Sunday 16 February 2014

Halkett's Brigade - Colonels and adjutants

I hate painting. Apart from maybe doing faces, there's not one bit of it I like. But the love for the finished unit drives me on and so I've been trudging onwards - more white lace, more redcoats, on and on. At the moment I'm working on the Grenadier companies for the 30th, 33rd, and 69th Foot. I didnt have enough Victrix kneeling figs so the front row are Foudry figs with Victrix heads stuck on.



What I do love is assembling plastic figures, especially making my own creations like a cackling Doctor Frankenstein. So, with the rain lashing at the windows, flashes of lightning and loud rumbles of thunder outside, I have been enjoying a break from painting and put these colonels and adjutants together. I've just put them on some horses that were lying around but I'll be finding them a better fit in the saddle.

Lieutenant John Lloyd of the 73rd - wounded at Quatre Bras but able to take over as Adjutant from Ensign Patick Hay who had been more seriously wounded.

Here is Lt-Colonel William Elphinstone who, through my research, I believe to have been an utterly useless commander of the 33rd at both Quatre Bras and Waterloo. Thirty years later his dithering ineffectual command would lead to the worst disaster in the history of the British army - the massacre of 16,000 troops and civilians in the retreat from Kabul by Afghan tribesmen.
I wanted to evoke an air of beleagured despair and I'm quite pleased with the result. Mounted beside him, hoping in vain for some strong leadership, is the young Ensign & Adjutant William Thain. He was wounded at Waterloo but survived,  only for Elphinstone to get him in the end - he was killed at Jugdulluk Pass, Afghanistan, 12th January 1842.

Adjutant Henry Oldershaw of the 69th Foot. An older man promoted from the ranks (often the case for adjutants) - he switched to the 33rd in 1832 becoming their Quartermaster.
Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Morice commanding the 69th, seen here checking his poket watch. He was killed at Waterloo, hit by four musket balls.
  Adjutant Mathias Andrew of the 30th. 

I'd be quite happy to make more of these if anyone likes them. Just send me some cavalry legs and a stamped address envelope and Ill do the rest!

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Waterloo casualty waggon and other projects

Bit of a mixed bag coming up - I've been busy with Carl's competition at Analogue Hobbies, working on Halkett's Brigade.

I was very pleased to be voted into runner-up place in the vehicles round for this waggon full of wounded. Incidentally, just as  I prefer the 1815 spelling of Serjeant when referring to anyone with three stripes at that time, so I am going to obstinantly spell waggon with two gs as was normal until a century ago. 
I've always wanted to build up the cluttered roads of the rear echelon area, waggons and carts etc. but am usually put off by the price (Perry waggons are lovely but I just can't afford more than the occasional Christmas treat to myself).  Another thing is that even the larger waggons on offer are too small for the large baggage waggons I have in mind.

Sketches from the period show huge baggage waggons, usually "appropriated" from local farms. So I set about building my own massive waggons and this is the first completed vehicle to roll off the production line. It was all scratch-built using card (old Perry boxes!) and matchsticks.

The wheels are spares from Victrix artillery sets, pulled by a hotchpotch of spare horses/mules. The harnesses/traces are cotton thread glued on.

 The casualties are all from the 69th Foot, all wounded at Quatre Bras. Clockwise starting top left -
Private John Robertson (Light Company) , from Aberdeen
Private Thomas Garner , from Exton, Rutland, wounded hip and leg
Private Dennis McCaffery, (Light Company) from Wexford
Private George Wagdale, from Nottingham, wounded right breast
Armoury Serjeant Isaac Pierson (Grenadier Company), from Nottingham

Private Luke McGinnis, from Dublin, musket ball in hip
Private Richard Kemp, from Sotterley, Norfolk - died of wounds 27th June
Private Thomas Mulcahy, from Tipperary, wounded head and eyebrow

The driver is a Foundry artilleryman with a Victrix head.

 Next up are are two more companies in square - this time the remnants of No.2 and 3 Companies of the 69th Foot.  As before the figs are Victrix with a couple of Perry arms here and there. 

Captain Charles Cuyler, commanding Number 3 Company, has lost his shako at Quatre Bras and is wearing a greatcoat slung over his shoulder. He was the son of a general and was promoted to Major in 1817.

 Number 2 company had 16 casualties from a nominal total of 54 while Number 3 company lost 35 men from 61 - one of the worst rates for any British unit at Waterloo. Add to these figures the rear echelon men, plus all those charged with carrying wounded officers etc to the rear, and the 18 men shown here might even be too many!

 Last but not least is Major Harry Smith of the 95th who, aged 28, was Brigade Major for Lambert's Brigade at Waterloo. From Whittlesea, the son of a surgeon, he had joined the Rifles in 1805 and served at Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, the Coruna campaign, then throughout the Peninsula from 1809 until the end of the war in1814, Bladensburg, Washington and New Orleans.

 Amidst the murderous carnage at the fall of Badajoz in 1812, Smith had rescued two young sisters and later married the younger, Juana Maria de los Dolores de Leon. She would follow him throughout all of his campaigns including Waterloo where she searched the battlefield for his body, having heard that a Rifles officer acting as Major of Brigade had been killed (it was another Captain Charles Eales, Brigade Major for Kempt) Smith was wounded at Waterloo but survived to command a division in the Kafir War of 1834 and then to the Gwalior campaign in India after which he became Sir Harry Smith. In the First Anglo-Sikh War he was given his own command and in 1846 inflicted a crushing defeat on the Sikhs at Aliwal. He returned to the Cape Colony (South Africa) in 1847 and appointed Governor General. He fought the Boers at Boomplaats in 1848 and the Xhosa in 1850 and the town of Ladysmith was named after Juana Maria.

He returned to England and died at his home in Eton Place, London in 1860. He is buried at Whittlesea.

A common gripe of mine is that the choice of staff for 28mm British Napoleonics is virtually zero. The Perrys make no ADCs, nor any of the other many types of staff officer. Victrix make none. Front Rank make two ADC figures. Foundry have a couple as part of their ludicrously priced staff set (and I don't need yet more Pictons and Wellingtons). So this figure was cobbled together using a Perry hussar figure with a Rifles head.