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

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

Warwickshire Yeomanry (4)

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.

Warwickshire Yeomanry (6)

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.

Warwickshire Yeomanry (10)
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.

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!

WYC Progress Report #2

I’ve found an excellent little article on the prints drawn by a local “stationer and painter” Edward Rudge. He drew images of various Birmingham volunteers during the time of the threat of invasion by France at the end of the 18th century. Two of his prints show two local infantry volunteer units; the Birmingham Loyal Association and the 1st Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The third print, dated April 1801, depicts my very own Warwickshire Yeomanry Cavalry in “what seems to be the second uniform of the regiment, with a skirted ‘Austrian’ jacket”. This refers to the jacket extending a little below the waist (which mine do not as the sculpter).

rudge-print-in-brown-colln

The print shows two mounted troopers fully engaged in sword drill and is “respectfully dedicated by their obedient humble servant, E. Rudge.” A highly detailed version of the aquatint print can be found here at the Brown digital repository.

Meanwhile, figures which will form my contribution to the Bennos Figures Forum Group Build for 2016 have now finally found their way to me through the post, so I may have to put the yeomanry horses on the back-burner until these have been painted. Anyway, more on this soon until then here’s pics of the WYC troopers which are now nearing completion. They still require their scabbards and sabretaches attaching, and their stirrups painting, but they are 90% finished. I’m pleased with how they’ve turned out and are, I like to think, an improvement on my first 28mm figures painted earlier this year.

WYC: Progress Report #1

The first of my progress reports on the Warwickshire Yeomanry Cavalry project. As you can see, the ‘French Grey’ coats worn by the regiment has been applied I’ve used Vallejo’s Grey Blue which I had lying around from painting French Poilu’s in gasmasks from the First World War. After the basecoat was on, I felt it was a pretty good match for what I wanted. The breeches have simply been basecoated and still require a little shading. They will be wearing gloves which will be white (the contemporary painting below of an officer shows him holding a pair of white gloves).

Warwickshire Yeomanry progress (4)
Officer of the Warwickshire Yeomanry Cavalry

 

Inevitably, there will have to be some compromises in the depiction of the uniform. The coats apparently extended below the waist belt. Although I could try to paint this in, I’m always inclined to work with the sculpter and so have just painted down to the waist belt. The WYC also seemingly had brass epaulettes, but these are absent on the Perry figures; I may attempt to paint these in. Finally, the horses shown in the few prints of the regiment seem to have no saddle cloth.

But, I’m not too concerned. Detailed information on the WYC is scarce and what sources are available is probably best treated with caution as regards accuracy. Consequently, my depiction of the uniform will probably be as good as any!

 

Warwickshire Yeomanry Cavalry

Now that my Royal Artillery battery from the 1860s has been finished and gone to take their place in my display cabinets, it’s time to turn my attention to a new challenge. Alongside the Royal Artillery figures, another Christmas/birthday present that I received in December was Perry Miniatures Napoleonic British Light Dragoons set. They are also the larger 28mm scale and come with a choice of creating either early or late versions of the uniform (there’s even an interim version available with a Heavy Dragoon style helmet). The two uniforms were radically different and, having painted the later version at 1/72 scale last year, I’ve opted to go for the earlier version which features hussar style braiding, breeches and boots, and the crested tarleton helmet.

Light Dragoons kit (2)

The box comes with full colour detailed uniform information on all the British light dragoon regiments of the time, potentially saving me lots of research. Only – being me – this early uniform got me thinking…

In the past couple years, I’ve visited a number of military museums that have featured displays on local yeomanry forces. Yeomanry, being essentially volunteer cavalry intended strictly for homeland service, were first raised in response to the growing threat by revolutionary France. Around this time, they were dressed in very similar uniforms to the regular light cavalry, so this set also offers the possibility of painting a yeomanry regiment. The question is: which one?

A couple of years ago I had planned to visit the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum in Warwick; the pleasant little town having no less than three military collections within walking distance of each other. Unfortunately, being staffed by volunteers, the day I had rashly arranged to go coincided with a closure. I was cheeky, however, and contacted one of the trustees, a Mr Philip Wilson, who most generously agreed to open up and show me round for the afternoon. When we met, it transpired that we were both long-time members of the Victorian Military Society. The personal tour was terrific and I could not have asked for a kinder or more knowledgable guide. Whilst there, I purchased a couple of books on the Warwickshire Yeomanry and these are going to form the basis of my guide to painting their early regimental uniform, an example of which can be seen below. So, in respectful tribute to Mr Wilson and the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum’s generosity, these will be the next Suburban Militarism painting project*.

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Warwickshire Yeomanry Cavalry

*(After my contribution to the Benno’s Figures Forum Group Build, that is… More on that later…)