Saturday, July 9, 2011

More Recruits for the 83rd Foot

I completed the first two companies of 12 figures last weekend and have a decent start on the third company and the colour party. So I should have about 40 figures completed by the end of this weekend.

Now that I have a few figures done, I am starting to think about how the regiment should be organized. The initial plan is to have 6 centre companies of 12 figures (72 in total) plus a 8 figure colour party (two ensigns, two colour sergeants and four drummers) for a centre company total of 80 figures. Then there would be two flank companies, comprising the grenadier and light companies with 12 figures each, for a grand total of 104 figures in the regiment.

Now that is a lot of figures by any reckoning, especially given that we are using a 1:10 figure to man ratio. That means that I will initially have a full strength regiment with 1,040 effectives, which is far more men than any regiment would have had in the Peninsula. The idea is that there will be an attrition of the regiment over the course of the campaign through casualties, sickness, desertion, etc. (see our Campaign Attrition post for the details). My sense though is that a British regiment in Spain would probably have no more than 600 men, or 60 figures, at any time. If I wanted to employ the actual 10 company organization, then that might translate into 6 figure companies (6 x 10 = 60 figures) plus maybe 4-6 figures in the colour party, just for show.

Using 60+ figures might be a better option for several reasons: (1) it means fewer figures to paint, and (2) the need to deploy the regiment in two ranks, instead of three, means that the regiment's frontage will be huge no matter how many figures are eventually used.

On the other hand, the advantage of starting with 104 figures include (1) it would look really, really cool! , (2) it is the number of lead castings that I actually have on hand, and (3) the regiment will inevitably reduce to a more manageable size through attrition.

Let's look at the frontage issue. I am basing the figures on 3/4" metal stands and attaching them to magnetized movement trays made from MDF and magnetic sheet. For a 12 figure company in two ranks, the 6 figure frontage would be at least 4.5" (the actual base is closer to 4.75"). Thus the six centre companies that I had originally planned on painting would occupy a space of at least 27". Add in the two flank companies and the total frontage expands to 36", or one foot, in length. Now we have a 20 foot long table at General Pettygree's house, but still, a yard's worth of frontage takes up a lot of space. In contrast, a French battalion of 72 figures in three ranks only takes up 18" of frontage when deployed into line.

Let's suppose that I reduce the regiment to 10 companies of 8 figures, or 80 figures. I have enough castings on hand to create all 10 companies at a smaller size. The company stand would thus have a frontage of 4 figures or 3" in width. Thus 10 companies in line occupy a space of 30", which appears to be a more manageable figure. Also, 80 figures is closer to the theoretical strength of a brand spanking new regiment, but still a bit large.

If I went for the 60 figure regiment at the start, using 6 figures per company over 10 companies, would produce a regimental frontage of at least 22.5". Let's round that up to 24" for argument's sake. Thus the options are as follows:

104 figures = 36"
80 figures = 30"
60 figures = 24"

I'm thinking that the third option is probably the most playable and it would still look good. However, I think that I will keep painting the figures as if I were sticking with the first option. Given that the magnetic movement tray system gives me the flexibility to change the organization to any size, simply by changing the size of the movement tray, it probably makes sense to paint the maximum number of figures and then sort it out later. Also, there is nothing to say that we have to use all of the figures in a particular game. Maybe the scenario calls for a couple of companies of the 83rd going on a mission with a company or two of 95th Rifles, while the rest of the regiment remains at the barracks.

Terrain Items

Later today I will post some pictures of the Herb Gundt buildings that he made for me in the early 1990s. They look pretty nifty. I have 8 Gundt buildings plus one larger church and cemetary that he made, plus one Ian Weekley resin Spanish building that I painted. Herb also made a lot of wall sections, so I can make any number of enclosures around each building for added flexibility.

Closing in on 300,000 visitors

I would expect that we will hit the 300,000 milestone at some point today. As of last night we were within about 200 clicks of reaching that level. Wow, that is really impressive and I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to visit my potpouri of ideas, thoughts and pictures over the past three plus years. Update: as of 11AM CST in Chicago, the count was up to 299,940 so we only need 60 more hits to reach 300,000. I only wish that there was some way to identify who the magic visitor was so that I could make a gift to him or her in some fashion, a painted general or something like that.

More SYW Figures Upcoming
After I finish the next two companies of the 83rd (48 in total), I shall go back to painting some of the Minden SYW figures that are accumulating in my Closet O' Lead, notably some Austrian dragoons and hussars. Plus, the new Minden Prussian and Austrian high command figures should be arriving within a week or two and I imagine that I will drop everything and tackle those figures immediately, upon their arrival.


  1. Jim, Der Alte,
    When I read the three volume first-person magnum opus of Knox about the French and Indian War, he invariably mentioned detachments. Ditto for Bougainville in his memories.
    A battalion of say 500 men would shrink to less for a battle simply because some soldiers were far away or close -- but -- detached. For example, at the battle of The Plains of Abraham in 1759, none of the French grenadiers were with Montcalm. Also, hundreds of miles away besieged at Fort Niagara, were detachments of French soldiers from several battalions whilst their battalion brothers were at Quebec.
    Back to the 83rd. Perhaps a company or two might be detached elsewhere (off table) guarding a bridge or simply doing something else off table a few miles or a hundred miles away. Later as the battalion suffers attrition, detachments can be a source of personnel replenishment.
    I'm not saying you should do this at all. However, when I read Knox and Bougainville I was astonished at the number of soldiers on duty elsewhere when a battle took place.
    Tally Ho!

  2. I do believe I am the 300,000th participant in your great adventure. Best regards on your success...

  3. The winner arrived at 1:57PM CST-Chicago time and Sitemeter lists all of the users info as "unknown "

  4. Fritz,

    Might I advise you to set some figures aside for a second battalion as while obviously the French are the enemy, you will need some "baddies" in redcoats as well - the dreaded rivals of the 83rd.

    Whomsoever they may be.