Wednesday 30 December 2009

7th Foot "Royal Fuzileers"

The 7th Foot was raised in 1685 primarily to act as guards for the army's artillery train. The men were armed with fuzils and the regiment's name followed the older spelling of the word until the 1780s. The regiment arrived in Canada in 1773 and at the start of the war formed part of the Quebec garrison. Most of the regiment together with its colours were captured at Forts St John and Chambly in October 1775 (these colours are at the West Point Museum). The men were exchanged in late 1776 and the regiment reformed for duty in New York. The regiment was sent to Philadelphia in 1777 and the following year fought at Monmouth. It then formed part of the New York garrison until joining Clinton's 1780 expedition against Charleston. The 7th remained in the south and was badly mauled at Cowpens, where the regiment's replacement colours were captured. John Andre, the British officer executed in 1780, had been a lieutenant in the 7th Foot's light company during its Canadian operations.

The 7th only appears in two published "British Grenadier!" scenarios, Camden in the first scenario book (18 figures) and early Monmouth in the second (16 figures). The National Army museum has a painting of an officer of the 7th circa 1775 wearing a fusilier bearskin cap (see here), but I'm a believer in the theory that fusilier regiments didn't wear their caps in the field and so I used the Perry campaign dress uniform that matches most of my other 1777/78 regiments. The drummer's coat and lace marks the unit as being a royal regiment. I decided to jazz the drum up a bit by copying the illustration on the Fife and Drum website; I've added a couple of close-ups but the detailing is a bit small for my camera's focusing.

The backpack motif requires a bit of explanation. I wanted to do something more elaborate than a simple "7" or "VII" and looked at the colours for inspiration. The regimental badge is clearly the Tudor rose within the royal garter, but this looked too complicated to paint. I considered painting just the rose, but again this would have been tricky to do effectively on such a small area (I recalled my experience with the 9th Foot's Britannia). I therefore chose the white horse that appears on the regimental colour, thinking that on a dark blue background the motif could be quite effective. However, what I'd forgotten is that the white horse is the regimental badge of the 8th Foot. I assume that the motif appears on the flags of both regiments because the white horse is a symbol of Hanover and was bestowed by the Kings George on certain regiments as a special honour, beginning, I think, with the 8th Foot. Still, it's not the end of the world and I suppose that what I have here is rank and file which can double-up as both regiments (although the 8th Foot is not something I had considered doing).

At the bottom is a post of current wip, a Hessian grenadier battalion and my first "post-Hugo" unit (no prizes for guessing which battalion is it, I'm afraid). Could I offer a huge "thanks" for all the messages about little Hugo. He is well worth the hard work he currently requires and I hope very much that he will grow up to enjoy this hobby as much as I do - what more could a dad want?

16 figures. Painted December 2009.

Sunday 20 December 2009

British Auxiliary Legion Artillery (1)

I've mentioned before how the British Auxiliary Legion in the First Carlist War was essentially a volunteer force, with active officers in the British regular army being discouraged from joining the Legion. The only "regular" troops who served in the war were men of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers. This reflected , in part, the specialisms of these units and the fact that the Legion would not be able to rely on the support of trained artillerists, for example, unless such people were drawn from the ranks of the regular armed forces. Consequently, an exception was made by Lord Hill, the C-in-C of the British Army, to his general veto on serving men joining the Legion as regards the artillery - Captain J.N. Colquhoun and a certain numnber of NCOs and privates were allowed to serve with the Legion with guaranteed reinstatement at the end of the war.

The British government also allowed the Royal Navy to take action to prevent ports on the Atlantic coast falling into Carlist hands or, when they had already done so, to assist in their recovery. This policy enabled men from the Royal Marines and Navy to participate in various actions in the war. For example, in Spring 1836, ships of the Royal Navy transported the Legion from Santander to San Sebastian to assist in the Isabelino attack on the Carlist positions there. Lord John Hay, the commander of the British naval squadron, landed a force of marines and Royal Artillery to assist the Legion's assault on the Carlist fortifications at San Sebastian. Don Carlos seems to have noted the distinction between the voluteers of the Legion and the regular British forces - he decreed that the latter would be respected as prisoners of war, whereas the former were liable to summary execution if captured.

The uniform worn by the Royal Marines artillery and the Royal artillery seems to have been largely the same, so this 6-pounder can do for either. The gun was painted with the Foundry "British Gun Grey 108" palette, which I think is a pretty good attempt at the blue-grey colour of guns during the 19th century. The barrel was painted using the Foundry "Bronze Barrel 103" palette, which is slightly darker than my normal method but quite effective too, I think.

4 figures. Painted November 2009.

Monday 14 December 2009

Hugo Edward...

...was born at 9.50am on Sunday morning, after a labour that began at 4.30am on Saturday morning. There were a couple of complications, which meant we had to be transferred from our birthing centre to the Royal London Hospital at 1am yesterday. This gives Hugo an immediate 18th century connection, as the Royal London was founded in 1740 and moved to the site on which he was born in 1757, a most excellent year in British history. The Kiwi did brilliantly through a very difficult labour (she had to go into surgery immediately after Hugo was born) and after being kept in for observation we are this evening back home together (the NHS enforces visiting hours, so I had to leave the Kiwi and Hugo overnight). Incidentally, the yellow blanket in the photo is the same blanket in which the Kiwi came home from birth 33 years ago - clearly New Zealanders can wash stuff far more effectively than anyone else. So tonight we have one rather bewildered baby, an exhausted but happy Kiwi and a proud, if strangely tearful, dad. Normal service on this blog will resume in about 20 years...

Friday 11 December 2009

ECW Interlude (7)

Looking through Photobucket I realised I hadn't posted pics of these ECW casualty figures. Although a tad gruesome, I thought that I might as well put up the pics since posts are going to thin down rather once the little one finally makes its appearance (8 days overdue now). These are Bicorne figures. The pack gives you 4 "falling wounded" figures and 4 prone ones. It seemed appropriate to dirty up these figures, so I added a bit of gore and pastel mud. The NMA infantryman's hat is from Warlord Minatures - they sell extra metal hat packs for their plastic ECW range, which I can see are likely to come in useful for larger command bases and things like this where the figures have lost their headgear. I haven't added weapons and I'm thinking these may well have been picked up by others who had perhaps lost their weapons or had them knocked out of their hands.

I'll post some more First Carlist War stuff next week. I'm waiting for some more matt varnish to be delivered, which has delayed the basing of my National Militia regiment. I'm close to finishing the 7th Foot for the AWI (the Royal Fuziliers) and have started a Hessian grenadier battalion. At some point before the end of the year I want to do some "test" Carlist infantry and finish off my first unit of Crusader foot for the First Crusade (current wip pic below).

4 figures. Painted November 2009.

Monday 7 December 2009

Borbon Regiment - 2nd Battalion

This is the counterpart to the first battalion I did a while ago. I painted the troops in much the same way although I added a couple of battalion-specific touches, such as giving them all white trousers to diffentiate these figures from their sister battalion. The dirt on the trousers was applied using a burnt sienna soft (i.e. non-oil) pastel and then drybrushing with Foundry "Dusky Flesh 6B". I now have 4 regular line battalions for the Isabelinos, and 3 others. I've just finished some national militia and will then call time on the Isabelino side of things for the moment. That said, I have sufficient leftovers of these greatcoated figures to form another battalion, if I buy another command pack, but have no immediate plans on what to use those for. I could do a third battalion for the Borbon Regiment or a single battalion for another line regiment. These are fairly simple figures to paint so I might see if I can whizz them through over Christmas. Otherwise it's on to Carlists now (via the AWI), with their greatcoats and hairy faces.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - these figures are among the very finest 25mm sculpts I've painted. The facial detail is a joy to work with and the poses are terrific - these really are mini-humans marching against wind and rain. The greatcoats and minimal kit make them quick and easy to paint. Collectors of Napoleonic French units might consider adding some of these figures, particularly the ones in the Isabelino caps. The buildings in the background are again by "Tablescape" (they are not on their website but are available at shows and I'm sure an email will produce a response telling you how to buy them).

20 figures. Painted November 2009. Flag by Adolfo Ramos.

Wednesday 2 December 2009

ECW Interlude (6)

This is a pack called "punishment set" from Redoubt Enterprises. I saw it on their stand at SELWG and had one of those "must buy" moments. I didn't know much about Redoubt's range, although I had heard that it is supposed to be compatible with Renegade and Bicorne. The figures match the former, certainly, but they are fair bit larger than Bicorne, particularly the later Bicorne figures which can be smaller than the earlier ones. These figures are about 32mm high; given that they don't wear hats that's pretty big. But if you don't mind the size the Redoubt range is worth investigating as it has lots of tasty vignettes - Scottish camp followers, a court martial set, a dragoon demolition party, forlorn hope figures etc. Many of these figures, like the ones here, have a far wider application than just the ECW.

These were fun and quick to paint. I canvassed ideas on the WD3 Forum as to what sort of things might have been thrown at people in stocks. I recently saw on tv a stocks victim being abused in an episode of "Garrow's Law", a series about an Old Bailey defence lawyer in the early 1790s: this chap was being pelted with tomatoes, eggs, radishes and lettuces before being put out of his misery with a well-aimed stone to the forehead. Dung was a popular suggestion on WD3 so I painted the missile splatter in red for tomatoes and a light/medium brown for dung. I tried to place these so that there would be some "direct hits" and some "near misses", together with some completely "wild misses". I used some red flower scatter to suggest bits of tomatoes lying on the ground. It also seemed probable that missiles would be aimed at the rear of the victims, not just the front, so I added some splatter on the most prominent rear-facing parts. I also added lots of mud and dirt to the clothes and feet....I tried to search the internet to see if anyone still makes life-size stocks; unfortunately Google quickly takes you into more general "punishment" sites which are most definitely not work PC friendly.

On the painting front I've finished another couple of First Carlist War units and am well stuck into a third. I have also started work on another AWI British line regiment, with a backpack motif that I am having a bit of trouble with. The Perries' recent announcement on TMP about forthcoming additions to their AWI range brought a tear to my eye (and if I was pregnant I'm sure would have brought the immediate onset of labour). The news sent me scurrying to my "British Grenadier!" scenario books to see what French regiments I "need"; to which the answer is "lots". So I'm looking forward to getting well stuck in to the AWI again next year.

4 figures. Painted November 2009.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

17th Foot

The 17th Foot began life in 1688 as Richard's Regiment of Foot. It was stationed in Flanders and Ireland before taking part in the War of the Spanish Succession. It was designated the 17th Regiment of Foot in 1751 and participated in the French & Indian Wars, being present at Louisburg in 1758 and Ticonderoga in 1759. After service in the West Indies and Pontiac's Rebellion the battalion returned to England in 1767. Nine years later it arrived in Boston and fought at Long Island, Monmouth and Princeton. The regiment suffered defeat in July 1779 at the capture of Stony Point, which was garrisoned by men from the 17th and 71st regiments. It is thought that the regiment lost its colours at this battle. The regiment also suffering the indignity of surrender at Yorktown.

The 17th Foot is an infrequent visitor to the published "British Grenadier!" scenarios - it has a strength of 12 figures for Germantown and 16 for Long island and the early Monmouth game in the second scenario book. There are more obvious gaps in my British line collection, such as the 15th, 64th and 37th which are all mainstays of the larger 1777/78 battles. But I wanted to paint an infantry battalion that provided an opportunity for some creativity in respect of the soldiers' backpack motif. As I've noted before, there are various ways in which you can paint the flap on a backpack. I usually paint the flap in a reddish brown colour and then add a circle in the facing colour in which I paint the regimental number (like for the recent 63rd). The 17th is the first of a pair of regiments which I think afford more individual treatment to the backpacks. The motif used here, which is supposed to be a laurel wreath enclosing the regimental number, was inspired by the design of the flags for this regiment as shown on the Fife and Drum website. I'm not sure where this design comes from - GMB's flags do not have this wreath. Fife and Drum suggests that the wreath was added to the colours in recognition of the regiment's contribution at Princeton (!) and I have seen this at other places. That means that the motif post-dates 1777. However, whilst accepting that this treatment of the backpacks has no basis in fact or history I think it's worth doing if only to add some variety.

The dog comes with the command pack (these are all Perry figures). I painted it as a labrador/golden retriever cross, modelled on my parents' late pet Lucy. This is a lovely little model - one imagines that Alan Perry's inspiration for it may have been Gainsborough's painting of an officer in the 4th Foot. This painting gives you another colour scheme for the pooch. Rather than have the dog looking up at his officer owner as in the painting I decided to have him growling at the battalion's drummer.

16 figures. Painted October 2009.

Sunday 22 November 2009

Pontevedra Provincial Regiment

This is the companion to the Madrid Provincial Regiment I posted a couple of weeks ago. Pontevedra is a city in the north-west of Spain, on the Atlantic coast. Since its probable foundation in the first century BC the city has been an important commercial hub in the province of Galicia, although the city's importance waned from the beginning of 17th century, when its trading activities suffered as a result of a build up of sediment. However, in the early 19th century the city was reborn as a privincial capital and began to flourish again. I have no idea what Pontevedra got up to in the FCW; I've chosen this regiment, as always, because an Adolfo Ramos flag for it is available from North Star.

This unit again only has 12 figures, as the flank companies would have been detached to form the Royal Guard, which I hope to get around to painting at some stage. The Cairns/Perry First Carlist War book states that there could be local variations in the uniforms of these provincial regiments. I decided on a few differences for this second unit - grey trousers and then the same patterns for collars and turnbacks that I've used for the regular army line (i.e. piping rather than solid colour). The building and wall pieces in the background are by "Tablescape" - these are part of their ready-made and painted "Peninsular War" range, which now comprises two styles of house, a church and 2 packs of walls. More AWI to post in a couple of days.

12 figures. Painted October 2009.

Friday 13 November 2009

ECW Interlude (5)

Last Wednesday evening I headed up to north London for a try-out ECW experience with Eclaireur and chum Timmo. This was the first time that EC and I had used the "Forlorn Hope" rules; Timmo was on hand as a veteran of these particular rules (he even had a first edition copy of the, er, first edition!). I brought up my modest ECW collection of 3 foot regiments and some vignettes, although in the end only Rupert's Foot went on the table as EC's collection has outstripped mine by some distance. EC's troops are a mix of Warlord and Perry, with a few Bicorne mixed in; the photos below show how well they fit together. As I've said on other fora, I think that Bicorne provide a good central point for ECW figures - you can then "go large" by mixing them with Renegade and Reboubt or "go small" by mixing in Perry and Warlord. I've gone the former route, but Rupert's Foot did not look significantly larger than their opponents, so there is clearly scope for extensive mixing and matching in this period.

We didn't play out a battle but rather tested different types of combat. Rupert's Foot advanced against a Parliament regiment to try out infantry combat. A little later we had some cavalry charge more Parliament foot that had deployed behind a hedge. The mechanics of "Forlorn Hope" certainly take some getting used to. I found the calculation method for firing rather confusing and the melee result for the cavalry charge produced a very one-sided result, with the infantry breaking immediately - they didn't see to have any + modifier for being behind a hedge and so "in cover". As a player you clearly need to be wise to the effect that troop grading and the ratio of pike to musket have on your ability to fire and melee effectively. Orders also have an important role as there seem to be several different "advance" orders that a unit can be on, and which influence what you can do. So a bit of home play will be required to get the hang of the rules.

Apologies for the lack of posts of late. I actually have 3 units painted and varnished, but as yet unbased due to the chaos caused by having 2 bathrooms re-fitted and a general tidy-up of the rest of the house. Thanks to that, and also work, I've only finished 3 figures since the end of the previous weekend, which I think is an all-time low. But I'm going to see if I can crank up production a bit over the last couple of weeks before BBE (Before Baby Era). I'm currently trying to finish two First Carlist War regiments and some more Crusaders, the latter in order to try out some new Foundry triads that I bought in their recent 20% off sale (the new WW2 colours mostly).

Monday 9 November 2009

Civilians (10)

You can't have too many civilians for the AWI. Well, I suppose there probably is an upper limit on what would look good on a table, but non-combatants always enhance a game and can make a welcome change to painting military types. Many of the AWI's engagements were fought across villages and townships and civilian onlookers have provided memorable accounts of the fighting they witnessed (for examples, do visit the utterly outstanding "Boston 1775" blog).

These figures are from Front Rank and are the contents of one of the packs in their 18th century civilians range. The figures have the trademark Front Rank chunkyness that makes them look very Billy Bunter-ish in comparison to Perry Miniatures, Eureka and some other manufacturers; it's not so much the faces but more the enormous calves that look a bit out of place - in this they are a better fit with the Foundry 18th century civilian figures. That said, I'm quite fond of Front Rank and these figures are a useful addition to the non-combatant ranks. There seems to be a "labourers" theme to this particular pack and I bought it for last November's Long Island game. I had intended to paint all 4 figures to put in the Brooklyn earthworks as hired help. As it happened, the only figure I managed to complete in time for the game was the chap with the shovel. I saw the other 3 figures in my "to do" box the other week and decided it was high time to finish them off. The only other Front Rank figures that I have in my collection are some militia based up as skirmishers and a couple of casualties. The 25mm range as a whole is nicely sculpted, if you like the chunkier style, but I think it is now showing its age and has been eclipsed by the Foundry/Perry/Eureka troika. But the civilians are still worth buying!

4 figures. Painted October 2008 and October 2009.

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Madrid Provincial Regiment

As well as the regular army, the Isabelino forces could draw on provincial and national militia units. I will deal with the latter in due course. The provincial regiments formed the long-established nationwide militia. They seem to have been organised on a city-by-city basis and some 42 regiments existed in total. The regiments had the usual mix of centre and flank companies, but the cazadore and grenadier troops were assigned to form the Royal Guard. Consequently, the regiments were much smaller than their regular line counterparts and so my provincial militia units will consist of only 12 figures rather than the standard 20.

Once again I developed the uniform scheme from documents posted on the Carlist Wars yahoo group. The uniform basically follows the cut and design of the regular infantry, but with red piping rather than white. There are a couple of other differences: I did the turnbacks in full colour rather than turqui with red piping and the collars are also all red instead of turqui with red flashes at the front. As noted in an earlier post, I am painted my FCW units in pairs and therefore put this regiment in white trousers whilst the next provincial regiment is in grey trousers. The yellow motif on the turnbacks is supposed to be a fleur de lys.

While I'm finishing off the 17th Foot and some more Isabelinos I'm putting some thought to what I might paint in the final 4 weeks until Baby-Day. It should be AWI, I think, and the contenders are: Hessian musketeers, British line infantry, British light dragoons, British Saratoga artillery, Hessian grenadiers and the British Legion. If there is anything that readers would particularly like to see then please let me know, as I fear the blog is going to be somewhat desolate for a while as from early December....

12 figures. Painted September 2009. Flag by Adolfo Ramos.