Man of TIN Advent Calendar Day 18 – Peter Laing WW1 Belgian Cyclists

I have neglected my 15mm  Peter Laing figures this year. I also have to confess – I didn’t paint these 15mm Belgian cyclists, but I did spot them for sale online buried away amongst thousands of 15mm listings.

I took a punt on these being Peter Laing figures as they were not listed by manufacturer. Having collected and painted several hundred Laing figures, I hoped I had correctly recognised these as Peter Laing figures which have quite a overall slender, stylish and distinctive look to them.

F711 Belgian Carabinier Cyclists

These cyclists are attractively based in units on road section bases.

Looking up the website of experienced Peter Laing collector John Patriquin (The Wargame Hermit blog) I saw an unpainted cyclist casting that gave me some hope that these figures for sale online were by Peter Laing. The sales photo left me with a few doubts. http://wargamehermit.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/peter-laing-machine-gun-cyclsts.html

Nearby were some well painted 15mm Peter Laing WW1 Belgian infantry which I also purchased.

The Belgian infantry Carabiniers wore an interesting black uniform and shako that had yet to be fully modernised by the time WW1 broke out in 1914, so some units went to war in almost Napoleonic uniforms.

Peter Laing F710 Belgian Carabinier advancing

Although they are not Peter Laing figures, there are some attractive dog cart machine guns and the odd officer figure by another manufacturer.

Eventually I will split these unit bases up and rebase them as my rules use individual figure bases.

Marvin at Suburban Militarism blog beautifully painted these 1:72 Hat Belgian cyclist versions https://suburbanmilitarism.wordpress.com/2018/08/22/belgiums-carabinier-cyclists-complete/

Another old unposted blog entry on Bicycle Troops
Finding some odd bicycle troops amongst a job lot of Peter Laing WW1 and WW2 15mm figures was interesting – still not sure of maker.

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Bicycle troops

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/peter-laing-15mm-ww2-skirmish/

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Bicycle troops

From Victorian era  Boer War bicyclists to modern Afgahnistan and the modern Swiss Army, bicycles have played an interesting role in getting infantry and paratroops mobile, from the WW2 Bicycle Blitzkreig through  Japanese cyclists on the jungle tracks to the airborne  infantry with their parabikes.

Two recent books cover this area: Jim Fitzpatrick, The Bicycle in Wartime: An Illustrated History Paperback 2011 and R.S. Kohn’s book Bicycle Troops (2011) is  also available on Amazon.

Both of these I look forward to reading, they are now on this year’s 2019 reading list.

As well as the Belgian cyclists, Hat offer  German and other nations bicycle  infantry in plastic 1:72 http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/review.aspx?id=2095

Airfix had the odd OO/HO bicyclist in its RAF Crew figures range that could have a rifle added or a well equipped one or two in its WW1 French infantry. Bicycles were also added clutter  in some of its OO/HO buildings range (Forward Strongpoint)

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A useful bicycle figure from RAF Ground Crew which could have a rifle added etc.

Some wargames have simply added Bicycle shaped novelty paper clips.

Lots more information on the interesting Wikipedia entry : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_infantry

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Danish bicycle soldiers cycle toward the German invaders 1940 (Wikimedia / Wikipedia source)

There are plenty of well illustrated museum websites on military bikes:

http://www.theliberator.be/militarybicycles.htm

http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/article/military-bicycles-a-short-history-34906/

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WW1 Italian Bersaglieri Bicycle troops (Image: Public Domain Wikipedia / Wikimedia)

Bersaglieri WW1 bicycle troops pictured: https://bsamuseum.wordpress.com/1911-bianchi-military-folding-bicycle/

In Mark Thompson’s The White War Life and Death on the Italian Front (p.71)  tells the story of a Slovene child seeing Bersaglieri with their plumed hats approaching by bikes into the Caparetto /  Isonzo area  in 1915 and exclaimed “Daddy, look at all the ladies coming here on bikes!” Hardly the image that these tough mountain troops wished to create.

Many other amazing posts on this BSA Museum website such as AA Cycle scouts in wartime.

 https://bsamuseum.wordpress.com/aa-cycle-scouts/

Excellent YouTube Clip of the Swiss Military Cyclists of today:  https://ruedatropical.wordpress.com/2009/02/10/swiss-army-bicycles/

Dorset soldiers produce civilian, band and postal bicycle 54mm figures that could be converted to military uses.

http://smallscaleworld.blogspot.co.uk/2015_07_01_archive.html  photo of lovely Heyde Balkan bicyclists..

Interestingly H.G. Wells, writer of Little Wars , was a keen cyclist with Mrs Wells.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN as Advent Day Calendar  18, 18th December 2018.

9 thoughts on “Man of TIN Advent Calendar Day 18 – Peter Laing WW1 Belgian Cyclists”

  1. Lovely Belgian figures. They are really charming. I have the bicycle in wartime book and I can recommend it as a really good read. My 54mm Swiss army (WW1) has bicycle troops and I have to say that I am rather partial to bicycles on the wargames table. I have some 1940 Danes with bicycles. There is a very good movie about Germany invading Denmark called 9th April which features Danish bicycle units and motorcycles too. There are splendid photographs of British troops trialing tricycles pulling machine guns from the Edwardian period which would look great in a game. Lots of conversion possibilities…

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  2. My interest in the topic was certainly piqued when I painted those Belgians you very kindly referenced, I’d never considered before how widespread cycle troops were. The books you mention look an essential read for anyone with an interest.

    The Peter Laing versions are really impressive and look really good with those Carabinier marching figures. Some Belgian infantry WWI figures may well feature in next year’s painting list, actually.

    I was trying to think of where I’d seen another 1/72 cyclist from my youth and have just remembered – Airfix German Mountain Troops contained a couple of figures. A particularly good set for re-staging certain scenes from “Where Eagles Dare”, I seem to recall…
    http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/Review.aspx?id=526

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    1. Sadly they never did these mountain cyclists in 1:32. Does anyone do Italian Bersaglieri mountain troops with the folding bikes? Dorset Toy soldiers do some interesting make and female cyclists. Both scales of Airfix German mountain troops originals were often the crumbly brittle plastic variety. Few of mine have survived well. Luckily they have reissued this unusual set and I have some of these new ones in 1:32. The Airfix French WW1 and RAF WW2 OOHO boxes had a cyclist in as well.
      There is now a 50th anniversary paperback about Where Eagles Dare by Geoff Dyer, Broadsword Calling Danny Boy. Sample Ebook chapters available online.

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