Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Australian Light Horse. Great War Miniatures Conversions. 1.

So, I am armed with ten GWM 1914 British Cavalry figures all carrying rifles and some heads wearing the slouch hat, not from Woodbine Designs as one may think, but sculpted by Dave Andrews and Aly Morrison of Great War Miniatures. These heads will have to be removed from cast metal foot figures that the GWM chaps have obviously had cast for their own collections as such things are not on sale. These slouch hat heads will replace the heads wearing SD cap on the original figures. That, I think, will be the easy part.

I want to add bits. The greenstuff is willing even if my skill is not great. A look at some period images will show that the ALH in Palestine loaded a lot of kit onto their Waler horses. These horses were refered to as "ponies" by some, but they were an hardy Australian breed of horse.

Not what you might expect. This trooper on a donkey (I think he may be a signaler as there appears to be two flags on the saddle) looks to be wearing the Small Box Respirator bag. I'd be interested to hear if anyone who reads this can either varify or deny this. Also note the all important bayonet on the left. Will need to sculpt this on to the GWM cavalry.

Palestine 1918. In stables by the look of it. The trooper is wearing Puttees.... food for thought as my first thought was to try to sculpt the leather leggings with spiral straps on every figure. Perhaps now I have the option?

A lot of kit: canvas bucket, forage bag, what looks like a blanket rolled within a groundsheet on the front of the saddle, extra bandolier on the front of the saddlecloth and something I can't make out round the horse's neck... another bandolier? Also, the ALH kept the manes and tails of their horses long. The GWM British cavalry have cropped manes and shorter tails. Some greenstuff there as well, I think.
Now this is the look I'm after. Cpl Austin Edwards with his mount Taffy, who stood patiently over a wounded Cpl Edwards as he pulled himself up off the ground and back into the saddle at the Battle of Romani, 1916. Look at all that kit including the rifle bucket. Taffy has an extra bandolier round his neck and a water bucket.

ALH at halt 1917. Webbing rifle slings seen here. Other photos show leather.... will paint both. Ah, that odd bag again on the trooper in the foreground.... well, like an SBR bag it has the press studs on the flap and the rings through which string was tied to tie around the back (and chest) when worn on the front of the chest. But does it contain a gas mask? Lots of leather leggings and few hats with the sides pinned up. Some with pugaree on slouch hat, others with a plain khaki band. Emu feathers in evidence. Lots of kit on the mounts too. Great photo for inspiration.

Two of the last casualties of the 1st ALH in 1918, their mounts looking on in a staged but moving image. Both mounts sport fetching (locally made?) headgear to keep the flies out of their eyes. Will have to have one or two with this.

SHORTS! I'm afraid not... But Puttees again (or just socks?). I like the way the canvas bucket is stowed. Small billy can too and similar at the front of the saddle.

Ah... Puttees and leather leggings in the same image. Good. I will have both. Officer in peaked cap. This is good news as I have ten figures to convert and only nine heads! The Officer will retain his Soft Cap.

Long manes and tails, again.

And finally, to get in the mood, a clip from the 1940 film "Forty Thousand Horsemen". The ALH Brigade has a set too with Johnny outside a little place called Beersheba, Palestine, in October 1917: Click on CLIP 3.

For those who might like similar, but in colour, then have a gander at a couple of clips from the 1987 film "The Light Horsemen.": AND

All that remains now is to start......... Nurse! The screens!


Michael Awdry said...

What a tremendous sounding project. Given the success of your previous projects I can't wait to see how this develops.

Sidney Roundwood said...

Mark, this sounds absolutely wonderful. I'm really loving the sound of what you're about to do. Awesome photographs as well. Bravo!!

Rodger said...

Sounds like a very interesting project. I am sure the results will be amazimg. Good luck.

Tim C said...

Really looking forward to seeing these boys. You've seen my attempt. I too thought of leaving the puttees but in the end went for boots (but without the straps). I think the mix you mention will be spot on.