ISSUE NUMBER 15

HISTORICAL MINIATURES BY GEORGE GRASSE
HISTORICAL MINIATURES JOURNAL

AUGUST  2012

HISTORICAL MINIATURES JOURNAL ISSUE NUMBER 15

PUBLISHED BY GEORGE GRASSE

MODELING 54mm HISTOREX KITS

BRITISH CAVALRY AT WATERLOO

 PART 1: 1st ROYAL DRAGOON REGIMENT

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND COMMENTS

THE 1ST ROYAL DRAGOON REGIMENT WAS ASSIGNED TO THE 2nd CAVALRY BRIGADE, ONE OF 8 CAVALRY BRIGADES THAT MADE UP LT. GENERAL THE EARL OF UXBRIDGE'S CAVALRY CORPS IN WELLINGTON'S ARMY AT WATERLOO. THE 1st ROYAL DRAGOONS WERE BRIGADED WITH THE 2nd ROYAL DRAGOONS ALSO KNOWN AS THE "ROYAL NORTH BRITISH DRAGOONS" OR, MORE SIMPLY, AS THE SCOTS GREYS.  THE THIRD REGIMENT IN THE BRIGADE WAS THE 6th INNISKILLING DRAGOONS WHO WERE LARGELY IRISH.  THIS BRIGADE WAS POPULARLY KNOWN AS "THE UNION BRIGADE" BECAUSE ITS REGIMENTS REPRESENTED EACH OF THE MAJOR REALMS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM.

BRITISH DRAGOON REGIMENTS, OF WHICH THERE WERE FIVE ON SERVICE, DIFFERED SLIGHTLY FROM THE DRAGOON GUARD REGIMENTS LARGELY IN JACKET DETAILS WHICH WILL BE EXPLAINED IN A FUTURE ARTICLE.  THESE TWO TYPES OF DRAGOONS PLUS THE HOUSEHOLD GUARDS FORMED WELLINGTON'S HEAVY OR BATTLEFIELD MOUNTED SHOCK TROOPS. 

THE REGIMENT ENTERED THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO WITH 28 OFFICERS AND 429 ENLISTED TROOPERS.  CASUALTIES DURING THE WATERLOO CAMPAIGN AMOUNTED TO 5 OFFICERS KILLED, 9 WOUNDED, AND 1 MISSING.  ENLISTED LOSSES WERE 86 KILLED, 88 WOUNDED, AND 9 MISSING.  TOTAL CASUALTIES WERE 91 KILLED, 97 WOUNDED, AND 10 MISSING FOR A GRAND TOTAL OF 198 AGAINST A TOTAL STRENGTH OF 457 OFFICERS AND ENLISTED, A CASUALTY RATE OF 43.3%.

 

MODELING A TROOPER OF THE 1ST ROYAL DRAGOON REGIMENT

          Figure 1        

    

Figure 1 at left shows the early stages of assembly.  All parts are cleaned with a hobby knife to remove seam lines and then sanded with fine sandpaper so as not to leave scars on the plastic surface. Ordinary hobby plastic cement (tube or liquid) is used to bond plastic-to-plastic.  At this stage, the legs are glued together and the torso is glued to the leg sub-assembly.  The kit's head was replaced by one from MIG Productions resin head set MI5001 Historic Bald Heads Set #1.  Super glue was used to glue the head to the torso.  A new stand-up collar was fashioned from lead foil and glued with super glue.  The kit's stirrups have lead foil leathers glued to the bottom of the shoes and the inside of the legs. 

Figure 2 at right shows additional parts and some painting.  First, note that the figure's bottom is drilled to take an ordinary coat hanger wire the base of which is set into a wood painting block.  The head was painted first.  The front lace of the jacket and the girdle were painted yellow.  Lead foil was used to make the various straps for the ammunition pouch and two smaller ones for the haversack and canteen.  The waist belt is glued to the haversack on the front only (it stays loose until the girdle's blue stripes and other work is done to the front and back of the jacket.

                      Figure 2

 

 

Figure 3

Figure 3 at left shows the placement of the helmet with attached chin scales.  The front of the jacket has had the yellow lace trimmed with a brown-black center line with two dark blue lengths of piping "dotted" to represent the stitching of the piping color.  The dark blue stripes of the girdle were added next.  One additional strap was added for the carbine sling and the carbine swivel hook.  The haversack and canteen straps have had their buckles added.  The haversack and its strap was painted an off white then stained with a darker beige/tan.  The canteen was painted a light blue and stained with a dark blue-gray.  Its strap is painted leather brown and stained with dark reddish brown.  The riding trousers are medium gray with a light to medium brown leather insert.  The colors shown are just the base coats.  The leather stirrup straps are medium brown.

Figure 4 at right shows the backside of the trooper.  The carbine sling was been moved temporarily to the left to as to paint the black cartridge box.  Note the color of the canteen which was wood and held in place with iron straps at the side edges.  The jacket is painted in scarlet and tends towards a deep orange (Vallejo VC0829 Amaranth Red).  The turnbacks are the same blue as for the collar and girdle stripes (Vallejo VC0809 Royal Blue).  They are laced in yellow and will have their center line piping added later.

Figure 4

 
 

Figure 5

Figure 5 at left shows the basic assembly of the horse.  Historex has nine left horse body halves and nine right horse body halves all of which can be interchanged to create a great number of stances from standing to charging.  The horse halves are glued together.  The head is glued next.  Historex has available eight horse head sets of which five are generally upright, two are straight forward in a leaning outward position, and one (shown left) grazing.  One other horse set is available for a horse reclined on the ground which cannot be interchanged with any of the other horse body halves.

The head set includes the head, ears, forelock, tail, and mane.  All are shown in the photo except for the tail.  Note the putty filling.  The joint between the head and the body is noticeable not so much on this stance but on all of the others.  When sanding the fill space, use fine sandpaper or the marks will show up when the horse is painted.  The front top seam is covered by the mane.  The rear top seam is covered by the crupper strap.  Generally, the rear seam is hidden by the tail.  The underside seam can't be seen unless the fit of the horse halves is obviously exposing it.

The kit includes a set of four horse shoes but I only use them when one or more legs are lifted.

 
 

Figure 6 at right shows a test run for the fit of the saddle and the rider.  Corrections will have to be made at this stage before painting begins.  Note the putty seam.  Note terribly clear in this photo is the lead foil girth strap.  The martingale was made from lead foil and consists of one piece wrapped around the front of the horse's shoulders well back so as to be covered by the saddle.  The underside piece is lead foil super glued to the girth strap and super glued to the front of the shoulder straps.  A decorative medallion is usually affixed to front join of these straps (not shown).

The horse's tail has been glued in place but not before it was drilled out to take a brass rod for extra strength.  The crupper strap basically comes out from under the top rear of the saddle, goes around the base of the tail, and is cut short and glued leaving a looped strap or crupper that keeps the saddle from lunging forward in a sudden stop.

This is the standard British saddle and leathers arrangement and the heavy cavalry (Household Cavalry, Dragoon Guards, and Dragoons) rarely campaigned with the saddle cloths over the saddle.  

Figure 6

 

Figure 7

Figure 7 at left shows the basic finish of the horse.  I used Winsor-Newton Oils for all you can see in that photo, namely: Burnt Sienna, Indian Red, Burnt Umber, Titanium White, and Lamp Black.  Hooves were painted with a mix of Andrea Medium Brown and Black. 

The saddle blanket is painted in Andrea Medium Gray.  The saddle is first painted in Andrea Brown Leather and washed with Andrea Dark Leather .  All leathers will have a finish coat of toned-down gloss in a future step.

The horse is baked in my warming drawer at about 160 degrees Fahrenheit overnight.  By morning, the oils are dry to the touch.  Horses of the 1st Dragoon Regiment are reported to have been dark bays.

 

 
 

Figure 8 at right shows details added to the horse.  All white is Andrea white mixed with a little Vallejo VC0988 Khaki to produce an off-white.  Over this is applied pure white as a highlight.  The girth strap is Andrea Medium Gray mixed with Vallejo Beige.  Thin brown-black lines are added to show the stitching.  The blue stripes on the blanket are Vallejo Royal Blue.

Figure 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

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