Friday, October 22, 2010

British Dragoons for the SYW

My recent painting output includes a squadron of RSM British 3rd Dragoon Guard (left) and some Suren 2nd Horse (later 1st Dragoon Guards) on the right. Click picture to enlarge.

I have been working on some additions to my small contingent of SYW British cavalry for use in our Batailles de l'Ancien Regime (or "BAR") games, over the past week or two. Goodness knows that my redcoats need all the help that they can get, as they are heavily outnumbered by the mighty legions of France. In fact, our combined British forces (from Bill, Randy and I ) are competitive on the infantry side of the ledger, but they are vastly outnumbered when it comes to cavalry. Add in the fact that I sold all of my conventional British cavarly forces (i.e. multi-figure basing per stand versus single figure mounting for BAR), and you can see how hard pressed the redcoated cavalry shall be.

Here are five squadrons of British SYW cavalry - it's all that I have at this time, 60 figures sorted into squadrons of 12 figures. From left to right, 3rd DG, Household Horse Grenadiers, and three sqds of the 2nd Horse (War of Austrian Succession) or 1st Dragoon Guards (SYW designation). The kettle drummer is a Front Rank figure mounted on an Elite Miniatures horse.

So as of today, I have five squadrons of 12 figure, or 60 figures total for my British cavalry contingent. For comparison, Bill's single regiments of the Carabiniers and Gensdarmes are 60 figures each. It will be a slaughter until I can even up the sides. Eventually, I will add three squadrons of The Blues (the old 2nd Horse), a squadron of Stadden Lifeguards for the Household Brigade, and several 2-squadron dragoon regiments. Randy already has The Greys (2nd Royal North British Dragoons) so I will not be adding that unit.

If you double click the picture above, take a closer look at some of the figures. The kettle drummer and officer in the blue cloak are Front Rank figures. The mounted drummer is an Elite Miniatures figure, and the rest of the regiment are Suren castings. Some flags from The Flag Dude are resting against the horses awaiting a true standard bearer to hold them. I just wanted to see how the standards look with the unit.

The squadron of figures wearing mitres are the two troops of Household Horse Grenadiers, or enough to make one squadron of guard cavalry. These are Stadden figures. I also have, unpainted, the Life Guards in tricorns, also made by Stadden. One day I hope to get them painted too.

Next in line, on the left, are some smaller RSM figures that I painted this past week. I have been painting some of the rarely seen RSM British Dragoons Charging and I really like the way that they turned out. The poses are very dynamic, even more so if you mix in the charging horses with legs bunched and legs stretched out, as shown in the picture below:

Close up view of the 3rd DG with RSM figures and regimental flag from Rick, The Flag Dude. The officer with sword, on the right, is mounted on a Connoisseur H6 horse, while the rest of the riders are mounted on RSM horses. I like to mix in different brands of horses to mix things up a bit.

I have to finish two more troopers to bring the first squadron up to 12 figures. The second squadron is primed, in grey, and ready for painting over the weekend. Hopefully, I will have both squadrons ready in time for our BAR game on October 30th. It will be a British versus French battle, somewhere in western Germany. I am kind of looking forward to this game, even though I expect to get stomped by the French. The British have never won a battle in all of our BAR games played since 2005.

Even though there is a school of thought that the British cavalry regiments did not take their colours into battle, I believe that a cavalry unit does not look complete unless it carries its colours into battle. I did not want to hand paint them, so I called up Rick O'Brien, a.k.a. The Flag Dude and order flags for the 3rd DG and the 1st DG. For the 3rd, I already had the flag pole glued into the hand of the RSM cavalry officer so I needed a flag with out the pole.

Rick obliged by providing it, sans pole, with the sleeve open. So I merely had to slide the flag onto the existing pole. This is really great, because for some figures, such as this particular RSM officer, the hand is too tiny to be able to glue a pole on after priming and painting. I had to drill a small hole into the boot of the officer, so that the pole was affixed to two different touch points, providing greater strength.

The flag for the 1st DF is one of Rick's standard flag-on-pole-with-crinkly-flag. When I flag the 1st DG, I will have to paint new flag bearers, but drill a hole into their hand and insert the flag pole into the hand hole. The Suren figures that I am using have more metal to work with, so it is easier to use the completed flag set that Rick provides. I really like the flags and intend to use more of them. Oh, by the way, he also includes flag cords painted in the appropriate color when you order the flag and pole set. The open sleeve flag does not come with cords since you have to attach everything anyway.

British cavalry reinforcements are being recruited and trained at the depot. On the table: the first two squadrons of The Blues. These are Elite Miniatures British Dragoon Guards from the SYW range. The swords have been clipped off and replaced with soldered-on pin swords. Ouch!


  1. Very nicely done indeed! It may be time for the British to strut their stuff and give the frogs a good thrashing...

  2. Very nice figure painting as always . . . and cannot your various Germanic allies provide some cavalry to help even things out? Historically they did, didn't they?

    -- Jeff

  3. You are correct Jeff. I have used my 5 sqds of Prussian dragoons and 5 sqds of Prussian hussars in past games. But since Bill insists on having all of his cavalry wearing cuirasses, the Allied cav always get clobbered in melees because cuirassiers save on 3-6 while everything else saves on 4-6. It doesn't sound like much, but it is a huge advantage. We are going to tweak the rules to allow British heavy Horse regiments the same save rolls as the cuirassiers. I would prefer to just have everyone have the same save roll and not give cuirassiers such an advantage.