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SBritish Grenadier 1776


15 posts

Hi all.  I'm a long-time lurker and first-time poster.

I build a TON of kits back when I was a kid, of various manufacturers, but Airfix and Matchbox were the most easily available (from our local Post Office, of all places!), but I haven't built any in decades, though I have played a fair bit of Warhammer 40K, so have fair building and painting skills.

Anyhoo, I'm in my fifties now, and whilst some mens' midlife crisis involves getting a divorce, buying a Harley Davidson and dating inappropriately-aged young ladies, mine seems to involve rediscovering Airfix kits.

I'm fairly certain I've made the right life choice there...

So perusing eBay for some classics from my youth, I dropped upon a reasonably-priced Grenadier from the American Revolution. Revolutions in America being somewhat topical, at the moment, I grabbed one. Also, having more money (than sense) than I had as a child, and following the 40K maxim of "leave no model unconverted," I bought a slack handful of Historex heads and some etched brass straps with (god help me) 54mm spectacles.

I always seemed to remember the Airfix faces were a little disappointing. "MisterE," you may be crying, "you've gone slightly OTT with the heads there, fella!" and you may be right, except I also have some English Civil War 54mm on the way, so as time goes on they will be used.

So opening the box, the mouldings look...well, actually pretty good for a kit of its age! A head swap may not be quite so simple as I'd initially envisaged, as the head and - I want to say busby, but that may not be the correct term - busy are moulded together in a kind of a clamshell arrangement. I was also forgetting that a powdered wig was part of the uniform.

As such, I may just leave the head as it is, because the face isn't dreadful, but as the Historex heads are just STUNNING I am considering being foolhardy, separating the kit's head from its busy and either leaving the curls of the wig attached to the headgear, Milliputting a replacement or leaving off the wig altogether, as one of the Historex heads has a rather fetching pony-tail with a wee ribbon.

I may also look into whether or not Grenadiers wore any other kind of headgear on campaign. It's possible they may have sported a nice tricorn hat, which should be a breeze to mould from a sheet of putty, or I may look for an alternative (the American soldier from the corresponding period has one...)

Then to decide on a bog-standard redcoat, an officer, NCO or standard-bearer. I can't believe the officers' uniforms were so similar to the enlisted men, but I could be wrong - some research required there - and the standard-bearer is tempting though the Union Flag is rather worse for wear, colour-wise, as you'd expect from something untouched for so many years. It's a simple enough design to freehand though.

So I'm planning a kind of build diary, if anyone may be interested?




15 posts

So, day 2...

It would appear that wigs were not part of the uniform, and indeed were specifically prohibited, except in cases "when all these aids are not sufficient, from the natural thinness of the hair, a false plat must be added, which, if properly fixt on, can never be discovered: this method is also to be pursued, when a Soldier's hair is but barely long enough to tye, as it will contribute much to the uniform appearance of a Battalion, particularly after having received any number of Recruits." (source: Bennet Cuthbertson)

Recommended was the club (the hair folded in on itself and tied) or the queue (a plait). In fact, the club was made regulation for infantry in July 1776, though grenadiers and light companies wore their hair plaited. Having assembled the head from the kit, I have decided it would be too much faff to then separate hat from head and transplant onto one of the Historex ones, particularly as Airfix went to all the trouble of sculpting a fairly accurate club hairstyle! I'm still not overly enamoured with the face from the kit, but we'll see what a paint job can achieve - if I hate it, I can cut away the headgear at that point and use an alternate head.

In short I've glued two pieces together, and agonised about 18th-century military hairstyles - that's the hobby I remember!!

As I'm waiting on some foil to arrive (bloody Dry January!! Normally I'd be one bad day at the office away from the foil from a bottle of red!), I'll put together and clean up the torso and legs before moving forwards - the foil is for the crossbelt and I'd like to have that in place before progressing. It strikes me, though, that the level of detail for a kit of this age is remarkable, and stacks up well against more modern efforts - certainly some of the Monsterman Playtoys I've been used to in the decades since I last made an Airfix kit!  Remarkably little flash to trim away, too. 

Obviously as I've decided to paint the head first, I'll be leaving it separate, which also allows me to position it in a logical way, in context with what the limbs are doing.  I also have an idea for a vignette, if I can find an appropriate grizzly bear - a standard-bearer using his flagpole as a spear as a bear advances, with a title along the lines of "in God's name, does everything in the Americas oppose us?"

I have also ordered British Army Uniforms of the American Revolution 1751 - 1783: Including the Seven Years' War and the American War of Independence as a reference. The internet certainly makes research easier than the days when you would head to the library or scour back issues of Military Illustrated for snippets of uniform details!


15 posts

Day 2: Addendum

The fit between the legs and the torso isn't the best! There's a clever little "v" as a guide, which fits nicely into the bottom of the waistcoat, which you this means "oh, that's clever, that will hide the join!"

However, if you attach the legs to the torso using the "v" as a guide, the figure seems to be twisting unnaturally. I will see how the arms go, and it may be that this twist will suggest motion and dynamism.


15 posts

Day 4

Made and sprayed!

A few thoughts - the face is actually okay, really grown on me, so I've fixed the head in place. I've decided to go with a single figure instead of the vignette - I may do something with that idea at some point in the future though.

The figure itself builds up really well and is nicely in proportion. The torso twist looks better when the arms are on. Only a very minor conversion, in removing and repositioning the hand to hold the standard more upright.

I'm not 100% happy with the foil straps, particularly on the knapsack - there's a lot of strapping (bayonet belt, canteen, haversack and knapsack) going under that left armpit, and with the bayonet itself and a buckle for the haversack it looks very "busy" there. Hopefully, the paint job will resolve that.

So what else...I had a slight panic after glueing the cartridge belt and bayonet straps in place, as some illustrations I found afterwards showed the bayonet going over the cartridge, counter to the kit illustrations and instructions. Fortunately, the book referenced above is very comprehensive and confirms that Airfix had it the right way.

The book also showed a strap going across the chest for the knapsack, which is;t modelled or referenced in the kit instructions. The match case on the cartridge belt would very much get in the way of this, so I was in a bit of a quandry, but the book made reference to the fact that this strap was uncomfortable and unpopular, so I modelled it undone, perhaps reflecting the fact that the pack was donned in a hurry? That aside (well, I cheated and used an etched brass musket strap), the kit is remarkably accurate out of the box, with minimal conversion required.

So he's primed. I'll be using Citadel acrylics, as I have loads of them. For those who are interested, I used a base layer from a rattlecan of Grey Seer, with a second coat of Corax White at a 45-degree angle to give a bit of a zenithal highlight and act as a guide for shading and highlighting.


3859 posts

Community Moderator

It's a nice kit, isn't it

Owner of the Airfix Tribute Forum


15 posts

Far nicer than a kit of it's age has any right to be Ratch!

This one is very much a trial run, and I'll definitely be getting hold of another one. I have an idea for a set of Coldstream Guards - an ECW musketeer, an grenadier guard from 1776 (easy conversion with a sharp knife to trim away every third lace on the jacket), Coldstream Guardsman from Waterloo and a multiple infantryman from WWII.

(The Coldstreams we're my uncle's regiment, so I feel an affinity after growing up with his stories)


15 posts

By "multiple" I clearly meant Multipose!


15 posts

Day 5, painting has begun...

The lesson to take away there is that the techniques I'm used to with smaller scale wargaming miniatures do not necessarily transfer to larger scales!  Oh, it's not dreadful, but there's vast room for improvement, and looking at some YouTube tutorials (Notably this one: 

Aad Gadgie

56 posts

That's super work!  I'm rubbish at figures but, like you, I built these ones as a lad.  British 1815 infantryman, French Imperial Guard, Scots Grey, Polish Lancer, and - my favourite - the Bengal Lancer - what memories!  Thank you for sharing.

I'm sure I've had this sense of Deja Vu before...


15 posts

Ah, thanks Aad Gadgie, kind words, my friend!


I'm guessing the link to a Vallejo tutorial on YouTube was contrary to forum rules? My apologies...i just wish I could remember the havering I did after the link, as that disappeared too! Laughing

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