Saturday, April 4, 2015

Uniform Guide: 10th Hussars (Prince of Wales Own) 1806-1815

Top left are trooper and officer of the 10th from their 1815 issue.
I have a number of sources for this unit but frustratingly none of them are what you might call comprehensive. Painting them has been a matter of holding my brushes in one hand and juggling books and magazines in the other. I also note the absence of information on-line. What is also quite breath-taking is the absence of comprehensive treatments of cavalry horse furniture - plenty on the uniforms of the riders but little on their mounts. Illustrations are invariably officer-centric which is unhelpful.

I've copied what I have found and assembled them in this post in the hope that what I have found and the decisions I have made in 'my' representation of this famous light horse unit may help others.
Richerd Simpkin's illustration identifies this corporal dated to 1812 in Osprey Men-at-Arms 126. Note the sheepskin suggests white vandykes.

Jackets (Dolman) & Pelise
Officer 1808 

Perhaps the most straight forward and unchanging item of uniform as far as the colour of cloth cut were the dolman and pelise; both were dark blue throughout the Napoleonic wars. What changes is the colour of braid and the cuffs. From 1806 they are equipped as hussars (from light dragoons) with yellow facings (collar and cuffs) with white lace and braid. In 1811, they changed to red facings, retaining the white lace and braid. After 1814 they were re-equipped with dark blue facings and changed their lace and braid to yellow (gold for officers). 

Trooper 1815
Buttons are often just referred to by their colour which can be unhelpful if you want to know if they are metal or otherwise. Living on the other side of the world it is difficult for me to attend any regimental museum to confirm (to say the least) and ascertain for absolute certainty. No museum original or replica I have seen; however, has anything other than metal buttons for pelise or dolman so I'm standing firm they were metal until proven wrong. The exact metal and its colour was the equivalent for the colour braid - gold/brass for gold/yellow braid or silver/pewter for silver/white braid.

The pelise was woolen trimmed white for other ranks up to 1815 when they changed to black. Fur trimmed pelise for officers was grey up to 1814 (matching their fur cap) and white for the blue facings issue in 1815. I remain unsure as to the pelise lining - I have seen it red and others suggest white whereas I opted for unlined or lined dark blue.

Breeches & Overalls
Officer 1815 issue.
Breeches were white and undistinguished. Several regiments shifted to overalls from 1812 and by 1815, the 10th were in standard grey with brown leather inside linings and cuffs. Officers wore light blue as distinct from the other ranks' grey - often referred to as blue-grey. The shift to overalls saw the introduction of an outer stripe - definitely yellow in 1815 (matching the lace and braid) with gold for officers. I have no evidence but surmise that white/silver was in existence for their return to the Spanish Peninsular in 1813. I can find no reference or pictorial evidence for the stripe for this period and have gone for a single stripe.

Officer 1805 from Dighton
From 1806 the 10th Light Dragoons were were re-designated Hussars, adopting the brown fur cap worn for other ranks and the tall, flamboyant and certainly peculiar 'mirliton' cap in black for officers. Dighton has the mirliton 'wing' lined red with red in the cap beneath it. I do not know how universally the mirliton was adopted. Otherwise I presume officers also worse the fur cap - the bag for which (as with the other ranks) was of the facing colour - yellow then red after 1811. Yellow/gold chords were worn on all headdress of the 10th Hussars throughout their uniform changes in our period regardless of uniform lace/trim. Similarly, the plume was always some derivation of white over red.

In 1809, the 10th adopted the peakless shako (see Simpkin B&W below) which is likely to have been standard black. It was replaced with the universal peaked variety in 1812 which was red from the beginning. The top reinforcement is most often depicted white but sometimes yellow - there appears to be debate over the issue. The white lace on a red shako would be consistent with the red facing uniform issue with white lace from 1811 and for me, seems most likely. The cockade (top) and 'target' (central) with button and lace are all in yellow/gold with additional lace loops or rings beneath the top lace for officers. The button lace running from the cockade to the target is sometimes shown white which would be in keeping with other ranks lace for the 1811 issue.

Sabretasche, Cartridge Box, Canteen & Belting
Sabretasches were plain black leather for other ranks and depicted gold for officers in all references - probably being the gold cover. Dress or uncovered officers' sabretasches are shown similar to the first image above, with crown and gold cypher on a red field, heavily bordered in gold embroidery. The crown includes the three feathers of the Prince of Wales. All buckles and fixtures are brass/gilt.

R. Wymer Officer 10th Hussars 1806
Cartridge boxes are again, black leather for other ranks and as depicted in the first image for officers - gold embroidery over red. Belts for other ranks including sword/scabbard hangers, sabretasche straps, waist belt and cartridge box belt are in white for other ranks and gold, often edged red for officers. All buckles appear to be brass or gilt.

The canteen is the standard blue wooden British army issue canteen likely marked with the arrow and BO (British Ordnance) with brown leather strap and brass buckle. The canteen is generally banded or strapped around the circumference in metal (perhaps tin) and is best portrayed a dark metallic or gun metal. The strap is fixed to the outside of the canteen sometimes with similar metallic fixtures (loops) which the strap passes through - sometimes by riveted leather loops. The stopper is wooden (generally) and often shown painted blue like the body of the canteen but of course issue and field replacements may vary from natural wooden plugs, cork or whatever comes to hand.

Other Uniform Details
Include black neckerchief for all ranks, black leather shoes with steel hooks (spurs), steel scabbards and steel knuckle-bow quillon (guard). Some officers may have opted for gilt fittings but all aspects of the sabres are generally depicted in steel. Only the trumpeter is modelled with the sword grip shown amongst my figures and it is black. The sword knots were in the corresponding lace/braid. Carbines are as you might expect.
Perry Miniatures British Hussars cover-art

I have found no reference to continuance in the previous traditions of reversal of colours for trumpeters. The cover art for Perry's British Hussars (above) shows no such distinction. Certainly in later periods British light cavalry trumpeters had the same uniform as the other ranks with only their grey mounts to distinguish them. Their trumpets were brass and the only representations of their trumpet chords are in keeping with regimental lace, spun with alternating red chord.
15th Hussars 1815 (not 10th) but note the red sheepskin vandykes, the solid shabraque vandykes but on a blue shabraque, the single solid leg stripe and the red shako.
Horse Furniture
Officer 10th Hussars 1809 Richard Simpkin
Particularly poorly recorded, the following can be ascertained. The dress shabraque (not normally worn on campaign but often sculpted) was of the facing colour - conforming to general practice. This up to 1811 it would have been yellow (though I have no pictorial reference) and then red from then on. Several artistic portrayals of the regiment in action from that time have them in battle with shabraques (artistic license?) including at Waterloo and retaining the red shabraque. One might conclude (as I have chosen) that they had not replaced their horse furniture from the previous issue. Haythornthwaite (Uniforms of Waterloo) has them as dark blue with a plain yellow (officers gold) trim which is never depicted, the plain trim never sculpted and appears contrary to general practice - but I'm not going to argue with him. Consistently depicted with further adornments to the shabraque are  crowns and cyphers as shown above and below by Simpkin for all ranks.

Simpkin again; 1812 note the valise 'X H'

The vandykes on the shabraque (triangular zig-zag edging) correspond to the facing colour - hence red, but consistently shown white edged corresponding to the braid and lace issue. The sheepskin too has it's integral vandykes which I have elected to colour red (scarlet). Sheepskins are white for other ranks and black for officers.

The blanket and valise are dark blue with the valise ends edged in the requisite regimental lace/braid with regimental identification in the same. If applied consistently in consideration of the transition from white to yellow braiding, it seems likely for the valise to be edged and numerated in white when depicting any shabraque in red as I have done. Often depicted 'X H' (Haythornthwaite cites also X over RH) but also '10 H'. I have coloured my saddle blankets blue (upper) and grey (lower).
Note the questionable inclusion of yellow cap lace
Not strictly horse furniture, when sculpted the cloak is rolled and strapped to the front of the saddle and is dark blue.
The harness and strapping for saddle, stirrup leathers, bridle (the works) are in brown leathers with brass fixtures.

Trooper 1812 by J Cassin-Scott
British light cavalry preferred the brown schemes of horse colours, black being primarily reserved for heavy cavalry and greys for the trumpeters. The horses tails must be cropped and many castings have full tails which require lopping.The cavalrymen themselves will also require lopping - their moustaches that is. Whist commonly depicted and universally cast, there are nevertheless plenty of images and perhaps more importantly portraits of hussars (officers in particular) without their hirsute adornments. So, be prepared to get filing.

1815 End Note
What we have appears to be a regiment caught out by Napoleon's return in the midst of a uniform transition. They take to the field with new issue dolmans and pelise but have not taken up their new shabraques or shakos.


The following two images are cropped from W.Y.Carman's "Richard Simkin's Uniforms of the British Army: The Cavalry Regiments" (1982).
Whilst the cap is depicted brown, note the distinctive officer plume and the black sheepskin. Of interest is the studded black leather harness.
The evolved 1811 uniform misidentified in the abovementioned book as an officer. It appears to be a revisited subject from the above earlier depiction by Simkin (second image in this post). The tuft/plume, white sheepskin and chevrons on the dolman and pelise clearly identify the figure as a corporal. 

Regiment Magazine "British Light Cavalry:Light Dragoons and Hussars 1685-1914" - Issue 33 (12NOV1998)
Cavalry Uniforms of Britain and the Commonwealth (Blandford Colour Series) - R & C Wilkinson-Latham 1969
Painting Guide to Napoleonics Pt. 2 British Cavalry - John Rafferty, Active Service Press 1988
Uniforms of the Peninsular War 1807-1814 - P. Haythornthwaite & M. Chappell, Arms & Armour 1978
Wellington's Light Cavalry - B Fosten Osprey Publishing Men-At-Arms Series No:126
British Cavalryman - P. Haythornthwaite & R. Hook Osprey Warrior 1994
Wellington's Military Machine - P. Haythornthwaite, Spellmount Ltd. 1997
Wellington's Regiments - I. Fletcher, Spellmount Ltd. 1994
Uniforms of Waterloo (in Color) - P. Haythornthwaite, Sterling Publishing 1974

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Horse of Course

Years ago I recall a conversation with the proprietor of Peter Pan Hobbies in Woden Plaza, Canberra (now long since defunct) about modelling trees. His advice (which I took to heart) was 'model a model tree off a tree.' Sounds simple but I apply the same theory to my horse models.
A lot of people have made a lot of comments about horse painting and there's more than a few figure painters who just hate painting horses. I suspect that the reason which underpins these feelings is that they are not crediting the beasts with the importnce they deserve. Even I tend to pay more attention to uniform details which is a major attraction to the Napoleonic period (for example). In cropping these photos for this article, there's one inclusion which still focuses on the figure as a whole rather than just the horse. I am ever mindful that horses are not mere vehicles for war but living, thinking feeling partners in battle. More like victims in reality but I find I pay a lot more attention to horse painting because I treat each one as a individual worth detailing.

Wargaming my Napoleonics these days using Black Powder, I find that even a single squadron (6-8 figures) can make their presence felt on the table-top. Consequently, it seems to drive me to pay a little more attention to details my cavalry than I might otherwise have done previously.
I long ago abandoned the generic brown horse concept of cracking out regiments of cavalry. Like the faces of the figures who ride them, I break up the colour schemes into as many varied groups as my desires and historical records permit.
This unit will be representing the 10th Hussars (British) and as such I'm sticking to the core schemes of browns - avoiding the blacks as more popularly reserved for heavy cavalry, and greys which were reserved for trumpeters more often than not. Of course what I really mean to say is that this light cavalry regiment are principally mounted on colour variants from the Bays and Champaigns.

By threes, I have gone for Bays, Blood Bays and Seal Browns for the darker schemes and Yellow Duns, Mouse Duns and Grulla for the mid ranges with a few classic champaigns and a buckskin or two thrown in for good measure. I am going for a Rose Grey for the trumpeter which is a colour I don't think I have ever tried to replicate before.

Admittedly, this time I'm using the above colour chart as my guide and not working from photos.It took me a week to finish the horses themselves without their furniture depending on how much time I can allocate but this sort of attention to detail makes it a challenge - not a chore.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


An ongoing army on-the-side is my Franco-Prussian War Second Empire French army in 15mm. My current collection (mainly unpainted) are Old Glory 15s and I elected to paint the French ahead of my life-long wargaming buddy Kaiser Grant.
As other obsessions loom larger at my painting table, I've turned back to these little fellows as a break from detailing 28mm figures. After my initial rush at a three battalion French line infantry regiment, I've eased off but will push ahead switching back across from my other goals so I'll have a supported Brigade by the end of the year.

These are my first and possibly only Zouaves of any description. I elected not to attempt specifying any particular regiment and I only had two battalions in the job lot I had purchased. I am sticking to painting what I have rather than worrying about rounding out whole regiments for paper based symmetry. Oh, and if anyone has references for the battalion fanions please contact me - I'd be extremely grateful.

This brings be up to five battalions in all with another half painted. I put more care into the faces this time and am more comfortable with the adjustment in my painting approach to the 15mm scale. I haven't decided how to finish the bases for this army yet, so am leaving them naked until that time. Consistent with the others, these Zouaves are 24 figure battalions, six to a base and deeper than the others to accommodate the firing poses.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Chevau-leger Lanciers: Part 2 of 2

Well these Frenchies took longer to base than I expected. I present my completed rendition of the 3rd Chevau-leger Lanciers for Waterloo. I have to admit to having enormous fun painting these - got stuck right in. This is a 20 figure representation of three squadrons (lost a horse along the way somewhere) using Elite Miniatures 28mm figures.
Based on 5mm MDF composite board, I commenced cutting the divots for my improvised grass clumps (see my Dutch Militia posting). This time I drizzled diluted PVA white glue over them afterwards to set them which resulted in next to no loss.
When fixing one rider I accidentally collapsed the rear legs of the mount but went with the concept of the horse faltering in a bog. Not sure if my photography does the effect justice but it's three layers of gloss varnish for effect.
Speaking of effect, my move to Black Powder rules makes my casualty markers redundant so made use of one of my Elite Miniatures dead Scots - reminiscent of Quatre Bras I felt.
I glossed up any shallow points in my putty-textured bases and used greener static-grass than normal for the verdant pastureland of Belgium. I blend all my static-grass; never being satisfied with the solid colours provided by the suppliers. I was aiming for an abandoned pastureland look.
I put a fair effort into animating these figures and injecting as much individualism as possible. I have drawn a line against making French flags myself; using Ian Croxall Salem's freely available Warflag graphics - a BIG hello to Ian. I started using his products for my Franco-Prussian War 15mm flags but used 45gsm paper this time which was the thinnest I could easily source. Given the size of French standards, I don't see this position changing taking the complexity of the design into account. Find his stuff here if you haven't already:
This unit's first time out may be against me as I'm building the Allied side primarily - so I don't know if I care if they disgrace themselves. Next unit for Waterloo is the 10th Hussars.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

10th Hussars Start-up: 100th Post

I can't help it but I'm siezed with enthusiasm for this year's 200th anniversary for the battle of Waterloo. For those following my other blogs dedicated to my major projects I can only say sorry. I will be working on them but only gradually for the first half of the year. My enthusiasm (bordering on obsession) may wane - who can say?

Whilst I work on finishing the basing for my 3rd Chevau-Legere Lancers I've started prepping the first two squadrons of my British 10th Hussars. I've had these figures knocking around for several years - a gift from my mate Matt (avatar Bluewillow) and the first thing to do was strip the black undercoating. My painting technique dictates white undercoating and I just cannot see well enough for working on black.
 The figures are old Foundry castings and come in only three poses for the riders - officer, trumpeter and trooper from the B100 Late War Hussar series. Injecting variation and animation across the unit as a whole was required. They all came with mustaches (curiously enough) so some very careful shaving with a fine scalpel and some judicious filing cleaned three of them up for starters. I'll know it was successful only once they are undercoated. The head and shoulders are thick set on these castings so I resorted to some very cautious head turning with needle-nose pliers wrapped in cloth. A twist to the left for some, to the right for others, one tilted back and another to his front was about all I could do.
I thinned their sabres on the outer edge with the scalpel and file and curved some of the oddly straight scabbards. The mounts come in only two poses so I similarly turned a few heads to break them up a little. I docked all of the horses tails as was the fashion except the officer's horse - just because I felt like it. Now I drill and pin the riders to their mounts and they will be undercoated and painted.
Black Powder rules allow for an effective presence in the game for even a single squadron of cavalry but my scenario calls for up to the whole regiment on the field. A trip to CANCON last week saw me return with the Perry plastic British Hussar set which will provide for the other two six figure squadrons. I will not be turning these over in a month as I just about have with my lancers as I promised myself I'd finish three battalions of 2nd Empire 15mm French which are sitting at my table taunting me.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

7th Dutch Militia

I think I can safely say I have never taken so long to build and paint just one unit. At long, long last my 7th Dutch Militia can join their comrades on the miniature field of Waterloo. This lot took me three months - that's how much time I have found myself able to devote to this wonderful hobby. I'm hoping this year will see an acceleration of my output. But I am getting more meticulous - perhaps that's an age thing?
 This 36 figure representation of the 7th Dutch Militia is a mixture of mainly Elite Miniatures, with grenadiers and light company (which Elite does not make) from Front Rank. The drummer is from Perry Miniatures. I mounted this unit differently from previous Napoleonics - on 5mm think MDF which helps me move the base rather than holding the figures. The bases will be far less obvious on my future synthetic fur terrain.
The tall grass is a combination of all sorts of scenic stuff I had lying around, rolled together and glued in grooves cut with my scalpel before the bases were textured with pre-mixed wood putty. My static grass is of three progressively lighter blends, the ratios of which I couldn't guess at. I used a life-long lasting reserve of mouse litter for the stones (if you can even see them).
I gave my militia another and different improvised colour from my earlier unit. I say improvised as the militia of the Netherlands newly created army had no national standard issued to them by the campaign. This time I opted for an orange field with gold lettering of the battalion numeral beneath the royal crown - consistent with the generally agreed convention. It is made of cloth as is my new approach.
The thicker bases also allow easier identification if you want to label them as I have just started to do. My labels are simply printed off a Word document at 8pt font size (should have gone bigger), white glued on and clear varnished over the top. I must now look to finishing some 15mm FPW French and then commence painting my French lancers.

Chevau-leger Lanciers: Figure Review Part 1 of 2

My very first Napoleonic French unit in 34 years since my plastic Airfix teenage wargaming days will be the 3rd Chevau-leger lancers for the 100 days. Overlapping slightly with my near complete Dutch Militia, I have built my lancer models ready to prime coat them but wanted to make a number of observations.

These are Elite Miniatures models and to be frank, they have been hard work. Now I'm a long time fan of Elite Miniatures and their Australian distributor and it would in fact be safe to say it was this range of figures which got me back into 28mm Napoleonic wargaming over 14 years ago. I love their infantry but am not such a fan of their cavalry. Don't get me wrong - I think they are a good looking figure and at the best price on the market but they have their limitations.

The riders come in only three poses - an officer, a trumpeter and a trooper. To gain variation, arms must be twisted, heads likewise, and the positioning of the integral rider/saddle can vary the seat of the trooper. Manipulation of the Elite alloy is a tricky undertaking as it is rigid and prone to snapping if you aren't very careful.

The casting of the saddle interior required vigorous filing with a proper workman's tool, as does the back of the mount to enable even a snuggish fit. I drill and pin my riders to their mounts with steel wire and plenty of Selley's Araldite and make my own lances with steel wire and fix them with the same glue at two points all prior painting to secure the best bond.

I've never made lancers before and thought to experiment with their pennons. In recent years I've migrated from tissue paper flags to cloth but was not convinced about fiddling with cloth pennons and dislike the paper variants I have seen. A scotch snob when I can be, my current preferred drop comes with medium grade foil capping which is easily marked and cut. I cut the swallow tail leaves from the foil, rolled the lance end of the pennon over a wire sufficient to hook and glue onto the lances. I then fixed them to the rider and mount after 24 hours. Once fixed, only then did I curl the foil pennons to represent the effects of momentum and breeze depending upon the pose of the casting.
In the end, between turning some horse heads in a vice and even the accidental collapse of the back legs of one mount (see left figure in the first image), I ended up with a varied looking regiment (20 figures) in a series of fully animated poses. I am confident that once painted up and based, they will look the part.