Tuesday, 6 May 2008

84th Foot, "Royal Highland Emigrants"

The Royal Highland Emigrants were recruited largely from ex-soldiers who had settled in Canada and Newfoundland, although recruits came from all over the northern colonies. As an aid to recruitment, General Thomas Gage stipulated that the soldiers would wear highland dress in the manner of the Black Watch. Men joined in sufficient numbers for two battalions to be formed. The regiment was taken on to the British regular establishment at the 84th Foot in January 1779. The first battalion operated mainly in Canada, whilst the second battalion was engaged in the Carolinas and elsewhere in the south.

I have had these figures for a good few years and could not think of how to use them given that I painted up the Black Watch in full plaid and then the 71st Foot in overalls. I had always assumed that to convert the Black Watch into the 84th Foot one simply needed a spare command stand with the regimental flags - after all, the uniforms are essentially the same. In any event, I had not come across any decent battles in which the 84th participated. So the figures languished in my bits box for a good while. I dug them out when I bought the second "British Grenadier!" as it features the 84th at Eutaw Springs. The scenario gives you the option of combining elements of this and another regiment into an 18-figure unit, so I decided this would give me the opportunity to field the 84th at full 18-figure strength. So this unit is designed to be the second battalion, which means that the flags should have a "golden wavy" in the top left hand corners. Also, one queries whether the troops would have retained their plaid in the southern campaigns, probably switching to trews or brown trousers. But those "mistakes" aside, I'm quite happy with the way these figures turned out.

There are a couple of subtle differences in the uniform as compared to the Black Watch. First, I gave the government sett tartan a red stripe rather than a black one; that followed information in the Osprey on "18th Century Highlanders". Secondly, the lace seemed more red than blue and so I painted it by placing a small red dot on a white background, whereas with the Black Watch the dot is royal blue. Thirdly, I remembered to paint the lace of the musicians in yellow and blue, which I forgot to do with the 42nd. The design on the front of the drum is obviously different, but those are, I think, the main changes in uniform. When I based these figures last night I felt inspired to tart up the bases a little, and so I added a fallen log and some red and purple flowers (courtesy of Murray Bridge Trees & Terrain - I will post more on this in a couple of days). I did a step-by-step on the tartan here. On a point of collection trivia, I see that this regiment takes the tally of British regular battalions in my collection to 25.

18 figures. Painted March/April 2008. Flags by GMB.


andrew inman said...

these figures like the rest of yours inspire me to work harder at mine thank you for sharing ...

The Dale Wardens said...

Great job on the kilts! I have some highlander Perry figs for Sudan War and I am dreading the pattern.

David S,
Minnesota , USA

The Haggis said...

Nice to see some figures again! I am just starting the AWI and have been inspired by your work!

Steve said...

..nice work!

Anonymous said...

I looked at your plaid tutorial, very nice. I actually do mine a bit differently. I basecoat in dark blue and then use a dark green cross hatching. It helps me het the checks right. From there on our techniques are about the same.

That is a very handsome unit (as usual).