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!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Portuguese 6th Porto Cacadores

The last of the early Cacadore regiments, and the second to last unit of this project, the 6th Cacadores were distinguished from the more famous 3rd by their yellow collars:

They formed part of Campbell's brigade at Bussaco, and were with Ashworth at Fuentes de Onoro, Vittoria and the battle of the Nivelle:

That's all six early Cacadore battalions now completed, for a total of 120 figures in all.

I now just have to complete one battalion of the Loyal Lusitanian Legion, which I am hoping to have done by New Year's, and that should be it for this particular project.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Portuguese 3rd Villa Real Cacadores

The fifth and penultimate Cacadore regiment, the 3rd was probably the most famous of the Cacadore regiments beside the 1st:

These two regiments spent most of the war operating alongside each other and were an important element of the elite British Light division at Bussaco, Fuentes de Onoro, Salamanca, Vittoria and beyond, which meant that they were consequently usually heavily engaged:

The yellow cuffs and brown collars distinguish them from the 6th, which had yellow collars and cuffs and is the last Cacadore regiment I have to complete:

That should leave me with just enough figures for one battalion of the Loyal Lusitanian Legion, and I must confess that I am looking forward to being able to put away the browns and paint a few figures in green for a welcome change.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Portuguese 5th Campo Mayor Cacadores

The second of the Portuguese early war Cacadore regiments with red facings, the 5th saw action at Albuera, Salamanca and Vittoria, and also the battle of the Nivelle where they do not appear to have been heavily engaged from the returns published in Oman:

The only difference between the 2nd and 5th regiments was that the former had a brown collar while the latter had red, with both carrying red cuffs:

I used the Front Rank skirmishing figures for these which consist of five different poses, not counting the command figures, so there is a little bit of variety in there to keep me entertained:

That's four battalions completed, with the last two to be hopefully finished before Christmas: