Friday, 26 November 2010

British 17th Light Dragoons


My regiment of 17th Light Dragoons
 There were only two British cavalry regiments present in the American Revolutionary War, the 16th or Queen's Light Dragoons and the 17th Light Dragoons. So there should not have been any big problem in creating one of these regular units - I thought.
But when I started to buy my figures and work on this unit, I didn't know what difficulties I was facing.
Officer by Front Rank
Guidon of 1st squadron
Guidon of 2nd squadron
Trumpeter by Perry (head changed)
French horn by Front Rank

Officer by Perry (housing changed)

Firstly there are big differences in the equipment of the various figures available. The horse furnitures are  different, the cut of the coats and the the helmets differ, some men do not even have pouches on their belts.  I had not expected this, having read the Royal Cloathing Warrant of 1768 and the appropriate chapter in Lawson's History of the Uniforms of the British Army, and having scanned the net for artefacts.
Farrier (Front Rank)
I was used to this negligence among the producers of 54mm showcase figures (who cares about historical authenticity  as long as the figure looks fine and the attitude is smashing). But I had expected a bit more of scrupulousness with wargaming figures. It was a disappointment, I must say.
Finally I comforted myself saying that the troops had been on campaign for several years in the colonies, partly riding in rough country, far from supplies from the motherland. How could they look as prescribed in a Royal warrant! Soldiers of all times have had a sense for "system D" - improvisation.
So I accepted the less than uniform look of my horsemen, even added to it by doing a bit of tinkering, scratching off the baggage of an officer (which gentleman would care to carry it himself, even in the backwoods, if he had his batman at hand), furnishing a trumpeter with a hat, trimming some of the horse's tails, choosing different colours for their breeches etc., and mixing different brands of figures in one unit. So you will recognize figures by Dixon, Front Rank, and Perry, and a farrier of the 7YW range. With 20 figures the unit is almost full strength, but it is always easy to split it up if necessity requires, e.g. strengthen the British Legion with four figures. The rest will stay in New York (i.e. the box).

(The figures are not quite finished yet, especially the bases lack sand and grass.)
Trooper in campaign dress as worn with the British Legion (Dixon)
 (The 16th Light Dragoons will be dealt with in an extra post, because there were more problems to be faced.)

The whole regiment