October 05, 2015

Trench Runner Mat Johnson takes a look at AP053 British Inniskillings Heavy Dragoons from Waterloo 1815

June 2015 marked the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo.  To figure modellers it comes as no surprise that, feeding of the significance of the anniversary, many manufacturers will be releasing fresh Napoleonic figure sets this year.  The somewhat confusingly named Italian figure manufacturer ‘Waterloo 1815’ is no exception.  The set I am looking at is their ‘British Heavy Dragoon’ set.  Although it does not specifically mention a particular unit the figures are modeled after, they most closely represent the legendary 6th Inniskilling Dragoons. 

The Inniskilling Dragoons trace their roots back to 1600’s Ireland where Protestant citizens of Enniskillen and surrounding counties raised units of volunteers to defend the town against the forces of the Catholic King James.  The units fought well in many clashes gaining the attention of the English army who sent regular officers to take command and properly equip the unit. Following this conflict the dragoons remained a British army regular unit and were enumerated as the ‘6th’ Dragoons in 1751, denoting its place in the seniority of the British army. 

Following the cooling of hostilities in Europe in 1814 the Inniskilling Dragoons along with thousands of other British soldiers were sent to North America to strengthen British forces who had for 2 years successfully defended Canada from American invasion during the War of 1812. With these newly acquired reinforcements the British took to the offensive.  Many large and small scale raids on the United States took place from Canada and along the American coast, most notably in the Washington and Baltimore area.  This is the scene in which I have choose to set the dragoons that Waterloo 1815 has manufactured. 

The first thing I notice about any figure set is the box art.  Some is almost framable, and this box art is no exception.  A nice scene showing charging dragoons captures the rush and speed of a cavalry charge on an 18th century battlefield, unfortunately the ( only ) two horse poses in the set suggest more Thanksgiving Day parade then glorious charge smashing the enemy lines! This is a very minor complaint, and really my only mentionable grievance with the set.  They come moulded in a very hard light tan plastic that in my sample set required a coat of primer to help the paint stick properly.  Although as mentioned there are only two horse poses there are 6 very nice rider poses.  After removing them from the sprue there was only minimal cleanup required, which is to be expected.  The horse's reins required a little more careful clean up, but again nothing out of the ordinary.  All of the straps and buckles seem to be there for the most part, and nicely and crisply moulded.  All the troopers carry a nice representation of what I assume to be the standard dragoon issued Paget carbine.  In reality this carbine had a 16” barrel which looks fine to me on the models, I really have no interest in putting callipers on a piece of equipment you can hardly see once they are mounted.  As mentioned there are six poses of riders for a total of twelve figures.  Two officers, two trumpeters, two guys getting shot, and six yet unscathed riders.  One of the poses I like particularly is the figure slashing across his body with his sword.  This is the only figure that requires assembly as his right arm comes as a separate piece, however it attaches with no issues using plain old Testors model glue.  As someone who builds dioramas, I feel that you can never get enough getting shot, or dead figure poses in a set.  When I make a scene for a museum I have to represent the unfortunate reality of war, and that is casualties.  So it is nice to be provided with 2 figures getting shot, this will save some time in having to modify figures should one be using this set to create a scene or diorama.  As far as fitting the riders on to the horses, most fit with no issue.  There was only one trooper who gave me trouble, and that is the guy with his sword raised over his head.  I didn’t fight it at all and left him off of the saddle slightly as if he is standing, caught up in the excitement/danger of the moment.  I painted my set with quite the array of acrylic paint.  I used various folk art paints for the uniform, artists water colours for the straps, and my go-to Tamiya acrylics for the flesh colour and the horses.  I cheated and airbrushed the horse's base colour adding paint and tinting it as to not have too many horses the exact same colour.  I don’t like to get carried away shading uniforms in this scale as I feel sometimes it can easily be too much. When I look at someone from 100’ away I don’t just see a collection of dark shadows, in my opinion shadows are hardly noticeable at all.  So after painting the base colours I just applied a light black wash with my smallest brush around the straps, collars, cuffs etc. to highlight the details.  My source for colour and uniform details was an old colour plate produced by Pimpernel Studios in 1986 ‘Cavalry of the line -dragoons’.

One thing I like to do with models is to be different.  So instead of creating a Waterloo scene showing these riders running down unfortunate French infantry, I have placed them in 1814 Maryland chasing down a patrol of American militia and a hand full of regulars.  The Inniskillings were mainly used during their brief time in North America as couriers and scouts, so a scene like this is not out of the question.  I will be expanding upon this diorama adding the American infantry as the subject of a future review / conversion article.  The brick building in the scene is part of the old Airfix French farmhouse kit that I pulled out of my parts box, and the landscape items are from Woodland Scenics and the Johnsons backyard.  With very slight modifications to the horses, and careful glue work, I added a bit of drama with two horses being hit and throwing their riders.  This creates a good focal point for viewer, and keeps the possibilities open for expanding the scene. 

In conclusion this is a very nice figure kit.  Whether you are a wargamer, diorama builder, or figure enthusiast I would highly recommend it if you are in the market for some British heavy cavalry. Mat Johnson October 2015
Image courtesy of Plastic Soldier Review
Mat's mini diorama featuring AP053 British Heavy Dragoons from Waterloo 1815 
Mat's mini diorama featuring AP053 British Heavy Dragoons from Waterloo 1815 
Mat's mini diorama featuring AP053 British Heavy Dragoons from Waterloo 1815 

No comments:

Post a Comment