Those of you who attended the Warlord Games Open Day last month may have spied a few of our illustrious leader’s latest hobby projects. Amongst them is a distinctive looking line regiment of Wellington’s camp – one bearing questionable attire and a distinct lack of uniformity. ‘Nosey’s Boys’ have been at march on the Peninsular and coming to a Black Powder tabletop near you soon. Being the big boss, John Stallard of course got his hands on the kit a little early. Here, he ruminates fondly on the design ethos and development of the forthcoming kit.
Scum of the Earth
In a letter to the Earl of Bathurst dated 2nd July, 1813, Wellington remarked on the discipline of his men after the battle of Vitoria:
“We have in the service the scum of the earth as common soldiers; and of late years we have been doing every thing in our power, both by law and by publications, to relax the discipline by which alone such men can be kept in order.”
These miniatures certainly exemplify this lack of discipline, as difficult as it was to maintain during the gruelling campaign. They stand at parade ready for inspection. Their clothing is patched and raggedy, many have adorned alternative gear like priest’s clothing and one or two have even dressed in ladies bonnets. Shakos have been displaced and livestock has been adopted. This latter point is particularly contrary to expectation, as such looting was technically punishable by death.
Even the officers are privy to such follies of discipline – although their attire is tidier (the benefits of having a batman), one is indulging in a pinch of snuff whilst two Lieutenants brandish what is left of the colours. A portly colonel, in stark contrast to his men, is finely dressed – inspecting his men from under a parasol and atop a struggling mount – the poor donkey ill-equipped to cope with the colonel’s weight, tongue lolling in exhaustion.
This kit has been a long time coming, John says, the aim was to add an enormous amount of character to an army by the mere inclusion of one of these regiments. Personally briefing their design, John was keen to flesh out the little details, to the point where they could be said to be “approaching caricature”.
It really is the finer details – some are barefoot, some have adopted (French) Volitguers boots or packs from vanquished foes, they have frayed trousers, some have lost their sleeves, and many have dishevelled shakos or have lost them altogether.
The results really speak for themselves, John says, the designer’s having well excelled their brief. “We envisage that any peninsular gamer would want them to supplement their forces, perhaps to utilize as veterans”.
The miniatures’ characters will be further defined by the individual hobbyist, John explains, in their choice of colour palette or in their choices of the flags that the unit will brandish on the battlefield (a variety will be included in the box). For example, John thought carefully about the distinct character of each of the miniatures – tackling the coats with a faded red and introducing browns and whites to the scheme to represent the uncleanliness of a long campaign trail. John also mentions he had enormous fun by threading a hot needle through their colours to simulate the rigours of combat.
“Some of our men enlist from having got bastard children — some for minor offences — many more for drink; but you can hardly conceive such a set brought together, and it really is wonderful that we should have made them the fine fellows they are.”Sir Arthur Wellesley – 4 November, 1831.
More To Come
“Well we certainly couldn’t stop there,” John said, with a devilish twinkle in his eye. “We’ll be doing a French counterpart – Napoleon needs Les Bleus! Though we’re not quite ready to show these off, you can expect that we’ll maintain the level of caricature that we’ve lavished the British with – perhaps they’ll be accompanied by a ‘twee’ poodle for example.”