It has been some time in coming but, at last, the Peninsular War Project has begun. I'm very excited at the prospect of getting a new period onto my table.
It has been several years since I last painted a British Peninsular War unit (for a client, I've never painted one for myself) so I thought I'd begin by doing a practice unit to get my eye in, so to speak. Consequently, this unit has taken several hours longer than most units will in the future because I've had to continually check things by looking them up in my books and via google. A recent purchase of note is British Napoleonic Uniforms by C.E. Franklin which has prints of just about every piece of equipment and weapon from several angles, not to mention a page of plates on the uniform for every British regiment - highly recommended. Unfortunately, it doesn't cover the uniforms of the KGL and hence the Google searches because, of course, that's exactly where I've started.
My first three units will be the 1st, 2nd and 5th Battalions of the King's German Legion for Von Lowe's Brigade of 1st Division.
So here is the practice unit for the British: 1st Battalion KGL.
It comprises 28 figures (Front Rank Figurines), including representative skirmishers. It is painted in Humbrol enamels and the flags are by Flags for the Lads (flags very kindly donated to the project by a reader).
I have chosen to base the unit, after much thought, on six bases, each 40 mm x 40 mm, because:
- Six stands seems to be optimal for representing formations on the table.
- Because it will be best for French units in the future.
- A unit frontage (in line) of 240 mm will allow both infantry (24 figures) and cavalry units (12 figures) to have the same frontage.
The Basing system has its downsides for British infantry, in that two stands have to be used for 'over sized' flank companies, but I understand this is a frequently used compromise and will be hardly noticeable in play.
I really like these new 'reinforcement pack' figures by Front Rank. The belts and lace are well defined and, the fudged lace pattern on the front of the jacket allows this usually difficult lace to be done with very clean lines with the minimum of time and effort: I applaud Alec for his forethought for the figure painter.
Choosing to go down the pre-printed flag route, rather than hand painting my own, was a difficult decision. However, since discovering acrylic ink blocks (you use them like water paint blocks but they are indelible), painting away the white paper line with flag matching colour has become much, much easier. I use Inktense Blocks by Derwent in the basic box set of 12. Properly finished, I've become a convert and a big fan of pre-printed paper flags.
All in all, I'm pretty happy with the way this first unit came out. If you spot any glaring mistakes I'd appreciate the heads up.
Next up, 2nd and 5th Battalions KGL.
I asked for glaring mistakes to be pointed out to me and one has been (by Rob Bresnen over at LAF). Over breakfast coffee, killing that hour between my son getting up and going to school, all was made right: I prized off the rear rank figures, corrected the mistake and glued the figures back again.
MISTAKE: The backpacks of the KGL line battalions were painted dark blue (black for light battalions) and when the general order came, in 1808, to paint them black they ignored it.
This was a mistake I was happy to correct. Firstly, it was simple to correct; secondly it's a very nice KGL distinction.