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.