Thursday, 28 August 2014

Prussian Dragoon

This is the completed test figure for the proposed squadron of Prussian dragoons PN.81 Prussian Dragoon (mounted) charging.

A trooper of the 6th Naumarkisches Dragoons (as per the Hinton Hunt painting instruction sheet).

I know I’ve said it before, but these one-piece Hinton Hunt cavalry figures can be very tricky to paint so I find doing a test figure before starting work on a whole batch of them is a good idea. Otherwise if I change my mind about something half way through (and I always do) I end up doing a lot of repainting.

 Painting the buttons on the trousers was a bit of a chore but they look fine viewed from a distance.

I never had any of these figures in my original 1970s army but I always fancied the idea of including Dragoons with their sky blue coats to break up the sombre look of the massed ranks of Prussian infantry.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Humbrol archaeology

This week I started work on a test figure for a squadron of Prussian Dragoons and remembered that I had recently rediscovered a pot of Humbrol MC12 Prussian Dragoon Blue from the long defunct Authentic Colour range. I still have quite a few old Humbrol paints kept in air-tight plastic containers and this one must be about the oldest in my possession.

Like a find on a Time Team special my pot of Prussian Dragoon Blue waiting for the lid to be gently prised off by the hand of Phil Harding – or me in this case.

To the best of my recollection I bought it in 1974 along with a pot of Polish Crimson and British Rifle Green from the model shop in Bury St Edmunds (now also defunct). I can’t remember exactly why I bought them as I never had any Prussian dragoons, Polish troops or British riflemen in my armies at the time. It was probably simply because when I started painting toy soldiers in the late 60’s the Humbrol range was very limited (there wasn’t even a flesh tone) and I must have been excited to finally lay my hands on some ‘proper’ Napoleonic colours.

Not really surprising that the paint had turned to goo after 40 years – I hope this hasn’t happened to my 1974 Chateauneuf-du-Pape!

Anyway, as you can see, 40 years has proved to be just a little too long for this particular pot and the paint has congealed into a very smelly green sludge. Sad, but not totally unexpected, so I’ll be using Foundry Tomb Blue 23A instead.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

The personal touch

I was sorting through some bits and pieces when I came across this letter from Hinton Hunt Figures Marketing Ltd. It was enclosed with one of the orders of figures I received in the early seventies, probably 1973 or 1974. I can’t make out the signatures but I’m thinking that the bottom one may be by Marcus Hinton himself (click on the image to zoom in).

It seems likely that the letter came with the last order I made which may be why I stuck it inside my catalogue. That order was for French figures as by that time I had completed my Prussian army. As I recall I ordered several units of line grenadiers in the advancing pose, some guard horse artillery and possibly some one-piece cuirassiers.

The orders always arrived in a padded Jiffy bag with the figures wrapped together in newspaper or tissue paper. This wasn’t the safest way to pack such delicate items (Minifigs for instance came packed in sawdust in a stout cardboard box) and there were always casualties long before the figures reached the wargame table. I soon got wise to this and ordered a few extra figures to allow for breakages.

I never painted those French figures and they went the same way as the Prussians.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Blue is the new black

So I’m back on track with the Prussians after my little Austrian interlude and as you can see I’m not doing too badly by my standards. I’ve almost finished 20 of the fusiliers and then have only 4 command figures to paint and I’ll have the whole lot completed.


Now there was a debate a few posts back about Prussian blue actually being Prussian black according to the film Waterloo but then that film also showed French infantry armed with 1890 Russian bolt action rifles so perhaps (much as I like it) it may not be the best source of historical information. I paint my own Prussians with Foundry Deep Blue 20A which is the same blue I also use for the French. Prussian blue may well be correct but at normal playing distance the figures become too dark for my liking.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Admiring Austrians (3)

Steve sent me an email with some really interesting info and photos of various Austrian figures in his collection. As it all seems very relevant to my last few posts I thought I’d share it here in full – the words in italics are Steve’s:

Re the Austrians, you are right, the Der Kriegspieler figures are very good, more or less the same height and stature as the Hinton ones, and very collectable now in their own right. 

I have attached a couple of photos, I think the first one, painted as a Hungarian Fusilier, is the figure you mention you have recently acquired, its Der Kriegspieler Austrian Line Battalion receiving, marked on the underside ‘93‘ (I think you have identified it as 89?). See note below regarding the base.


They paint up very nicely, I have found that generally the bases on the Der Krieg figures are very thin and benefit from mounting on 20 thou card, making them the same height as the HH figures !! The picture (below) really does show the compatability with Hinton AN4, Der Krieg 93 and Der Krieg 91 (I think).


I have also attached a photo of a couple of other Austrian figures for comparison, Der Kriegspieler 91 or 92? Austrian Infantry advancing, Alberken AN3 Fusilier advancing , wearing helmet, Alberken AN1 Line Grenadier on Guard, and Hinton original AN4 Fusilier and AN/12 Grenadier.


Finally !! regarding the Hinton / Der Kriegspieler size difference on the horse attached series, I find that if you carefully snip the Der Krieg horses front hoof from the base and gently bend the other front leg to straighten it slightly, it lifts the whole figure up quite a bit making it really compatible in height with its Hinton equivalent (again see photos of 2 DK figures , French Dragoon , before and after ‘ tweaking ‘ legs, tail, helmet etc).


So there you have it – the answer to my DK cavalry problem is tweaking and 20 thou card!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

DK Austrian Grenadier

I just couldn’t resist painting up one of the DK Austrian grenadier figures. I decided to keep the paint job to a bare minimum because I feel that the figures don’t really deserve the level of attention I give to my Hinton Hunt vintage figures. That said I still found that I spent quite a bit of time fiddling around trying to get it to look right.

Following an email from Steve I checked the bases on these grenadier figures for the DK identification code and discovered that this one is actually 194/1 German grenadier receiving (this is an updated picture after a bit more fiddling!).

As an individual the result doesn’t stand up to close inspection but I think that a whole unit viewed from normal playing distance should look perfectly ok. At the moment though I need to put him to one side and carry on with the Prussian fusiliers – no further distractions!

Update: Further to the great debate on the colour of the bag on the back of the grenadiers cap Roy sent me this picture of some Austrian grenadiers having a chat.


The suggestion seems to be that the bag was ochre yellow not the facing colour - I guess I will have to repaint mine!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Hungry for Austrians

Now as you know I am supposed to be concentrating on building up my Prussian forces at the moment but you may have detected over the last few posts that I am developing an appetite for Austrians. This slippage has been aided and abetted by the arrival this week of a package from Jack in the US.

 There's nothing quite like receiving a package of toy soldiers!

The figures are mostly Der Kreigspieler but there are a fair few Clayton Hinton Hunts and also one or two vintage castings as well. My favourite amongst them are some DK figures in an advancing pose 89/1 Fusilier advancing and 97/1 Grenadier advancing. This is because, unusually for DK, they appear to be an original work rather than a clone of a Hinton Hunt casting as Marcus didn’t produce figures in this particular pose.

As far as I can make out this figure is Der Kreigspieler 97/1 Grenadier advancing.

 And this is the fusilier version 89/1 Fusilier advancing. I like this pose because they will be easy to base up without their bayonets projecting into the rank in front!

There are also some very handy command figures including a Clayton standard bearer and DK drummers for both fusiliers and grenadiers. The drummers will save me the trouble of making any further conversions as Hinton Hunt never produced any for their Austrian range.

This charging officer pose is one of my favourite Hinton Hunt (er, I think I mean 'Der Kreigspieler') creations.

DK drummers - hooray, no more conversions!

Jack also included a very nicely painted DK version of AN.77 Austrian Dragoon (mounted), charging. This is another example of a DK casting being almost as good as a Hinton Hunt one and certainly once painted and based these figures would be very hard to tell apart from vintage HH figures.

 DK Austrian dragoon - lovely paint job.

Thanks to Jack’s very generous supply of reinforcements (and allowing time for my ponderous painting output) I may eventually have enough troops available to turn any refight of Austerlitz into a famous victory for the Austrians!