Friday 18 December 2020

The War of the Triple Alliance

I'm behind with basing and photos (I've painted 13 different units since August) but I did manage to assess the current state of my Great Paraguayan War/War of the Triple Alliance project and so thought I'd post them here.  I can't believe the first unit of Paraguayans was painted 6 years ago.  On the Paraguayan side there are three infantry units of Steve May sculpts for Kingscarbine Miniatures (which aren't currently available), two Perry Miniatures firing line units, and the beginnings of a 12-figure cavalry unit.  On the Allied side, I have one regiment of Brazilian infantry and with another on the stocks.  In fact, my pre-Christmas schedule is to finish this off and the Paraguayan cavalry.  Then it will be on to some Uruguayans and whatever's in the two boxes from the Perries that arrived addressed to my wife the other day....   

The flags are mainly from Flags of War.  These are a total lifesaver, as I wasn't relishing the prospect of painting more flags (the larger Paraguayan flag is one that I painted 6 years ago, and which got nibbled the other week by our cat, Millie) and I was having problems with the flags uploaded on the Perry website.  Flags of War also do lance pennants in any colour you want.  The palm trees and broken walls in the photos are all scenic bits I made for Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago last year; I think they look ok-ish for South America.

My immediate plan is to get to 10 infantry units per side (perhaps a couple more on the Allied side to reflect the three different contingents), a bit of cavalry and then take stock.  All infantry units will be between 18 and 24 figures and cavalry units will be 12 figures.  That's not particularly historic, but provides a manageable set-up.  I'll post about these units separately in due course, and will start with the original one again as I added more figures to it.


Monday 30 November 2020

75th Demi-Brigade

This is my third completed unit of French infantry for the Egyptian campaign.  The 75th Demi-Brigade appears in just two scenarios in the GdB book, The Pyramids (60 figures) and Alexandria (24 figures).  This unit is designed for the latter, and given it's 24 rather than 36 figures I've provided it with two flags rather than three.  I've mentioned before that the GdB scenario book doesn't always divide up the demi-brigades into individual battalions, which I assume reflects the fact that some battalions were absent on garrison duty.  So for the Alexandria scenario, for example (which is the French attach of August 1799, not the British attack of 1801), the orbat has the 18th, 32nd and 22nd Light demi-brigades in two specific battalions, whilst the 13th, 61st and 75th are just given one unit each of 30, 36 and 24 figures respectively.  This all makes for a decent amount of painting - for the French forces in this scenario you need 300 infantry, 8 guns and crew, and 26 cavalry.  But you can see that it's "AWI" in size, and with much less cavalry and artillery than you might usually expect for a Napoleonic battle.  Of course Alan Perry hasn't made any Albanian and Ottoman forces to provide the opposition as yet; I really hope we does one day as otherwise one's limited to French v British games in this theatre, which I think would be a shame.  In the very interesting video interview with Wargames Illustrated, Alan said he'd do Ottomans at some stage. and I know Black Hussar Miniatures (formerly Westphalia Miniatures) do Napoleonic Saudi and Afghan figures, but I don't know whether they are in any way suitable.           

That's pretty much where I got to with the Napoleon in Egypt project.  I also painted 6 figures of the 88th Demi-Brigade (another 36 figure unit), but that's remained unfinished since 2017.  There's a small "vignette" which I'll post about next, but in the meantime here's the current state of things:

24 figures.  Painted July/August 2017.  Flags from GMB.

Wednesday 25 November 2020

4th Legere Demi-Brigade

 I'll continue posting about the Napoleon in Egypt figures I painted three years ago while I catch up with basing and photographing more recent things.  This is a unit of skirmishers representing the 4th Leger Demi-Brigade.  In the "General de Brigade" scenario book the units appears twice: 30 figures for The Pyramids and 12 skirmishers for the battle of Alexandria on 1 August 1799.  The demi-brigade began the Egyptian campaign consisting of 2 battalions and over 1,000 men and I don't know why the Alexandria scenario only lists 12 figures.  The Osprey "Napoleon's Egyptian Campaigns" provides the coat as: light green with dark brown (crimson) facings with white piping.  As is usual for French Napoleonic light infantry, the trousers are dark blue.  So this unit is a good example of "colour" of this period.   

Incidentally, in this series of Napoleon in Egypt posts, the middle eastern style buildings are by Touching History and the mat is "arid green" from Tiny Wargames.  Not much else to say, really.  The 75th Demi-Brigade are next.

12 figures.  Painted July 2017.

Thursday 19 November 2020

69th Demi-Brigade

I thought I'd begin catching-up with my Napoleon in Egypt figures, which will take 4 posts.  I began this period because I was taken with the Perry Miniatures figures and it seemed an interesting, and colourful, Napoleonic side-show (about which I knew very little).  There are some good resources out there, including the two Caliver-published books by C.S. Grant and Eclaireur's volume of scenarios for "General de Brigade", called "Against the Ottomans".  This last publication has formed my list of units to work on, although I've left out the Battle of the Pyramids scenario because the unit strengths for that battle are huge (by which I mean infantry regiments of 48 to 60 figures).  The 69th Demi-Brigade appears in two other scenarios, El Rahmieh (9 May 1801) and El Khanka (16 May 1801), both with a unit strength of 36 figures.   

Representing the French demi-brigades for this campaign is not straightforward.  Each demi-brigade consisted of 3 battalions, each of which consisted, on paper, of approximately 1,000 men.  That explains why an early scenario like the Pyramids has such large units.  However, by 1801, which is the phase of the campaign which I'm interested in, the battalions were reduced in strength.  The GdB scenarios don't state how many battalions are in each demi-brigade and presumably the unit strength is a composite figure.  The battalion structure was 1 grenadier and 8 fusilier companies, but the latter were reduced to 4 in 1799 to take account of casualties.  My this 36-figure unit I have one stand of grenadiers and five of fusiliers, and this is clearly no attempt to replicate the individual battalions but rather to have something that looks good.    One could, I suppose, have two stands of grenadiers and four of fusiliers, which might actually be more accurate.  Each of the three battalions carried its own flag, so you then need to decide how many flags to allocate to your demi-brigade unit.  I decided to give three flags to the larger units and two flags to the smaller one.  Again, there wasn't that much thought behind that decision, other than the fact that if you give everything 3 flags you need a lot of standard bearer figures and to buy those you'll probably end up with left-over officers etc.  That said, I understand that the third battalion of the 69th was on garrison duty during 1801, so this demi-brigade should in fact only have two flags.  Never mind...the GMB flags are so good is seems a shame not in include as many as possible.

36 figures.  Painted May-July 2017. Flags by GMB.

Wednesday 11 November 2020

4th Continental Dragoons

This is another unit I painted up years ago and failed to blog about (another being the Knyphausen Fusilier Regt, which I painted 12 years ago and then realised the cuffs were in the wrong colour - I'll sort that out shortly).

It wasn't until December 1776 that Congress, after much lobbying by George Washington, authorised the formation of regular cavalry units.  Washington arranged four regiments and this was approved by Congress in March 1777.  Washington gave command of the 4th regiment to Stephen Moylan, an Irish Roman Catholic who had held a variety of senior staff positions, including acting as Washington's secretary and the Continental Army's Quartermaster General, and later fell out badly with Count Pulaski.  The 4th recruited mainly from Pennsylvania and Maryland and seems to have mustered its troops much more quickly that the other 3 regiments.  However, sources suggest that none of the dragoon regiments ever reached their full strength and most only had between 120 and 150 effectives at any one time. 

In the "British Grenadier!" scenario books the 4th Dragoons appear only once - a 4 figure unit at  Whitemarsh, a large battle fought in December 1777 near Philadelphia.   As these are Perry figures they come in packs of 3, so I thought I might as well just paint up all 6.  I was planning on doing all necessary American cavalry units with the lovely Eureka figures (which come with interchangeable hats), but then the Perries came out with specific figures for each of the Continental dragoon regiments so I decided to use those.  That said, strictly speaking, these figures are in their later uniform and so different to how they would have looked at Whitemarsh.  When the regiment was formed it was given a stock of British uniforms that had been captured at Saratoga, so red coats faced blue and leather caps.  Washington ordered the troopers to wear linen hunting shirts over these coats to avoid confusion (given that the coats were the same colour as the British 16th Light Dragoons).  Some time in 1778 or 1779 the uniform was changed to the green faced red coats and tarleton helmets that you see here.

When I was painting these figures and the Perry militia cavalry (and also a Warlord Games model of Napoleon's carriage, which I painted but then couldn't work out how to put together) I tried to make the greys a bit more "lifelike" by using photos I'd taken of a troop of grey horses in Vienna as a reference.  I'm quite pleased with the result, which involve a lot of "wet blending" and trying to get the dapples in a realistic pattern.  Did all American trumpeters ride greys (or grays if you prefer)?  Who knows,  but I like painting grey horses.

6 figures.  Painted August-September 2017.

Monday 9 November 2020

Apologia II

After a couple of false starts, I'm determined to make this work.  "Don't let TQ die" said a friend a few weeks ago; and as he was someone whose wargaming, and historical (and indeed more general) judgment I greatly value, I took notice.  Also, I realised that switching off from the online hobby for a good while wasn't something that I'd enjoyed.  It's an odd feeling to describe; I simultaneously felt that I had nothing of value to blog about, yet also knew that blogging about what I'd done would produce a useful sense of achievement.  So I did nothing, and my overall sense of stasis led me to disengage from a lot of wargaming "social media" as well, unfortunately.

Anyway, I've not stopped painting and what I've done over the past couple of years falls into these categories:

- Warhammer 40K;
- Frostgrave;
- Frostgrave Ghost Archipelago;
- Pirates (overlapping a bit with F:GA).

I haven't really posted about any of that.  What I'm now painting, and what I'll concentrate on for the immediate future are:

- Napoleon's Campaign in Egypt;
- War of the Triple Alliance/Paraguayan War;
- First Carlist War;
- American Civil War.    

Those are all Perry Miniatures ranges, other than the ACW, which is a mix of Perry and Dixon - my grand plan is 1861 (First Bull Run) in Perry and 1862 (Jackson's Valley campaign) in Dixon.  We'll see how that goes.  What I really want to do is get all the above periods into a shape where I can put on a game, even if only a small one.  The First Carlist War is well on the way - I just need to paint a lot more Carlists.  I started on the Paraguayan War almost seven years ago and was thrilled when the Perry range came out at the beginning of the year.  I now have 4 completed Paraguayan units and 1.5 Brazilian ones; I'm going to make sure I build up both sides together.  I posted a flurry of ACW back in 2016 (here); I have a growing number of Confederate units but no Feds as yet.  I also never really posted about the Napoleon in Egypt figures that I was painting when my neglect of TQ began a couple of years ago, but I really enjoyed painting the figures and I like the setting.  That seems a good place to start.  AWI?  Well yes, I'll paint some more of that from time to time.

I'll blog about the sci-fi and fantasy stuff from time to time, not least because, even with Lockdown, I find that I just don't have the time to paint as quickly as I used to.  Also, I'm quite pleased with how some of those figures came out.  Monty loves playing with his 40K Necrons; Hugo's a bit over his Space Marines, now that the Warhammer club at school has been stopped due to Covid-19; their father had a blast painting up an Imperial Guard force...

I have a fair bit of historical stuff going through the basing process, so there won't be a rush of posts; but this time they really are coming.  In the meantime, here's a bit of Frostgrave:

Thursday 25 June 2020

2nd (Cundinamarca) Light Infantry

TQ is returning.  While I get some things sorted out, this is the first of a number of posts that I wrote and then failed to upload. This is from February 2016! The text below is from then, not now.  And even then it was an old draft!!

I've been very busy at work, so apologies for the lack of posts of late.  However, a slight hiatus in having stuff to post about means that I can finally finish off something that's been lying in my "drafts" folder for, literally, years...

The last 15mm figures I painted were Chileans from the South American Wars of Independence, back in 2011 (see here).   I had long admired John Fletcher's "Liberators" project and the figures he has released under his Grenadier Productions label.  So I bought some packs and painted these chaps.  Then, like so many other things, the project rather stalled.  No reason in particular - it was always something I intended to return to.  Then 25mm figures for the period came along - from Parkfield and then Orinoco Miniatures.   While I painted a lot of 15mm Napoleonics in my youth and earlier days in the hobby, I've been pretty much exclusively a 25mm painter for the past 15 or so years.  The Liberators project remained of interest to me - it fits in with my like of slightly out of the way periods.  So  a couple of years ago I bought some Orinoco figures on spec and was delighted with the way they turned out.

This post isn't the place for an in depth history of the Wars of South American Liberation.  Armed insurrection began in 1806 and gathered pace over the next few years.  The end of the Napoleonic wars enable Spain, the colonial power, to transfer reinforcements from Europe and reconquer territory in modern Venezuela and Colombia that the Patriots had liberated.  By 1817, Simon Bolivar was in need of more men for his Patriot armies and send agents to Britain and Ireland to tap into the large numbers of men who had been de-mobilised as a result of the final defeat of Napoleon.  As with the First Carlist War twenty years later, there were plenty of men keen to seek employment and/or adventure, and between 1817 and 1819 over 6,000 English and Irish troops travelled to South America to fight for the Patriot cause.    John Fletcher has identified over 25 distinct units, but many of these were amalgamated or dissolved early on.  In some cases disease and mutiny rendered units ineffective soon after arrival in South America.  The formations that did survive were brigaded into what became known as the British Legion and the Irish Legion. 

The unit pictured here is the 2nd Light Infantry Regiment of the Irish Legion, nicknamed "Cundinamarca", presumably after the district of northern Colombia in which the legion found itself in late 1819.  The Irish Legion was ready to commence operations in early 1820 and   The regiment was part of an expedition to Riohacha in 1820.  Information about precisely what uniform these troops wore is patchy.  The Irish Legion generally was reported to have worn green tunics, although it is quite likely that formal uniform issues never took place or, if they did, the clothes suffered wear and tear very quickly and the men therefore wore whatever thy had to hand.  I've added a mix of trouser colours and patches to reflect some "campaign" dress. So this uniform is rather conjectural, and I can't recall why I painted the shako covers white rather than black; I must have been thinking about Napoloenic Nassau infantry at the time!  The flag is one of a pair sold by Flags of War.

20 figures.  Painted August-September 2013.  Flag by Flags of War.