4th Dutch Light Dragoons (Nappy Cavalry Project #16)

If I thought that the Nappy Cavalry project was going to end in 2015, I was wrong; I just can’t stop painting Napoleonic cavalry! For the past few weeks I’ve been working on two boxes of HaT Dutch-Belgian Light Dragoons, making for a total of 24 figures split evenly between the 4th Dutch and the 5th Belgian Light Dragoon regiments.

This set comes with a separate head for the officers (who wore a differently shaped shako to the other ranks). Attaching this head meant moving dangerously into “conversion” territory, something which I usually shy away from. Nevertheless, I had a go. After decapitating an ordinary trooper, I soon realised that I might need to ‘pin’ the new head on. Following some trial an error with a hot needle, I finally succeeded in forcing the pin into the figures neck and head. It’s not what I’d call a professional conversion, but I think it looks okay and at least the head is less likely to fall off.

The 4th Dutch Light Dragoons look a lot like hussars with all that braiding on their jackets, though they have no pelisse over their shoulders. HaT’s figures aren’t the most detailed or crisply sculpted, and the poses on this old set aren’t particularly dynamic. Yet, there’s still something quite pleasing about the figures now that the paints on and the varnish is dry.

Here are some pics (and a brief regimental history) of the finished 4th Dutch regiment, I’ll be posting images of the 5th Belgian version very soon!


Biography: 4th Dutch Light Dragoons during the Waterloo Campaign.

During the Waterloo campaign, the 4th Dutch Light Dragoons formed a part of the 1st Netherlands Light Cavalry Brigade alongside the 8th Belgian Hussars (part of the Netherlands Cavalry Division under Lt-General Baron de Collaert). As with nearly all the Anglo-Allied light dragoons, they wore blue coats and this might have helped them avoid any significant ‘friendly fire’ incidents as afflicted the 5th Belgian Light Dragoons in green coats.

Having four squadrons of 647sabres, it was the largest light dragoon regiment in the entire Anglo-allied army. They were initially deployed towards the centre rear of the line. Their brigade commander, Major-General Baron de Ghigny had previously faught for the French, gaining considerable experience under the French colours during the Napoleonic wars. Nevertheless, under his leadership, the 4th LD would prove themselves redoutable opponents to Napoleon on the 18th June 1815.

As the afternoon developed, the 4th were to find themselves increasingly heavily engaged against the French cavalry. Initially, they advanced against French lancers to assist in the withdrawal of the Union Brigade. Later in the afternoon, they continued to counterattack repeated incursions of French cavalry which penetrated between the infantry squares. Their commander, Lt-Col Renno was wounded and the regiment suffered around 38% casualties.

Hat Dutch Infantry: Finished!

The last lick of varnish has been applied to my Dutch infantry and I’ve had an idea for presenting them in the group build. Five of the soldiers are lined up and the officer is calling for a volunteer for some duty. One of the five, in an act of rookie naivety, steps forward…

Volunteers Needed

There’s a lot of fun ideas going into this year’s group build and hopefully mine won’t be out of place.  I’ll say it again, these Hat figures look a lot better off the sprue and painted than I pessimistically thought they would. The spare figures will join the Dutch militia as part of my Waterloo-era Netherlands army. Joining them in the Prince of Orange’s forces will be the next figures I’ll be turning my brush to; HaT Dutch and Belgian light dragoons!

HaT Dutch Infantry: Making progress

I’ve been getting on with the HaT Dutch Infantry nicely. I seem to be able to progress so much more quickly than I use to a few years ago. I’m not sure exactly which poses I’m going to use for the Road to Arnhem display, or even how for that matter! So I’ve just painted a range of the non-action poses to give me some options, but I’m still scratching my head for any ideas.

I must admit, I wasn’t too impressed with these figures on the sprue, but now they’re close to being finished, I think they’ve turned out much better than I thought possible. Not too much more work and they should be ready by the weekend. A select few will be chosen for the ‘on the road’ scene. The problem is that the marching figures are out of step and the standing to attention figures need a reason to be stationary whilst out there on the road. I’ll be thinking about this issue as they near completion. In the meantime, here’s how they are looking so far with accoutrements to be painted and varnish to be added.

Going Dutch

Whilst painting those marching Dutch militia figures, I’ve been in discussion over their intended use in the Benno’s Figures Forum group build project “The Road to Arnhem”. We were unable to uncover any evidence of militia being based around Arnhem and so have decided instead to offer some regular infantry; specifically the 5th Infantry Regiment which was actually raised in Arnhem. In 1815, it was reorganised into the 12th Line Infantry Regiment in time for Waterloo, and it is in this guise that I’m going to paint it.

Dutch National Militia (8)
Dutch National Militia figures

So, while I am eagerly waiting for a box of HaT Dutch Infantry to come through the post, my militia (who are most disappointed to miss out on their chance to go into ‘action’) have had their final attention with the brush. A search of the loft for this militia also unearthed a couple more boxes of Dutch-related Napoleonic troops; more of the aforementioned militia, and some Dutch and Belgian Light Dragoons also by HaT. I couldn’t resist having a go at the cavalry too, and so the 4th Dutch and the 5th Belgian Light Dragoon regiments are also being painted. I’ve definitely ‘gone Dutch’.

Here is the finished marching Dutch National Militia.

Early HaT figures were impressive when released 15 or more years ago, but the sculpting suffers a little in comparison with other more recent manufacturers. It’s going to be a bit of a challenge getting them up to ‘display standard’, but I’ll do my best. I’ll post some progress photos as soon as I’m able to make a start on those regular Dutch infantry.



Militia Men

Having completed my submission of Dutch cyclists for the Bennos Figures Forum 2016 Group Build, I was about to turn my attention back to the Warwickshire Yeomanry that I’ve been painting. However, Jan from Benno’s Forum indicated he’d be interested if I had any further ideas for the group build. So, that got me thinking…and painting.

A few years ago, I bought some Netherlands Militia figures by HaT from which I painted a handful of figures.

Dutch Militia (2)

I thought that maybe there could be a place for these soldiers marching down the ‘Road to Arnhem’. I’m using the marching figures, a natural pose for travelling alone a road, and have cut off their bayonets as they are not supposed to be in action. I’m still waiting to hear if there’s a space for including these figures in the FIGZ display in Arnhem, either way I’m always very happy to revisit some Napoleonic 1/72 scale figures. So happy, in fact, I’m minded to get back to tackling some more Nappy cavalry. I have a few sets unpainted from last year’s project (Russian hussars, French Grenadiers a Cheval, Dutch / Belgian Light Dragoons, etc).

A few words on the Dutch militia:

The Netherlands militia in this HaT set are wearing the uniform used at Waterloo with stovepipe shakos. Being militia (a mixture of volunteers and conscripts) rather than regular infantry, they were not considered to be the most reliable infantry in Wellington’s force. Nine militia regiments featured in the Netherlands Infantry Divisions. At Quatre Bras, however, they fought very determinedly against increasingly superior French forces, taking heavy casualties in the process. At Waterloo, much of the militia was kept out well of the way on the flank with the exception being those in Bylandt’s brigade which took a mauling from being exposed on the ridge to French cannon. As the French main attack developed in mid-afternoon, 1st and 2nd Netherlands brigades were brought over to the main army position on the ridge. In so doing, their blue uniforms almost led to their being raked with British musket fire, most observers initially believing them to be French!

Towards the end of the battle, the remaining two Netherlands infantry brigades were sent to help repel the final attack of the French Imperial Guard. Colonel Detmer’s 1st brigade which included 4 regiments Dutch militia wildly charged at Napoleon’s beaten Old Guard “with shakos on the top of their bayonets”.

The last time I painted some of these figures, I had barely been painting 1/72 scale soldiers for more than a couple of months. So it’s interesting to see how my style has developed since then. I’m still working on the new ones, but the older figures stand up pretty well, I think. Here’s a few pics from my old website, which I was using before the provider went bust.



Dutch Infantry Cyclists

Well, this has been a challenge! My contribution to the Bennos Figures Forum group build has seen me well out of my comfort zone. Metal figures, the WWII era, civilians, never mind those bicycles, none of these are something I’m used to painting!

I’m finding that metal figures at 1/72 scale don’t enjoy the same level of detail as plastic figures. My usual approach to painting is to reveal the detail that the sculptor has provided his model with by a careful application of shading. With the same high-level of detail as plastic figures being unavoidably absent for metal ones, I’ve come to the realisation that a slightly different approach is needed. It’s the kind of painting development which takes time to develop through experience, but I don’t have the time as I’m on a deadline for the Group Build!

Dutch 9

So, I’ve just had to go with what I’ve got. I hope I’ve not done Early War Miniatures an injustice as I send them over to Europe to join the other figures in the project. Here they are as they get close to completion. Amongst other things, I’ve still got to paint and glue on their rifles, but I’ll do them last as they look a little fragile.

The Cyclists:

The Civilians:

Dutch 6

The scene: One cyclist dismounts to speak to the young blond lady that’s caught his eye…

I’m hoping that group build ‘project lead’ Jan will provide the diorama itself, using my figures in something like the set up shown above. Once these are finished, I’ll send them over to Germany for him to work his magic!

The Road to Arnhem!

At last! My figures from Early War Miniatures have finally arrived. These are metal 1/72 scale Dutch infantry cyclists from (as the manufacturer’s name suggests) the early period of WWII, prior to the German invasion of the low countries.

They are going to be my contribution to the latest Benno’s Figures Forum group build project for 2016. Last year featured a build to commemorate the 200th anniersary of the Battle of Waterloo and inspired my subsequent Nappy Cavalry Project. This year, project lead Mabo has come up with the following idea which he’s called “The Road to Arnhem”.

My idea is to create a special diorama, that features an ideal of a street leading to Arnhem, the home of the FIGZ, throughout all time periods. So in the end we will have parts that are 10 square centimetre and [are put] together in a long row sorted into time periods.

Think about scenes that could have happened: Stone age people hunting, Celts riding, Romans, exploring, Franks travelling, Knights fighting, medival people discussing, Bandit waiting for a treasurer, Landsknechts resting, civilians farming, British troops travelling to Hannover, Nappies running around everywhere, the Great War, A Bridge to far and finally the modern times…

So, with that in mind, here is my idea… The year is 1940, it is during the period of the so-called ‘phoney war’ and in these uneasy times a small Dutch infantry platoon of cyclists is out on manoeuvres near Arnhem…

You’ll see a couple of ‘stunt cyclists’ in the above pictures which, ah, probably won’t be included. I’m now waiting for some paints to come through to help me with the Dutch army uniform (for which great advice I must thank my Dutch friend Michael from Benno’s Forum). I’ve also ordered some civilian figures which I hope might act as bystanders and which will hopefully help me provide some sort of narrative. Perhaps one of the cyclists dismounts and speaks to a young lady who catches his eye?

And in other news… I’ve been asked to produce some painted figures for the young son of a friend. Not sure what to paint at the moment, though something Napoleonic seems to be the brief. With so much on here at Suburban Militarism, I’m going to be hard pushed to find time, though of course I’m very happy to make this a priority. After all, I could be encouraging a modeller or wargamer of the future!