Friday, 31 August 2012

Régiment de Soissonois

Régiment de Soissonois (2 battalions)
This regiment, consisting of two battalions, came with the expeditionary force of Compte de Rochambeau directly from France. As the new uniform regulations of 1779 were just one year old, the regiment departed for America partly in their old coats. They were replaced or re-tailored at Newport and on the march south.
New uniform (1779 regulation)
Old uniform (1776 regulation)
So I clothed my regiment in the new uniforms, using Perry figures, and some companies in the old 1776 outfit, using Front Rank miniatures.
Grenadier company
Grenadiers (with epaulettes)

The grenadiers of this regiment did not give up their red fringed epaulettes, nor their bearskin caps. Experience might have taught them, that these items made more impression on the opposite sex. The epaulettes I achieved with some modelling stuff.  Not so tedious with a company of just four figures.
Drummers wore coats in the King's blue, adorned with Royal lace. This I tried to imitate with white lines dotted red.
King's Colours (drapeau de colonel)
French colours are not difficult to obtain: It is not really difficult to paint the white cross on a sheet of thin metal (e.g. from an old wine bottle) measuring 3 by 3 cm, and add the red and black of the regimental colour, the design being geometric.
Regimental colours (drapeau d'ordonnance)
The colour scheme of the regimental flag is a bit of a controversy: Some depict the first quarter as black over red, others as red over black (as my colours show). The latter is favoured by French sources. So I followed them.
The heads of the flags are Front Rank, the poles steel wire cut to the appropriate length.
Colonel Marquis de St Maime
Chasseurs (light company)

Saturday, 18 August 2012

French artillery reinforcements

This is not really a new post. It just slumbered in the archives to be published now.
After I had seen Perry's new French artillery figures I was sure I would have to reinforce my French artillery arm. Having read John D. Grainger's "The Battle of Yorktown, 1781. A Reassessment" I decided on two 24pounders manned by a crew of 6 each and a 12pdr cannon with 4 artillerymen.
24pdr siege gun
The figures turned out to be nicely sculpted and interesting in their poses. I especially like the officer pointing with his cane.
Heavy 24pdr being set by crew with handspikes
Painting them posed no big difficulties as their uniform is well known, and the French Army did me the favour not to change things too much in the field. The gaiters I painted white, though black ones were worn in winter and would have been more practical working the greasy pieces. But that is a rather bourgeois kind of attitude becoming the 19th century. And White was the King's colour, after all.
Firing a "Swedish" 4pdr

Old fashioned 4pdr field gun

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Field Forge (no 2)

I don't know who they are. Originally they were Napoleonic British farriers/blacksmiths by Perry. Now, after some alterations of headgear and hairstyle, they might be British or Rebel smiths, wearing rather civilian looking working clothes (which befit blacksmiths at work).
The only uniform-like equipment being their field-caps which might have been tailored from old coats. Blue and red not really telling which uniform they were taken from.
The greyish blue colour of the field forge could indicate a British unit. But the forge could also be booty of war.
Does anybody of you know how to identify them?

Friday, 10 August 2012

Forge de Campagne model 1770

When I discovered the Perry model of a French Napoleonic field forge in the internet I decided that my French artillery had to have one.

Perry Napoleonic Field Forge (FN 151)
Assembling the model proved quite a challenge to my poor eyes and fingers (I am 78). But the illustrated instructions were very helpful indeed.
Perry Instructions

Studying the sources (again on the internet), I realised that the beam for working the bellows was fixed on the side of the traverse:
The traverse from a Gribeauval illustration
The assembled model
This does make sense since the beam hangs diagonally between the centre of the back end of the bellows and the man standing beside the forge working them. So I didn't follow the instructive Perry picture for assembling the model in this detail.
Of course I had to adopt it to my period, i. e. the hussars had to go to the scrap box (a pity), and the man working the bellows had to become a 1780 artilleryman. A bit of carving, filing and sculpting had to be done, giving him a French field cap, a queue, a leather apron, and changing the length of his waistcoat.
And of course I lacked a blacksmith working at the anvil. As I couldn't find one I had to try sculpting. The result is not what you would call satisfying, but will have to suffice.
I added a sack of charcoal and a water bucket.  About the extra sack I am not sure, Perhaps the charcoal was kept in the box on the ground which for transport is put on the carriage in front of the furnace. But water is essential for quenching the hot iron.
I put the limber on an extra base, since the forge was normally unlimbered when working. The two haltered horses are casts which I was given by my wargaming pal Horst.
So the forge is now ready for repairs of the French artillery park.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

1st BTN Royal Highland Emigrants

When planning to have a Highland regiment I decided to paint the 84th Regiment of Foot, the Royal Highland Emigrants because they stuck to their Highland gear throughout the war. Besides, its two battalions operated separately. So that reduced the number of figures to be painted.
As figures I chose the Perry kilted Highlanders. Unfortunately the rank and file of this brand do not have broadswords, dirks and Highland pistols . This may be correct for the 42nd, but the American Highlanders were more traditionally minded. Some even brought their own Scottish weapons. I had first thought to engrave pistols, dirks and broadswords, and glue the casts to the figures.  But then I gave up that plan because the broadswords could not be added without completely changing the folds of the plaids. So I hope you do not have too close a look at my soldiers.

von Germann Sketch
According to the Karl E. von Romann sketch of the "Regiment Bergschotten", the regiment wore the Government tartan with a red overstripe. I reserved this stripe for the grenadiers. In painting, I of course simplified the Government Sett. The pattern painted was just to give the impression of this tartan. I achieved the result by first painting the plaids in a dark grey shade, and then criss-crossed this with dark green  stripes. The remaining grey squares I then painted with a dot of blue. And finally the green stripes were bordered with thin black lines, and the fields where the green lines crossed, were coloured with a lighter green. It was quite some eye-straining bit of work - but the effect is not too bad, I think. In short: I am quite proud of my job.
For the piper I decided to have him clad in the tartan of the commanding officer, the MacLean of Duart sett.
MacLean of Duart Tartan (ancient)
This may be historically incorrect as the only source for a piper's uniform of the period, the Minorca painting of a piper of the 25th, depicts the musician in a plaid of government sett.
Piper of Minorca Painting
However, I wanted to have some variation.  And it is possible that pipers were not officially part of the regiment, but supplemented by the commanding officer.
This is also the reason why the piper of my grenadier officer wears a plaid with the MacDonald Clan tartan presuming that the officer was of that clan. (This figure is a modified Redoubt product.)
The colonel on horseback is a 30mm Jacdaw figure, seated on a Front Rank horse. He is thought to represent Lt Colonel Allan Maclean, the commander of the 1st battalion.
As the name says, the Royal Highland Emigrants were a royal regiment. That means that their musicians did not wear coats with reversed colours, but red coats faced blue, adorned with Royal lace. This too was quite some task in painting: first adding a yellow stripe, and then a blue centre line with a very thin brush.
As far as hair colour is concerned I relied on a study of 7000 adult males and half a million schoolchildren which delivered the following results: Black hair 0-8 % by counties; dark brown hair 38%; medium to light brown shade 42% (the most numerous); fair hair 11%; red hair 5%. I painted the hair of my soldiers accordingly.

And here are some pictures of my battalion:
1st Btn 84th Regiment of Foot
Lt. Col. Allan Maclean

The colours
Officer

Musicians
Piper
Drummer
Grenadiers
Rank and File
Rear View
Light Company