British regular infantry toy soldiers 54mm 1:32 FIW SYW
Redcoats! Being British line infantrymen of the War of the Austrian Succession
04 Aug 2017 / Nino /

Here are the masters of my first  British line infantrymen, or Redcoats, as they would have appeared in the 1740s, at the time of the War of the Austrian Succession and the Jacobite Uprising.

The primary (body) pose is that of a standing man equipped with the basic infantryman’s kit consisting of broad shoulder strap with cartridge box, and waist belt with combined sword and bayonet frog.

This figure is based on the Cloathing book of 1742, the Morier paintings in the Royal Collection, as well as a number of other contemporary sources, and displays an interesting order of dress combining innovating features with rather old-fashioned ones.

The cut of the coat is still rather bulky, and the cuffs are relatively large, both being the legacy of earlier times. But following the “German” style then coming into fashion, the coat skirts are turned back to show the regimental facing color. At the same time, however, the waist belt is worn over the coat, a conservative order of dress that still prevailed in the British as well as in the French and Spanish armies of the 1740s, as it is attested by most contemporary sources (apparently regardless of whether the lapels were displayed or, like here, buttoned over for protection in foul weather).

Starting from this first body pose, I am sculpting figures in a variety of secondary (arm) poses.

For my first Redcoat, a front ranker, I choose the “charge your bayonet” pose. This man could also be seen as slowly advancing with leveled bayonet. Conversely, I will have the soldiers in the centre and rear ranks hold their muskets upright, so as not to interfere with their comrades.

The second figure, also a front ranker, is thrusting his bayonet overhead, a dramatic stance I copied from that of the officer in the famous painting An Incident in the Rebellion of 1745 by Morier. I am also sculpting two more Redcoats involved in close-combat fighting and performing the prescribed bayonet drill, notably the “charge your bayonet breast-high” and “push your bayonet” motions…

Next comes a firing figure. Comparing this regular with my firing Woodland Indian, you may want to note that while the cunning savage leans into his shot, carefully aiming at his foe, perhaps from behind a tree, the well-trained line infantryman takes a much stiffer stance, as depicted in period drill manuals, and fires his musket almost without aiming.

All figures are armed with the Long Land Service pattern musket, or Brown Bess, the standard shoulder weapon of the British infantry in the War of the Austrian Succession and the SYW, before being officially replaced by the Short Land Service pattern at the end of the 1760s.

The not yet standardized swords are about 95-100 m long, as per extant (French, German and Italian) period specimens, and straight-bladed, as depicted in all 1740s British sources known to me excepting the  Penicuik Sketchbook (1745), in which some rather ragged-looking Government soldiers are shown armed with curved hangers resembling scimitars…

As the British infantry were trained to deliver volley fire by platoons or divisions, whereby all three ranks in a platoon or division fired together at the same time, the men in the front rank were ordered to place the right knee on the ground prior to firing. Therefore, I will soon have to include at least one kneeling figure to my range of Redcoats…

I also plan to sculpt a variety of additional poses adding combinations of pieces of marching equipment such as canvas haversack, tin water canteen, and unshaven cowhide or duffle-bag knapsack. Further variants may include soldiers with unturned coats, and grenadiers wearing mitre caps instead of hats (the mitre cap being the only grenadier distinction in the British army at that point in time).  This way, I shall hopefully compensate for the otherwise rather repetitive pose selection dictated by the closed-ranks deployment of regular infantry figures…