Royal Louis Regiment (Quiberon Project)

The final infantry regiment in the Quiberon Expedition project is now ready; the Royal Louis Regiment (also known as Le Régiment d’Hervilly). Having already completed the Loyal Emigrants and the Royal Marines, there is one more regiment I’d like to complete and that is the Royal Artillery. I should remind everyone that the inspiration for the project was this page of illustrations displayed in Lymington’s St Barbe Museum.

 

Here are my entire group of Royal Louis Regiment figures, made using Strelets French Line Infantry in Egypt set.

The Royal Louis Regiment:

And the other two regiments…

The Loyal Emigrant Regiment:

Le Régiment d’Hector  (The Royal Marines):

The Royal Artillery will be the final group in this project. But they may have to wait – I’ve got my teeth into yet more Napoleonic cavalry! More on that in a future post.

Someone has blundered…

Disaster, if that’s not a gross hyperbole, has struck more than once at Suburban Militarism this week. Let me explain;

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“Urghh. What a week…”

Firstly, I took a day off work and planned a Suburban Militarism Day Trip on the train to visit the Staffordshire Yeomanry Museum. My train was approaching the station bang on time when it suddenly stopped just short. Apparently an unfortunate incident on the train (a passenger being sadly taken ill) meant a long delay and it only rolled up to the platform when 25 mins late. All of which meant that I would now undoubtedly miss my connection to Stafford! I trudged home dejectedly…

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“Where’s my train?”

My second disaster struck only last night. I had just finished my Life Guards horses and, feeling pretty pleased with them, I was ready to apply my trusty Daler Rowney matt varnish.

Unfortunately, my beloved Daler Rowney has sadly let me down! Instead of the crisp matt, I’ve now got a satin finish; gloss even. Worse; it seems to have made them appear darker. The fine shading details are totally lost and the shiny horses look terrible! I’m at a loss to explain why my varnish has so suddenly ‘gone bad’, but even a second coat after much more stirring has done nothing but made it worse. I’m not sure it will be retrievable even with a fresh pot of varnish. Needless to say, after all the hard work – (and these Revell Life Guards really were hard work) – I’m gutted.

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“Arrrgh! Noooo…my Varnish!”

What makes a trusted varnish go bad? Age? Answers on a postcard, please. Or even in the comments section of this blog. I’ll have another go when a fresh pot of varnish arrives through the mail and I will post the results; good or bad…

Ho hum. On a brighter note at least, I’ve at least been finishing off some more of my Quiberon Expedition figures; specifically, the Royal Louis Regiment. Pictures to follow (varnishing dramas aside).

Royal Louis
Lymington Museum depiction of the Royal Louis Regt.

 

Loyal Emigrants and Royal Marines

Two of my regiments in the Quiberon Expedition project are now finally finished; the Loyal Emigrants and the Royal Marines. Just leaves the Royal Louis Regiment (also known as Le Régiment d’Hervilly) to finish off and then it’s on to the final figures which will be the artillery.

These Strelets boys are not the prettiest figures, and converting the regiments probably doesn’t do them any favours either. However, I think they look okay and make for a interesting and different topic to explore. Not much more to add other than say in my very best Franglais – “Ici, ils sont les régiments Quiberon d’expédition!!”

The Loyal Emigrant Regiment:

Le Régiment d’Hector  (The Royal Marines):

In other news; I’ve added a new page to Suburban Militarism dedicated to Strelets’ Crimean War series of figures. The plan is to get back to painting some of this range and build up my armies, displaying them via links on the new page. Given the huge numbers of figures and diverse sets for me still to paint, this is likely to be an ongoing project lasting some considerable time!

Revisiting The Quiberon Expedition Project

Some time last year, I took a little time out from the Nappy Cavalry Project to have a stab at something which had its genesis in a visit to the St Barbe Museum in Lymington during my holiday in 2015.

The museum explores the history of Lymington and the New Forest and during my visit, I discovered a reference to the Quiberon Expedition. This was a royalist invasion of France in 1795 via the Quiberon peninsula by émigré, counter-revolutionary troops in support of the Chouannerie and Vendée Revolts. Some of the expedition force was based in and set forth from Lymington. I made some progress (see original report here) but had to get back to the Nappy Cavalry Project. I think it’s about time I finally finished what I started!

St Barbe Museum
The St Barbe Museum in Lymington

The St Barbe museum, I’ve since discovered, was formerly the St Barbe National School built in 1835. St Barbe (St Barbara in English) was also the location of a battle during the Quiberon Expedition. It seems that this is coincidental as the founder of the school’s charity was named John St Barbe. There’s a pleasing connection between my figures and the genesis of the name of the now nearly-200-year-old building of the museum.

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The museum’s own illustrated guide to the French royalist troops based in Lymington.

The display in Lymington’s St Barbe museum which had first pricked my interest contained the above illustration depicting these Lymington-based 1st Division forces. It is these four illustrated regiments which I’ve painted using their drawings as my guide. I’ve elected to utilise Strelets’ British and French infantry in Egypt sets. Inevitably, I’ve had to make some fundamental compromises to some of the uniforms, simply making the paint do the work wherever the sculpting differs from the illustration. The following is a brief guide to the regiments that I’m depicting:


The Quiberon Expedition Force

The royalist forces amounted to a meagre 5437 men divided into two divisions. The first division commanded by Field Marshal Louis Charles d’Hervilly (3600 men); the second division, consisting of almost 2000 under Charles Eugene Gabriel which was to follow a week later, followed in turn by the Comte d’ Artois and 10,000 British soldiers which were to land and occupy Saint-Malo. It is the troops of the 1st division that my project has focused on.

The 1st division of the expeditionary force consisted of five regiments of French emigrants, most of them being royalist insurgent survivors from the siege of Toulon, others being enlisted republican POWs who had secured freedom on the basis of fighting for the royalist cause (the loyalty of these former prisoners would be open to question therefore). The force was comprised of:

  • Le Régiment d’Hervilly – comprising soldiers of the former Royal-Louis Regiment, republican POWs and sailors. (1316 officers and men)
Quiberon updates (4)
Royal Louis Regiment
  • Le Régiment d’Hector –  forming the Royal Marines. (700 men)
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Royal Marines
  • The Royal Artillery – of men mostly from Toulon (600 men with 10 cannon)
  • The Loyal Emigrant Regiment – 2 companies mostly of decorated veterans (250 men)
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Loyal Emigrant Regiment

Each of the regiments have been painted in groups of a dozen or so. These progress pics demonstrate there’s still much to do, but the colour scheme is visible. I’ll show the finished troops once these regiments are finally completed. I’ll be using the Strelets French Artillery in Egypt set for the Royal Artillery which I’ve yet to start, but they are next on the “To Do” list.

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.

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In progress… the Royal Louis Regiment.

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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).

Scarlet Fever

Having had some days off, I’ve been able to devote some time to tackling all those figures wearing scarlet that I mentioned in the previous post.

The Quiberon Expedition troops have progressed. I’ve realised that the Strelets figures don’t quite match the uniform that’s been depicted on the French royalist émigré regiments. I’m intending to carry on regardless and hope to slap on the paint in such a way that the difference will be less obvious. The regiments I’m hoping to depict are:

Emigre
The Loyal Emigrants Regiment.
The Royal Marine Regiment.
The Royal Marine Regiment.
Royal Louis
The Royal Louis Regiment.

I aim to paint the latter by using Strelets’ French Infantry in Egypt set when it comes through the post. With still plenty of paint to add, here’s how some of the figures are looking so far:

Loyal Emigrant Regiment
Loyal Emigrant Regiment troops
Loyal Emigrant Regt.
Loyal Emigrant Regt.
The Royal Marine Regt.
The Royal Marine Regt.
The Royal Marine Regt.
In progress: Men of the French Royal Marine Regt.

The 28mm Perry figures have taken a back step while I’ve concentrated instead on the British Heavy Dragoons set by Waterloo 1815. After their terrific Prussian Hussars that I painted earlier this year, this set, I must admit, has been a disappointment. Firstly, the detail on the figures is nowhere near as crisp and clear as previously. I’m not sure whether it is a problem in the sculpting or with the mold, but it’s simply not as beautifully detailed, instead being a little bit smooth and vague. This makes for greater difficulty (for me at least) to get a decent paint job out of it.

Trumpeter of the 1st Dragoons (The Royals)
Trumpeter of the 1st Dragoons (The Royals)

The horses are also poor, there being only a miserly two poses for the entire set! The detail is again less distinct and crisp than the wonderful figures of their previous sets. But my biggest bugbear is that the riders simply didn’t fit on the horses! Feedback from a friend on Benno’s Figures Forum suggests that this problem might simply be restricted to me, and I’ve unluckily received a bad kit! For other’s sake, I hope so. I wouldn’t wish on anybody the endless brutal hacking away with a craft knife that I had to employ! The horse figures are badly disfigured as a consequence of this, but at least they (more or less) fit the riders now.

British Heavy Dragoon by Waterloo 1815
British Heavy Dragoon by Waterloo 1815

I don’t want to trash the set completely as, despite my complaints, I think the figures are beginning to look okay with paint on them, especially when compared to work from certain other manufacturers. And I’m glad to see that the sculptor has depicted the docked tails that was a feature of British Dragoon horses. Furthermore, the hobby was crying out for another decent Napoleonic British Heavy Dragoons set to replace the now very rare and rather basic old HaT versions. And I think that the troopers can still be considered an improvement, but, given Waterloo 1815s previously high standards, for me this set has been something of a let down.

And the scarlet painting continues as my young daughter insists I spend time in her “nail bar”…

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Next post: Yet another Suburban Militarism day out!

A Study in Scarlet

Having despatched those Italeri French dragoons with their fine green uniforms, I’ve now well and truly moved into “redcoat” territory. In fact, I’ve found myself tinkering with no less than three different sets of model soldiers all of whom are wearing British scarlet!

Whenever I initially basecoat a figure using scarlet, it always immediately looks far too vivid. I have to tell myself that once shading and highlighting are applied they will start to look a little more as I intend them to. Or so I hope.

The Quiberon Expedition figures I mentioned in a recent post are now underway. They will be a little tricky to paint but, as with all Strelets, despite being an acquired taste, they have plenty of charm and character.

Red Coats (6)
Strelets British infantry being painted as a Royalist French emigre regiment in the Quiberon expedition.

I’m also tentatively having a go at my very first 28mm scale figures. These are early Victorian British soldiers from Perry Miniatures wearing (my personal favourite headgear) the Albert Shako. Being bigger figures they seem at first easier to paint but, at the same time, there’s nowhere to hide for any mistakes or lack of precision!

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Perry Miniatures British Line Infantry from their “British Intervention Force in North America 1861-68” range.

Nevertheless, I am also still firmly committed to my ongoing 20mm Nappy Cavalry Project and have started my next regiment. You guessed it – they are also wearing scarlet! This is a new set only recently released by Waterloo 1815, the British Heavy Dragoons of the 1812-1815 era. I’m planning on painting them as the 1st Dragoons, also known as The Royals. I’ll provide more thoughts on this new set in a later blog entry.

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Base coat applied. A British heavy dragoon figure from the latest Nappy Cavalry Project regiment.

Distractions and Plans

It’s been a little while since the last regiment (the Prussian Dragoons) were finished. Holidays and other commitments have delayed modelling progress a little. Oh well, I suppose that family and work are also important! First a brief reminder of what’s been painted so far:

Esci Hanoverian Hussars
Esci Scots Greys
Italeri French Hussars
Italeri French Chasseurs a Cheval
Italeri British Light Dragoons
Waterloo 1815 Prussian Leib (Death’s Head) Hussars
Zvezda Dutch Red Lancers
Italeri Prussian Dragoons
Italeri French Dragoons (nearly done…)

I’ve been tinkering with the French Dragoons and I daresay that they may even be ready by the end of this weekend. I’ve been somewhat distracted, I must admit. I’ve been taking stock and considering future painting plans. I confess that 9 cavalry regiments into the year, I’m finding myself eager to explore different topics and eras. The Quiberon Expedition and the Victorian-era Hurst Castle mentioned in my recent posts have pricked my interest. I’ve received the Strelets British Infantry in Egypt set and have tentatively prepared some to paint in my quiet moments.

Strelets British Line Infantry in Egypt.
Strelets British Line Infantry in Egypt.
Strelets British Line Infantry in Egypt.
Strelets British Line Infantry in Egypt.

I’m also longing to get back to some Victorian-era soldiers. I’ve been a member of the Victorian Military Society since the age of 13 and my interest in the era hasn’t waned over the intervening years. Strelets have produced a comprehensive Strelets Crimean War range that I’d love to get back to painting. But then, there are some terrific 28mm metal figures available. Yes – you read that right – 28mm! I’ve never attempted that scale before now… dare I step out of my 20mm comfort zone? I’ve worked with other scales before, my very first figure painting some years ago was with 25mm metal Prince August figures:

More Prince August Highlanders
More Prince August Highlanders
Prince August 25mm 10th Hussars
Prince August 25mm 10th Hussars
Prince August Napoleonic Highlanders
Prince August Napoleonic Highlanders
Prince August Prussian Infantry
Prince August Prussian Infantry

As you can see, I had a fairly ‘basic’ but clean painting technique. Enamel paints and gloss varnish used instead of the acrylics and matt varnish that I now have. Back to larger scales might require a change in technique. Something to seriously think about for 2016, perhaps?

Enough waffle and pipe-dreaming. Next post will hopefully feature the latest regiment in the Nappy Cavalry Project – the 17th regiment of French Dragoons!

Suburban Militarism goes on holiday (part 2)

Not only did I pay a visit to Hurst Castle, but I also had the pleasure of spending a day at the Royal Navy’s Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth. Suburban Militarism is not a naval blog, so I won’t dwell too much on the visit, suffice to say that seeing Admiral Nelson’s HMS Victory, the Tudor-era wreck of the Mary Rose, and the pride of the Victorian navy’s HMS Warrior was a truly special day out.

The Royal Marines fell under the auspices of the navy in 1755, but prior to that were formally part of the army. As such, I feel justified to include something on them here – as Kipling said; “soldier and sailor too”! On board and below decks on the dark HMS Victory, I did sneak a photo of a uniform of the Marines. It’s easy to overlook how much a part these infantrymen played in the victories of the Royal Navy. The infantry element of the Royal Marines were known as the Red Marines on account of their infantry-style scarlet coat, sailors sometimes rudely referring to them as the Lobsters!

An example of the uniform of the Marines taken on board HMS Victory herself!
An example of the uniform of the Marines taken on board HMS Victory herself!

Later in the week we paid a visit to the local museum in the town of Lymington. I was pleased to find some fascinating information referring to the Quiberon Expedition of 1795, an incident in the French Revolutionary Wars. This was a counter-revolutionary pro-royalist invasion of France by a legion of emigres, sponsored by the British government. Lymington, being a port town just up the river from the Solent and English Channel, was an ideal base for the training and provision of these French exiles prior to an invasion. The museum, which also sold a cheap information booklet on the episode, helpfully depicted the uniforms of the royalist regiments with watercolours on a laminated sheet which I photographed and reproduce below: DSCF7954 (2) The Royal Louis Regiment wears the pre-revolutionary white common to the royal French army. The Royal Marine and the Loyal Emigrants wear British scarlet, a consequence of having been supplied and equipped by the British government, something that would not help their cause with the French population once the invasion was mounted. The invasion, though initially successful with assistance from the Royal Navy during the channel crossing, fell foul to indecision and infighting between the invasion force and the local Chouan forces. The Chouannerie was a royalist uprising in western France and the Chouans, often fighting using guerilla tactics, would remain a thorn in the side of Republican France right up until 1815. DSCF7955 (2) The uprising ended in bloody defeat with the capture of over 6,000 Chouans and emigres, 750 of whom were executed by firing squad. Some 2000 were evacuated by the Navy back to England, many facing hardship and destitution as they settled back into the Lymington area. Interestingly, Strelets have produced a kit of British infantry wearing the foreign service style uniforms that the emigres (and some Chouans) were shown equipped with. So, I have purchased a cheap copy of this set and may have a go at some point reproducing a company from a royalist emigre regiment.

Strelets
Strelets “British Line Infantry in Egypt”.

Suitably inspired by my holiday, I am now able to return to finishing off my French Dragoon regiment that I began before I left. More on that as it progresses!