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

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Choppin' & Changin'

This is about my latest attempt at a long-running project to produce some decent 1812-vintage British dragoons for my Peninsular War armies. I have a couple of units in the post-1812 uniform, with the French-style Doric helmet, (one of S-range Minifigs and one of PMD) but they are not really correct for the Peninsula. Well, that's not quite true, but they require more justification than I would wish, and I would really like some chaps in big boots and bicornes and laced jackets.

Like this

I managed to get some Hinton Hunt figures, but after a lot of glaring and head-scratching I decided they were really a bit small to make convincing heavy cavalry in the context of my armies. Next good idea was to obtain some Minifigs BNC9s - the S-Range heavy dragoon with bicorne. Very good - all you would think I would need then would be a source of BNC19s and BNC29s, the corresponding trumpeter and officer, and everything would be fine.

Alas, no. After an appropriate amount of swotting up in Carl Franklin and C C P Lawson and elsewhere, I realise there is a problem. The S-Range figure has a long-tailed coat, not to mention a pigtail. According to my books, the long-tailed coat for dragoons and dragoon guards was discontinued in 1796, and these units wore a short-tailed jacket with lace bars and with turnbacks in the regimental facing colour, along with the bicorne. The S-Range figure would be fine for the Life Guards or the Blues in 1812, but not for dragoons or dragoon guards. Bother.

I have a couple of units of 1812 KGL heavy dragoons by Falcata, and these are correct apart from the fact that they have the distinctive KGL bicorne, worn fore-&-aft with brass chinscales, which does not seem to have been worn by any other British units. I have a fair number of spare Falcata men left over, so my latest idea is to behead some of the KGL boys and give them Minifigs heads, and that has become this week's reason for getting my fingers covered in cuts and superglue.

Thus far I've done a trooper and a trumpeter - I have a few ideas for an officer, including using a KGL one unaltered, or a KGL one fitted with a new head, wearing a stovepipe shako with the peak filed flat, in imitation of the watering cap used at this time - I have a couple of potential donors of such a head among my box of broken NapoleoN figures (and the very frail muskets on the NapoleoN Peninsular Brits ensured that I have quite a few broken spares).

I'll put a smidgin of Milliput around the joins, to avoid the wasp-like neck which grafts usually give me, and it should be OK. This is probably the best conversion prototype for dragoons of this period I've produced to date. No - you're not getting to see the earlier ones. There is an excellent old Scots word comes to mind - haunless (literally handless) - meaning inept, clumsy, incompetent.


This sort of thing doesn't help. This plate for British heavy cavalry in the excellent Histofig online resource perpetuates the error - the two figures on the left, with the long-tailed coat, should have white turnbacks, and this long coat was not issued after 1796. There is a missing uniform - from 1796 to 1812 dragoons wore a short jacket (like the illustration at the top of this post) with turnbacks in the regimental facing colour. Figs 1a & 1b here are an incorrect hybrid. How can mere wargamers be expected to get this right when the gospels are wrong?

1 comment:

  1. It's a pet peeve of mine that no one produces Peninsular War British cavalry! Your conversions look like they'll do fine until HaT get their a-into-g and produce their long promised sets.