Chevaux du Roi

Back to the 1/72 scale horse and musket era, so that means, ah, horses. Not just any old horses. Horse Grenadier horses!

If these equines are familiar it will be because I painted the same very recently as Strelets’ British / Saxon Cavalry from the War of the Spanish Succession era. Strelets have used the same horse sculpts for this French set.

This small herd wear blue-edged white horse cloths as can be seen on the cover French Royal Horse Grenadiers box. Illustrations show double white edges but I’ve gone with painting a single line as I value my sanity.

Box art from Strelets French Royal Horse Grenadiers

Their distinctively-dressed riders are well-advanced in their painting so hopefully should be united with their exotically attired human companions soon.

Campbell’s Cavalrymen #4: The Lincolnshire Yeomanry Officer

I’ve returned to my 54mm scale Yeomanry Cavalry project by tackling a figure representing an officer of the Lincolnshire Yeomanry.

Various Lincolnshire small and independent troops were raised in 1794, becoming eventually the single North Lincoln Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry until it was disbanded in 1847. The county was then without a yeomanry regiment until the “Lincolnshire Imperial Yeomanry” was raised in 1901 following a call for volunteers to serve in the Imperial Yeomanry in the Boer War. The nominated regimental commander was the Earl of Yarborough.

The full-dress uniform the regiment adopted was that of a lancer regiment, Lincolnshire being one of five newly-raised, post-1900 yeomanry regiments to adopt this pattern of uniform (see my East Riding of Yorkshire and Surrey figures as being among the others). It is this full-dress uniform that Chota Sahib have depicted.

Previous yeomen in the project have been manufactured by Dorset Metal Model Soldiers, Mitrecap, Tradition and Ensign Miniatures. My Lincolnshire yeoman figure is by Chota Sahib, the very first that I’ve painted from this manufacturer who produced (so far as I’m aware) at least six yeomanry figures in this scale.

I did visit the Museum of Lincolnshire life in Lincoln some years back and, though the memory fades since 2014, I don’t recall any yeomanry in their military gallery, although I understand it must have been there. Instead, I relied on a postcard and some some books already in my collection, including the plate below by Edmund A. Campbell taken from R.G. Harris’ “Fifty Years of Yeomanry Uniforms”. Harris provides a good description of the uniform in question.

It’s most likely that Campbell’s illustration directly influenced the Chota Sahib sculptor as the year and details of both (nearly) match. What’s more, all the other figures in their range also appear in Harris’ book, their Loyal Suffolk Hussars figure being identical in practically every way.

Postcard on the Lincolnshire Yeomanry, part of a series, with an illustration by Bryan Fosten.

I found an extract from an old Chota Sahib catalogue online which had this below image of a painted version of their Lincolnshire Yeomanry officer. From the low-resolution photo I can still tell how beautifully painted it is. The painter has included a white falling plume whereas the Harris/Campbell book and the postcard of the same uniform all agree that the plume by 1911 was green, R.G. Harris confirming that “a silver cockade with green-velvet front carries a green plume of cock’s feathers.” Apparently, a trial-pattern only, full-dress uniform in 1902 did include a white plume, so presumably this influenced the painter.

Figure Y8 from the original Chota Sahib catalogue.

Hidden under that green falling plume is a very nicely sculpted cap plate of white metal carrying “the arms of Lincoln – argent, a cross charged with a Fleur de Lys – surrounded by a laurel wreath and surmounted by a crown. the Regimental title on triple-scrolls below“. All of which seems to have been beautifully sculpted on this figure only for the plume to sadly hide it all away! An image of the cap at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life is available and shown below.

The lance cap is otherwise made of black patent leather (I’ve used glossy black for this), with white panels and silver cord quartering the top.

The lancer cap itself, as with the rest of the Lancer uniform, was apparently based on that of the 17th Lancers. The principal difference presumably being the green rather than dark blue cloth. The green is supposed to be a shade called ‘Lincoln-Green’, “a lighter shade than dark rifleman’s green”. I’ve not fussed as to interpreting what this subtle colour difference could actually mean and simply painted it something that looks green! Both E.A. Campbell’s and Brian Foster’s (below) illustrations seem to look pretty much like rifleman’s green to me!

The plastron is white (a la 17th Lancers) and the pouch belt and pouch is silver for officers. I’ve also picked out in silver the cap lines, the pricker, plate and chain, as well as all the buttons.

Lincolnshire Yeomanry lancer’s tunic in green with white plastron, collar and cuffs the latter two items edged in silver.

The shoulder cords are silver and the edges of the tunic are white as are the flaps to the rear.

The overalls are green with two broad white stripes down each leg.

The girdle around the waist is silver with two scarlet-silk lines within it, although “The Yeomanry Force at the 1911 Coronation” says this is green.

The figure required some gluing, both the arms and the plume were attached separately. No doubt down to my ham-fisted assembly efforts, I was left with a centimetre gap between the scabbard slings. Thankfully, I found some nickel strips which I used to bridge the gap I hope convincingly enough.

Trouble attaching the figure to the plinth has left me with the scabbard hanging a few millimetres high in mid-air rather than rested on the ground but I think it’s barely noticeable. It’s the sort of thing that flock or grass scatter would hide if he wasn’t based on bare wood.

It’s all finished off with the usual engraved plates detailing the regiment (front) and rank / year (rear).

After serving in the First World War, Lincolnshire lost it’s yeomanry regiment once again after it was disbanded in 1920 and the notion of a British lancer uniform in Lincoln Green became history.

I often find myself tinkering and making small improvements to my 54mm painting even after the figure is varnished and based on the plinth. I will probably do the same with this officer too as there are a few small things I still want to attend to. I’m pleased with my first Chota Sahib figure. It’s very very slightly more slender than my other yeomanry figures, but otherwise fits in very well.

I’ve also been working on my more familiar 1/72 scale lately. More on that soon!

Officer of the Lincolnshire Yeomanry photographed at the 1911 Coronation wearing his Full Dress uniform with green feather plume.

Straw Horse

It’s that time again. In 2019 we entered a local scarecrow festival by submitting an entry we named Queen Vicstrawia and her Grainadier Guard.

The following year was scuttled by the Covid-19 pandemic but this year it has returned with the added change that our recent house move to the village have made us bona-fide locals. This year’s theme was broad – books! Our idea and its pun title was courtesy of my daughter who suggested we do a version of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse – Straw Horse!

Suburban Militarism: from 1:72 scale to (almost) 1:1 scale, I do it all…

After much prevaricating over what to do this year, we didn’t leave ourselves much time and so were up against it, timewise. Dividing roles, my equestrian wife and daughter attended to the ‘horse’ while I attended to the ‘war’ and set to work making an early WWI cavalryman of the Royal Devon Yeomanry.

A man of the North Somerset Yeomanry of the First World War. Photo courtesy of Yorkshire Tyke.

A child’s second hand WWI costume was secured on an auction site which gave me the basis for the soldier and a cheap roll of fake leather purchased. For the cap, I took the ridiculously oversized peak in a trifle (don’t these children’s party costume people care about historical accuracy?). I then stapled a little faux-leather strip around the band and purchased a badly worn 1st Royal Dragoons cap badge from eBay for just a pound. Cutting a hole in the front of the fancy dress cap, the thing began to look a tiny bit more realistic.

The printed bandolier on the costume just wouldn’t do for me, of course. So, with limited time I set about making my own. Using some more of that faux-leather, I wrapped some Kellogg’s Variety Pack mini-cereal boxes (other brands are available) in more of this material and glued them to a leather belt of mine which I widened using more faux-fabric. Some spare buttons were found and something (very, very) vaguely bandolier-like was created.

Next, it was time for the straw. We secured a spare bale courtesy of our friend whose stable block is home to our (real) horse. Festival rules stipulated that straw must be used in the construction but I fear I got carried away and somewhat over-stuffed my well-fed yeomanry trooper…

My old trusted combination from 2019 – Paper Mache and balloon – came in handy to make the head which would go on to have details added by my daughter:

Some spare costume hair in storage came in useful, though I doubt he would pass parade without being given a dressing down by his NCO to ‘get your bloody hair cut!” Some sturdy wooden posts made him stand to attention. From the stables, some old and well-worn leather gloves, half-chaps and riding boots were kindly donated to complete his cavalryman’s uniform.

As stated, the horse was mostly the creation of my two ladies and I think it looked magnificent for such a large and ambitious ‘scarecrow’ put together in such a short time. Some old leather tack was added to his muzzle and the last of the ubiquitous faux-leather made for the saddle. Much of “Joey the War Horse” consisted of brown fleece, some chicken wire and the remains of the straw bale on top of our ironing board. Finally, as a finishing touch, some WWI propaganda posters and fake barbed wire were put up and Scarecrow Number 53 was ready!

The three-day festival was astonishingly well-attended and at one point ‘Straw Horse’ met ‘more horse’ as Mrs Marvin (on Woody) and other friends paid us a visit from their stables just down the road.

Our display gets a visit from Mrs Marvin, Woody and friends.

Needless to say, we didn’t win (given the number and astonishing quality of the entrants, hardly a surprise!) but much fun was had once again, nonetheless. In the meantime, I certainly haven’t neglected smaller scale military modelling and will be sharing my more miniature efforts soon.

Plastic Battlefields: Esci’s Adventures in History

Looking through a few more of my old photographs recently I found some birthday snaps from my childhood, in the background of which featured (not unsurprisingly) some model soldiers.

A happy boy with his birthday pressies.

I see on the photo above a box featuring an Asterix the Gaul figurine and “Crossbows and Catapults” – a delightfully destructive game literally played with said weapons in order destroy the opposition’s wall. What particularly interested me though was the large box in the background which I can see is an Historic Battle Game by Italian 1/72 figure manufacturer Esci.

Historic Battle Game – “Isandhlwana”

This “Isandhlwana” box was one of the first in series of these historic battle boxes they produced.

Esci Zulu War. Isandhlwsna Battle Set. Like Airfix.  African, British Warriors
A clearer view of the box.

First produced in 1984, the set included the equivalent of 2 boxes each of their Zulu War British infantry and Zulu Warriors. Also included within was this plastic moulded battlefield with part of Isandlwana mountain included (it came with the mountain top sliced off so as to fit in the box). My own box, I note, was actually one of the rarer first editions featuring C.E. Fripp’s famous painting of the battle filling the entirety of the box lid, so I guess this birthday may well date from 1984, the year of its release.

I don’t think I ever turned the plastic battlefield into a full diorama and the vacu-formed base was just too flimsy to use without gluing the figures directly into place. I did, nevertheless, have immense fun with their terrific figures, setting up diorama re-fights on anything from tables to carpets. I wonder if anyone did attempt a full diorama using the figures and the base provided?

But that wasn’t all. I found another photograph, presumably from Christmas Day given the party hat, with another of these Esci boxes secreted in the background.

Clearly quite taken with my new Silver Reed 500 typewriter (I had novelist pretensions), my present stash is in the background. If you can avert your eyes from my truly shocking jumper, you will note also there is Britains soldiers box too!

This other Esci box, I can just make out showing “Waterloo 1815”. There were two of these Waterloo sets, one for the Infantry and the other, as appears here, for the cavalry and artillery.

PSR tells me that this set was released in 1985, so this is possibly be a year later at least than the previous pic. This box included Scots Greys, Imperial Guard, battlefield accessories (abatis, barrels, etc) and another vacu-formed base.

Adventures in history! They certainly were for this boy.

A wry PSR reports that “The leaflet is particularly hilarious, however. Not only does it somewhat mangle the English language, as they all do, but the author repeatedly fails to understand the difference between English and British. At one stage he even states the Scots Greys were part of the English cavalry, an ignorance likely to infuriate any Scotsman of the time or since!

Furthermore, the Scots Greys and Imperial Guard did not, in reality, encounter each other on the battlefield that day, making the dramatic box artwork superfluous. It didn’t matter, boyhood imagination made for far more preposterous encounters than that between the Old Guard and the Scots Greys.

Plastic Soldier Review has a fascinating review of this series of battlefield boxes which eventually expanded to include;

  • 501 – Isandhlwana 1879
  • 502 – Waterloo 1815 – The Infantry
  • 503 – Balaclava 1854
  • 504 – Gettysburg 1863
  • 505 – Waterloo 1815 – The Cavalry and the Artillery
  • 506 – Rorke’s Drift 1879
  • 507 – Hadrian’s Wall CLXV AC
  • 508 – Austerlitz 1805
  • 509 – Jena 1806
  • 510 – Salamanca 1812
  • 511 – Hamburger Hill 1968
  • 512 – Quatre Bras 1815
  • 513 – Borodino 1812
  • 514 – Khyber Pass 1879
  • 515 – Sidi Bel Abbes 1912

Historical accuracy of the battlefields was often low (Salamanca 1812 uses the exact same base as for Rorke’s Drift 1879 for example!) and the idea was mainly to push a group of figures which were already available separately. Regardless, the figures were always very nicely sculpted and the range for plastic 1/72 figures expanded massively under Esci, making them accessible for young lads such as myself for whom owning masses of metal figures then available was not really possible.

One final photo which I may have shown before on this blog. A birthday cake featuring a chocolate cake Fort Zinderneuf complete with Cadbury Fingers for gates and topped with two Britains French Foreign Legionnaires (the officer is partially hidden behind the French flag).

Look at that happy 10-year old face!

Fort Gâteau-Dix.

Ottomania: More Eyalet Infantry

Another batch of Ottoman Turkish Eyalet Infantry by Red Box. The last bunch were armed with muskets. This group wield edged weapons; halberds and scimitars.

These are the five edged weapons in the set which just leaves me the ‘command’ group so far not attempted.

A quick glance at the individual figures:

I’ve added some basic decoration to some of the shields:

The same kind of basing idea allows them to fit nicely with my last cohort of musketeers.

The Ottomania project allows me to simply add a little more whenever I fancy and the army is growing slowly but steadily over time. With these irregular troops my Ottomania infantry arm is really starting to expand.

The Eyalets were basically administrative units of the Ottoman empire and there were as many as 42, with new ones established or founded and old ones being discarded at various times over the centuries. There was an order of precedence for these provinces;

“At official functions, the order of precedence was Egypt, Baghdad, Abyssinia, Buda, Anatolia, “Mera’ish”, and the Capitan Pasha in Asia and Buda, Egypt, Abyssinia, Baghdad, and Rumelia in Europe, with the remainder arranged according to the chronological order of their conquest.”

The list below gives an indication to the huge extent of the empire and the range of peoples, traditions and cultures which it spanned. I suppose, I could even nominate a specific eyalet for each of my two groups to differentiate them.

Eyalet Name
Habesh Eyalet (Abyssinia)
Adana Eyalet
Archipelago
Aleppo Eyalet
Algiers Eyalet
Anatolia Eyalet
Baghdad Eyalet
Basra Eyalet
Bosnia Eyalet
Budin Eyalet (Buda)
Childir Eyalet
Crete Eyalet
Diyarbekir Eyalet
Dulkadir Eyalet
Eger Eyalet
Egypt Eyalet
Erzurum Eyalet
Al-Hasa Eyalet
Kefe Eyalet (Theodosia)
Kanizsa Eyalet
Karaman Eyalet
Kars Eyalet
Kıbrış Eyalet
Morea Eyalet
Mosul Eyalet
Podolia Eyalet
Ar-Raqqah
Rumelia Eyalet
Shahrizor Eyalet
Sidon Eyalet
Silistria Eyalet
Eyalet of Sivas
Syria Eyalrt
Temeşvar Eyalet
Trebizond Eyalet, Lazistan
Tripoli Eyalet (Tripoli-in-the-East)
Tripolitania Eyalet (Tripoli-in-the-West)
Tunis Eyalet
Uyvar Eyalet
Van Eyalet
Varad Eyalet
Yemen Eyalet

Ottomania: Eyâlet Askerleri

In a return to my Ottomania project, I’ve opened a box of Eyâlet Infantry by Red Box.

So far, I’ve painted some figures representing;

  • Artillery (16th and 17th Centuries)
  • Seige Artillery
  • Mortars
  • Janissaries
  • Sipahi Cavalry

If the Kapikulu were the Sultan’s professional troops, the Eyâlet Askerleri (literally provincial soldiers) were effectively state auxiliaries, raised and equipped by their regional governors. They were not as well-trained or equipped as the Kapikulu askerleri and were consequently mostly responsible for garrison duties, policing and occasional raids or counter-raids. In battle, the assumption is that tactics would be limited to simple charging assaults, or perhaps adding manpower to, for example, the support of siege activity.

Being auxiliaries, their dress reflected the regions and cultures in which they were raised, so their dress could be varied though the turban abounded.

The weapons likewise could be varied with archers, musketeers and edged weapons being used. The popularity of each weapon depended on the era, with muskets becoming increasingly popular as the 18th century approached.

I don’t know whether the Eyâlet infantry would have fought in groups of musketeers, but I’ve assumed they might. They were less well trained and maximising their firepower would have made sense.

This little vignette is of a group of musketeers, variously loading and firing their (presumably) matchlocks. My intention is to use the rest of the figures on the sprue in similar small groups of either archers or edged weapons.

Slowly but surely my Ottomanian army grows!

The Poinsettian Rifles

It’s high summer here in the UK, but perversely I’ve been painting another edition of my Christmas-themed Army of Advent. I felt my Advent infantry corps could use some Jäger marksmen and sourced some from Hagen Miniatures of Germany. This is a group of German Jäger from 1750-1780 in Austrian service.

It’s a nice little group, the ‘hunters’ variously loading, aiming or firing their rifles at their targets. One rifleman has discarded his tricorne and appears to have a longer musket rather than a shorter rifle. This is clearly deliberate by the sculptor and I wonder if there is a reason for this?

For a Christmas theme, I decided on the Poinsettia, a large red flower with deep green leaves. In the USA in particular, and elsewhere, the Poinsettia is associated with Christmas and used in decorations.

And so, the Poinsettian Rifles were born. I thought that their uniform should reflect the plant and so I’ve given them an appropriately riflemen green uniform to reflect the leaves of the Poinsettia.

The flower’s red appears in their waistcoats and breeches.

As a final flourish, the men sport a Poinsettia in their tricornes.

As with the rest of the Army of Advent, they find themselves in ankle-deep in snow.

There are seven figures in total, so I may as well show them all:





The intention is for them to stand decorative guard over the Christmas season and, as with all the other Adventian regiments, they’ll need a plinth to stand on. This I am working on (plaque, paint and varnishing needed) and will present when December arrives in…ah… around four months time!

A Saxon Infantry Brigade

As promised in my last post, I present my entire Lace Wars Saxon infantry brigade.

Below are the Kurprinz Regiment (yellow flag and facings).

To their right are Martiniere’s Grenadiers in the centre of the line.

Next are the elite Polish Guards with their white facings and red hat lace:

To their rear, Zeitz’s Regiment with their distinctive olive green facings:

Reuss’ Regiment of infantry with their light blue distinctions:

And finally, the smaller formation which is Hayn’s Grenadier Battalion.

Well, that’s enough of the Saxon infantry regiments for now. I’ll be moving on to something a little different which I intend to post on shortly.

Saxony Soldiers VIII

A short post this to announce that my final infantry regiment in my Lace Wars Saxon Army by Mars is complete. A smaller group, Hayn’s Grenadier Battalion has red facings and mitres.

Family photo: Hayn’s Grenadier Battalion

The usual flag bearer and officers accompany 9 grenadiers.

With all six of my regiments now complete, I’ll very shortly be posting the whole infantry brigade together which I think comes to over 90 figures.

Suburban Militarism is on Holiday…

The Suburban Militarism holiday postcard featuring my avatar (Sergeant-Major Lejaune from Beau Geste) on a beach is a tradition going back a few years now (2020 was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic). See below for previous postcards: