Monday 19 July 2021

Paraguay: 5th Infantry


This is my second Perry Miniatures firing line battalion.  This largely uses the same rank and file figures as the previous unit, although with fewer figures in chiripas, and has the balance of the standing command pack, which includes an officer smoking a cigar.  The close-up of that figure in the photo below shows that I need to revisit his sash, as there is clearly some over-zealous black-lining. Also, I admit to finding it much harder these days to paint Perry faces as well I used to.  I'm 48 now and haven't felt the need to wear glasses until late  last year, when I started to find it difficult to focus on things like Perry faces unless I was painting them in direct sunshine.  I think a lack of decent "extreme detail" brushes was partly responsible, but I've realised I'm going to have to get an eye-test sooner rather than later.  My younger brother started wearing glasses years ago, so at least I can feel slightly superior on that point (and I have more hair...).

The whanau and I were on holiday in Dorset last week (hence the lack of posts) - a much needed break and our first "holiday" away from Chelmsford since October 2019.  It's been a long time since I last added to my "Visits" label, but I'll post about Nothe Fort in Weymouth at some stage.  We also visited Bovington Tank Museum, which is one of the best museums I've ever been to; but there was so much stuff I didn't take any photos - just didn't have time to do the place justice.

20 figures.  Painted December 2020.  Flag by Flags of War.

Only one decent chiripa in this battalion

Thursday 8 July 2021

Uruguay: Libertad Regiment

The Uruguayan army was very small in comparison to those of the other belligerents.  Uruguay achieved its independence in 1828, but internal political rivalries soon resulted in civil war.  As with Spain's Carlist Wars, the struggle was between "liberal" and "conservative" factions (called the "red" and "whites" respectively) and various overseas countries sent troops to assist the former, including the French Foreign Legion and Italian volunteers led by Garibaldi.  Argentina had experienced a similar power struggle and came to the support of the conservative president, Manuel Oribe, by contributing a large number of troops.  Brazil, however, intervened on the side of the liberals and this proved decisive.  The war ended in 1851, when the 8-year siege of Montevideo was finally ended,  and the liberal government rewarded Brazil for its support with a treaty of perpetual alliance and even some territory.   The civil war flared up again in 1855, when the whites regained control of the government and Argentina and Brazil again intervened on opposing sides; but I'll discuss that in a future post.  Suffice to say that Uruguayan instability, and the further outbreak of civil war in 1864-65, was a major causal factor in the War of the Triple Alliance.  

A Uruguayan force, the "Army of the Vanguard", was despatched to assist the Allies in 1865.  The infantry element consisted of 4 battalions, one of which was the Voluntarios de la Libertad (formerly known as the Voluntarios Garibaldinos).  These troops were largely battle-hardened veterans of the civil wars and are considered to have been some of the Alliance's best troops.

When I painted thus unit, I didn't understand why the command pack features 3 figures that are the same as the rank-and-file pack.  It was only when I saw Alan Perry's own painted version on the Perry Facebook that I realised the strength of the battalion was such that you don't need many figures.  Hooker gives a strength of just 324 in 1866, which gives 8 figures at 1:40 or 16 at 1:20.  So I've rather messed up by painting 18 figures, and should have done my research more competently.  I suppose I could always paint up another command pack and try to flog the extra figures on ebay.  The uniform is a very fetching, Carlist-inspired one.  For the crimson trousers I used the Foundry "Shadow Pink" 18 palette.  I like this unit a lot, despite completely failing on the numbers front.

18 figures.  Painted November 2020.  Flag from Flags of War.

Monday 5 July 2021

Paraguay: 1st Cavalry

This is my first unit of Paraguayan cavalry.  As with the infantry, I haven't tried to make any distinction between "line" and "militia" in the unit's composition - I'll decide what they are in accordance with the relevant scenario.  Perry Miniatures make several packs, a couple of which are described as militia and do have a more casual look about them; so I might use those for the next unit.  The books I've read about the war suggest that the Paraguayan cavalry was excellent and, at least before shortages of manpower and mounts took hold, the best cavalry out of all the combatants.  The strength of cavalry regiments seems to have been between 400 and 500 men, so 12 figures works out at around 1:40, which is the ratio/scale I'm working on (in terms of full strength units).  As with the infantry, I intend to build up cavalry units of varying sizes to reflect battle casualties etc.

The cavalry's hats had a different design to those of the infantry - a sort of "fleur de lis" shape.  The spurs were quite large as well, called "nazarenas". All the figures have blankets and other bits of "furniture"; I probably should had added a few more stripes to these items, but I didn't was to overcomplicate the look of the unit.  I enjoy painting this sort of irregular cavalry, particularly with the more colourful horses.

12 figures.  Painted December 2020.  Flag and lance pennants by Flags of War.    


Sunday 4 July 2021

33rd Virginia


As it's Independence Day, and because I promised David Bickley, I thought I'd interrupt the War of the Triple Alliance to post some ACW.  This is the 33rd Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which was raised in April 1861, largely from men in and around the Shenandoah Valley and was one of the original members of the "Stonewall Brigade" that won praise and respect at the battle of Bull Run/First Manassas.  The regiment then travelled with the brigade to the Shenandoah Valley, where it participated in Jackson's campaign.  In June 1862 Jackson marches his command to join up with General Lee, and the 33rd Virginia saw action at Gaines' Mill and Cedar Mountain.  The exploits of the Stonewall Brigade are well know, so I won't repeat them in detail here.  Suffice to say that the 33rd Virginia was engaged in the major engagements of Second Bull Run/Second Manassas, Antietam, Chancellorsville and participated in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg.  The regiment suffered badly in the Wilderness campaign of May 1864 and by the time that Lee surrendered a year later the regiment fielded fewer than 20 men.

When I started painting historicals again last August, I looked at what painted Dixons I had left from the last time I was painting ACW (back in 2013 - see here) and decided to build out a couple of units using those and unpainted figures I had left over.  It turned out that I only had around ten painted figures, in a variety of poses, and so in the usual way I put in an order to Dixon to fill out a couple of regiments, and that led to buying a couple of Union regiments, which in turn led me to paint up all my outstanding Rebels, which then required more figures to be bought top finish off various units etc.  So this is the first of several units I've been working on since last Autumn.  I've spent most of this year working on this ACW collection and the Great Paraguayan War (with the odd foray into Warhammer 40K to keep the boys quiet).

Whilst I painted up a couple of First Bull Run units using the Perry Miniatures early war figures just for fun, my ACW ambitions are very limited (and clearly very slow-burning) - basically just Jackson's Valley Campaign of 1862.  In Paul Stevenson's "Stonewall" scenario book, the 33rd appears as 16 figures for First Winchester and 14 figures for Kernstown.  Normally I'd use a GMB flag, but Dixon figures have "cast-on" flagpoles and given the size of GMB flags you often need to cut the pole in half and insert something else to create more length.  I saw that Dixon themselves sold flag sheets which were stated as being designed for their figures and I thought I'd give these a go. The flag is quite a bit smaller than GMB, but perhaps more akin to the size of Confederate flags that one sees in Don Troiani's paintings, for example. 

16 figures.  Painted July 2012 and August 2020.  Flag from Dixon Miniatures.


Friday 2 July 2021

Paraguay: 4th Infantry


This is the first unit using Perry figures.  There are two packs of firing line Paraguayans in the Perry range, and of those twelve figures only two wear a chiripa and none have blankets.  The advancing and charging packs have many more figures in chiripas (or with blankets), so one senses a different approach with those later releases.  There are two painting mistakes with these figures.  The first is that I failed to do my research properly and assumed that the long curved object on the back of one of the firing figures was some sort of metal trumpet.  In fact, it's called a "turu" and it's a traditional musical instrument made from bull horn.  So not bronze or other metal in any way.  I only realised the mistake after I'd based the unit, so I didn't bother trying to re-paint it.

The second mistake is on the coloured cockade in the centre of the caps. This cockade should be blue, white, and then a red centre; but I've instead done red, white, and finally blue.  Most of the sources/pictures I've seen have the former, although I see the plate on Paraguayan infantry in the Esposito Winger Hussar book has the latter - maybe a mistake by Guiseppe Rava (he gets in right in the relevant Osprey MAA).  This is an error I've carried over to all units I've painted since this one.  To be honest, I find it's the decoration on the hats that's the trickiest part of painting Paraguayan figures.

20 figures.  Painted November 2020.  Flag by Flags of War.

The magic bronze turu

Thursday 1 July 2021

Paraguay: 3rd Infantry

Just a short post today, as this is the third and final of my Kingscarbine Miniatures Paraguayan infantry battalions.  The figures are those as used for the previous two units and are painted in exactly the same way.  I use Citadel paints for the red shirts - "Khorne Red", then "Evil Sunz Scarlet", then "Wild Rider Red".  I'm afraid to say that it's been so long since I last painted AWI British infantry that I can't recall what formulation of red paints I used for those - I think the final highlight was something different, as my earlier AWI British look a bit more orange than these Paraguayans do.  Like the second unit, this one looks more "militia" than "line", although I'm not really sure there was any practical distinction in the war, certainly in the later stages of it.  

With this unit I began to get my "chiripa mojo" and now I really enjoy painting colourful, funky designs, which I expect have no semblance with what these items of clothing actually looked like.  The trumpeter was one of the earlier figures I painted and I didn't really think the uniform through.  I'd read somewhere that command sashes were red - so I gave him a white linen shirt as if you give a figure with a sash a red shirt as well you're just left with an awful lot of red.  But nowadays I'd give him a red shirt and some sort of multi-coloured sash (like a lot of the Perry figures have).  

These are not my last Kingscarbine Paraguayans.  I'm currently painting a unit that utilises various "leftovers" and it has two Kingscarbine command figures with the balance being Perry figures.  They all look fine together.    

20 figures.  Painted October 2020.  Flag by Flags of War.

Obligatory back row chiripa and blanket shot.