tiny bugle badges in their place. Some experts assert that the 71st shako was actually a blue wool bonnet but I'm sticking to the conventional stovepipe look.

Anyway, the other big difference is that none of the 28mm manufacturers cater for the other quirk of the 71st, that serjeant sashes were worn across the shoulder, like Highland serjeants, and not around the waist as was regulation. So last night I set to work and grafted some spare Victrix highland serjeant torsos onto Victrix and Perry line legs. I then added the arms and heads etc

Highland sash - across left shoulder.

I still need to do some filing and fill in a few gaps but in general  I'm pretty happy with them. As well as having some nice new serjeants to urge on the men of Glasgow there is no wastage - the lower half of the highland serjeants are grafted back onto the torsos of the other rank figures - a shameful loss of stripes but they can get back into line and plug some of the gaps!


  1. I am painting the 92nd now, I do find it difficult and it is only 24 figures. I have to say that the 71st were a favourite of mine to paint, The diced shako did not bother me too much, but again only 24 figures and no kilts. No sashes over the shoulders I am afraid.

    Yours look great.


  2. Ingenious solution to the problem, but I don't envy you adding all those bugle badges

  3. Clever stuff - how many of these conversions will you need to make?

  4. Thanks for the kind comments chaps.

    John - I'd love to see your 92nd and 71st if you have pics.

    Michael, I know, it's going to be hell! Love your site by the way.

    Stryker - I just counted and the 71st have a record 60 serjeants! I'm not sure I'll be doing all of them...

  5. Great work, Lord Hill! I am in the 71stHLI re-enactment unit and we definitely favour the stovepipe shako, although we have some diced blue bonnets too. Here's some pics of the 71st from a recent show:

  6. The 71st Glasgow Highland L.I. wore the blue Kilmarnock bonnet, in line with other Highland regiments, with a white band of Highland dicing. The only difference was that the 42nd, 79th, and 92nd attached 3 large black ostrich feathers to the cap, giving them a quite unique look. One private records that his company sold the feathers to Portuguese ladies, no doubt to buy local booze! The HLI 'blocked' the Kilmarnock bonnet to heighten it. Confusion remains, however, as to whether the cap bore a short, green central plume, or a small green pom-pom at the centre of the crown. Sources differ.