Saturday, September 8, 2012

DALLINGS Lights and the 100


Well I thought to knock out a snappy 20 figure unit after my efforts with the Fraser Highlanders. It predictably took longer to do than I had thought and with my return to work, my time at the work table is severely reduced to it's normal, low fraction. My Quebec army has two Light battalions - one a composite Light battalion and the other a permanent Light Battalion under the command of Major John Dalling.

I have been able to find out little of John Dalling or indeed much about his light battalion except that he was of the 28th foot and his captains were William Delaune (67th foot) and John Carden (60th). I have uniformed them as a regular or permanent Light battalion and modelled them from the illustration of Gages' Light Infantry by Embleton (Wolfe's Army, Osprey Men-at-Arms 48). I ended up only including one officer (Dalling himself) and had him clad in the non-descript light infantryman style adopted under that philosophy of the British army in America. It seemed more appropriate that the captains and sergeants allowed for in my lists would be hard to identify in such a unit.

As with the rest of this build, I have opted for a 6mm base (my first) and for the Lights I have gone with a series of circular cut bases to identify them more easily as skirmishers. I have opted for 6mm think bases as one naturally picks them up by the base rather than the figure and they should stand well within teddy-bear fur scenery. I had intended to opt for two skirmishers to a base but had a lack of material at the time of cutting and so I economised. Happily, I am better pleased with the look of the unit in threes with Dalling being based two to a stand. Whilst tempted to cover the bases with logs and fallen foliage, I have kept their bases consistent with the rest of the army: largely faded green and dry grass patches after the burn off of high summer with tufts of scrub indicating unimproved pasture.

I have photographed this lot as I waited to base my two guns and the Louisberg Grenadiers until now. Together with my 58 Fraser Highlanders this brings the project to the first 100 figures completed. Each of the three companies of the Louisberg grenadiers is represented in equal proportions (22nd, 40th and 45th) and is arrayed in the two ranks adopted at Quebec. The unit is depicted as delivering the first massed and double shotted volley.

The two guns (brass 6 pounders) have no limbers as they were man-handled and carried to the field from the boats and up the escarpment. If anyone else chooses to model this battle, I was toying with the idea of having a gun being towed with crew and ropes - I should like to see that. The crews are all regular Royal Artillery and I replaced the blade of the sword carried by one officer by hammering out and cutting a steel wire - something I intend doing more of in future.

Dalling's Lights and the Artillery are Old Glory miniatures. The Louisberg Grenadiers are Redoubt Enterprises figures except Lt. Col. Alex Murray (Blue Moon) and the Fifer (Front Rank).

Friday, August 24, 2012

Quebec: 78th Fraser Highland Regt. History & Build

Simon Fraser, Master of Lovat was Commissioned Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant in 1757 and was authorized on 5 January to raise a regiment of foot - the "2nd Highland Battalion". First listed as the 62nd Regiment of Foot and later renamed the 63rd, it was again renumbered the 78th in 1758.

Raised locally, the Regiment had an initial planned strength of 44 officers, 40 NCOs, 20 drummers, and 10 companies of 100 men each. The popularity of the regiment was such that upon embarkation it included three additional companies and absorbed a further company in North America with a total 1,542 all ranks for the commencement of the Quebec campaign (exact figures vary in the sources).

The officers of the Regiment included men from clans Fraser, MacDonald, Campbell and Cameron and it is worth noting that this body of men had much to prove. Many had most probably fought against the crown or from families who did and after having lost the '45, they had yet to demonstrate through a victory their fighting worth as men, a regiment and demonstrate their loyalty to the crown in the new world order.

The regiment left Glasgow in April 1757 and wintered in Connecticut, mobilising in the following Spring (1758). The regiment fought at the capture of Louisbourg in 1758 being involved in the original assault (landing) and the siege operations. After Louisbourg was taken, the Regiment shifted to and wintered in New York.

Colonel Simon Fraser did not personally lead the 78th on the Plains of Abraham on Sept 13th 1759 as he had not recovered from wounds suffered at the abortive defeat at Montmorency (Beauport) earlier in the Quebec campaign. He retired from the army soon afterwards to take up a political life with his seat in the House of Lords. Both Majors (James Clephane and John Campbell of Dunoon) were absent on the day of battle – Clepahne was left behind sick in New York and Campbell recalled to Britain earlier that year to assume a senior command. Captain John Campbell of Ballimore commanded the Fraser Highlanders at Quebec and, as Major Campbell he went on to assume command of the regiment when Colonel Fraser left for London in 1761.

This post follows on from my 78th Foot Unit Design posting. This regiment for me has been a significant undertaking; the first painting project commenced from almost a year away from my table and the largest uniformed regiment I have attempted at 58 figures.

Jack L. Summers and Rene Chartrand 'History and Uniform of the 78th (Highland) Regiment of Foot (Fraser's Highlanders), 1757-1763' has the Regiment wearing blue-black bonnets with a coloured or red band. I have opted for a dark, navy blue bonnet and certainly steered away from the light blue UN like colours I have seen on other models.
I have decided that the general appearance of the regiment would have been in good order on the day. That is to say, whilst it had been two years since having left Britain for America and the Regiment had seen protracted action at Louisbourg, it was quartered in major population centres between actions with access to resupply. As the expedition to Quebec was essentially a marine affair and the army was spared the ardours of the march, they would have suffered less wear and tear on uniform and equipment as one might normally expect in an army on campaign. I have therefore opted for less fading and adhered to a more regular colour scheme with coats and the like in my painting.

There continues to be debate and certainly uncertainty concerning what tartan this regiment may have worn for the North American expedition. Some suggest the government set Campbell or Black Watch tartan and others the Fraser tartan. Benjamin West has his figure (second left) clad in the Fraser tartan but his work has come under an enormous amount of technical criticism and is dismissed by many as generally unreliable. Whilst his painting remains of use, I need to bear this in mind.

I prefer the contrast of the red coats against the Black Watch set and am mindful of the 1746 Dress Act as part of the Act of Proscription banning the wearing of tartan outside of the army (not repealed until 1782). It seems more likely to me that the 78th foot would have been adorned in the Government Set in the absence of any definitive evidence.

In supporting my preference I need to consider the extra company raised in America which was included on the regimental strength. Along with the need to re-issue from time to time across a two year campaign deployment, whilst sufficient Fraser tartan (if issued) would have been included (presumably) in the regimental supply when shipping out; the increase in numbers upon arrival, the wear and tear of campaigning and the problems of trans-continental resupply would support a more uniform adoption of the Government Set across all highland regiments within the army. It simply makes sense.

Given the Colonel Commandant’s dubious actions at Culloden and his father’s execution after rebelling in the ’45, it seems more likely that highland regiments raised so soon after and in this particular period would have been barred from adopting clan tartan – especially one which was worn by rebels. It might also have been more prudent on Fraser’s part to adopt the Government Set in keeping with his new found loyalty to the crown.


My entire regiment comprises figures from the Redoubt Miniatures range and given the restricted variety of officers and NCOs within this set, I was required to covert two figures. One spare ensign was changed to an officer by carving off his flag -carrying web. Completed conversion can be seen in the next image to right of centre. I opened up the upper hand, fixing a sword in it and glued a pistol in his lower hand by cutting a pistol in half at the grip, sticking the main part in the top and the but through the bottom.
The other line officer figure I varied by inverting the sword arm by sawing it and the hand off, pinning and gluing both back on upside down.

Completed conversion
I continue to experiment with material flag construction with this regiment. Obtaining as thin a sample of cloth my local haberdashers could supply, I wrapped and glued one ply of cloth around a length of steel wire using Selley's Quick Grip. Sliding it up and down the wire to ensure it was not fixed to the shaft, I then measured and drew on the ensign details for King's and Colonel's colours - tracing the same design on the other side of each. I then saturated both for over an hour in a heavily diluted white glue solution before wringing them out and wrapping them up with cotton twine concertina like to heavily ruffle the material. Once semi-set, I removed the twine, teased out a little and allowed to set properly.
The carbon pattern (I drew in pencil) was retained and I then painted the colours with faded tones on the set shaped flags. I had not done this before and would perhaps avoid doing so for more complex flags - creases and folds are fiddly. I left the wreath designs to be added after spraying the basic finished flags with a matt coat. Unusually I also painted the flags at the beginning of this build rather than the end. This is because material or cloth miniature flags take time and careful construction. They are in fact models in their own right.
I feel that the creases remain too sharp - probably the choice of material. This experiment requires further trial and error before I will be completely satisfied. As to the flag representation, whilst there is a suggestion in the Osprey Quebec Campaign reference that the regiment may have retained the 63rd foot inscription on their colours, I feel satisfied that the seamstresses of the New World could easily have altered and re-embroidered the new regimental number easily enough by the attack on Quebec.

All figures have natural hair colour, it being my general observation that periwigs appear to have been worn by Lieutenant Colonels or above if at all. The officer commanding the 78th, in spite of their numbers present was Captain James Campbell so definitely no periwig for him. My regiment was broken down by me into four basic hair colours -light brown, dark brown, black, red and blond. I only ever give my black haired figures five o'clock shadow by a diluted application of black ink.

These figures are extremely well detailed. Each fusilier carried an additional pistol as well as dirk and bayonet, claymore and sporran in addition to the usual equipment of British line infantry. Combine this with tartan kilts of full and military design as well as patterned stockings with buckled shoes and we have the most intricate of figures and uniforms for the British army of the period. At 58 figures strong, this battalion has taken me an inordinate amount of time and effort to paint. I admit to being over-faced at times and even procrastinated before facing those stockings. On the subject of stockings, they are depicted as diced or checkered by Embleton (Osprey Men-At-Arms 48) but invariably a criss-cross pattern elsewhere. I elected for the latter but did so in red, whereas it may have been more accurate to have done so in pink, with dots of red at the intersections - but that would have been more work and I didn't think about it at the time.
There is a lot discussed on-line about painting tartans with several techniques promoted by well intentioned and highly skillful painters. They usually involve cross hatching paint over a base colour and finishing off with tiny stripes with the finest of brushes. Whilst I have done this in the past, I took a step back this time and really looked at the impression I needed to achieve at 28mm scale. I concluded that the abovementioned albeit skillful approach resulted in an inaccurate finish - the checks are always going to be just too damned big.

I resolved to aim for a tighter and smaller pattern by applying a faded, darkened green cross over dark blue and then applied mid green in dots at the intersections of my lines. I painted in darker creases across the painted tartan within the casting folds. This does not make for a pretty or particularly impressive finish when shot with a macro setting on my camera in close-up but hits the mark for me when held 20 centimetres or so from the eye.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Redoubt Enterprises Figure Review: F&I Wars Scotts

This is my second review for the long standing Redoubt Enterprises figures range from their French and Indian Wars catalogue and for this review I am covering the Scottish infantry, both Line and Grenadier figures. I do this whilst their undercoat dries.

FIG 1: Line Officer 'Standing'
To be precise, I will cover the Scottish Infantry: Line Infantry and the Scottish Grenadier Standing Command pack (F&I 270 & F&I 290 respectively), the Standing Firing pack for both Line and Scottish Grenadiers (F&I 271 & F&I 291 respectively) and both variants for the Standing Loading (F&I 274 for the Line and F&I 294 for the grenadiers).

Redoubt Enterprises are particularly accommodating and hand any sized order. For the other details see my previous review.
FIG 2: Grenadier Officer 'Standing'

FIG 3: Grenadier Sergeant
F&I 270 (LINE) and F&I 290 (Grenadier) STANDING COMMAND
This particular range is well photographed but I have included some additional shots of my own using portrait and macro zoom functions on my Canon PowerShot S70. My figures have already been undercoated in white which I think helps bring out some of the detail. For a detailed size comparison with other ranges, see my previous posting under the Quebec label but for your reference, most figures in the line range stand 34mm tall from base to the highest point on their bonnets; the grenadiers standing 38mm to the top of their bearskins. All stand 28mm from the foot to the eye. They are one of the larger scale figures within the 25-28mm miniatures market as well as being solid but well proportioned, the sculptor having avoided that ‘over-fed’ stockiness of some of the Front Rank figures ranges.

The Standing Command for both Line and Grenadier packs comes with six (6) figures in five (5) variants: an Officer (1), Sergeant (1), Ensign (2), Drummer (1) and a piper (1). As I am building a battalion at 1:9.2 representative troop scale of 58 figures, I could have done with one less ensign and an extra officer or sergeant per pack but these ratios are difficult to anticipate when marketing figures by the pack. Whilst I didn’t try, I’m sure Redoubt Enterprises could accommodate special orders.

Both Officers are solid castings with one arm raised ready to give an order and he wears a sash across his right shoulder. The face is animated (grimacing?) in expression. As with all of these figures, I find the detail crisp and anticipate they will be a joy to paint (their others have been). Whilst there is only one officer type for both Line (FIG 1) and Grenadier (FIG 2), conversion is possible and I have removed and repositioned the sword arm on one of them. Manipulation is not straight forward; however, as these are solid casts with generally confined animation or posturing of the soldier depicted with most limbs central to the casting. Together with the hair, the heads are not easily separated and are beyond twisting. Generally speaking, variance within the range is limited from a modeller’s perspective.

The Ensign(s) is standing square on (see left) and is an otherwise unremarkable but good looking and competent sculpt. The usefulness of the Grenadier Ensigns is somewhat of a mystery to me I confess – particularly so for the scarcity of Scottish regiments and Scottish Grenadiers of this period in particular. Even for a battalion of 58 figures with a full complement of Grenadiers present, I have no use for them. Back to the Line Ensigns, I had a surplus of them as I needed more officers and Sergeants and so converted one to an officer – see future 78th Fraser Highlanders modelling posting. This was achieved all the same with relative ease.

FIG 4: Line Sergeant 'Standing' 
The Sergeants are both for Line (FIG 4) and Grenadiers  (FIG 3) a good looking and beautifully proportioned figure – possibly the best in the command packs. Again, standing square on they each hold a halberd (cast separately but if I have any criticism to make, it is that the bearskin on the Grenadier Sergeant looks almost precariously balanced or a trifle ill-fitting. Both have their left hands resting on their claymores and have neutral, almost casual expressions. Perhaps it’s their experience?

In my previous review I was quite critical of the British Line Grenadier drummer and it remains easily the worst sculpt I have seen from Redoubt Miniatures. I am pleased to report that no such deficiencies arise in either Line or Grenadiers drummers for the Scots (see left). Standing front on like the rest in these command packs, each plays the drum to his left and the crook of the elbow stands freely from the torso. The sticks are well defined with minimal casting join to the drum surface (a tricky area for the sculptor and the mould. In fact, I liked them so much I elected to include an additional Grenadier figure in my battalion in order to include their drummer. It was either him or the piper.

Being a Scots range, these command packs have the piper (see right)  in lieu of the second sergeant found with regular British packs. Again, both Line and Grenadier pipers are solid results and will paint up well but as before, unless representing a battalion with even more figures than I, the utility of the Grenadier piper is minimal. Also of note is the ‘attitude’ of both pipers – the face is expressionless (presumably at the end of the exhale) and the pipe bag is held in a neutral manner, tucked under the mid to lower left arm. As with the entire command packs, the expression of the piper is in contrast with the only animated figure in the pack – the officer. The officer is defiant with the sword up in the air but the rest of the group don’t look that fussed. That curiosity aside, both a very good packs indeed.

The benefit of concentrating a figure range on the French & Indian Wars theatre of operations for the Seven Years War means less compromise in matching the catalogue to regimental variation. This is even more so with the Scots regiments. Whilst other might, I have no quibbles with the range and am well pleased.

As with the British Grenadier firing pose, I really like both of these. The same goes for the kneeling firing figures of both types and a great feature of Redoubt Enterprises packaging is that you can either buy six (6) all standing firing, kneeling firing or three (3) of each for all shooting figures in the F&I range. For these chaps, the same depth and crispness of detail is evident and all hold a good, long and stout representation of the musket used in North America (I stand corrected on a previous comment). In fact, the musket detail paint very well and the extra 2-3mm scale difference for this range have enabled a far better looking and identifiable firearm than most ranges out there. My Scots will be fighting, as at Quebec on the day in three ranks and I can’t wait to see how they look.

I don’t know why Redoubt specifies ‘Standing’ loading as they provide no other option. This is another good figure in a good range. Unlike the others; however, the left hand and musket are separately cast and so they require a bit of gluing to complete the figure. I cannot see why that was necessary but it does allow for a small amount of pose variation through the attitude of the musket – I’ll take what I can get. The right hand is fumbling at the cartridge box and the figure stands obliquely to the front. It is on this figure, perhaps more than the rest which we are impacted by the bagging of the Grenadier kilt. Worn in the traditional style, the long Grenadier kilt differs from the sculpts making up the Scottish Line figures who wear the short kilt, work under and hanging beneath the jacket. This feature will make the Scots of this particular period a novelty amongst the ranks on my table-Top.

For me, the absence of the additional Sergeant in the Scots Command packs was telling but if you are going to proceed with converting ensigns, packs of additional halberds, pistols and muskets are available. What I really needed was access to Scots ‘At the ready’ as they are available for the regular British Line but not it seems for the Scots. I had intended to depict my regiment with three firings (platoon system) but have had to resort to only two – not ideal but them’s the breaks. This is a curious and real deficiency on the availability side of what is otherwise a very good looking range of miniatures.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Back from the 'ghan..

FOB 'Somewhere' in Afghanistan earlier this year
I apologise to all of the followers of my Blogs (Unlucky General, Williamite Warfare, BattleofLewes and Unlucky General's Balaclava Build) and I realise I have been silent for quite a while. It was because I have been in Afghanistan for the past year but now I'm back with a planned vengeance - metaphorically. I never get political but may I say that whilst I do not wish to extend any gratitude to the Taliban I am appreciative that they managed to refrain from blowing me up I shall thank fate instead. Anyway, enough of that and may I say for those of you who have bothered to stick with any of my Blogs in over this period: stand by and watch as I have a great deal of catching up to do.

What I have been able to do from Kabul and elsewhere is surf the net and purchase some figures -rather a lot of figures actually (for me at any rate). I have bought half a very large army for my 1674 Williamite Dutch, as many Crimean figures that are available which I require for my Balaclava re-fight, Gladiators, most of my 1:9 scale Wolfe's British army for Quebec, modern British vehicles, more English feudals for Lewes and even some Sudan campaign figures. I was able to do this largely through a vastly improved Australian exchange rate and my access to free postage care of the British Forces Post Office (BFPO) and the Australian Forces Post Office. This has saved me a small fortune.

Whilst on that subject I'd like to extend a very personal and special thanks to Nick Eyre of North Star Military Figures who accommodated many of my orders. This thanks goes also to Trevor of Redoubt Enterprises, Alastair Logan of Kingfisher Miniatures, Jillian and all the Perry's and all the gang at Front Rank who even when their ordering systems did not allow for it, they all managed to facilitate e-mail orders or even re-credit my postage costs in the case of Front Rank. For those not familiar with BFPO and their Australian equivalent, it allows for free postage for packages under 2 kilograms to and/or from bases around the globe.

I'd also like to recognise those same dealers who offered kind words of support throughout my correspondence and transactions with them, several of whom had friends and relatives who have served or are currently serving in Afghanistan and other theatres of operations. Their support and of course the timely arrival of their packages were greatly treasured by me over my time in country and I hope to do them justice at my work table. Thank you all again.

One company stands out for me; however, who were seemingly 'unable' to assist me. In spite of the postage being of no cost for them, Wargames Foundry were the only company which remained obliged to retain any calculated postal charge. That together with their conspicuously high unit rate price left me, let's say disappointed.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Redoubt Enterprises Figure Review: SYW British Grenadiers

This is a new review for an older product but a product which remains very competitive. I have already done a size comparison review against most other ranges in 28mm; namely Blue Moon, Front Rank, Old Glory and Crusader Miniatures. As I have almost finished painting up my Louisberg Grenadiers (composite grenadier battalion at Quebec 1858) which for me is modelled mostly with Redoubt figures, it may prove of some use to people considering building armies using this range.

More specifically, this review will cover the British Infantry: Grenadiers Standing Command pack (F&I 230) and the Standing Firing pack (F&I 231).

Redoubt Enterprises offers their infantry packs for this range in six (6) figure packs currently retailing for GBP7.00 representing a unit price of GBP1.16 per figure (before deals) which in the 28mm scale represents a very competitively priced product - notwithstanding the quality of the sculpt.

I found and am sure I will continue to find business with Redoubt Enterprises easy and they were truly accommodating. They were flexible and highly efficient in meeting my order and I have no reservations in recommending them to anyone on that score.

The Redoubt Enterprises website contains no image for this pack as of the date of this posting and that is something which may put off some would be buyers. In this day and age of Internet shopping a high quality image for each and every product on sale is a must. Hopefully this posting will in part cover that gap and I regret not having the forethought of photographing my purchase before painting. My paint job obscures the casting detail but this is the only Grenadier Command pack I require for my project.

The Standing Command pack comes with six (6) figures in four (4) variants: an Officer, Sergeant (2), Ensign (2) and Drummer.

Officer in the command pack
The Officer is a solid casting with one arm raised ready to give an order and he wears a sash across his right shoulder. The face is neutral in expression. The officer's mitre cap is detailed on the front face with a generic-style relief not particularly representing any design known to me. Having said that, when painting, it lends itself reasonably well to those units with the King's Cypher (GR) which for me was fine as all Lousiberg Grenadier companies had that Cypher.

In general; however, I think that across the variations in all British grenadier cap designs, the cap would have been better sculpted with only the top crown detail which features in all units. This was certainly the option preferred by Front Rank Miniatures which the figure painter is free to detail as they wish. As with all of the mitres in this range, the piping detail stands out clearly and is easy to paint. The front flap detail is nevertheless confused and ill defined.

Front Rank converted to Sergeant
The inner and outer piping merges just above the Hanoverian white horse relief (centre of the flap) and allows for no detailing between the piping. Again, this is in contrast to the broad flat surface offered by Front Rank. Then again, you'd need more than an eye for detail to bother - requiring a mania to attempt it with a 00000 brush and a microscope.

Incomplete Ensign
The Ensign(s) is advancing and looking slightly upwards. There is nothing particular to remark on with this figure pose or sculpt except to say it is entirely consistent within this particular range and is a solid, competent sculpt. It also made for an easy conversion to an additional sergeant which I required, handier still because I only needed one ensign.

Sergeant converted to officer
Similarly, the Sergeant(s) is a broad figure with open coat and turnbacks un-buttoned, falling fully at the hem. The only remarkable thing about this figure pose is that it is quite unremarkable. The Sergeant stands in a neutral, 'at ease' pose looking a little vacant if anything.

The drummer in this set would have to be the worst detailed figure and markedly so. This is where you are reminded of the age of these castings falling squarely in the period when Essex and Dixon Miniatures ruled the world in 25mm. In a standing-playing pose, the lace detail and even limb definition disappears in the depths under the arms which are just 'filled in'.

Again, in contrast to my plain Front Rank fifer, this musician has the lace detail shown which is cut into the casting which I find a bit old school when compared to the raised piping featuring in the modern and more superior castings on offer in newer ranges. If you hadn't gathered, if ever I needed another grenadier drummer ...

The six (6) figure range in this pack is fairly reasonable for my composite grenadier battalion but I even had to make a few conversions to maximise it's utility. I converted one ensign to a sergeant and one sergeant to an officer and I could have done with another officer. This is the dilemma when the product is not readily available for individual figure sales.

This is a figure pack largely suitable for gamers collecting in the older 1/50 representative troop scale of the Wargames Research Group era and is only really efficient for a composite grenadier battalion. Even for this size battalion, is of little use for grenadier companies attached to their parent line battalion given the wastefulness of the ensigns or standard bearers.

Anyone who knows anything about the Seven Years War period and the uniforms which went with it will tell you that the range of variations within armies of all nations presents enormous problems in figure manufacture. In fact, thus far there hasn't been any real attempt to tackle even one national army near to comprehensively.

It logically follows that in both sculpting and in painting those figures, compromises have been and are continued to be made - some more palatable than others. In this matter, Redoubt Enterprises are no exception. These figures do; however, present a very adequate representation. They were my preferred choice when purchasing British Grenadiers and whilst not my only purchase, they remain my favourite.

I'm not going to mince words on this figure - I really like it. I say it because this pack is simply a pack of six of the same sculpt, a British Grenadier standing and firing. The depth of detail is good, the sculpting lines are clear and crisp and it takes painting well. I have enjoyed painting this miniature which is as well because I have and will be painting quite a few of them. The detail of the mitre cap is the same as with F&I 230 as is the rest of the figure from its well defined gaiters to the turned-back coat. The lapel lace is in single 'loops' or rather no loop at all. The musket is superb if not possible a trifle too short? To sum up, these figures looked good to me on-line, they looked better in my hand and even better once painted up.

To my mind there remains plenty of room in the Seven Years War period for a new company or two to really take on an army properly. Old Glory and Redoubt Enterprises are probably the only two companies which have made any real effort to cover in any depth the armies they have chosen to represent and have done so quite a while ago. Until that happens, it looks to be Redoubt Enterprises who will be the core supplier for my 400+ Quebec build and I look forward to seeing how their line infantry compare.

As a group, F&I 230 is a competent selection but if I had my time over I'd have opted for a different drummer.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Quebec: Figure Compatibility Review

The following is a compatibility review (as the title suggests) of the ranges of figures I have chosen from what is loosely termed the 28mm miniature scale for my project, the battle of Quebec on the Plains of Abraham. Before continuing I will note that there is one notable exception to the figures under review which I still intend purchasing and that is the Conquest Miniatures range. I will undertake an updated compatibility review at a later date once they are ordered and arrive.
What this is not is a figure review in the general sense of the word. It is not a critique other than to inform gamers so that they may make better informed decisions when purchasing figures which they may wish to mix and match. I will provide a more comprehensive figure review in the near future on the selections I have made.


For your scrutiny in this comparison is (in no particular order) Old Glory Miniatures, Redoubt Enterprises, Blue Moon, Front Rank (Figurines) and Crusader Miniatures.

The photos have been taken with a Canon PowerShot S70 using a macro setting without flash. The figures were not trimmed or 'cleaned' and were arrayed on a base and back-drop of 5mm ruled grid. The back grid was raised 2mm from the base line to allow measurement from the top of the cast base of the figures. In other words, the measurements against the grid and the inset set square (in millimetres) begins from the sole of the foot to measure the height of the figure rather than the whole casting.

In this posting I am of the view that the photos pretty well speak for themselves and it is up to individuals to make whatever judgements are pertinent for them. I will be using all of these figures in my army and I have often written and spoken about the size difference in figures and real life. Just in case someone isn't aware of my perspective ... I feel figures can and even should demonstrate size differences between human beings.
I have worked with and observed men whose height and proportional size varied from 5' nothing to 6'4" plus. If 28mm is taken to represent an average 6' tall man, then 4.66mm represents one foot. Applying representative or scaled measurements to the real life equation therefore could see variation in figure height from 23.33mm (5') through to 29.49mm - a variation of up to 6.16mm between figures. Please don't take my word for it - take some Jockey's to a Rugby function and see for yourself. As an aside, ever thought whether light cavalrymen were shorter and slighter built than heavy cavalrymen or infantry? Just thinking out aloud.
I am really very satisfied with the compatibility of the ranges sampled for my army. Particularly well suited are Crusader, Redoubt and Front Rank. There is only really one exception ...
Blue Moon and Old Glory

It is really with these two figure ranges that I have the only genuine difficulty. It is just as well, therefore, that both of these ranges comprise my light battalions and will be fielded in permanent skirmish order - on separate and scattered bases. With the exception of the grenadiers, my Blue Moon miniatures will not be based with other troops and most probably will not form up near them - being out skirmishing mainly on the flanks. Similarly, my Old Glory will form my two independent artillery pieces and separate skirmishing light battalion. It is only really the compatibility between these two ranges which might have been an issue. I have no reservations with mixing Blue Moon grenadiers otherwise and in fact quite like my grenadiers to be slightly bigger fighting men.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Quebec: 48th Regimnent of Foot - Unit Design

 Grenadier of the 48th Regiment
 of Foot by David Morier
The 48th regiment of foot present on the Plains of Abraham was first raised in Norwich, 1741 as James Cholmondeley's Regiment of Foot. Present at Falkirk during the '45 rebellion, it was one of the few regiments to stand it's ground and went on to fight at Culloden  (1745-1746). The regiment was renumbered as the 48th foot in 1748 and went on to fight at Monongahela  (Braddock's 1755 expedition and disaster) and Louisburg (first regimental honour received but in 1882). 

Succeeding Robert Dubar as Colonel of the 48th by the time of the Quebec was Lieutenant General Daniel Webb. It was the same Webb who so famously denied his support for a relief attempt during Montcalm’s siege of Fort Henry in 1757. Webb had been appointed Colonel of the 48th on 11 November 1755.  He had purchased his first commission as ensign on 20 March 1720, was promoted to major of the Eighth Horse in 1742, and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of that regiment in 1745 after having served at the battle of Dettingen two years previously. It was after fighting at Fontenoy that Webb was made up to Colonel of the 48th in 1755.

Whilst having obtained the rank of Major General in 1759 (and later Lieutenant General in 1761) Webb was not amongst the senior commanders for the Louisberg and Quebec campaigns and thus was not at the Plains of Abraham. The regiment was commanded in the field at both Lousiberg and Quebec by its Lieutenant Colonel, Ralph Burton. Tradition tends to insist within the records; however,  in referring to the 48th as Webb's foot. Previously Major of 2nd Troop of Horse Grenadier Guards, Burton was appointed Lieutenant-colonel of the 48th Foot in 1754. Burton had fought at Monongahela and was reputedly a favourite of Braddock's and set to receive a colonelcy of a newly raised American royal regiment but for Braddock's untimely death. 

Why the 48th were given such numerical prominence and allocated sufficient boats for them to land and ascend the Plains of Abraham in the numbers they did I cannot say. I would hazard; however, that given this regiment constituted the entire reserve and second line by forming in divisions with large gaps, Wolfe must have had confidence in the quality of the regiment’s soldiery and its commander. The regiment entered the American war with a good reputation and whilst having recruited from Americans heavily in 1755, much of the regiment enterred the wilderness with an established record and reputation. During the debacle at Monongahela, the 48th was positioned in the rear of the column which endured the furious attack and did not bear the main assault directed at the head. Whilst not suffering overly high casualties, the 48th still lost a captain, subalterns amongst other ranks and can be seen to have built upon it's core of experienced veterans including its Lietenant-colonel.

Whilst a reserve at Quebec, the 48th were not hotly engaged on this occasion either and suffered only three (3) rank and file wounded by days end.

For my 48th at Quebec, I am experimenting with figures from only one manufacturer – Crusader Miniatures. For me, this is the only company posing marching figures in an almost stand-to pose. They are not particularly forward in posture and I don’t want my reserves to look as if they are going anywhere in too much of a hurry. For me, this is a departure in sculpt selection from a ten year practice of mixing and matching to animate as best I can ranks of toy soldiers. I will only depart from Crusader Miniatures when absolutely necessary. The challenge here will be to break down as far as possible the endless uniformity that a unit of this size will bring with 53 out of the 70 total figures being musketeers with but a handful of subtle variants.

The above is my developing unit design diagram. If is it not readily apparent, the split rectangles represent officers with S for sergeants, E for ensigns, M for musicians and the C is the Lieutenant Colonel with red for line and blue for grenadiers.

The other challenge will be the conversions required to turn 7 further Crusader Miniatures line infantrymen into grenadiers, which I intend doing to match the look of the regiment across all companies. I am clearly dissatisfied with the poses of other grenadiers on offer to match the intended appearance of this particular project model. It may very well result in my developing a line of differently posed grenadiers from differing companies and what may come of it is anyone’s guess.

If I thought the 57 figure 78th highlanders were to be a challenge, the 48th with 70 miniatures will prove my largest ever battalion model in any period thus far.