A little over a year ago, I moved to a new home. Along with the rest of my house contents, I, of course, transported all my miniature troops. During the move, one group of figures went AWOL and have remained missing ever since moving day. This is a problem as they were due to be called for duty at the end of the year.
They must have numbered no more than a dozen in total and I vaguely remember they mere packed in a box completely separate from the rest of my figures, possibly due to space. Being packed in a box unrelated to my hobby has meant they have remained lost despite a number of searches. No doubt they’ll turn up one day, but in the meantime the regiment is due for a tour of duty this Christmas.
So, I’ve been busily raising a new troop of recruits for the Carolling Hussars…
The figures are from Revell’s classic Prussian Hussars of the Seven Years War. The sculpting of this set was, in my opinion, terrific, which makes them a pleasure to paint up.
The Carolling Hussars needed an officer (absent from the Revell set) and so I’ve used an officer of Prussian Hussars by Hagen Miniatures of Germany.
The CO is based on a 2 penny piece and sports a red sash as well as a few plumes of gold tinsel in his mirliton headdress. The tinsel should be red but a search of the Christmas decorations failed to locate any (you may have noticed a theme of me losing things…). Henceforth, I now decree that the regiment will wear gold plumes.
Anyway, whilst the rank and file troopers in his regiment have white fur trim on their pelisses, as an officer, the Lieutenant-Colonel has expensive sable black fur surrounding his pelisse. In the tradition of naming the horses for all my Adventian army officers, Cranbury-Soarse rides Pio Quinto*, a lively, black Spanish Andalusian stallion.
*(Pio Quinto is a Nicaraguan Christmas dessert consisting of cake drenched in rum, topped with a custard, and dusted with cinnamon).
The rest of the regiment feature in a variety of poses. Some are suitably relaxed as befits troops intended to stand guard amongst the Christmas decorations:
Eventually, the aim is for the regiment to parade in these least dramatic poses, but for now I couldn’t resist also painting the more active figures too, the epitome of the dashing hussar.
The uniform is inspired by the Puttkamer Hussars, a regiment sometimes referred to as the “White Hussars” on account of their pelisses. Their namesake was Colonel Georg Ludwig von Puttkamer who met his end at the Battle of Kunersdorf.
In the Revell set, there are also some pleasing figures discharging their firearms:
The Carolling Hussars’ bugler is distinguished with some additional markings and his pelisse is edged in a light grey fur instead of white.
A flag bearer will need to be manufactured at some point but for now I at least have a regiment to parade come December. And, who knows, perhaps the rest of the regiment will even turn up by then?
It’s that time again. Once a year, here at Suburban Militarism, two regiments from my Army of Advent are selected to stand duty as Christmas decorations during the month of December. It’s a prestigious obligation, much like being the chosen battalion for the annual Trooping of the Colour ceremony.
My tradition started back in 2013, pre-dating this blog, beginning with the raising of the first Christmas-themed infantry; a platoon of the 1st Noel Regiment of Foot. My daughter, then in primary school, kindly designed their standard which was eventually bestowed on them with full ceremony and which they carry to this day.
Since them, the Army of Advent has expanded to include infantry and cavalry brigades, artillery, and a General Staff, with a ‘pioneer and sapper corps’ planned. In future years, God willing, once all the regiments have been raised, the plan is to continue to add a handful of men to regiments as a Christmas craft tradition. A selection of each, hand-picked ‘best men’, will be selected for the prestige of representing the regiment on the plinth.
The honour of taking this December-long parade has so far fallen to the following regiments:
The 1st Noel Regiment of Foot
The 1st Noel Regiment of Foot
The Yule Grenadiers
The 1st Noel Regiment of Foot
The Christingle Dragoons
The Carolling Hussars
The Carolling Hussars
Cracker Battery, Christmas Artillery
The Midwinter Fuzileers
The Mistletoe Guards
The Yule Grenadiers
The Eggnog Cuirassiers
The 1st Noel Regiment of Foot
The Poinsettian Rifles
N.B. Prior to 2016, only one regiment was paraded.
As you can see, this year it is the turn of a company of selected men of the 1st Noel Regiment and a section of the newly-raised Poinsettian Rifles. The Poinsettian Rifles were established earlier this year using metal 1/72 scale figures from Hagen Miniatures. It’s been five years since The First Noel paraded. I thought that, as pleasant as the old figures are, I wanted the venerable 1st Noel to parade in a fashion that looked rather less like being in combat. So I’ve painted some new figures.
The old figures were Revell’s Austrian infantry of the 7 Years War:
The new figures are by HaT and are from their set of Seven Years War Austrians Marching. I’ve been spending odd occasions over the whole of 2021 adding paint to them and have finally got them Parade Ready in time for December. Only just this week, the men of the 1st Noel finally received their festive plumes (pieces of actual tinsel cut to size and glued on to their tricornes).
In a decadent move, the 1st Noel have also changed their hat lace from white to gold. They are based in ‘deep and crisp and even’ snow with a ring of red glitter around their penny bases, to add to their seasonal glamour.
So, on the 1st December, in a formal ceremony, a representative of both the Yule Grenadiers and the Eggnog Cuirassiers (last year’s display regiments), symbolically extended a Christmas cracker to the respective junior subalterns of the Poinsettian Rifles and the 1st Noel. This was all done in a highly ritualised manner, strictly to the beat of the drum, until the cracker was pulled and the subsequent ‘bang’ thereby inaugurated the 2021 Christmas duties. This solemn event is known as the ‘Trooping of the Cracker’. The intoning of the cracker’s enclosed joke by the subalterns is a particularly sombre and moving ritual.
Now, despite all these careful preparations, there are some problems. Firstly, tradition has it that the chosen regiments should stand guard on the mantelpiece over the season. Having moved house earlier this year, I now have no mantelpiece to place them on. I do, however, have a TV cabinet. With the television mounted on the wall, I am free to use this cabinet and so these Christmas dandies can take centre-stage in the lounge once more.
My other problem relates to command. Essentially, neither the Poinsettian Rifles nor the 1st Noel have any! Major Poinsettia of his eponymous rifles is, as yet, only a name on the payroll and not an actual, painted figure. With a ‘can-do attitude’ which is a feature of his regiment, Lieutenant Sylant-Knight of the 1st Noel Regiment has taken command of the Rifles in the interim, being rewarded with a brevet rank of Captain.
Brevet Captain Sylant-Knight’s regiment, however, is in turmoil. The 1st Noel are missing its overall commander – Colonel de Winter!
Colonel de Winter has led the regiment with distinction since 2013 but, during the recent house move, has gone AWOL. Now, I admit that I do have a history of losing individual figures. Colonel Giftrapp of the Yule Grenadiers, for example, went missing for a number of years and only surfaced to retake command of his regiment last year!
So until such time that Colonel de Winter returns from his sabbatical, Major-General Minns-Pye (hitherto serving as C-in-C General St. Nicholas‘ Chief of Staff) has kindly agreed to take command of his old regiment during this year’s tour of duty.
With another three weeks to go until Christmas, both regiments have plenty of time to enjoy their moment of glory…
There a still a few things to attend to with this regiment. Their commanding officer, the recently returned Colonel Giftrapp and his horse Pandoro, needs a little work and a snowy base creating. The ensign has a pole but is notably flagless at the moment. Firstly, my daughter is supposed to be designing a second colour at some point, the first colour featuring a Christmas pudding was created five years ago. The intention is for the first colour to be a kind of King’s Colour with this second colour as the Regimental Colour. Further complicating production matters is that my printer is kaput!
So, keeping faith with tradition, the uniform is largely the same as the older Revell versions. However, the gold grenadier cap which they wore is now a brown fur cap instead.
I’ve enjoyed getting my creative juices going again with my fanciful Army of Advent. Recently, I put out the question as to where I could find some senior officers for the army and received some terrific great suggestions in return. Many thanks for that guys, I’ve decided to go with German manufacturer Hagen Miniatures and have just received some fabulous senior staff through the post lickety split. More on those soon!
I’ve been busy quietly painting my Yule Grenadiers, one regiment from my (admittedly eccentric) Christmas-themed army. The grenadiers are virtually completed but in the course of some painting duties, I was delighted to discover the regiment’s long-lost CO, good old Lt-Colonel Giftrapp!
He was last seen back in 2015 in a state of being incomplete. I fixed him with a little Blu-Tac for a photo atop his chestnut charger, Pandoro (who was also only partially painted). I took a snap as the Yule Grenadiers marched through the streets of the town of Advent during the Christmas holidays.
I confess I have a history of losing important soldiers only to rediscover them some years later. This was the case with the lost Sharpshooter. Thankfully, I seem to rediscover them again, eventually…
Happily, both rider and horseman have now – quite separately – appeared. Pandoro the horse emerged first tucked away in a tin of random, unfinished figures. Of Lt-Colonel Giftrapp, however, there was no sign.
This week however, in the process of tidying, I opened the cupboard door to my painting bureau and there he was lying at the bottom, plain as day. He must have somehow dropped down from wherever he’d been secreted. A little paint was missing here and there, suggesting they’d had a few adventures along the way. They both just need a little work here and there (stirrups, sash, etc.) to get them fully parade-ready.
This is all excellent timing, of course, as his regiment has only this week taken receipt of it’s new uniforms. As obliquely indicated in my last post, the old Revell figures are being updated using new HaT Austrian Grenadier figures. I’ll be sharing the subtle new-look to the regiment in the next post soon.
And in other snowy news, the expansion of the base for Cracker Battery is finished. To expand the scene, I added some fir trees, a holly bush and a rickety old country fence.
The white modelling clay I’ve used is a slightly different shade to the original stuff but hopefully isn’t too noticeable.
They were not slated for a tour of duty as part of 2019’s decorations but when my wife saw me taking it back upstairs into storage she insisted it went out with the rest. So, Cracker Battery is also on display, their 7 pounder (that’s a seriously heavy snowball) points menacingly at my two other Christmas regiments…
“We are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder
As December looms; here in the UK the days get shorter, the nights get darker and, what’s more, I turn to my hobby with its little rituals and traditions. Once such tradition is my preparation for December’s Christmas decorations. This primarily takes the form of yearly expanding my ‘Christmas Corps’ of festive figures.
Every year since 2013 I have paraded 1/72 scale soldiers, specially-painted with a seasonal twist, on the mantelpiece in the living room. Forming part of our Christmas decorations, these colourful 18th Century-style regiments have Christmas-themed names and commonly feature holly in their helmets, tinsel in their tricornes, and snow on their shoes. And in the case of last year’s artillery group, known as Cracker Battery, even a snowman and snow cannonalls can feature too.
So far, the Christmas Corps is made up figures representing the following:
Figures suitable have been limited to Revell’s classic 7YW range which thankfully have been recently reissued albeit with the disappointing exception of their very wonderful Austrian artillery set.
HaT meanwhile have reissued their own hitherto out-of-stock Prussian 7YW infantry range and also released a new Austrian infantry range to boot. Great news for fans of the 7YW in 20mm and I naturally wondered if I could make use of these impressive HaT figures in my Christmas Corps alongside the existing Revell versions.
Finally, Zvezda some years ago also produced a box of “Prussian Grenadiers of Frederick the Great” which featured their usual very high standards of sculpting and production. That box is increasingly hard to come by nowadays but I had a box in storage and was also fortunate to discover a seller on eBay who was getting rid of some second-hand figures – most of which were those posed either marching or standing to attention. These poses are perfect for any regiment whose martial intentions are limited to merely standing on the mantelpiece during Christmas – so I secured them at a very reasonable discount.
So it comes as no surprise to say that I’ve been hard at it lately with these figures with the intention of raising two more infantry regiments for the Christmas Corps. With the 1st Noel Regiment and the Yule Grenadiers as the 1st infantry brigade, I intend these two new ones to form the 2nd infantry brigade. First off, I’ve been using HaT’s Prussian infantry Marching set to raise some fusiliers. The HaT Prussian infantry box comes with a choice of headdress; grenadier mitres, fusilier caps or musketeer tricornes and I’ve opted for the fusilier caps to create the first regiment in the new II Infantry Brigade.
The Midwinter Fuzileers!
The Midwinter Fuzileers (note pretentious antique spelling) wear grey coats with flat-blue waistcoats and breeches. Their gaiters and facings are white. Fusilier caps have silver plates with a red fabric backing.
With the 1st Noel wearing dark red, and the Yule Grenadiers wearing white, I wanted a very contrasting uniform. Designing a new uniform is one of the great pleasures of the Christmas Corps project and after a few false starts, the neutral grey / mid-blue/ white combination seemed to work nicely – very smart!
Their officer, Major Hoarfrost is from the HaT Prussian Command set and is mounted on a faithful steed whom we shall call “Blitzen”. Since these photos were taken, Blitzen’s saddle cloth has been decorated with a yellow star to mimic the motif on the regimental flag. In his tricorne, this Christmas dandy wears some evergreen foliage decorated with pink tinsel:
He is ably supported by an NCO carrying a spontoon.
Their flag, carried by an ensign, has been designed by my daughter. This is a service which she has faithfully provided me with since designing the flag of the 1st Noel Regiment back in 2014!
Hitherto, any festive figures have simply been placed loosely above the fireplace in a group. This year, I’ve decided to provide a more formal presentational platform which I’m currently gluing, painting and varnishing like some deranged Geppetto. More on this soon.
I’m also now working on the other regiment – something which I confess to being quite excited about! This regiment will be presented when they’re ready to take their place on the mantelpiece on their own platform hopefully within a week.
I have already presented the painted horses for the latest regiment in my Napoleonic Cavalry Project, so now it’s time to show them with their riders in-situ. I can announce that the 33rd regiment is Napoleon’s Chasseurs à Cheval of the Imperial Guard.
Wait a minute! That regiment has already appeared in the project, so I’ve got some explaining to do. I felt it was worth attempting this set for a number of reasons;
When they first appeared it was as a mere 5 mounted figures, (certainly not a full ‘regiment’) and were acting simply as an escort to Napoleon himself.
Those figures were by a different manufacturer; Italeri, not Revell.
Italeri’s figures had the men wearing full dress uniform with a pelisse and a plume and bag on their kolpaks. Revell’s men appear in plainer service dress.
Finally, both figures were of sufficient quality as to demand inclusion, these Revell ones being just too good not to attempt.
Unlike the 5 mounted and 2 unmounted figures in the Italeri French Imperial General Staff set, there are plenty of figure in Revell’s Mounted Guard Chasseurs set – a whopping 18 in total which includes a single standing figure.
Did I say they were of ‘sufficient quality’? That undersells it a bit as these Revell figures are very good. My only observation is that the detail is just so finely produced that it makes the painter’s task very tricky. Larger, crisper details may not be reproducing details accurately to scale but it makes the details pop out better to the eye. I’ve matched the basing to my original Italeri versions from 2015. They go together pretty well, I think, the difference between the styles of dress and sculpting can be seen when comparing them to the crisper Italeri versions I painted.
I was particularly impressed with Revell’s officer figure. The pose of his rearing horse with it’s leopard-skin shabraque is an audacious piece of sculpting and works well, I think, with the officer mounted. It’s a piece of dramatic hero posing that’s really memorable.
Other unique figures included in the box was this chasseur below standing on guard with musket and fixed bayonet. The trumpeter meanwhile is unmistakable with his dramatic white colpak and sky blue uniform.
It’s been a pleasure to work with these figures. What a shame that Revell aren’t producing any more Napoleonic cavalry – these guys are over 26 years old now! They didn’t make many Nappy cavalry sets, (aside from reissuing Italeri figures, their only other original set being the excellent British Life Guards), but what they did produce was a real boon to the hobby.
In time-honoured tradition, that just leaves me to share more of the finished figures with a regimental biography to follow:
Biography: Chasseurs à Cheval of the Imperial Guard [France]
The Chasseurs à Cheval of the Imperial Guard originally began life as a part of a regiment of Guides raised by Napoleon when just a general in the Revolutionary Wars in 1796. They would go on to become one of the most prestigious regiments in the army, providing the personal guard to the Emperor and nicknamed by some ‘The Pet Children’!
In 1800, a single company was raised of Chasseurs, commanded by the emperor’s stepson, which formed a part of the prestigious Consular Guides. This company took part in the narrow victory at the battle of Marengo. By 1802, they finally became a full regiment consisting of around 1000 men with a single company of Egyptian Mamelukes joining them as a part of the regiment later.
They performed a distinguished role at the battle of Austerlitz, badly mauling the Russian Imperial Guard. Missing the battle of Jena in 1806, the 1st Hussars (a regiment painted earlier in this project) had the privilege of escorting Napoleon on that occasion. They would return to personal escort duties in time for the triumphal entry into Berlin. They later took part in the great charge of Murat’s cavalry at the battle of Eylau in 1807.
During the Spanish campaign, this regiment performed well but was surprised, outflanked and badly cut up by British cavalry, their commander, Général de Brigade Charles Lefebvre-Desnouettes, being wounded and captured.
In the war of 1812, once more under the command of the returned General Lefebvre-Desnouettes, the regiment (as with the rest of the army) lost heavily over the course of the campaign, though distinguished themselves protecting their emperor from a particularly threatening attack by Cossacks.
During the final campaign that led to Waterloo, they formed part of the Light Cavalry Division of the Imperial Guard, numbering some 1200 sabres. Though leading the initial advance on Quatre Bras, they were not seriously engaged and suffered light losses. At Waterloo, they were deployed as part of the cavalry reserve. The Guard Chasseurs were sent in leading the 2nd wave of fruitless attacks against the Allied squares in the afternoon and thus their proud history as Napoleon’s favoured cavalry regiment would finally come to an end.
Notable Battles: Marengo, Austerlitz, Wagram, Eylau, Somosierra, La Moskowa, Quatre Bras, Waterloo.
As the fourth year of Suburban Militarism on WordPress comes to a close and a New Year looms, it’s a time for reflection. Swedish Napoleonic cavalrymen; Ottoman Turkish artillerymen; Serbian and Austrian infantry of the Great War; Belgian Carabinier cyclists; 28mm Yeomanry figures based on illustrations by Marrion; Saxon Cuirassiers and not forgetting some Napoleonic Poles back in January.
So, here’s a brief pictorial overview of some of the figures painted over 2018.
Looking forward to 2019, I know well enough by now not to forecast my painting plans in any great detail as distractions lead me on to other unforeseen areas over the year! However, currently demanding my attention are:
My Ottomania project – now well under way with the artillery corps progressing nicely;
The Great War project – I have a number of excellent kits I intend to tackle as I continue to develop my WWI collection;
Nothing says ‘Christmas’ quite like a 7 pounder artillery battery in the snow. My bizarre and distinctly unseasonal Christmas decoration is finished with this display showing Cracker Battery, Christmas Artillery of the Christmas Corps.
You may notice that Cracker Battery have taken time out of their gunnery practice to build a snowman. The Snowman was crudely and quickly made by yours truly but I think it looks decent enough. The carrot nose was made out of the end of a cocktail stick.
You may also observe that there’s also a small pile of snowy projectiles ready for loading; these are somewhat over-large calibre snowballs. No doubt Bombardier Partihatt will carefully sculpt them to size before loading.
You may notice that I’ve painted their cannon a nice light shade of blue. I must say that Revell’s sprue was perfect. The cannon came together so perfectly that I didn’t even need to apply any glue, it just snapped together with engineered perfection.
Oh, wait. Looks like it’s started snowing again…
It’s a suitably seasonal scene, I like to think. I promise not to bring it out until at least early December! In the meantime, I’m adding a handful of Carolling Hussars as well, so I may share progress on those in due course.
Yes, I know it’s only just turned November, but I want to talk about Christmas, dammit! Just like the painfully over-eager High Street shops, for me early November is a time of preparation. For Suburban Militarism it is also the time when a handful of figures are painted up to join their brethren in the Christmas Corps in readiness for a seasonal duty.
1st Noel Regiment of Foot
This prestigious group of model soldiers take their turn for a tour of duty on the mantelpiece as part of the household’s December Christmas decorations. In previous years, the following troops have been created:
With the Christmas Corps now comprising two slowly growing regiments of infantry and two also of cavalry, I thought it about time to add some suitably seasonal artillery to help the season go with a bang. Therefore, I am introducing:-
Cracker Battery of the Christmas Artillery!
I’ve remained consistent with the range of figures that I’m using. Revell’s sublime Seven Years War soldiers have provided all the figures so far. Up to about a year ago, the cavalry and infantry sets were becoming extremely rare until Revell reissued them in combined boxes of either Prussian and Austrian infantry or cavalry. This terrific development has pleased many. However, Revell only ever produced one set of artillery figures; the Austrians.
And what a set it was! Superbly detailed sculpting and terrific poses. Unfortunately, Revell have not reissued this set, nor I believe have any plans to, leaving 7YW wargamers desperate for artillery support. The old 1994-era boxes of Austrian artillery are now as rare hen’s teeth and going for a tidy sum whenever boxes do crop up. So I’m very lucky to have sourced this box for a reasonable fee for the Christmas Corps.
The Austrian artillery wore a light brown uniform but I wanted something with a just little more colour than that but different to the other regiments in the . So, I’ve elected for navy blue coats, red turnbacks with straw-coloured waistcoat and breeches; coincidentally this is also the colour of Prussian artillery during the 7YW.
Here’s how they are looking so far (with a biography of each man in the battery).
Cracker Battery; Christmas Artillery:
1.Captain Rupert Fortune-Fisch
The officer of the battery is well-educated and the perfect gentleman. A keen interest in mathematics greatly assists in the accuracy of his guns. His tricorn hat is adorned with a sprig of Broom, a feature particular to the Christmas Artillery. This is a tradition which goes back to when they were said to have ‘swept away’ the enemy at the Battle of Broombriggs Farm. At this action, low on ammunition, their cannons famously took to firing off brandy-lit Christmas puddings at the enemy.
2.Battery Sergeant Major Fred Cheaptoy
A stalwart of the battery and the Captain’s most dependable man. No one knows gunnery drill better than Cheaptoy. Although he knows the drill, BSM Cheaptoy sees his role as purely supervisory, seldom getting involved with any actual physical work.
3. Corporal Frederick Faketache
This is the man trusted with the lighted portfire (well, once it’s painted…). No one else in the battery can be relied upon so dependably to actually fire the cannon when told to do so, and NOT beforehand…
Before he does apply the fuse, Corporal Faketache cries out “have a cake!”, at which point new recruits take a bite out of their regulation ration of Christmas cake only to scatter crumbs in shock as the gun noisily discharges. Old hands know better and cover their ears. Traditionally, the warning call was “have a care!”, but years of standing near loud cannonades has badly affected both his hearing and his memory. It is precisely this deafness which prevents any premature firing of the gun.
4. Bombardier Joseph Partihatt
Bombardier Partihatt can be seen below engaged in his favourite duty, carrying the ammunition over to the cannon. This involves much strength but little brain; a task in which Partihatt is perfectly suited. What’s that in his hands, you enquire? A white cannonball? Not so; the Christmas Artillery only ever fire snowballs, of course!
5. Gunner William Dredfuljoak
Good old Bill Dredfuljoak is the battery comedian, always ready with a quip or an amusing anecdote, even (or especially) when limbs are being severed and heads are being detached by counter-battery fire. Below, he adopts a nonchalant stance so typical of the man. When in action, if the battle reaches a crisis point, he can often be heard being implored by his Captain to “shut up, man and for pity’s sake get a move on with that bloody sponge!”
6. Gunner Johnny Tweezers
Johnny has a stick. Johnny likes to use his stick to move the cannon left or right. That’s about all there is to say about Johnny Tweezers. However, as a bass-baritone, Gunnar Tweezers sure holds a good note during the singing of any Christmas carols. His loud vocal is said to ‘boom like mortar fire’.
7. Wheeler Thomas Plasticfrogg
Wheeler Plasticfrogg might appear at first sight to be adopting a super-hero pose below. He is in actual fact rehearsing his key role in the battery which is basically wheeling the gun into position. Plasticfrogg takes his job very seriously and the sight of him exercising by stretching and moving imaginary cannon wheels about is a common sight during off-duty moments. BSM Cheaptoy considers him “a bit too-bloody-keen.”
So that’s the men of Cracker Battery. The Revell set still leaves me with enough figures for two more similar sized batteries to add to the brigade in future years and even provides some horses and drivers delivering ammunition.
In other news, I have purchased and extremely cheap lighted church model to also appear in my seasonal display on the mantelpiece with Cracker Battery. I may paint this up to appear more visually appealing too, perhaps a coloured roof or white walls.
Although Captain Fortune-Fisch is pleased as punch with the location of his new billet over the Christmas period, the local parson may not be quite so enthusiastic…
No artillery battery is much use without a cannon, so I’ll post an update on that once that’s been painted and assembled. I am also making plans for the final display, which I will also post on at a later date.
Once more – my apologies if this ridiculously early Christmas-related nonsense has made anybody queasy…