Another of my 54mm Mitrecap Miniatures Yeomanry chaps. Although not inspired by R.J. Marrion or E.A. Campbell, or indeed any other illustration that I know of, this one is of particular interest to me as it’s my local volunteer force, the Leicestershire Yeomanry.
The uniform is a hussar pattern and recall similar items of uniform which I’ve seen before in the Leicestershire Yeomanry museum.
Much to my surprise after the usual chaotic and alchemical process of paint daubing and wash applications, the face has come out nicely. The shading is subtle, as is my style, but (I like to think) convincing enough.
The painting instructions by Mitrecap did not always accord with other evidence. The busby, for example, was described as dark brown fur but the examples seen in the museum were very definitely black – so I’ve gone with that.
Likewise, the ornate braid is described as being “silver” by Mitrecap. A Richard Simkin print which I have framed shows the braid as being a silvery shade of white.
Hopefully my blend of white and silver does the job.
The rest of the uniform is dark blue with scarlet piping on the legs, scarlet cuffs, collar and busby bag.
The flimsy plume had all but broken off when I received the figure so with some difficulty, I’ve managed to reattach it.
It’s a nice pose and excellent sculpting by Mitrecap, as I’ve come to expect from them. This yeoman joins another Leicestershire Yeomanry pair of figures, (Napoleonic era) which I painted just the other day. I know of only one other model representation of the Leicestershire Yeomanry, a plaster 150mm figure by “The Sentry Box”. Something to keep an eye out for?
Sited on the usual alder-wood Ukrainian-made plinth, this chap makes for the 11th 54mm yeomanry figure in my slowly growing collection. There’s more to come and given how pleasurable they are to paint, who’s to say it won’t be soon!
Over the past few years, I’ve picked up a few 54mm metal yeomanry figures from the Napoleonic Wars which have been made by Ensign Miniatures. They have a distinctive sculpting style which didn’t fit well with my other Bob Marrion / Edward Campbell-inspired yeomanry from the late 19th/ early 20th century era. Occasionally, one would turn up at an affordable price and I would add to my collection meaning I now have three different figures.
A couple of years ago, I had nearly finished painting a pair of their Leicestershire Yeomanry figure but held off from completing pending a visit to my local Leicestershire Yeomanry museum in order to review any exhibits and information relating to these early uniforms. An extended period of closure ‘for refurbishment’, and also the COVID-19 virus has prevented a visit since. So. now I’ve pushed on with them and present my two Leicestershire Yeomanry officers.
The reason I had painted two was that strangely they came in an auction as a group of five identical figures. A misspelling of ‘yeomanry’ meant that I won the lot for a tiny sum. I found some spare wooden bases to use and added plaques as a finishing touch. What to do with my extra yeomen, including painted and unpainted version, I’m not so sure!
The figure came with a 1796 Pattern Light-Cavalry Sabre and nickel strips for use as sabretache slings. I’ve done my ham-fisted best with these.
The overalls were described in the painting instructions as being sky blue with either ‘scarlet bands to outer seams’ or ‘silver with central red piping’. At the time I painted these, I found some excellent colour photographs of an original uniform which showed the latter design, so I stuck with that. Sadly, this invaluable website appears to be now unavailable.
The helmet instructions were detailed and again I benefited from the example online which included a pink turban around the Tarleton. I was satisfied that my colouring seemed to hit the right note.
The faces of the two, despite being identical, I’ve somehow manage to create individual expressions which I like the look of.
The rest of the uniform consists of a scarlet jacket, sky blue collar, cuffs and turnbacks, silver shoulder scales and buttons, with a sash described as crimson. Seeing the original uniform helped enormously at the time I painted these.
Further to these yeomen, I had once read somewhere that Ensign Miniatures made a large quantity of figures relating to the yeomanry. However, another random purchase (I know ‘another‘ purchase, I despair of myself, I really do…) has thrown up some interesting information on these Ensign figures.
My purchase was for a set of six 1960s postcards with illustrations on them of Napoleonic English yeomanry, 1800-1809 all by an artist named René North. These black and white drawings came with painting instructions written under the illustration, which I thought could maybe prove useful in any future yeomanry painting endeavours. When they came through the post, however, I immediately recognised a pattern emerging among the six regiments. The regiments included:
The Warwickshire Light Horse, Private, 1801
The Surrey Yeomanry, Private, 1800
The West Kent Yeomanry (Sheppey)*, Officer, 1800
Loyal London Cavalry, Private, 1804
The Leicestershire Yeomanry*, Officers, 1808
The South Bucks (Eton Troop)*, Officer, 1809
Three of the above were exactly the same Ensign Miniatures figures which I had in my possession* and very specifically the same troops for both the South Bucks and West Kent yeomanry. This seemed more than coincidence, so I delved further into it.
A little research eventually dug up a pdf copy of an old Ensign Miniatures catalogue. This catalogue showed that my yeomanry figures were part of the ‘A’ Range (summarised somewhat vaguely as “A variety of British figures at home and overseas…”) and consisted of nearly all of the six regiments specified in the René North cards. The sole exception was the “Loyal London Cavalry” which was not featured. Instead, two Scottish yeomanry regiments from the same period were also available.
The catalogue cites Bob Rowe as being the designer of this series of figures. It seems clear that René North must have been a key inspiration or information source for much of Bob Rowe’s Napoleonic yeomanry designs. Who was this illustrator René North and why did he produce this monochrome set of cards? A quick glance at eBay shows a number of other “Paint-Your-Own” uniform sets covering a wide range of military topics, all black and white line drawings with full colouring information included in text.
“Initially the colouring information was on the actual card, but on later sets it was moved to the accompanying text sheet leaving the card purely for the illustration itself.”
My English Yeomanry series was one of the earlier releases, set #22 of a total 113 sets issued, my illustrations being dated 1961. The text on the card notably includes the sources for each illustration. The Warwickshire Yeomanry card, for example, quotes a painting which I’ve seen in their museum and which inspired my own 28mm figures which now reside there. The Leicestershire Yeomanry card cites the original uniform as the source which I had seen online.
Notably, North also produced some uncoloured cardboard soldiers, “essentially forerunners of Peter Dennis’ excellent ‘Paper Soldiers’ series published by Helion”. Described as being “modest and softly spoken with a gentle twinkle in his intelligent eyes“, one person who knew him goes on to say;
“René North’s name is rarely mentioned today…but his work is the foundation of many of the studies of British Napoleonic Uniforms and he deserves to be better remembered.”
René North passed away in 1971. Not entirely forgotten though, I can vouch that his work is still inspiring painters like myself nearly half a century after his death.
The blog post by Helion is very well worth a read for anybody interested in the topic of military uniforms and uniformology.
The purchase of some old unpainted Mitrecap Miniatures figures, which I mentioned in my previous post, included a Lieutenant of the Surrey Yeomanry c.1905.
This figure appears to have been inspired by this 1943 illustration by Edward A. Campbell seen in R.G. Harris’ “50 Years of Yeomanry Uniforms”:
The Campbell plate was itself based upon a photograph of the commander of A Squadron, Captain P. Noble Fawcett. Doubtful whether Mitrecap’s captain can be pinned down specifically as he, however, as I note that their figure does not sport his bushy moustache.
I posted recently on a portrait of an officer of the Surrey Yeomanry from the early 19th Century. The regiment in this early incarnation survived intermittently until disbanding in 1848. It was not then re-raised until 1901 when the Surrey Imperial Yeomanry were the first of a number of new yeomanry regiments raised after the inception of the Anglo-Boer War. Their uniform was originally based on that of the New South Wales Lancers, a unit which had attracted much admiration when they arrived in Britain as a delegation from Australia for Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1897.
In adopting this khaki uniform, the newly formed Surrey Yeomanry were correctly obeying the new instructions regarding the colour of Yeomanry service dress uniforms. The text accompanying a plate of a 1911 Surrey yeoman by P.H. Smitherman explains;
“In an attempt to curb the extravagance of dress in the mounted branches, Yeomanry regiments formed after the South African war were encouraged to confine themselves to khaki service dress…The trooper in this plate (see below) is wearing the type of uniform that all yeomanry regiments should have adopted after the Boer War, but which few of them did. As can be seen, it is a smart and practical dress, although not perhaps as flamboyant as was customary for the yeomanry. It is a dress of lancer pattern with cap lines although the regiment never wore the lance cap.” (P.H. Smitherman “Uniforms of the Yeomanry Regiments 1783-1911)
It’s interesting to note that despite the push to place Yeomanry troops in khaki, “few of them did”. R.J. Smith and R.G. Harris acknowledge that “the Yeomanry have always had the reputation of being a law unto themselves concerning some aspects of military regulations…” (“The Yeomanry Force at the 1911 Coronation”).
The Marrion’s, Smitherman’s and Campbell’s interpretation of the colour of khaki worn varies considerably, so I’m happy that my figure’s khaki exists somewhere between these extremes. Below is R.J. Marrion’s vision of a Surrey trooper at the time of the 1911 coronation:
I confess to making a mess of attaching the hat and left hand to the figure. It took me a while to work out how it was to be held but, after spreading glue liberally in places it wasn’t needed, I finally got it about right.
The face of the yeoman appeared to me to wearily have his eyes closed, the consequence of a long day in the saddle. After the application of paint, it seemed to work well so – possibly for the first time – I’ve painted a figure with his eyes shut.
Once again, a lovely piece of sculpting by Mitrecap. I’m not sure whether I’ve done it justice or not but I’ve enjoyed painting this figure which now takes it’s place as the 9th 54mm yeoman in my collection.
Stop Press! In typical style, I forgot to add a small silver badge to the turned up side of the slouch hat. To be fair, the sculptor hasn’t included it either, but it’s something I’ll include anyway.
It appears to be this white metal cap badge. This Other Ranks version being the crest of Lord William St.John Freemantle Brodrick, 9th Viscount Midleton, Hon. Colonel of the Regiment. The Surrey Imperial Yeomanry wore this badge on the turned up side of their slouch hats.
Brodrick was Secretary of State for war and gave his name to an unpopular British army undress cap of the time.
Another Mitrecap Miniature, as promised in my last post.
I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of painting this one. The challenge chiefly lay in getting the colour of the tunic right.
Here’s why: the tunic is a shade of blue that seems to be difficult to define. The Barlow and Smith book on the Sussex Yeomanry Cavalry has the following description:
“The tunic was a double-breasted Indian Army pattern in a special bright dark blue superfine cloth – virtually the same shade as the facings on the obsolete khaki Full Dress which showed up the black braiding more distinctly.”
Yes, a special bright dark blue. Sounds a bit like describing ‘a dull, shiny green’ or ‘a vivid, drab yellow’! R.J. Marrion’s artwork uses a palette which further beguiles. It seems to be a dark blue but with a velvety green tinge, the highlights themselves being turquoise.
Some assistance came in the form of a single photograph I discovered of headgear worn I believe by the Sussex Yeomanry historical reenactment group. One of these caps is a dead ringer for the cap seen on my figure and Marrion’s cover illustration. Sure enough, the colour appears to be a green-tinged blue – something approaching a dark teal colour. So, I went with that in mind and mixed my own colours.
This cap is described in the following way:
Officers wore an army blue forage cap with black patent leather peak and chin strap; the peak was edged 3/4 inch in gold embroidery for field officers and 1/2 inch for troop officers. The cap had a gilt badge and buttons, a yellow band and yellow piping in the crown seam.
The braid threw up another puzzle. Marrion appears to clearly show it as being a lighter version of the same greenish-blue as the tunic, but the text by Barlow and Smith very clearly state it to be ‘black’, describing “five loose loops of black plaited chain gimp cord across the front, with olivets and Austrian knots at the outer ends“. I’ve gone with Barlow and Smith on this as they seemed very clear on this point and painted them black.
The overalls appear to be more simply a dark blue; “Blue overalls with a single broad yellow stripe…“. Marrion’s illustration also seems to reflect this blue colour as being distinct from the ‘special bright dark blue” of the tunic. All this fussing over the colour might seem ridiculous as I’m aware that under the camera lens, the blue of the tunic and the blue of the overalls look the same. All I can say is that they do look like the subtle but distinctly different shades that I intended them to be to my naked eye!
The collar was very unusual. It was described as being yellow, which even a quick glance will contradict. It appears to be totally dark blue or black. However, this is a consequence of lots of black braid; “Yellow collar, edged all round with similar (i.e. black) braid, traced inside with black cord to form 16 eyes on the yellow centre.” I confess, I didn’t paint the full 16 eyes, I managed 13 in total, all the tip of my 00 brush and my unsteady hand would allow!
“A gold oak-leaf lace pouch belt on blue Morocco leather with gilt buckle tip and slide (no breast ornaments) black leather pouch with gilt Royal Cypher and crown on the flap.” Unfortunately, the pouch belt had none of the engraved patterns of the Tradition South Notts Hussar that I painted in 2019, so it appears as a plain yellow-gold. Likewise the pouch itself, so I’ve vaguely approximated the cypher and crown design.
This Full Dress uniform was approved by royal submission on 3 April 1909, rejecting, incidentally, a previous dragoon design created by the renowned military artist Harry Payne. White wrist gloves complete the uniform which was reserved for Levee or ceremonial occasions only.
This figure came in an attractive little red box, although my other Mitrecap figures are in a bag instead. A particular challenge I perhaps could have done without however is that Mitrecap figures are cast without a ‘peg’ under a foot to assist with standing or fixing on to a plinth. Consequently, I’ve drilled the leg and inserted my own improvised metal peg for stability – he’s not going anywhere! Otherwise, I’ve been most impressed with this Mitrecap Miniature and I look forward to painting more.
I mentioned in a post recently that I’d won a figure in auction to add to my steadily growing 54mm Yeomanry Cavalry series (aka Marrion’s Men). I’d missed out on this figure a year or so ago and so was understandably delighted to get my hands on it this time around. It’s an officer of the Sussex Yeomanry, circa 1908. The pose though not identical is very similar and the painting guide actually directly references the Marrion illustration seen below.
This illustration by Bob Marrion features on the cover of the first book in the Ogilby Trust series on British yeomanry uniforms which ran between the late 70s and the early 90s. On the same cover is another illustration of an officer which I’ve previously painted in 54mm (see below).
Mitrecap Miniatures was, so far as I can find out, established by Dennis Johnson in 1979 and did well until it eventually was brought to a close possibly sometime in the early-mid 2000s with the proprietor’s emigration to Spain. Names of some of the sculptors for Mitrecap that I’ve seen referenced elsewhere are Keith Durham and Peter Loxley.
This July 1984 edition of Modelworld News announced that “a new name to us is Mitrecap Miniatures 23 Queen’s Road, Sheffield, South Yorks. They have quite a big range of 54mm cast figures in kit form, including the British yeomanry (i.e. TA cavalry) regiments of the pre-1939 period…“
Recently, I discovered that my previously unsourced Westmorland & Cumberland yeoman figure in the Marrion series (painted back in 2018), is indeed another Mitrecap Miniature. Sure enough it is featured in their list of ‘figurines and accessories’. Their entire list demonstrates that they did a good line in volunteer troops of all kinds (militia, volunteer associations, rifle volunteers, etc).
These “Turn of the Century” figures, for example, include yeomanry of:
The Oxfordshire Hussars (1900)
Westmoreland & Cumberland Yeomanry (1900)
The Leicestershire Yeomanry (1910)
Yorkshire Dragoons (1900)
Yorkshire Hussars (1900)
Worcestershire Yeomanry (1900)
East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry (1908)
Westminster Dragoons (1909)
Fife & Forfar Yeomanry (1895)
Surrey Yeomanry (1905)
Sussex Yeomanry (1908)
Great to hear there were other yeomanry figures made under this manufacturer.
Now I know that the Sussex and Westmorland & Cumberland Yeomanry figures are inspired by Bob Marrion illustrations, I wonder how many of the others are too? Bob Marrion certainly produced illustrations of the Yorkshire Hussars, the Yorkshire Dragoons, the East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry, the Worcestershire Yeomanry and the Westminster Dragoons; all of which are listed by Mitrecap. So plenty of scope for another Marrion-inspired Mitrecap figure there.
…But now I’ve snapped up two more Mitrecap yeomanry figures which came up for auction this week for a very reasonable price indeed!*
*Honestly, Mrs Marvin!!
Neither of these figures are taken from the Marrion series of illustrations. However, on opening their still-sealed packets, I discovered that the figures were actually inspired by another artist well known to me. The painting guides reference Plate 25 and Plate 32 from “50 Years of Yeomanry Uniforms” by R.G. Harris and I thankfully have a copy of this 1972 book – a Christmas present received a couple of years ago.
One of these figures is based on this below illustration of a Lieutenant of the Surrey Yeomanry. Similar to the pose shown below in Campbell’s painting, the 54mm figure has his slouch hat detached and held in a hand:
The other figure references a plate of an officer of the East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry wearing a lancer uniform. This time the sculptor depicts the soldier wearing his lancer cap rather than following the illustration. The painting guide for this figure points to Plate 32 of Harris’ book and also Military Modelling’s 1983 April and May Issues.
The plates in this book are all work by the artist and former volunteer soldier, Edmund A. Campbell, who died in 1951 leaving behind a considerable number of military artworks from his extensive and first hand research. I suspect that the Mitrecap figures listed for the Fife & Forfar Yeomanry and the Oxfordshire Hussars at least could well be inspired by their respective Campbell plates (nos. 4 and 21). So it may be that I find myself developing a 54mm yeomanry series referencing the work of another military artist: Campbell’s Cavalry, perhaps?
Well, it’s been over a year since I painted my last figure in the Marrion’s Men series of 54mm Yeomanry figures based on R.J. Marrion’s illustrations, but recently I posted on the unexpected discovery of another. This was a figure from the excellent Tradition of London shop, a captain of the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry.
Though not identical, it closely matched the figure seen on the back cover illustration of #6 in the Army Museums Ogilby Trust series – “Uniforms of the British Yeomanry Force 1782-1914.” My figure’s doppelganger can be seen below right on my copy of the book, with his foot on a milestone and nonchalantly smoking a cigarette.
The Tradition figure’s notes state that it depicts an officer of the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry (DLOY) from 1909 in Field Dress. 54mm high in metal, the figure comes from their Squadron Range and was designed by Alan Caton (who sadly passed away in 2015). The pose differs very slightly from the Marrion illustration – the foot rests on a wooden box; the sword and sabretache are missing; and the right hand now rests on a knee instead of holding a cigarette.
Otherwise, the uniform details match very closely indeed and the figure is indisputably inspired by Bob Marrion’s fabulous illustration.
Barlow and Smith’s book on the DLOY includes a photograph which, in turn, must have been the inspiration for Bob Marrion’s original artwork. It features someone looking much like our officer on horseback in 1900. He is identified as being Major J. Rutherford. I like the idea of the continuity of inspiration that has gone on behind this figure.
1900 – Major Rutherford is photographed on horseback in Hightown Camp.
1983 – Artist Bob Marrion uses the photograph as a template for an illustration.
1990-2000? – Sculptor Alan Caton casts the master of a version of Bob Marrion’s drawing.
2020 – Marvin paints Alan Caton’s brilliant figure for his collection.
The above caption reads: Fig.14 Major J. Rutherford in Mounted Field Dress at Hightown Camp, 1900. He wears the new service felt hat and the original pagri is just visible. The 1896 serge frock is worn with Undress white belt and slings, and the pantaloons have gold stripes; knee boots. The sabretache with gold ornament, introduced about 1895, can also be seen… (see also back cover, figure on right.)
Instead of the “gold stripes”, Tradition’s notes state they should be yellow. Given that Barlow and Smith state that “from 1903, the gold lace stripes on the overalls and pantaloons were replaced by yellow cloth“, my 1909 captain having yellow stripes is correct and, from a purely visual point of view, I do like the bright colourful contrast to his otherwise dark blue uniform.
The slouch hat was headgear which became popular following its appearance in the Anglo-Boer War of 1898-1902. Worn by the Imperial Yeomanry, amongst others, it may have been the lack of cork available for more foreign service helmets which led to its widespread adoption. Barlow and Smith offer a few words on our officer’s uniform and specifically his slouch hat.
During the annual training at Hightown in 1900, the slouch hats were served out for wear with the drill and working kit. The DLOY were one of the first yeomanry to wear this headgear on home service. The hat was of drab felt with at first a blue pagri but this was quickly replaced by a leather strap.The 1896 pattern serge frock… now bore shoulder chains for all ranks and brass collar badges…
Those colour badges appear to be gold with a red rose in the centre, according to Marrion’s illustration. So I’ve taken that as my guide and reproduced a tiny scarlet splash of the Lancastrian red rose in the badge.
The usual alder wood plinth and engraved plaques set the figure off nicely. It came with it’s own metal stand of a brickwork floor but I wanted to maintain the plinths I’ve used throughout the series:
Though I confess to accidentally dating him to be a year later than Tradition’s stated 1909! This matters not, I’m sure.
I confess to being very pleased with how this figure has turned out. What’s more, the painting of it was done quickly and with (for me) a relatively minimum amount of fuss. Sometimes simple uniforms can be strangely all the more difficult to get looking really satisfactory, I find, but this one seemed to come together nicely.
Tradition do a nice line in 54mm yeomanry figures, thanks to Alan Caton, and I confess to having my eye on one or two others (although no more are apparently based on Bob Marrion illustrations). I painted a nice figure of theirs last year depicting a man of the South Notts Hussars.
And that’s not all – there’s more. I’ve only gone and won another figure for my Marrion’s Men series! It’s a figure which I’ve found on eBay and which I was outbid on some time ago! More on this anon but below are the display in my house of all my Marrion-inspired 54mm yeomanry with two prints of Bob Marrion’s artwork alongside.
An interesting metal soldier figure came up on an auction site recently which I immediately recognised as being a recreated scene from a painting. The canvas in question is “The Girl I left Behind Me” by Victorian artist Charles Green (1840–1898).
The original canvas is fairly large and hangs in the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery in Leicester and postcards of this painting are available in the shop. In fact, I remember that I sent one of these very postcards to a hobby friend in Germany.
The painting has many elements of the very narrative and (to some modern eyes at least) somewhat mawkish style of Victorian art. We see troopships awaiting in the distance as loved ones and locals take their leave of the departing regiment. An old fella shakes the hand of one young soldier, while a consoled young lady looks down at her baby in sorrow as if already widowed. The headgear suggests these Napoleonic-era soldiers are off to Belgium for the coming Waterloo campaign, or perhaps for the latter stages of the Peninsular War.
I believe there are some errors with the uniforms; the drummer boys should be in reversed colours to the troops, for example. I like how the artist contrasts these regimented, marching drummer boys with the running of the kids alongside them at play, reminding us that while they are called to battle they are still essentially children.
The colour yellow seems to be a feature of the young women in the crowd, I notice, which puts me in mind of the old song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon”. Wikipedia says of the song:
The song/poem “She wore a yellow ribbon” has appeared in various forms for at least four centuries. It is based upon the same general theme: A woman of destiny is under some sort of test or trial as she waits for her beloved to return. Will she be true to him?
All of which seems to be the central theme of the painting. The centrepiece of the painting is the young lady (in yellow dress) clinging to her beloved as he marches off to war. The fortune of their relationship appears to hang in the balance as his death in war, and her fidelity at home, threatens its future.
Get to the point, Marvin!
Oh yes, the figure I saw was a 54mm recreation of this couple in Green’s painting. There are minor differences of course, but the composition and their poses are near identical. It is by El Viejo Dragon Miniatures, a Spanish manufacturer which seems to specialise in ladies wearing rather less clothing than our regency lady here! Curious that a Spanish manufacturer has recreated it.
The auction listing states that this model is of “a soldier in the Inniskilling 27th foot and his sweetheart around 1814 before Waterloo. Hand painted in Ulster by Rainey Miniatures.”
The paint job is quite nicely done, though overall the shading appears a little ‘grubby’ for my tastes. I would also have wanted to recreate the scene in Green’s painting more closely with the yellow dress and the soldier’s white breeches, etc. Perhaps the painter was unaware of the inspiration behind this scene or, more likely, they wanted to create a more meaningful and local scene for themselves, and so set it in Ulster.
Unfortunately, the price for the figure is a little more than I want to pay, the family ‘war chest’ just won’t take any more model soldier purchases of late!
Wait. There’s an option to ‘Make Offer’? ….I really shouldn’t, or my own ‘girl’ will place her arm around my neck – and not in a fond way either!
“The Girl I left Behind Me” is a folk song said by some to date back to the Elizabethan era and is commonly associated through the ages with being played whenever soldiers left for war and set sail. Consequently, the title of the painting was drawing on a tune traditionally associated with the drama it was depicting.
The tune, incidentally, aside from being the title of a painting showing troops heading to Belgium in 1815, can be heard playing in the 1970 film Waterloo at the moment when Wellington orders the whole Allied army forward in victory.
O ne’er shall I forget the night, The stars were bright above me And gently lent their silv’ry light When first she vowed to love me. But now I’m bound to Brighton camp Kind heaven then pray guide me And send me safely back again, To the girl I left behind me.
Earlier this year, I visited and posted about the Queen’s Royal Lancers and Nottinghamshire Yeomanry Museum in Thoresby Park, Nottinghamshire. The museum included within the collection exhibits related to one of Nottinghamshire’s two yeomanry regiments; the South Notts Hussars, including the mess dress uniform shown below.
This reminded me that I had a 54mm figure of the regiment which I had lying around unpainted and it seemed a perfect spur for me to dig it out and finally get some paint on it.
My figure is an officer of the South Notts Hussars Yeomanry from 1908. It’s from the 54mm “Squadron Range” sold by Tradition of London. As you can see, I’ve mounted my yeoman on the same style plinth as all my other 54mm yeomanry range figures. Also as usual, I’ve put the name of the regiment on the front and some details of the figure on the back.
Information on old yeomanry uniforms is not always clear-cut but I note that the Uniformology website disagreed with the sculptor about the number of caplines around the busby, insisting the line went around the headdress four times instead of the more usual two shown here.
The trickiest part of the figure for me was creating the Austrian knot details on the cuffs which were very indistinct on the figure. A check of the internet helped me gain an understanding before I quickly attempted some freehand work which, I like to fool myself, looks okay for a first attempt.
I’m quite pleased with the pouch belt which I gently brushed with a mix of gold and gold-yellow to reveal its very subtle pattern.
This figure arrived last year as part of a huge collection being sold on by the family of a collector who had passed away. I am mindful of being but the latest custodian and always aim to do them some justice. The other figures from this collection formed most of my “Marrion’s Men” series of yeomen.
The pouch is black with a silver cover and a gold emblem and other metalwork on the belt is gold. Headdress consists of a black fur busby, a gold-laced red bag, and a white over red plume.
I think it’s a really nice figure and a great example of a late 19th / early 20th Century hussar’s uniform. However, at nearly £50 a painted figure + P&P from the Tradition website, I think I’ll stick to the far more enjoyable activity of painting my own!
Some great images of the regiment can be found on The British Empire website including a photograph of the regiment on the march dated the same year as my figure; 1908. It’s a great scene of the regiment mounted in Full Dress with ladies and children walking on the path alongside.
Last year, I complained in a post about my inability to source another R.J. Marrion-inspired yeomanry figure after being comprehensively outbid on an auction site for one. The bidder fortuitously – or perhaps graciously – withdrew their winning bid and the figure came into my possession.
After making such a terrible fuss back in September over acquiring it in the first place, I thought it about time to finally commit some paint to the figure. So here he is, mounted on a plinth in the same manner as the rest of my Marrion Men.
About the uniform:
The figure is based on an R.J. Marrion illustration on the front cover of “The Yorkshire Hussars” by L. Barlow and R.J. Smith. This was the third edition of the Ogilby Trust series, “Uniforms of the British Yeomanry Force 1794-1914”. This man is described in the footnotes as being an ‘Officer, Undress, 1852’.
I have a 1846 print of an officer of this regiment displayed in the house. It displays the officer in his Full Dress finery, quite a contrast to the plainer Undress version that I’ve painted.
The Undress uniform worn by my figure was first adopted in 1834. Barlow and Smith describe it in these terms;
Officers adopted a new Undress frock coat in 1834 (shown on the front cover). It had a roll collar and 6 black olivets down the front, two at the waist behind and two cloth-covered buttons at each wrist. It was worn with a crimson waistcoat showing at the neck…and, after 1850, with a scarlet, silver braided waistcoat.
In quarters, and when the men were in stable orders, only the crimson and gold Hussar sash was worn with this garment; when on duty, the Full Dress pouch, sword belt (worn under the sash) and the black sabretache were worn.
Barlow and Smith also describe the overalls being adopted at the same time;
In 1832 new cloth overalls of a dark grey mixture — the shade being practically black — were issued, with a single broken bias lace stripe for the officers, and white for the men.
Some further changes occurred around 1850. Although “the same Undress frock coat and overalls were worn as in 1834”, the cap was now as seen on my figure. Barlow and Smith;
A scarlet cloth forage cap with 1 and half inch silver Granby lace band and the York Rose in outline in triple silver braid on the crown.
I think my cap looks more crimson, than scarlet… but never mind!
Barlow and Smith again;
The dress pouch-belt was worn with a black patent leather pouch, the flap edge of which was bound with silver, with a silver York Rose in the centre;
Originally, not paying close enough attention to the text, I painted my ‘black patent leather pouch’ in red blindly following the inaccurate example of another painted version of this figure which I found on the internet. I’ve now corrected it using “glossy black” for the patent leather, which is maybe a tad too shiny?
…the sabretache was plain black, with a silver Rose; slings and sword knot of black leather.
So here’s how the figure compares to Bob Marrion’s illustration:
These ‘Marrion Men’ are as rare as hen’s teeth, it seems, though I try to keep scouring the auction sites for examples. Until and if any more appear, this Yorkshireman remains the last of my Bob Marrion tributes. Other figures in the series can found here;
It’s FEMbruary! This is a great idea is from Alex over at Leadballoony who managed to inspire many of us miniature figure painters last year to consider attempting female versions. Some wonderful creations abounded. For my part last year, at the suggestion of Mark from Man of Tin Blog, I attempted a figure from the wonderful Bad Squiddo Games; Catherine the Great of Russia.
Alex is leading from the front once again with his 2019 call for Fembruary figures! And I’m answering that call again with a group of seven 54mm-scale metal ladies marching in uniform. These are Wrens, that is to say members of the Women’s Royal Naval Service. I guess they are WWII-era naval personnel judging by their headgear.
Purchased for a very reasonable bid on eBay, these female naval personnel are from an unknown manufacturer – can anyone advise (Man of Tin Mark – any ideas, fella)?!
The figures were purchased on eBay unpainted. They are about 54mm high and made of metal.
I’ve glued them into bottle tops with a bit of blu-tack as extra support. I’ve already sprayed them with black acrylic as a primer, so everything’s ready for painting.
The key challenge is that the style of these figures really cry out for a classic Britains-esque paint job which, as some of you may know, is not at all my usual style. I think I’ll stick, more or less, with a version of my usual approach and just see what I’m happy with.
Not the kind of thing I tend to do on Suburban Militarism, but that’s one of the things that makes them, and FEMbruary, so worthwhile. I’ll be painting some more figures from Bad Squiddo too this month which I will reveal soon.
Meanwhile, Man of Tin blog has hit the ground running with his inaugeral 2019 post on his plans for FEMbruary. Bad Squiddo Land Girls, female Russian snipers and a little choice reading material for starters.