Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Butcher Jack



Having completed my latest instalment of the Flashman papers, 'Flashman at the Charge' it seemed only appropriate to paint up a miniature that was in some way related to that ill fated cavalry engagement during the Crimea War of 1854.

This fine, two piece miniature was part of a Charge of the Light Brigade character pack from 'Great War Miniatures' available through 'North Star Military Figures' and was great fun to do.  


I first became aware of the exploits of Trooper John Vahey of the 17th Lancers when reading Terry Brighton's wonderful, 'Hell Riders'.  'Butcher Jack' is one of those characters that populate the annuls of British Military History, the sort of chap legends are crafted around.   Acting as the regimental butcher, Jack spent the night before Balaclava under guard because of over-indulging in commissariat rum.  When he awoke the next morning, "deucedly muzzy" the camp was empty, returning to his tent for a refresher from an inexhaustible rum bottle he became aware that the Light Brigade was forming up in the valley below.



Although no regimental mounts were available to him, 'Butcher Jack' was able to take advantage of a riderless Russian pony, its saddle emptied by the 'Charge of the Heavy Brigade' earlier that morning.  So it was that Jack Vahey trotted up to take his position in the line still in his bloody overalls and wielding a butcher's axe.  

'Butcher Jack' would go on to survive the charge and avoid a court martial instead he was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions on that fateful day.


65 comments:

  1. That's some nice freehand work there Michael. Excellent model!

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  2. That's an excellent piece of work! Bravo Sir Bravo!!

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  3. Quite the fig and quite the story!

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    Replies
    1. He certainly was a character by the sound of it.

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  4. Great work on him, I read about him in an issue of Wargames Illustrated...a bit of a legend!

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    1. I read the same article and was determined to convert one myself, fortunately Great War Miniatures saved me the trouble.

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  5. Lovely figure Michael. And such a great tale about his exploits :)

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  6. Hi Michael,

    really nice paintjob once more. The cypher on the shabraque is awesome. I'll need decals for mine I presume...

    Cheers
    Stefan

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    1. Thank you Stefan, but the freehand work tool several attempts!

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  7. Stunning work Sir. Very very impressive!

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  8. Very impressive, I like it very much!!
    Phil.

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  9. Well done and a very interesting read!

    Christopher

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  10. Great stuff mate! He looks like he's on his way to a French BBQ ;-)

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    1. Thank you Millsy, he is certainly not a chap to be trifled with!

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  11. Ah, they don't make 'em like they used to, do they? So hard he'd rust if he was left out in the rain!

    I'd love to see your version of Flashy farting in terror as his horse joined the charge much against his rider's wishes!

    Another lovely piece of work, Michael.

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    Replies
    1. One of a kind, but what a kind! Thank you for the kind words.

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  12. Very nice painting job!!! Meat cleavers are scary!!

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    1. Especially when wielded by such a fearsome looking chap!

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  13. Greate mini and painting! Very nice with the historical re-cap, a true hero!

    Best regards Michael

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    1. Thank you he certainly was a character.

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  14. The brushwork on that horse is nice Michael. You've blended those various shades of grey on him in such a way that the transitions look natural. And the eyes on the horse are great, so expressive.

    The trousers on that rider are gorgeous as well. The placement of the highlights as the light moves down those legs is just perfect.

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    1. Thank you Anne, the horse sculpt and saddlery were perhaps my favourite parts.

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  15. Nice model and great paint Michael , as always .
    Cheers

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  16. Wonderful painting, and wonderful history, Michael. Bravo with the shabraque embroidery!

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    1. Thank you Sidney, he certainly was a legendary chap and as for that embroidery - well let us just say it took a couple of attempts!

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  17. Another lovely looking character set. Some of those Victorians were completely barmy, their exploits often sound sranger than fiction.

    Regards,
    Matt

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    1. Thank you Matt, there is something about the period that creates men like Butcher Jack that I find fascinating.

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  18. great work love the bit of history you provide

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    1. Thank you James, I love reading about the history behind the miniatures.

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  19. Stunning figure - the pose with the axe is subtly fearsome. Nice work on the horse blanket too. Best, Dean

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  20. Very nice figures and paintjob Michael. What a character!

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    1. Thank you Simon, he certainly was a unique gentlemen.

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  21. Nice work, Mr. Awdry. The striping is excellent. I love Jack the Clever-Man!

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  22. Great bit of history and wonderful painting there sir.

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  23. That's a fun character. First time I've heard of this guy. Thanks for sharing. Great figure too. I especially like the painting on the horse. Bravo!

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    1. Thank you, he is certainly someone that sparks the imagination.

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  24. Good show! I assume the of the pack will show up one day?

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    1. Thank you Robert, hoping to get the rest finished off in the next couple of days.

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  25. Marvelous story and model, nice one Michael!

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  26. Lovely. The grey horse and the blood look top and those two are usually though to get right. You can be proud here!

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    1. Thank you, I have to confess they were my favourite parts too.

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  27. A great painted figure there Michael with wonderful skills on display. I love the fact he is based on a real person and the I like the history of him

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    1. Thank you Sir, too good a character not to have made really.

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  28. Fab model and painting!

    One of the real heroes of Balaclava!

    A must have miniature for anyone into the Crimean War.

    Darrell.

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    1. Absolutely Darrell, they don't make them like that anymore.

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  29. Replies
    1. Thank you Captain, really pleased with how it turned out.

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  30. Brilliant work Michael! I've always loved that bit of history. I'll definitely have to pick up one of these for the collection.

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    1. Thank you Curt, definitely worth picking up a set, I hope to have the rest of them up before too long.

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  31. Nice figure well painted and you tell us a very interesting story !
    My father was a butcher... but his name was not "Jack" !!
    Thanks for this little piece of history.

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