The third in my series of 54mm figures inspired by Robert Marrion’s illustrations is another figure from the 3rd County of London Sharpshooters. Featuring on the front cover alongside my first figure (the trumpeter), the officer wears Camp Church Parade Order as seen circa 1905.
The figures which I managed to source on eBay sadly came without any of the swords which appear in the RJ Marrion illustration. So, I sourced a couple of 54mm scale swords for my men to lean on. They came in their scabbards and so I had to slice off the rings. I had to also cut off the end off to shorten the sword into a size which would fit between his hands and the ground.
OK, so maybe my sword looks a little, ah, short and somewhat stocky. Not so much a rapier, more of a cutlass! Ah well, it’ll have do until something else better comes along…
There are two figures and I’ve based them both. One of them is still awaiting an engraved plaque to place at the front.
There is one more figure that I’m currently working on in this series of figures – more on that in a future post. After that, I’m simply waiting for any more of these figures to pop up, assuming that there were any more made from this range. Given the fact that I’ve sourced two figures from a single book cover alone, and that the number of books in the Ogilby Trust sponsored series numbered 15, one has to assume there are more out there somewhere…
I previously posted on mounting my ‘Lost Sharpshooter’ figure, the first of my Marrion’s Men series. With the latest delivery of more alder wood bases, I’ve been able to start mounting my other Robert Marrion-inspired 54mm yeomanry figures. The first to get the treatment is my sergeant from the Sussex Imperial Yeomanry.
As before, I’ve placed a brass plaque front and rear detailing the regiment and the rank / year of the figure.
When I last posted on this figure, it was still awaiting the riding crop held in the left hand. In the event, the crop required chopping in two pieces and positioning delicately in place. Thankfully, the glue is just about holding this delicate item precariously in place!
I previously wrongly identified what I thought were three bullets in the bandolier. This is incorrect. These items I now believe to be leather fixings which allow the top half of the bandolier to fold over and cover the bullets. I’ve added a dash of paint to cover them over.
That’s the second of my Marrion’s Men done and dusted, and I’m rather pleased with him. The next one is awaiting the addition of accessory and will be featured in a future post.
I’d like to introduce the third figure in my series of R.J. Marrion-inspired 54mm yeomanry figures. It’s another figure that appears on the front cover of the “3rd County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters)” book which was wonderfully illustrated by the late Robert Marrion.
I should say that these are ‘figures’ plural asthere are two of them, these identical twins coming as a pair in a single purchase from eBay. My figures appear in a much lighter shade of green under the camera lens, appearing a little more akin to the illustration to the naked eye.
“For Camp Church Parade Order, the officers wore the green forage cap, the green serge frock, Full Dress overalls, brown leather wrist gloves and the Sam Browne belt (as seen on the front cover).
I don’t know about a ‘camp’ Church Parade Order – it looks pretty macho to me…
The Robert Marrion illustration shows the officer resting his hands on the pommel of his sword, which is out of its scabbard. Initially, I thought that the sculptor no doubt faithfully recreated this sword but, unfortunately, as both my figures are missing this item, they must have got lost. One thing I’ve noticed, however, is that in the illustration the officer’s hands come up to the top of his belt. On the figure, however, the hands come to rest quite a bit lower meaning that the sword will have to be trimmed significantly short. So, I then mused that perhaps there was no sword, but then the empty scabbard suggests otherwise. An oversight on the part of the otherwise impressively talented sculptor, perhaps?
Despite resting their hands upon air, the figure still looks convincingly as though the officer is merely folding his hands, in my opinion. But I’m going to go with the sword to match the illustration and I have secured a 54mm scale alternative for their “Infantry Pattern” sword which, with a little trimming, I hope might act as a substitute.
You will notice that this officer of the Sharpshooters is a decorated soldier. On his chest, Marrion has depicted two medals. From the book cover, I could see that one is clearly a Queen’s South Africa Medal with bars, suggesting that he served in the Anglo-Boer War as part of the regiment’s initial incarnation as the 18th, 21st and 23rd Battalions of the Imperial Yeomanry. On 23 July 1901, the 3rd County of London Imperial Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) was formed from the veterans of these Boer War Imperial Yeomanry battalions.
After a little research, the other medal on my figures’ chest I now believe to be the King Edward VII Coronation Medal, a slightly oval-shaped medal awarded in 1902 to celebrate said monarch’s coronation with Queen Alexandra. It was awarded to “...service officers who were present at the coronation ceremony, performed extra work in its preparation, or who were involved in the coronation parade.” Interestingly, the date of the coronation which was printed on all the medals – 28th June 1902 – is incorrect. The king had to postpone the coronation until October when he’d recovered from an emergency operation for appendicitis.
With the exception of my original Sharpshooting Trumpeter, the remaining figures have all come from a lady who is selling off her father’s impressive collection of figures. I politely enquired after the missing swords for these figures and through the post a week later, completely unexpectedly, was a wonderful handmade card from the gentleman’s widow.
Within her charming card, she had included a couple of swords that she had discovered loose amongst her late husband’s large collection. One weapon was quite suitable for one of these two figures, although it also appears to be an absolutely perfect fit for my next Marrion Man, who was also missing his sword…
It was a very generous act indeed by the lady. It’s a sad and sobering activity to observe; the selling off of a husband and father’s old model soldiers. As the army dissipates, it’s old commander having passed away, it is a vision of the (hopefully still very distant) future, when my own stock gets dispersed by my own spouse and daughter in a similar manner, hopefully to another grateful collector. Ah, but enough of such maudlin musings. Many a soldier I plan to add to Suburban Militarism’s army yet!
My Sharpshooter officers are both currently still standing in a blob of Blu Tack, patiently awaiting smart basing of the type that their fellow sharpshooter received a week ago. The final based and labelled figures, hopefully even with swords to lean upon, will be presented in a future post!
Blu Tack is a poor way to present one of R.J. Marrion’s finest yeomen. But until now, Blu Tack is all I’ve had to keep him standing upright. I’ve previously recounted as to the long history of this trumpeter figure. Having been lost for so many years – and then foolishly mislaid again for a couple more – once he did finally return, I had to admit to him that I’d in fact given up all hope and thrown away his original wooden base. He was naturally outraged at my lack of faith.
And so, by way of apology, I’ve sourced something altogether more respectable for my straying Sharpshooter. I like to think that it presents my humble tribute to artist Robert Marrion in a far more suitable manner than a blob of Blu Tack.
The nicely turned wooden base is made of unvarnished alder wood from a purveyor in eastern Europe (on collection, my local Post Office teller gave my poor wife quite a grilling, not many Ukrainian stamps pass through these parts and what’s more you can’t be too careful what with that poisoning in Salisbury…).
I did think about varnishing the base, or maybe adding some kind of colour to it but in the end I decided I liked the natural look best of all. No frills, just the figure.
The engraving was very cheaply sourced online and labels the figure nicely, I think. I’ve abbreviated the lengthy regimental title to 3rd CLY (Sharpshooters). On the rear of the figure there is another plaque detailing rank and date.
So, here’s presenting the first of my series of ‘Marrion’s Men’; a trumpeter of the 3rd County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters). In Drill Order, he dates from the early 20th century, just after the conclusion of the Anglo-Boer War, a conflict which inspired the formation of his regiment.
Another figure related to the late artist Robert Marrion has been on my painting table. Following on from the 54mm Sharpshooter that I posted on recently, I’ve been painting another chap modelled on an illustration by R.J. Marrion. It can be found on the front of Book One of the “Uniforms of the British Yeomanry Force 1794-1914” series. The illustration depicts a sergeant of the Sussex Imperial Yeomanry in Service Dress c.1905.
As with the Sharpshooter, it is a figure wearing khaki, Stohwasser gaiters and a slouch hat. This form of Yeomanry dress was increasingly common at this time in the wake of the harsh lessons learnt out on the veldt during the Anglo-Boer War. He is a sergeant (with the stripes to prove it) and carries a riding crop casually in his left hand. Other distinctions include metal shoulder chains and a leather bandolier within which the sculptor has even faithfully reproduced the three bullets seen in the drawing!
Barlow and Smith’s book describes the uniform in the following manner:
“…Service Dress consisted of the slouch hat… A khaki serge frock with blue collar wearing brass badges, blue shoulder straps and a trefoil in blue on the cuffs, four patch pockets with small brass buttons on the breast pockets, and five brass buttons down the front. A light shade Bedford cord breeches with blue piping, brown Stohwasser gaiters and ankle boots; a web bandolier.”
The slouch hat had a leather band for a pagri and a “small, bright blue emu feather plume”. The blue shoulder straps described above were replaced by ‘shoulder chains with blue backing’ for Service Dress in 1905, which helps to confirm the date of this figure.
The Sussex Yeomanry had their genesis back in 1793 when Revolutionary France declared war on Great Britain. The regiment then came in and out of existence in various guises over the 19th century until finally disbanded in 1875.
The crisis of the Anglo-Boer War led to the British army recognising an urgent need for the kind of rapid mobility that mounted forces could provide. This resulted in the hurried creation of the Imperial Yeomanry in early 1900, capable of serving overseas. The Sussex Imperial Yeomanry was one of the yeomanry regiments formed as part of this emergency response.
You will notice that my Yeoman is missing his riding crop, held in his left hand. Being a delicate item, I’ve decided to fix this on only when I’m able to place him on to a proper base. This may take a few weeks before I source an appropriate one.
I’m reasonably satisfied with my painting for this figure although it took a few attempts until I was happy with the colour of his ‘light-coloured’ Bedford cord riding breeches. My sergeant is wearing leather wrist gloves which are a tad lighter in shade than I’d prefer but otherwise look okay. The Stohwasser leather gaiters are a blend of Vallejo’s Cavalry Brown and Red Leather paints with a black wash.
I’m still feeling my way a little with what is still only my 54mm scale figure. I’m happy to retain my painting ‘style’ even for this scale. It may not be the most effective way of presenting them, but the figure retains that certain ‘Suburban Militarism’ identity as a result.
There’s another Robert Marrion inspired figure still awaiting paint to make it a trio of ‘Marrion’s Men’. I’ll be still on the look out for any others, of which I’m convinced there must be a number more somewhere. In the meantime, I’ve got other 54mm scale Yeomanry figures awaiting attention for whenever I next get the urge.
My previous post was published somewhat “prematurely” by an absurdly over-eager WordPress. This meant that was not able to add the few more photos of my painted lost Sharpshooter that I intended. So, with apologies for splitting the topic over two posts, here they are…
In keeping with Mr Marrion’s original illustration, I’ve used similar, though different, base colours for the tunic (Vallejo English Uniform Brown) and the cord breeches (Vallejo Khaki). I mixed my own colour for the Stohwasser gaiters using Red Leather and Burnt Umber. For the green facings, I used Vallejo Black Green and for the trumpet cord / aiguillettes I used Vallejo’s warmer shade of Deep Green.
Getting the three yellow stripes that appear on the folds of the Pagri was tricky as the definition on the metal was vague, so I simply did my best. Note the green stripe running down his breeches.
So, as I indicated in the last post, he’s now just awaiting his fancy wooden base to arrive. More on that another time, but I do promise that’s it on my Sharpshooter for now!
Some weeks ago now, I posted on a 54mm figure which had been lost many years ago – then found – lost again – and then found again! The figure was of a trumpeter belonging to the 3rd County of London yeomanry, also known as the Sharpshooters. This figure was a direct copy of Robert Marrion’s illustration on the cover of the Sharpshooters book from the Smith and Harris’ “Uniforms of the British Yeomanry Force” series.
The largest scale that I’ve painted hitherto is 28mm, 20mm being my usual scale, and so 54mm is a big step up. I’ve enjoyed the new challenge of painting it. It’s nice to focus on one figure rather than a whole kit of them.
I don’t think my painting technique is perfectly suited to these bigger scales, but I admit to being reasonably pleased with the result.
And that’s not all.
I’ve discovered a seller on eBay who has been selling off her late father’s old stock of figures. Clearly, the chap was a fellow of good taste, his collection includes lots of 54mm figures, most splendidly painted with some soldiers still untouched. These have included yet more Dorset Model Soldier Company figures taken from the illustrations on the covers of Smith and Harris’ series. Namely;
Officer, Undress, c.1903-1905 – 3rd County of London (Sharpshooters):
Another figure (or rather 2 figures – they came as a pair) also from the cover of the 3rd County of London (Sharpshooters) book, this time being modelled on the officer in the all-green undress. Unfortunately, both figures are without the sword that the officer is supposed to be resting his hands on. He could nevertheless be taken for simply clasping his hand together.
Sergeant, Sussex Imperial Yeomanry, Service Dress, c.1905:
Another Dorset figure that I’ve come into is based on the very 1st book in the series on the Sussex Yeomanry Cavalry. It is the figure of the Sergeant on the far left wearing the bandoleer, Stohwasser gaiters and slouch hat. It’s a very impressive figure, I think, though some preparation will be needed as his riding crop remains attached to his right arm and there’s quite a bit of flash to remove.
There is one other figure I’m expecting which will be similar to the Sergeant-Major second from left on the cover (wearing a khaki lancer-pattern uniform and red forage cap). Still currently on its way through the post, this figures has a slouch hat instead of the red cap and photographs of the Sussex Yeomanry in this manner of Full Dress uniform can be seen in the Barlow and Smith book. So, it’s not strictly a Robert Marrion figure, but should, I imagine look similar to the one he illustrated 2nd left.
I’m intrigued to know how many of these 54mm model figures and of which regiments were made from the Yeomanry Force series. Having discovered three from the 1st and 5th books alone, I must assume that there are more from some of the remaining 13 other books.
Meanwhile, I’ve sourced a base for the trumpeter of the Sharpshooters that I’ve painted, which will hopefully come through the post in the coming week. Once properly mounted and presented, I will share in a future post. It seems that my humble tribute to R.J. Marrion is emerging as a long term ongoing project…
Last week, on a gloriously sunny day, I finally fulfilled a long-held desire to visit the Shropshire Regimental Museum.
It is picturesquely based in Shrewsbury’s castle and houses collections relating to the following:
The 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment
The 85th King’s Light Infantry
The King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (KSLI)
The Shropshire Yeomanry
The Shropshire Royal Horse Artillery
The local Militia, Volunteers and Territorial units
The Lords Lieutenant of Shropshire collection
The extensive collection occupies virtually the entire castle, including its impressive Great Hall.
In the first part of my review, I’m taking a look at the displays on the local yeomanry regiments of Shropshire. My copy of the “Blandford Encyclopaedia of Cavalry Uniforms” contains three illustrations of yeomanry regiments in Shropshire by Jack Kassin-Scott, including this illustration of an 1892 mounted trooper.
In comparison, the extent of the gold braid worn by the officer becomes evident. The county of Shropshire was quick to respond to the threat of French invasion during the Revolutionary Wars and raised no less than 11 individual Yeomanry Cavalry troops in the 1790s! Starting with the Market Drayton Troop in early 1795, others localities soon followed suit including Wellington, Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Pimhill, etc. By the time of the war’s cessation in 1815, only three remained in service: the Shrewsbury Yeomanry Cavalry; the South Shropshire Yeomanry Cavalry; and the North Shropshire Yeomanry Cavalry.
By 1828, these three regiments were reduced further into two as the South Shropshire and Shrewsbury Regiments were amalgamated into the single South Salopian Yeomanry Cavalry. In response, the North Shropshire regiment renamed itself to become the North Salopian Yeomanry Cavalry. Eventually, these two would also merge in 1872, becoming simply the Shropshire Yeomanry. This continuity of service entitled it to be 6th in the Yeomanry order of precedence.
Around the museum were pleasing artworks depicting the local yeomanry force including the two above, both by unknown artists. The oil painting on the left is of Colonel William Cludde of the early Shropshire Yeomanry Cavalry, 1795. Middle: Yeomanry Officer in Full Dress, 1910 by W.H. Taylor. To the right is a nice print depicting officers of the South Salopian Yeomanry, 1846. A coloured aquatint after Henry Martens.
On entering the museum, I was first guided upstairs by staff to a small vestibule which housed some excellent yeomanry helmets and guidons. The regimental colours included examples of some of the ephemeral early volunteer cavalry such as the Apley Troop of the Brimstree Loyal Legion which lasted from 1799 to 1802.
I was delighted to see my first post-Waterloo era Royal Horse Guards helmet with its outrageous and enormous black woollen crest. It was displayed in order to demonstrate how it was the model for the North Shropshire Yeomanry’s own dragoon helmet.
A side view of the regiment’s Full-Dress “Roman pattern” helmet (1817-1846) can be seen below. This pattern helmet was used by both the North and South Shropshire Yeomanry.
Also in this display was (below) a South Salopian Yeomanry Full-Dress officer’s helmet which features a black plume, something that was replaced with the red/white plume of the North Salopian Yeomanry was adopted upon amalgamation.
Alongside that was a highly unusual black leather dragoon helmet used by the North Salopian Yeomanry. It too was replaced by the more usual metal helmet upon amalgamation in 1872.
Proceeding on to the Great Hall, my attention was soon drawn to the sight of some extravagant shakos in a glass case:
These extravagant shakos were ‘possibly used’ by officers of the South Shropshire and South Salopian Yeomanry. No evidence existed for either regiment adopting them so I can only speculate that these no-doubt wealthy officers were trialling fancy new headgear simply because they liked them!
The museum was particularly strong in its collection of old Yeomanry uniforms. Their use of manikins was also really effective, I thought, as can be seen in the fine display below of an officer of the North Shropshire Yeomanry Cavalry in the mid-19th century. It’s a classic heavy dragoon style uniform and the wonderfully ornate metal helmet at his feet.
A closer view of that style of helmet, alongside another example of the aforementioned unique black leather helmet was afforded in another cabinet, seen below:
The above two North Shropshire 19th century dragoon helmets are amongst the finest examples I’ve seen. The black helmet dates from 1816-36 and the one on the right from 1854-72. The detailed sunburst helmet plates look dramatic against the black leather or white metal and the lion’s face appearing over the crest framed by the red plume is glorious.
Above is an example of a Shrewsbury Yeomanry officer’s helmet and coatee from the period 1817-30. The helmet has a notably different metal crest to the North Shropshire version above. I’m unsure who the metal figure is intended to depict but the sculpted face with wide open mouth appears menacing enough! The black helmet this time is metal (not leather) and appears to have been subject to japanning. It would have had a bearskin crest, now absent.
The amalgamation of the North and South Salopian Yeomanry regiments in 1872 required a new uniform to be designed for it. Some compromise was needed therefore to combine elements of both regiment’s uniforms into a new version. The subsequent uniform featured a dark blue tunic with scarlet facings, red piping and gold lacing (as can be seen on the officer below). Leg wear was dark blue with a red stripe (or seemingly gold for officers). The helmet’s gilt ornamentation was inspired by the South Salopian regiment, while the red and white plume imitated that of its Northern cousin.
This new uniform owed something to the uniform of the Royal Horse Guards which, as we have seen, also inspired the dragoon helmet adopted soon after the end of the Napoleonic Wars.
I’ve said it before, I’m always keen to see evidence of mounted bands and musicians and I was particularly pleased to discover both of the Shropshire Yeomanry’s drum banners, placed high up on the castle wall.
The regiment’s drum banners would have surrounded the steel kettle drums carried by a drum horse. No sign of the kettle drums, unfortunately, but it was interesting to see how the banner compared to its depiction in the cigarette card set by John Player and Sons that I own.
As you can see, in comparison with my (admittedly poor quality) photo it looks quite different, featuring a cypher instead of the three ‘loggerheads’ of the Shropshire coat of arms. Furthermore, the scroll underneath reads “Shropshire-Yeomanry-Cavalry” from left to right, and does not have the central word as being ‘Shropshire’. In the 1920s, postcard manufacturer Gale & Polden produced a large poster of Yeomanry drum banners. Their illustration of the Shropshire Yeomanry’s banner agrees with the Player’s illustration showing the loggerheads.
R.G. Harris’ “Yeomanry Drum Banners and Mounted Bands” (#14 in the Ogilby Trust Yeomanry Series) informs me that the wife of the CO, Colonel Wingfield, presented these banners to the regiment on 8th May 1885. They differ slightly in size to each other. There are ‘no known pictures or photographs of the band’, sadly. Furthermore, the versions depicted in the Player’s series and the Gale & Polden poster have never been traced or verified, so may well have simply been erroneous.
The aforementioned Colonel Wingfield’s name also appeared on an invitation to an event hosted by the Shropshire Yeomanry in 1886. It reports that the regimental band will be ‘in attendance’. This card was nicely illustrated with two yeomen; one in Full Dress with sword drawn and the other wearing a stable jacket, with a carbine and an Other Ranks pill box cap. This invitation I was pleased to see reproduced in the museum shop in the form of a postcard (below):
The Imperial Yeomanry’s experience in the Anglo-Boer War marked the Yeomanry force’s first experience of foreign warfare. Stripped of their ostentatious finery worn in the previous century, they learned some valuable lessons about modern warfare ahead of the Great War. Artefacts from their time in South Africa were many including this slouch hat:
…and this photograph below of the yeomen, prior to embarkation to South Africa in 1900.
For the second part of my review of the Shropshire Regimental Museum, I’ll be taking a look at some of the other exhibits.
Rear view of officer’s uniform, Shropshire Yeomanry, 1882.