Sunday 23 August 2009

4th July Parade (2)

It's been a while coming, but this is the British half of the AWI army parade that I posted back in July 2008 (see here). I realised that if I didn't do it today, I probably wouldn't do it this year, as the conditions were perfect: the hottest day of summer so far; a rather strong bottle of Spanish rose over lunch, which put paid to the hope of any painting this afternoon; and the pleasure of listening to England see off some other upstart colonials in the cricket (with all due respect to my Australian readers - you know that Australia is only behind England and New Zealand in my affections....). So here are the forces of King George, an army that did its best in difficult circumstances and, though it probably didn't realise it at the time, ultimately produced by far the better historical outcome by losing. [Incidentally, I note from a comparison of last year's photos with today's that my gardening skills clearly need improvement.]

First, some general views. i brigades most of the line regiments into brigades of 3-4, but this is not historical. However, all units are "at strength" at 1:20 and based for relevant "British Grenadier!" scenarios

Burgoyne's force: This is minus grenadiers, Brunswickers and specific artillery figures, but you can get a sense of how small the line regiments are in 1:20 (2 foot regiments are only 12 figures). For more on the Burgoyne expedition, please see the Saratoga posts label here.

British artillery, with various orders of dress all massed together:

The Hess-Kassel contingent. This is only about a quarter of the regiments supplied:


Highlanders, Grenadiers and elites:

It's worth pointing out that, even more so than with the American parade, this collection reflects the work of Alan Perry. A few of the indians are by Conquest Minatures, and the Queen's Rangers Highlanders are from Eureka, but everything else is sculpted by Alan, for either Foundry or Perry Miniatures. If Paul Collingwood can get an MBE for a handful of runs in test cricket, then surely.....

Monday 17 August 2009

Borbon Regiment - 1st Battalion

For my second regiment of Isabelino line troops I decided to use the figures in greatcoats and assorted headgear. This "look" is probably much more appropriate and realistic than the parade ground uniforms worn by my Princessa Regiment. Re-supply was a problem for the Isabelino armies during campaign months and their units could find themselves as strapped for kit as their Carlist counterparts. Taking inspiration from the way El Mercenario paints his FCW figures, I added patches to the trousers and coats, gave many of the figures stubble and used my burnt umber pastel and some brown acrylics to add some dirt to the clothes. I think the result conveys the look of men who have been campaigning over harsh terrain for some time. The sculpting helps - the figures seem to be bending forward with their heads down, as if marching into a winter storm over the Basque mountains.

I really enjoyed painting these figures. At a push, you could even perhaps use them for Napoleonic line. I chose the Borbon Regiment simply because flags for this unit are available in the Adolfo Ramos range. It was one of the army's newer regiments, raised in 1796. The greatcoats were painted with the Foundry "Slate Grey 32" palette, with the colours mixed and blended together on the figures (which is how I approach large areas of the same colour, like horses). The patches were painted with the "Deep Brown Leather 45" palette; one trick I picked up from examining El Mercenario's figures at the Perries' was to paint in the stitching around the edge of the patch (I used Foundry "Boneyard 9A") - this makes it look much more realistic, I think.

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

Tuesday 11 August 2009

York - Prince of Wales' Own Regiment of Yorkshire Museum

The final post in my trilogy on York is the other half of the regimental museum, dedicated to the Prince of Wales' Own Regiment of Yorkshire (what a mouthful!). The regiment is now the 1st Battalion of The Yorkshire Regiment, which was created on 6 June 2006 by combining the POWORY with The Green Howards and The Duke of Wellington's Regiment. The POWORY was created in April 1958 as a result of the amalgamation of the West Yorkshire Regiment (14th Foot) and the East Yorkshire Regiment (15th Foot). The POWORY has recently returned from service in Iraq and Kosovo. Apparently the battalion's mascots are two ferrets called "Quebec" and "Imphal". To the left we have some drums of the Yorkshire militia, late Victorian period.

The 14th Foot was raised in 1685 and spent much of its early years in Gibraltar. It went to America in 1776. It fought at the Battle of Famars in 1793. The newly raised 2nd Battalion fought in the Peninsular whilst the 1st Battalion went to India. The regiment fought in the Crimea, New Zealand and the Boer War. Both battalions spent much of WW2 in Burma. In 1876, the Prince of Wales (the later King Edward VII) presented new colours to the 1st Battalion and gave the regiment the title "The Prince of Wales's Own". In 1881 the regiment was given the title "The West Yorkshire Regiment".

The 15th Foot was raised in 1685. It fought with Marlborough and Wolfe and also saw action in the AWI. Apparently at Brandywine the regiment ran short of ball ammunition and all the men other than the best shots fired small powder charges only; the Americans did not twig the ruse and the incident gave rise to the regiment's nickname of "the Snappers". The regiment then spent some years in the West Indies but did not again see sustained action until the Afghan and Boer Wars. Two battalions were in the initial assault on Sword beach in 1944.

First, we have two rather spiffing dioramas of famous battles the regiment fought in. I won't insult the intelligence of my readers by stating what battles they are...

On the left is an 1830s shako, very useful for painting Carlist War British Auxiliary Legion. On the right is one of the most bizarre exhibits I have ever seen in a regimental museum - a ram's head turned into a snuff box.

Finally we have the uniform worn by George VI and some Japanese weapons captured in the Far East in WW2.

Thursday 6 August 2009

York - Royal Dragoon Guards Museum

It has been a while since I was last in a regimental museum, so I was delighted to find that there was one in York. The museum is home to two regiments' collections: the Royal Dragoon Guards and The Prince of Wales' Own Regiment of Yorkshire (now the 1st battalion of The Yorkshire Regiment). I thought I would post on each regiment separately, as readers might be interested in some of the exhibits. Like all regimental museums, the items on display ranged from the truly historic to the bizarre.

The Royal Dragoon Guards was formed on 1 August 1992, as a result of the amalgamation of the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards (itself an amalgamation of the 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards and the 7th (Princess Royal's) Dragoon Guards) and the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards (an amalgamation of the 5th Dragoon Guards and the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons). All four of these constituent regiments were raised between 1685 and 1689 and have the pedigree you'd expect from such old units. They variously fought at the Boyne, with Marlborough, at Dettingen and Fontenoy, in the Peninsular, the Crimea, Tel El Kebir in 1882 and the Boer War (which saw the 5th Dragoon Guards besieged in Ladysmith with their colonel, Baden-Powell). The 6th Inniskilling Dragoons charged with the Union Brigade at Waterloo. It was also the regiment of Captain Oates, who died on Scott's expedition to the Antartic in 1912. Corporal Thomas of the 4th Dragoon Guards fired the first British shot of WW1 whilst the 7th made the last cavalry charge of the war at Lessines on 11 November 1918. The two amalgamated regiments were the first armoured units to be deployed with the BEF at the start of WW2. I gather the Royal Dragoon Guards are to be posted to Afghanistan next year.

On the left below is one side of the Dettingen Standard, the British Army's oldest surviving flag. This was carried at the 1743 battle by Ligonier's Regiment of Horse, also known as the "Black Horse" due to the facing colour of the troopers' coats, which was an ancestor of the 7th Dragoon Guards. ). The standard-bearer was Cornet Henry Richardson, who apparently suffered 37 sabre cuts and bullet wounds during the course of the battle. On the right is one of a pair of French kettle-drums that were captured at Dettingen.

Two Napoleonic tunics:

On the left are two helmets from the Crimean War. On the right is the helmet worn by General Sir James Scarlett at Balaklava; the Commander of the Heavy Brigade and an officer of the 5th Dragoon Guards.

On the left is Captain Oates' mess tunic and other items. On the right is a smaller-than-life horse with Victorian furniture:

Finally, a flag of Arabi Pasha captured in Cairo in 1882. I failed to write down the inscription, but it's something like "in Allah I trust" etc. To its right is a menu of the 4th Dragoon Guards - I wonder how many regimental messes have things like this any more...

Tuesday 4 August 2009


The Kiwi had wanted to visit York for some time and, whilst I'm generally wary of travelling to England's northern wastes, I had never been there myself so was quite up for it. We arrived at lunchtime on Friday, after what seemed like a ridiculously short (and stress-free) train journey, and left late afternoon on Sunday, so we had a decent amount of time to look around. York is a quite beautiful city, full of historic buildings and medieval streets. It's castle was largely demolished but it retains much of its medieval walls and most of the gates. It also has the rather spectacular York Minster, one of Europe's largest Gothic cathedrals and which was built on the site of the old Roman basilica (part of the foundations of which can be seen in the crypt). York itself is bursting with history: the Roman and Viking capital of northern England; where Constantine was proclaimed Emperor in 306 AD; birthplace of Guy Fawkes; besieged by the Parliamentarians under Sir Thomas Fairfax in the Civil War.

I'm going to post separately on the city's regimental museum, but here are some photos of other military memorabilia. First, some ECW bit and bobs:

Sir Thomas Fairfax's buff coat (or at least one of them):

A reconstructed "Gentlemen's Outfitters" from Victorian times in the Castle Museum. This shop proudly advertised that it could meet all the needs of one of her Majesty's officers or a gentleman about to embark on an "overseas expedition". The second picture shows what's wrong with modern outfitters, i.e. their inability to sell you the latest side-arms.

Two exhibits in the Yorkshire Museum. On the left is a status of Mars, dating from the early 4th century. On the right is the York Helmet, dating from around 750-775. There is an inscription on the crest in Latin which translates as "In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and God; and to all we say amen. Oshere". Oshere may have been the name of the helmet's owner. It's a beautiful piece of armour.

Finally, some of the medieval remains. On the left is part of the old Abbey of St Mary, which dates from 1055 but fell victim to Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries. On the right is the "Kohima memorial" to the 2nd Division, in the gardens outside York Minster. The 2nd Division is one of the British Army's oldest permanent formations. Officially formed in 1809 in the Peninsular, it saw action at Waterloo, the Crimea, the 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War, the Boer War and both world wars. The memorial commemorates the division's sacrifice in the Battle of Kohima in 1944, which halted the Japanese invasion of India.