Jacobite Boats – Part 1

I had previously modelled a pair of Royal Navy boats, which were used by 27th Foot (Inniskillings) and a Naval Landing Party, as part of a joint operation with a pair of small Royal Navy Brigs, in their unsuccessful attempt to prevent the Jacobites ferrying their siege guns across the Forth to help besiege Stirling Castle. These can be seem here and a photo of these boats is below.

However the largest amphibious operation of the ’45 was not British but Jacobite and, unlike the British one, it was entirely successful. I wanted the model the boats for this.

In February 1746, Lord Loudoun and a force of his own understrength 64th Highlanders (no more than six companies at most), one Additional Company of 43rd Highlanders (Black Watch), two companies of the 6th Foot and 15 newly raised Independent Highland Companies had been holding Inverness. As the much larger Jacobite Army approached Loudoun withdrew most of his force to the Black Isle, north of inverness, leaving the two companies of the 6th Foot and two of the Independent Highland Companies to garrison Fort George, which was then the name of the old Inverness Castle commanding the bridge over the Ness at Inverness. Fort George surrendered to the Jacobites after a two day siege, as recounted here. Lord Loudoun then retreated further to behind the Dornoch Firth.

The Jacobites determined to drive Lord Loudoun and his force out of North East Scotland. To do this they planned an amphibious operation across the Dornoch Firth. In preparation for this elements of Lord Lewis Gordon’s Regiment, certainly his Stoneywood Battalion, but possibly also some of his Avochie Battalion, collected a flotilla of some 38 fishing boats from the Moray Coast. It is not clear whether Lord Lewis Gordon participated in this, but his experience as a Royal Naval officer would have helped. Many of the Stoneywood Battalion were recruited from the fishing ports along that coast. My model of Lord Lewis Gordon’s Regiment is below, Avochie on the left, as you view it, and Stoneywood on the right.

The boats and an assault force were assembled on the widest part southern bank of the Dornoch Firth. Lord Loudoun only had a few scattered companies to oppose this, since he had concentrated most of his troops to the west where the river narrowed and did not anticipate that the Jacobites would launch an assault on the widest point of the Firth. The Jacobite assault was in three waves, since there were only enough boats for one third of their troops at a time. The operation was commanded by the Duke of Perth, although much of the planning may have been done by one of his attached Irish Brigade staff officers.

I had previously modelled the Duke of Perth and here he is accompanied by an ADC, who I have assumed was Lieutenant John MacArthur of the Duke of Perth’s Regiment. Lieutenant John MacArthur was certainly in the Duke of Perth’s Regiment, but showing him as the Duke of Perth’s ADC is artistic licence on my behalf, since he shares the same name as my father (although my father was always known by the Gaelic “Ian”).

I wanted dismounted figures for this assault force and had already modelled the Duke of Perth dismounted as he was at Prestonpans.

I now also wanted a dismounted figure for his ADC.

I had run out of suitable 18th Century figures so I converted this ADC figure from an Airfix Napoleonic marching French artilleryman. I like all my dismounted figures to have horses, as this gives a location for the figure to return to before remounting. The horse is from the Strelets Swedish Trabants of Charles XII.

Here is the completed dismounted ADC, painted as Lieutenant John MacArthur in a MacArthur tartan jacket.

Here is my representation of the complete Jacobite assault force. Out in front is the Duke of Perth and his ADC on a command sabot (the same sabot fits mounted and dismounted figures)..

The first wave was commanded by Simon Fraser, Master of Lovat (the son and heir to the wily Lord Lovat). This wave was some 700-800 men in consisting of his own Fraser (or Lovat) Regiment, comprising both his 1st and 3rd Battalions, which may have been amalgamated by then, plus the MacGregor Regiment. Simon Fraser was pardoned after the war, later raised the two Battalion 78th Fraser’s Highlanders to fight as part of Wolfe’s Army in North America and ended his life as a British Major General.

The second wave, also some 700-800 strong was commanded by Donald MacDonald of Lochgarry. He had his own 1st Battalion MacDonalds of Glengarry plus the MacDonald of Clanranald Regiment. Lochgarry had been a Captain commanding a newly raised company of 64th Foot, but as the ’45 started he defected to the Jacobites, taking his entire company with him. After Culloden he escaped to France.

The third wave was slightly smaller, perhaps 600 men at most, and was commanded by George MacKenzie, Lord Cromartie. His force comprised his own Cromartie Regiment plus the 2nd (Barrisdale) battalion of the MacDonalds of Glengarry Regiment. The MacKenzie clan was split in its loyalties, with some branches supporting the Government. There were three MacKenzie companies amongst the 18 Highland Independent Companies, raised to support the Government, and two of these were with Lord Loudoun’s force. Indeed, one of the reasons for raising these three Mackenzie companies was to deny recruits to the Jacobites. Lord Cromartie was persuaded to join the Jacobite cause after a mammoth 10 day drinking bout with Simon Fraser. He was captured after Culloden, originally sentenced to be executed but then pardoned on condition of not setting foot in Scotland again.

I decided to model a variety of boats for this Jacobite flotilla, since they would not have all been identical.

I made one from the same Zvezda Medieval Boat which I had used for my Royal Navy boats.

I made three more boats from the ships boats which came with a model of HMS Bounty (which I will model as a RN frigate in the near future).

I removed the keel of the Zvezda boat, as I had for the previous RN boats, so it would sit better when on my model water.

Here is the unpainted boat. I later removed the duckboards, apart from the stern section, as they made the deck of the boat too high for my seated figures.

I converted the rowers from Hät Napoleonic Royal Navy sailor figures originally carrying a cannon ball. I removed the cannon ball, moved his arms, added rolled up sleeves, removed his base, trimmed the legs, bent the legs more and added a welded plastic scots bonnet and plaid (back view shown as well).

I made a tillerman from an Airfix Napoleonic French Infantryman. I removed his musket (saving it for future conversions), cut and bent his right leg to make him seated, welded his shako into a scots bonnet and his pack into a plaid.

Here are the completed boat crew.

And here is the completed first boat and crew. I have permanently glued them into the boat, so this is how they would look after delivering the first wave and going back for the cecond wave.

I decided to model all of the seated Jacobite commanders and staff as individuals.

I used an Italeri Napoleonic French infantryman figure to convert as seated figures both for the Duke of Perth and his ADC. The ADC has a pin inserted in his to facilitate placing him in the stern seat of his boat.

I used an Airfix Napoleonic French infantryman figure to convert as seated figures both for Simon Fraser and Lord Cromartie, painted with different tartans. Both of their standing figures are wearing trews, so this works.

I used an Airfix Napoleonic British Highlander to convert to Donald MacDonald of Lochgarry, since his standing figure is wearing a kilt (actually belted plaid).

Here are the commanders and staff, with their seated alternate figures in front of them. From the left as you view it, Simon Fraser (1st Wave), Donald MacDonald of Lochgarry (2nd Wave), Lord Cromartie (3rd Wave), Lieutenant John MacArthur (ADC to Duke of Perth) and the Duke of Perth.

Although I had made individual seated commanders, I modelled the highlander figures in each boat as generic figures. Those in the first boat were all converted from kneeling Airfix Napoleonic British Highlanders. The third figure is a rear view of the same figure as the second one. Half of the figures in each boat are carrying muskets and half are carrying swords (as are my standing figures). One figure has a targe (small shield) modelled from a cut down plug used to cover screw holes in flat pack furniture.

The swords are cut from old plastic milk bottles (a tip I saw on TMP, The Miniatures Page). One bottle would make hundreds if not thousands of swords. I put the figure into a clamp which I bought in a market (I suspect originally designed for tying fishing flies). I then had one hand free to hold the sword and the other to hold my miniature soldering iron, which I use for plastic welding.

By experimentation, I decided that I could get eight highlanders plus the wave commander in the first boat. I mounted six of these as two blocks of three figures by welding them together. Each block has two men with muskets and one with a sword.

The last two highlander figures were welded together in a block of two. Both have swords and one has a targe. They are different colour plastic but both are Airfix highlanders.

Here are all of the painted passengers for the first boat. Although they are generic, and could represent troops of any wave, these are painted as Frasers.

Here they are positioned in the first boat. The crew of tillerman and four rowers are fixed but the nine passengers (wave commander seated in the stern and eight highlanders) are loose.

Well, that is enough for Part I. I will write up Part 2 tomorrow.

[To be continued]

10 thoughts on “Jacobite Boats – Part 1

    • rodwargaming February 7, 2021 / 10:06 pm

      Yes, it took some time, but I enjoyed doing it.



  1. mosstrooper7 February 7, 2021 / 8:04 pm

    Very nice work – love the seated figures .


    • rodwargaming February 7, 2021 / 10:07 pm

      I have finished all four boats, but the post was getting very long, so I thought I would break it into a Part 1 and Part 2.



    • rodwargaming February 8, 2021 / 7:45 am

      Hi Pete,

      Many thanks. I plan to continue with Part 2 of this post today.



  2. James Fisher February 10, 2021 / 11:42 am

    Magnificent conversions Rod and the end results are splendid indeed.
    Regards, James


    • rodwargaming February 10, 2021 / 4:39 pm

      Hi James,

      Glad you liked it. I have been thinking of doing it for some time and am pleased with the result, although my painting is not as good as it was 20 years ago.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s