Monday 28 September 2015

Making Belgians

I'm not talking about Mr & Mrs Tintin, but rather using up some spare bits and bobs to make Belgian line infantry, and some Belgian heavy cavalry.
The line infantry is simple enough - British bodies and shakos with French arms and packs.

 I took a soldering iron to the lace above their waists, although, to be honest, the result is probably no better than just removing it with a sharp knife.

If anyone reading this has any spare French marching arms, please get in touch and I can buy from you, or swap for any plastic parts you're looking for.

Next up are the 2nd Carabineers. As I understand it, the 2nd Carabineers were Belgian and wore helmets while the 1st and 3rd Regiments were dutch and wore bicornes. To make these I used French dragoons with French Carabineer heads. They wore blankets (or greatcoats?) rolled over their shoulders so I made these using green stuff which turned out to be quite easy.

Belgian helmets were slightly different to these French ones in that they had a lion's head moulded to the front, but I will have to do my best to replicate this with the paintbrush.

 Maybe one day I can make some Dutch Carabineers using some of the hundreds of spare bicorne heads I have!

Each box of Perry French dragoons has only 3 elite figures with epaulettes so I bolstered these by adding epaulettes to figures, simply cutting a square into the shoulder and then adding an epaulette from a spare French flank infantry arm. I don't think this surgery will be noticable once they are all painted.

I really enjoyed making these conversions, they were a welcome distraction from the mass of 92nd Highlanders which I'm working to complete. More on that to follow.

Friday 11 September 2015

92nd Foot (Gordon Highlanders) - reinforcements

Back to the project - finished some reinforcements to bolster the ranks of the 92nd, which are now just about complete.
I enjoyed doing this little lot despite highlanders taking so long. I've come to realise that as long as I keep doing different things, e.g. varying all the redcoats with blue jacket cavalry, Greenjacket rifles, artillery etc, I can get a lot more done, rather than facing the psychological mountain of a whole regiment of the same uniform at 1:1
Huge thanks to Steve at Victrix who sent me a huge box of "spare" Highlander sprues to help out on my project, a very kind gesture which, on my limited budget, was enormously appreciated. So, apart from a few Front Rank, these are nearly all Victrix beauties. Of the three regiments in Highland uniform at Waterloo I've put the Black Watch in square, the Camerons in firing line, and the Gordon's charging (or maybe running away from D'Erlon's columns - you decide!)

 With the regiment suffering so heavily at Quatre Bras, these 60 or so men represent more like two companies, rather than one. I had to use a panorama shot to try to get them all in one shot, hence a bit blurred!

The 92nd Foot was a regiment of enormous experience. Many of the men in the ranks in 1815 had been soldiering since the previous century.  Several had seen action as long ago as 1801 when they fought in Egypt and even more had campaigned with Sir John Moore in the Coruna campaign and then returned to the Peninsula for the rest of that war. During this time the battalion fought at Fuentes D'Onor, Vitoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes and Toulouse.

 The running officer (left) is Lieutenant Andrew Will, a Peninsula veteran, who was one of the few officers of the 92nd to survive Quatre Bras and Waterloo unwounded. Indirectly, however, this luck led to his posting, in 1819, to Jamaica where, like so many in the regiment, he died of yellow fever. The figure is a conversion, adding a Highland officer's body to the running legs from a Victrix. British Line Infantry box.

The men of the 92nd were nearly entirely Scottish, predominately from Aberdeenshire and Invernesshire, and Gaelic was often spoken instead of English. By Waterloo these seasoned veterans were growing long in the tooth -  the average age in Number 1 Company for example was 36 -  and a large proportion of those who survived the Napoleonic wars were discharged between 1815 and 1819.

In the centre of this pic is Captain Archibald Ferrier who had survived Quatre Bras but is seen here falling wounded at Waterloo. He was promoted to Major in 1818. Like Lieutenant Will above, Ferrier also died of yellow fever in Jamaica in 1819.

If I have time, I'll take some pics with these 92nd mixed in with the Scots Greys,"Scotland Forever" - though probably not with any hanging on to the stirrups, as has been famously claimed.