A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Minor Jostling in the Painting Queue - More Foot Dragoons

The replacement drummer

An everyday yarn of the life of the retired wargamer. The minutiae of army organisation. I published a post recently explaining that I was pleasantly surprised to have obtained and painted a battalion of Les Higgins Napoleonic French Foot Dragoons, since I had never thought I wanted one, but was more than happy to have them.

At that time, I did some minor huffing about my disappointment with the drummer. Because no-one ever produced a suitably scaled drummer of foot dragoons in metal, I had recruited a plastic chap (no prejudice here), from Strelets set 0009 (I think). As far as I know, this is the only foot dragoon drummer in 1/72 scale in the entire galaxy. Though the Strelets set is a nice one, and contains some interesting and potentially useful figures, I regret to say that the dragoon drummer is, with all possible respect to our Russian friends, a gnome. Grotesque in face and physique, equipped with a helmet which has been sat upon and a drum which clearly is deflating; and why - why? - do Strelets arrange to have the sprue joint in the middle of the front of the helmet? Even David the Painter was not able to produce a thing of true beauty from such unpromising raw material.

Anyway, I have lived with my plastic drummer for a while, but the intention has been to replace him if I could come up with a suitable conversion. In fact the conversion was easy - a Kennington Old Guard drummer (Kennington Old Guard are particularly good, by the way) with a replacement head donated by a Garrison officer of foot dragoons. The really handy thing about the Garrison figure is that the horsehair mane is blowing interestingly in the wind, which means that it is not hanging down the back in the manner which makes other dragoon figures unsuitable for conversion. The converted figure has been half painted for a month or so, but this is a bit of a luxury project - replacing an otherwise serviceable figure for aesthetic reasons is never a high priority, and progress has been stalled for some weeks.

New development. Someone was selling a group of LH foot dragoons on eBay, and they looked quite nice, so - though of course I don't need them, and though I don't officially deal on eBay any more - I put in a half-hearted bid and was surprised to win them. When they arrived, I was even more surprised to see how well they are painted. With perfect grenades on the turnbacks and all that, they looked to me like the work of Clive Richards, one of my favourite traditional-style figure painters, but the seller confirmed that he had painted them himself, years ago when his eyesight was better (and I know what he means). So, with minimal retouching, I suddenly find that I have a second battaion for my Dragons Provisoirs (uniformed as the 19th and 23rd regiments), though of course I now had to get my replacement drummer finished in a hurry to complete the new battalion. The picture at the top of the post is a bit foreshortened by the close-up angle - I like to think that the new guy is - well, less gnome-like than he may look here.

So I now have both drummers in service. I had another look at the Strelets chap, and I still don't like him very much, so I've make a note to replace him sometime - and I know how to do it now. Life being what it is, I would bet that the Strelets drummer will be around for quite a while. Any takers?


  1. A very handsome chap - I have the Strelets set and some Der Kriegspieler dismounted Dragoons and plan to turn out a French dragoon regiment, mounted and dismounted. Getting horses for the horse holders will be tricky.

  2. I've looked at the problem of spare dragoon horses before - Art Miniaturen did some standing horses, but I think they are out of production. If you have a squint at Strelets set 089, which is Cuirassiers in Winter dress, I think, there are 4 or so placid horses with the right sort of kit which I thought would look OK standing around. Naturally, I did nothing about it yet, but I did write a note to myself on the subject.

    (Yes - all right, all right...)