Sunday, 14 July 2013

42nd Highland Infantry (The Black Watch) aka The Collaborators*

Apologies for having gone a bit quiet over the last month - a few work related customer visits impinged on my hobby "stuff". The result of this is that I've done very little painting of anything over the last few weeks. However conscious that I haven't posted anything I thought I'd post some pictures of these figures that I bought from ebay some time ago.

Now they were labelled as Highland Infantry, and looked quite nice in the auction photos but it was quite hard to tell just how nice they were. I also couldn't tell how they were based, or the make up of the battaion. Anyway, I decided to go for it and got them for a bargain price. When they were arrived I was blown away by the quality of painting - easily up to the standard of the best I've seen, and much better than my own amateur daubing. 

However they aren't without issues - they are beautifully based on four 40mm x 30mm stands that don't match the rest of my "army" (I put inverted commas because I'm not sure you can call a couple of battalions of British Line an "army"!), and there are only four flank company figures - two light and two grenadiers. Although very nicely done I don't think the painter has quite caught the "Black Watch" tartan - the tartan on the figures is a shade or two too pale. The final problem is that 24 figures in GdB terms is only 480 men - and the 42nd (mostly) had rather more men under arms than this throughout the Peninsular War (see this link for a fascinating history of the battalions in the Peninsula, including their numbers at each significant point - PUA = Present Under Arms: 42nd Numbers ). 

Nevertheless, these figures look superb. The painted figures are AB, and I have some unpainted Highland centre company infantry (an ancient Battle Honours blister pack of twelve figures bought from Duke Seifried on Ebay which match perfectly). I'm currently contemplating whether I dare try to replicate the style - I'm fairly confident I can do them to a "good" standard but not so confident I can paint to this standard - whomever it was did these they even painted the lips on each face - and did it in a subtle way. Perhaps I can slot the additional figures into the rear rank where my incompetence won't be too obvious. Obviously if I add in some centre company figures, I'll need to add some flankers too (can't have a "project" that doesn't require buying some more figures!). 

* My mother, an occasional Jacobite and full time Scot, always referred to the Black Watch as "The Collaborators" - a reference to their origins  " In 1725, following the Jacobite rebellion of 1715, General George Wade was authorised by George II to form six 'watch' companies to patrol the Highlands of Scotland, three from Clan Campbell, one from Clan Fraser, one from Clan Munro and one from Clan Grant. These were to be "employed in disarming the Highlanders, preventing depredations, bringing criminals to justice, and hindering rebels and attainted persons from inhabiting that part of the kingdom." The force was known in Gaelic as Am Freiceadan Dubh 'the dark' or 'black watch' "

Of course my mother said the name was not a reference to the dark plaid they wore but to their "black hearts" in keeping down the Scots. My mum was not alway logical but there was always something of the rebel about her!