Saturday, September 28, 2013

My 4th Light Dragoons

This has been a long time coming but I have finally finished painting my first unit of figures for my Balaclava Build: my depiction of the 4th Light Dragoons. I can safely say that I have never taken so much time or care in painting twelve figures before and I am satisfied with the result. The only detail I left out were the markings on their canteens - a detail which proved to be simply beyond me.
I utilised a couple of painting techniques this time which I don't recall employing previously. One was the use of a toothpick (or cocktail stick) to draw a line down the middle of the leg stripe to achieve a double line. I was particularly happy with this result and used it on the corporal and sergeant chevrons also.

For all of my gold lace effects, I first painted the details in a darkened yellow and then heavily dry-brushed gold across the top. When gold painting the leg stripes, I diluted the gold significantly. The result (I hope) is a metallic sheen better representing gold braid or fabric rather than a solid metallic effect. The shakos are in a mix of gloss and matt black which strives for a satin, leather like finish with a high gloss peak.
My trumpeter (well he's blowing a bugle but carrying his trumpet) has his instruments painted with one application of Humbrol Brass (I almost exclusively use Humbrol enamels) and a gloss Black wash over the top to dull it down. I'm no metallic king and generally keep things fairly simple. The sabres are typically chunkier than I like with the casting. I had meant to replace them with flattened steel wire blades - perhaps later. In the meantime I pinched them as flat as I could with a pair of pliers, then filed them back. They are just painted steel with a dry brush of silver.

The officer commanding, Lord George Paget famously made the charge with a cheroot cigar clenched between his teeth all the way to the guns and back. This is perhaps the only modelling detail required for the 4th Light Dragoons and was easily depicted with a small hole drilled and filled with a piece of carefully filed wire. These figures are all from the Great War Minatures range available through Northstar Military Figures and they are a one piece casting. This suits me perfectly as I always create my cavalry models as a single construction prior to priming and painting anyway - this saves me some time. There are some casting simplifications and it's always curious how I only notice certain aspects of a model after I start painting them. The most obvious is the fill between the riders' legs and the belly of the mount which would be fully detailed in a separately casted rider but otherwise unnoticeable on the finished figure. They are designed with simple uniforms and very few buttons for which by the end I was rather grateful.

I'm a big fan of these figures and my entire Light Brigade is from the Great War Miniatures range. They have lovely animation with essentially two horse poses and all trooper figures have a free sword arm which comes in two attitudes. You will have noticed under certain lighting conditions my 4th Light Dragoons have a faded blue uniform and not as dark as many illustrations you will find. Under flash photography they look almost light blue but are darker to the naked eye.
All of these shots were taken with my Canon digital SLR with a macro lens on auto or macro settings. I used Photoshop to trim and save for the web only. I cannot base these figures from where I am currently posted but will do so in the new year according to a basing convention which I have attempted to simulate in these photos. Based three to a 5mm mdf base in accordance with Black Powder 25mm frontage and 50mm depth per figure, my rear ranks will be on single depths but my two front ranks will be on double depth bases with the trumpeter half a length ahead and Paget half a length ahead of him.
As Paget was also the commander for the second line of the Brigade during it's infamous charge, I had thought of an independent command base but at a 1/20 representative troop scale I will integrate him with his regiment. My whole light brigade will be 60 figures (5 regiments x 12) plus command.


  1. looking good mate, especially like the dappled grey!