British 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment Flank Company, 1808–1815

Italeri 1:72 Scale Figure Review

British 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment Flank Company, 1808–1815, 1:72 Italeri Miniatures 6004

Highlanders and Highland Grenadiers of the 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment (Black Watch), photographed at the reenactment commemorating the 180th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, 16th-18th June 1995. The Grenadier Company was deployed on the right flank of the battalion, the Light Company would be on the left flank or they were sent forward, to skirmish in front of the battalion.

Grenadier and Light Companies were the elite formations of the line infantry units, and they were routinely chosen for the most difficult and dangerous assignments. Grenadiers could be expected to lead an attack or to resist enemy assaults with exemplary courage and determination. Light companies were employed in skirmish formation to protect the battalion from enemy skirmishers and to harras formed enemy units. Highland regiments have distinguished themselves in so many battles that there is no doubt about their elite status.

Upon first inspection the Italeri figures appear caricatured, primarily because some of the men are extremely straddle-legged. The charging Highlander looks strangely posed, but he is actually ambling like a horse with his left arm and left foot forward, a debilitating gait for a soldier and usually grounds for dismissal. These mishaps are unfortunate because the miniatures are otherwise historically accurate and very well sculpted.

Contents

50 Figures with 15 Poses – 23 mm equal 166 cm Height

  • Highland ensign in trews, advancing with flag (1)
  • Highland Grenadier Sergeant with spontoon (2)
  • Highland Bagpiper (1)
  • 46 Highland grenadiers or light infantrymen:
    • Highlander, standing at attention (5)
    • Highlander, advancing (5)
    • Highlander, standing firing (5)
    • Highlander, kneeling firing (5)
    • Highlander, loading, handling cartridge (4)
    • Highlander, loading, tearing cartridge (4)
    • Highlander, loading, ramming the charge (3)
    • Highlander, defending (3)
    • Highlander with bandaged head, defending (2)
    • Highlander, charging (3)
    • Highlander, bayonetting (5)
    • Highlander, wounded (2)

Evaluation

Nicely detailed figures, with kilts, tartan patterns, feathers and plumes on the bonnet, hose and garters, lace, shoulder wings and metal parts clearly shown. The tartan pattern of the kilt is deaply engraved and it will be easy to paint.

It is a nice touch that most of the figures are shown fighting in light gear, without the knapsack. Strangely, the standing and firing figure is wearing the knapsack, but the man kneeling and firing in front of him is not, despite the fact that units ordered to discard knapsacks would have done so in unison. Knapsacks look more appropriate on marching figures with shouldered muskets, which may be grouped in marching formations at some distance from the battlefield.

Useful historic poses of fighting and firing grenadiers. Some of the poses make excellent skirmishers for the Light Company.

The officer carrying the company colours is an exquisite figure, wearing the grey or dark blue overalls which replaced the kilt on campaign.

Very good casting quality, minimal flash. The grenadier standing at attention has a minor molding problem between the musket stock and the left arm, but this may not be noticeable after the figure is painted.

If fewer poses had been used for the Grenadier and Light Company figures, it might have been possible to include soldiers from the Battalion Companies as well, offering the entire 42nd Regiment in one set of figures. British infantry battalions consisted of 10 companies, eight Battalion and two Flank Companies. Accordingly, the historic gamer and collector would have needed a box containing 40 Highlanders, 5 Highland Grenadiers and 5 Highlanders of the Light Company. The problem can be corrected by chopping the shoulder wings off the grenadier figures, converting them to Battalion Company men.

The feather bonnet is the one worn exclusively by the 42nd Regiment, it has a noticeably different cut than the bonnets worn by the 79th (Cameron) and 92nd (Gordon) Highlanders. The 42nd is probably the most famous regiment in the British army, but there are so few of these men involved in the Napoleonic Wars that one box will satisfy most wargaming needs.

The painting instructions on the box are misleading, showing men from the Battalion Company, not grenadiers! Instead of shoulder wings, Battalion Company soldiers wore small woolen tufts, they had red hackles and black cockades on the bonnet. Grenadiers of the 42nd wore blue wings with white lace and short white fringes, white hackles with red tip and red cockades. Men from the Light Company wore the same blue wings without fringes, green hackles with red tip and green cockades with red edging. Drummers were distinguished by yellow hackles with red tip, red and black cockades.

Historical Employment

  • Flank Companies of the 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment (Black Watch) 1808-1815

Possible Conversions

  • Battalion Companies of the 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment (Black Watch). A simple conversion, removing the shoulder wings and leaving only a small round tuft attached to the shoulder strap.
  • 79th New York Volunteers 1861. These American Highlanders fought at Bull Run, distinguished themselves at 2nd Bull Run and participated in 59 other engagements. They wore dark blue uniforms with red cuff flaps and collars, edged light blue, or light blue collars with a red collar patch. Kilts and Trews of the Cameron of Erracht Tartan pattern and Glengarry caps were worn on parade. Field service dress included the typical union kepi and sky-blue trousers. The Italeri figures without knapsacks are very suitable for this particular conversion, but the wings have to be removed.
  • 79th (Cameron) Highland Regiment, using bonnets from ESCI Highlanders.
  • 92nd (Gordon) Highland Regiment, using bonnets from ESCI Highlanders.
42nd Highlanders, The Black Watch

Highlanders and Highland Grenadiers of the 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment (Black Watch), photographed at the reenactment commemorating the 180th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, 16th-18th June 1995. The Grenadier Company was deployed on the right flank of the battalion, the Light Company would be on the left flank or they were sent forward, to skirmish in front of the battalion.

Bibliography

Italeri Highland Grenadiers are a welcome addition to the ESCI Highlanders. Both sets lack the Battalion Company figures, although they are readily converted from the existing figures. Highlanders are popular, but very rare: Only three Regiments in the British Napoleonic army wore the kilt, two of which had feather bonnets similar to those supplied with the ESCI figures and the 42nd Regiment, wearing the bonnets now available from Italeri. The Italeri figures should be a delight to paint, particularly because the tartan pattern is deeply engraved, guiding the painter's brush.

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British Napoleonic Miniatures