Wednesday, 24 May 2017

French 88th Line Regiment

My pace has slowed a little over the past month due to a combination of work and family commitments, plus some assignments that have fallen due as part of the second year of a law degree that I decided to take up last year for the sake of something a little different. I have however managed to complete the 88th Ligne which is the last of the line regiments that formed part of Girard's division at Albuera, alongside the 34th, 40th and 64th:


















The grenadiers in this regiment apparently wore the bearskin caps, so it was a good opportunity to include some of these instead of the usual shako-wearing figures:


















These are the Perry-sculpted Foundry advancing figures which are nicely detailed, although there were a few "chunks" at the back of the right arms on a few that were a little too difficult to cut out in some cases, but luckily the French dark blue obscures most of this quite nicely.


That's five regiments or ten battalions completed, so not bad progress for the year so far:


















I have a couple more on the painting table so might get those out of the way, and then get stuck into some English Civil War foot regiments I spent a day prepping a couple of weekends ago for a change of pace.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

French 64th Line Regiment

The next French regiment completed, the 64th Line were present in Girard's division at Albuera alongside the 34th, 40th and 88th Line:


















Since I have already completed the first two regiments, and have the 88th on the painting table at the moment, I have just realised that at some stage it must have been my plan to put together the first division, especially given that Albuera is one of my favourite Napoleonic battles. I can't remember actually deciding upon this which is slightly worrying, and have simply been painting the regiments according to the GMB flags that have been sitting in a drawer for the last six or seven years:


















I put some of the Foundry "under-fire" figures, which thankfully I could remember having purchased some twelve years ago, into the second battalion to provide a bit of variety:


















I really like these figures and they are nicely animated, even if the one second from the left looks like he has slipped on something unpleasant:


















That's four regiments now finished, with the 88th hopefully to be completed before the end of the month.

Monday, 6 March 2017

French 58th Line Regiment

Another two battalions completed, this time the 58th line and again the Perry-sculpted Foundry figures in march attack pose:


















I am much happier with having trimmed the length of the flagpole for this regiment as it doesn't look anywhere near as unwieldy. According to the Terence Wise Osprey the French staves were two metres in length whereas these would now be roughly around four metres (when compared to relative height of the flag-bearer), but I think it looks about right especially with regard to accommodating the GMB flag:


















Even after having completed one hundred and twenty or so, the Foundry figures still seem on the smaller end of the 28mm continuum, which I suppose was always going to be the case after having completed two armies comprised mainly of Front Rank figures. The detail is most definitely there however to the extent that the relief on things such as cross-belts in the picture below are actually more a result of the sculpting and shadows under light than my actual painting efforts:


















I am also putting a white disk on the pom-poms of fusiliers in the second battalion. I have read conflicting reports as to the accuracy of this, but I think I'll stick with it for the period of (roughly) 1809-1812 I am currently aiming at:


















That's three regiments comprised of six battalions done, which is not a bad start to the year. I think I'll probably do one more two-battalion regiment and switch to something else. I spent a fruitless hour last week looking for my Murawski Badeners, and am hoping I'll be able to find them soon.

Friday, 10 February 2017

French 40th Line Regiment

Another two battalions completed, this time the 40th Line Regiment:


















These were also present along with the 34th at Arroyo dos Molinos where they suffered heavy casualties, and were similarly brigaded with them at Albuera and much later in defending the crossing of the Nivelle.


















I have used a mixture of the Foundry French firing, loading, and "at the ready" figures in an attempt to give the impression of a unit that is engaged with the enemy:


















One problem I have found with the Foundry figures is that the eagle standard was too small to accommodate a GMB flag, so ordered some eagles and poles from Front Rank. This is their standard pole which looks just fine on my Front Rank figures, but perhaps could have done with a trim for the slightly smaller Foundry French:


















I have also found I have to be a little more careful with the Foundry bayonets, having snapped off a couple when I dropped them, but am enjoying the change and will hopefully manage a couple more regiments over the coming month or so.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

French 34th Line Regiment

After having completed the Spanish and Portuguese 28mm armies I thought I had better have a go at some French. I have had a pile of Foundry 28mm French I purchased in 2003 so I thought I'd start with them, and the 34th Ligne:


















These are lovely figures which is not surprising as they were sculpted by the Perry twins, and the quality is certainly there to see, although they do feel on the smaller side after having painted primarily Front Rank for the past couple of years. I especially like the expression on some of the figures:


















The 34th Ligne had a number of uniform variations, including the colour of the voltiguer epaulettes which had a red crescent instead of the more usual yellow, which was obviously just a matter of the paint used:


















The officer shako however sported a large tricolore rosette instead of the shako plate, but rather than try to hack this around I simply went with the latter:



The 34th were engaged throughout most of the Peninsular including Albuera where 2 battalions were heavily engaged against the more than capable Reales Guardias Espanolas, and at Arroyo dos Molinos were three battalions were quite severely mauled by a force under the command of Rowland Hill. In spite of this they managed to hang on to their Eagles, in this case shown with a GMB flag for the 34th, much to Soult's relief:


















My plan is to work my way through my Foundry pile first, with around two battalions to each regiment, before I move on to some Bardin-uniformed Perry and Calpe French I have waiting. I also hope to take a few detours into some allied troops along the way, so am hopeful there will be enough variety there to maintain my interest levels.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

28mm Portuguese Army

Just a few pictures to mark the end of this project, with a group shot of the assembled army:


















The Front Rank figures were a joy to paint as usual. I am happy I went with the barretina as this accords more with my mental image of Napoleonic Portuguese troops, even though these were pretty much all replaced with the British-supplied stovepipe by 1811, a year before the British started replacing the stovepipe with their version of the barretina with what would come to be known as the Belgic shako:


















I have always found this ironical and have often wondered if the Portuguese felt a little annoyed that the British were ultimately wandering around in headgear based upon their own barretina design, while they were sent the abandoned stovepipes:


















I remember some early army lists I had read portrayed the Portuguese as solid, if unspectacular, troops but it is interesting reading Oman and others to see how much they were relied upon by Wellington. Indeed, he was one of their early advocates and I can recall a letter from him to one of his subordinates after Bussaco stating how pleased he was with their performance.

This is reflected in many of the order of battles where one can see that the Portuguese were initially distributed among the English brigades, to then be reformed in their own separate and at times independent brigades. It is quite enjoyable reading some of the accounts of the fragmented skirmishes and smaller battles in Northern Spain and the Pyrenees, and there are many accounts of how well the Portuguese and, in particular, the Cacadores performed during this time:


















GMB remain my flags of choice and provides a nice touch of colour to the army, in particular the regimental colour of white, red or yellow, dependent upon which division they were nominally allocated to:
The line battalions are probably a little large and, in retrospect, I could have done them as smaller units and placed both the King's and regimental colours on the same command stand, but on the basis that I can cut these down if necessary I decided to stick with two battalion regiments of twenty figures each:


I was quite happy with the Foundry British artillery colour for gun carriages pieces, in that it provides a nice soft grey with just a hint of blue:


















I probably haven't done enough command stands with six in all, but can always augment them with a few British when I get around to completing the latter. I know I have a Beresford figure buried in the lead pile somewhere:


















In total then, the army is comprised of the following:

20 line battalions of 20 figures each
6 Cacadore battalions of 20 figures
1 Loyal Lusitanian Light battalion of 20 figures
3 cavalry regiments of 12 figures each
6 artillery pieces with four figures each
6 command stands

Which provides a total of 611 figures, 44 horses and 6 artillery pieces:


















I'm still trying to decide what to do next - I have some lovely Empress Miniatures English Civil War I wouldn't mind attempting for something different, but suspect it will be some old Perry-sculpted Foundry French I have had lying around for the best part of twelve years. I have always had a bit of a blank-spot when it comes to painting Napoleonic French, so might try and give it a go before any more time slips away.

Besides anything else, it might give me an excuse to segue into some Calpe Saxons and Murawski Badeners along the way.




Saturday, 31 December 2016

Loyal Lusitanian Legion

As I have found to be usual at the end of most of my projects I had a number of surplus figures, in this case twenty or so Portuguese lights. Since I have already completed all six of the early Cacadore regiments the only way I could use them was to put together a battalion from the Loyal Lusitanian Legion, or LLL as they were identified on their brass shako plates:


















There are however two potential inaccuracies in that the lacing on the cuffs was pointed, as opposed to square as was the case with the Cacadore regiments, and it is doubtful that they wore the barretina - being raised and equipped in England they were almost certainly initially outfitted with the stovepipe. However, I can vaguely recall I read somewhere that they were depicted at some stage in Portugal in the barretina, although I can't now recall where I read this or if it might just have been wishful thinking on my part:


















Oman probably does them something of a disservice when he describes them as an "abnormal force", but I suppose what he means is that they were almost a microcosm of an army within an army, nominally comprised as they were of three battalions of infantry with paper strength of a thousand men each, a regiment of cavalry comprised of three squadrons, and a battery of artillery (although it is doubtful whether the cavalry ever reached much more than squadron strength, due to the paucity of horseflesh):


















As many might know the Legion was initially under the command of Sir Robert Wilson, who comes across as an independent adventurer, albeit a man of some capacity and who, it could be imagined, would relish having the three arms in a small mobile force which could strike and then move quickly. It is also not hard to imagine that this would not sit too well with Wellington, and Wilson departed fairly soon after the former's arrival to seek adventure elsewhere.

The Legion would ultimately be absorbed into the regular Portuguese army in the form of the 7th, 8th and 9th Cacadores, although it is interesting to note that the first battalion of the Legion was with Beresford defending the town and bridge at Albuera while the 8th Cacadores were with Wellington at Fuentes de Onoro, which does imply that even as late as mid-1811 the LLL continued to operate concurrently with the units into which they were to be eventually amalgamated.

There is a lot more to the LLL than that, and one book I have on the reading list for 2017 is Lillie and Mayne's book to flesh things out more.


















All things considered it was just nice to paint something in green again and, above all, to have finished the Portuguese army. I'll try to get them all out for a group photo before moving on to the next project. I'm still struggling with that one, and know I need to paint some French, but the call of the Calpe Prussians and Saxons is increasingly hard to resist.

That's one for the New Year though, and I hope everyone who reads this has a happy and successful 2017!