27 August 2010

The "South Essex"

It is hard to believe that it has been 6 weeks since my last post, in between there was a lot of shifts and a 2 week vacation to Newfoundland, but I am now back in the saddle and have started to paint again.

First new unit off the table is the first battalion of the South Essex, the 105th regiment in the British Order of Battle. I know you asking, why would anyone pick the South Essex of all the units in the British Army. I could say that I had a box of Perry British infantry containing both infantry and rifles and really it is the only battalion and I can think of which fielded both in a single unit. But the true reason is that I was recently absolutely enraged by a series of posts in TMP, where several members disparaged the Sharpe TV Series. This is just something I can not understand, some said none of the actors were any good.........Sean Bean, Pete Postlethwaite, Hugh Fraser, Michael Byrne, Brian Cox, Féodore Atkin, Michael Cochrane and Elizabeth Hurley.........what is wrong with these people, Elizabeth Hurley even showed her "lovelies". And then they went on about the size of the battalions as portrayed in the series and this is from people who scale napoleonic battalions at 16 little metal figures..........get a life..........what a...holes!! Clearly I needed to calm down or I was going to end up having a "Porterhouse Blue", so I decided to channel my anger into a tribute to the TV series and Bernard Cornwell. And I decided to paint the South Essex.

A Short History: The South Essex arrived in the peninsula in 1809 under the leadership of Lt Col Sir Henry Simmerson. It served through out the peninsular campaign being assigned to multiple different divisional commands. Lt Sharpe, newly gazetted as an officer, joined the light company of the South Essex with his platoon of riflemen. The South Essex lost their colours in the fiasco at Valdelacasa and at the soon after their strength had dropped from 850 on arrival in Oporto to 550 men. As a punishment for Simmerson's incompetence and cowardice, Wellesley made them a battalion of detachments. Fortunes were redeemed, however, when the battalion serving in the 3rd Division under Lt Gen Hill, Sharpe captured an eagle at the Battle of Talavera. They then served on the Lines of Torres Vedras where they were broken into company detachments, it is during this period that Sharpe's light company saw many adventures. The battalion missed the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro because they were still understrength, but did serve and gained battle honours for Busaco, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Salamanca,Vittoria and Toulouse. Simmerson had been send back to London after the Battle of Talavera, he was followed by Lt. Cols' Lawson, Windham and Leroy; who was killed at the Battle of Vittoria. By then, now Major Sharpe returns to England in a recruiting effort which cumulates in Simmerson's ultimate downfall, new recruits for the battalion and the installation of Lt Col Girdwood as commanding officer. By now Sharpe has effective command of the battalion and at the same time has gained the patronage of the Prince of Wales. The regiment now has the honourary title of the Prince of Wales Own Volunteers. The battalion is reformed under Lt Col Joseph Ford after Napoleon's escape from Elba. The now Colonel Sharpe, has been seconded to Dutch general staff under the Prince of Orange, but is given the command of the South Essex after Ford's death. The South Essex crowning glory was the defeat of the Old Guard under Col Sharpe. The regiment was broken up in 1817.

Anyway, back to reality. Here we see the South Essex arrayed in line, all Perry plastics aside from the mounted Lt Colonel which is a Front Rank figure. The basing is for Lasalle, but will work equally well for the Field of Battle or Republic to Empire rulesets.
Here we see the right wing of the battalion, including the grenadier company. I initially used Army Painter midtone, but it was a little too dark as you can see on the drummer's stand. I used the light tone on the grenadier stand.
Here we can see the left wing with the light company as well as the command elements. Interestingly enough, the light infantryman is carrying a Baker rifle, he must of learned something from the riflemen. I like how the riflemen came out.
Here we can get a great view of the regimental colours of the The Prince of Wales Own Volunteers as supplied by Maverick Flags. This is one of their linen flags and it is absolutely brilliant. I am going to try to talk Stuart into creating a pennant for my 3/95th Rifles command stand. I can highly recommend this company, his response time is phenomenal and the quality is really quite excellent.
Finally, let me illustrate one aspect of my new basing plan. I wanted the ability with my battalions to break off the light or grenadier units to form ad hoc light or grenadier battalions. After some thought, I came up with the following plan. Rather than using a 40x40 mm 6 figure base on all the figures, I used two 3 figure 40x20 mm bases on the end units which are magnetized.
Additionally, I can use this method to mark casualties.

Mandatory back view..........we get a good view of Simmerson retreating as the battalion advances at the Battle of Talavera. (Free FR Sir Thomas Picton figure to the first who can identify the inconsistency in this statement and photo)
Anyway, thanks for looking and like I said a free Sir Thomas Picton will be send postage free to the one who spots the inconsistency as noted above. First correct response in comments wins the prize.



  1. Very nicely done - it's nice to see you back and you may be the first person to be able to transform the idiocy of TMP into something good. Perhaps you paint better when consumed with rage after being assailed by simpletons.

    By the way, any show that has Elizabeth Hurley and her lovelies is a work of historical art - nuff said.

    My resolve is weakening - I had planned start some 28mm Romans, but your pose and the new Plastic Prussians is a bit of a siren's call to return to Napoleonics.

  2. Inconsistency is the flag, which shows the eagle in chains before Sharpie actually took the eagle in question!

    Very, very nice work, thouhg ... a project I'm going to enjoy following.

  3. Thank you gentleman.

    Happy to here you are returning to the darkside!

    At first I was not going to give it to you, but I re-looked at the photo and the statement and you are indeed correct. I was looking for the fact that Simmerson was described as being in the photo and clearly the regimental colours are the third set the regiment carried, well after Simmerson had left. But you are right, these colours are clearly after Talavera.


    Please send mailing address to johnamichael@gmail.com and I will be happy to send Sir Thomas all the way to New Zealand.


  4. Great work John, and an interesting and funny post/explanation.

    Maybe you should get angry more often?

    Elizabeth Hurley is overrated*!

    There, does that help?

    *Of course I don't think she's overrated! She's hot as hell.

  5. I guess the other thing is that perhaps there shouldn't be any colours at all in that picture -weren't they captured at that stage in the story? Haven't got the book with me, so relying on momeoryhere.

    Don't worry about sending me Picton - the honour of winning is fine! You can use him for another competition.

  6. Hello John, great to see you back posting again. Another fine unit you have there, full of character. I see you caught some flack over at TMP for your comments about Sharpe, what a funny lot they are. I think you have to take that series for what it is, an anjoyable action adventure and personally I love it. My wife has long had a 'thing' about Sean Bean to the point where I considered sqeezing myslef into a pair of extremely tight green trousers as means of getting more sex but I just dont think that would have worked!

    Anyway, great post and pics and lovely 'story' of the South Essex, very enjoyable read John.


  7. Great post John - good to see you back. Fuss not about the wankers on TMP - I second Miles' sentiments. Concerning the delectable Ms Hurley as well - it is a privilege to gaze upon her 'tres bon Tetons' - given she is now on the right side of forty, they're a fine achievement. As are your post-Talavera Essex.

    Paint on Good Sir, paint on!


  8. I was also wondering if they had been captured at that point:) That was my guess on what was wrong!

    Great stuff:)

  9. Actually the regiment should have had only the regimental colors. The King's colors were captured by the French chasseurs in their first action when the bridge was blown. Sharpe saved the regimental colors, which, as Roly said, should not have the chained eagle on them yet as Sharpe and Harper had not yet captured that French eagle.

    Great paint job, capturing the "dusty" look of a battalion on campaign in Spain.


  10. I'm afraid there is a hysterical tendency on the napoleonic boards. The 18th C is usually more civilised. (I suspect you abd i are not alone in fielding the South Essex, in my case in 15mm for Spain, and 28mm for the 100 days.....)


  11. Thank you again gentlemen. I am happy to hear that many of you have fielded the South Essex in your own order of battle.

    TMP does certainly go over the top quickly, my whole post was really just a bit of fun.

    More to follow,


  12. The thing with TMP is it has so MANY members, that wargamers of every persuasion under the sun are represented. So ANY comment will soon have a counter-comment. Unlike most other forums and blogs, where the membership is smaller and they are mainly fellow-travellers from that particular wargaming persuasion, so such flare-ups are a lot less common.

  13. If you like Peninsular wargaming then you have to love the South Essex!!!