Irish contingent joins the Barryat of Lyndonia’s army

Meet the Regiment di Balibari, the latest foreign unit to join the forces of my 18th century ‘imagi-nation’, the Barryat of Lyndonia.

Back when I was a schoolboy, one of the first wargaming books I ever read was ‘Charge! Or How to Play Wargames’ by Brigadier Peter Young and Lieutenant-Colonel J Lawford.

I still vividly remember being entranced by the picture on the back cover showing a close-up view of a line of red-coated soldiers. Behind them stood an elegant officer carrying what appeared to my untutored eye to be a green Union Jack. To one side waited a drummer, resplendent in his green and gold coat.

Ever since, this little group has represented to me the ultimate in 18th century sartorial military fashion. It is only a wonder that it has taken me nigh on half a century to finally replicate these childhood heroes in miniature!

Crann Tara Miniatures do a beautiful range of charging French infantry. I thought their action pose would be great to represent the fighting élan of an Irish regiment. So in went my order, which arrived in New Zealand from the UK quite quickly despite COVID.

This shot of the first few figures I painted shows the incredible detail, anatomy and posing of this range. Even un-based, they look amazing.

As with most of my more recent units, I used Games Workshop’s Contrast paints for this project. I love the way these paints flow, and the automatic shadows and highlights they provide.

In my previous style of painting, I would have started with the basic uniform colour first, and then built up the detail and clothing. However, I have now reversed this, and after a undercoat of Wraithbone, I now paint all the equipment in first, as you can see with the two figures on the left of the picture above. I leave the main uniform colour (in this case, red) till almost the last step. The Contrast paint flows into the gaps beautifully, and disguises any overflows from painting the equipment.

The flag that I thought was a green Union Jack was actually the flag of a real Irish regiment in French service, the Regiment de Berwick. However, instead of the straight lines of the diagonal St Andrew’s cross depicted on the book cover, most versions I have seen of this regiment’s flag have a wavy cross.

Also, the real Berwick had black cuffs and facings, whereas the figures in the picture appeared to have green.

So in true imagi-nation style, I decided my regiment would be fictional. And thus was born the Regiment di Balibari. This name comes from the Chevalier de Balibari, who in the novel and movie ‘Barry Lyndon’ is an itinerant professional gambler whom the Prussians suspect is an Irish spy in the service of the Austrians. He uses the Italian name ‘Balibari’ instead of his true Irish family name ‘Ballybarry’.

To represent that all-important ‘green Union Jack’, I bought a set of paper Berwick flags from Flags of War. I did think about trying to amend the St Andrews cross to match the cover photo from ‘Charge!’, but in the end I decided this was too difficult and stuck with the wavy cross on the Flags of War products.

I painted the drummers in green coats with gold trim, as per the book cover image. I think in the real Irish regiments in French service the drummers actually wore red like the men. But this is an imaginary unit, so I can follow my own rules!

Here’s a back-view of the regiment. You can see two of my four NCOs following the line to make sure no-one falls behind.

I really like the simple style of coats that haven’t been turned back. And they make painting so much easier too!

The regiment consists of 54 rank-and-file, divided into three companies of 18 figures, each company having two ranks of 9. This is fewer companies than a real regiment would have had, but matches the organisation in ‘Charge!’.

Each company has a frontage of 12cms. This does mean the figures are packed in quite tightly, almost shoulder-to-shoulder. But I think this looks more realistic than widely-spaced figures.

Click on the image above to get an impression of what the regiment’s full 36cms of frontage looks like – and that isn’t even counting the three drummers to the side!

So, what’s next for the Barryat of Lyndonia? Well, surely any imagi-nation gamer worth their salt would want to have the unit on the front cover of Charge! – the Erbprinz Regiment in their Prussian grenadier-style mitres, resplendent in light-blue and scarlet uniforms. Watch this space!

My latest article in Wargames Illustrated

I’ve been lucky enough to have another article published in ‘Wargames Illustrated’. I submitted a piece for their ‘Quick Fire’ series, and was chuffed to see it appear in Issue 397 (January 2021).

In the short article I describe how when photographing miniatures, there’s a real thrill when every now and then one of the pictures unexpectedly stands out from the rest.

The article is accompanied by some examples of what I call my ‘serendipitous photographs’ – pictures that I think came out particularly well, despite no extra effort on my part.

The limitations of a hard-copy magazine mean the published pictures are quite small. So, for anyone who may be interested, here they are full-size (click on the pics to expand).

I liked the way that the trees in my garden accidently came out looking like a castle on a hill overshadowing this unit of Landsknechts. (Warlord Games)

There’s more info on this unit in my old posting: https://arteis.wordpress.com/2020/06/02/lockdown-landsknechts/

This is probably my favourite photo – a recreation of Philippoteaux’s famous painting of the Battle of Fontenoy. (Crann Tara and Minden Miniatures)

There’s more info on the original painting and my diorama version in this posting on my blog: https://arteis.wordpress.com/2020/01/31/at-last-my-favourite-painting-in-miniature/

British and French third-rate ships-of-the-line battle it out, as a Spanish brig circles warily. This photo was taken with a simple hand-painted sky background, and sitting on the paper sea that comes with the Warlord ‘Black Seas’ starter set. (Warlord Games)

You can find out more about these models in this old posting: https://arteis.wordpress.com/2019/11/08/black-seas-fleets-finished/

A battalion of French light infantry marches forward in the moonlight. (Front Rank)

This is a really old picture. I recall I added in the ‘moon’ using a graphics programme, as the lighting of this photo came out by chance looking just like moonlight (well, I thought so anyway!).

There’s more info on this unit in this old posting: https://arteis.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/tartanish-and-thunderbirdish-napoleonics/

Māori warriors from the colonial New Zealand Wars perform a fierce haka (war-dance) in the face of the enemy. (Empress Miniatures)

There’s more info on this unit here: https://arteis.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/photos-of-finished-colonial-new-zealand-wars-figures-and-terrain/

A pre-war colonial French column of Panhard armoured cars arrives in an oasis village. (Mad Bob Miniatures)

Below is the same picture, but with some special effects to make it into an old-fashioned snapshot. 

You can read more about these models here: https://arteis.wordpress.com/2020/02/15/motorised-foreign-legion-security-patrol-in-1930s-morocco/

On parade! The Barryat of Lyndonia’s artillery contingents

In Part 8 of this series of postings in which I am reviewing the armies of my ‘imagi-nation’, the Barryat of Lyndonia, it’s time to take a look at the artillery contingents.

As described in Part 1, rather than having its own army, this imaginary eighteenth century state contracts its troops from real-life European countries of the time.

The artillery contingents come from Britain and France – which has no doubt led to many a fisticuffs argument in local hostelries when carousing gunners from these two habitual enemies run into each other!

The French gun and limber are made by Fife and Drum Miniatures (also available from UK company Crann Tara Miniatures).

Apart from the horses, they are all painted with GW’s wonderful Contrast paints (which have truly revolutionised my style and speed of painting).

I’ve chosen to paint the guns red, which means they are from the mid-part of the eighteenth century, as the French later converted to blue. I reckon the red looks more dramatic!

Whilst the gun crew are all glued onto the base, I’ve kept the gun itself removable so it can be attached to the limber if I wish to portray the piece on the move.

The number of horses is really just representative, as I think this would be far too much a load for just two horses to haul!

And here’s the British Royal Artillery contingent. This model also comes from Crann Tara Miniatures.

Gunners normally wore quite subdued uniforms (maybe due to how they could get so worn and dirty working the guns). But the British bucked this trend, and festooned their Royal Artillery’s uniforms with lashings of lace and piping.

I thought all this decoration would be quite hard to paint, but the Contrast paints almost did the job by themselves, with just the barest modicum of precision on my part!

I particularly like the British officer with his crimson sash, whom you can see on the left of the above photo.

Note the civilian driver on the right. During his period armies hired civilians to lug their guns about. Once in battle, I bet many drivers would’ve scarpered off, leaving the guns pretty well fixed in place.

Again, the gun can be attached to its limber.

British guns were painted a grey-blue. I must admit I didn’t get the shade quite right on the gun, compared to the limber. Maybe the gun is older and has faded in the sun!

Whilst painting the big guns, I also took the opportunity to re-base the smaller battalion guns that I had painted several years ago.

Battalion guns were the small-calibre cannon that formed integral parts of some individual infantry units.

Here we see the battalion gun of Gale’s Regiment of Foot, supporting the advance of the company of grenadiers.

These figures are by Minden Miniatures.

And here’s the battalion gun of le Régiment des Royal-Cravates.

Battalion guns were often manned by infantrymen from the regiment, rather than actual artillerists, which is why these gunners are in white rather than French Artillerie blue.

Go back to Part 7 of this series: the Truchseß Dragoons.

On parade! Le Régiment des Gardes Françaises

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Go forward to Part 6 of this series: the Lynden Hussars

Go back to Part 4 of this series: Infanterie-Regiment Kubrick

The most boring uniform of the 18th century?

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!

Barry Lyndon and friends

Meet Barry Lyndon, governor of my 18th century imagi-nation, the Barryat of Lyndonia (see ‘Wargames Illustrated’ issue#385, November 2019), as he leaves his chateau to go for a stroll with his friends. 

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.

Volontaires Étrangers de Clermont Prince

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!

The [French] caissons go rollin’ along …

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When I attended the Partizan wargaming show in the UK last year (back in those heady days when one could still travel abroad!), I made an impulse purchase of three wooden kits of Napoleonic French caissons and wagons.

I’d never made any wooden vehicles before, and thought they would probably be quite crude. So when I got back to New Zealand they were placed in a drawer and promptly forgotten. They probably wouldn’t have seen the light of day again, but then along came the Covid-19 lockdown, and I found myself scraping the bottom of my lead mountain for projects to occupy myself with. Then I remembered these little kits.

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And how utterly and completely wrong I was with my prediction that these would be crude models! In fact , these models by Warbases turned out to be exquisite little miniatures. They went together beautifully, and were cleverly designed with very few of the visible joints that mar so many MDF kits.

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I spray-painted then dark green, then dry-brushed them with a lighter green. I then just had to paint the wheel rims and, hey presto, the caissons were done!

I happened to have four very old Hinchliffe draft horses that someone gave me years and years ago, so I quickly painted them up – so now I had some motive power for at least two of my new wagons. Although a little on the small side, they work OK.

I also borrowed the driver from the Perry Miniatures supply wagon (which you can see in the background).

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The wagons are based on the same ingenious system that Lieutenant General Jean Baptiste Vaquette de Gribeauval developed for the real French artillery, where the front wheels formed a separate limber to which any cart or gun could be attached. This means that by removing the caissons from the front wheel assemblies, I now have three limbers that can sit behind  my artillery pieces if I want.

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Unfortunately the guns were painted many years ago, so aren’t removable from their bases to attach to the limbers. But limbered-up artillery don’t feature often in my games anyway.

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One of my wagons is a mobile field forge. This comes with a stand for when the front wheel assembly is removed, presumably so the farrier can move unobstructed round his furnace. I based the little stand separately, so I could either have the forge on its wheels or on the stand.

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I already owned one other limber in my collection (another old Hinchliffe model). I found I could put one of my new caissons behind this limber. Although the Hinchliffe wheels are a bit small, the overall effect is fine.

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With these models, it is now actually possible to envisage the long tail of equipment that sat behind an artillery battery: guns to limbers to caissons to support wagons. So often in wargames we see a battery of artillery as a kind of narrow line of guns, whereas this shows that other units moving too closely behind their artillery would be disrupted by all the ancillary equipment.

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At the same time as I painted my wooden caissons and forge, I also painted two metal Crann Tara Miniatures limbers for my 18th century imagi-nation, the Barryat of Lyndonia. This certainly shows how the design and horse furniture for limbers changed in less than a hundred years.

But now the bottom of the lead mountain looms yet again!

Finally, on a more sombre but much more important note, here’s the latest animation about Covid-19 from my heroes scientist Siouxsie Wiles and cartoonist Toby Morris. Whilst (as at writing this) we have had only four deaths in New Zealand, the nature of this coronavirus means that we need to steel ourselves for more tough news in the coming weeks. That should only firm our resolve to keep to the lockdown.

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A HUGE battalion of Gardes Françaises

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Phew, 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!

They depict Le Régiment des Gardes Françaises, an infantry regiment of the Military Household of the King of France under the 18th century Ancien Régime.

These Gardes Françaises will join my ‘imagi-nation of the Barryat of Lyndonia (which featured in Wargames Illustrated 385, Nov 2019).  I just have to come up with a good back-story of why they are there!

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My favourite figure in this unit has to be the stately officer saluting with his hat.  Crann Tara Miniatures have really excelled with the sculpting, anatomy and posture, perfectly conveying the image of  the archetypal 18th century gentleman officer.

I’ve 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!

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Behind the ranks you can see (left) an NCO keeping his men in place with his spontoon, (centre) the colour party carrying the splendid flags of this regiment, and (right) the mounted colonel – he’s actually a borrowed Minden Miniatures general, but he’ll do as the colonel at a pinch.

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At the left of this picture there’s another NCO marching along carrying his spontoon.  In the centre are the three drummers, wearing their intricately laced uniforms (a real challenge to paint!).

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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.

The unit looks pretty impressive when the camera pans along the whole line, with its frontage of nearly half a metre. 

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… and here they are from the rear, flags fluttering and the colonel commanding his men from horseback.

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Before I based these figures, I arranged them for a photo-shoot to recreate my favourite military painting, Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux’s The Battle of Fontenoy, 1745: The French and the Allies Confronting Each Other. You can see more pictures of this recreated painting here.

 

Painting Crann Tara’s 1/56th Gardes Françaises

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Being a public holiday today, I just couldn’t resist starting to paint some of the Crann Tara figures of the Gardes Françaises that I mentioned in my post yesterday about recreating my favourite battle painting.

These truly are exquisite figures. Getting close up with them during the painting process, I marveled at the complex undercuts and the fine detail. There was no guesswork required as to where each strap, belt and buckle was going, or how swords fitted under the clothing, as is so often the case with less finely sculpted figures.

I used GW Contrast paints  for the first time on these figures, instead of my normal black undercoat method. Working with a light undercoat was new to me, and I must say found it quite unforgiving of missed areas of painting.

But the Contrast paints themselves worked really well. I love the way they flow so beautifully, and create their own shading. The faces in particular have worked well, with no other painting required.

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The drummers’ lace was every bit as difficult as I had anticipated! Mind you, it was beautifully sculpted, and with a more exacting painting style, would probably respond really well.  However, even with my quick and ready style, I still manged to create a fair impression of the royal lace, especially at wargaming table distance.

I found the cravattes and tassels for the flag-poles in my spares box. They are somewhat out-of-scale, so I will have to replace them in due course.

Now, just a few NCOs and then 54 privates to go!