Friday 23 February 2007

No more posts for a while...

Tonight I fly out to New Zealand for just over 3 weeks' holiday, so I won't be posting until I retun on 21 March. After a couple of days meeting my Kiwi girlfriend's parents I intend to visit as many vineyards as humanly possible. With that in mind, I thought a picture of some Dutch-Belgian cavalrymen with sore heads might be appropriate....The standing carabinier figure illustrates the Perries' attention to detail: the helmet actually has a dent sculpted in to show where this chap was cracked on the head. I am also hoping to meet a couple of wargaming colleagues on our travel around North Island.

This also means no painting for a month. I have finally finished the 5th Dragoons and most of the Napoleon & staff figures are painted, leaving 18 hussars and a pack of a half dozen or so "hangers on" to complete. It will be tough finishing that lot in the month after I return, but it will have to be done. Luckily, I remembered to send my Salute pre-order to Dave Thomas this week, so once the game is out of the way I can return properly to the AWI with 3 battalions of "Saratoga" British, the new Perry artillery sets and the Stockbridge tribe of indians to work on.

In the meantime, below are shots of the latest figures to fall off the paint desk: the Dutch cavalry commander Major General Trip and an officer and guard from Napoleon's Chasseur a Cheval escort. Those last two bring the Napoleon's headquarters diorama total to 21 figures (plus 1 horse and 2 tables). The sets of Napoleon & Ney etc, Napoleon's household and the ADC/Adjoint support staff are all finished, leaving me to do a base of generals and then to figure out what to do with the 4 other Chasseur guards. Should take a week to finish off.

Thursday 22 February 2007

Lieutenant-General Wilhelm von Knyphausen

Wilhelm von Knyphausen (1716-1800) replaced Heister as commander of the Hesse-Kassel contingent in 1777, having arrived in 1776 as Heister's second in command. Both generals were old campaigners. Attwood, in his excellent study of the Hessians, notes that both Heister and Knyphausen were about 60 in 1776 as compared to Howe (52), Washington (44) and Clinton and Cornwallis (both 38). Knyphausen seems to have created a better impression that Heister and contemporary accounts show that he was held in higher regard (it was noted that Knyphausen enforced far stricter discipline). That is perhaps reflected in the fact that Knyphausen was allowed to command British soldiers and attend strategy planning briefings. At Brandywine in 1777 Knyphausen was given a division with which to keep Washington occupied at Chad's Ford whilst Cornwallis executed his wide flanking march to surprise Washington's right flank. Howe later reported that Knyphausen "kept the Enemy amused in the Course of the Day with Cannon, and the Appearance of Forcing the Ford, without intending to pass it, until the Attack upon the Enemy's Right, should take Place." Washington was forced to transfer troops from Knyphausen's sector to that under attack from Cornwallis which then gave Knyphausen the opportunity to force Chad's Ford as Washington's position began to crumble. An expedition against American forces on New Jersey in June 1780 during Knyphausen's stint as commander in New York fared less well and achieved very little other than a propaganda coup for the Americans, who could report than the mission's only apparent purpose was to burn farms and kill civilians. Knyphausen regularly wrote to Friedrich II asking to be relieved and he was eventually recalled home in May 1782.

These figures here are a mixture of ranges and the vignette portrays Knyphausen as divisional commander at Brandywine, the others figures being taken from units under his control on that day. Knyphausen himself is from the Perry "Hessians Generals" pack and the Queen's Rangers officer he is talking to is also from the Perry range. The pointing figure is Foundry, painted as an officer from the Royal Artillery (a battery of which was attached to Knyphausen's division under the command of Brigadier Cleaveland, of whom I also have a vignette somewhere). The grinning Hessian officer is a Mark Copplestone sculpt from Foundry's Seven Years' War range, painted in the orange facings of the von Lossberg regiment. The casualties (separately based) are more Perry figures, included here for decoration purposes only. These chaps are clearly excited about something - I like to think that this scene captures the moment when Knyphausen and his staff see Washington's troops rushing off to assist their right flank against Cornwallis' attack, so indicating to Knyphausen that he can really get stuck in and press home his own attack across Brandywine Creek. Painted January 2007.

Tuesday 20 February 2007

Hessian jaeger

The British authorities seems to have taken the decision fairly quickly to use Hessian line regiments as garrison troops. Whether that decision was due to poor battlefield performance or general unreliability and suspicion of desertion is a moot point; from what I have read, the Hessian auxiliaries deserved better and certainly are worth more than their posthumous reputation as brutal "German mercenaries". Some units performed very well under fire and, as noted in earlier posts, many of their officers were veterans of European combat and knew their trade.

The Hessian jaeger corps was an elite unit by any standards, recruited from foresters and huntsmen and better paid than the line regiments. "They possessed the essential virtues of light troops - they were good shots, agile, intelligent and self-reliant" wrote Fuller in his 1925 study of British light infantry in the 18th century. In the Long Island campaign of 1776 the jaeger were used as skimishers and "point-men"; they were so effective in dispersing the Rebels that a British officer wrote "nothing could behave better than the Hessians, and particularly their Jaegers, or Riflemen, who are as much superior to those of the rebels as it is possible to imagine." A jaeger piquet of three officers and seventy men always marched ahead of the Howe's army during the 1777-78 campaigns.
Captain Johann Ewald, the one-eyed son of a postmaster, left a journal of his experiences commanding a jaeger company in America. His writings show a keen awareness of the use of light troops in the Americas, although Ewald was a harsh critic and blamed the jaeger picket at Trenton for the garrison's suprise by Washington. A character model of Ewald appears below.
These figures are from the Perry range. 12 figures. Painted April 2006.

Monday 19 February 2007

Major-General Friedrich Riedesel

Friedrich Adolf Riedesel (1738-1800) was the commander of the Brunswick contingent, troops which like those of Hesse-Cassell were hired out to King George by his fellow monarchs in Germany. Riedesel joined the army when aged 17 (much to the displeasure of his parents, apparently) and saw action in the Seven Years' War. He was swiftly promoted and by the mid-1760s Riedesel was the adjutant to Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick. Duke Charles sent a corps of troops to America in 1776, initially of 4,000 infantry and about 350 dragoons, and Riedesel was placed in command. The Brunswickers were stationed in Quebec and then took part in General Burgoyne's ill-fated Saratoga campaign. The troops that survived the campaign entered captivity when Burgoyne surrendered his army in October 1777. Riedesel's wife Caroline and children had accompanied him on the expedition. They were released by the Americans in 1781.

2,431 Brunswickers are recorded as having surrendered at Saratoga, and the number of killed, wounded, captured or missing was recorded as 1,122. The troops fared badly in captivity, being put to work for their food and clothing and then being marched down to Virginia during the winter of 1778/79. Many Brunswickers elected to remain in America and so deserted. Of 5,723 total men who came over to America during the war only 2,708 returned, of whom fewer than 500 were from Riedesel's Saratoga force.

I have two Riedesels in my collection, from the Old Glory (left) and Perry (right) ranges. The Old Glory sculpt is from their "Foreign Generals" pack, which also includes Steuben, Knyphausen, Lafayette and a couple of French generals. I find Old Glory's AWI range a bit of a mixed bag. This sculpt is ok, although the horse looks as if it's scratching itself in the way dogs do (which horses don't). However, I do like the pose of Riedesel himself; he looks as if he's completely lost in the back woods of the Hudson River valley. The Perry sculpt is much finer; Riedesel looks younger and more dynamic than his Old Glory counterpart, which is more accurate given that he was not yet 40 when captured in 1777 (although he still seems to have that "what on earth am I doing here?" look about him). I thought the horse's saddle furniture looked odd when I painted it and I discovered last week that this horse is largely the same sculpt as Napoleon's horse from the "Napoleon's personal staff" set in the 1815 French range! Both figures sport the yellow facings of the Musketeer Regiment von Reidesel. The uniform is basically the same as that worn by Hessian generals, except that the silver sash has a yellow weave instead of red. Painted May 2006 (Old Glory) and January 2007 (Perry).

Sunday 18 February 2007

French ADCs

Last night I completed the "support staff" pack from the Perry 1815 range and the ADCs are shown above. It took some time to research the uniforms and decide upon who was going to be whom. From left to right, the four ADCs are: an officer of the Voltigeurs of the Imperial Guard; an ADC in the regulation uniform; an ADC in adapted light cavalry uniform (taken from the picture of Captain de Dreux-Nancre in the Osprey "Napoleon's Commanders 2"; a captain of the 5th Hussars. I'm not entirely sure about the shade of blue for the 5th Hussars character, which makes him looks as if he's about the play for England in a one-day international cricket match. These figures are all gloss varnished at present. I matt varnish figures once they are glued to their bases (before scatter and static grass etc are applied).

Major-General Baron de Ghigny

The Netherlands Cavalry Division in the 1815 campaign consisted of three brigades, one heavy and two light. The major generals in command of each brigade were Trip, de Ghigny and van Merlen respectively. I am working on the 2nd Light Cavalry Brigade, consisting of the 5th Light Dragoon and the 6th Hussars under van Merlen's command. Perry Miniatures make a pack of cavalry commanders that includes figures of Trip and de Ghigny but not of van Merlen. Here is the de Ghigny figure together with an orderly trumpeter from the 6th Hussars, and this stand will command my brigade at the Salute game. I have also painted the Trip figure which I may use for the divisional commander, Lt General Baron de Collaert, if there is a need for him to be represented at the game. The trumpeter's saddle-cloth should, I now understand, be light blue rather than red; the light blue trumpet cord is also my own invention. I do research uniforms properly. Honest.

Saturday 17 February 2007

11th Virginia Regiment

This the only American battalion I currently have that is entirely clothed in hunting shirts. The 11th Virginia Regiment was raised in September 1776 and incorporated Daniel Morgan's rifle company and various other independent rifle-armed units. Morgan was initially appointed colonel. The11th Virginia fought at Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth. In May 1779 the battalion was redesignated as the 7th Virginia Regiment. I do not think that this is the same unit as "Morgan's Riflemen", a corps of 500 riflemen which was formed on the orders of George Washington in the summer of 1777, fought in the Saratoga campaign and was disbanded in early 1778, but I could be wrong. If these are two separate units then I suppose it is possible, if not probable, that Morgan took experienced men from the 11th Virginia into his new rifle corps.

I modelled this unit in hunting shirts of various hues as that look seemed best for a collection of individual rifle companies from Virginia. Although most of the figures are in fact musket-armed, at the far right of the line are 4 figures from the Perry skimishing riflemen packs. A close-up of those figures is shown below. The excellent flag is from GMB and I thought it deserved a close-up. 16 figures. Painted March 2006.

Thursday 15 February 2007

Adjoints and others

Here are a couple more shots of my latest attempts at the new Perry 1815 staff packs. The first shows Drouot, Ney and Soult and the others below show various staff officers. Of those, the two figures standing are adjoints (the chap with the telescope is painted as an adjoint of the Imperial Guard). The pair sitting writing orders are adjutant-commandants, with an ADC in the background. Each army division seems to have had an adjutant-commandant in charge of the staff work and he was assisted by a couple of adjoints. These Perry sculpts seem to show a mix of campaign dress and almost full dress. According to the relevant Osprey, the colour of the adjutant-commandants' cuffs and collars was blue on service dress and red on full dress. I gave one of the figures red facings just for variety.

I gave up searching for a perfect acrylic French blue and decided to stick with the Foundry deep blue palette (my default blue for AWI Continentals, Hessians and pretty much anything else blue). The shade of blue seen here is lighter than it should be, but I prefer slightly brighter-than-life colours as they help the figures stand out on the tabletop. Varnish and photography darken the blue a bit anyway. Purists will also point out that the breeches should probably be a light buff colour rather than pure white. Again, I made a call to just go with white because it was easier and I'd already painted a couple of layers when I realised they should be buff....None of these figures are based as I will do that when I decide how to base all the staff figures once they are all painted. Currently on the painting desk are various ADCs and the Chasseur guards. Once those are finished I might post a pic of the whole vignette to see how it's looking so far.

Wednesday 14 February 2007

52nd Foot

This is another regiment I painted up specifically for the battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. Many battles of the war involved British forces advancing against American defensive positions, so the bulk of my Brits are in advancing or charging poses. The latter can produce regiments that look a bit odd, as whilst Foundry and Perry make "charging" rank-and-file figures they do not make "charging" command figures - so one has to make do with "advancing" officers and drummers who do not look quite right. Here, the command stand is clearly advancing at a much slower pace than the hatmen (with perhaps the exception of the sergeant at the back right of the stand); you certainly can't play the fife whilst running! I suppose it doesn't really matter, but the effect is sufficiently noticeable for Alan Perry to have decided to make specific "charging" command packs for his Hessian figures.

The 52nd Foot is portrayed here in early war full dress (Foundry figures), less their backpacks which were usually left in the rear during battle. At Bunker Hill, Howe was initially confident of an easy victory and so ordered his troops to advance with their packs on so that they would be able to pursue the Americans once they routed without having to stop to collect their baggage. As heat, exhaustion and heavy casualties took they toll, Howe conceded that a heavy pursuit was unlikely and allowed the third wave to take their packs off; those troops eventually broke into the American redoubt on Breed's Hill. I should point out an error with the drummer's uniform: pursuant to the 1768 Royal Clothing Warrant, the breeches and waistcoats of drummers in regiments with buff facings should be red. Silly me...

Painted February 2005. 18 figures. Flags by GMB.

Monday 12 February 2007

Mameluke Ali (and friends)

Over the weekend I worked on the "Napoleon's Household Staff" pack from the Perry 1815 French range. I haven't finished Napoleon's horse yet so the picture above is not of the complete pack. But I thought I would show pics of the figure of Mameluke Ali. Napoleon's more famous Mameluke, Roustam, left Napoleon's service after his first abdication and was replaced by Ali, his assistant. Ali was actually a Frenchman, called Louise Etienne St Denis. The little flask he is carrying contains brandy, which apparently was always on hand for Napoleon. The valet carrying cups of brandy to Napoleon and his marshals is Marchand, who replaced Constant as the Emperor's personal valet after the first abdication. The table in the picture below is from the "Support Staff" pack. Ali's costume is taken from the picture of Roustam in the Osprey book "Napoleon's Imperial Headquarters (1)". I strongly recommend this book and its companion volume for anyone painting all these Perry headquarters pack. I had no idea about the differences between Adjutant-Commandants, Adjoints, Imperial Guard Adjutants and Piquers before I read these books.

16th Light Dragoons (1)

Perry Miniatures make a pack of the 16th Light Dragoons skimishing on foot. The 16th Light Dragoons Regiment was formed in 1759 and arrived in New York in September 1776. A dismounted squadron was formed to act as light infantry either in support of the mounted troopers or independently on its own initiative. Six troops of dragoons arrived from America and it seems that 33 men from each troop were drafted into the dismounted squadron, which mustered 198 all ranks. By late 1778 the regiment was badly understrength and the men of the 16th were drafted into the 17th Light Dragoons. The American and British armies both contained various "legions" which combined mounted and infantry elements; the loyalist British Legion, commanded by Banastre Tarleton, was one of the more famous (or notorious) of such units. The dismounted element of the 16th Light Dragoons fought at Monmouth in 1778 but that aside I am not aware of any further details of their service record. If the dismounted troopers transferred to the 17th Light Dragoons alongside their mounted comrades I assume that they continued to fight in the South later in the war. These are mounted as first grade skirmishers on 25mm x 50mm bases. Painted spring 2004. 6 figures.

Friday 9 February 2007

Napoleonic problems

Earlier this month Alan Perry released a number of staff packs for his 1815 French range. My order arrived on Tuesday and I have been playing around with the figures all week, trying to work out how best to integrate them into one massive vignette for Waterloo. They are fantastic figures. Everyone is there: Mameluke Ali, valets, a page with Napoleon's horse, the Chasseur guards, Adjutant-Commandants and their assistants the Adjoints, Imperial orderlies, generals etc. Some of these figures will be used on corps, division and brigade command stands, but I want to combine the majority of the figures into a diorama of Napoleon and his battlefield headquarters.

My first attempt was to fit all the figures onto a large 200mm x 200mm square (see first pic above), but this looked messy and Napoleon, who should be the focus, just seemed to disappear. Having a Chasseur guard at each corned looked neat, but I discovered is not historically correct. I then worked out an inverted "T" shape with Napoleon at the front and all the hangers on behind (see second pic). I am still not convined this is correct, although it is much more aesthetically pleasing that the first layout. One problem is how to integrate mounted figures amongst a large number of foot figures - I think horses just look out of place here, but I would like to use the mounted Imperial orderlies and adjoints if possible. The one decision I have managed to make is to stick to basing the figures on a set of bases measuring 100mm x 100mm. That way I can change the layout around and each stand will be usable for other situations. So experimentation and research will continue.

Last night I painted the map on Napoleon's table. Very tricky to do and the effect is lost in extreme close-up (a better view I think is in second the photo above). I used a copy of contemporary-ish maps of Waterloo that I found on the internet (thanks to Purple of the Wargames Directory for helping me track them down!). The map on top is of the Waterloo battlefield: Hougoumont is the black building by the right-hand edge of Ney's hat, La Haye Saint is a little bit to its right and La Belle Alliance is marked at the bottom of the map, on the main road running up to Mont St. Jean (beneath the wood). The opposing ridges are clearly visible, although the scale went a bit wonky here. The map underneath is a more detailed map of the Mont St. Jean to Waterloo stretch of road and surrounding area (I was thinking that perhaps Ney has been working out whether a flanking move is viable). It took me over an hour to paint this, when I should really have been finishing off some Dutch-Belgian cavalry...

Thursday 8 February 2007


Here are some shots of the Magua figure from the Conquest "Last of the Mohicans" pack. I have some other Conquest figures still waiting to be painted, specifically their Saux/Fox and Iroquois packs. At Salute in April I'm hoping to pick up some other F&IW releases, such as the Rogers' Rangers, frontiersmen and settlers figures. All those will be based individually for use either in F&IW games or as skirmishing militia in the AWI. I see Conquest are releasing packs of French marines; I will need to do some research into whether they can also be employed into AWI militia service (perhaps Frenchmen who settled in the colonies and have now put on their old uniforms to take a few last shots at the Redcoats?).

Still to come are photos of the Perry rank-and-file Iroquois. I spent several weeks churning out Perry and Conquest indians over the summer last year. I had just finished a couple of large units of Hessians and fancied painting something totally different. I enjoyed painting the indians so much that I didn't stop until I had finished seven packs of them. One of my targets for this year is to paint up the rest of the two ranges - another pack of Iroquois and a pack of the Stockbridge tribe from Perry and half a dozen packs from Conquest. That will give me about 100 woodland indians in total. No idea why I need that many (the Oriskany scenario requires about 50), but they are all very nice figures....

Wednesday 7 February 2007

The Last of the Mohicans!

Strictly speaking this is F&IW rather than AWI, but these are gorgeous sculpts from Conquest and I will be using the figures in AWI games. The Munroe sisters can be civilian passers-by, whilst Hawkeye and his pals will be used as Indian chiefs or perhaps even skirmishing militia. The sculptor, Todd Harris, has really captured the look of the characters as they appear in the 1992 film. Magua is missing as he will have a post all to himself tomorrow - somehow I just don't think he deserves to be in the "family" shot. Uncas and the Munroes have sculpted eyebrows which I don't really like on 25mm figures - unless the sculpt is a portrait of Dennis Healey eyebrows at this scale just look too large. I certainly don't remember Jodhi May's eyebrows being this prominent in the film! I do, however, like the length of the guns - Hawkeye was known as "Long Rifle" and you can see why.
Painted August 2006. 6 figures (with Magua!).

Tuesday 6 February 2007

George Washington

I will not attempt to write a potted biography of George Washington, so I shall stick to commenting on this vignette. C-in-C bases for "British Grenadier" are 70mm x 60mm, although to be honest you can use whatever size you like. The Perry twins brought their George Washington vignette along to the Monmouth re-fight in November 2004 and it was a huge affair including a very impressive tree. My command stands tend to follow the same pattern of either the general with a mounted aide and another on foot or the general with 3 aides on foot. This is a bit different. All the figures are from the Foundry range. Washington is accompanied by the General Gates figure from the Continental personalities pack and I have given him a guard and a sergeant carrying Washington's headquarters flag. Both wear the blue faced red coats of a typical Virginian regiment.

There is some historical doubt (from what I can tell) about exactly when this flag was created, but Washington seems to have used a flag of 13 stars on a dark blue field as his personal C-in-C marker. Sources indicate that there were several different variations of the flag, and this one is reported to have been seen in Valley Forge. Some suggest that this flag is the origin of the stars in the US "stars and stripes". There is another flag described as being that of "the Comander in Chief's Guard", which shows Liberty, and eagle and a soldier holding a white horse, all on a white field. Flag Dude makes this flag but as yet no company makes figures in the exact uniform of Washington's Guard to go with it! I bought this other flag, so hopefully at some stage I will have some proper guard figures to go around this vignette.

Painted February 2006. Flag by GMB.

Sunday 4 February 2007

The Delaware Regiment

The state of Delaware only contributed one regiment to the Continental army. It was commanded by Colonel John Haslet until his death at Princeton in December 1776, at which point it was reformed under the command of Colonel David Hall. The regiment seems to have served well but suffered heavy losses at Camden in 1780. Various sources indicate that a uniform of blue coats faced red was worn, with the tricornes bound in yellow lace. Mollo states that this was one of the best uniformed and equipped in the army. I have various regiments in coats that are blue faced red, but this battalion is the smartest!

I wanted to paint this unit as a better-clothed Continental regiment, and so the figures are strictly Foundry and Perry Continental types - no militia or ragged Eureka figures. That said, the pointing officer is from Eureka's small "Marbleheaders" range - he was going spare and seemed to fit in quite well. I painted the stand on the far right of the line back in 2004 and don't really know why I waited until last year to add the rest of the regiment. Painted April 2006. 20 figures. Flag by GMB.

Friday 2 February 2007

Indian chiefs

This is the woodland indian chiefs pack from the Perry range. At some stage I hope to do separate posts for Joseph Brand and Red Jacket (the chap in the blue jacket....), once I've done some research into their lives. The mounted chief is Mad Dog. These are lovely sculpts and I really enjoyed painting them. In the "British Grenadier" rules command and control are very important and the presence of a unit commander will have an immediate impact on his troops' morale and ability to press home charges. Indians in particular need to be controlled quite tightly as they are rated "second line" due to their unpredictable nature. Whilst the rank and file are based individually on square 25mm x 25mm bases, I decided to base the chiefs on round pennies so that they would be easily identifiable in a game. One chief is on a square base because I will not need more than 3-4 chiefs in any one game so thought I'd just add this chap to the ranks. Painted July 2006. 6 figures.