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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Coping with COVID 19 - Work in Progress: Fusilier-Chassuers and 92nd Gordon Highlanders

One of the great things about a hobby like ours, is that it does lend itself well to time spent indoors.  For me time really ceases to have much meaning as there is a bit of a meditative peace as I paint.  It of course doesn't hurt that I am usually nursing a Scotch whiskey towards the end of the day when I am working on these little guys.  :)

Above is a recently finished expansion of the Fusilier-Chasseur battalion, now brought up to full strength and including some NCOs that can be seen in the 1st file with gold shako rims, and decorated with green and red shako cords.

Of course you can't paint figures non stop, and though working at home now, I feel as busy as ever.  With the advent of the shelter at home policies affecting the way we work, it is important to get out and exercise as much as possible.  The governor and mayor have recognized the importance of getting outside and exercising to maintain health and declared that an essential activity.  We try to get out to the parks early in the morning when we are not likely to encounter many other walkers.

 While the communal places are closed, such as picnic shelters and the nature centers, the trails and walkways remain open.

7:00 on a Sunday morning and not another soul to be seen.

 These two goofballs, Bozon and Darla, are unconcerned and simply thrilled to be out on a walk.  I think they have learned to discern the subtle change in our routines that indicate it is a weekend, and look forward to their morning walks - and give voice to their insistence that they get it soon!

 Spring wildflowers are blooming and along the way we encountered an entire hillside covered with Dutchman's Britches (Breeches).

 Bozie and Darla checking their "pee-mail".  They get a lot of messages so have to check frequently.

Warner Parks has closed many of the paved roads to vehicle traffic and these are now lovely walkways lined with beautiful moss covered walls.  These walls were built back in the 30s and 40s as part of the WPA (Works Program Administration) created to get people back to work after the Great Depression.  I have to wonder if we will need a 21st century equivalent after the Pandemic.

 Around the aptly named Bluebell Bend the Bluebells are in full bloom.

There has been lots of rain this Spring so the creeks are full and the park full of the sound of running water (and squirrels and birds!).

One last check of messages and a quick drink before heading home.

Next up - The 92nd Gordon Highlanders!

 The core unit is painted by Dick Tennant and contains 34 immaculately painted figures.  I will be adding two figures to the battalion to bring it up to 36 total figures.  One will be an NCO with a Halbard converted from a DK 188 preparing to fire figure (above), the other a slight DK variant (below - 2nd image) of the standard Hinton Hunt infantry figure (HH BN33, DK 187)

 Here we have a colonel figure ready to have a head transplant from a poor hapless Highlander with a broken rifle.  He will represent Lt Col John Cameron of Fassiefern: raised to Lieutenant-Colonel 23 June 1808; commanded 1/92nd Foot 1809 to 1815; served at Walcheren 1809; served in Peninsula October 1810 to April 1814, wounded four times; commanded brigade in 2nd Division in Peninsula June and July 1813; brevet Colonel 4 June 1814; wounded and thrown from horse at Quatre Bras 1815, died shortly afterwards.


Here is the conversion fodder for both the Gordons and the Black Watch.  I decided the Halbards were a bit too long so they have been shortened from those pictured here.  (left to right - DK 188, 187, 188, 150 and unidentified mounted commander with head transplant)

Here they are primed and the painting has begun!

 These were some of the figures that really cemented my interest in the hobby.  They were pictured in the Bruce Quarrie Airfix guide to Napoleonic Wargaming in black and white glory (below).  The figures are HH BN 37 Highland officer marching, BN 30 Highland officer charging converted to ensign for color bearers, BN 38 Highland Piper, and BN 33 Highland private charging)

Mr. Tennant was able to provide a digital copy of the original photographs of his figures used in the Airfix guide, reproduced here in black and white, though the originals are in color.

There is a lot of work to be done on these that is not readily apparent.  Mostly as is usual, touch up on the ankles and elbows and bonnets, but unfortunately in this case the ankles are often painted in the argyle sock pattern!  Nonetheless I hope to get them done quickly so I can be ready for Rolica when the shelter at home order is lifted!

Best wishes to you all and be safe out there!


  1. Those Chasseurs have all simultaneously spotted something sensational on the right flank! Brilliant work, David.

    The unidentified mounted officer is a DK 50 French General by the looks of him. I converted mine into a Swiss Brigadier, but I think your Cameron is just genius!

    1. WM - You are absolutely correct about the DK code for the mounted officer. They are all coded as a 50 regardless of pose, which is a bit distressing to those of us who care about such things!

      As for the Chasseur-Fusiliers, it is clear that Napoleon is riding by in review of them just off picture to their right...

  2. Lovely figures and countryside!

    1. Thanks Matt. This Spring has been especially beautiful. Seems quite surreal in contrast to all that is going on.

  3. I think it's the moustaches, but your Fusilier-Chasseurs look a grumpy bunch; have you refused to class them A+?
    The Highland commander head-swap looks like it was cast on - great job, any tips? The sergeants with half-pike/spontoon look very good, in fact the figures look better suited to their half-pikes than muskets. But... two in one battalion? On the basis that two halves make a whole (pike) is your subconscious ECW-envy trying to turn them into a pike and shot unit?
    I'm still jealous of both your dogs and your woods - our local park is a poor substitute and borrowing a friend's schnauzer doesn't quite cut the mustard.

    1. The spontoons did look a bit too much like pikes, so maybe you are correct about the ECW envy. Only one for each Battalion though, the second one will be for the Black Watch Highlanders, who are waiting their turn off camera!

    2. An entire highland brigade - you'll be wearing a skirt on your next walk!

    3. As for the head swap it was a simple affair. A sharp pair of snippers to get a clean cut above the collar (flush side of the snippers down), and a similar cut below the chin (flush side up) and a flat file to insure a smooth surface and some super glue is all that it took.

    4. I'm always paranoid about just super-gluing them so drill out a hole in both and use some steel wire to give me peace of mind. Of course having to drill the hole in exactly the same place in each is probably why I have difficulty aligning them sometimes….

    5. I already have a balmoral. It would only take a gentle push to get a kilt, though my wife would disown me! In truth I have always wanted to wear one. I have a friend who kits out for the highland games held in the Southeastern US and I've always been tempted to join him, though he is a beast of a man!

    6. I do that as well Rob, but you are right about getting the holes aligned. When I have enough flat surface area I just go for the super glue, especially on something like a head that is unlikely to get pushed about.

  4. Simple conversions are a great way to make a collection more personal. A head swap, a bit of Millipit and some light dremelling can create something new and unique.

    I have a recast FN224 French mounted Colonel which is going to get a head swap and become a Guard Colonel.

  5. Mark, I couldn't agree more. I just received some shots of lovely Victorian era paintings as a reference for Lt. Colonel Cameron, and realized I have some more customization to do. Out with the green stuff!