They are looking very exotic to me. Are they ready with grey uniforms? If this is so, can you give us some more informations on this unit. I never heard of them. Very cool paintjob!
Well, hopefully I have inched over the line with these. Ran out of daylight in which to photograph them, but I hope this gives a reasonable impression.
Thank you all for the kind comments so far, they are very cheering, and in answer to MABO, I thought I should say something about who these little grey men are ...
Well, having considered the Group Build, I thought something from my home country of the UK would be appropriate, and, as I 'volunteered' for the Group Build quite by accident, I thought my British soldiers ought to represent the volunteer movement.
In 1859 Great Britain reacted to the risk of war with Second Empire France by means of the Volunteer Movement. Many units of civilian Volunteer Rifles were raised. Characteristically they adopted grey uniforms and looked something like this:
The mottoes adopted by the movement, and sometimes carved over the doors of their drill halls, were "For Hearth & Home" and "Defence not Defiance", indicating that the volunteer movement was not an exercise in Imperial aggrandisement, but was concerned with defence against foreign aggressors.
The Childers Reforms of 1881 nominated rifle volunteer corps as volunteer battalions of the county infantry regiments, which also consisted of regular and militia battalions within a defined regimental district. As a result, over the next few years many of the rifle volunteer corps adopted the “volunteer battalion” designation and the uniform of their parent regiment. From 1881 to 1902, this meant they wore the red home service infantry tunics, often pictured with the glengarry side cap, though photographic evidence suggests that the transition to khaki service dress took several years to be adopted by all the volunteer battalions.
Some units maintained their volunteer rifle uniforms, but these now conformed to modern infantry pattern, presenting a sort of grey version of the red home service uniform. This is what I have attempted to reproduce.
The various Middlesex battalions were among those retaining their volunteer rifles appearance, which brings us to these figures, which are based upon the Inns of Court battalion.
The Inns of Court were an interesting bunch. The "Golden Thread" stretches back some considerable way, including the Bloomsbury & Inns of Court Volunteers, raised to thwart invasion by Revolutionary France. King George III admired them at a review and asked who they were. On being told, he muttered that lawyers were "the Devil's Own". To this day the Inns of Court is known as the Devil's Own, and still contains some utter barristers!
The continuous history of the unit dates from the raising of Inns of Court Rifle Volunteers in 1859. On formation in 1859 the Inns of Court were the 23rd Middlesex (Inns of Court) Rifle Volunteer Corps, and became the 14th Middlesex in 1889.
The Inns of Court sent a contingent of 30 mounted infantry, 19 cyclists and 1 signaller from the Inns of Court joined the City Imperial Volunteers for service in South Africa during the Boer War.
The cyclist figure represents the Inns of Court cyclist section; cyclist sections became a common feature of volunteer rifles and eventually, whole volunteer cyclist battalions were formed in the years before the Great War.
Along with the Yeomanry, the volunteer rifles were subsumed into the Territorial Army in 1908.
This is one of the images inspired the representation of the Inns of Court c.1897: