So, what am I going to build? I hinted at Highlanders and Scots Greys in my first post; let’s look at the models .
Here’s a photo of what I have on hand.
On the upper left are the boxes containing my British infantry. I have two boxes of Victrix “Waterloo British Infantry Center Companies.” Below that is a box of Victrix “Waterloo British Infantry Flank Companies.”
What’s the difference? “Center” and “Flank” companies use slightly different models as these units used slightly different uniforms.
A British Battalion during this era would usually consist of ten Companies. Eight companies would be “Center” Companies and two would be “Flank” companies. The “Flank” companies were designated “Grenadier” and “Light.”
The Grenadiers were to be the strongest and tallest men of the regiment, burly fellows who could hurl grenades at the enemy. Although the grenades themselves had vanished long before the early 19th century the elite status of Grenadiers remained. Light Companies were made up of the best marksmen, and could be deployed as skirmishers.
During the era of the American War of Independence these different types of infantry wore different hats to denote their status. Grenadiers wore tall mitre caps, Light Companies wore a low jockey-style hat, and the line infantry wore tricorn hats. These distinctions disappeared with the adoption of the shako in (roughly) 1799. After this the “Flank” companies showed their status with different colored pom-poms on their hats (white for grenadiers, green for light infantry) and “wing” trim on their shoulders. The models should represent these differences – the “Flank” infantry should have tiny ridges on their shoulders to represent the “wings.” We’ll look at these in detail later.
All told I have 104 “Center” infantry and 52 “Flank” infantry. That is enough for this project. I also have 80 Perry “Line” infantry that I’ll mix in so as to add additional poses, as I find the idea of having hundreds of little soldiers in exactly the same pose to be off-putting. Even though they’re toy soldiers I like to have some variation, as it makes them look a bit more natural to my eye.
I have a comparable number of Highlanders on hand as well. Somehow I ended up with 180 “Center” infantry and 60 “Flank” infantry. The prospect of painting 240 plaid kilts gives me nightmares...
There are also two boxes of Victrix “British Napoleonic Foot Artillery,” enough to give me six guns. Real British brigades (the word “battery” was adopted later) of the era consisted of six guns, five cannons and a howitzer, so this should work out fine.
Next we have the cavalry, roughly forty tiny pewter horses and forty tiny pewter cavalrymen from Perry Bros. These didn’t come in boxes with pretty pictures on the front and I already have started cleaning them, so what you see is what you get.
Finally we have a packet of little standards from War Flags. There are a few in this package, and I’ll describe them in an upcoming post.
How am I going to organize all of these little toy soldiers into an army? What will they represent? Stay tuned and I’ll tell you…