Painting the 19th Hussars: an update

It’s been a sad weekend for me. Receiving the news that my beloved 1-year-old cat Morris had been sadly hit and killed by a car, was a real blow. We shared a close bond, he and I, and I’ll sorely miss the little chap. I loved his comical ways, even when as a kitten he mounted a surprise sortie and captured and ran off with some of my plastic soldiers!

Morris
Morris

At such times, I find my hobby can be a welcome distraction and a consolation. Indeed, through these sad circumstances, I’ve nonetheless managed to carry on and progress with my 19th Hussars. I also managed to find some more depictions of the regiment rooting about my cigarette card collection, including (left) this fine illustration of the regiment’s Kettle Drummer issued by Gallaher in 1898 and (right) a corporal of the 19th Hussars from a collection called “Soldiers of the King” issued by Ogden’s in 1909.

 

 

On the 1898 card it can be seen that the 19th were known as Princess of Wales’s Own, yet by the time of the Ogden’s cigarette card issues they had become the Queen Alexandra’s Own Royal Hussars, following her husband King Edward VII’s accession to the throne after the death of Queen Victoria.

Back to the figures – below are a few photos to show the results of my progress. It’s difficult to see clearly on my photographs but I’ve tried to recreate the key dress features particular to this regiment, such as the yellow lines on the white bag on each busby. There are no plumes on these fellows who appear sculpted more ready for battle than parade!

The horses are now primed and awaiting the first lick of paint. An update of their development to follow…

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One of my troopers representing the 19th Hussars

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19th Hussars (9)

 

 

The 19th (Alexandra, Princess of Wales’s Own) Hussars

The 19th Hussars began life as the 1st Bengal European Light Cavalry in 1858, having been raised by the East India Company in response to the Indian Mutiny.

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Very soon after, they were absorbed into the British army and became a regiment of the crown. Now designated as the 19th Hussars, they became the acknowledged successor regiment to the original 19th Light Dragoons which had been disbanded back in 1821. During the 1880s, the 18th Hussars fought in campaigns in Egypt and the Sudan, including the battles of Tel-el-Kebir, Abu Klea and El Teb.

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The 19th Hussars in the desert, capturing enemy supplies by Richard Caton Woodville

The 19th later found themselves fighting in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, most notably at the Siege of Ladysmith.

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19th Prince of Wales’ Hussars in 1885 by Orlando Norie

At the conclusion of their service in the Boer War, the regiment formally became known as the 19th (Alexandra, Princess of Wales’s Own) Hussars (after the wife of Prince Edward).

19th l
A fine watercolour of a hussar of the 19th. Artist unknown to me.

So, why the history lesson? Because my next figures will represent this regiment. Having a lifelong interest in the Victorian army, it is in this re-formed Victorian-era guise that I’m intending to paint the 19th Hussars. In a return to 28mm scale, I’m using Perry Miniatures British Hussars from their excellent “British Intervention Force” series set in the 1860s.

Perry Miniatures

Inspiration for a choice of regiment to paint originally came from some examples of Richard Simkin’s depiction of the regiment found in my collection.

I’ve just the three hussars to paint as a toe in the water. If I’m pleased enough with the end result, I may expand the regiment. Updates on painting progress to follow…

Exciting News!

I’m delighted to announce some rather exciting news regarding my figures. Having recently painted the Warwickshire Yeomanry figures, I hit upon an idea. Recalling from a previous visit that the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum had a very impressive collection of model soldiers, I wondered whether they might be interested in my own humble efforts (using figures by Perry Miniatures) at depicting the early incarnation of its regiment .

Earlier today, I revisited the museum in Warwick where Trustee Mr Philip Wilson graciously accepted them as an acquisition to be displayed on permanent loan!

WY Museum (6)

I’m especially pleased that these figures will be on display here at this venue because in my opinion the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum is especially good. It is a provincial regimental Museum staffed and supported by volunteers only. These volunteers bring not only great enthusiasm, but an extensive knowledge and understanding of the regiment and its history, and this is reflected in the high quality of the displays and exhibits.

Great exhibits and fascinating artefacts (not to say great model soldiers), abound. For this fan of military art, the museum seems especially blessed with great paintings, prints, caricatures and other illustrations. I saw a number of originals from which I based the painting of my own figures, including the oil painting of an officer of the 4th Kineton Troop. Many of my favourite artists, such as Simkin and Orlando Norie, are in evidence, but the jewel in the crown is undoubtedly the original painting of the Warwickshire and Worcestershire Yeomanry’s glorious charge at Huj by the famed Lady Butler .

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Lady Butler’s “Charge of the Warwickshire and Worcestershire Yeomanry at Huj”.

All of this (now including my painted figures of course), is accomodated in a splendidly renovated basement of the Court House in Warwick. Temporarily housed in one on the display cabinets, my figures will be soon moved to another cabinet within which is housed an original WYC Tarleton helmet, sabres and ephemera relating to the early period in the regiment’s history. A more suitable place for them in the museum, I couldn’t imagine!

Whilst signing over my figures into the care of the museum, Mr Wilson kindly showed me facsimiles of beautiful illustrations of the regiment engaged in sword drill. It is gratifying to note that these pictures suggest a type of jacket closer to those on my figures than I had originally thought possible.

It was also suggested that the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum’s own website might soon be updated with photos of my figures on display. None of my figures have ever been on any kind of public display before and I don’t mind admitting that I’m very gratified some are now appearing in such a fine museum. Following all the positive testimony I’ve given in this post, I do therefore heartily recommend giving the (free admission!) Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum a visit. You will find knowledgable and friendly staff on hand and, of course, my figures are now on display there!

Further information on the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum website can be accessed here

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Acquisition form: Proudly signing my figures over to the museum’s collection!

54th (West Norfolk) Regiment of Foot

I’m learning more about how to paint at the 28mm scale each time I tackle some figures, but I can’t say I’m totally 100% content with these final figures. I’ve had to make a few minor compromises on the uniform shown in the postcard which first inspired them, and the shade of blue in their trousers is darker than I intended. Nevertheless, I think they’re looking okay and make a nice spectacle marching in step.

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54th Regiment of Foot

I’m already thinking about my next challeng which will be a return (at long last!) to some of my piles of 1/72 (20mm) figures. I think I may finish off my Quiberon Expedition project, which I began last year after returning from holidaying near to Lymington. It was a visit to the town’s museum which inspired my interest.

Speaking of holidays, I’ll be shortly off to this years destination and taking a necessary sabbatical from all things related to military modelling. Did I say a sabbatical? Well, not entirely as my intention is to make a visit to a regimental museum there while I’m away, to be featured on this blog as the next ‘day trip’ report…

Anyway, until then, here are my men of the 54th (West Norfolk) Regiment on a stifling hot march through the jungles of the Arakan during the First Anglo-Burmese War in the year of 1825:-

 

A little progress…

It’s been a little while since my last post. After the frantic painting activity of my Nappy Cavalry Project last year, it seems like I’m crawling along slowly at the moment. Another way of looking at it is that a) I’m being careful and b), that I’m getting on with other more important things!

The figures that are taking a little time are a dozen 28mm 1820s British infantry figures by Perry miniatures. They are Carlist War troops but I’m painting mine as the 54th (West Norfolk) Regiment,  taking my inspiration from a postcard depicting them on campaign in Burma, 1825. They will take a little while yet to complete and bring them up to some sort of standard but hopefully they should be all done before I go away on my summer holiday in a little less that 2 weeks.

Speaking of which, during my time away I am already planning to take the opportunity of visiting another regimental museum to feature in another of my “Suburban Militarism Day Trips”!

In the meantime, here is a preview pic of progress being made so far. More detailed photos will be provided when they are finished and I’m hopefully a little happier with them!

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In progress: 54th (West Norfolk) Regiment, Burma, 1825.

The Warwickshire Yeomanry Cavalry…at last!

At long last, they’re finished! I started the Warwickshire Yeomanry figures back in February of this year, but with other projects and duties demanding my attention, it’s been a long time before I could get around to finishing them off.

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These are the first 28mm cavalry that I’ve painted. I’m fairly pleased with the end result, there’s always something to be improved upon, but they’ll do nicely. I’ve learnt to accept the numerous compromises necessary in depicting these figures as yeomanry and I think they make a good impression of the WYC in the Napoleonic period.

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I’ve added some carbines to five of the figures, representing the limited number of each troop which would be so armed.

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Trooper with carbine.

It should be admitted that the officer still requires the end of his shabraque completing as I’ve procrastinated as to how to do this. He has a sabretache with the letters WYC (more or less!) upon it. The sabretache design is based on one in service from the 1850s, evidence of anything from earlier in the regimental history being absent.

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Officer of the WYC

Photos of the final 5 figures and indeed the entire completed regiment below!

Yeoman’s Work

yeoman (n.)
c. 1300, “attendant in a noble household,” of unknown origin, perhaps a contraction of Old English iunge man “young man,” or from an unrecorded Old English *geaman, equivalent of Old Frisian gaman “villager”…

What is a Yeoman?

For centuries, yeomen were farmers who owned their land. Wikipedia suggests it was once something above a ‘husbandman’ but below the ‘landed gentry’. Many yeomen held positions of authority such as parish constables, bailiffs, wardens or in informal local police forces headed by the gentry. It was perhaps a continuation of the latter sense that the Warwickshire Yeomanry was first formed. For while the militia (volunteer infantry) was disbanded in the wake of the rescinded Napoleonic invasion threat; the yeomanry (volunteer cavalry) were retained, acting to fill the absence of any formal police force. By the end of the 19th century as it supplied men for the war in South Africa, the Warwickshire Yeomanry would be much more representative of the entire community it served, including many local men from poorer or disadvantaged backgrounds. A Yeoman could now be said to represent all social classes.

Progress on my Perry Miniatures Figures:

Meanwhile, my version of an early WYC troop is nearing completion. The first 8 of the 13 yeomanry horses have been completed, their riders mounted and scabbards attached. I’m rather pleased with them. So far, I’ve painted the following horse types; 2 dark bays, 2 bays, 2 blacks, 2 chestnuts. With the remaining 5 horses I intend to add some lighter colours, namely; a couple of greys, some lighter browns and, of course, a dun!

The final batch of 5 figures will carry some carbines too as about a quarter of the Warwickshire Yeomanry were said to be armed with one at that time. I slightly regret the few compromises I’ve had to make on these figures, such as the shorter jackets and the superfluous saddle blankets, etc. Nonetheless, I like to think it’s a very noble effort at recreating something of how the Warwickshire Yeomanry Cavalry might have looked circa early 1800s.

54th (West Norfolk) Regiment of Foot, Burma 1825

I’ve a number of projects on the go at the moment, namely;

  • the horses for the 28mm scale Warwickshire Yeomanry
  • my “secret” figures
  • the Perry Miniatures Carlist War infantry figures.

As for the latter, I’ve been casting around for inspiration as to exactly what to paint. There’s not a lot of information readily to hand about 1820s infantry, the quiet period after Waterloo was for the British army the calm following the storm of the Napoleonic Wars. Then I recalled a postcard that I’d purchased whilst visiting the Keep Museum in Dorchester a couple of years ago. It depicts a soldier of the 54th Regiment in 1825, behind him can be seen the jungles of the Arakan in Burma. 

The 54th (West Norfolk) Regiment of Foot came into being in 1782 after formerly being designated as the 56th. The Childers Reforms merged it with the 39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot, to form The Dorsetshire Regiment in 1881, hence its appearance in a postcard at the Devonshire and Dorset regiment museum. The regiment was nicknamed Flamers (in 1781 it burned 12 privateers and the town and stores of New London in Connecticut). This is somewhat ironic when considering one of its most famous and gallant exploits took place aboard the burning troop ship Sarah Sands.

The 54th Regiment took part in operations during the First Anglo-Burmese War and took appalling losses, mostly as a consequence of tropical diseases and extreme weather conditions, all of which were experienced in clothing which was far from suitable for the climate.

I was attracted to paint this regiment as that unsuitable uniform was, nonetheless, a wonderfully colourful and attractive one. Aside from the scarlet coat, white crossbelts and green facings, there is the added colour of the light-blue trousers. I believe this to be a tropical pattern worn in hot climates. So I’ve made a start in recreating this illustration by painting the trousers as can be seen below.

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Illustration of 54th Foot in Burma by Rob Chapman.

 

 

Yeomanry and other news…

It’s been a couple of months since I last turned my brush to the Warwickshire Yeomanry. But now I’ve come back to them again and this week I’ve turned my attention to the first couple of horses.

These light dragoon horses come with saddlecloths, sabretaches and carbines; none of these seem to be features of early yeomanry cavalry. So I’m having to make compromises again. I’ve left off the carbines and sabretaches, but here’s not much I can do about the saddlecloths so I’ve just painted them with colours of my choosing, light blue for the saddlecloth with green ‘wolf teeth’ to match their facings.

I’ve still to paint and attach the scabbards, and base the figures somehow, but otherwise these two chaps are nearly done. Just twelve more to go…

Meanwhile, I’ve other plans! Some new figures have come through the post in recent weeks: in 1/72 scale there are some HaT colonial Indian infantry and HaT Bengal Lancers; and from Perry Miniatures some 28mm British infantry from the 1st Carlist War (1833-1840).

And there’s more news too. I’m busy painting something else…but I can’t actually tell you about it! In fact, for reasons I can’t reveal, I’ll be keeping it a secret for a few months yet!