Saturday, 21 November 2015

Countdown to Waterloo

It seems like quite a long time ago I started work on these but in fact its only been two months which is a super quick turnaround for any unit on my painting desk. They are of course the 1st Cuirassiers and all that remains is to complete their basing and they will be ready for action.

This is just as well because Roy and I are finally getting together for Vintage Waterloo next Saturday where my Cuirassiers will be joining over 2,000 other Hinton Hunt’s for the realisation of a boyhood dream – refighting the famous battle in miniature.

I’ll try to remember to take photos!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Mounting up

The Hinton Hunt painting instructions for French Cuirassiers FN102 and FN310 state “Dark brown horses for the whole regiment except trumpeters” (click here to see the instructions on the Hinton Hunter).

When I first started painting Hinton Hunt’s back in the early 70s I had a very limited choice of colours being restricted to whatever Humbrols were available in the local model shop. At this time the range was very limited and I used the same Dark Earth Brown for everything – guns, packs, muskets, hair and of course horses.

So I’ve been in two minds about whether to paint them all the same shade of dark brown in tribute to my old army or if I should vary them a bit in a more realistic way. In the end I’ve gone for a bit of variation using all three shades of Foundry Bay Brown and I’m hoping that the overall finished effect will be dark enough.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Muskets & Marshals (5.3)

The evolution of my house rules Muskets & Marshals continues and I am very grateful to have further input from Cirencester Wargames Club who used the rules recently to refight the attack on La Haye Sainte. This game was played using 28mm figures rather than 20mm Hinton Hunts but it was a good test of the rules – for the full battle report click HERE.

As a result of this and other recent play-tests I have just uploaded the latest version of Muskets & Marshals (5.3) which can be viewed or downloaded HERE or by following the link from my ‘Rules & Stuff’ page opposite. This version also includes a play-sheet and an optional firing system for big battles – thanks to Stuart for these!

This version of the rules will be the final version for use with Vintage Waterloo which Roy and I hope to be playing at the end of this month.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

More horses (and riders)

I know I’m crazy to be adding to the lead pile because I already have more stuff than I am ever going to be able to paint but I just couldn’t resist these French Dragoons. They are the two-piece version FN/148 Dragoon of the line 1807-12 on horse FNH/5.

My justification is that a) I don’t have any of these (and even Roy’s collection is light on them) and b) I already have some dismounted ones and it would be nice to represent a unit both mounted and dismounted. Strangely these arguments did not impress Mrs S however.

The castings are David Clayton produced ones and it has been interesting to compare the horses with the vintage ones currently on my painting table. They are of course slightly smaller because of the inevitable shrinking when a copy is made from an original figure (as Clayton was forced to do due to the lack of masters) but are superb little figures none the less.

The arrival of these figures has also shed some light on the horsey mystery in my last post as the bases are clearly stamped FNH/1 although they are actually FNH/5. I’m guessing then that the ‘1’ was an error on the original figures although it still doesn’t explain my mystery variant.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

A horsey mystery

I started to clean up the horses for my Cuirassiers today by removing what felt like several kilos of flash metal from them followed by some seriously fiddly filing work. It was only when I finished the first half dozen and lined them up (well you do don’t you?) that I realised I had a bit of a mystery on my hands.

The figures are vintage ones that I’ve had for quite a while and I had assumed that they were all FNH/5 – the heavy cavalry horse that according to my Hinton Hunt catalogue is used for Cuirassiers, Carabiniers and Line Dragoons. The problem is that there appear to be two versions of the horse as you can see. Annoyingly the figure codes under the bases are not completely clear but I know that the horse on the left is definitely FNH/5. The one on the right looks like it has code FNH/1 on it but mysteriously my catalogue does not mention this code at all as it lists only FNH/2-FNH/7.

I’m sure the casting is genuine and the sculpting has more in common with some of the older one-piece figures being anatomically a bit odd. I’m just wondering if FNH/1 was perhaps one of the first castings made for the dismountable series being later revised and replace with FNH/5. Sounds like a good theory but does anybody know?

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Is more less?

I always find it quite hard to know just how far to go when painting detail on my Hinton Hunt figures. For a start a lot of the detail just simply does not exist on the castings and has to be invented and painted in. In the case of this Cuirassier trooper he had no clasp over his shoulders or belt around his waist.

The reason I paint a test figure is to decide what level of detail I’m going to go for and this is usually a matter of trial and error because sometimes what I plan to do just doesn’t look right on the figure. Often I simplify things, for instance I don’t usually paint buttons on the rank and file figures but will do so on officers and personality figures.

So tonight I’ve spent half an hour messing around with this trooper introducing the white edging to the red lining of his cuirass, putting a black belt around the bottom of it and painting in a brass shoulder fastener – all things specified in the Hinton Hunt painting instructions but not actually modelled on the figure.

Whether this is really worth the effort or will be visible on the table during Vintage Waterloo (where this figure will be lost amongst 2,000 others) is debatable. However as this will probably be the only French Cuirassier unit that I paint for this project I’ve decided to make the effort even though it will add a couple of hours extra painting time to getting this unit finished.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Cuirassiers – WIP

Thanks to a kind donation by Roy of three spare Cuirassier riders I have been able to assemble a full 12 figure unit to bolster the heavy cavalry element of my French forces. This is my test figure FN/310 Cuirassier (dismountable series) and his fellow troopers are now well underway.

Like many of you who read this blog I began my interest in Napoleonic wargaming when Airfix released their 1/72nd French Cuirassiers and Highland infantry way back in 1969. I bought quite a few boxes of both but had to wait until 1972 before they could be reinforced by French and British line infantry. I don’t think I ever painted one of those plastic Cuirassiers preferring to use them unpainted for battles on the carpet.

I’m hoping to have this unit finished in time to take part in Vintage Waterloo the date of which has slipped back to the end of November (any more slippage and it will be a game to mark the 201st anniversary). I think this will give Roy and I four units of Cuirassiers and two of Carabiniers and they should look pretty spectacular en-masse – certainly better than my unpainted plastic ones ever did.