Friday, 9 September 2016

British reinforcements (2)

This is my second "reinforcements" post and it gives me an excuse to think about British grenadiers.  I'll start with the basics. These troops served in composite battalions that combined the grenadier companies of the various regiments serving in the Americas.  These combined units did not carry colours and were often much larger than in strength than the parent line battalions (as they contained more companies).  At the beginning of the AWI there were two combined battalions of grenadiers, expanding to four in 1776.  In October 1776 the 4th Grenadiers were disbanded due to high rates of sickness, with the 42nd Foot's grenadier company being transferred to the 3rd Grenadiers.  During the northern theatre battles of 1777-78, the main army had two large battalions and Burgoyne's 1777 Saratoga army had a battalion of just under 600 men.  The grenadiers shrank once major operations in the north ceased and there appears to have been just one battalion in the South.
I suppose there are three issues that might concern an AWI wargamer when considering how to add some grenadier units to his/her collection: size, facing colours and headgear.  The last is probably the easiest issue to address: there is evidence that bearskins were worn in the war's earlier years, and further evidence that they were put into storage in later years, from 1779 or thereabouts, if not earlier (and quite probably during the Saratoga expedition as well).  But realistically, who is going to pass on having these iconic troops in their full finery?  So bearskins all round.

The issue of size, is less binary, although you have two broad choices: medium or xtra-xtra large.  Below is a breakdown of grenadier units as they appear in the published "British Grenadier!" scenario books:

Lexington: 24
Bunker Hill: 16
Dorchester: 16
Long Island: 20, 20, 16, 16 (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grenadiers)
Haarlem Heights: 20, 20, 16, 16 (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grenadiers)
Bound Brook: 20
Pell's Point: 40
Brandywine: 24, 24 (1st and 2nd Grenadiers)
Hubbardton: 32
Freemans' Farm: 24
Bemis Heights: 16
Whitemarsh: 24, 24 (1st and 2nd Grenadiers)
Monmouth: 32, 32 (1st and 2nd Grenadiers)
Briar Creek: 10
Eutaw Springs: 14
La Vigie: 20

So a unit of 24 figures will cover over half the scenarios, and many gamers will be satisfied with that.  It's when you look at the larger battles that numbers get a bit sticky.  There are five scenarios in which the 1st Grenadiers and the 2nd Grenadiers both appear and two of those also feature the 3rd and 4th Grenadiers.  So the most grenadier figures you need at one time, for Long Island or Haarlem Heights, is 72.

I painted the 3rd and 4th Grenadiers for a Long Island game back in 2008 (together with a command stand).  Those 16-figure units, both in charging poses, helpfully combine to form the 2nd Grenadiers for Brandywine, Whitemarsh and Monmouth.  My existing 1st Grenadiers, in marching poses, was 24 figures, so that needed bulking up to 32 anyway.  But I then looked at the other scenarios and thought I might as well just another 8 figures to bring the unit up to 40 so I could use it as both the 1st and 2nd Grenadiers for Long Island and Haarlem Heights.

Having decided on numbers, the last issue is to think about what regiments the unit(s) should include.  The composition of the combined battalions changed over the duration of the war, but the following information seems reliable (and is taken mostly from the research that Brendan Morrissey has made available either in his excellent Osprey books or on TMP and other websites): 

At Bunker Hill in June 1775:
- 4th, 5th, 10th, 18th, 23rd, 38th, 43rd, 47th, 52nd, 59th. 

In 1776:
- 3rd Grenadiers: 15th, 28th, 33rd, 37th, 46th, 54th and 57th;
- 4th Grenadiers: 42nd (one double-size company) and 71st highlanders (three companies).

In 1777/78:
- 1st Grenadiers: 4th, 5th, 10th, 15th, 17th, 22nd, 23rd, 27th, 28th, 33rd, 35th, 38th, 42nd and 55th regiments;
- 2nd Grenadiers: 37th, 40th, 43rd, 44th, 45th, 46th, 49th, 52nd, 57th, 63rd, 64th, 71st, and Marines (the companies from the 71st and Marines were reassigned before the battle of Monmouth in June 1778);
- Burgoyne's Saratoga army: 9th, 20th, 21st, 24th, 29th, 31st, 34th, 47th, 53rd and 62nd.

At Eutaw Springs in September 1781:
- 3rd, 19th, 30th.

Trying to replicate the precise configurations of these combined battalions would therefore require a lot of extra figures to ensure that the correct regiments were represented.  The easiest way is probably to stick to just one pose, whether marching, charging or firing, as that would then allow you to mix and match more extensively.  I'm constrained by having one large unit in charging poses and the other in marching poses.  So combining my 3rd and 4th Grenadiers to form the 2nd Grenadiers at Monmouth, for example, doesn't really work as 42nd's grenadier company was with the 1st Grenadiers and the 71st's had been sent to New York.  The approach I've taken with the larger units to ensure the numbers are correct without worrying too much about the facings.  That said, the most common facing colours were yellow and dark green, so you can't go too wrong with lots of figures in those colours (looking at the 1st Grenadiers in 1777/78, for example, you have four companies with yellow facings, three with dark blue, two each with buff and dark green, one each with orange, white and red; of the seven companies in the 3rd Grenadiers in 1776, five had yellow facings).  The facing colour that is most noticeable is buff, because that means the colours of the smallclothes and cross-belts should be buff too.  I already had a couple of buff-faced figures in my existing 1st Grenadiers, but with an eye on the Eutaw Springs scenario I decided to paint a new base of 6 figures, including a Foundry fifer, to represent the 3rd Foot's grenadier company (and which I could then combine with two 4-figure bases to make the 14-figure unit required for that scenario).

Here are the new figures:

The figures here are mainly from Perry Miniatures, but with some older Foundry ones too.  Fife & Drum also make some nice grenadier figures.  I tidied up the older figures, which had a few daft painting mistakes.  So that's my brigade of British Grenadiers.  If I wanted to go absolutely nuts, I could do some more troops in "Saratoga caps" specifically for the Saratoga battles, but that would be right at the back of the list (I'd use Perry plastic figures, although they don't have flank company shoulder wings; but then did the grenadiers remove those wings before the campaign began....?).   My next batch of "reinforcements" will be British in campaign dress, but those will have to wait until later in the year.

I appreciate that the blog has been quite of late, but I'm now back in business and there is much more AWI to come shortly.

14 figures.  Painted August 2016.  Below are some other photos of the complete "brigade" out in the sun.

The second battalions of the 42nd and 71st have a red stripe in their plaid. 

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

British reinforcements (1)

I mentioned earlier this year that one thing on my AWI radar is to bulk up existing units to ensure they are of sufficient strength to cope with all relevant scenarios.  I keep a detailed spread-sheet of all units that feature in the published "British Grenadier!" scenarios and seeing regiments listed as "done" but with insufficient figures for the latest scenarios irritated my completist's mentality.  I hadn't meant to make a start on this work now, but I found some spare figures and painting them now would further my aim of painting all remaining AWI lead by the end of the year.  Of course it's in the nature of wargaming that finishing this task meant I had to buy a couple more packs of figures at Salute, but since they were largely painted immediately afterwards so the lead-pile hasn't been increased.   I realised that this "bulking up" project naturally falls into 4 stages: (i) units requiring Foundry figures in full/1768 Royal Warrant dress; (ii) units requiring Perry figures in campaign/cut-down coat dress; (iii) Hessians and Brunswickers; and (iv) units for the Guilford Courthouse scenario (this was originally presented in the first edition "British Grenadier" rulebook, but an amended version with different unit strengths appears in the 4th scenario book).  So that's probably the order in which I'll approach this sub-project.  I don't intend to re-do all my earlier blog posts about these units - I'll post pictures of the new figures as I go along and I'll add additional "group" shots to the original posts.

So first of all, here are the figures in 1768 Royal Warrant; this is a post that has been some months in the making!  These figures are the first Foundry British line I've painted for years.  Painting the marching figures took some getting used to, as they have a lot of kit and fiddly straps which one doesn't have on "campaign" dress figures.  That said, the firing line and charging figures were easy in comparison, as they don't have any kit other that the cartridge and bayonet belts.  I did a small amount of remedial work on a few of the original figures, some of which were painted as far back as 2003, when I first started out on my AWI odyssey.

First, I needed an additional 6 figures for the 38th Foot.  This is a useful battalion to have as it appears in the following scenarios: Bunker Hill (18 figures), Long Island (16), Fort Washington (12), Brandywine (16), Springfield (24).  I already had the battalion based in sixes for Bunker Hill so I've added a 4th base of 6 figures to take it up to the 24 figures required for Springfield.  That battle was fought in June 1780, and it's highly unlikely that at this stage the 38th was still in un-modified "full warrant" uniform.  But I don't think it's worth painting a whole new unit in modified campaign dress just for that scenario.

Secondly, the 63rd Foot needed 10 more figures to take it up to 30 for the Hudson Forts scenario.  The 63rd appears in the scenarios as follows: Bunker Hill (20), Long Island (16), Hudson Forts (30), Monmouth (16).   The attack on Forts Clinton and Montgomery took place in October 1777, so the regiment was most likely in cut-down coats by this time, but the rest of the figures are in full dress.  I painted up another base of 4 figures and then put the remaining figures on a base of 6 with an additional officer.  I see I need to paint the outside edges of the bases on the older figures.

Thirdly, the 49th Foot needed another 4 charging figures to bring it up to 20 for Dorchester.  This battalion's scenario appearances are: White Plains (16), Fort Washington (16), Dorchester (20), Brandywine (16) and Germantown (16).  I reckon full dress is ok for the first three of these battles, and again I don't intend to paint the regiment again in campaign dress for the 1777 scenarios.  Out of all these older units, I think this one shows the biggest change in style - the way I painted faces back in 2004 was rather embarrassing - oh, that horrid GW "Flesh Wash"!!

The 57th Foot required a further 6 firing line figures to increase it from 12 to 18.  The battalion appears only twice: Long Island (12) and Hudson Forts (18).   I had this regiment based in fours, so just added a base of 6 figures (including a corporal) to finish it off.

Lastly, the 43rd Foot, which I posted about only recently, needed another 6 marching figures to take it up to 24 figures for the Newport scenario.  The regiment otherwise appears in the Bunker Hill (18) and Long Island (16) scenarios.

I should add that anyone looking for Fort Washington in any of the BG!/Caliver scenario books will be disappointed.  It's on my scenario spread-sheet but the information on unit strengths came from material that AWI guru Brendan Morrissey posted on the General de Brigade website a few years ago.  Looking at that spread-sheet I see that the end is in sight for British line infantry.  Outside of  further "reinforcement" work, I have the following left to do:

- 3rd Foot ("the Buffs"): two wings of 18 and 16 figures for Eutaw Springs (both of which I'll do in full dress, given that the 3rd was only recently "off the boat" at the time);
- 22nd Foot: Long Island (16) and Newport (20);
- 26th Foot: Hudson Forts (24) and Monmouth (16);
- 37th Foot: lots of battles;
- 54th Foot: Long Island (16);
- 64th Foot: lots of battles;
- 80th Foot: Petersburg and Gloucester Point (32).

Add a couple of skirmish units and that's it.  So 32 line battalions done (plus 6 flank battalions) and 7 left to go.  That's not bad. Maybe I should get the boys out for a parade over the summer.....Next on the list will be the 37th and 64th (Perry metals in campaign dress, I think) and the Buffs. 

32 figures.  Painted March to May 2016.  All flags by GMB.  All buildings in the background made to order by Tablescape.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

43rd Foot

The 43rd was originally raised in 1741 as Fowke's Regiment of Foot and received the designation as 43rd Foot in 1751.  The regiment was sent to America in 1757 and fought in the centre of Wolfe's line at Quebec.  After the capture of Montreal, the regiment participated in attacks on Spanish possessions in the Caribbean before returning to England in 1764.  The regiment returned to American in 1774.  It saw action at Concord and Bunker Hill and then Long Island and White Plains in 1776.  From August 1778 to October 1779 the regiment was garrisoned in Rhode Island.  It was part of the army that surrendered at Yorktown.   In 1803, and by then with the country name of Monmouthshire, the regiment became one of the first British units to be trained up as light infantry.  It participated in the Peninsular War but missed Waterloo as in 1814 it returned to America to fight in the War of 1812.  In 1881 the battalion joined with the 52nd Foot to form what became the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.  That regiment in turn became the Royal Green Jackets and in 2005 was amalgamated with other regiments to form one of the British Army's super-regiments, The Rifles.      

This post is a prelude to a much longer post featuring "reinforcement" figures that I have been painting this year.  I painted the 43rd in 2003 as one of my first British line regiments.  I began my AWI collection with the Bunker Hill orbat, in which this battalion features with a strength of 18 figures.  That's why these are Foundry "full dress" figures.  The 43rd is also in the Long Island scenario (16 figures) and Newport (24).  As I had originally painted the 18 figures required for Bunker Hill, I needed to add a further 6 for the Newport scenario, which was only published a couple of years ago.  So I painted those extra figures and realised I had never posted about this unit at all.  So before I post in depth about the "reinforcement" work I've being doing since March, here is the 43rd Foot.  My style of painting hasn't changed all that much in the intervening 13 years - the main difference is the way in which I do faces, which is now more subtle than it was in 2003-5, when I used a GW flesh wash that is more noticeable than the Winsor & Newton inks I use now.  My scarlet palette is a bit different - the earlier figures have GW "blood angles red" as their final highlight, a paint which doesn't exist anymore.  The flaps on the backpacks have a simple white circle with "43" in black writing.  If I'd started these from scratch, I'd probably have tried something a bit more creative.  Also, the ground work on the earlier figures is less fussy/busy (which you may well think is better).  The ERM bases I use have also changed over the years - they now have a black edge which I paint brown - they didn't use to, so the older figures are easier to spot due to their lighter base edges.

24 figures.  Painted 2003 and March 2016.  Flags by GMB.


Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Conestoga wagon

This is the Conestoga wagon from Perry Miniatures.  The model represents a type of heavy, covered wagon that was used during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the eastern USA.  It could carry loads of up to 6 tons.   The name "conestoga" appears to have been taken from the "Conestoga River" or "Conestoga Township" (quite possibly named in turn after a local Native American tribe) in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where early wagons were built.  The first recorded use of the name was in 1717.  A special breed of horse, the "Conestoga Horse" was developed by Dutch settlers to haul these huge wagons.  The use of these wagons is one theory why American drive on the right rather than the left: the wagon's driver sat on the left rear horse so he could use his right arm to lash the team and consequently wanted oncoming traffic to pass on his left so the driver could ensure he avoided the oncoming vehicle's wheels.  The distinctive curved shape of the wagon helped prevent cargos from shifting around and the large, tall wheels helped river crossings.  In 1776 Congress created a Wagon Department to help move supplies for the Continental Army.  It grew to include enlisted wagoners, but during the AWI probably had plenty of hired civilians who may well have provided their own wagons for temporary military use.  So this model (a kind gift from wargaming friend Timmo) is for use as a supply wagon for my Continental armies.    

I painted and assembled this set over 2 days' off work I had a couple of weeks ago. When painting horses nowadays I like to work from photos, particularly when doing some of the more "funky" colours that I do for American horses.  I chose a bay overo, an appaloosa, a chestnut sabino and a palomino.  Overos and palominos are staples for my American cavalry units, but it's been a while since I've painted an appaloosa and I don't think I've ever painted a sabino.  

Chestnut sabino (l) and palomino (r)

The colours I used for the horses were these:

- bay overo: Foundry "Tan 14" with markings in "Arctic Grey 33";
- appaloosa: base colour of Coat d'Arms Uniform Grey 525 with highlights using a variety of other Coat d'Arms greys and whites; spots with Foundry "Bay Brown 42";
- chestnut sabino: Foundry "Conker Brown 54" with markings in "Arctic Grey 33";
- palomino: base colour of Foundry "Palomino 56" with mane and tail in "Austrian White 67".

Appaloosa (l) and bay overo (r)

For the hooves I used Foundry Rawhide 11B and C.  In real life, the colour of hooves on horses is generally determined by the colour of the leg just above the hoof: the lighter the leg then lighter the colour of the hoof.  However, I think having different coloured hooves on 28mm figures just looks a bit odd and so all my horses get the same hoof colour irrespective of whether they have a white or dark sock etc.  Something else one notices when looking at photos of real horses is that the ends of the tails often have bits of different colour.  The photo of the chestnut sabino showed some copper going right up to the buttock on the inside of the tail, and I've tried to replicate that.  For furniture and other bits and bobs I used the following:

- reins/bridle etc: base coat of GW Rhinox Hide with a single highlight of Foundry "Spearshaft 13A";
- saddle cloth: Foundry "Storm Blue 39" palette (this is my standard AWI saddle cloth colour; Troiani et al often show dark grey/dark blue, so that's what I use);
- collar: Foundry "Dusky Flesh 6" and "Spearshaft 13" for the wooden support.
For the wagon itself, I looked at various photos on the internet to see whether I should go with "natural" or painted woodwork.  Examples of the latter included blue, red and green.  I settled on what I think is quite an attractive colour combination: mid-blue for the bodywork and then "red oxide" for the chassis and wheels.  The (resin) canvas top of the wagon was painted with the Foundry "Canvas 8" palette.  I needed two coats of the A colour and then heavy dry-brushing with the B and C colours.  The main palette colour I used for the wagon itself was Foundry "Prussian Gun Mid-Blue 106". The base coat was the A colour; I left out the B colour and did some wood-grain effect highlighting with the C colour and then C plus white. For the sacks I used various Foundry colours: "Palomino 56", "Deep Brown Leather 45", a couple of WW2 palettes that have been discontinued, and then "Spearshaft 13" for the barrels. It's a bit difficult to work out precisely what is in the wagon other than the clearly-visible sacks etc. There's a tarpaulin there, so I assumed that would have been rain-proofed and painted it black.  The chassis and wheels were painted with Foundry "Terracotta 37". 

I'll add some traces at some stage, but I wanted to get this photographed while I had a spare moment and it wasn't raining. I'm pretty sure the chap at the front is in the wrong place, but I didn't have enough room on the bas to put him to the right side of the front right horse, which is where he stands in the pic on the Perry website. There are a couple of other mistakes: the metal work is too bright I think, and I'm really not sure about that the yokes are in the right place - I found these bits very difficult to sort out and almost superglued my fingers together several times.  I also found the resin rather brittle - a couple of bits broke off but I couldn't tell whether they were part of the kit or just flash.  But overall I think this is an excellent model from the Perries and it's worth taking the time to put it together.  It's the sort of thing, along with ammunition carts and limbers, that will always appear on the table.

Painted June 2016.


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The end of American Civil War week

So it turned out to be a month with a missing 4 weeks in the middle, but that was ACW week here at Tarleton's Quarter.  I wouldn't say that the ACW bug has necessarily been caught, but I enjoyed inspecting these units again and I am working on another regiment of Dixon Virginians.  I still have plenty of Dixons in the leadpile, so I will return to the period at some stage.  For the immediate future, however, I'm back at work on AWI stuff, and I'll post about some of that towards the end of the week.  To the left are some Dixon Miniatures casualty figures, one of which was painted back in 1998 and the others in 2013.  Something else I've been working on is a command stand for Jackson himself.  The photo below shows where things are at the moment.  Jackson himself isn't quite finished, and I keep changing my mind about who else to put on the stand - whether a mounted standard bearer, for example, or the foot figures I have here.  My thinking behind the latter is that the cheering figures would represent Jackson's popularity with his troops while the chaplain would represent his commitment to the Presbyterian faith.  I was intending to add a standard bearer with a Virginia flag as well.  Any ideas or comments welcome as I really can't make my mind up!  

Monday, 4 July 2016

Bull Run Confederates (2)

Picking up as if nothing has happened....this is my second unit of 1861 Rebs, again intended as part of the Stonewall Brigade.  The figures are from the same Perry Miniatures packs as my previous unit, but with the other half of the figures from the command pack. The Perries are releasing more ACW packs now, after a bit of a hiatus.  I recall them announcing some time ago that more "Bull Run" packs were in the works, and they have just released Rebs in frock coats and hats.  So maybe I'll get around to painting some of those figures at some stage.   

 Apologies for the delay of 5 weeks since my last post.  Various things pretty much "fell off a cliff", to be honest (including the obvious recent events).  However, I'll post more regularly now and I have some interesting AWI things to follow my final ACW post which I'll add tomorrow.  Happy Independence Day, everyone!

 16 figures. Painted December 2012-January 2013. Flag by GMB.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Bull Run Confederates (1)

There's a reason for the lack of any unit designation for this post - I don't have one.  For reasons I can't quite now remember, I bought some packs of Perry "early Confederates" and painted them up with an eye on the Jackson Bull Run scenario in the "Guns at Gettysburg" "Stonewall" scenario book.  I suppose my rather crazy idea is to do Bull Run/First Manassas using Perry Miniatures figures and everything else ACW using Dixon Miniatures figures.  That, at least, is the general plan.  So this is the first unit of 1861 Rebs, aimed at being part of the Stonewall Brigade.  However, I will happily acknowledge that I know next to nothing about the ACW and I really don't know if these figures, and indeed the way I've painted them, work for Jackson's command.  The figures themselves, and the way I've painted them, seem influenced by Don Troiani's painting "Drive them to Washington!", which portrays Jackson leading his brigade at Bull Run.  Most of the troops are in shirtsleeves or "battle shirts", wearing kepis (with or without havelocks), caps and "Garibaldi caps".  But whether any of the particular regiments that made up the Stonewall Brigade wore other dress is something I just don't know as yet.  A lot of these 1861 volunteer units had companies drawn from the pre-war militia, which may well have still worn their antebellum uniforms at Bull Run.  So I need to do some research before alighting on a precise designation for this unit.   Any help and suggestions from readers would be most welcome.

These are lovely Perry sculpts, full of character.  There are two very similar charging pose packs, one with kepis and havelocks and the other with a variety of caps and hats (including the "Garibaldi caps", as can be seen on the guy at the end of the second line in the red shirt).  I wish they'd do a third pack using the same bodies but with kepis without the havelocks - there are lots of soldiers like that in Troiani's painting and it would add more variety for these figures, which I expect would feature a lot in a Bull Run collection.

16 figures. Painted August-December 2012. Flag by GMB.