Friday, 11 May 2007

42nd Foot "the Black Watch"



The Black Watch was one of the most famous regiments in the British Army (since 2006 it has been a battalion within the new Scottish Regiment). It was originally raised in the late 1720s to police the highlands and stop livestock rustling and general inter-clan feuding. In 1739 the various companies that existed were turned into a formal army regiment. The origin of the regiment's nickname seems to be the very dark colour of its tartan and the fact that it existed to "watch" other highlanders, although I have also read that the "black" might refer to the element of spying and night-time police work that the regiment engaged in. The regiment saw action at Fontenoy and the French & Indian War. It was after the Battle of Ticonderoga in the latter (1758) that the regiment was awarded "royal" status.

The regiment arrived in America in July 1776 and participate in the battles of Brooklyn, Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth before heading down to Charleston in 1780. After a another spell in New York the regiment was posted to Canada. Along with the Queen's Rangers, this was the first AWI unit I painted. In fact, these charging highlander figures were largely responsible for tweaking my interest in the period; they just seem to sum up everything that makes the horse & musket era so dramatic. The battalion was built up over a fairly long period of time, with a final base of 6 figures added for the NAM Monmouth refight in November 2005, as the "British Grenadier" scenario requires 32 figures for this regiment. The photos show 4 stands of centre companies and the light company. If necessary, I can add another stand of 6 grenadiers to bring the unit up to 36 figures. The Brandywine scenario requires 24 figures, so just leave off the light company.

Being one of my earlier units, the figures are glossier than they should be. The flags are also far too high and some of the figures were painted unsing the "black eye-liner" technique that I stopped using shortly afterwards. Those issues aside, this is the unit in my collection of which I am most proud, not only because it took far longer to paint than anything else, due to all the tartan, but also because it has seen more action on the tabletop than any other. The "government sett" tartan pattern was built up using a base of GW "Dark Angels Green", onto which checks of "Royal Blue" were added. Those checks were then highighted with "Ultramarines Blue" and the intersecting light green checks are the middle colour from the Foundry "Bright Green" pallette. The connecting black stripes were added once the check pattern was finished. It takes time, but once you work out the method it is a relatively straightforward way of painting tartan (the grenadiers have a red stripe instead of black). The second photo above shows the figures charging through an orchard made by Realistic Modelling, which I took because at Monmouth the regiment spent a period fighting in an orchard....

32 figures. Painted at various times in 2004-2005. Flags from GMB.


10 comments:

Steve said...

Beautiful.... just an aside, and plaease don't take this as one of those, "oh no, I think you'll find the fourth button was silver rather than brass" type of commetns.... didn't the Highland regiments drop the plaid in favour of trousers in America?? I seem to remember reading somewhere that the Highland regiments found the kilt to be unsuited to service in the southern US as it took ages to dry out when wet????? ...and just in case I wasn't clear - your figures are lovely...!

Giles said...

Hi Steve

Yes you are quite right, in that the various highland regiments dropped their full plaid quite quickly for a more practical uniform of trousers or overalls. Perry make two sets of highlanders - these "early war" figures and the "later war" ones in overalls. I decided to do the 42nd in full plaid simply because I liked the figures. For my 71st Highlanders I used the later war figures and put them in tartan trews (there are pics up on one of the January posts).

I'm not sure exactly when the various regiments dropped their kilts (so to speak..). It's probably right that the 42nd and 71st had done so by Monmouth in 1778, although it is thought that the colonel of the latter regiment kept his men in plaid as long as possible. Incidentally, the Royal Highland Emigrants (84th Foot) were raised with the promise of a full plaid uniform as a recruiting tool and there were other highland loyalists in the South who wore the kilt, at least at some stage.

Giles

(ps love the blogs! I'll get a link sorted)

Greg Sapara said...

Wonderful miniatures! The photo of them charging through the orchard is especially nice - I was just walking through that orchard last Saturday!

Regards,
GregS

El Grego said...

More marvelous photos! Thanks for sharing... one of these days I just might try an AWI project.


Greg

Allan (AJ) Wright said...

Outstanding! I like the paint work you've done on the plaids. I also have my 42nd in full kilt rather than trousers for personal preference, even though it's probably not suitable for most of the battles they're at. Wargamers expect 'highlanders' in kilts, so we paint them in kilts.

Someday I may make a second unit for the 42nd in trousers, but only if I'm going to to some sort of convention game where I really want 100% uniform accuracy, because the kilts are just too good looking on the tabletop not to use them as much as possible.

Allan (AJ) Wright said...

As a matter of fact, I just sent Perry an order for some "late war" highlanders. Picked up some RI artillery and some riflemen. Can't wait to get them.

legatushedlius said...

The mini tutorial on painting the tartan is very useful as I will have to start on my Sudan Black Watch quite soon!

Militia Light Dragoon said...

My question is how big is the regiment and how did you base it?

Frostydog said...

Excellent piece of work on these guys. I have some that need to be painted up. Might do them after I finsh 17th Light Dragoons.

Have added some others to my blog stop by and have a look.
http://dubbogamer.blogspot.com/

From the Trenches said...

Wow. Those put mine to shame. Amazing paint job. I'm using the GW paints too and not having much luck with the tartan