Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Groovy baby!

I was looking through the Vintage Waterloo photos when it occurred to me that this one had a great 60s quality about it. Lots of Hinton Hunt figures in it of course but there’s also a tape measure in use (photos back then always showed some bloke using a tape measure – presumably to make it look like they were playing a serious game) not to mention Napoleon, Wellington, Picton and La Haye Sainte all in shot .

We all know that Callan played with toy soldiers but what a trick they missed when they filmed Austin Powers

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Two Swallows nests does not a summer make

And judging by the weather today this is definitely true.

I’ve spent what little hobby time I had this week trying to convert one of my Prussian cuirassiers into a bugler for the regiment. Creating a bugler for my cavalry units has become a bit of a point of honour for me and for this I blame Roy entirely.

 In this photo my lovingly sculpted swallows nests look like grey blobs but actually they're pretty good.

My problem this time is that all 12 cuirassier castings I have are good ones – there are 10 vintage figures and 2 Clayton’s. All the swords are perfect and the flash (from the vintage figures) had already been removed by the original owner. There are hardly any imperfections except for some pitting on the bases of the Clayton ones and one slightly dodgy hoof. Nothing to suggest which of them should sacrifice his sword for the conversion.

Reproduced here without permission so please buy the book (it really is a brilliant book)

Then while flicking through my copy of “An illustrated encyclopaedia of Uniforms of the Napoleonic wars” (as you do) I came upon a solution. There is an illustration therein of a Prussian cuirassier NCO bugler with his bugle on his back leaving his sword arm free. A Eureka moment - however the conversion still required me to fashion two swallows nests on his shoulders (not too difficult using Magic Sculp) and a bugle to strap on his back (very, very difficult and not to be recommended).

So there we go – one week, 2 Swallow’s nests and a rather strange looking bugle (too strange to show here yet).

Thursday, 28 January 2016

A bit dotty

A while back Rafa commented that the easiest way to paint buttons was using the tip of a pin. For some reason, possibly because I was too idle to look for a pin, I passed up on this good bit of advice. However, last night, faced with the task of painting rows of buttons on the legs of this Prussian Cuirassier I sought out Mrs S and her stash of sewing accessories.

To my amazement I managed to paint the first row of buttons in just a couple of minutes with no mistakes, a task that would normally have taken me up to twenty minutes with a paint brush and involve a lot of swearing. Once I got the knack of getting the paint to the right consistency with just the right amount on the pin tip it was easy peasy.

So why am I painting Prussian Cuirassiers when I should be painting Austrian infantry? A good question but this is down to Roy pointing out that we didn’t have a single unit of them between us and anyway I’ve been waiting for an excuse to paint up this unit for a long time.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Austrian grand battery

The artillery arm is now by far the strongest part of my Austrian forces consisting of these two fine batteries. All the figures and both of the guns are vintage Hinton Hunt castings restored and repainted by myself.

 The guns are A.5 Austrian Field Gun. They have an odd thing to the left of the barrel that looks like an oversized ear trumpet - I have no idea what it is but if Marcus Hinton sculpted it I'm sure it should be there!
The rest of my Austrian OOB is made up of one Hungarian infantry unit (51st Gabriel Spleny – click here), one unit of Tyrolean Jagers (click here) and a combined Hussar regiment (click here) – not to forget poor old General Mack (click here).

From left to right:
AN.51 Gunner, with porte-fire
AN.55 Gunner, ammunition runner
AN.50 Officer, pointing holding map
AN.53 Gunner, with cannonball

I’m hoping to expand this force with the addition of two extra infantry units this year. Well, this is the aim however I’m already getting diverted by some Prussian Cuirassiers but please blame Roy for this.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Pom-poms on Austrians more favourite things

Continuing with the Austrian theme I decided to paint up a few extra gunners for the recently completed cannons. You may remember that I painted one gun crew a few years back (2008 to be precise – click here) so I just needed to add another four figures to give me two batteries.

Fortunately I keep a notebook where I record what paints I use for each figure type which saved me from having to rummage through my Foundry paints trying to colour match. However I did also refer to the Hinton Hunt painting instructions that Clive helpfully posted on his blog (click here) as these weren’t available to me first time around.

One thing that I found I had missed originally was “small yellow pom-pom with black centre at each corner of hat”. Now as we all know you just can’t miss out a pom-pom on a Napoleonic uniform, that’s a slippery slope to who knows where so I’m pleased to report that all hats now have their full complement.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Dutch Doubles

You may remember that a couple of years back I posted a picture of a Hinton Hunt Dutch artillery battery (click here if your memory isn’t as sharp as it should be). I still had enough figures left to paint up a second battery and had some vague idea of getting them done in time for Vintage Waterloo but that ship has sailed. However they’re finished now and here they are posing with their newly issued cannon a model by RSM kindly donated by Don.

Just to remind you, the figures are all genuine Hinton Hunt as follows:

DN53 gunner holding cannon ball
DN51 gunner with port fire
DN55 gunner running with ammunition bag
DN52 gunner with rammer
(click the image to zoom in)

I’m still having ongoing problems trying to get a consistent finish with satin varnish and have pretty much decided that going forward I will be using gloss varnish. I have been chiefly inspired in this by the superb figures paraded by Wellington Man on his blog (examples of which I have in my possession here). Gloss is the way I finished the figures in my original collection back in the 70s and in retrospect I should have been using it right from the start of this project.

I used my satin varnish for these figures as I don't have any gloss but deliberately mixed it to dry at the shiny end of the satin spectrum.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Avoiding snow blindness

It’s back to painting white on white as I try to refine my test figure for Musketeer Regiment No 4 Hoch-Und Deutschmeister. Painting figures with white uniforms should be the easiest thing ever but I seem to have deliberately chosen to make it as hard as possible.

The problem is that I paint my Austrians in a stylised way with plain white uniforms, no shading and all the lining in black. I’ve found that this only really works if the black lining is very thin and I can only achieve this by laboriously changing between black and white paint to thin the lines until I get the desired effect. Take a look at this photo against the one in the last post and you’ll see what I mean – I hope.

Of course I could avoid all this by using more realistic colours with either cream or grey for the uniform with white straps lined in dark grey. This would be more forgiving of the odd error but it’s too late to go back now.

Suddenly painting Highlanders doesn’t seem so bad at all.