1854 Coldstream Guardsman (Part 1)

By Tony Barton of York:

1854 Coldstream Guardsman (Part 1):

I seem to be a bit obsessed with Guards figures at present: but that has entirely to do with receiving the best material imaginable for making bearskins: some fine black sheepskin, a gift from my friend Matt in Spain.

So I’ve been making a Guardsman in the last of the old Coatee uniforms, in which they sailed to the Crimea, and fought at least until the winter set in, when regulations went somewhat to pot in the face of the weather .
He is intended for the Crimea, but I thought I would take these pics first, while he was still clean!

So there are few inconsistencies here, and he has items such as the moustache and the rifle which were not " Issued ", as it were, until they got out to the East.

I have decided to call him Arthur Lemon, and here he is in his full parade splendour back home, on Horseguards Parade:

The figure: I chose the Coldstream , entirely out of favouritism. I am an Old Parliamentarian, and they descend directly from the New Model Army . They are also slightly better documented than the 1st or Grenadier Guards and the Scots Fusilier Guards, as they were titled at the time.

I used the DML [Dragon models Ltd.] Guards trousers, let out at the bottom to make them drape over the boots, but everything else has been scratchbuilt .

Starting at the top: Bearskin sewn from Matt’s sheepskin, officially 9 ½ “ tall , cut down from 13” before they sailed. Photographs (and we have a couple: the first war recorded by the camera ) suggest they were taller . I compromised until it looked right.
It was necessary to carefully crop the fur to achieve the right length and shape, best done with some very sharp scissors.
It has a leather liner , and chin chain From the DML bearskin. I tried to find a real metal chain , but failed to find any with the correct taper : I don’t think it’s made.
The red plume is made from feathers bound in some very fine wire.

The Coatee: red & white polysuede and brushed cotton, a very fiddly thing to tailor. I just kept at it until it fitted properly. The cuffs are simpler than the modern version, without the piping.
The epaulettes ( huge: confirmed by photos) are sewn using some thick white cotton thread for the fringe, worked through a polysuede base. There is a pad underneath to keep them up at the right angle.

Buttons were still pewter at this date , my own castings with the CG Garter Star. The badges are modelled in Fimo and glued in place.
The shoes are my own: none of the commercial ones looked quite right, so I made a new Fimo last and made some.The lacing flaps are very short , which is why they are always invisible under the trouser cuffs. I'm still not happy with them: they should have a chisel toe.

The Equipment: I’ve made the knapsack from painted glazed cotton and leather , with a wooden frame, after the plans in Pierre Turner’s wonderful equipment book.

The pouch and bayonet belts were 2 ¾ ” wide : the Guards did not receive the new waistbelt worn by most Line Regiments until after the war.
The Coldstream also retained the Garter Star badges on the bayonet belt plate and on the pouch , the buckles on the pouch belt, and had their percussion caps in a little pouch on the front of the pouchbelt .

The buff leather strapping is all made out of some scraps of Life Guards buckskin breeches that I came by mysteriously…….
I'm not certain about the ornaments on the Coatee tails : since soldiers are so often pictured from the front, pics of this area are very scarce. They may have been simpler than this : the hunt for a decent pic goes on.

[ Edit : I just photoshopped the pocket flaps to correct them : Eric has found me a pic of an original Coatee , and I'm now correcting the model . Oh, the wonders of cyberspace ! ]

The P.51 Minie Rifle is scratchbuilt : no-one will ever make this weapon commercially , and you can’t easily fudge it from anything else. It was the first service weapon with a chemically blued barrel .

I arranged a look at a perfect P.51 specimen in the Royal Armouries .

It was replaced at the end of the War by the P.53 Enfield , an even better rifle , which is still made commercially in 1/6th by BGT, but it has the very obvious barrel bands which are almost impossible to remove neatly.

Technically , he should have only whiskers and no moustache, but since I’m sending him to the Crimea for another set of pics, I beg indulgence .

The facial hair was a novelty in the British Army : giving in to the pressure of Fashion in a remarkably hairy era , Horseguards had allowed all ranks to grow moustaches once they got to the Crimea , to add to their already splendid whiskers , and by the time of the Alma they were getting quite hirsute. By the winter they were permitted full beards.

The forage cap was distinctive to the Guards , the Line wearing the Kilmarnock .
It looks more modern , but is actually a hangover from the 1790s and the Napoleonic Wars , when this shape was in general use, often worn athwart .


I do admire the workmanship and attention to detail but at what point does "scale military modelling" become a bespoke "Action Man"?
I think it's more 'when does a bespoke Action Man become a scale military model'?

I would say Tony's work is museum quality - more than I can say for my old Action Men! He sculpts his own head, hands and cap badges, as well as making most of the uniform and kit parts.
Absolutely incredible work! Thanks for posting those piccies and the websites, Joe. I never even realised such fantastic detail was even possible on that scale.


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