In brief, when Edward Thomas Lawrence was appointed as the Company's Special Director for the Oregon Country, he decided that a hot air balloon would allow him to travel about his territory faster than would be possible by Yorkboat, horse, canoe and Paddlewheel Steamer and he had the wealth and influence to make it happen. The balloon was not a huge success in the communication role but it had been found useful as an early warning device for Fort MacDuff and when war with the United states loomed, he offered its services to Her Majesty.
A trial flight .
The balloon was scratch built by E Tenebris Lux, the support wagon which needs detailing is a dollar store toy, the 40mm crew and military observers include a Scruby ACW artilleryman, an Irregular Guards Office and various original figures by me. There is an engineer officer in the background converted from a Perry figure as well as an infantryman converted from a Scruby ACW figure from Historifig. The balloon can be adjusted to float at various altitudes or may land on the ground.
Under HofT, the balloon will allow the British general a +1 on his initiative roll each turn if he is within 12" of it and thus able to receive reports of enemy activity.