Wednesday 27 January 2016

New York Volunteers

Despite the title of this post, when we have here is my generic loyalist unit that has multiple identities: New York Volunteers, New Yersey Volunteers and North Carolina Volunteers.  Research suggested that all those regiments wore red coats faced dark blue in the post 1779 period (if not earlier) and so I decided that one unit of Perry plastic British infantry with slough hats would do for all of them, given that they appear in different scenarios.  Rather than try to provide a history of each of these regiments, I set out below the "British Grenadier!" scenarios in which they appear:

- New York Volunteers: Hudson Forts (16); Hobkirk's Hill (18); Eutaw Springs (12);
- New Jersey Volunteers, 4th Battalion: Springfield (12);
- North Carolina Volunteers: Stono Ferry (8); Savannah (6).

The "Hudson Forts" scenario is the attack on Fort Washington in November 1776, so it's quite possible that the New York Volunteers were not in their red uniforms at that time.  And the uniforms probably didn't have lace - but as I explained in my general post on loyalists, I'm not really that fussed about lace to be honest, and I've decided to use the Perry British plastic figures for some of my loyalist units.  I wanted these chaps to look more uniform in appearance than the other loyalist units I've painted recently, so the colours of the overalls are the same.  Also, I know the Hobkirk's Hill scenario requires 18 figures, but I had to make a call on whether to base these figures in fours or sixes and I decided fours; which meant I wasn't going to paint 20 just so I'd have the 18 for that scenario.  I'm sure in due course I'll be able to add a couple of singly-based figures.

I expect the red-faced-blue uniform works for other loyalist regiments in the later war period, so if you only want one generic unit to represent loyalists in the south you could do a lot worse than something like this.  On the painting desk at the moment: Dabney's Virginia Legion, the 76th Foot (again) and mounted highland colonels.

16 figures.  Painted December 2015. 


Monday 18 January 2016

King's Carolina Rangers

In June 1779, Thomas Brown's East Florida Rangers were converted into a regiment of infantry.  Brown remained Lieutenant-Colonel.  The regiment consisted of nine companies, one of which became a troop of dragoons in 1782.  It saw action in the defence of Savannah in September and then in June 1780 took part in the recapture of Augusta.  After that the regiment seems to have been involved in patrolling and raiding around South Carolina and Georgia and it was invovled in the Battle of Hanging Rock on 6 August 1780.  Augusta fell to the Americans in October 1781 and most of the regiment were captured.  Voluteers helped reform the unit and at the end of the war the regiment found itself in St Augustine in East Florida, where it was disbanded.  Several thousand loyalist refugees had collected in St Augustine, which was thought to be safe British territory.  To their dismay, East Florida was ceded to Spain by the Treaty of Paris of 1783 and so they had to leave.  The loyalists, including the men of the King's Carolina Rangers, who presumably saw no point in returning "home", were settled in various other British territories.  Thomas Brown went first to Abaco Island in the Bahamas and then in 1799 to St Vincent's Island.  He remained there, working his plantation until his death in 1825. 

There is a good re-enactors site here, from which I took much of the historical material above.

This regiment appears only once in the published "British Grenadier!" scenarios - an 8-figure unit for Savannah.  These are mainly Perry plastic Continental infantry with slouch hats from the plastic British infantry set.  The drummer is from one of the Perry metal British.  As is common with many AWI gamers, I imagine, I have lots of spare drummer and ensign figures from both sides, so it's always handy to use them up.  The drummer has lace and a plume, which none of the other figures have, but who cares, frankly - I thought it would be nice to give the unit a bit of colour, and I do like the dark green/red uniform combination.   I painted a standard flowery "GR" cypher on the drum, but you can't see it in any of the pics.  I like the pose of the officer, with his left arm calmly held behind his back.  The shoulderbelts are black to carry over the cavalry uniform - I suppose they should probably be white.  I made up the NCO without really thinking about it - he is very much an "American" NCO, with an epaulette on the right shoulder and no sash.  I was going to use this figure for something else but then decided I couldn't be bothered.  Maybe it's a temporary uniform or he lost his sash.  For a small, esoteric unit like this, life's too short to worry about details like that, in my view.   

8 figures.  Painted November 2015.


Thursday 14 January 2016

Ninth year anniversary

Last Monday this blog reached it's 9th birthday.  It's 3 years older than Hugo and, as of 16 February, 6 years older than Monty.  I find I look back to the pre-children years much less frequently now.  I wouldn't be without the boys for anything and wargaming has now contentedly learnt to fit around them.  In a way, having children can be quite liberating as I no longer have the disposable cash to fritter away on new figures, coffee-table books and other impulse buys that are, ultimately, a waste of money: less clutter, less money thrown away.  Last year I made a deliberate attempt to buy as little as possible (I think I bought about seven Perry packs in total) and rely on the lead- and plastic-piles for my painting.  It's worked pretty well and this year I'm intending to carry on in that fashion.  I have a couple of ideas for new periods, or at least new collections; but those will have to wait until (a) my piles are almost gone and (b) funds become available that don't have to be put towards the house or the children.
So 2016 looks set to be: more AWI, particularly British and loyalist infantry; finishing off what's in the First Carlist War pile (just a couple of units, I think); ditto for the NZ Wars leadpile (more Maori and British sailors).  I don't have a burning desire to paint any more 1815 stuff at the moment, although I have a few French light infantry on the go, but I expect that will change later in the year.  In the meantime, I have several French high command stands still to base and I've just finished painting another of the Perry Waterloo vignettes.  So that's the plan for this year.  In terms of what I painted last year, I think the tally is as follows:

 - AWI: 136 infantry, 25 cavalry;
- Napoleonics: 38 infantry, 27 cavalry;
- NZ Wars: 26 infantry;
- First Carlist War: 12 infantry;
- The Sudan: 4 infantry and 1 gun;
- Other: 4 cows (yes, really).

So that's 325 "points" in total.  I painted a lot of cavalry and the majority of the infantry were plastic figures.  The painted figures came from Perry, Eureka, King's Mountain, Gringos 40, Foundry and Redoubt (for the cows), which is a broader spread than usual.  I only had one game this year, but the first I've put on myself at home - Freeman's Farm when Chook came to visit from NZ.  The photos in this post are from that game.  The only show I got to was Salute (which I see this year falls square on my birthday), and I can't see myself attending any others this year.  As well as catching up with Antipodean friends like Chook and Melbourne's John Baxter, a highlight of the year was seeing the much-awaited 4th AWI scenario book published by Caliver.

In terms of blogging, things slipped badly at the beginning of last year but the blog saw a resurgence in autumn.  I'm really going to try harder this year to post regularly.  Having a large backlog of stuff to post about will help.  If I can finish off my Stonewall Jackson command stand I'll even post about the 150-odd ACW figures I've painted over the past 4 years!  I do intend to make a real effort to post at least once a week, even if it's just boring "wip" stuff.  With that in mind, here's a bad photo of my latest Waterloo vignette.  Better photos in due course...

In previous posts of this nature I've made a note of the wines my family drank at Christmas.  I don't have a label for wine posts, but there are plenty in this blog.  This year's champagne was from Pol Roger and the reds included, as per usual, something from NZ boutique producer Puriri Hills.  Having had a bottle of Chateau d'Yquem 1997 each year for the past 11 years we are now down to our last year.  Due to an unfortunate accident, most of the vintage Dow's 1983 port ended up on the floor; but I had a glass and it was superb.   Happy New Year!   


Monday 4 January 2016

East Florida Rangers

The East Florida Rangers were a band of loyalist militia raised by Thomas Brown in 1776.  Brown was born in Whitby in Yorkshire and emigrated to America in 1774, when he was 25.   He settled in Georgia and founded the community of Brownsboro.  In August 1775 he was confronted by a crowd of patriots who wanted to know where his loyalties lay.  When Brown told them that he refused to take up arms against Britain a brawl ensued and Brown suffered a fractured skull.  Apparently he was then tied to a tree where he was "roasted by fire, scalped, tarred, and feathered".  To use modern terminology, this experience "radicalised" Brown and he set about mobilising Georgia's loyalists and the local Creek indians.  He was particularly successful in securing Creek support for the Crown and in 1779  he was appointed Superintendent of Creek and Cherokee Indians.  In the meantime, however, he led a group of mounted loyalists which became known as the East Florida Rangers or Brown's Rangers.  It's not entirely clear to me why the unit's name references Florida rather than Brown's home state of Georgia.  The answer may be that the authorisation for the unit's formation came from Colonel Patrick Tonyn, the governor of East Florida from 1774 to 1783.  In 1779 the East Florida Rangers were reformed as a regiment of infantry.  More on that, and Thomas Brown's later exploits, shortly.
I didn't set out deliberately to paint this unit.  I saw that I had 6 standing Eureka cavalry figures left over and thought about what to do with them.  Given that the figures were in a mix of hunting shirts and uniform coats, I started looking for a suitable patriot unit.  But then I noticed that the drummer was a negro (a figure I've never seen before and I'm not even sure he's pictures on Eureka's website) and I thought that a loyalist unit might be more appropriate.  Flicking through the Osprey MAA on loyalist troops I noticed that the East Florida Rangers were recorded has having recruited some coloured men and clothing some of its men in linen hunting shirts - perfect!  Even better, the unit appears in one of the BG scenarios, Briar Creek (with 6 figures).  The only problem I could see was that I didn't have enough round hats to go with the figures - I didn't want to use Continental-style helmets and tricornes don't fit on the "at rest" figures.  But this was easily solved by using leftover slouch hats from the Perry plastic British infantry box.  The coats were painted with the Foundry "French Chasseur a Cheval Green 71" palette, with a final highlight of 70B.  For the hunting shirts I used "Raw Linen 31" - not a colour I normally use for hunting shirts, but I wanted something that would blend in with the green coats. 

This is a nice little unit, I think; it's a bit different and certainly not something I've seen modelled before.  The "look" is rather conjectural, since I moulded the uniforms around the figures that I already had.  But, as noted above, the notes in the Osprey MAA seem to fit (although the reversed coat on the drummer is artistic licence) and I think this is as good a representation as any without access to mounted figures in frontier/civilian dress.  The colour scheme of the coats looks forward to the subsequent infantry unit formed in 1779.  The officer is a bit old to be Colonel Brown himself, who was in his late twenties.  Then again, all that tarring and feathering may have caused his hair to fall out - who knows?  I was tempted to put the two hunting shirt guys on a base by themselves, for potential use in patriot units, but in the end I just mixed them in with the others.  Again, this is the sort of unit for which the Eureka Miniatures' cavalry range is invaluable.

Happy New Year, everyone.

6 figures. Painted November 2015.