A military parade of the entire army of my ‘imagi-nation’, the Barryat of Lyndonia, has been long overdue. But today a combination of being on childcare duty at home whilst my wife works, and some lovely autumn light for picture-taking, inspired me to set out all the 1/56th scale Minden Minatures figures I’ve painted so far.
To fill in those who don’t know about the Barrayat of Lyndonia (ie nearly everybody in the world), it is an imaginary nation – or ‘imagi-nation’ – I’ve created for my wargaming army, based on the Stanley Kubrick movie, Barry Lyndon.
The Barryat does not recruit its own army, but instead contracts regiments from other states in Europe – which provides the backstory to allow me to mix and match whatever real-life nations’ units I wish.
Instead of pursuing historical accuracy when painting my figures, I’ve attempted as much as I can to depict my soldiers as they appear in the movie, historical inaccuracies and all. Therefore when some expert in military history tells me that the turn-backs on my Prussians should be red, not white, or that they can’t possibly have those three flags together in one regiment, I can point out my figures aren’t representing real Prussians, but rather Kubrick’s take on them.
So, for your delectation, on with the photos of the military review (don’t forget to click on the pics to see them in their full glory):
The guests of honour are some famous personalities from nearby real-life countries, including the Prussian King Frederick the Great and the Austrian Prince Charles of Lorraine. Also present are a number of the local gentry and their ladies.
A long line of red emerges from the trees, as Gale’s Regiment of Foot, a fictional regiment from the movie, approaches the parade ground. By the way, I think that the above picture is especially cool when clicked on to bring it up to full size.
After having marched onto the parade ground in line, they’ve now deployed into column of companies (my infantry regiments have three companies per regiment). Headed by Lt Colonel Charles Gale, the 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.
The movie depicts the drummers wearing tricornes instead of mitre caps, but I’ve kept to the latter because I like their mitres so much – and because that is the way the Minden drummers come.
In the movie, the regiment has no grenadiers, but I have added these, again simply because I like their colourful and intricate mitres so much – and what better reason could there be than that?! They were tricky to paint, but I think the final effect is worth the effort, and they’re my favourite figures in the whole army.
Somewhere in the ranks will be Private Redmond Barry, the main character in Barry Lyndon. 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, and Lieutenants Jonathon and Freddie will later provide him with an intriguing opportunity for Barry to improve his status in life (you’ll need to see the movie to find out exactly how this happens!).
Following Gale’s Regiment of Foot, the Régiment de Royal-Cravates enters the field. In the movie, this is the French regiment that Barry faces in his first taste of battle, “only 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 in the movie goes on to say that though this encounter is not recorded in any history book, it was memorable enough for those who took part.
The drummers in their royal livery were tricky to paint, with all that red and white lace. But I’m pleased how they came out in the end.
Whilst un-named in the movie, in the original 1844 William Makepeace Thackeray novel, the French regiment that Barry marches against is called the Régiment de Royal-Cravates, so that is who they are in the Barrayat of Lyndonia.
The Barryat of Lyndonia’s French regiment replicates the incorrect facings and flags as per the movie. The flags are actually those of two real French regiments, the Grenadiers Royaux and the Régiment de Flandre, yet the uniform facing colours are incorrect for both.
The last foot battalion onto the parade ground is the Kubrick Infanterie Regiment, led by Captain Potzdorf on his distinctive white horse. The movie doesn’t name this Prussian regiment, which Barry is forced to join after being captured as a deserter. So in the Barryat army it is named in honour of the movie’s famous director, Stanley Kubrick. I hope he looks down on this with approval!
OK, so the movie doesn’t have any grenadiers in mitre caps. But, like Gale’s Regiment of Foot, I really wanted some of those smart-looking guys, so I’ve conjectured how Kubrick would have shown them, had he wanted to. Basically, they’re the same as his somewhat inaccurate Prussian musketeers, but wearing mitre caps instead of tricornes.
The movie’s inaccuracies are all faithfully recreated! The soldiers’ coats have the wrong coloured turnbacks, they wear incorrectly coloured straps, and carry mismatched flags (the orange, black and white flags in the movie are actually from three different real-life Prussian regiments).
The sound of jingling bridles and trotting hooves announce the arrival of the only cavalry regiment in the Lyndonian army, the Truchseß Dragoons. This regiment is the first unit that veers away from the movie. While there were some small numbers of rather plainly-dressed Prussian cavalrymen in some scenes in Barry Lyndon, I went for the real-life Prussian Truchseß Dragoons merely because of their splendid light blue and pink uniforms. Another perfectly good reason!
In the finale, the whole army masses behind the two guns of the Barryat of Lyndonia army as they prepare to fire a salute. The French gun in the foreground is modelled on one that appears briefly in the movie.
The gunners in the movie wear the standard white infantry coats rather than the blue and red French artillery uniforms. This is actually correct, because small battalion guns such as these were manned by men assigned from the regiment, not Royal Artillery gunners. I’ve done the same with the British gun, manning it with crew assigned from Gale’s Regiment of Foot.
The visiting Prussian king, Frederick the Great, is so impressed with the turnout of the Barryat of Lyndonia army that he has instructed his hussar general, von Zeithen, to write a note of congratulations, which the latter is now handing to a courier to convey post-haste to the Lyndonian palace.