Campbell’s Cavalrymen #6: The Rough Rider

I’ve been revisiting the pile of my unpainted metal yeomanry figures once more and added another to my collection of 54mm Yeomanry.

This latest figure is once again from Chota Sahib, a manufacturer who has so far provided me with some very nice figures of the Lincolnshire Yeomanry and the Lancashire Hussars.

This new figure is an officer of the 1st City of London Yeomanry, a regiment also officially described in parentheses as being the “Rough Riders”. The regiment claimed a lineage connection going back to the Loyal Islington Troop (est.1798) and the Loyal London Volunteer Cavalry (est.1803). However, the formation’s incarnation as the Rough Riders was not to take place for another century.

René North’s illustration of the Loyal London Cavalry, c.1804.

Following early British setbacks in the Boer War, the “Imperial Yeomanry” was formed from existing yeomanry volunteers so as to assist the regular forces to cope with the challenges posed by highly mobile Boer marksmen. As part of this response, the 20th (Rough Riders) Battalion of the Imperial Yeomanry was raised on 17 March 1900 in London by the Earl of Lathom. The formation was intended to replicate the Boers’ ‘Rough Rider’ irregular cavalry tactics and referenced Theodore Roosevelt’s own Rough Riders of the near-contemporary Spanish–American War.

After service in the Boer War, the Rough Riders were established on 27 July 1901 as the 1st County of London Imperial Yeomanry (Rough Riders) under the command of Viscount Maitland. Following petitions by influential Londoners (including the Lord Mayor of London himself), the following year the name of the new regiment was changed to 1st City of London Imperial Yeomanry (Rough Riders) before eventually dropping the word ‘imperial’ altogether.

All newly established, post-Boer War, yeomanry regiments were encouraged to adopt khaki uniforms. However, the temptation of these volunteers to adopt a more pleasingly extravagant and colourful uniform proved too great and a good number instead tended towards the more exotic. The Rough Riders elected to wear ‘French Grey’, effectively a shade of light blue. This was contrasted with purple collars, shoulder straps and cuffs with French Grey overalls sporting two purple stripes. The early uniform included a slouch hat with a purple pagri as can be seen depicted below in Smitherman’s “Uniforms of the Yeomanry Regiments.”

A Quartermaster Sergeant of the Rough Riders, c.1903 by P.H. Smitherman.

In 1908, the regiment adopted a conventional lancer uniform.

“This uniform was acknowledged to be one of the most popular in the London area; certainly one to catch the ladies’ eyes as demonstrated on a regimental recruiting poster c.1914.

R.G. Harris in ’50 Years of Yeomanry Uniforms.’

This post is titled as a “Campbell’s Cavalryman” because an officer wearing this regiment’s dress was depicted by Edmund Campbell in “50 Years of Yeomanry Uniforms” by R.G. Harris:

Harris is even mentioned in the painting guide notes, stating “we are grateful to the following for their assistance in the research of this figure: R.G. Harris Esq., P. Colledge Esq., and Major R.J.B. Gentry” (Gentry was a curator to the Inns of Court & City Yeomanry Museum). Another great yeomanry artist, R.J. Marrion, also depicted a Staff Sergeant Major in this lancer uniform on the back cover centre illustration of “The Yeomanry Force at the 1911 Coronation”:

Finally, legendary 19th/20th century military artist, Richard Simkin, also depicted a Rough Rider officer in a watercolour that I believe was originally made for Army and Navy Illustrated magazine.

As can be seen from all the above illustrations, the interpretation of the colours of the uniform vary. The painting notes provided by Chota Sahib state that “the colour of the tunic, breeches and lance cap top is sometimes known as ‘Austrian Blue’ but is officially described as ‘French Grey’ and this shade of French Grey did indeed vary over time for the regiment. The significant colour differences can be seen in the different examples of the uniform shown below.

The same is also true of the shade of purple used on the cuffs, collar leg stripes and plastron. Chota Sahib:

“The purple, as seen on garments in the regimental museum, differs widely from a ‘royal’ purple, to a very dark, rich, ‘plummy’ purple.”

I opted for something which inclined towards the more contrasting ‘plum’ and mixed a couple of existing Vallejo colours in my collection until I ended up with something I was happy with.

The lancer cap held under the officer’s right arm is of black patent leather, with French Grey panels, gold lace and a cap plate which included the coat of arms of the City of London with the regiment’s Boer War battle honour “South Africa 1900-1902”. The falling plume was of dyed swan feathers and appeared as a slightly lighter blue in Campbell’s drawing than the uniform, a difference which I’ve tried to reproduce on my figure. I left the cap braid on the cap top as black as I’d seen it in one example, but may add Campbell’s gold lace instead.

The figure is mounted on my usual Ukrainian-made alder wood base with added engraved panels.

Overall, a particularly colourful, exotic and pleasing figure from Chota Sahib to add to my already diverse collection of 54mm yeomanry. I’m already finding myself musing over what could be the next figure in the series.

Future Figures

Happy New Year, everyone! Over the festive period (which includes my birthday) I’ve happily accrued some more figures for the hobby which I thought I’d share. These have included some more 54mm yeomanry figures from Tradition in Sweden, namely yeomanry representing the counties of Essex and Norfolk (and if they turn out looking anything like the cover pictures, I’ll be happy).

In addition, further extending my 54mm Yeomanry Project, I’ve even managed to source a rare figure from the now defunct Border Miniatures, which was duly ‘put away for Christmas’ for me. It’s a figure of the Westmoreland and Cumberland Yeomanry but, uniquely in my collection, it’s mounted! Both horse and rider are included, so a 54mm horse will be a first for me. That’s a lot of equine.

Border Miniatures issued another Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry figure (this time standing) which I’ve had in my collection for a while and is still awaiting painting. In fact, I posted on this manufacturer back in March of this year. I’m thinking that this mounted yeomanry figure will make for an fittingly eye catching coda to the project when, eventually, I’ve exhausted the rest of my unpainted 54mm yeomanry figures.

PM/1, Cumberland & Westmoreland Yeomanry, Mounted 1898 – Border Miniatures. (manufactured possibly late 1980s).

All the way from Germany, meanwhile, I ordered some more troops for the Army of Advent. In what will probably be the last major purchase for my festive force, the box contains a heavy cavalry regiment. For now, they will be stowed away ready for the another Christmas crafting season.

I’ve also received a package from the ever excellent Bad Squiddo Games containing some figures I intend to use for next year’s FEMbruary. I won’t reveal what they are in advance but simply wanted to show off these excellent little freebie rabbit figures that BSG supremo Annie very kindly included!

A Bunny Bonus courtesy of Bad Squiddo Games!

Finally, my mother came up trumps with something for these figures to stand on – grass tufts!

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.

Campbell’s Cavalrymen #3: 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.

Border Miniatures and Rosedale Figurines

I’ve been researching another of my 54mm metal yeomanry figures which I’ve collected in recent years. It’s a figure which the family of a deceased model soldier collector was selling off and for a description they could only go on accompanying handwritten post-it note which stated; “Officer, 1898, W&C“.

The figure’s uniform had been very simply base-coated in readiness for more attention which, very sadly, it never received. But the colours and the W&C initials were enough to confirm to me the regiment’s name – the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry. The front of the sabretache does indeed have a tiny WCYC etched into it.

The identity of the manufacturer continued to elude me though, until the other day when I discovered a blog featuring a picture of it, together with a fabulous mounted version of the same figure, labelled as being West & Comb Yeo. officers c.1898 (I’ve since seen a version for sale listed specifically as a major). It seems my officer figure is missing his extravagant plume.

Photo taken from – I hope the site owner won’t mind my reproducing an example of his beautiful work here.

It was very nicely painted indeed by the site’s blogger, Pete Armstrong. The site was for his business, Border Miniatures. Interestingly, Border Miniatures seemed to once combine the production of both railway figures and military figures. This curious dichotomy was resolved on 22nd April 2014 when Border Miniatures finally closed the military figure side of their business. I might suggest that was the wrong choice to make in the unbiased opinion of this blog! Well – okay – his engineering and paintwork on the engines is admittedly incredible. I have since discovered an old 1993 Border Miniatures catalogue online:

The trebuchet and mounted knight on the cover suggest something of the mostly medieval bias of this manufacturer.

I discovered that though the figures were mostly sculpted by Pete Armstrong, “guest sculptors may add items to the range”. This resulted in the occasional collaboration with Keith Durham, a sculptor of some pedigree who has been mentioned before in connection with producing some of Mitrecap Miniatures yeomanry output. The new, more railway-focused, Border Miniatures site does include examples of Border’s military figures, many of which were of larger scale (80mm). My Westmorland and Cumberland yeoman features under the ‘smaller scale’ 54mm and 64mm page –

Border Miniatures were based in Keswick in Cumbria which explains the preference for Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry. I note from their catalogue that they also produced other Cumbrian / Cumberland inspired figures including a soldier from the 34th (Cumberland) Regiment in 1751 and also its precedent “Lord Lucas’ Regiment” from 1702.

The Cumbrian yeoman doesn’t even appear on this 1993 list but an officer of the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry does.

One possible reason for the Westmorland and Cumberland figure being absent was explained by a chance piece of information I came across. Whilst browsing in a 1983 edition of Military Modelling magazine, I discovered an advertisement featuring a photo of my same W&C yeomanry figure. It was listed as being part of a ‘new range sculpted by Pete Armstrong’ but, curiously, the manufacturer was shown as being Rosedale Figurines of Lancaster! Although Pete Armstrong ran Border Miniatures and sculpted that figure, it appears that he actually produced it on behalf of another manufacturer. The advertisement listing showed that the previous owner’s original post-it note was correct with a code number of “05”.

An eBay seller wrote this interesting summary of Rosedale Figurines:

“Rosedale Figurines were specialists in highly detailed historical and collectible figures. Well known for producing exquisite Chivalry miniatures, these miniatures are the finest Medieval-related soldiers that have ever been produced. They also produced Amazons, Monsters, Ancients, Romans, Gauls, Thermopylae Graeco-Persian Wars line, American Civil War (Duette line), 19th Century (The Hill – Custer’s Last Stand), WWII (refugees).. Some of which were sculptured by the late, great Al Charles and larger ranges some of which were sculptured by Alan Ball.”

Image 2 - Rosedale-54mm-2x-WW2-Germans-Soldier-amp-NCO-painted-VGC-1-32-Refugees
Two WWII figures by Rosedale, possibly sculpted by Al Charles.

So it seems that what appeared at first to be Border Miniatures figure is really from Rosedale Figurines. Rosedale seemingly a venture that Pete Armstrong was originally involved in prior to his establishing Border Miniatures. Rosedale apparently shipped out to Australia a decade or more ago and are no longer operating.

Richard Simkin’s illustration of the regiment for the Army and Navy Gazette, October 1898.

Well, this is undeniably a very nicely sculpted figure and is one that I intend – eventually – to add to my other 54mm yeomanry figures collection on their plinths. Speaking of which, I’m working on another one of these right now! More anon.


By chance this figure came up for auction recently, listed as being “Major, Westmorland & Cumb. Yeomanry 1898”, but in a packet marked “Border Miniatures”! There was also a separate listing for the figure showing it’s painting instructions with a very nice illustration of the figure, the sabretache and other details, listed at the base with “Pete Armstrong, 1983”. So it seems that Pete Armstrong really did sell this figure as a Border Miniature in addition to it being sold under Rosedale banner too.

(#Fembruary 2021) SOE Sisters II: Annie Norman

Annie Norman

  • Born: UK.
  • SOE Rank: Bad Squiddo Games Supremo.

My Fembruary SOE Agent number 2 is Annie Norman, the lady behind Bad Squiddo Games and producer of these fab little WWII agents. Of course, it’s another nicely sculpted figure by Rob Macfarlane.

The blue spotty dress design was borrowed directly from the figure painted by John Morris on the website which looked really nice but which was horrible to reproduce. Full respect to John Morris, and his fine job with the polka dots! Mine are a little more unevenly spaced, and it won’t win any print design competitions, but for my first polka dot dress paint job – well, it’ll do!

Painting Annie Agent’s glasses was interesting. The last pair I had to paint was at 20mm scale where a couple dots for eyes was about sufficient.

Crimean Russian admiral with spectacles.

So, at 28mm I had to reveal a little more behind the lenses.

Finally, any good SOE agent is well-trained with a firearm for any high-tension moment when self-preservation becomes paramount.

More SOE Fembruary ladies to come…

Lovat’s Scouts

As my immanent house move appears to have suddenly become less then immanent due to circumstances beyond my control, I’ve been occasionally getting some work done on another of my growing 54mm yeomanry collection. The figure is from Tradition of London and shows a trooper from 1911, squatting down to pet a cat.

The Lovat Scouts were founded by the 16th Lord Lovat in response to the Anglo-Boer War emergency in 1899. The Boers were proving so elusive and manoeuvrable on the veldt that Lovat recognised the need for an effective mounted scouting force which could match them. He identified the stalkers and hunting assistants on his own estates in the Highlands as being ideal for this kind of work and by May 1900 many of them were serving in South Africa. Disbanded after the war, they were re-raised when accepted into the Imperial Yeomanry in 1903 as two regiments of the 1st and 2nd Lovat Scouts. The name seems to be variously either Lovat Scouts or Lovat’s Scouts, and so I’ve simply gone with Tradition’s own title.

Although it’s not a pose based directly on any of R.J. Marrion’s covers for the “Uniforms of the British Yeomanry Force” series, Marrion did indeed paint this uniform on the cover of Volume 8 in the series on the Lovat Scouts and Scottish Horse (see figure below on the right wearing a bandolier). Being clean shaven like my Tradition figure, (and I’ve given him the same ginger hair) perhaps I could consider Marrion’s illustration as a key inspiration behind him.

Trooper of the Lovat’s Scouts, 1914.

Tradition’s trooper wears a dark blue bonnet called a ‘Balmoral’ or ‘Scout’ bonnet. The top features a dark blue bobble known as a ‘tourie’. Around the side of it is a blue and white diced band which was challenging to paint but fun. At the back are two black silk ribbons.

Our trooper is wearing a 1903 pattern, 50-round, leather bandolier probably with Short Magazine Lee-Enfield ammunition, replacing the Lee-Metford which were exchanged around 1910.

The honour guard at Lord Lovat’s wedding in 1910, looking much the same as my figure.

The ‘scout’ bonnet he wears includes the regimental badge which I’ve managed to replicate quite well but which I haven’t captured very well on my photos!

Other Ranks, such as this trooper, wore khaki drab cord riding breeches with thin blue piping down the seam, blue puttees and black ankle boots with hunting spurs. The riding breeches were apparently a very slightly lighter shade than the khaki jacket, particularly on the inside parts, which I’ve – sort-of – replicated.

The colours of the cat are based on one of my own cats. He is much bigger, fatter and lazier than the playful proportions of this little feline, so there the similarity ends! The cat figure was very tiny and, being cast in metal, the details were too subtle for fussing over so I’ve kept it very simple, but it’s a lively figure and the first cat I’ve painted in any scale. I’m not sure what inspired the sculptor to go for this eccentric pose but I love it and it provides a nice contrast to the other poses in my 54mm yeomanry collection.

Campbell’s Cavalrymen #2: Yeoman of Yorkshire

I’ve been quietly making a return to the 54mm yeomanry figure painting with one of my two remaining Mitrecap Miniatures figures. The figure in question is a 1908 officer of the East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry which, together with the Yorkshire Dragoons and Yorkshire Hussars, are one of all three Yorkshire yeomanry regiments covered by the manufacturer. This bias towards Yorkshire can be explained by the manufacturer heralding from Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

The painting instruction for this metal 54mm figure includes the following advice:

Thankfully, I already had one of these references, the former being a plate illustrated by E.A. Campbell in R.G. Harris’ 1972 book. This artist also inspired the previous Mitrecap figure I painted this year of the Surrey yeomanry. Campbell’s illustration of the East Riding soldier appears at the end of the book:

The other reference comes from the April 1983 edition of Military Modelling which I sourced cheaply from eBay. The relevant article is “The East Riding Yeomanry (Wenlock’s Horse) 1902-1947: Part 1” by Major R. Wilson. It contains information on the regiment’s formation, a detailed description of the uniform and a number of watercolour illustrations by an artist identified only with the initials “M.J.T.”.

The first challenge was trying to replicate the particular shade of the tunic which has variously been described as being either “claret” or “maroon” both in the Harris book and in the painting advice provided by Mitrecap, but simply as “maroon” by Major Wilson in the article. Not having a ready-made maroon/claret in my paint rack I had to set about mixing my own shade and, after a couple of abject failures, finally settled on one I was content with which, I hope, does the job.

This is the first 54mm yeomanry figure I’ve painted wearing a lancer cap (Czapka). It’s cloth panels are a colourful light blue with a black patent leather skull cap and gold lines and chin scales. The plume is described as a white and pale blue feather affair, the blue is really clear on Campbell’s illustration but less so on MJT’s which appears largely white. I’ve gone with MJT with just a hint of light blue peeking between the white feathers.

East Riding Museums have this lovely yeomanry czapka as an exhibit available to view online which seems to be white with a very feint hint of pale blue about it.

The light blue appears again as double stripes on the dark blue overalls. My captain also wears a lancer’s girdle of red and gold bands which had to be painted freehand, a bit tricky as there were no sculpted lines.

Pale blue piping is also on the rear and edges of the jacket. These rear views show my addition of some details on a plaque. The plinth is alder wood and hand-made in the Ukraine – very posh!

The figure came with a sword and scabbard with slings but, no matter what I tried, I just couldn’t place it anywhere which looked natural. So as he looks entirely happy without it, I simply left it off completely. However, since taking these photos, I’ve found an image which better explains its positioning so I’m going to have another go but it’s just too late for this post, I’m afraid!

The plastron on the chest, the shoulder straps and collar are also pale blue which, as a combination with the maroon/claret jacket, puts me in mind of the claret and blue of the football strips of West Ham or Aston Villa). The overall effect is to add a nice addition of more vibrant colours in contrast to the predominantly khaki and dark blue colours featuring on the rest of my 54mm Yeomanry Cavalry figures.

Watercolour of a 1906 East Riding Yeomanry officer appearing on the East Riding Musems site. The artist shows a pale blue plume!

Finally, the regiment has a badge on the collar featuring a guilt metal fox with the legend “Forrard” which wasn’t at all present on the figure so I’ve simply painted my own approximated version.

Overall, I’m very happy with this new addition to the yeomanry fold. I’ve a number of figures to keep adding to the project but only one Mitrecap version. The now sadly demised Mitrecap Miniatures made some terrific yeomanry figures and I’d dearly love to source those remaining ones one day (there are about five that I know of). The sculpting on this Captain of the East Riding yeomanry stands as testament to their quality figures.

Mitrecap Miniatures: 54mm Leicestershire Yeomanry

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.

A model of a trooper in the Leicestershire Yeomanry.

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.

A busby of the Yeomanry.

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.

The Leicestershire Yeomanry depicted by Richard Simkin

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!

Ensign Miniatures and the drawings of René North

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.

Two of my Napoleonic yeomanry by Ensign Miniatures

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.

René North

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.

Leicestershire Yeomanry officers by René North. In a nice coincidence, there are two of them.

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:

  1. The Warwickshire Light Horse, Private, 1801
  2. The Surrey Yeomanry, Private, 1800
  3. The West Kent Yeomanry (Sheppey)*, Officer, 1800
  4. Loyal London Cavalry, Private, 1804
  5. The Leicestershire Yeomanry*, Officers, 1808
  6. 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.

Some of Ensign Miniatures’ ‘A’ Range

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.

The excellent Helion Books blogged a very informative biography of Mr North who was both the illustrator and researcher for all the cards in this series. Cost was a driving factor in issuing colourless cards, but they also encouraged the collector to colour the illustrations themselves.

“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.