Friday, 2 January 2009

Union Brigade

Here are some shots of my Union Brigade taken during the recent troop review. This unit is my current favourite due to the rather pleasing splash of colour it makes when set out on the table. It’s not strictly speaking historically correct but it does consist of English (The Blues), Scottish (The Grey’s) and Irish (The Inniskillings) elements combined under the famous General Ponsonby.

I was very interested to read some of the comments re the film Waterloo left on my Sir William Ponsonby post. The film had a great influence on me back in 1970 when it came out, prompting me to go and buy loads of boxes of the Airfix British and French figures that were being released at about the same time. I knew there was no way I was going to be able to paint them all so I left them in bare plastic and mounted them on balsa wood bases painted red (for the British) or blue (for the French). They sidelined my Hinton’s for a while and took part in several battles including Waterloo played out on my bedroom floor.

Tony’s comment that the scene in the film of the French cavalry charge had to be shot three times is fascinating. I always wondered why the film makers never bothered to find a piece of ground that resembled an actual ridge but if they’d already had to move everyone twice before it makes sense. It was a great film though and nothing like it is ever likely to be made again using live extras – computer generated soldiers will always do just what the Director says. If you look at the amazing battle effects in films like Prince Caspian (one of my Christmas acquisitions) or Gods & Generals the next generation of historical war films should be well worth watching!


Anonymous said...

Fantastic stuff.
As for the squares breaking in the film, if you watch the aerial shots where the French cavalry are filmed running around the squares...the top right one does indeed break!

P.S. My first Naps are now on show-time to sit back with a Brandy in my "Callan" armchair!!!!!

Stryker said...

Matt - I'm going to have to hunt out the DVD and have a look at that!

PS. I've added a link to your Hinchcliffe Napoleonics blog.


rpardo said...

I like "The blues"
Happy New Year!

The Old Metal Detector said...

Hi Ian, don't know if I should mention this after your Voltigeur painting experience, but this figure is one of the ones for which Roy has sent me copies of the Hinton Hunt painting instructions, and which I have posted on the Hinton Hunter.

The figures look fantastic - your painting style fits them very well and brings the best out of the figures



Stryker said...

Curses, not again!!! I'm going to have to leave Ponsonby alone as I really can't keep repainting my figures. I'm pretty much right except that he should have brown fur on his coat (I actually did paint it brown and then decided to do grey when I found the illustration shown on my Ponsonby post!). I will however faithfully follow Hinton's instructions for Picton.

If anybody else has any original HH painting instruction sheets please send scans to Clive at the Hinton Hunter to help avoid me making any further mistakes!


lewisgunner said...

Yes, it would be really neat if any of the original painting instructions could go to the Hinton Hunter. I have about 30 more to send including some colonials. As Clive's site is so comprehensive it would be good to mqake it a systematic repository of HH information, a sort of online museum to Marcus'work in true 25mm.

lewisgunner said...

'I say Ponsonby that old fur on your riding coat has gone a bit grey .Has Lady P washed it on too hot a setting?'

The Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

Stryker said...

"Why, it is very hot indeed my Lord but I fear that poor old Uxbridge has just lost a leg."

"By God sir, so he has - must be one of those dodgy pirate castings!"

lewisgunner said...

Ah So Ponsonby, I see that Mr Cunningham has already listed him as 'BN252(a) Leiut Gen the Earl of Uxbridge with one leg'

He never misses an opportunity to expand the range.

MSFoy said...


Reluctant to say any more on the subject of breaking squares, but thought I might add a bit of detail. I saw the film at its (British?) premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival (in 1970, I guess). All sorts of speeches and general film lovey behaviour - not many celebs present - Plummer was there, I think. One man who was present was the real life British Army pipe major who appears in the film - since he only had to come from Redford Barracks they could probably afford his bus fare. He told a few stories about the making of the film, including the squares tale. Invisible from the air, there were pegs in the ground marking the path for the leading mounted stuntmen to follow, to give the impression of 'flowing' around the squares. The mass of the horsemen were to follow the leaders. The infantry were told, "If you stay put, you're safe - if you leave the square you may get trampled". No good - panic stations all round. I was sufficiently impressed to go home and rewrite my morale test rules for infantry facing cavalry. The piper also told us that quite a few people were very badly injured during the making of the battle scenes, and he thought that at least one had died. This was considered unexceptional for a Russian film. Naturally, a whole pile of horses died...

Enough - great blog, nice figures, great pictures. By the way, if my identity keeps changing it's just that I'm having trouble with my Google profile, which seems to have been corrupted.



Stryker said...

Thanks for that Tony - fascinating stuff!