Saturday 31 March 2007

American rout marker

In "British Grenadier!" units can rout as a result of losing a melee or failing a morale test when being charged. Routing units retreat back towards their own side and can cause trouble if they collide with other formations. Turning a battalion around and making it face the other way can look a bit odd, particularly if the battalion is made up of figures in a "firing" pose, so I made this vignette to represent a unit in flight. I have not actually used it in a game yet, but what I have in mind is to temporarily replace a routing unit with this marker, replacing it with the original figures once the unit has rallied. I think it would just look a bit more appealing.

The running figures are skirmishers from Eureka's "Ragged Continentals" range and the wounded figure is a Perry miniature (as are the other casualties in the first picture). The discarded musket is from Redoubt. Painted November 2005.

Thursday 29 March 2007

Two more French staff

These are he last two figures from pack FN 52 "Staff and Generals Dismounted". They show another General de Brigade and an Imperial Orderly. I painted these last night from start to finish, in about 2 hours; staff don't really take that long to do. That's enough of these foot figures for a week or so, as I really need to crack on with the 6th Hussars.
On a different note, I see that Perry Miniatures have released two more packs of British artillery in their AWI range. These packs are described as having men in "cap-hats". I'm not entirely sure what that means, although I suspect there is a re-enactment site that will tell me. I have ordered these packs and will put up photos of the figures when they arrive (unless the Perries' website beats me to it).

Tuesday 27 March 2007

Latest French command figures

Whilst I labour away at the Belgian 6th Hussars I am continuing to work on the latest Perry 1815 French command packs. Here are a couple of pictures of the latest batch to fall off the painting desk (undercoated on Sunday night, finished at 11pm on Tuesday, photographed at 7.30am Wednesday morning!). There are two generals, one a general de brigade (with the blue-woven sash and black feathers) and the other a general de division (with the red-woven sash and white feathers). The oak-leaves patterning on the general de division's caped cloak is based on a painting of General Jean Marchand in the Osprey "Napoleon's Commanders (2)" (again, this book is invaluable reference for anyone painting the new Perry staff packs, as many of the figures seem to have been directly modelled on illustrations n the book). Marchand was promoted general de division in December 1805 and led the 1st Division of Ney's VI Corps in Spain and then the 25th Division of III Corps in Russia.

The other figures are an officer from the Empress Dragoons and another general de brigade based on a painting on General Louis Chouard in "Napoleon's Commanders (2)". Upon his appointment as general in 1811, Chouard led the 2nd Carabinier Brigade; his uniform is essentially that of a general de brigade but cut to resemble that of the Carabiniers and with that regiment's copper cuirass and helmet (the Osprey states that the black plume might be designed to resemble the black feathers of a general de brigade's hat; normally Carabinier plumes would be red). Chouard wasn't actually present at Waterloo - he was in charge of a cavalry brigade in the Army of the Moselle (and by 1815 had transferred to the Empress Dragoons).

As with my other staff figures, I have not quite decided how to base them, although I'm tempted to place the two generals in a vignette representing General Foy, commander of 9th Division of Reille's II Corps, together with one of his brigade commanders. Perry don't make (as yet) a specific Foy figure and I will need him for both Quatre Bras and Waterloo. At the Salute game, this base will just join the throng milling behind Napoleon and his marshals.
UPDATE: I've just realised that there is in fact a General Foy personality figure in the Perry 1815 French range. I have no idea what to do with these generals now...

1st Marines

I painted this unit for a re-fight of Bunker Hill. It represents elements of the 1st and 2nd Marines Battalions that were cobbled together to fight in the battle. Those battalions were formed in America in May 1775 under the command of Major John Pitcairn, after an initial unit of some 450 marines had been landed in December the previous year. Marine troops had been permanently established only 20 years previously, as a result of the Seven Years War, although the Admiralty raised a regiment of troops trained to fight at sea in the 1660s that was then disbanded. As with line regiments, the two marines battalions were formed with 8 companies of "hat-men" and a company each of light troops and grenadiers. At Bunker Hill in 1775 the flank companies fought alongside those from line regiments inthe combined light and grenadier battalions. The Bunker Hill scenario in the "British Grenadier!" rules requires just one unit to represent the detachments that fought at the battle, so I just call these troops the 1st Marines.

Concerns seem to have been raised about the quality of the marines, those from Plymouth particularly. Major Pitcairn complained of the marines' short stature and bad discipline; apparently they had a tendency to exchange their clothes and equipment for local rum. Nevertheless, they seemed to have fought and died just as well as other regiments that were engaged at Bunker Hill. Major Pitcairn himself and at least 4 other marine officers were killed in the battle. From what I can tell, the marines battalions fought in no further large battles of the war.

There has been some debate as to whether the marines (a) wore lace and (b) carried colours. It seems certain that colours for the two battalions did exist, although we do not know for sure whether they were actually carried at Bunker Hill. Given that GMB don't make colours for the marines (and I couldn't be bothered to paint them myself) and as a means of using up various spare officer and musician figures, I decided to have my marines leave their colours behind. These Foundry figures all have lace anyway. White lace on white facings I found difficult to paint effectively. I just painted the facings and lace in a light grey, added a wash of black ink to give the lace some definition, and then highlighted the lace and parts of the facings to pick them out. Not sure if it really works. 20 figures. Painted January 2006.

Sunday 25 March 2007

American riflemen (1)

I have two 10-figure units of skirmishing American riflemen (all Perry figures). The second, which isn't quite finished yet, is based on 25mm x 50mm bases, i.e. the standard "British Grenadier" size for top grade skirmishers. For this unit I wanted to play around with the basing a bit and add some scenery to give them a more "upstate New York" feel. In any event, the Perry packs include two prone figures, which don't really fit onto a smaller base. I've played enough games of "British Grenadier" to realise that skirmisher base sizes don't really matter that much.

These are great sculpts. I have tried to base them in logical pairs, with one figure moving and the other covering him or preparing to fire. The tree trunks are from Redoubt; I have found that once you start using them on bases it's very difficult to stop. The logs are from Wapping Park (or the strip of grass that is as close as you get to a park in East London). The figures were fun to paint. I gave a couple of them Iroquois patterned bags to emphasise the irregular, self-equipped look. 10 figures. Painted May 2006.

Belgian 5th Dragoons

This is the first of the two Napoleonic Dutch-Belgian cavalry regiments I have to paint for the Waterloo demo game at Salute. This regiment was brigaded with the Dutch 6th Hussars in van Merlen's 2nd Light Brigade. The brigade was engaged at Quatre Bras, where it charged at a vital moment to cover the withdrawal of Dutch-Belgian infantry and buy the Allies some time, suffering considerable losses in the process. The brigade fought again at Waterloo, where van Merlen himself was killed. According to the Osprey "Wellington's Dutch Allies 1815", the 5th Dragoons lost 36 per cent of their strength during the Hundred Days' campaign.

I painted the tunics with the Foundry "Bottle Green" palette, sticking to just the "A" and "B" colours and then using as a third layer the "B" colour mixed with "Bright Green A". This is the same combination I have been using for the Guard Chasseurs of Napoleon's escort, and given the Belgians' yellow facings and shako shape I can see how they could easily have been mistaken for French chasseurs on a smokey battlefield. I decided to mix the horse colours up a bit. For the 6th Hussars I am giving each squadron its own horse colour.

18 figures. Painted January-February 2007.

Back home...

and engaged! I proposed to my Kiwi girlfried Shelley whilst out in New Zealand and happily she said yes (the poor, deluded girl). The deed was done at Mission Estate winery, outside Napier in Hawke's Bay (North Island) and the wedding will take place in Hawke's Bay sometime in February/March 2009. It is all very exciting, although my idea of a painted miniature as a present for each wedding guest did not go down well. I'm still hoping that the wedding present list can be placed with Dave Thomas....

New Zealand is a beautiful place and we had a wonderful time. I managed to meet several wargaming colleagues, so many thanks to Valleyboy in Tauranga and to Peter Haldezos and the other Wellington wargamers for their marvellous hospitality. It is good to know that in the (quite likely) event that Shelley and I move to New Zealand at some stage there is a thriving wargames community. There is even a shop in Wellington that sells Perry figures....heaven. Attached is a picture of Shelley and me at the wedding which prompted our trip and at which Shelley was bridesmaid. Photos taken today for posting to the blog this week include British marines, American riflemen and Belgian cavalry.