Wednesday, 24 August 2016

On this day - The Battle of Bladensburg, August 24th 1814

On this day the Battle of Bladensburg, August 24th 1814 took place. An interesting account of the battle can be found  [here]. The following photos, taken by my brother, are from the museum at Shrewsbury castle.
Standard of the 1st Harford Light Dragoons, US Army
taken by the 85th Regiment at Bladensburg

Army 'Small' Gold Medal

Awarded to Colonel (later Sir) William Thorton, 85th, for his gallantry in the battles of the Nive, 9-13 November 1813. Only 896 of these medals were ever awarded, 34 for the Nive.

Col. Thorton was captured by the Americans at Bladenburg in 1814 but was released in time to command the 85th at New Orleans, where he was severely wounded. He died in 1840.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Modified Dragoons, (Warlord) - Part 6 of 6

This final model as I wanted an alternative to the drummer available in other sets. The figure is as usual the plastic firelock figure from Warlord. The trumpet is taken from the Warlord cavalry set, all the detail was removed leaving just the instrument itself.


The musket was taken from another spare Warlord set with the other hand cut away. The cuff and the strap for the musket were made from added using greenstuff.

This is the final figure for my dragoon group. I wanted an alternative to the drummer available in other sets. The figure is as usual the plastic firelock figure from Warlord. The trumpet is taken from the Warlord cavalry set, all the detail was removed leaving just the instrument itself. Due to my heavy handed efforts I managed to break off the mouthpiece. I decided it wasn't worth the time to repair it so left it as it appears here. 

This is the final figure for my dragoon group. Now, eagle-eyed smarty pants readers may have spotted an apparent oddity with my figures from this mini-series Players of Lion Rampant will know that the units consist of either six or twelve figures and Pikeman's Lament follows the same numbering system. However if you add up the number of figures in this group there are actually seven figures in total. Now this is either because it's easier to transport infantry figures rather than a large bulky cavalry group to play at the local store or I wasn't playing attention and made too many. I'll let you decide is more likely. 

I do have another ECW project on the go at the moment but I'm making (very) slow progress with it. I currently have more than enough figures (for myself and an opponent) to play a standard 24 point game of The Pikeman's Lament so I'm under no particular pressure to get these done.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Modified Dragoons, (Warlord) - Part 5 of 6

Although dragoons are normally only depicted with muskets they could also be armed with pikes (see the link in the original post). To represent this figure is portrayed as a pikeman using the ubiquitous plastic firelock figure from Warlord.

The arms were taken from a Perry plastics set (WoTR I think). Gaps in the shoulders were filled in with greenstuff. Using the same material the sleeve cuffs were also added. 
Looking at the figure in the state show above I kept on thinking that something didn't quite seem right. As the figure represents a pikeman I realised I had to extend the shaft. To do this I used a spare polearm.
Little tip: whenever you have to join two rods/bars of plastic together cut the shaft at a diagonal angle (45 degrees if you can, using the lines on your cutting board as a guide). this increases the surface area and helps form a stronger bond than the usual perpendicular cut.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Modified Dragoons, (Warlord) - Part 4 of 6

This set was inspired by accounts and paintings [seen here] of the Battle of Waterloo where Scottish infantry latched onto cavalry to help them speed into action.
Rider - Left hand made from greenstuff as the previous hand was too low.
The musket was taken from a spare Warlord figure. The powder box and strap were added using greenstuff. Sharp eyed viewers may notice that I had forgotten to remove the sword hilt from the mounted figure, this was done later, as can be seen in the painted version.

Runner - The right arm was taken from a Perry miniature WoTR set with the left arm and the staff of the pole arm removed.


The powder horn, strap and both straps for the muskets were made from strips of greenstuff.

I'm not entirely happy with this specific set (and I'm not fishing for compliments here). I've since had an idea how to make a similar composition of a running figure more realistic but that will have to wait unit I can find a suitable base (yes I do need to get out more). Once this is done I may then retire this particular pair.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Modified Dragoons, (Warlord) - Part 3 of 6

This group was inspired after reading part of Osprey's book Pike and Shot Tactics 1590-1660.

"it was common to support ... with Shots – provided either by dragoons or by infantry temporarily mounted or riding double behind cavalrymen."
This seemingly simple comment provided me with the most difficult challenge while trying to make this look halfway realistic or natural. I thought I may be able to model two men on one horse. This was easier said than done and involved a lot of cutting and carving of the horse's back and rump (as well as a fair dose of industrial language which I find always helps).

With the first/forward most rider I removed the tassets from the thighs to facilitate moving the body of the figure forward towards the horse's head. I cut away some areas from his back so the two figures would fit closer together. The musket was taken from a spare regular figure. The powder box and strap were added using greenstuff.
The second/rear rider's right arm taken from the cavalry set which was originally holding a flagpole. After reading the article about dragoons, rather than using a short carbine model, I used a part taken, as usual, from a Warlord's Firelock figure. Just to make things awkward for myself I also removed his sash. I'm not entirely sure this was worth the time and effort to achieve the unique look of this set but as it's a one off for this project I'm unlikely to ever repeat the process. Well that's what I told myself as I was cursing the general lack of any form of co-operation from the figures.
The sash, baldric, sword handle and the straps for both muskets were made from strips of greenstuff. Yes, you've read that correctly, I added details to the figure after cutting the original one away (will I never learn? no..probably not).

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Modified Dragoons, (Warlord) - Part 2 of 6

During the long preparation (it turned out to be a rather long thinking process) of these models I considered various options of how to make these figures represent dragoons. Fortunately I eventually recalled the autobiography of Phillipp von Boeselager, a German officer who served on the Russian front during WWII and was involved in the closest attempt to assassinate Hitler, the book is titled Valkyrie: The Plot To Kill Hitler (you'll have to bear with me on this one). He was one of the very few who survived the executions that followed the failed coup d'etat. Although the modern perception of the German army during WWII is often that of large armoured columns attacking across all fronts, vast numbers of horses were still used for transport and haulage.

In his book von Boeselager describes combat experiences which, for to me at least, closely resembled those of dragoons during the ECW. During reconnaissance or defence actions soldiers, under von Boeselager command, would dismount leaving one man holding the reins of anywhere between four and ten horses. This single man would then ride away a short distance to a safer area. This soldier could quickly return to the others troops if and when needed. With this in mind I thought I would try to replicate this using these models
This group depicts one rider holding the reins of three other horses. There are four horses in total simply because that's how many would neatly fit onto the base (from Warbases). The single rider is a bog standard figure straight out the box. I cut away the moulded plastic reins and remade the connecting new ones using lengths of greenstuff. Again using greenstuff I built up the saddles on the riderless horses. This are perhaps the easiest modification of the entire set. Don't worry, the other modification caused me a lot more grief - all for your viewing entertainment.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Modified Dragoons, (Warlord) - Part 1 of 6

The models detailed in the next half dozen posts have been modified to depict dragoons during the English Civil Wars (ECW). Drgoons were mounted, mobile infantry. A very interesting article about their use during the conflict can be seen [Here be Dragoons]. The name itself may derive from the weapon, a dragon, that this type of mounted infantry originally carried or possibly be derived from the Dutch word meaning mounted infantry.
Unit of Dragoons for The Pikeman's Lament
Although the famous Streeter map of the Battle of Naseby shows the dragoons dismounted and an individual holding the reins of half a dozen horses I preferred to depict a more dramatic look for these models based on the experiences of a WWII soldier. More of this in a latter post.
View from the Parliamentarian positions looking diagonally across the Naseby battlefield towards the Royalist right wing. Colonel John Okey's dismounted dragoons attacked Prince Rupert's cavalry using the cover of the hedges approximately along the far left of the photo above.

For this particular project I also wanted to attempt a slightly different basing method to the one I normally use and make these particular figures instantly recognisable as dragoons and not regular cavalry.

The upcoming (January 2017) The Pikeman's Lament rules recommend using a mix of mounted and dismounted models to represent dragoons and there are six models per unit for this particular type. 

To my logic this would consist of three mounted and three regular infantry figures fixed on round bases (although typically I didn't stick to my own rules). The use of round bases aren't required by the rules, it is just to make it immediately obvious when playing a game to differentiate which models are proper cavalry and which models represented dragoons. I'm playing fast and loose with the basing system here as the Pikeman's Lament rules are flexible enough as to which basing method you prefer (already use) isn't particularly important. Individual figures probably give a better impression on the tabletop of a skirmish game. Multiple based figure just require a method of recording the casualty numbers. I simply use a single die to keep track of a unit's casualties and then remove bases as and when necessary.

The next few posts will detail the models themselves and the modifciations made to them.