1st (Royal) Regiment of Dragoons [Nappy Cavalry Project Set #8]

Readers of my previous posts will note that I’ve expressed some disappointment about the quality of this Waterloo 1815 set, mostly this is simply because their standards have been so high. Now that the set is finally finished, I can say that I am quite pleased with the result and all the considerable effort now seems worthwhile. One of my little gripes was that the hard plastic made parts brittle and ironically this observation was tragically proven to be true when I dropped a figure (on to a soft carpet) when preparing to take some photos of them. The result was a broken sword which I’ve now hastily glued on for the purposes of these pictures…

Trumpeter, Officer and troopers.
British 1st Royal Dragoons trumpeter, officer and troopers.

To finish on a positive though, these figures are undoubtedly a fine looking set so long as the modeller is prepared to spend some extra time and effort preparing and painting them. I do think they’re an improvement on the now rare alternative British Heavy Dragoons set produced by HaT, Waterloo 1815’s being more dynamic and offering better sculpting. As such, they’re a welcome and essential addition to the Napoleonic cavalry range.

You may notice that all the horses I’ve painted are of the same type; dark bays. This is deliberate (not laziness…) as the Royals have been reported as riding on dark bays and so I’ve taken that suggestion literally.

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1st (Royal) Dragoons.

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These two figures came with separate arms to glue on. It certainly required good glue to keep them in place, but I like the end result and it allowed me to alter the angle of the arms to create slightly different poses.
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Ouch! A casualty of enemy fire.
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Trumpeter. The horse hair is red instead of black, which I believe is correct for British heavy dragoons.
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Another view of the trumpeter.
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Officer (I did two and this is the one without the broken sword…)

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Biography: 1st (Royal) Regiment of Dragoons [Great Britain]

The 1st Regiment of Dragoons traced its origins back to a troop of Parliamentarian veterans from the English Civil Wars. This troop expanded and became the Tangier Horse (named after where it had first seen service). The regiment was then variously disbanded and reformed until it eventually became a permanent regiment known as the 1st Royal Regiment of Dragoons. Numbered the 1st on account of it being the oldest line cavalry regiment, it was commonly known as simply “The Royals”.

It served at the battle of Sedgemoor in the Monmouth Rebellion, at Dettingen in 1743 (where it captured the standard of the Black Musketeers), and later also at Fontenoy. From 1809, the 1st Dragoons served in the Peninsula campaign, most notably in the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro where it rescued two captured guns.

At Waterloo, the regiment was one third of the Union Brigade; a formation made up of the Scots Greys, the Inniskillings (an Irish regiment), and the Royals themselves (representing the English part of the Union). Their initial charge at Waterloo was aimed against D’erlon’s corps as they assaulted Wellington’s centre, but the spectacular charge of the Union Brigade utterly broke and dispersed this corps. In the process, the regiment captured the eagle of the French 105th Line Regiment and helped secure 2,000 prisoners. In continuing on to attack Napoleon’s artillery batteries, they were counter-attacked by French cavalry whilst badly blown and disorganised. The brigade was consequently driven back with heavy losses, and Ponsonby, their brigadier, was killed.

They went on to serve in the Crimea, the World Wars and elsewhere. The Royals, as the oldest regiment in the British Army, became a prestigious Guards regiment in 1969 when it amalgamated with the Royal Horse Guards (known as The Blues). The merged regiment formally became known as the Blues and Royals. It now comprises, along with the Life Guards, the prestigious Household Cavalry regiment; the most senior in the British Army. The Blues and Royals today supply a unit based in central London and can be seen on ceremonial occasions, such as Trooping the Colour. They wear dark blue uniforms, dragoon-style helmets with red plumes, and silver cuirasses – a style which is perhaps an echo of the napoleonic era. On their uniform, the charge at Waterloo is still commemorated with an arm badge depicting a French eagle.

Battle Honours: Dettingen, Warbung, Beaumont, Fuentes de Oñoro, Waterloo.

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