THE FINAL POST from a series of regular blog posts displaying images from “British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century”; a set of trade cards issued by Badshah Tea Co. of London in 1963.
#25: The 11th Hussars
“Raised as Dragoons in 1715, this regiment became Light Dragoons in 1783 and Hussars in 1840. On forming Prince Albert’s escort from Dover to Canterbury on his arrival in England, the regiment received the title of ‘Prince Albert’s Own’. This is an officer of 1865.”
The 11th Hussars commemorating its 250th anniversary and being awarded its guidon by Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in this fascinating video from 1967 on YouTube. The great military artist Terence Cuneo can be seen painting the regiment in their traditional Hussar uniform with dark red breeches.
Introducing a detachment from ‘H’ Battery 11th Brigade, Royal Artillery!
My Victorian-era artillery battery from the 1860s is now virtually finished. I really could use a few buckets to dip those sponges into, but I may have to make my own using modelling clay. Being only my second foray into the world of 28mm figures, I’m thinking that, although I am pleased with how they’ve turned out, I would like to develop my technique at this scale a bit further. Nevertheless, I did very much enjoyed painting them.
The figures by Perry Miniatures are terrific and I was really attracted by it being one of my favourite historical topics; early to mid-Victorian era military subjects seemingly under-represented by manufacturers (at least up until the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, anyway!). Some detailed and fascinating information on Armstrong and the development of RML artillery can be found on the excellent Victorian Forts website.
And here are my three gun teams. They represent the processes of loading, aiming and firing the weapon.
1. Royal Artillery loading an Armstrong RML 12pr.
One is lifting the breach block ready for the man carrying the charge to insert it into the breach. The spongeman has already done his job and extinguished any burning embers remaining in the barrel. (I notice I’ve forgotten to insert the handspike with this team…)
2. Royal Artillery aiming an Armstrong RML 12pr.
The cannon is positioned laterally by using the handspike and is set to the required elevation by means of a screw which can be seen being turned under the end of the barrel.
3. Royal Artillery firing an Armstrong RML 12pr.
Fire! The charge in the cannon is fired by pulling a cord out of the breach block. A little smoke is seen being emited from the breach block as well as the end of the barrel. (Note: yes – my cotton wool smoke looks a bit dodgy as it fell off just before the camera shoot and I lazily just pushed back on!)
Next post: hopefully some news about this year’s Benno’s Figures Forum Group Build. Last year’s 200th anniversary Famous Waterloo Project was a great success and kick-started my own Nappy Cavalry Project.
Now in receipt of the two other gun crews of Victorian Royal Artillery figures by Perry Miniatures, I realised I needed to get a little more serious about how I put these things together. I needed to be historically accurate and fully understand the drill and workings of a Victorian-era Royal Artillery battery in receipt of a new-fangled breech-loading Armstrong cannon.
Except, I didn’t.
I just got carried away producing my little diorama without doing enough research. A classic failing of mine, modelling enthusiasm over diligent research. I think the Armstrong may have been painted in a certain colour, though I was uncertain enough over which colour that I just left it as natural wood (something I’d seen previously in one image of the gun on the internet).
Nevertheless, I’m quite pleased with how the first Armstrong 12 pounder and gun crew have (nearly) turned out. I think I’ll paint the cord which was pulled to fire the cannon. You will notice that I added some cotton wool for a smoke effect and may add a tiny bit more coming out of the breech itself from the charge. There are also some implements still to add to the scene: the sponge and the handspike have yet to be added (I’ve been advised where thanks to Paul from Bennos Figures Forum) and the spongeman could really use a bucket to dip his sponge into, but this didn’t come with the set. I might try and make one. The thing is: I’ve stupidly lost the sponge rod! (so I might have to fashion one of those too)…
Nevertheless, historical queries and stupidly lost equpment aside, I’ve really enjoyed putting this artillery team together. New scale (28mm), new era (Victorian), new material (metal), and a new arm (artillery), have made for a fresh challenge.
Images of what I’ve done so far are below. I’ll post ‘finished’ photos in the future, until then, I’m on to painting the next gun teams! I think they look okay.
Straight after attempting my very first 28mm figures, I thought I’d carry on in the scale with one of my recent Christmas presents, Perry Miniatures’ Royal Artillery firing a 12-pounder Armstrong. I’m slowly starting to feel more comfortable painting at this scale but it’s still experimentation. The sculpting is terrific for one who has had a lifelong interest in Victorian military history. I think it might have been last year’s visit to the coastal fort of Hurst Castle that has really inspired me to paint up some Royal Artillery figures from this era.
Never mind tackling the new 28mm scale, after a year of attempting cavalry, painting artillery is well out of my comfort zone too! I’ve now got to turn my attention to how I paint the cannon itself, and then also consider how I’m going to base the whole battery.
And it doesn’t stop there.
There are two more sets of cannon with gunners currently winging their way to me through the post. One group is loading and the other aiming, so with this ‘firing’ group, the whole process will be covered. So it looks as though 28mm Victorian Royal Artillery is now down on 2016’s list of projects!
Oh, and I’m not quite sure about the red backdrop cloth that I used for these photos…
After having a go at some of those Strelets Romans, I quickly got distracted and turned my attention to a half-dozen figures that I’d begun earlier in 2015 but which had been abandoned due to the demands of the Nappy Cavalry Project.
These figures are line infantrymen marching from the Perry Miniatures 1861 British Intervention Force range. The force was ready to ‘intervene’ at a time of heightening tensions between the United States and Great Britain after two Confederate commissioners were seized from a British mail ship they were aboard (the Trent) by a US vessel. Hostilities between the two countries were thankfully avoided although 1000s of British troops, such as these figures, had already been sent to Canada in readiness.
I’ve painted them in a more casual way than of late and it only took about a week. They are larger than my usual 20mm scale, being 28mm. Painting at a different scale I think requires a different painting technique. What works at 20mm just might not look right at 28mm. So I was out of my comfort zone and approached these figures in the spirit of experimentation. At one point in a fit of frustration, I abandoned all the careful shading and highlighting I’d applied to the tunics (which looked terrible) and just slapped on lots of the basecoat intending to start again. But there I left it and the end result is what you see and which I’m reasonably happy with for a first effort. Problem is: I’m just not sure how I did it!
It’s also the first time that I’ve painted metal since about 2011 when I was slapping paint fairly crudely onto some Prince August 25mm figures cast at home from moulds and metal ingots. These figures are excellent and the larger scale allows for more detail (and painting mistakes) to be seen. The early-Victorian British army is one of my favourite topics but seems to be generally overlooked by model soldier manufacturers, so these figures are a hit with me.
I’ve painted them up as (more or less) my local Leicestershire regiment, the 17th (not that I’m aware they were even present in Canada in 1861). And here’s how they’ve turned out,