In Part 6 of this series of ‘On parade!’ postings reviewing all the units in the army of my wargaming ‘imagi-nation’ (imaginary nation), the Barryat of Lyndonia, here come the Lynden Hussars, looking somewhat Toytown-ish in their blue, yellow and red uniforms.
Although my army is imaginary, I like each unit to match a real-life regiment from any of the warring nations of the mid-18th century. So after I bought these wonderful Minden Miniatures French hussars a couple of years ago, I ummed and ahhed which French regiment to paint them as.
So, were they going to be France’s famous Bercheny Hussars? Or perhaps those cut-throat rogues, the Chasseurs de Fischer? I just couldn’t decide … until the decision was made for me when I found out that the French army really had a hussar regiment named the Aspremont-Lynden Hussars. How could the Barryat of Lyndonia possibly not include this unit in its army?!
The standard French light-blue hussar uniform looks striking in my army, especially with the colourful yellow facings and red horse furniture.
I painted the horses using oil paints, which gives a lovely depth of colour and a sheen that makes them look lifelike.
The regiment consists of 24 troopers, two trumpeters, a standard-bearer (yes, I know hussars didn’t carry standards into battle, but this is an imaginary nation, remember!), and an officer. They’re not based for any particular set of wargaming rules.
One problem was that I couldn’t find any information on the colour of the Lynden trumpeters’ uniforms. As French trumpeters often wore the livery of their regiment’s owner, I decided to paint them in yellow and red to mach the heraldic arms of the real-life Aspremont-Lynden family.
Some visitors to this blog will have a sense of déjà vu reading this article, as I only posted about finishing painting this unit of le Régiment des Gardes Françaises back in March this year.
But as they are one of the foreign contingents in the army of my ‘imagi-nation’, the Barryat of Lyndonia, they’re re-appearing here as Part 5 of this series in which I’m reviewing every one of the Barryat’s units.
As I’ve previously mentioned (e.g. in Wargaming Illustrated #385), the Barryat’s army is made up of contracted foreign regiments from all over 18th-century Europe.
I chose the first three regiments, British, French and Prussian, because they had appeared in ‘Barry Lyndon’, the book and movie on which I very loosely based my imagi-nation.
But I’ve now exhausted the ‘Barry Lyndon’ units, so any further regiments in the Barryat’s army are based simply on which ones I like the look of – what amazing freedom that gives me!
My favourite-ever military painting is Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux’s The Battle of Fontenoy featuring Le Régiment des Gardes Françaises.
So when I saw that Crann Tara Miniatures had a range of Gardes Françaises figures sculpted in the same 1/56th scale as my other Minden Miniatures regiments, the die was cast!
I just had to come up with a good back-story of why a contingent of such a prestigious French regiment was in the Barryat’s army.
Fellow New Zealand wargamer Wayne Stack made the suggestion that they could have been part of the dowry from the marriage of one of the younger daughters of the French king…or possibly one of his favourite illegitimate daughters. That sounds plausible enough to me!
By the way, this particular pic is not of Crann Tara miniatures, but of some old 30mm Willie figures.
As with the other regiments of foot in the Barrayt’s army, this was quite some painting effort: sixty-six privates, along with four NCOs, three officer, two ensigns, and three drummers – a total of 78 figures!
I painted this unit almost entirely with GW’s Contrast paints. These worked beautifully, flowing well and providing shading with no effort from me. Just look at the officer’s stockings, the wood of the muskets, and the men’s faces – this shading all happened by itself!
If you want to read more on how I painted them, take a look at this earlier posting on my blog.
Here’s the massed effect of the whole battalion in line, officers to the front, NCOs to the side and rear, drummers on the flank.
And in this short video, the unit looks pretty impressive when the camera pans along the whole line, with its frontage of nearly half-a-metre. The accompanying music is the actual march of the Gardes Françaises.
Before I based these figures for the Barryat’s army, I just had to arrange them to recreate my favourite military painting. You can see more pictures of this recreated painting here.
In this fourth posting in my series on the army of my imagi-nation, the Barryat of Lyndonia, we review the Prussian contingent.
As I have previously mentioned, the Barryat of Lyndonia is inspired by the novel and film ‘Barry Lyndon’. In the story, Barry is eventually enlisted into the Prussian army after being captured as a British army deserter.
The movie doesn’t name the regiment, but in the book it is called the ‘Bulow’ Regiment, which could possibly have been the von Bülow fusilier regiment that fought at Zorndorf.
But I decided to name the third regiment of the Barryat’s army in honour of the movie’s famous director, so the Infanterie-Regiment Kubrick came into being.
As with the other regiments in my army, the movie’s inaccuracies are all faithfully recreated. The soldiers’ coats have the wrong coloured turnbacks, and they wear incorrectly-coloured straps.
OK, so the movie doesn’t have any grenadiers in mitre caps. But, like Gale’s Regiment of Foot, I really wanted some of these smart-looking soldiers, so I’ve conjectured how Kubrick would have portrayed them. Basically, they’re the same as his somewhat inaccurate Prussian musketeers, but wearing mitre caps instead of tricornes.
They also carry mis-matched flags (the orange, black and white flags in the movie are actually from three different real-life Prussian regiments).
The regiment is led by Captain Potzdorf on his distinctive white horse – in the movie Barry saves Potzdorf’s life, which launches his rise in society.
The figures are gorgeous 1/56th casting by Minden Miniatures, available through Fife and Drum.
By the way, I’ve been asked where in the social hierarchy a “barryat” might lie, for instance vis-à-vis a ‘barony’.
Well, I’m figuring “barryat” is a (mythical) kind of Western European derivative of the old term “banate”, a frontier province led by a military governor called a “ban” (or in my imagi-nation’s case, led by a “barry”).
Banate provinces really did exist, mainly in South Slavic, Hungarian and Romanian lands. For example, the Banat of Temesvár was a Habsburg province that existed between 1718 and 1778.
Go to the next posting about Le Régiment des Gardes Françaises.
Welcome to Part 3 of my series looking at the army of my ‘imagi-nation’, the Barrayat of Lyndonia. Today we meet a French unit that has been contracted to join the Barryat’s forces.
This unit represents the regiment that Barry Lyndon faced in the eponymous movie ‘Barry Lyndon’. As I mentioned in my previous posting, Barry’s first taste of battle was ‘only a skirmish against a rearguard of Frenchmen who occupied an orchard beside a road down which the English main force wish to pass’.
Those of you who know your French regiments of the eighteenth century will no doubt be shaking your heads at my photos and saying, ‘But he’s got it all wrong – that’s the flag of the Régiment de Flandre, and they wore blue facings, not red!’
Well, in the movie the unnamed French regiment that Barry faces in battle is clothed in uniforms with red facings and carries the flags of two real French regiments, the Grenadiers Royaux and the Régiment de Flandre. But neither of these regiments had red facings in real life!
In the Thackeray novel that the movie was based on, Barry’s first taste of battle is actually said to occur during the Battle of Minden, and the French regiments he faces are named as being those of ‘Lorraine and the Royal Cravate’. But neither of these units matches the flags in the movie.
Adding to the puzzle is that the real Royal Cravates of the time were not an infantry regiment at all, but cavalry!
So I had to make some sort of decision on this confusion. In the end, I chose to paint them as the fictional Régiment des Royal-Cravates from the book, with the facings and flags from the movie. The result is a nice colourful hodge-podge, but still distinctly French in look and feel.
And I can confidently state that this unit is authentic. Well, at least from the perspectives of the book and the movie it is authentic, as my whole plan with this army was to recreate the movie’s inaccuracies as accurately as I could!
I also gave the regiment the little battalion gun that is seen in the movie. Kubrik got the gunners’ white coats right, as battalion guns were manned by men assigned from the regiment, rather than artillerymen in their blue and red French artillery uniforms.
My gun is actually a small Napoleonic cannon by Minifigs, but with a lick of red paint it vaguely resembles the little Swedish-style cannons used as battalion guns during the period. That’s near enough for me!
Oh, by the way, these figures are all exquisite 1/56 scale sculpts from Minden Miniatures, available from Fife and Drum.
So there we have it. You have now met the British and French contingents of the army of the Barryat of Lyndonia. Next time it’ll be the Prussians.
I mentioned in Part 1 of this series on my imagi-nation, the Barryat of Lyndonia doesn’t have its own army, but employs regiments from all round Europe, particularly those that starred in my all-time favourite war film, Barry Lyndon.
In the film our protagonist Redmond Barry has his first taste of battle in just ‘a skirmish against a rearguard of Frenchmen who occupied an orchard beside a road down which the English main force wish to pass’. The narrator goes on to say that though this encounter is not recorded in any history book, it was memorable enough for those who took part.
This is one of the most powerful scenes in the film, aided by a spine-tingling soundtrack of the fifes and drums playing The British Grenadiers:
It was therefore only natural that the Barrayat of Lyndonia’s first hire would be Barry’s unit, the fictional Gale’s Regiment of Foot, using the exquisite 1/56th scale figures made by Minden Miniatures (which are available through Fife and Drum).
Headed by Lt-Colonel Charles Gale, the regiment’s officers include the Irish adventurer Captain Grogan, the foppish Lieutenant Jonathon Fakenham and his particular friend Lieutenant Freddie, whose surname is not disclosed in the movie.
Somewhere in the ranks, of course, will be Private Redmond Barry. He joined Gale’s Regiment of Foot after being tricked into a duel back home in Ireland. Captain Grogan has now taken young Barry under his wing.
Lieutenants Jonathon and Freddie will later provide Barry with an intriguing opportunity to improve his status in life. But I’m not going to give anything away – you’ll need to see the movie to find out exactly how this happens!
In the movie, the regiment has no grenadiers, but I added these simply because I liked their colourful and intricate mitres so much – and what better reason could there be than that?
The movie also depicts the drummers wearing tricornes instead of mitre caps, but I kept to the latter, again because I like them so much, and also because that’s the way the Minden Miniatures drummers come anyway.
And here’s another chance to listen to those drummers. This is a company of the Kilwangen Regiment led by the ramrod-straight Captain John Quin, with whom the young Barry is later tricked into the duel that leads him to join the army:
A note on my army organisation
The unit organisation and basing of my army are not designed for any particular set of wargames rules, though they do bear somewhat of a resemblance to the regiments portrayed in Charge! Or how to play wargames.
One of my criteria for this project was that instead of having lots of small regiments, I wanted a smaller number of really big regiments.
So each regiment of foot has 54 men, along with additional individually based officers, standard bearers, sergeants and drummers, bringing the total number to over 60 figures.
There’s no attempt at historical organisation in these units. Instead, each regiment of foot is split into just three companies.
As the authors of Charge! Or how to play wargames wrote, ‘since an infantry battalion of three companies can be handled in exactly the same way, and can be put through exactly the same manoeuvres, as one of six or eight, there seems little point in having any more’.
The 18 rank-and-file men in each company are based on three 45mm-wide bases, each containing 6 men arranged in two ranks (thus each man having a frontage of 15mm).
This basing system provides the flexibility that I can split the regiment up if I want for varying rules, for example into three separate 18-man regiments.
I also decided not to pursue historical accuracy when painting my figures. Instead, I tried to depict my soldiers as they appear in the movie, lovingly recreating the historical inaccuracies and all.
So if someone tells me that my British belts are the wrong colour, that my French have the incorrect flag, or that the turn-backs on my Prussians should be red instead of white, I can point out that my figures aren’t supposed to represent real British, French or Prussians, but rather Kubrick’s take on them!
My first exposure to the hobby of wargaming was as a schoolboy back in the 1960s, when I stumbled across Brigadier Peter Young’s and Lt Colonel James Lawford’s book Charge! Or how to play wargamesin my local library.
I still remember poring over the pictures in the book, totally fascinated by the 18th century era, the lifelike figures and even the stylised miniature trees.
But when I did start eventually playing wargames, it wasn’t in that wonderful 18th century period after all, because due to lack of finance and the poor availability of wargaming figures in New Zealand, my gaming was pretty much restricted to Airfix plastics and the occasional lead Minifigs figures.
The nearest I could get to these eighteenth century armies were the American War of Independence figures put our by Airfix. But they just didn’t quite capture the rococo style and flair of the uniforms of the European wars of the mid-century, that were so much part of the reason I loved the illustration in Young and Lawford’s book.
It wasn’t till many years later that I discovered a range of relatively cheap 30mm plastic figures in the United Kingdom made by a company called Spencer-Smith. In fact, some of these very same figures featured in the illustrations in the book I so admired.
I don’t recall where I first heard about this range – possibly in an advertisement in Military Modelling magazine. But I soon sent away an order, and eventually received a padded paper envelope full of the brown soft plastic figures.
Some time round that period I made a trip to Europe, and was lucky enough to be able to fit in a visit to the Bavarian Army Museum in Ingolstadt. There I saw a huge diorama of the Battle of Leuthen, made up of thousands of flat figures.
Amongst all the white-coated Austrians in the diorama, my eye was caught by the light blue lozenged flags of the Bavarians. This, along with the fact that my uncle was Bavarian, was enough to decide me to paint up my Spencer-Smith figures as a Bavarian Electoral Army.
I still have them, but after nearly half a century the plastic has become very brittle, so they never see the gaming table anymore.
I wonder if this brittleness might have anything to do with temperature variations, as I painted some of these troops whilst working in Antarctica for a season (making them surely the southern-most wargames army in the world).
My next splurge into the period was after seeing my friend Paul Crouch’s American War of Independence armies. Seeing his wonderfully painted figures drew me back into the hobby after a 20-year pause for family and work commitments.
I was so entranced with their somewhat exaggerated chunky style, which I felt had more ‘presence’ than the slimmer plastic ranges I had been used to up till then.
So I immediately started building an army myself, this time going for 18th century French for no other reason than that they seemed to have the most colourful range of uniforms.
My 18th century French army grew, and I was very proud of it. But much as I loved my figures, there was always just something about them that didn’t quite capture the memory of Charge! Or how to play wargames.
I eventually realised it was a very simple thing – I couldn’t really see the breeches! Nothing kinky there … it’s just that I think coloured breeches are what set the uniforms of the mid-18th century apart from the later part of the century. But with the ‘chunky’ sculpting style of the figures I had been buying, the coloured breeches were hard to see.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love the ‘chunky’ style, and my French remain one of my favourite armies. It is just that they didn’t match my childhood memories of this particular book.
Then a few years ago I finally found my nirvana of 18th century figures – Minden Miniatures. Here at last was a range of exquisitely sculpted slender figures. And you could see the breeches!
When I first saw pictures of these figures on a website, the years just rolled back and I felt as though I was once more poring over those illustrations in Charge!
So I decided to start painting a brand new eighteenth century project – but whatever army was I going to collect? French again? British? Prussian?
Besides Charge! Or how to play wargames there was another reason for my love for the 18th century. It was a 1975 period drama film by Stanley Kubrick, based on an 1844 novel by William Makepeace Thackeray.
When I first saw Barry Lyndon at the cinema, I was enchanted. Inspired by painters such as Thomas Gainsborough and William Hogarth, the film had a beautiful, painterly look that transported me right into the 18th century.
Barry Lyndon tells the story of a fictional 18th century Irish rogue and opportunist who marries a rich widow to climb the social ladder and assume her late husband’s aristocratic position, before it all eventually unravels and he ends up back where he started. During the story he joins the British army, and later the Prussians, and fights the French.
When I first saw the Minden Miniatures figures, they not only reminded me of Charge! Or how to play wargames, but also of the military scenes in Barry Lyndon. Wouldn’t it be great, I thought, to recreate one of the regiments from the movie. But, again, for which army?
Then it came to me – why not make up a completely imaginary country (known in wargaming as an ‘imagi-nation’) that hires units from any European country it desires? This way I could reproduce all the regiments from the movie – British, Prussian and French – and combine them into one army!
And so a new state was born: the Barrayat of Lyndonia. Whilst this might sound a weird name for a country, it’s no worse than the real-life Banat of Temesvár, part of the Austro-Hungarian empire!
Surely the Hanoverian Freytag Jägers wore one of the most boring uniforms of the mid-18th century! Plain green coats, with green turn-backs and cuffs, the only hint of ‘colour’ a single white strap on the left shoulder; buff breeches and gaiters; and plain hats with no trim and just a green cockade.
The whole attire was so dull, one could almost believe this was the first real attempt at camouflage, helped even more by the field-sign of a spray of leaves in their hats. As the Freytag Jägers were originally drawn from hunters and gamekeepers, perhaps that was actually the case?
I used GW Contrast paints for these beautifully sculpted 1/56 Crann Tara figures.
Perhaps in hindsight I could have used a more vivid green and a lighter buff to make the colours ‘pop’ a bit more. On the other hand, maybe they’ll be harder for my opponents to spot on the table!
So these rather dull Freytag Jägers will never be one of my favourite units. And just because of that, they’ll no doubt fight much better on the table-top than any of their much more gorgeously costumed comrades in the armies of the Barryat of Lyndonia!
The figures on foot are by Crann Tara Miniatures. They are modelled on a set of four mounted figures that were originally made by Minden Miniatures, which I purchased back in 2013. [Correction 1 Sept 2020: I’ve been informed that although I bought the foot figures from Crann Tara, they are in fact made by Minden Miniatures.]
Above are the mounted and foot versions of Barry and his lady-friend. By painting them in exactly the same colours, I’ve ended up with a mounted and foot version of each figure. This should make them interestingly flexible for use in scenario-based games – not that I get to play many games!
Here’s the more colourfully-clothed duo with their mounted equivalents. As I painted the mounted figures back in 2013, I didn’t still own the exact same paints – but they’re close enough.
Also, the figures on horse-back are painted in the black-undercoat method I used to use, whereas the foot figures are done mainly with the GW Contrast paints I now favour, on a cream undercoat.
I’ve also recently painted this ADC by Crann Tara Miniatures. The sculptor has frozen the galloping horse in time brilliantly, the rider desperately holding his hat onto his head, with his hair-queue and coat-tails flying out behind him.
I haven’t painted him wearing a real-life ADC uniform. Instead, I chose an entirely fictional palette of blue and red that will allow him to fit in anywhere he is required.
The latest regiment in my 18th century fictional army is a unit of light troops, the Volontaires Étrangers de Clermont Prince.
“Ah, but they’re not fictional,” I hear you say, “they’re a real French unit!” True. But my ‘imagi-nation’, the Barryat of Lyndonia, contracts real-life regiments from all over Europe to man its armies. This cunning subterfuge allows me to use any real-life units I like!
These wonderful 1/56 scale figures (i.e. about 28mm) are produced by Crann Tara Miniatures. The detail is beautifully sculpted – just look at the lace on the men’s pockets and the officer’s lapel.
The models are depicted wearing the conical red hat called a ‘pokalem’, with a chamois front flap decorated with the French fleur-de-lys, and a white plume.
The Volontaires wore a uniform based on the livery of the House of Bourbon-Condé: chamois with red cuffs, collar, turn-backs, left-side lapel and waistcoat.
I once again followed my new-found passion for using GW’s Contrast paints, which are perfect for painting such detailed figures. Every bit of shading on these models was done by the paint itself – I just slopped it on!
The way I have organised my unit is not based on real-life, but is of my own devising, though influenced by the 1967 book ‘Charge! Or, How to Play War Games’ by Brigadier P. Young & Lieutenant Colonel J. P. Lawford.
Here’s one of my two companies, with an officer on the left, twelve infantrymen on four bases, and a drummer on the right.
With the two companies grouped together, I have quite an impressively large unit.
You’ll see the men are arranged in a ragged firing line representative of light infantry, rather than the more regimented line-of-battle troops.
I guess this is the sight that I, as the player, will usually have of my unit on the wargames table (unless it retreats or routs, of course – which in my case is quite likely!).
PS: I did this posting using the new Gutenberg editor that WordPress have foisted upon us. My, what a non-intuitive application! An awful a lot of swearing and cursing went into getting this fairly simple posting formatted properly, I can tell you!
Today marks 100 days since New Zealand had its last community transmission of COVID-19. Life has now returned pretty much to normal here, other than our border protection and having to be more vigilant. This success means we are able to do things that still can’t be done in many other countries, such as taking part in mass gatherings. Thus it is that I can report on my part in such a gathering last weekend.
I was asked by my friend Herman van Kradenburg to help him put on a wargaming display at an antique arms fair in the nearby town of Palmerston North. This would expose the hobby to a crowd of people who, whilst obviously interested in arms and militaria, might not have come across wargaming before.
For my display table, I chose to represent the colonial New Zealand Wars of the 1860s. This wasn’t to be an actual game, but rather a static display to show off a wide range of miniatures and terrain as an eye-catching conversation-starter to talk to the punters about our hobby. And so it proved to be!
The attention of many of our visitors was first caught this Māori pa (fortification). This was 3D-printed for me by my friends at Printable Scenery. Whilst the design is actually from a period earlier than the 1860s, it placed the table firmly in a New Zealand setting.
My replication of the New Zealand bush also garnered a lot of attention. This was formed by throwing together every wargaming tree and bush that I own, no matter what sort, and then adding a few fern-leafs to give it more local character. It wouldn’t fool a botanist, but certainly from a distance creates enough of the look and feel of New Zealand.
Out of the bush emerges this warband of Māori warriors. These are the exquisite 28mm figures produced by Empress Miniatures.
Many visitors to my table were flabbergasted that there even existed a range of figures depicting our own history. I imagine there may now be some orders being sent to Empress, judging by the interest being shown by even non-wargamers!
My favourite figure in the whole Empress range is the toa (warrior) standing at the very left of this picture, holding aloft his tewhatewha, the two-handed weapon used for both fighting and signalling during battle. Below its distinctive axe-blade-type head is a bunch of feathers, for confusing an opponent in battle or to help the user signal to his followers.
A group of the vaunted Forest Rangers encounters a war-party at a river ford. The rangers are made by Old Glory. They’re might not be sculpted to the same standard of Empress figures, but they’re all there is at the moment to recreate these iconic troops armed with carbines and Bowie knives.
Standards were not carried in New Zealand, but there are some contemporary pictures of military campsites that include union flags being flown, so I thought it not unreasonable that maybe such a flag could have been informally carried. Anyway, it would’ve been a waste not to include this figure which was in the Perry pack!
A small detachment of cavalry come onto the scene. These could be colonial militia, or perhaps soldiers of the Military Train, who were gathered together into make-shift cavalry units (no actual British cavalry regiments having fought in the New Zealand Wars) .
The Royal Navy are represented on the table, both with artillery (including rockets) and a party of armed sailors.
Sailors were regarded as some of the most effectual fighters during the wars. However, their artillery was often somewhat less effectual against the cleverly designed pa defences of the Māori.
I really like Perry Miniatures’ renditions of the mounted commanders, seen here conversing as a heavily-laden supply wagon trundles past, whilst some sappers are busy on road-work duties in the background.
At headquarters, the general issues his orders to a subordinate, as another officer notes down his words.
One of the army’s Māori scouts takes time out for a contemplative pull on his pipe. He’s also a Perry figure, who I think was supposed to represent a native American, but works just as well as a Māori scout wearing part-uniform.
My table wasn’t the only one we had at the arms fair. My friend Herman put on this wonderful WW2 desert extravaganza.
It basically represented Germans versus French, but with wildly mixed and matched various campaigns of the desert war so as to be able to show off as many models as possible.
Our ethos of not being constrained by exactly which campaign and time period we were fighting gave the flexibility to add in some weird and wonderful units. My recently-painted Panhards even got to make their debut!
Unlike my New Zealand Wars display, we actually played this table as a game during the show. The idea was to demonstrate the structure of how a wargame worked, so we used Bolt Action, but stripped down to the barest possible rules.
We were pleasantly surprised how well such a simplified rule-set still performed! And the punters loved it, as they could easily see how a static diorama could become a living game through use of turns, measuring and dice.
However, things didn’t work out too well for my Panhards!