Sunday, 23 December 2007

Season’s Greetings

Is it just me or does this Imperial Guard Horse Artillery Gunner look a bit like Father Christmas? Just me then. The figure is a vintage Hinton Hunt casting of:

FN181 Guard Horse Artillery Gunner with porte-fire

This is a superb little model that was a real joy to paint. I have the rest of the crew nearly completed but they will have to wait until the New Year now before they can join their colleague.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

The hills are alive…

…with the sound of yodelling Tirolean Jagers. These are vintage Hinton Hunt figures from the Napoleonic Austrian range. Nice little models, they are:

AN40 Jager Officer, quick march
AN41 Jager bugler, quick march
AN43 Jager advancing
AN44 Jager firing

I painted most of these before I had finalised the unit sizes for my new Hinton Hunt army. Initially I had 16 figures in the unit but have since decided to make all light infantry units 18 figures strong.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

More Swedes

This is the 2nd ABO Regiment just back from a refit at barracks. The figures are probably knock off’s of SWN4 Swedish Infantry Advancing. The officer and standard bearer are of unknown origin being poor quality and they may even be home cast figures (tucked away in the 2nd rank for this photo). The flag is metal and the puny standard bearer had to be jacked up on a plasti-card plinth to help him hoist the thing above his head.

The purists among you many wonder why I am including these impostors in the ranks of my vintage Hinton Hunt army. The answer is that I have a lot of them so what else am I going to do? En-masse they look fine (fantastic if I take my glasses off) so they will stay in the army.

I had a slight mishap with the 47a copper wash I use over the flesh colour. This resulted in half the regiment parading as David Dickinson look-a-likes. Not very impressive so the whole lot failed inspection. The second attempt proved better.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

French cavalry review

Not much painting in the last couple of weeks so I held a review of the French cavalry. It was a small affair because I only have 12 of them painted. To recap, the picture shows a squadron of Carabineers (FN106 & FN311) and a squadron of Chasseur-a-cheval of the line (FN319). A stirring sight for any wargamer who feels the only real Napoleonic army is a French one.

I have plenty more cavalry to come including Austrian Hussars, Cuirassiers and Lancers. A squadron each of French Cuirassiers and Lancers and, best of all, some Prussian Cuirassiers – yes good old PN77 (see my 70’s flashback!). These chaps may just get accelerated to the front of the painting queue although I really should resist such temptation.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Before & after

The figure on the right is one of the Swedes as received and the one on the left is the finished version. The paint job is showing signs of age (I reckon the figures must be at least 25 years old) although the detail in some areas is still good. There was no way I was ever going to strip and repaint 300 of these guys so I settled for a refurb.

Firstly I brushed off any loose paint and dirt and then scraped the green flock off the base. I decided to concentrate most of my efforts on the flesh areas as the original colour was rather anaemic looking - not a lot of sun in Sweden I guess. I used Foundry flesh 5A washed over with copper wash 47A which gives a good result without much effort.

Next I went over all areas with the closest colour matches I could find in the Foundry range, mostly it was the black that was suffering although the blue collar and cuffs needed a good spruce up too. The figures had a yellow hatband but my reference material suggests that this would actually have been brass so I re-painted with shiny 36C. I also introduced a thin black line down the coat front but stopped short of any further black shading. The waist sash and shako badges were left unchanged, whoever painted these originally did a good job and I would have been hard pressed to improve on it. Finally I varnish my figures with Humbrol Satin Cote, this gives a decent finish without looking too glossy

Sunday, 28 October 2007


A squadron of Carabineers resplendent in red crested helmets - surely the most colourful of the French heavy cavalry? No French Napoleonic army is complete without them. Here we have:

4 x FN106 Carabineer (one piece casting)
2 x FN311 Carabineer (mounted on FNH5)

One-piece Hinton Hunt cavalry castings are a bit marmite - you either love them or you hate them! They’re not the best of sculptures and generally came with more flash metal than figure. The detail such as cross belts tends to disappear annoyingly as you attempt to paint it so a good deal of imagination is required to animate the figures. However, for all their faults, I find myself strangely drawn to them. Perhaps it is because they were the only Napoleonic cavalry figures you could get when I started wargaming (unless you wanted to painstakingly convert Airfix US cavalry figures).

The two-piece castings are much better figures being easy to paint and compare well to those produced today. Presumably Hinton Hunt introduced them to replace the earlier one-piece castings although the two types remained in production together. I have enough castings left to make up another squadron to which I will eventually add some Cuirassiers to form a heavy brigade.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

The old ads are the best

This is the advert that started it all for me – from the inside back cover of the July 1968 issue of Miniature Warfare. The advert proudly boasts that Hinton Hunt offer “the largest range of high quality 20mm war game figures in the world” – heck!

I was intrigued by the drawings of the mounted figures although I had no idea who they were supposed to represent. I just knew I wanted models like that and strangely enough, I now have both of them. The chap on the left turns out to be Marshal Davout and the one on the right is Marshal Murat. They don’t come much more dashing and exciting than Murat although apparently he was a pretty poor general – great taste in uniforms though.

I did eventually get to the Hinton Hunt model soldier boutique in Camden Passage in about 1974 but was disappointed to find it only stocked 54mm figures. For some bizarre reason I bought a 54mm Caledonian Warrior.

Click on the image to zoom in and read the text.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Seen any Frenchies?

Two British officers confer on my worktable whilst awaiting the issue of new uniforms. They may have to wait some time as there are quite a few fellows queued up in front of them.

The mounted figure is a one piece casting of a British General. This is one of the better of the Hinton Hunt mounted figures, full of character. The foot figure is a Royal Horse Artillery officer, quite nicely painted although not in my preferred style. The figures are:

BN107 General mounted, pointing
BN25 RHA Officer holding spyglass, pointing

I have decided on four figure crews for my artillery. The RHA officer currently has two gunners to command and is just waiting for one more recruit (and a cannon) before he can go into action.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Swedish Makeover

This is the first of my Swedish units on parade after refurbishing and rebasing. Rather than striping the old paint off and starting again (my usual process) I decided to give them a makeover as some of the existing detail is pretty good. I probably spent a quarter of the time that I would have if I’d painted them from scratch. This improves the chances of my completing all nine of the twenty-four figure units before my enthusiasm runs out (yeah, right!).

When the Swedes arrived I knew zilch about the Swedish army of the Napoleonic wars and my knowledge is still pretty sketchy. I did finally manage to track down a copy of Osprey’s ‘Scandinavian Armies of the Napoleonic Wars’ and have cobbled together some other uniform information too.

This unit is apparently the 3rd Alderkreutz regiment and consists of 23 x SWN7 Swedish Infantry Marching plus an S range Minifigs officer. Now I know that strictly speaking I shouldn’t have any Minifigs in my army but I thought I would preserve the unit intact. I am reliably informed (thanks Clive) that the officer is actually an Austrian Tyrolean Jager figure AN14s.

Plenty more Swedes to come…

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

70's Flashback 2

A second trip down memory lane with another photo from 1970 or thereabouts. These are Hinton Hunt Prussian grenadiers from my original collection marching through the snow on the trail of Napoleon, or perhaps running away from Napoleon – who knows? The abandoned Prussian field gun is a bit of a give away.

The snow was flour and the nice frozen pond effect was due to a clear plastic sheet being laid out on the table first (insisted upon by my mother to aid clearing up after the photo shoot).

The figures are:

PN16 Garde Grenadier Marching

It must have been snowing pretty hard as it seems to have settled on the men’s hats and shoulders as they march along.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Tell it to the Marines

One of my favourite films as a child was ‘Sands of Iwo Jima’ with John Wayne - from the days before we discovered WWII was actually fought in colour.

These Marines belong to a different era, one when Britannia ruled the waves and boarding parties took only the odd musket and cutlass with them – not an ipod in sight. The figures are:

BN114 Royal Marine Charging
BN116 Royal Marine Officer Marching

Nice little models in typical Hinton Hunt charging pose and a pleasure to paint. Ideal support for my Royal Navy Landing party.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Swedes, not turnips

Just in – about 300 Swedes all the way from the US of A. Don’t ask me because I don’t know why I took out a second mortgage and bought them. In total I have 9 x 24 infantry figure units plus 5 x 18 infantry ‘Jager’ units. No cavalry or artillery but I have Generals Klingspor and Alderkreutz, not that I have ever heard of them.

I must admit I was slightly disappointed when they arrived as none of the figures have turned out to be vintage HH – usually when I buy figures I find that there is a mixture of vintage, USA castings and knock-offs. These have slightly puzzled me as the castings are good quality but the very thick bases (about 3mm) are not like any Hinton Hunt I have seen before.

Anyway, they are great figures and are almost certainly taken from original Hinton Hunt moulds or models of:

SWN4 Swedish Private Charging
SWN7 Swedish Private Marching

This has put me in a bit of a quandary because I had already decided not to include any figures other than vintage HH in my army. However, I can’t bring myself to part with them so the current plan is to refurbish and rebase them for an instant army to fight my other HH’s. I won’t attempt to repaint them as there are just too many but they look like they have all been painted by the same person so have uniformity in appearance.

My biggest problem is that I have absolutely no reference material on the Swedish armies of the Napoleonic Wars.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Hinton Hornblower

This is a rather obscure find. They are figures from the Hinton Hunt range of Royal Naval Landing Party figures. The firing figures have a very typical Hinton Hunt pose clutching their ‘tree trunk’ muskets and shooting a bit high (perhaps at the rigging!).

The officer is a particularly nice figure in a suitably swashbuckling pose and was great fun to paint. They are:

BN123 Seaman Firing
BN120 Officer Charging

I also have a small group of Marines who will be joining them shortly for raiding missions against the French colonies!

Monday, 13 August 2007

The British are coming!

Over the time I have been collecting wargame figures I have only possessed a few British Napoleonic ones. At first I was interested in the foreign armies because I didn’t know much about them and they seemed quite exotic. Russians defending the great redoubt at Borodino, Austrians in their smart white uniforms and of course the Prussians arriving at Waterloo in the nick of time to save the day!

So it has been a pleasant surprise to find that I have accumulated a reasonable number of Hinton Hunt British figures. I guess these must be among the first of the figures released by Marcus Hinton and they are noticeably smaller than some of the other ranges and display some fine detail.

This picture shows (from left to right):
BN/7 Private (with separate musket)
BN/9 Private standing
BN/2 Sergeant charging
BN/5 Private charging

All these figures came from the same source via eBay and have been quite nicely painted. BN/7 is an interesting find – this figure would originally have been supplied with a separate musket that could then be glued to the figure enabling the creation of different poses. This figure is also useful for creating standard bearers (although the British range does already include these). All the figures pictured will (eventually) be stripped and re-painted by me. Click on the image for a closer look.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Thick n' thin

This is a picture of FN3 French Line Grenadier Firing. I picked up both of these figures from the same source but I suspect that only the one on the left is a genuine vintage Hinton Hunt figure. The figure has the HHF mark and FN3 code on the underside of the base which, as far as I know, was the case for all the figures made by Hinton Hunt Figures of Taplow.

The figure on the right was probably made later possibly from a mould made from an original figure. It lacks the same level of detail as the original and the metal is thicker in places – particularly on the shako plume. There are no markings at all under the base which suggests it is a later production or possible bootleg.

However, it may not be as simple as that as there is a fair bit of variation in quality even with the original Hinton Hunt figures. My Prussian Napoleonic army contained distinct variations within the same figure type (presumably there were several different production moulds in use at the same time) and not all castings were of great quality – however, the original figures did all have the HH codes under the base.

As I am a bit anal about having only vintage figures in my new HH army I probably won’t use any of the dubious figures unless I am short of numbers to make up units.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

70’s Flashback…

I think this picture was taken in 1970. It shows part of my original Hinton Hunt Figures Prussian Napoleonic army on manoeuvres somewhere in the snow. Actually it was taken on my parent’s dining room table. For some reason we thought it would be a good idea to create a ‘snowscape’ with flour – perhaps I watched too many episodes of Blue Peter!

The figures are:
PN77 Prussian Cuirassier Trooper Charging (one-piece casting)
A4/AL4/H1/H2/PN36/PN38 Complete Prussian Gun, Limber & Team with 4 horses, limber rider and outrider.

I eventually painted 24 of the Cuirassiers. It was heavy going preparing the figures because most of them had massive amounts of flash metal and I only had one very blunt file! The buildings were ‘SuperQuick’ cardboard models made for model railways – they weren’t very super quick to make as I remember.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Chasseur a Cheval

Here we have two French Chasseur a Cheval of the line. They are two piece castings consisting of separate rider and horse models. This can make the rider figures hard to identify as they don't have any HH codes on them. These ones are:
FN319 French Chasseur a Cheval in Shako
FNH7 Horse

Hinton Hunt horse models are quite distinctive and seem to look rather more like large dogs than horses to me! This just adds more to the quirky appeal of the figure range. The horses came with acres of flash metal attached that had to be removed prior to painting – another HH trait!

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Borodino anyone?

This is the first of my finished units. It consists of 22 Russian Grenadier marching figures with 2 charging officers. When I started wargaming the 24 figure infantry unit was standard so I am trying to keep to the same establishment where possible with my new army.

The figures are listed in the Hinton Hunt catalogue as:
RN17 Russian Grenadier Marching
RN11 Russian Officer Charging

The castings are original vintage HH figures that had never been painted before. I am pleased with the result although not completely happy with the shade of green I chose for the uniform. Despite having the complete set of Foundry colours I couldn’t find one that looked right.

These guys took me over four months to complete, mainly because I kept changing my mind on the style of basing. In the end I settled on plasticard bases with the figures mounted in threes. This method fits in with the retro look and also shows off the quirky HH figure bases which are square with rounded corners.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

What's in the Box?

About a year ago I saw some Hinton Hunt Carabineers on Ebay and decided to buy them for old times sake. This was possibly a mistake as several purchases later I now have close on 400 vintage HH figures and the number is growing!

From a little twinge of nostalgia, my Hinton Hunt collecting has turned into a bit of an obsession. My aim now is to collect, strip and repaint enough original vintage HH figures to make two opposing wargame armies presented in the ‘Old School’ style – the way I started wargaming back in the 60’s.

This blog is the story of that attempt – so turn down your anorak hood and enjoy!

Take a look in the box (click on the image for a closer look)…

Sunday, 24 June 2007

How it all started...

As children growing up in the sixties my brother and I played with toys soldiers, mostly the early Airfix or larger Britains and Timpo figures. The games were simple but great fun and we progressed from firing matchstick cannons to rolling dice to determine the outcome of our battles.

One day back in 1968 my brother returned from school with a copy of Miniature Warfare magazine. This magazine had the strap line “The magazine for those who wish to recreate the tactical ability and weapon capabilities of armies of a chosen period”. This was a revelation – playing with toy soldiers was not just a kids game it was a real hobby! On the back inside cover there was an advert for Hinton Hunt Figures “…the largest range of high quality 20mm war game figures in the world.” – well, we just had to get some.

The catalogue duly arrived but with our limited knowledge of military history we were somewhat overawed by its contents. In the Napoleonic lists were exotic troops we had never heard of like ‘Mameluks of the Guard’, ‘Pavlovski Grenadiers’ and ‘Tirolean Jagers’. Eventually we settled on buying some 20mm Prussians - because we knew they had something to do with the Battle of Waterloo!

Over the next few years that army grew to over 250 figures, each one painstakingly painted and prepared for action. Ironically though, those troops never took part in any tabletop battles as by the time they were ready ‘growing up’ had intervened. They were sold off for £30 - I wish I had kept them…