Thursday, 14 December 2017

An Egyptian Focus

After what some would call the “butterfly effect” that saw me flitting between projects last week, this is a more structured week focussing entirely on the French in Egypt.
First off the desk is the 1st Battalion, 22e Demi-Brigade Légere. I had started this a couple of weeks ago, but could not complete it until the pack of colonels arrived. 

One of the other colonels was used to complete the 1st Battalion, 88e Demi-Brigade while the third, more sedate figure (below), will find a place amongst the army’s command.

Next are two more completion items, and are the guns to go with the limber sets. Here are two 8lb guns in travel mode and a 4lb gun. I have another 8lb gun to be finished.

Finally the jewel of the week is the horse artillery set. For this I chose to use the “Running up 4lb gun in dolmans” set. I chose these because poses are so dramatic and seem to suit horse artillery. The uniform, with all that red, is striking. I really like this set.

The gun is accompanied by a six-horse limber set that is painted, but not yet based.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

A Smorgasbord of Items

A big post today because quite a bit has come off the painting table this week, some new and some just finishing off units. This is also my 300th post.

First up is regiment of French cuirassiers for 1812-1813, the First Regiment to be precise. this will be the first of four heavy cavalry regiments (two cuirassier and two carabinier). They are all Perry plastics.

Another Perry plastic unit that marched out of recruitment hall and into the barracks is this line infantry battalion for 1812-13.

The plastics were bought to fill in any space in the painting schedule for other this case the gap between shipments of the French in Egypt. That gap wasn't open for long...a mere four days between the completion of the dragoons and the arrival of the next batch - two orders actually in three parcels. And what a bunch it is too: 11 battalions of infantry, two cavalry units, another two guns, crew and limbers, some dismounted camel holders, some colonels and a few plastic command sprues.

A third Perry plastic item completed this week is the North American store. This is intended for the War of 1812 project, but has a broader application. Eventually there will be two more plastic buildings for this project, the farmhouse and the church.

Now the more astute readers amongst you will recognise the name of this particular retailer from the sign above the door: Piggot. This was the name of the retail outlet  that featured on these pages in February (see the construction of Piggot's African branchand subsequently appeared in the WWI East Africa game played in October. 


It is not commonly known, but the Piggot family is well known in the 19th and early 20th Century retail trade and it all started with this North American connection. Ebenezer Piggot emigrated  as a young man from Yorkshire in 1765 and established this trading post on the Niagara River 1789.
It seems that the Piggot family was destined to attract trouble and war surrounded their enterprises wherever they went. In the War of 1812 Ebenezer and his family was compelled to hide in the cellar while bullets riddled their store. His son, Nathaniel, had seen an opportunity in Texas in the 1830s and established his store near the Mexican border where it was at the centre of skirmishes in the early stages of the Mexican War. Nathaniel’s son, Horace, had established his own retail empire at Sharpsburg in Maryland only to have his premises used as a military hospital after the Battle of Sharpsburg in 1862.

Horace’s second son,  Ulysses, set up shop in Tombstone Arizona in the 1880’s, where his store was twice raided by the Apache. Ulysses’ son, Bob, tired of having the family dragged into all of these conflicts and quit the American continent in 1893 established a trading post in Zanzibar, but soon relocated to the town of Kisumu on the shores of Lake Victoria. There he lived prosperously and peacefully until one day in early 1915 when several hundred German Askari descended on the town and burned his store to the ground.

With that Bob turned his back on retailing, left Africa and established a highly successful publishing business in Philadelphia. For the next forty years he published “Piggot’s Almanac” until his death in 1957. With no male heirs the  Piggot family name died with Bob.
All of this is a complete fabrication of course. I was struck in a traffic for ages on the way home on Friday afternoon, thanks to a rail strike, on a hot day and I had left my iPod at home. So rather than listen to inane prattle of drive time radio I let my imagination run and this story is the result.

Next items off the painting table are two units from the French in Egypt project that were left incomplete a couple of weeks ago. These are the first and second battalions of the 88e Demi Brigade de Battaille. The former in the violet coats and the latter in crimson. The First battalion was completed by the addition of the mounted colonel, who I dressed in the correct crimson coat (my assumption being that the senior officer would have had access to the correct cloth early in the uniform manufacturing process), while the Second (crimson) battalion was completed with the addition of the command group and another two fusiliers.

Finally there are the camels for the dismounted dromedary troops, with their guards. Originally I was going to mount these as three separate stands, but in the end decided on a single base. I am pleased with that choice.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

French in Egypt - the Third Dragoons

The cavalry of the Army of the Orient comprised of five dragoon, one hussar and one chasseur á cheval regiments. My intention is to build two dragoon regiments plus the hussars and the chasseurs.

The Third Dragoons is the first of those regiments. The others are somewhere between Nottingham and their new home.

This will mark a brief break from the French in Egypt project, because I have painted all the figures I have on hand and the next batch - enough to finish the project - won't arrive until towards the end of the week. To fill in the time I will attack the plastic mountain.

Friday, 1 December 2017

French in Egypt - the first infantry, the generals and a bit of Project Management

Part of the appeal of the French in Egypt project is that this French Army is so un-French for a French Napoleonic army. A shortage of blue cloth in Egypt led to the Kleber ordnance that specified that the various demi brigades would be uniformed in coats of red, crimson, green, blue or brown that were faced with blues, reds, greens, yellows or brown. I chose the  88eme Demi Brigade de Ligne as my first unit for an interesting reason.
Originally assigned crimson coats, faced bright green with a blue collar, there was a shortage of crimson cloth and many of the uniforms were made using a violet cloth instead. It seems that there may have been a mix of colours within the Demi Brigade. So I have decided to do one battalion in violet coats, one in crimson coats and one in a mix of violet and red.

This first battalion is the all violet unit. It is not quite complete because I still need to add a mounted colonel. The mounted general in this image is just a stand in until the arrival of the colonel who is in transit and may not be here for another week. I have also included the first stand of the second (crimson coated) battalion with this image, just to highlight the difference.

Also completed are the two sets of generals. These, combined with the colonels, will provide the basis for the French command, supplemented by a model of Napoleon on a camel.

On the project management front, a kink has developed in the plan. After more than a year out of the market Markus at Tsuba miniatures has come back into the fray with a bunch of new Russo-Japanese War releases that I will just “have to have”. These will have to be squeezed into the project plan sometime next year. 

The positive news on the project management front is that the French in Egypt project is progressing at such a pace that it is likely to be completed at the end of January,  a full two months ahead of the original schedule.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

WWI Game - Late War

Today we played our first group game since our week away in early-October.

The game was a late war WWI game with a German reinforced rearguard defending a small village against a Franco-American force that was the advanced guard of a major advance, charged with securing the village. I fought on the allied side, commanding an American regiment.

We deployed the Foreign Legion, supported by a battery and an FT17 tank in front of the village, charged with holding a large portion of the Germans in the village, while the Americans attacked on the left, against the German right, while the rest of the French attacked from our right, against the German left.

In the simplest terms the French easily drove in the German left and then turned against the village.The  Americans had a much tougher fight and although they lost two thirds of their force, they eventually drove off the Germans to their front. With their flanks driven in, the end for Germans in the village was only a matter of time.

It was a simple, fun game that kept us busy for four hours on a warm Sunday.

Here are a bunch of images, in no particular sequence.