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Masterson at Barrosa, 1811 – “I have the Cuckoo!”

October 9, 2014 in Figures

This is Stormtroopers Miniatures new 1/10 resin bust (sculpted by Carl Reid), depicting Sgt. Patrick Masterson of the 87th Regiment of Foot (Royal Irish Fusiliers), at the Battle of Barrosa during the Peninsular War.

On March 5, 1811, during a vicious bayonet engagement along Barrosa ridge, he captured the Regimental Eagle of the French 8th Ligne, shouting “Bejabbers, boys! I have the Cuckoo!” – the British vernacular for the esteemed regimental symbol (bronze with gold wreath), presented personally to each Regiment by Napoleon himself.

On the day, Ensign Edward Keogh managed to get a hand on the prize, only to be shot and bayoneted by the French, who defended fiercely; Keogh was killed instantly. Masterson had followed his officer into the skirmish and after killing several men he wrenched the Eagle from the hands of its dying bearer, Lieutenant Gazan.

It was the first Eagle captured by the British in the Napoleonic Wars.

A WIP thread of the painting process can be found at

To note, the first and last photos in the series show the figure weathered, with all other images entered as technical colour references.

12 additional images. Click to enlarge

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23 responses to Masterson at Barrosa, 1811 – “I have the Cuckoo!”

  1. Incredibly good Rob. I enjoyed watching the progress thread and i’m amazed that your not someone who has done that many figures, because this lokks like it was done by an expert. Outstanding!!

    • Many thanks, Gregor. I was pleased enough with the outcome that I went back to my first figure, a Soviet Sniper (a previous posting here), and reworked the face and hands, and now think that it’s much improved, so it seems every modelling opportunity adds to the skill set.

  2. Well done Rob, while following your build/painting it is not surprising for me, that the result is so perfect.
    Can t wait to see your next comming project.
    Simply beautiful.

  3. I would have preferred a full figure (I am not a fan of busts) but even so it is a fine piece of work.

  4. Very well done, Rob, the colours and textures are excellent, and you’ve brought out the facial expression beautifully. But (sorry, but, I do have a but), isn’t he a little too clean after all that fighting?

    • Thanks, George. As it happens I was toying with the idea of adding a little pigment dust, but it’s the trousers that usually showed so much grime – in this case not an issue. If you check the images now, I’ve revised the series to include two photos of the figure weathered with MIG Russian Earth and Vietnam Earth. I hesitate to do any more as the conventions for figure painting are not the same as for figures in a military diorama.

      • He looks even better now, Rob, I can’t wait to see your next figure, any idea what it (he or she?) will be?

        • Thanks, George. When I was at Euromilitaire I bought two figures, one is the Masterson bust and the other, also a Stroemtroopers offering, another “sergeant hero” – Sgt Bernard McCabe, who under murderous fire during the First Anglo-Sikh War in 1846 (I know, I hadn’t heard of it either) carried the Regiment flag to the ramparts of the Sikh stronghold thereby rallying his men forward to take the position. The Sikhs were no ragtag army; huge in numbers and trained by the French in the latest military strategy, they were formidable foes.

          As I have it to hand, I thought I’ go ahead and paint it.

  5. Having followed this build, I was really impressed with Rob’s skill and speed at painting a subject with so many different textures. As much as I admire Rob’s work, I agree with George, that given the backstory, Sgt. Masterson’s uniform and kit, have more of a parade ground than battlefield look. That being said Rob, I do think you turned out a beautiful piece and I wish I had a fraction of your painting skills.

  6. Outstanding result Rob. The background history you provided helps the viewer identify with the subject.

  7. Cheers, Al. Thanks for checking out the WIP thread.

  8. Great work Rob, I can see what some people have said but it is a fine paint job, a lot better than I could do.

    • Thanks, Simon. I do in fact like the ‘weathered’ version but still think it’s important to maintain the integrity of the technical points of the painting.

  9. beautiful work, Rob!

  10. Wow Rob, that was fast! I enjoyed the WIP pictures and the finished product is great. There must have been a lot of challenges in that kit. I would have spent an eternity painting over mistakes only to make other mistakes that had to be corrected and so on and so on. The face, the flag and the added dust, all are excellent. Any plans that it will be on a competition table in future?

  11. Rob,
    I am indeed impressed. Painting figures is an art and you are a true artist.

  12. That’s really a nice bit of art there Rob. I don’t do these because I can’t do these. Maybe someday.
    Looks great!
    California Steve

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