Monday, January 2, 2017

SYW Highlanders for the Challenge

Forgive me father, it's been over a month since my last post.  In that time I have survived end of term, exams, a business trip to New Orleans, a bad cold and the holiday season.  Oh and I also entered the latest edition of Curt's Painting Challenge.  The plan is for 800 points (equivalent to 160 28mm foot figures) before the Spring Equinox.

First post for me in this year’s Challenge, late to the game but I really didn’t start painting until Boxing Day.  December 20th brought not only the start of the Challenge, but my mother in law, my daughter home from Uni and a pile of papers courtesy of the final exam for my Financial Mathematics students.

I got fairly well organized (for me) this year and figs prepped and primed and set to go on the day and actually started three different projects on the morning of the 26th.  These 5 SYW 28mm Highlanders are the first project off the production line.  The figs are from the Perry Brothers, from their AWI range.  I love these figs and have morphed several packs into SYW units when possible.  The Highlander uniform didn’t change much between 1763 and 1775 so this was an easy morph.  I filed off the shoulder wings and that was it.  There are some other anachronisms but they don’t stand out much.  The AWI uniform had lapels on where the SYW uniform had none on thars, but they had heavy lace and the actual lapels underneath don’t stand out when the lace is painted.  The cuffs on the figs are probably not quite right too, but uniform info on the SYW is much sketchier than later periods and invites a lot of free interpretation.

I did this group of 5 as a test group before going Full Monty (or Full Sylvain which may be more appropriate) on the unit.  The plan is to build a fully British force for Sharp Practice using new figures, during the Challenge.   I have FIW figures for a British force already but they are old and many of the figures I used are problematic.

Overhead view
It had been 15 years since I did a unit of highlanders and this was the first time I’d painted the great kilt as opposed to the small kilt or trews of the colonial era figs.  I am pretty happy with the results, and quite pleased with both the kilts and the red and white hose.  For the tartans I go fairly minimalist approach, going for the right look from 2 feet away or more.  

As for the unit, the British Army raised several highland regiments for the SYW, which were disbanded at the end of the conflict.  The regiments were shipped to North America, the Caribbean, India and two were sent to Germany.  The 87th Foot (Keith’s Highlanders) was raised in 1759 and a detachment shipped to Germany later that year.  The Colonel was a relative of the Prussian Field Marshall Kieth. 

Close up of the Officer

To quote the excellent Krosnokraf site (the goto site for SYW info, do your self a favour and get lost there for a while):

In 1760, Ferdinand of Brunswick was so pleased by these Highlanders that he requested to complete the initial detachment to a full regiment. Accordingly, 5 additional companies were raised at Perth and shipped to Germany to join the 3 former companies.

Highland units were used as a light troops or raiders. The men received little formal training other than to advance with the bayonet. The soldier's backgrounds, extensive cattle raiding in the Highlands, made them well suited to their role in Germany. The unit was often combined with the 88th Campbell or Highland Volunteers and both were heavily engaged in petite guerre operations gaining a fearsome reputation. 

I find it interesting how the highlanders were used in different theatres.  In North America (and I expect other colonial theatres) irregulars were common and they were used as line infantry.  But in Western Germany regular infantry were a dime a dozen and it was irregulars that were needed.  It’s kind of like the Highlanders were not quite European, but more civilized than North Americans!

Bad lighting but a front on view