Saturday, August 23, 2008


It’s honking…

Here are my first set of Wild Geese, in this case the first battalion of the Irish Regiment of Irlanda. I have not painted a 25mm unit in red before but I must say that I am very happy with the wat that these have turned out.

The unit was part of the first draft sent to Italy which landed at Ortobello in 1741. Irlanda boasted 1,037 men on disembarkation and, along with the Walloon and Swiss, the desertion rate remained fairly low. Conversely the Italian and Spanish units suffered terribly from this, as presumably the men could slip into the civilian population far easier.

How many of the men were actually first generation Irish is hard to say. Certainly of the officers I would have anticipated a high number of Catholic Gentry, denied service in the British army due to their religion, looking to exercise their traditional employment elsewhere. You can find Irish officers serving in Europe in virtually all armies, but clearly France and Austria soaked up many.

But of the rank and file things are far muddier. Although there was no real bar to service placed by the Brits, there were lots of people fishing in the Irish labour pool. For a start there was British army recruitment, they were on the ground and closer. The French, too, had several Irish units on establishment so the Spanish did face considerable competition. I cannot imagine anything more than a small minority of Irish peasantry fired by anti-British feeling to serve with the Bourbons, so I suspect it came down to bounties.

Of course there were second-generation Irish in Spain, scions of the original Wild Geese of the old Pretender, yet there were far less of these in Spain than there were in France. On top of these ‘Irish’ you could add British deserters/prisoners who enlisted during the WAS, but the beneficiary from these can only have been regiment Ultonia (which was not in Savoy either, so was it before Gibraltar?), but Irlanda and Hibernia, isolated in Italy, could not possibly have had this as a source.

So, what? A rag-bag of Germans, Swiss, French and whoever else could be swept up to join some second-generation Irish and whoever the recruiters managed to inveigle into the ranks from Ireland proper.

In terms of painting, well, the red is actually Revell’s Karminrot, with the Blue coming from a navy blue provided by my local art shop, the gaiter colour being Revell Beige and the leatherwork being Revell Braun. It is actually a pleasure to paint something where white is a very small part of the whole, unlike Napoleonics where white breeches and crossbelting are very much the norm.

Next on the stocks are the second battalions of the Lombardia Regiment and the Sardinian Swiss Regiment Diesbach. Also up are some proper Spanish battalion pieces, so pics of them shortly. In the meantime I dedicate this unit to WildGeese on TMP.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Andere Andere…

The Dons have landed

So here is the first Spanish unit of my Camposanto project. This has been quite a slow-burner whilst I have concentrated on completing IV Kolonne at Aspern-Essling but I managed to get these over the finishing line yesterday evening.

These are the boys from the first battalion of the Lombardia Regiment. It is a classic Spanish National Regiment and, despite its name, is not one of the regiments raised in Italy.

The figures are Front Rank SYW French. As such I chose to accept some minor inaccuracies and a UK based company I have an established relationship with rather than the more accurate but US-based and more questionable castings of the London War Room. So, as can be seen from the rear view the hatmen have swords, which the Spaniards did not have, and are wearing the cartouche box at the hip rather than as a belly box, which was far more frequent. That said, other than the club nerd type (who would declare the figures totally unplayable) I think they look close enough and good enough to pass muster.

I have done this battalion at 16 figures strong plus the battalion gun section.As the Spanish battalions varied in size on landing I am approximating this to number of figures. So the Guards battalions (all 12 of them….) are only going to be 12 castings strong, whereas the second battalion of IR Besseler will be 24 strong.

Lombardia as a regiment landed in Italy with two battalions on the 8th November 1741 with some 1,067 effectives. It was part of the first of two tranches of men sent to Italy, in this case 19 battalions of Infantry and 12 companies of Horse. A second tranche put ashore on the 13th January 1742 composed of 15 battalions of Infantry and another 12 companies of Horse and this was the total number of troops sent by Spain to central Italy.

The Spanish that were sent over clearly lacked heavy guns with only battalion pieces issued. Ostensibly this was not a problem as the Spanish could call on Farnese-rules
Naples and their ally Modena to supply troops too. Unfortunately for the Spanish Modena was quickly overwhelmed by a massive Piedmontese offensive before they arrived so only stragglers were forthcoming from that quarter. Naples proved a broken reed too: the Royal Navy simply sailed into Naples harbour and threatened to turn the place to rubble if Naples aided the Spaniards. This threat kept the Neapolitans at bay for two years.

So the Spanish were on their own, and with the RN dominating the sealanes they had no new drafts of men sent over from Spain. The result was that the battalions withered as the stresses of campaign took their toll. More Spanish to come soon.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Prize Swiss

The Neuchatel

To start with lets explain the brief hiatus: I am currently looking to get back into the job market after 18 months of freelancing so I have been very focussed on that aspect of my life and the painting has fallen by the wayside a bit. But here are two recently completed units to cast your eyes over.

The Battalion de Neuchatel that I have painted here is actually not for me but is a prize to be given out at our Vimiero refight due to take place on the 31st August. I am umpiring, so there is no danger of me winning my own figures, and there are suggestions that it will be the prize for the ‘player’s player’, a new one on me but apparently a revival of an old practice in the 200-ers.

I chose Neuchatel because it is unusual, can stand alone as one battalion and I guess that many people do not have it. Unlike modern illustrations, which show almost neon yellow I chose a more realistic darker yellow, actually the Revell Ochre colour, as the jacket shade. This, to me, gives them a more solid and less Disney-esque look but is still yellow enough to support their nickname of ‘The Canaries’. What I am lacking, of course, is a colour. GMB flags has just got back to me (Graeme has been holidaying in France for a fortnight, apparently) so it will be there by the time it is given away.

If this goes down well I will do more of them as prizes. There are lots of quirky and interesting units out there that can serve as stand alone prizes: the Grand Duchess Pavlovna battalion, Lobkowitz Jager, some of the more chocolate box Confederation units. See how it goes.

And now for something completely different.

No, not a man with 3 buttocks…in fact not that different at all. I have been painting up some oddments to sell on ebay every now and again. One small selection I am offloading are my Flintloque stuff, and here is the latest sample. There is something very appropriate about the Russians being represented by the undead: ‘they just keep coming’ but with little imagination or flexibility. So here is a pic of my first tranche of forces of the Witch King, basically regulars and artillery. I have another lot of 12 Werewolf Jager and some mounted and dismounted cossacks plus a Lich to run it all. Probably get round to that sometime…