Cope’s Supply Train

On 20th August 1745, at the beginning of the Jacobite Rebellion, Lieutenant General Cope marched north towards the Highlands.

1 - scotland map


He used pack horses for his supply train since the poor roads would be unsuitable for wagons.  I therefore decided to model these.

2 - thomas bissatI also decided to model Cope’s Commissary, who was Thomas Bissat, the factor to the Duke of Atholl.  I based his figure on an Italeri Napoleonic British hussar, with the pelisse welded into a plaid and his busby welded into a Scots bonnet.  The horse is one of the very cheap Eagle Games ones.


3 - pack horseFor pack horses I used those which came with Hät Prussian and Russian Artillery.   These came with a pair of sacks.   I had five sets of these, with four pack horses in each, which gave a total of 20 pack horses.  At my normal 1:30 ratio this would represent 600 pack horses.


That may seem a lot, but Cope clearly had more than that.  In his “Fight for a Throne”, Christopher Duffy writes (p94) that on the night of 24th/25th August 200 pack horses disappeared and 400 more were lost the following night.


The pack horses did not appear to be carrying very much so I decided to model some extra things for them to carry.  I made boxes out of bits of sprue with the sides shaved to make them a square section.   Some of the boxes were long since Cope took 2,000 muskets with him to arm the expected loyal clans, but these did not materialise.   The thin strips of string on the right were used to secure the boxes to the pack horses

4 - boxes - a
5 - boxes b


To finish off the boxes, I scored them with my miniature welding iron to represent the box woodwork, then added thin strips of paper to represent metal banding.

Here are both the small and long boxes.






6 - barrels

I decided that I also wanted some barrels for the pack horses to carry.  I had two sets of Esci Battlefield Accessories, each of which contained 2 barrels.  However I wanted 8 barrels and since they came in two halves I just used one half per barrel, filled in the back with welded sprue and fitted them to the pack horses with the good side outwards.


I made five separate versions of the pack horses, with four horses in each version.

7 - pack horses

The leading one has a pair of sacks and a pair of small boxes.  The second has a pair of long musket boxes.  The third has four sacks (using those not needed from the horse carrying musket boxes).  The fourth has a pair of sacks and a pair of barrels.  The last one has a pair of boxes and a pair of sacks, the opposite way around from the first one.

I mounted these up in sets of four pack horses, with a variety on each of the five stands.

8 - pack horses mounted

9 - walking drivers

The square on the front of the stand is to accommodate a walking driver.  I did not have any more suitable 18th Century figures for these, so converted them from Airfix French Infantry, by removing their musket and pack, welding the shako into a tricorn, welding the coat so it no longer had turnbacks and adding a short whip.


Here is a completed pack horse stand.  The horses look suitably laden.  The driver can be slid out of the base, so alternative figures, including those of different eras, could be substituted.

10 - completed pack horses

Here is the complete pack horse train, led by their commissary Thomas Bissat.  It is 80 cm long, plus another 3 cm for Bissat but it would have been very long in real life.

12 - entire pack horse train

Finally, I decided to model some more cattle.  Armies in the 18th and 19th centuries (and earlier eras) often travelled with meat “on the hoof”.  I had already made some “black cattle” for my Jacobite Army and now made some brown ones for the British Army.  These are from the Airfix Farm set.  I have added horns, from thin plastic coated wire, to these Airfix cattle, since shorthorn cattle were not developed until the late 18th Century.

13 - cattle & drover

Here they are, complete with drover.  Again the drover can be removed and I plan to use all of the cattle, plus more not yet modelled, with different herd boys, in an updated Zulu War set up.



4 thoughts on “Cope’s Supply Train

  1. Marvin January 14, 2019 / 9:59 pm

    Brilliantly done and very creative, you should be very satisfied with the end result.


  2. Pete S/ SP January 15, 2019 / 12:31 am

    Those are great. It is always nice to see logistics represented.




  3. rodwargaming January 15, 2019 / 7:44 am

    Hi Pete,

    I always try to represent the whole of an army, even if some elements have a limited use. 1:72 plastics are so cheap that it is easy to do.



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