“The Scum of the Earth”: Wellington’s Army at Waterloo in 15mm

As discussed here and here, in 2015 we decided to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Waterloo by refighting it in grand style.  Although I already had a lot of British, French and Prussians (mostly AB Figures), there were still ‘a few’ (actually rather a lot of!) units that needed painting for the game, as well as the famous walled farms that were characteristic of the battle.

So here’s a gallery of the British units that I painted for Waterloo (all AB Figures 15mm, with flags by Fighting 15s):

Above: The 3rd Battalion of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards.  This unit represents Maitland’s 1st Infantry Brigade of Cooke’s 1st Division.  In full, the brigade consisted of the 2/1st Foot Guards and 3/1st Foot Guards.  Note that in the Foot Guards, the Regimental Colour was based on the Union Flag and was carried on the left.  The King’s Colour was the crimson flag and was carried on the right, as shown here.  Infantry Regiments of the Line had the Union Flag as the King’s Colour, so would carry the Union Flag on the right [I’ve edited this, as what I wrote earlier made no sense at all!].

Above and right: The 3/1st Foot Guards in close-up.  The Foot Guards’ uniform was very similar to that of the Regiments of the Line.  I.e. single-breasted red coats, with coloured facings at collar and cuffs and strips of lace edging the collar and buttonholes on the breast and cuffs.  The eight Centre Companies were identified by their white-over-red plumes and shoulder ‘tufts’, while the Grenadier (right flank) Company had white plumes and shoulder ‘wings’ and the Light (left flank) Company had green plumes and shoulder wings.  Headgear was the false-fronted, Portuguese-style shako that was introduced in 1812 (often mis-named as the ‘Waterloo’ or ‘Belgic’ shako).  Shako-cords were white, except for the Light Company, who had green cords.

All three Foot Guards regiments had dark blue facings and gold lace for officers and sergeants.  The grouping of buttons and buttonhole lace identified which regiment: equal spacing indicated the 1st, pairs indicated the 2nd and in threes for the 3rd.  The 1st Foot Guards actually had bastion-shaped lace loops, but my eyesight and hands these days can’t cope with doing those in 15mm and more… 🙁

Note that the chief difference between Foot Guards uniforms and those of the Line Infantry were that there was lace edging to the cuffs, plus a strip of lace down the front-seam of the coat.  The flank companies also had blue backing to the shoulder ‘wings’, whereas those of the Line had red backing.

Above: The 2nd Battalion of the 2nd (Coldstream) Regiment of Foot Guards.  This unit represents Byng’s 2nd Infantry Brigade of Cooke’s 1st Division.  In full, the brigade consisted of the 2/2nd and 2/3rd Foot Guards.  The uniform of the 2nd Foot Guards was almost identical to that of the 1st Foot Guards above, but note that the buttonhole lace on the breast is now arranged in pairs.

Note that many sources depict the 2nd Foot Guards as being dressed in white overall trousers at Waterloo.  However, research has shown this to be incorrect.  They were issued white overalls in Paris, during the occupation following Waterloo.  This uniform was painted by Dighton and was then accepted in subsequent works as being the uniform they wore at Waterloo.  However, they were still wearing the standard grey overall trousers at the battle.

Above: The 1st Battalion of the 23rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Welch Fusiliers).  This unit represents Mitchell’s 4th Infantry Brigade of Colville’s 4th Division.  This brigade was the only part of 4th Division to be present at Waterloo and in full consisted of the 3/14th (Buckinghamshire) Foot, 1/23rd Foot (Royal Welch Fusiliers) and 51st (2nd Yorks West Riding) Light Infantry.

The uniform of the Royal Welch Fusiliers was very similar to that of the 1st Foot Guards above, having dark blue facings and evenly-spaced, bastion-shaped lace loops, with gold officers’ lace.  However, note that there is no lace edging to the cuffs, the backing to the shoulder wings is red and the position of the Union Flag (which is the King’s Colour) is now on the right [edited].  Note also that all companies in the regiment wore shoulder wings; this was a feature of Fusilier and Light Infantry regiments.

Above: The 1st Battalion of the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot.  This unit represents Lambert’s 10th Infantry Brigade of Cole’s 6th Division, which in full consisted of the 1/4th (King’s) Foot, 1/27th (Inniskilling) Foot and 1/40th (2nd Somersetshire) Foot.

Above: The 27th Foot in close-up.  The 27th had pale buff facings, evenly-spaced lace (square-ended bars, rather than the bastion-shaped loops of the 23rd) and gold officers’ lace.  Some questions remain over the colour of the regiment’s leatherwork; for most regiments this was simply pipe-clay white, but regiments with buff-coloured facings would traditionally have matching buff belts, as well as buff turnbacks on the coat (and buff breeches in full dress).  However, the vast majority of artistic depictions of the regiment show white belts and the modern-day re-enactment group have been able to produce evidence for belts being ‘pipe-clayed’.  Consequently, I have followed suit and opted for white belts (which is a shame, as I really like the look of buff belts…).

Above: The 27th Foot in action at Waterloo.

Above: Lord Somerset’s 1st (Household) Cavalry Brigade consisted of the Royal Regiment of Horse Guards (The Blues) and the 1st & 2nd Regiments of Lifeguards.  Ordinarily, I will pick a single regiment to be representative of the brigade, but in this instance I wanted to show both the Royal Horse Guards in blue and the Lifeguards in red.

Above: The 2nd (Royal North British) Regiment of Dragoons (‘The Scots Greys’).  This unit represents Lord Ponsonby’s 2nd (‘Union’) Cavalry Brigade, which consisted of the 1st (Royal) Dragoons, 2nd (Royal North British) Dragoons and 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, representing England, Scotland and Ireland respectively, hence ‘Union Brigade’.

 Above:  The Scots Greys were mounted exclusively on grey horses and uniquely for the British Army, wore bearskin caps, which makes them a very striking unit and a firm wargamers’ favourite (probably due in no small part to the incredible depiction of their doomed charge in Sergei Bondarchuk’s epic film ‘Waterloo’).  However, there are lots of different types of grey horses and my horse-loving wife Sue helped me research the differences when painting this beautiful unit.  I hope I’ve done them justice in trying to depict a range of greys.

 Above:  I make no apologies for showing three pictures of this unit! It’s worth mentioning at this point that the 1st and 6th Dragoons wore helmets and would have been more representative of the brigade and would have been a FAR more useful addition to my wargames army than this regiment (which only fought one battle – Waterloo – during Napoleon’s reign)… But they HAVE to be done…

Above:  the 15th (King’s) Regiment of Light Dragoons (Hussars).  This regiment formed part of Sir Colquhon Grant’s 5th Cavalry Brigade, along with the 7th (Queen’s Own) Hussars and the 2nd Hussars of the King’s German Legion.  Like most British Hussar regiments, this regiment had gone through an array of uniform changes over the preceding decade, but by Waterloo was wearing the uniform shown.

Above: The 10th (Princess of Wales’ Own) Light Dragoons (Hussars).  In 1815 this regiment, along with the 18th Hussars and the 1st Hussars of the King’s German Legion, formed part of Sir Hussey Vivian’s 6th Cavalry Brigade.  However, I must confess that this unit is WRONG for Waterloo, as it is painted in the uniform it wore in the very early stages of the Peninsular War, circa 1808.

The style of uniform shown here, with very tall busbies, was the standard dress for British Hussars for most of the Peninsular War, though by 1815 all British Hussar regiments were wearing either a shorter style of busby or shakos (as shown above).  I had a single unpainted regiment of these chaps languishing in my collection and they needed painting…

The 10th Hussars only wore the striking yellow-faced uniform shown here very briefly, only for the first few months of the Peninsular War.  They then went  through a number of uniform changes and by 1815 were wearing a very similar style to that worn by the 15th Hussars above, with red shakos trimmed in white lace.  However, their dolman jackets were plain blue with no contrasting facing colour.  Lace and braid was yellow.

Above:  The 2nd Light Infantry Battalion of the King’s German Legion (KGL).  This battalion, commanded by one Major Bäring, formed part of Colonel Christian von Ompteda’s 2nd KGL Infantry Brigade.  The brigade also included the similarly-dressed 1st Light Infantry Battalion and the red-coated 5th and 8th Line Infantry Battalions.  At Waterloo, Major Bäring’s battalion was tasked with holding the key walled farm of La Haye-Sainte, in the very centre of the battlefield and well forward of the rest of the brigade.

Dressed in British 95th Rifles style of dark green with black facings, the regiment had some subtle differences, in that they lacked the white piping worn on the facings of the 95th.  They also wore exclusively grey coverall trousers when the 95th wore green (admittedly with grey trousers also appearing on campaign).  Unlike the 95th Rifles, approximately two-thirds of the battalion was armed with smoothbore muskets, with rifles being issued to the remaining third.

 Above:  The 1st Regiment of Hussars of the King’s German Legion.  Along with the 10th (Princess of Wales’) Hussars and the 18th Hussars, the 1st KGL Hussars formed part of Sir Hussey Vivian’s 6th British Cavalry Brigade, initially being deployed on the extreme left flank of Wellington’s army.

The 1st KGL Hussars wore essentially the same uniform throughout the Napoleonic Wars, being dark blue with red facings and yellow lace, topped with a brown fur busby with yellow cords and a red bag.  The style was essentially British, though they had one unique quirk – their busbies had a black leather peak to keep the sun and rain out of their eyes.

Above:  Gunners of the Royal Horse Artillery and/or the Horse Artillery of the King’s German Legion (the uniform was identical) load 9-pounder field guns.  This uniform remained essentially unchanged throughout the Napoleonic Wars, being a dark blue Hussar-style dolman jacket faced red with yellow lace, grey overall trousers with a red stripe and a Tarleton helmet with black crest, white plume and blue turban.

Above:  Gunners of the Royal Horse Artillery and/or King’s German Legion firing 6-pounder field guns.

Above:  Gunners of the Royal Horse Artillery and/or King’s German Legion firing 6-pounder field guns (rear view).

That’s all for now!  More to follow soon…

[Edited to add] I’ve just seen the trailer on ITV for the forthcoming Waterloo episode of ‘Vanity Fair’ and it looks EPIC!  Hundreds of Cuirassiers charging in reasonably well-ordered lines against solid squares of Redcoats… I’ll no doubt be disappointed, but the trailer looks spectacular… I must also admit to enjoying the series thus far and especially the bold choice of 70s/80s rock music accompaniment… 🙂

This entry was posted in 15mm Figures, Napoleon's Battles (Rules), Napoleonic British Army, Napoleonic Wars, Painted Units. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to “The Scum of the Earth”: Wellington’s Army at Waterloo in 15mm

  1. Brendan Morrissey says:

    Excellent units – hope they contributed to a brilliant refight.

    Incidentally, my son Patrick is part of the 44th Foot in “Vanity Fair” and we are eagerly awaiting the “Waterloo” episode to see if we can spot him (sadly, he wasn’t in the “march out of Brussels” bit in the previous episode, due to work commitments).


  2. Tony says:

    Great looking figures. Painting differing lace arrangements on 18mm figures, mad, are they not sculpted on or did you remove the sculpted ones and just paint them on ?
    I was under the impression that the “King’s Colour” was always to the right of the line, just that for the guards the “King’s Colour” was the crimson flag not the union flag as it was for line regiments.

  3. Ruud Kuiper says:

    Dear Jemima, Thanks so much for your painting advice for the Dutch Infantry at Waterloo lasts year. Meanwhile I nearly completed 1 call to arms box (1/32). I now have planned to paint my airfix coldstream guadrs (3/1st Foot Guards). Is there some sort of forum for Humbrol painters to find the right colors? Your above 3/1st Foot Guards look magnificent 🙂
    Kind regards, Ruud

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers Ruud! 🙂 I’ve no idea, to be honest. I just keep painting with Humbrols, because that’s what I’ve always used and I can easily get them in a lot of shops local to me.

      For British uniforms I use Humbrol 60 Signal Red, with a little 99 Lemon Yellow mixed in for the highlight. Make the officers a little bit more orange by adding a little bit more 99. Humbrol 60 used to be very translucent, so I’d dry-brush them with white to pick out the detail before painting on the red as a sort of wash. You can see that in some of my ancient Peninsular War stuff, which I’ll be posting here soon. Humbrol 60 is excellent these days.

      For the blue facings, use Humbrol 104 with a highlight of 25. 🙂

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