Saxony Soldiers V

Yet another infantry regiment is completed for my Lace Wars Saxon army, the third out of six for the infantry corps (apologies if I’m boring my more regular visitors). The Zeitz Regiment now has its full compliment of officers, musicians and troops.

Now, I say ‘full compliment’ but it seems as though the drummer and fifer – ah – forgot to make parade for the purposes of this photoshoot. Both are up on a charge.

Those who did manage to turn up for parade involve a front rank firing their muskets and another loading.

The flag bearer I displayed in a previous post but as he made the effort to turn up – here he is again with a few extra views. As before, his flag is based on the elite Polish Guards flag but with a green background.

The officers of Zeitz’s Regiment:

I’m already well into painting two of the remaining three regiments and I will share progress when they’re done. In the interim, I’m also pushing on with that Saxon regiment of cuirassiers, Beust’s Regiment, so plenty keeping me occupied with the brush of late. Spring very belatedly seems to have decided to put in an appearance lately, although so late as to be more accurately called early summer. Nevertheless, it is most welcome and when not hiding away from the nice weather painting toy soldiers, I’m out working on my new garden.

Back in the Saddle

I’m back painting cavalry again. The last cavalry I painted were Ottoman Sipahi back in November last year. This is the first cavalry regiment for my Lace Wars armies. The figures I’m using are Strelets new “British Cavalry” of the era 1701 to 1714.

With my 2021 being so focussed upon painting Saxon infantry, I immediately thought about painting them as Saxon cavalry. The Saxon armies infantry and cavalry colours being so similar to British regiments, figures could be easily used interchangeably on the wargaming field of battle. Once again, the glorious Tacitus website has lots of information on Saxon cavalry and after mulling over the options I’ve decided to paint them as Beust’s Regiment of Cuirassiers which had red coats and black distinctions.

I’ve started on the horses first and it felt good to be back painting them again. Strelets horses have not traditionally been rated very highly, their principal problem (I always felt) was that they were too chunky being very over-fed equines with seriously stocky legs. Strelets equine sculpting has certainly improved over the years, I think. These horses are very decent indeed and much better proportioned.

Strelets have mostly sorted the legs out. Always a tricky challenge for the sculptor, these horses are much better proportioned while the gait seems more natural and sensible than inn previous sets. I’m also particularly impressed with the detail on the horse tack, cheek pieces and bits being very clear and detailed.

At the moment, my horses are majority reddish bays but I recall Stokes over at The Grand Duchy of Stollen mentioning some time ago that he had painted the majority of his horses for a regiment as chestnuts because he recalled it being described as the most common horse colour in the Napoleonic era. So, with that in mind, I’m going to make a few changes to some to make the manes lighter or the same colour as the coats (i.e. true chestnuts). I may leave some Bays with dark manes and legs.

The all-important riders are next and again Strelets seem to have done a nice job!

Saxony Soldiers IV

I admit it. I’ve been quietly continuing on with my Mars Saxon infantry. It’s almost a mania.

To cut to the chase, I’ve now completed two of my six regiments – the Kurprinz and the elite Polish Guard. Each regiment consists of 9 troops, 1 NCO, a few officers, a flag bearer and two musicians (a drummer and fifer). The flags are based on the Polish Guard’s flag, featured on and downloadable from the Tacitus website. I’ve reproduced the same flag and given them a different background where appropriate based on the regimental facings.

Flag bearer for the Saxon Zeitz regiment.

The Kurprinz regiment in full:

Two dapper and haughty-looking officers of the Kurprinz Regiment:

Incidentally, I’ve given all the Saxon officers black sashes for no other reason than I liked it!

The full Polish Guard on parade:

Some officers of the Polish Guard:

Musicians of the Polish Guard:

I’ve also been working on a few other command figures for the other regiments:

A couple more regiments are nearly finished – so watch out for them. In other news, I notice that Strelets have been pushing on with their expanding War of the Spanish Succession range. It’s an embarrassment of riches, including

  • French artillery
  • British artillery
  • British dragoons
  • A ‘late war’ British cavalry regiment
  • Four separate boxes of French dragoons in various guises (skirmishing, ‘in reserve’, marching and attacking)
  • French musketeers of the guard
  • French Garde du Corps
  • French Royal Horse Grenadiers

A box of the last one on the list finally arrived this week and the figures look very nice indeed. My collection of troops from the Lace Wars looks set to grow over time!

A little more on ‘The Little Modeller’…

Further to my recent post on an edition of the Victorian-era Illustrated London News, Mark from over at Man of Tin blog has done a little research (nice work, Mark!). After reading through this 1863 newspaper, I had drawn attention to a classified advertisement for “The Little Modeller”, which promoted a ready-to-make model cricket field / model village with coloured engravings.

I was intrigued about the existence of Victorian miniatures and model making, so was delighted when Mark subsequently found a pristine example of this very set (H.G. Clarke and Co’s Saxton Model Village) on a New Zealand museum’s website. The quality of the museum’s photograph is tremendous and the page allows for extreme close-up zooming to see the fine details. It’s a thing of beauty and I urge visitors to go and have a look at the illustrations and composition.

The model’s dimensions are 55cm wide x 25cm high, x 23cm deep. All photography reproduced below is courtesy the Museum of New Zealand / Te Papa Tongarewa reproduced here under a creative commons license – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

It seems to be a kind of early forerunner to the paper soldiers which have been produced with great success recently by Peter Dennis’ Paperboys range of paper soldiers and landscapes.

Detailed view of the train station.
Detailed view of livestock and country folk.

The publisher even manages a little miniature self-advertisement “H.G. Clarke Magic Toymaker, 232 The Strand.” Clarke’s old headquarters address today is a c.1900 building called Thanet House situated opposite The Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Detailed view of the hotel and theatre with Victorian transport.

They remind me a little of the BBC Paddington animations from the 1970s produced by Film Fair with their finely drawn 2D figures. I’d be very interested to see Clarke and Co’s cricket field too!

April’s Painting Challenge: Saxony Soldiers III

Before this blog went quiet, I had just finished some more figures for the Neglected but not Forgotten challenge, and I’ve continued with these Saxon Great Northern War figures in the meantime. I’ve enjoyed building an army and seem maniacally committed to keep on going. To date I have painted figures representing the:

Ann has posted a fabulous roundup of the various submissions for this challenge and I urge visitors to check it out here!

Since I’ve been away, Ann also launched into Second Annual “Paint the Crap You Already Own!” Painting and Hobby Challenge for the month of April. Utterly boringly I’ll be submitting… yes, more Saxons! They fit the rules of the challenge and – quite frankly – it’s been all I’ve been able to paint during the month of April anyway. So, with apologies, this is what I’ve been busy doing:

Command and musicians for the Kurprinz Regiment

The command figures (which I’ll repeat for each regiment) features an officer with a halberd, an officer with a cane, a Senior officer with riding boots, an NCO, an ensign with flag, and two musicians (a drummer and a fifer).

Although both musicians are finished, I might yet add some crest design to the drums for all the drummers.

The ensign came with a sculpted flag. Trying to paint sculpted flags with ornate and intricate designs is likely to lead to disappointment! So, I’ve cut it off and replaced it with a printed alternative. The flag itself is directly downloadable for free from the wonderful Tacitus website, it is a trifle – ah – too large it being intended for 40mm, not 20mm, figures but it fitted nicely on the flag pole without any scaling so I’m sticking to it.

Command and musicians for The Polish Guard

I also painted some command figures and musicians for a new regiment, the elite Polish Guard (later named the 1st Guards Regiment). The Elector of Saxony, Friedrich Augustus I also became King of Poland and this was reflected in his two prestigious Guards regiments; The Polish Guard and The Saxon Guard.

I did a little shenanigans here, repainting five of my original Zeitz Regiment figures as Polish Guards with white cuffs and red hat lace.

Zeitz’s Regiment… again!

So, I then painted some new figures to replace the ones in the Zeitz Regiment which were now Polish Guards and added more too. Ten Zeitz figures now painted, the Zeitz Regiment is just awaiting it’s quota of command figures and musicians to be completed.

The Zeitz Regiment firing line features some men firing remarkably high. Perhaps they are shooting uphill or at ramparts? It might even be a salute over the grave of a fallen comrade…

Reuss’ Regiment

Finally, the last regiment I’ve raised is Reuss’ Regiment. They are distinguished by pale blue facings and so far consist of finished a kneeling firing line, an officer, a drummer and a fifer. Once again, the Saxons seem to be firing high – no wonder the Swedes beat them. To offset this a little, I’ve tilted them forward on their bases slightly.

A box of previously untouched figures has now grown steadily into a fully painted army from the Great Northern War numbering nearly 50 figures. And it’s still growing. The great thing about challenges like Ann’s is that it provides the kind of impetus needed to get things painted and brought to life.

The Discomforts of Moving

Suburban Militarism is back online – at last! In the past few weeks, without any internet, I’ve been rediscovering what I once did in the 1980s for entertainment. Reading, mostly. Board games. Watching free-to-air television. Taking a walk outside and also down memory lane with all the boxes of stuff that I brought with me. And eventually managed to locate my paints and brushes to get painting some figures again. More on that in the next post.

One of the tasks I’ve enjoyed doing is setting up my new “hobby room / office” (note the order of naming importance). I’ve fixed some pictures to the walls already including my Bob Marrion yeomanry prints and a framed cutting from the Illustrated London News (see my post Relics of the Norfolk Light Horse for more on this). This framed newspaper illustration was sparked from an idea by Mark at Man of Tin when he shared a photo showing something similar hanging over his painting bureau. My own piece of Victorian newsprint now which now hangs above my office desk. In this new position, I’ve been able to examine it more frequently and in more detail, which had got me thinking…

The print shows the “Review of the Norfolk Volunteers on Mousehold Heath. Lady Suffield presenting prizes won at the Norfolk Rifle Association Meeting” and enticingly held out the suggestion of their being further information (see next page). Of course, I don’t have the next page, just the engraved illustration itself. So I wondered if it was possible to find out more. Thankfully the internet – acting in the nice, positive and open way which it was originally conceived of to do – provided me with all the information!

Here is the news… Saturday, September 26, 1863.

The very wonderful and free Internet Archive has fully scanned copies of the Illustrated London News, including the specific edition that I required – Saturday, Sept 26th 1863.

The article in question had much to say about the events on Mousehold Heath near Norwich, these being rifle shooting competions which started on the 7th September 1863 and lasted for five days. Much of the article covered in patient detail all the various competitions, the prizes, the marks scored and names of winning competitors. The prestigious championship of Norfolk went to Corporal Wilshak (Great Yarmouth Rifle Volunteer Corps), beating Private Richardson (Fakenham RVC) and the aptly named Corporal Gunn (4th Norwich RVC).

Contemporary prints of the Norfolk Light Horse from W.Y. Carman’s “Light Horse and Mounted Rifle Volunteers”.

To modern eyes, the journalist presents a notably dry account of proceedings, mostly being facts, names and statistics and lacking any colour in describing details of the spectacle, the weather, the personalities and the crowds. The largely factual approach, however, at least has the advantage that the event pictured in my illustration has light thrown upon it by the paper’s fastidious correspondent who very helpfully lists all the units involved in some detail. The prize-giving ceremony he reports taking place on “Tuesday week”, so actually on the 22nd September 1863. The following volunteer corps that were ‘assembled on the occasion’ included:-

  • 1st Norfolk Rifle Volunteers (408 men)
  • 2nd Norfolk ” ” (316)
  • Norwich ” ” (339)
  • Yarmouth Artillery (194)
  • Yarmouth Rifles (221)
  • (Norfolk) Light Horse (35)

The very useful painting below by artist Claude Nursey shows a group of men of the 1st Norwich Rifle Volunteers on the rifle range at Mousehold Heath, presumably the location of the event in question. They are mingling with some other men of the Norfolk Light Horse (wearing red jackets) the remainder of whom can be also just seen mounted in the far distance. The landscape does bear a resemblance to my print.

Nursey, Claude Lorraine Richard Wilson; Officers of the 1st City of Norwich Rifle Volunteers, with Their Captain Henry Staniforth Patteson, on the Rifle Range, Mousehold Heath; Norfolk Museums Service.

There were other armed forces present too:

  • 18th Hussars (3 troops)
  • 14 staff of the West Norfolk Militia
  • ‘The Norwich Cadets’

This amounted to a total of 1800 men under arms in addition to which, as can be seen from my illustration, there must have been a considerable number of interested onlookers. That description suggests that the mounted officer in the foreground (below) judging by his uniform is probably one of the ’14 staff of the West Norfolk Militia’.

Likely to have been present during the proceedings would likely have been the officers of the Norfolk Light Horse, namely; Captain Francis Hay Gurney, Lieutenant Francis Boileau, Cornet Frederick Grimmer, Honorary Vet. Surgeon Smith and Hon, Assistant Surgeon Cooper. The article then goes on to describe the scene very specifically shown in my picture.

“Several manoeuvres were then gone through, after which the Hussars left for Norwich [the location of their barracks] and the volunteers then formed a large square for the purpose of witnessing the presentation of prizes to the successful competitors at the late annual gathering of the Norfolk Volunteers Service Association.

So, my illustration depicts the gathering actually formed in a large square as the following scene played out:

The presentation was made by Lady Suffield, the recipients of the well-merited rewards being also addressed, one by one, in a few encouraging words, by the Earl of Leicester.

The Earl of Leicester, as Lord Lieutenant, would be most likely to be wearing a uniform much like the one below with the cocked hat and blowing white feather plumes, while Lady Suffield is here bestowing an award upon one lucky sharpshooting recipient.

I had previously noted the appearance of a mounted hussar in the drawing (below right). I wonder now, given that the troops of the 18th Hussars had apparently returned to barracks prior to the presentations, whether this might actually show an officer of the Yarmouth Artillery in a Royal Horse Artillery-style uniform? Other mounted volunteers appearing below seem to include another militia officer, a rifle volunteer officer, a senior officer (possibly the said Colonel McMurdo of the Norfolk Corps?) and in the foreground two white-plumed men of the 35-strong Norfolk light Horse.

So, all that helpfully shed a little more light on my treasured scene of events which took place over 150 years ago at the height of the Victorian Rifle Volunteer movement.

The rest of that edition of the Illustrated London News was also an interesting read. Events included tension between Russia and others over Poland’s national struggle for independence; the ongoing ‘War in America’ between the Union and Confederate states and the siege of Charleston; we are informed that “Her Majesty the Queen continues at Balmoral, in good health”. Columns appear with obscure headings abound such as “Echoes of the Week” and “Column for the Curious”; while sporting columns appear to be exclusively about horse racing and fishing. Scientific news included the Admiralty’s investigations into the sun’s distance from the earth,

There were macabre crimes;

The ILN had a particularly intensive interest in the most minute matters of royalty, both home and abroad; “The King of Wirtemberg, who is now in his eighty-second year, has been seriously ill for some days.”

Victorian advertisements within it’s pages are entertaining including such products ranging from “Pistachio Nut Toilet Powder” to parlour game catalogues (dull evenings made merry), and pleasingly there was even something for “The Little Modeller” of the mid-Victorian era too!

And finally – in a nice coincidence – the ILN printed a full page reproduction of an artist’s work (which they discussed in an eccentrically Victorian manner) entitled “Quarter Day! – The Discomforts of Moving” – a chaotic experience which I am personally still living and, I fear, will be for some time!

“The house is given up to a reckless band of nondescript men, who tear up carpets, pull down curtains and level bedsteads.”

Quarter Day, incidentally, is a old English tradition marking the quarters of the year when traditionally rents and notices to quit were due, servants were hired and school terms began, one of which – Lady Day – was just a few days before my own moving day.

A scene not dissimilar to my own moving experience…

For anyone who may be any interested, I’ve reproduced the full ILN article below:

Lines of Communication

With a long-awaited house move having become suddenly immanent, this is just a short announcement that Suburban Militarism will probably be silent for the next few weeks. Not coincidentally, a few weeks is also the length of time it apparently takes to connect me to the internet. So, apologies in advance for any late replies / lack of interaction with fellow friends and bloggers in the interim.

After nearly a decade at the current HQ, it now just leaves the Commander-in-Chief General Sir Rudolf St. Nicholas to order the entire armed forces of Suburban Militarism forward…

General St. Nicholas, mounted aboard his steed Pandepascua, orders the general advance…

March Painting Challenge: Saxony Soldiers II

Another report on progress for the Neglected but not Forgotten challenge, I’ve produced two more examples of Saxon Great Northern War regiments to add to the Kurprinz and Martinière’s Grenadier Regiments. Figures are once more from Mars Saxon Infantry box.

Zeitz’ Regiment:

Zeitz’ Regiment was numbered 8 in the list of Saxon infantry regiments and is distinguished by green facings. Hat lace and stockings are white and the buttons are brass. This regiment later became known as Schulenburg’s Regiment and was apparently disbanded in 1705 just prior to the Saxon army’s heavy defeat by the Swedes at the Battle of Fraustadt the following year at which both the Kurprinz and Martinière’s regiments were (unfortunately for them) present.

Hayn’s Grenadier Battalion:

This is the other exclusively grenadier formation in the Saxon army. Hayn’s Grenadiers sport an all-red coat with white breeches and stockings.

Their grenadier caps are red with brass plates. The rear colours are my own invention being red with yellow piping. I certainly won’t worry too much about that as key source Daniel Schorr wrote that it was unknown whether the battalion even wore grenadier caps.

I’ve three more regiments that I’d like to do, in addition to the officers and musicians which also come with the Mars Saxon Infantry box, but the deadline for Ann’s challenge is approaching fast! Though I doubt I’ll be able to submit any more in time my intention is to press on regardless with this surprisingly enjoyable set of figures, so expect some more!

March Painting Challenge: Saxony Soldiers

I’ve properly got stuck into Ann’s “Neglected but not Forgotten” painting challenge with two examples of Saxon regiments from the manufacturer Mars now already painted. It only amounts to 10 soldiers, but it feels great to be back in my comfort zone of painting 20mm high plastic figures in colourful uniforms.

Five men in each regiment, sharing the same pose, representing two regiments of the Saxon army during the Great Northern War; these are the Kurprinz Regiment and Martinière’s Grenadier Regiment.

The Kurprinz Regiment:

The Kurprinz Regiment is numbered the 5th and has ‘Lemon Yellow’ facings. I’ve painted the collars on these figures in Lemon Yellow although according to the Tacitus website, “the collar was usually reserved for the coats of officers, NCOs and drummers, but possibly the guard regiments had it as well”. The hat lace is white, a colour typical for the Saxon infantry with red being reserved for very high status regiments.

The figure is sculpted quite effectively albeit the long coat looks a little unnaturally wide at the base. I quite like the somewhat shifty look of the faces. As with all my Great Northern War / War of the Spanish Succession figures, I’m keeping the bases deliberately very simple and uniform indeed.

Martinière’s Grenadier Regiment:

Using the numerous grenadier figures in Mars’ box to the full, I’ve replicated one of the two dedicated grenadier formations in the Saxon army – Martinière’s Grenadier Regiment. As with many early 18th century uniforms, details are scarce about this regiment but Tacitus relies on information in Lars-Eric Höglund’s book “Stora nordiska kriget 1700-1721, III” and an article from a defunkt website by Daniel Schorr; “Notes on the Saxon Army 1700-1716″.

Höglund’ had no information on this regiment but Schorr had “a speculative illustration of the uniform” which showed a blue grenadier cap with a gold plate, with blue breeches, stockings and cuffs. It all makes for a pleasingly exotic and colourful regiment!

There are more figures on the painting desk from this box and I’ll see how many more I can get done by the end of the challenge on the 2nd April. Currently, there are two more regiments going under the brush and they are well advanced already!

Campbell’s Cavalrymen: The Worcestershire Yeomanry Sergeant

Presenting my latest figure for the ongoing 54mm Yeomanry Cavalry project:

This figure is the last of my Mitrecap Miniatures yeomen, a sergeant of the Worcestershire Yeomanry c.1900. The other Mitrecap figures I’ve attempted have all been terrific and there are about five more (that I’m aware of) made by Mitrecap in this range but which have so far eluded my online searches.

The accompanying guidance by Mitrecap reads: ‘This figure is based on an illustration in “50 Years of Yeomanry Uniforms” by R.G. Harris, Plate No.29‘. Harris is the book’s author but the plate mentioned is by the military artist Edmund A. Campbell.

Campbell’s work inspired and informed a number of other yeomanry uniforms by Mitrecap including their Surrey Yeoman below:

This figure shows a sergeant in stable dress

In Campbell’s illustration below right, there’s a crown above the sergeant’s stripes which has not been included by the sculptor but which I may add freehand. My figure also holds a riding crop in his hand instead of the sword shown in the plate.

Oops, I’ve now noticed that I’ve forgotten to paint the metal spurs…

R.G. Harris’ text indicates that the plate is based on an original photograph taken in the military town of Aldershot in 1891/92 and was included in the book to ‘show the workaday dress of the yeoman of the late 1890s and presents a most serviceable uniform both comfortable and hard-wearing’.

He goes on: “The white gloves.. had a practical function for, when inspecting horses, the seasoned N.C.O. would rub the inside of his gloved hand along the horses flank and, should it come away soiled, some ‘idle man’ would find his name in the book.”

This was a straightforward and simple uniform to paint but has provided a really good contrast to some of the other more elaborate uniforms in my yeomanry collection. I’ve a number of other yeoman still to paint and the difficulty is selecting which one but I suspect it will be a figure from a manufacturer I’ve not painted before – Chota Sahib.

My impression of the original Aldershot photograph. It would be interesting to see the original.

In the meantime, it’s back for me to my numerous 1/72 scale Saxon Infantrymen being attempted as part of Ann’s Immaterium’s “Neglected but Not Forgotten” painting challenge.