Friday, 21 September 2018

Gunners for the Duke

In the ten years or so since I started this project I have come across very few British Foot Artillery figures. I assume this is because their comrades in the Horse Artillery have always been more popular with wargamers and therefore proportionally fewer foot castings were made. However, I have finally assembled enough vintage figures to produce three artillery batteries and the first batch are on the painting desk now. 

I’m a bit annoyed with myself though as I broke my golden rule of always painting a test figure before going into mass production. I think this was a bit of laziness on my part but I’m regretting it now as I’ve had to repaint several things across all the figures. I used the Hinton Hunt painting instructions for the officer (thanks to Clive) but without the same for the gunners I found it surprisingly hard to get uniform details. My reference books and the web are inconsistent and nobody shows a gunner with full equipment, the way Marcus Hinton modelled them.

Painting Hinton Hunt figures is tricky, and it takes a bit of trial and error to decide what detail to include, leave out or invent. Sometimes less is more and the test figure is worth doing to make sure the finished result looks right to me. In the end I had to abandon the batch painting and complete one figure to sort it all out, serves me right.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Big guns, little wheels

Hinton Hunt A2 with replacement wheels on left. Newline
Designs 20mm model on right.
The subject of the rather disappointing Hinton Hunt cannon models has come up before on this blog. The real problem with them is that the wheels are too small making the models look out of scale with the figures. The actual cannon models themselves are quite nicely proportioned but the tiny pram wheels make the overall effect unappealing.

Original Hinton Hunt models are however quite rare so when I do come across the odd one I like to include it in my forces. I have two French guns (click here) and two Austrian ones (click here) but the remainder of my guns are mostly contemporary ones by Newline Designs, which I think fit in quite well.

During my trawl of eBay over the summer I turned up one British gun A.2. Field Gun (British) which I determined to add to the Dukes arsenal. However, it just looked too puny beside my existing Newline gun, so I took the radical decision to swop the wheels with Newline ones. I’m pleased with the result even though it seems a bit sacrilegious.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Fool’s Gold

Following my recent splash on eBay it was Goya who helpfully pointed out to me that my Guard Horse Artillery figures were probably worth their weight in silver. I think he was exaggerating but I thought I should paint them rather than leave them too long in the lead pile to get full value for money.

The figures (all vintage ones) are:

FN/180 Officer, pointing
FN/181 Gunner, with porte-fire
FN/184 Gunner, with pair of hand-spikes
FN/185 Gunner, with ammunition bag

When I pulled out my other gun crew (painted ten years ago) I realised that I’d made a few mistakes with the uniform. This meant I had to do a little bit of updating so that both crews matched, and I also re-varnished them in gloss to conform to the new house style.

Footnote: FN/85 Gunner, with ammunition bag does not appear in my old Hinton Hunt catalogue (circa 1974). My suspicion is that the listing was left off in error as it should be at the bottom of page 2, the figure is certainly a vintage one.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Double Yellows

Well, you’ll be pleased to know that the 2nd Silesian Landwehr are all suited, booted and ready for parade and to cap it all they’ve just been presented with one of WM’s amazing flags. To say they’re chuffed is an understatement.

All the figures used were David Clayton castings. The unit is comprised:

20 x PN.18 Landwehr Private (charging)
2 x PN.1 Officer (charging) - converted
1 x PN.17 Officer (charging)
1 x PN/22 Drummer (advancing)

This doubling of strength completes the Landwehr forces for my Prussian army, to paint up a third unit would be unfair on the French.

Thanks to Clive for providing the Warden's parade ground!

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Karl Freiherr von Müffling

Karl Freiherr von Müffling served in the capacity of staff officer in the Prussian army for most of the Napoleonic Wars. He was apparently quite good at his job and specialized in topography and cartography which would have been very useful pre-Google Maps. He has made his way into my own miniature army mostly because of his splendid sounding name.

PN.69 ADC to General on horse PNH/1 - as Muffling

Müffling became deputy to Blucher’s Chief of Staff Gneisenau following the death of Sharnhorst in 1813. He was appointed as liaison officer to Wellington’s HQ during the Hundred Days and, if the film Waterloo is anything to go by, played a vital part in the events leading up to the battle. This included putting a damper on the Duchess of Richmond’s ball by arriving in a thunderstorm and leaving the doors open – “gentlemen obliged to ladies will finish their dance!”.

John Savident (left) played Muffling in the film Waterloo.
"I say Wellington, I say, will thee stand on that ridge? I say
will thee stand?"

The figure is PN.69 ADC to General mounted on horse PNH/1. This was another of my little eBay wins a few weeks ago although he came with a British horse (I was able to replace this with a vintage Prussian one). When I bid I was convinced that I didn’t have a Prussian ADC but on checking my spreadsheet I was annoyed to see I had two listed. To my relief though, when the figure arrived I realised that what I already had were 2 x BN/261 ADC in cocked hat holding letter which I’d misidentified. Good news for the Duke who potentially has two more staff officers.

Bulow, Muffling and Gneisenau conferring on the field of battle.

Footnote: John Savident played Muffling in the film Waterloo. Savident became much more famous in the 1990s for playing Fred Elliott the butcher in Coronation Street.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Imperial Guard Heavy Cavalry

Here are the Empress’ Dragoons based up and parading with the Horse Grenadiers. These two squadrons will be brigaded together to form one twelve figure unit in my French army. Under my rules Muskets & Marshals Guard heavy cavalry are the equivalent of Tiger tanks in WW2 – almost unstoppable.

All the figures used are vintage Hinton Hunt castings (which only seems right) they are:

6 x FN/60 Empresses Dragoon (Mounted charging)
6 x FN/300 Horse Grenadier Guard (on horse FNH/2)

Next I’ll be turning my attention to the Guard horse artillery to support them.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Plancenoit - Commands & Colors(sic)

Goya, Tony and I got together yesterday to play the C&CN Plancenoit scenario. Tony supplied the battle-boards, scenery and most of the French troops while Goya provided a host of S-Range Prussians and a superb lunch. I brought along a smattering of Hinton Hunt units to make up the gaps in the OOB for both sides.

As host Goya gallantly offered to Umpire, a position he most ably fulfilled by keeping a tight rein on the dice and chipping in occasionally with handy advice for the Prussian C-in-C. To help get us in the mood he flipped an ‘Iron Will’ token to decide ends, Tony won the toss and to my surprise chose to play the Prussians which of course meant I got the French and all those Guard units.

Here is my account of this great French victory (written from our Brussels HQ):

Initial positions from behind the French right flank (looking a bit sparse for
the French who had fewer units but lots of Guard ones).
And the same from the Prussian left flank (there were a lot of Prussians).
My own unit of Young Guard about to occupy the Churchyard which they
kept possession of for the whole game.
Blucher and Gneisenau calmly survey the battlefield. "Vorwarts" seems like
a good idea!
Unable to attend in person, Wellington sent his tree however this ended up on
the French side - a bad omen?
By playing a rather nifty Tactical Card I was able to quickly occupy (and keep)
all but one of the town hexes which gave Tony something of a headache and
me 2 VP's.
The Prussian tried to push around my right flank (via the woods in the
foreground) but were thwarted by my artillery.
Tony had more success on his own right flank by pushing forward his infantry
and cavalry (great to see Goya's S-Range cavalry in action again).
As you can see my infantry are in a bit of a pickle - 4 red tokens and they're
off. Eventually though by counter attacking with my own cavalry the Prussians
were halted and then thrown back.
The 2nd Silesian Landwehr gave a good account of themselves in this their
first scrape (the front rank was made up of S-Range figures from Goya's
collection as I'm still painting the command group).
There's something wrong with the rules however as these Prussian infantry
somehow managed to blow away the 2nd Guard Grenadiers - still can't believe
that happened!
And more amazingly the 1st Silesian Landwehr managed this dice roll to
obliterate a French unit. Perhaps not so surprising when you think of their
track record.
However, despite these isolated successes the French were never in danger of
being ejected from Plancenoit and in the end it was a pretty convincing win
for the French.

It was an interesting game that sparked a fair bit of debate during our coffee, biscuit and cake debriefing session. Goya felt that the game was somewhat stacked against the Prussians while I think possibly Tony and I thought we’d need to play another game before deciding on that. It’s a scenario that perhaps we should revisit in the future.