The #FEMbruary Challenge!

I’m pleased to say that it appears that my previous post on the heroic female soldiers of Serbia has been particularly well-timed. Not only does it coincide with the 100th anniversary of the first piece of legislation extending voting rights to women in the UK, but it also coincides with #FEMbruary.

It was my friend from the Imperial Rebel Orc blog who drew my attention to FEMbruary – a painting challenge for this month intended to “celebrate females and highlight the dismal fact that our hobby is so male dominated“. The idea for the FEMbruary painting challenge has apparently originated with Lead Well done, sir! A fine suggestion.

Suburban Militarism occasionally posts on topics related to women’s often overlooked role in conflict, military art and military history. Furthermore, this blog loves a communal challenge, and so I’ve ‘signed up’ to FEMbruary – a time for painting some female miniatures that celebrate, not demean, women. There was just a small matter of finding an appropriate female figure to paint, though. Not only are there not enough females in the hobby, there’s not enough female figures which are realistically proportioned and non-sexualised. Step forward, Bad Squiddo and the Dice Bag Lady!

Guided by the ever-knowledgeable Mark from Man of Tin blog, I checked out Bad Squiddo – a site dedicated to believable female miniatures! Quickly through the post came a perfectly sculpted figure together with a rather lovely Darjeeling tea bag to boot. My chosen FEMbruary figure from Bad Squiddo is one of the most powerful rulers of the 18th century; Catherine the Great of Russia!

Catherine (2)

Born as Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, this German lady came to power after her ineffectual husband, Peter III, was assassinated. She proved to be an astonishingly successful ruler for Russia, reigning from 1762 to 1796. Catherine combined intelligence, shrewdness, an appreciation for the arts, knowledge of Enlightenment principles, and an autocratic ruthlessness whenever required. Like many other powerful autocrats, Catherine fed both her ego and her libido; she didn’t stint on palatial opulence and also enjoyed a long list of lovers.

She was also keenly aware of the need to dress to impress, or should that be Empress? Her magnificent dresses brought western fashions to the Russian court. In a subtle demonstration of her power, and to cement her relationship with army, some of these were military uniform inspired dresses and explicitly mimicked military fashions and colours of the day.

Catherine the Great’s Uniform dress modeled after the uniform of the Life Guards Cavalry Regiment, St. Petersburg, Russia. 1789..
Officer’s dress of Catherine the Great

For the Bad Squiddo figure, Catherine the Great eschews the fine dresses of court and appears in full military uniform, on a white charger with sword drawn.

catherine bad squiddo
28mm Catherine the Great figure by Bad Squiddo Games

Catherine is wearing the full uniform of the Russian Life Guards. The Bad Squiddo figure (above) cleverly takes the Vigilius Eriksen portrait (below) as its inspiration.

Equestrian portrait of Catherine II of Russia (1729-1796) – Catherine II of Russia in Life Guard Uniform on the Horse Brillante, by Vigilius Eriksen

The Eriksen portrait of her formed part of an enormous collection of paintings which Catherine acquired with the stupendous wealth that she enjoyed;

Among many portraits of the empress is Vigilius Eriksen’s Equestrian Portrait of Catherine II. She is on her horse Brilliant (Russian for “Diamond”) on the summer’s day in 1762 when she set out from St Petersburg to demand the abdication of her weak, stupid and unpopular husband, Peter III. Her backers included her lover, Count Grigory Orlov, and one of his successors, Prince Grigory Potemkin. Her sword is drawn, and she would clearly be happy to use it on her husband. Peter caved in, but within days had been murdered by his wife’s supporters. She claimed he had died of one of “his habitual haemorrhoidal attacks, together with a violent colic”. The Guardian

Detail of Eriksen’s portrait of Catherine II of Russia.

The lady who wore that uniform, sword drawn and “happy to use it on her husband”, intended it to indicate to all of Russia that a more dynamic and stronger sort of ruler was about to take power. Catherine the Great was a supremely successful leader, subject to the same trappings of power as male leaders (opulence, sex, etc.). Autocrats and despots are hardly loveable. But this ruthless lady was very charismatic, with personal qualities and achievements that were extremely impressive. What’s more, she looks splendid in a Guards uniform to boot!

And with that grey horse, Brilliante, it’s time for me to get painting horses again.

For more info on #FEMbruary, visit:

Also, for some good female gamers and hobby blogs check out:

Quiberon Update

Whilst taking a little time out from painting my latest Nappy Cavalry Regiment, I revisited my Quiberon Expedition venture that I’d first begun after returning from holiday in July. I’ve previously posted some progress pictures of the Royal Emigre Regiment and the Royal Marine Regiment, but I’ve also recently begun the Royal Louis Regiment too.

For the other regiments I’d been using Strelets’ British Infantry in Egypt set, but for the Royal Louis troops, I needed the Strelets’ French Infantry in Egypt set instead. Neither of the Strelets sets are perfect for the Quiberon uniforms, but with the strategic application of paint, at 20mm tall I fancy I can almost get away with it. The Royal Louis Regiment features the pre-revolutionary white uniform, but I could use the same figures for their adversaries, the revolutionary French troops themselves.

In progress… the Royal Louis Regiment.



With one more regiment still to paint (the Royal Artillery also with Strelets figs) I’m hoping to maybe have a selection of these troops ready by the end of the year or possibly by the beginning of the next. In the meantime, it’s back to those Cossack boys…

Strelets French Artillery in Egypt box (with assistance from my daughter).
Strelets French Artillery in Egypt box (with assistance from my daughter).

1st (Royal) Regiment of Dragoons [Nappy Cavalry Project Set #8]

Readers of my previous posts will note that I’ve expressed some disappointment about the quality of this Waterloo 1815 set, mostly this is simply because their standards have been so high. Now that the set is finally finished, I can say that I am quite pleased with the result and all the considerable effort now seems worthwhile. One of my little gripes was that the hard plastic made parts brittle and ironically this observation was tragically proven to be true when I dropped a figure (on to a soft carpet) when preparing to take some photos of them. The result was a broken sword which I’ve now hastily glued on for the purposes of these pictures…

Trumpeter, Officer and troopers.
British 1st Royal Dragoons trumpeter, officer and troopers.

To finish on a positive though, these figures are undoubtedly a fine looking set so long as the modeller is prepared to spend some extra time and effort preparing and painting them. I do think they’re an improvement on the now rare alternative British Heavy Dragoons set produced by HaT, Waterloo 1815’s being more dynamic and offering better sculpting. As such, they’re a welcome and essential addition to the Napoleonic cavalry range.

You may notice that all the horses I’ve painted are of the same type; dark bays. This is deliberate (not laziness…) as the Royals have been reported as riding on dark bays and so I’ve taken that suggestion literally.

1st Dragoons (4)
1st (Royal) Dragoons.

1st Dragoons (2)

1st Dragoons (6)
These two figures came with separate arms to glue on. It certainly required good glue to keep them in place, but I like the end result and it allowed me to alter the angle of the arms to create slightly different poses.
1st Dragoons (7)
Ouch! A casualty of enemy fire.
1st Dragoons (9)
Trumpeter. The horse hair is red instead of black, which I believe is correct for British heavy dragoons.
1st Dragoons (10)
Another view of the trumpeter.
1st Dragoons (11)
Officer (I did two and this is the one without the broken sword…)

1st Dragoons (12)

1st Dragoons (13)

1st Dragoons (14)

1st Dragoons (15)

Biography: 1st (Royal) Regiment of Dragoons [Great Britain]

The 1st Regiment of Dragoons traced its origins back to a troop of Parliamentarian veterans from the English Civil Wars. This troop expanded and became the Tangier Horse (named after where it had first seen service). The regiment was then variously disbanded and reformed until it eventually became a permanent regiment known as the 1st Royal Regiment of Dragoons. Numbered the 1st on account of it being the oldest line cavalry regiment, it was commonly known as simply “The Royals”.

It served at the battle of Sedgemoor in the Monmouth Rebellion, at Dettingen in 1743 (where it captured the standard of the Black Musketeers), and later also at Fontenoy. From 1809, the 1st Dragoons served in the Peninsula campaign, most notably in the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro where it rescued two captured guns.

At Waterloo, the regiment was one third of the Union Brigade; a formation made up of the Scots Greys, the Inniskillings (an Irish regiment), and the Royals themselves (representing the English part of the Union). Their initial charge at Waterloo was aimed against D’erlon’s corps as they assaulted Wellington’s centre, but the spectacular charge of the Union Brigade utterly broke and dispersed this corps. In the process, the regiment captured the eagle of the French 105th Line Regiment and helped secure 2,000 prisoners. In continuing on to attack Napoleon’s artillery batteries, they were counter-attacked by French cavalry whilst badly blown and disorganised. The brigade was consequently driven back with heavy losses, and Ponsonby, their brigadier, was killed.

They went on to serve in the Crimea, the World Wars and elsewhere. The Royals, as the oldest regiment in the British Army, became a prestigious Guards regiment in 1969 when it amalgamated with the Royal Horse Guards (known as The Blues). The merged regiment formally became known as the Blues and Royals. It now comprises, along with the Life Guards, the prestigious Household Cavalry regiment; the most senior in the British Army. The Blues and Royals today supply a unit based in central London and can be seen on ceremonial occasions, such as Trooping the Colour. They wear dark blue uniforms, dragoon-style helmets with red plumes, and silver cuirasses – a style which is perhaps an echo of the napoleonic era. On their uniform, the charge at Waterloo is still commemorated with an arm badge depicting a French eagle.

Battle Honours: Dettingen, Warbung, Beaumont, Fuentes de Oñoro, Waterloo.

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Red Red Whine

It has been a case of slow, careful progress with the latest Nappy cavalry regiment, the Dutch Red Lancers of the Imperial Guard. It has in no way been onerous (the set is wonderful) but the figures demand careful attention to produce even a vaguely decent result. The first six are now nearly completed, with five more still to go.

But now for my ‘whine’. Mounting the figures on to the horses has been a cause for some frustration. Zvezda have designed the set so that the riders have two pegs on their legs to fit into holes in the horses flanks. Unfortunately, getting the pegs into the holes is virtually impossible even with heavy handling. All this has caused a good deal of damage to all my careful paintwork on both horses and riders. Eventually, my solution was to simply cut off the pegs and rely on the glue, which worked more than adequately.

Red Lancers in progress (7) Red Lancers in progress (6)Red Lancers in progress (8)

It may not be immediately apparent but the figures shown here all require a lot of touch-up work to hide the damage caused by the difficult mounting process. With five still remaining, maybe I’ll learn from this.

Red Lancers in progress (3) Red Lancers in progress (5) Red Lancers in progress (4)

That said; I am pleased with the figures. I’m never sure that I’ve quite done them justice but they’ll do. At current rate of progress may take a little while until the remaining five are finished, so it may be timely to post to the blog some ‘Featured Figures’ as a stop-gap soon.

Until then, best wishes to all Suburban Militarism visitors.

Better Red than Dead

This past week I initially intended to take a break from painting for a few days after intensive development of my Prussian Leib Hussars. But… well, it didn’t take long before I got straight to work on my next regiment which I can announce will be the Dutch Red Lancers of the Imperial Guard.


These impressive figures are by Russian manufacturer Zvezda. Despite having 5 boxes of various Zvezda figures in my possession, these are the first that I’ve actually painted. You can observe that these figures are curiously described on the box as being “Lifeguard Polish Uhlans”. Uhlans is a German word usually applied therefore to Germanic lancers only, but this could simply be a translation issue. As for being “Lifeguards”, they have never been described as such, but were a part of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard. And I haven’t even painted them as “Polish Lancers” either! Instead, I’ve elected to paint them in the guise of their less famous sister regiment in the Guard; the Dutch Red Lancers.

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The first six figures under development…

There will be a little more written about these figures and their historical namesakes in forthcoming posts, but in the meantime, here’s a glimpse of how they are proceeding at this early stage. Still lots to do; painting, details, shading and highlighting, etc. And some lancers can be seen currently without any lances.

I’m enjoying these new figures; the very first lancer regiment in the Nappy project, and ones with such wonderful colour and detail too! Updates will be posted…

Red Lancer (5)
Dutch Red Lancer of the French Imperial Guard (sans lance…)

Red Lancer (7)

A Last Hussar…

And finally(!), here are the nearly finished Esci Hussar figures (save for a little work on the horses). I might put them forward for the BFFFWP or otherwise build up a small regiment of both types. It’s been fun working on these figures, if something of a challenge too. There may, however, be one last thing to do. These Esci figures portray horses without a sheepskin blanket roll cover. This invites the possibility of a small conversion using some modelling clay and glue. I may leave them for now but come back to them again to attempt this at some later date.

Luneburg Hussars
Luneburg Hussar (check out my fingers – these guys are really small, you know…)


Verden and Bremen Hussar with fingers...
Verden and Bremen Hussar with fingers


Luneburg Hussars
Luneburg Hussars
Luneburg Hussar
Luneburg Hussar
Verden and Bremen Hussar (rear view)
Verden and Bremen Hussar (rear view)
Verden and Bremen Hussar (front view)
Verden and Bremen Hussar (front view)
Luneburg Hussar
Luneburg Hussar (front view)


Luneburg Hussar
Luneburg Hussar
Luneburg Hussar
Luneburg Hussar

In the meantime, on to the next figures! Which will be…? Well, I may have a go at some more of these hussars and I have a few Scots Greys to add to the others I’ve just done. But then there’s also these figures that have just come through the post:

Italeri British Light Cavalry
Italeri British Light Cavalry

And as one final mention of all things hussar related, I visited an excellent museum in 2013 dedicated to the 10th and 11th Hussars (and their successor regiments), called Horsepower in Winchester. It was well worth a visit for anybody with an interest in cavalry and military history, not least due to the lack of any entrance fee!

Swedish Neurotica

I mentioned in a previous post that I’d share some pics on my Napoleonic Swedish army project and, as good as my word, here they are! As stated before, I found the box when retrieving some Christmas decorations. They were purchased for me (at my cheeky suggestion) by Mrs Lentonist as a 2013 Christmas present from a brilliant local model shop that was (tragically after 20 years) closing down and selling stock cheaply. The sculpting certainly isn’t HaT’s best, but they are easy to paint and look good – I like to think – with paint on them.

What I like about this issued from HaT are the range of types of infantry available; from guards, to infantry of the line, to jager. Furthermore the Swedes were an eccentric lot when it came to Napoleonic military fashion, a consequence of necessity (they were not a wealthy at the time and held on to old stock) and eccentricity (on the part of their then ruling monarch). For a man that does painting for display and not for wargaming, the wide range in the box is a boon. Often unfairly overlooked for their military involvement during the Napoleonic period, the Swedes were nonethelesss still active participants. They faught the Russians, the Danes, the Norwegians and the French themselves during this era, most notably at Leipzig in 1813 under their new king Charles XIV, formerly known as one of Napoleon’s ex-marshalls; Bernadotte! Bernadotte began a dynasty that remains on the Swedish throne even today and his military adventures with the Swedish army were to herald the end of warfare for his country; a nobly proud record that continues up to the present day.

Anyway…first off – the line infantry:

HaT Swedish Napoleonic Line Infantry
HaT Swedish Napoleonic Line Infantry
HaT Swedish Napoleonic Line Infantry
HaT Swedish Napoleonic Line Infantry
HaT Swedish Napoleonic Line Infantry
HaT Swedish Napoleonic Line Infantry
HaT Swedish Napoleonic Line Infantry with officer.
HaT Swedish Napoleonic Line Infantry with officer.
HaT Swedish Napoleonic Line Infantry with officer.
HaT Swedish Napoleonic Line Infantry with officer.
HaT Swedish Napoleonic Line Infantry with General.
HaT Swedish Napoleonic Line Infantry with General

The Guard Grenadiers feature next. Note the perculiar crest coming over the tall helmet, a feature that moves about at various angles to the helmet in the Swedish army.

HaT Swedish Guard Grenadiers
HaT Swedish Guard Grenadiers
HaT Swedish Guard Grenadiers
HaT Swedish Guard Grenadiers

Next up, the Life Guard. There are only about 12 of these in total in the box. I’ve painted them with the ceremonial white gaitors rather than campaign black. Note the curious crest that seems to feature at a 45 degree angle to the front rather than the straight-over versions of the Guard Grenadiers.

HaT Swedish Life Guard
HaT Swedish Life Guard

Now for the first of the two sharpshooter units; the Varmland Sharpshooters. These were the only Swedish Jager unit apparently and feature their crest at right angles to the front of the helmet:

HaT Swedish Varmland Sharpshooters
HaT Swedish Varmland Sharpshooters
HaT Swedish Varmland Sharpshooters
HaT Swedish Varmland Sharpshooters

And next up, the Finnish variety of sharpshooters. Finland was a part of Sweden during the Napoleonic period and I understand their troops tended to feature grey uniforms. They have a dark green busby with upturned peak (and yes I painted the required ‘dark green appearing as almost black’ headgear, actually using dark green mixed with black paint…)

Finnish Sharpshooters from the HaT Swedish Napoleonic Infantry set.
Finnish Sharpshooters from the HaT Swedish Napoleonic Infantry set.
Finnish Sharpshooters from the HaT Swedish Napoleonic Infantry set.
Finnish Sharpshooters from the HaT Swedish Napoleonic Infantry set.

And finally, one of the two artillery units that I’ve made. I’ll add a pic of the other howitzer unit as soon as I’ve added a finishing touch (i.e. a bucket!).

HaT Swedish Napoleonic Artillery
HaT Swedish Napoleonic Artillery
HaT Swedish Napoleonic Artillery
HaT Swedish Napoleonic Artillery

And that’s it for now. I’m about half way through the 100 strong infantry box and the artillery box too. There are four cavalrymen primed and awaiting the first lick of paint. Oh, but I got a little distracted the other week by painting up a few more of my Crimean war Sardinian Infantrymen – which I might show off on this blog soon too as the next ‘Featured Figures’! And then there’s my contribution to the group build project to start work on…

It’s a productive start to 2015 here at Suburban Militarism. My very best to everyone.

The “Bennos Figures Forum Famous Waterloo Project” (BFFFWP)

This is just a quick update to reveal some news, namely that I’ve put my name down for the BFFFWP (the acronym’s explanation is shown in the post title!). Benno’s Figures Forum is an excellent place to find great painters from all over the world with an interest in military figures. I occasionally post some images of work done but never got involved with a ‘group build’ before. I noticed however a new initiative designed to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the immensely significant battle of Waterloo. The idea is:

“to represent the different armys, nations, and different armed services with figures from different manufacturers, that are important for our hobby – like some kind of an overview.”

Well, I’ve put my name down to contribute a couple of figures that I knew I had lying around. Specifically, HäT’s Nassau Grenadiers and Prussian Jager as shown below.

My figures for the Benno's Figures Forum group build project.
My figures for the Benno’s Figures Forum group build project.
HaT Prussian Jager for the Benno's Figures Forum group build project.
HaT Prussian Jager for the Benno’s Figures Forum group build project.
HaT Nassau Grenadiers for the Benno's Figures Forum group build project.
HaT Nassau Grenadiers for the Benno’s Figures Forum group build project.

As you can see above there are two different types of Nassau Grenadier from separate releases. I’ll choose which one I like best soon but it will probably be the more dynamic grey-coloured version.

These, when complete, will be sent over to Germany to join the others painted for display at the FIGZ 2015 convention in Arnhem later this year. All of a sudden I feel a sense of responsibility! There’s no rush whatsoever as I’ve got until nearly April to paint just two figures but the pressure comes from Suburban Millitarism actually creating something for public display. The HaT ones probably wouldn’t have been the ones I’d have chosen to display my, ahh, talent, but I’ll do my best and keep the blog update with progress.