Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Eight leapers leaping…

I did say that I was going to try and paint all eighteen of the Voltigeurs before Christmas but I always thought this might be a paint job too far. I have only managed to complete eight members of the 10th Legere and here you can see them negotiating their way through some giant bottle caps. I use the bottle caps as temporary bases while painting because I’ve seen it on other people’s blogs and thought it looked more professional than the scrappy little off cuts of plasticard I was using before.

The finished uniforms do look a bit garish to me (like a military version of Noddy) and I certainly think this may have a bit of a negative impact on their tactical role by drawing fire as Rafa pointed out. I use Foundry paints and find that the red and yellow doesn’t cover very well requiring four or five coats – this adds considerably to the time taken to paint each figure and this is part of my excuse for the low productivity.

As I suspected though they have been very enjoyable to paint as all the figures are great sculpts and cleanly moulded. To finish the unit I have some standing firing and charging figures but it will definitely be 2009 before they’re done.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Taking the salute

I was very fortunate to have a visit from Roy and Matt today, both Hinton Hunt enthusiasts visiting Devon on a winter break. Having left their wives to enjoy a gentle stroll around the harbour, they took time out to come and review my troops. Roy brought along some splendid British HH’s from his Peninsula War army all beautifully painted and based (Mrs S in particular liked the basing – why don’t you do yours like that? Doh!). In his youth Roy once had a part-time job casting figures for Marcus Hinton although because of Marcus’s nocturnal habits he says he never saw very much of him. Roy’s collection of HH’s is huge (I mean HUGE!) and I very much hope to be able to take up his offer to see them in the near future.

I stupidly didn’t think to take a picture of Roy’s figures but I did snap a few of my own troops on parade (click on the images for a close up). This is my entire collection of painted and based Hinton Hunts which now stands at around the 200 mark. Only another 600 to go…

The whole army on parade.

The Imperial Guard Horse Artilley.

General Mack (still reading that map!) and the French 45th Regiment.

The French cavalry flanked by Austrian Hussars support the infantry.

As the senior officers present The Duke of Wellington and Lord Hill return the salute.


Saturday, 13 December 2008

Repainting the repaint

You have to feel a bit sorry for this little guy. When I first got my hands on him he was masquerading as a bugler in a batch of Nassau Grenadiers wearing a rather tatty green uniform. Having correctly identified him as FN86 French Light Infantry Voltigeur Bugler he was set aside to await reinforcements. Eventually (with help from Clive) I received enough Clayton castings to make up a full unit of 18 figures.

So when a couple of days ago his turn in the painting queue came around he was thrust into jar of bleach (Sainsbury’s own brand) to strip away the old paint and then prepared to receive his new uniform. Now as you know I had a bit of a problem finding the correct uniform information for my Voltigeurs until Rafa kindly emailed some great illustrations. These enabled me to correctly paint my first few figures – or so I thought.

Although the information I had gave me the low down on the rank and file figures and even the Officer, I didn’t have anything on the bugler - so I just made it up, quite Old School I thought. Everything was hunky-dory until, just as the paint was drying (but luckily before the varnish had been applied) I had an email from Trevor attaching a copy of the original painting instruction sheet issued by Hinton Hunt. This was really great except that, yep – I had painted him all wrong because of course he should have been in reverse colours being a musician!

Anyway, he’s had a green coat, a blue coat and now a red coat but at least he was spared the indignity of a second dunk in the bleach.

On a separate note – check out the new blog by Ron Marshall for some Hinton Hunt eye candy.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Sir William Ponsonby

This is the latest addition to my Hinton Hunt personality figure collection namely BN257 Maj-Gen Sir William Ponsonby mounted on BNH11 General’s Horse. Another nice little figure and again this one is a David Clayton casting. There are more than 25 personality figures in the HH range and I currently have 15 of them. I’m going to be using mine as Colonels for each of my units and Ponsonby will be given pride of place in command of the British Cavalry.

Ponsonby arrived on the Peninsula in 1811 with the 5th Dragoon Guards. He subsequently took part in the charge of the Heavy brigade at Salamanca and was promoted to command of the brigade following the battle. At Waterloo he commanded the Union Brigade and became its most famous casualty during the headlong charge into D’Erlon’s columns. Some put his death at the hands of seven French lancers down to the fact that he was not riding his best horse at the time.


In the film Waterloo there is a sequence where Ponsonby meets his fate having given his watch to an aide for safekeeping. It’s one of those odd sequences in the film (like the charge of the Scots Grey’s) where the rest of the battle disappears and all you see is Ponsonby being circled by the lancers (anyone remember who plays him in the film?). I think the aide gets the chop as well, quite dastardly really.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Voltigeur

This is my first attempt at one of the French Light Infantry Voltigeur figures. He has been painted as accurately as I could (with thanks to Rafa) as a Voltigeur of the 10th Legere Regiment. Whatever your opinion of the Hinton Hunt range as a whole I don’t think anyone can deny that this is a lovely little figure. The pose is full of character and the detail superb especially considering that this is a casting produced by David Clayton almost certainly without the master mould. For the record the figure is:

FN84 Light Infantry Voltigeur (running at the trail)

I think I’m going to enjoy painting the rest of this unit as it consists of 18 figures in 6 different figure poses which is a bit more interesting that painting 24 figure regiments all of the same type. I’m hoping to complete the whole lot before Christmas but this may be a bit optimistic – we’ll see.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Uniform Dilemma

I’m about to start work on my next infantry unit, which just happens to be some rather nice little French Voltigeur figures. However, I have a bit of a problem – despite having amassed a reasonable number of uniform books over the years I can’t find anything that shows me how to paint these lads. The problem is that the figures are modelled with a busby (I think the correct term may be colpack) rather than a shako and nowhere can I find what colour the plumes, lace and top floppy bit should be.

The figures are described in my Hinton Hunt catalogue as Light Infantry Voltigeurs (In busby, short tailed coats, waistcoats, knee breeches and short tasselled gaiters). Back in the mists of time when the figures were first produced I wouldn’t have had this problem because Hinton Hunt always provided full painting instructions for all their figures – which is why I originally chose them over Minifigs (well, that and the poses).

If you can point me in the right direction kindly leave a comment otherwise who knows what they’ll end up looking like?

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Got the Blues

These are vintage castings of BN60 British Household Cavalry Trooper (mounted) charging, from the horse-attached series. The Hinton Hunt Catalogue states that these “can be painted as either the Life Guards or the Royal Horse Guards”. Well, given the choice I decided to go for the Royal Horse Guards (more commonly referred to as the Blues) mainly because it makes a nice change from all that British scarlet.

Two squadrons of the Blues were sent to Spain in 1812 where they saw action late in the day at Vittoria advancing in support of the infantry. In 1815 they were brigaded with the 1st and 2nd Life Guards and the 1st (King’s) Dragoon Guards to form the Household Brigade under Major General Lord Somerset taking part in the famous charge against D’Erlon’s Corps at Waterloo.

These three castings, being a bit thin on the ground, will be hitched up with my Inniskilling Dragoons to form an ad-hoc squadron. Like the Dragoons they’re looking a bit shiny due to on-going problems in the varnishing department.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Austrian Hussars (Part 1)

This is a bit of a departure from the normal. The figures are Austrian Hussars, part of a recent batch I received from Don in the US (Don is thinning out his collection and has kindly sent me one or two of his excess figures – actually slightly more than one or two). The reason it’s a departure is that I haven’t painted these figures myself. The existing paint job is pretty superb and it just seemed a bit crazy for me to strip and re-paint them especially considering how many other castings I have waiting in the wings.

So all I have done is scrape away the textured material from the bases and re-touch the figures where necessary including painting some socks on the horses (where my scraping was a little over enthusiastic). I then based them in the usual way and gave them a coat of satin varnish to help them blend in with my other figures. Don’s painting style is similar to my own and his detail on the Hussar’s lace is excellent, painted (as he put it) BB – before bifocals!

Four of the figures are vintage one-piece castings of AN81 Austrian Hussar (mounted charging). The other two are probably Clayton castings being thinner with a smaller base. I suppose they may even be Der Kreigspieler but I don’t know enough about the DK range to tell. I have checked my “I-Spy Book of Napoleonic Austrian Hussars” and think they have possibly been painted to represent the 6th Blankenstein Regiment.

I have another squadron of Don’s Hussars to come plus a squadron of unpainted castings I picked up last year hence this posting being just part one.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Marcus Hinton

I was very fortunate to be contacted recently by Phil whose wife Tanya is the eldest daughter of the late Marcus Hinton. Phil said that Tanya was pleased to see that there is still so much interest in her fathers work and they sent me some great photos including this one of Marcus Hinton himself.


In addition to creating the marvellous miniatures in the Hinton Hunt range, Marcus Hinton was also a founding member of the Sealed Knot and close friend of the late Brigadier Peter Young (who was also Tanya’s Godfather!). It would appear that Marcus was every bit as eccentric as I had been led to believe. Tanya says that he would always work on his figures at night, sleeping all day and rising at around 5.00 pm, when he would have breakfast, lunch and dinner all in quick succession, before starting work (often accompanied by several pints of orange juice). He would often wear a bowler hat, cape and carry a cane.

Apparently the business was run very much as a family affair and as a child Tanya spent many hours de-flashing and painting figures! When her father died most of the items connected with the business were sold off so she has very little in the way of memorabilia but does possess a scrapbook of uniform information compiled by him. Apparently he spent many hours visiting museums taking photographs and making notes to research uniforms in those days long before the internet.

The scrapbook contains uniform illustrations taken from many sources and some are coloured by hand. The images were used to help design the many models both 54mm and 20mm that Marcus Hinton created. The picture shown here is a detail from just one page from this fantastic resource and shows two drawings of a Royal Marine of the Napoleonic Wars. I find this particularly interesting as they may well have been used to create these figures from my own collection!


Tanya and Phil have kindly given permission for me to place a link here to the whole album, which they have made available on line (all 188 pages!). I’m sure this will be of great interest to many of the readers of this blog – a real piece of model soldier history!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Inniskilling Dragoons

My painting productivity over the last few weeks has hardly been tremendous but I am a bit behind on posting so here are the latest offerings. They are two troopers of the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons both vintage castings of BN40 British Dragoon Trotting in Helmet.

My cavalry squadrons are made up of 6 figures but I don’t have quite enough of these castings to make a full one so they will be amalgamated with a troop of Household cavalry to form a combined squadron. This gives me the chance to paint these two splendid figures types that otherwise I would have had to leave out of the army.

This figure is quite a primitive sculpt compared with latter offerings from Hinton Hunt and interestingly they had been painted before not once but twice – as I stripped the old paint (they were painted as French Dragoons if you remember) I discovered a layer of red paint beneath. In both previous incarnations however the flash had been left on and painted over and each figure took over half an hour of preparation with a variety of files before I could undercoat them.

If they look a bit glossy in the picture it’s because they are! I have just started a new pot of Humbrol Satin-Cote and rather annoyingly it hasn’t dried as it should. Years ago of course I used gloss varnish and I suppose for this retro project that might have been the better choice. They’ll probably dull down a bit over time.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Target Practice

A newly recruited battery of Austrian field artillery go through their paces on the firing range. All the figures are vintage Hinton Hunt and the gun is a plastic one from the Hat set. The figures are:

AN52 Gunner with rammer
AN53 Gunner holding cannon ball
AN54 Gunner with hand spike
AN55 Gunner ammunition runner

I had been looking forward to painting these figures for quite some time, perhaps because on the snazzy bicornes however I found them strangely unsatisfying to paint – not sure why. Their drill is a bit slow as the crew have no officer to command them. Happily this situation will soon be remedied as amongst the recent arrivals from the US was another complete set including a splendid artillery officer holding a map.

The vicar of the church is growing increasingly nervous about the effect of the cannon’s boom on his lovely stained glass windows. He shouldn’t worry really as the windows are made from paper.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Daddy Hill

This figure was sent to me by Roy who claims to have more than a passing resemblance to the subject. Well, I don’t know about him but I do know that Lord Hill’s hairstyle as depicted here by Hinton Hunt is very similar to my own. The figure is BN251 Lord Hill mounted on BNH11 General’s Horse, painted by yours truly.

Hill had a distinguished career during the peninsular war where he served first under Sir John Moore and then Wellington. He took part in many of the major battles including Corunna, Talavera and Vitoria. At Waterloo he commanded II Corps and personally led Adam’s brigade against the Imperial Guard.

Known affectionately by his men as ‘Daddy Hill’ he is reputed to have only ever sworn on two occasions, one of these was during the hard fought battle of Nive where he repulsed Marshal Soult’s attack. I don’t know what prompted the second occurrence but perhaps it was something to do with a visit to his barber?

Wellington said “The best of Hill is that I always know where to find him”.

Friday, 24 October 2008

The Emperor and the Duke (Off Topic #6)

It’s been quite a few years now since I played a wargame with miniatures although I hope to do so again soon. Instead I have been engaged in a series of play-by-email games from the brilliant series of hex-based wargames by HPS. These games will never win any prizes for graphics and are pretty uninspiring if playing against the computer but against a live opponent they provide a truly excellent wargame on a scale that is mind-boggling.

My brother and I are currently re-fighting the entire Waterloo campaign over a map that stretches from Charleroi to Waterloo and covers over 140,000 hexes! Every single battalion and battery of the armies involved is represented and each player has total control over tactics, formations and leaders in what has become a totally absorbing game. By using the scenario editor we have been able to deploy our forces in complete secrecy adding greatly to the built in fog-of-war element in the game.

The picture shows a detail of an area of the game at 5.00pm on June 15th 1815. Ney (that’s me in this action!) has just won a costly battle at Gosselies on the Brussels Road where Zieten’s I Corps Prussians had rather annoyingly decided to hold up my advance. You can see elements of Vandamme’s III Corps mopping up the Prussian rear-guard – click on the image to zoom in. The Emperor himself is at an undisclosed location that must remain classified for the time being just in case Wellington’s spies get to read this.

If you’ve never played one of these games check out the HPS website.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

1776 and all that (Off Topic #5)

I have just been rearranging my display cabinet (trying to squeeze in a few more Hintons) and in the process had to remove some of my 15mm AWI collection. I had forgotten how nice these figures are and decided to hold a review before consigning them to a storage box.

Most of the figures are Stone Mountain plus the odd one from Irregular Miniatures and Frei Korps. The Stone Mountain figures are very spindly and at the time I bought them I thought they looked suitably 18th Century making a nice change from the Minifigs style I was used to. The figures of Washington and his staff are from the excellent Frei Korps personality range.

I lived in Boston for 3 months towards the end of 1976 and there was plenty of bicentennial stuff going on at the time. That experience has led me to lean towards favouring the Americans in this particular conflict even though I am generally a royalist. Poor King George never got over losing the colonies and I can see why as New England is a spectacularly beautiful place. On the other hand would you really want to rule over a country that could be so wasteful with tea?





Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Swedish Interlude

Now I did say a while back that I was working on some more Austrians. Well, I am but I remembered that I had prepared some Swedes for painting a couple of weeks ago and I don’t like leaving loose ends. This is another unit of marching figures to represent the 3rd Kajana Regiment, the officer is a Minifigs S range Tyrolean Jager.

For those of you who don’t know, I bought a load of these figures from the US last year in a moment of madness – enough for 9 units of 24 figures, and then some! They are not official Hinton Hunt and their exact origin is still a mystery, I am sure they are not Clayton or der Kriegspieler and (according to Steve) they are too good to be home-cast efforts. I know that other gamers have them in their collections so they must have been a commercial offering but who made them? Answers on a postcard please.

I don’t strip these figures and re-paint them fully as I do with my vintage castings because there are just so many and to be honest they don’t inspire me as much as some of the other items waiting in the painting queue. They get a clean up and touch-up although this is still pretty time consuming as the only bit I don’t repaint is the belt and hat badge. Together with the 3rd Alderkreutz and the 2nd Abo, the 3rd Kajana Regiment completes my first Swedish Brigade. Generals K & A are proud as punch and can’t wait to hold a full parade of the lads.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Over Here

They were over there but now they’re over here. Another 50+ Hintons have made it past Mrs S into my hobby room! These lads have in fact been repatriated from the US and are mostly vintage castings with a few Clayton’s for good measure – all thanks to the incredible generosity of Don.

They arrived together in four separate jiffy bags that plopped through the letterbox yesterday morning. It was a brilliant sound and I waited all day to open them so that I could fully savour the contents – what self-control? In many ways it was like receiving a Hinton Hunt order back in the 70’s, the jiffy bag, the figures wrapped in tissue paper and of course having no idea what was in them (HH were not exactly renowned for their mail order expertise).

I haven’t fully worked out what they are yet as I will need some time on the Hinton Hunter to do that. Those I have identified include Dutch/Belgians, Portuguese, Spanish and some truly superb Austrian cavalry. I now have enough Austrian cavalry figures to field a 6 figure squadron of each type that HH produced (2 squadrons of lancers!). There are also RHA gunners (my RHA officer is definitely not lonely now), Austrian gunners, Dutch Belgian gunners and a French officer of Engineers – a lovely little figure reading a map.

Now I really do have to get down to some painting – you may just be able to see what I am currently working on lurking behind the coke can.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Big Mack

The encirclement and destruction of the Austrian Army at Ulm in 1805 has to be one of the high points of Napoleon’s career. Sadly for poor old General Mack it was his fate to be in charge of the 30,000 men that were forced to surrender there.

I have been fascinated by this incident since first seeing a painting of the surrender in a copy of “A History of Warfare” (by General Montgomery) in the late 1960’s. It shows a white-clad Austrian Officer slightly stooped, handing over his sword to the French while off to one side a Grenadier is trying to kick an unexploded shell away with his foot. The whole scene is crowded with an array of troops all in fantastic uniforms (this is from memory and I have no idea what the picture was).

So it seems fitting that this Hinton Hunt casting of an “Austrian General Mounted Holding Map” (AN102) should represent the unlucky General Mack trying to find some route out of his predicament. The figure is a vintage one that I stripped and repainted – to see how he looked before the uniform reissue click here.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Splendid Splenys

As you can see I have finally finished the Austrians and am pretty pleased with the result. I had never painted any Austrian infantry before and was a bit concerned that my black outlining on white was going to look too stark (besides giving me the model painters version of snow blindness). It was only when the whole unit was assembled that I felt I had achieved the required look.

The unit represents a Battalion of the Hungarian 51st Gabriel Spleny Regiment. I ended up using 16 vintage figures and 8 Clayton produced figures to complete them. The figures are as follows:

1 x AN9 Standard Bearer (Clayton)
3 x AN21 Hungarian Officer Charging (2 vintage, 1 Clayton)
1 x AN22 Drummer (Clayton)
13 x AN24 Hungarian Charging (8 vintage, 5 Clayton)
1 x AN30 Grenadier Officer Charging (vintage)
5 x AN33 Grenadier Firing (vintage)


It was only as I painted them that I really began to see the differences between the Clayton figures and the vintage ones. The metal used in the Clayton castings is lighter and more bendy than the vintage ones and the figures are thinner. This suggests to me that the Clayton moulds may have been made from other figures rather than from the Hinton Hunt masters. This tends to fit in with the suggestion that many of the masters were destroyed in a fire before the HH range emigrated to the USA.

Next up I have some more Austrians but I’ll keep their identity a surprise for now.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Trumpton Colour Bearer

Well actually it’s an Austrian Line Infantry Colour Bearer AN9 but I thought that this models facial features and pose bore an uncanny resemblance to the members of the Trumpton Fire Brigade.

This is a bit of an odd figure because it was produced by David Clayton and was never part of the original Hinton Hunt range. I can see why Clayton wanted to add it as there was a distinct lack of standard-bearer figures made by Marcus Hinton. Only the British and French range had them included although the Prussian range had a figure cast with open arms and a separate musket that could easily be converted to carry a flag.

I decided to include this figure in my Hungarian Regiment because I really do think that you need a few flags to make a decent looking Napoleonic force. I also like the metal-cast flag that is in keeping with the retro nature of this project. The sculpting is a bit crude but I think he will blend in fine once in the ranks.

I was quite pleased with my freehand flag painting when viewed from a distance but please don’t zoom in too close on the image.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Reinforcements

I did say a couple of posts back that I had stopped buying figures as I have far more than I could ever paint. Well, thanks to Mark and his offer of vintage figures, I am pleased to announce that another 50+ Hintons have made it into the fold. I couldn’t resist these as they came with a pedigree – Mark bought them in person from the Hinton Hunt shop in Camden Passage in the early 1970’s. I visited the shop myself around 1974 but they only had the larger collectors figures on display at the time so I came home with a 54mm Caledonian Warrior – not very satisfactory.

Receiving a batch of vintage figures is the height of geeky excitement for me as I never know quite what I’m getting and this lot did not disappoint. Many of the figures still had big chunks of flash metal attached – HH figures were notorious for the amount of flash they came with but now instead of being annoying it’s actually endearing to see! My favourite figures to arrive were four British Dragoons that had been painted as French Dragoons. The code number under the base (BN40) is the lowest for any of the HH British cavalry so I guess it must have been one of the first figures issued. They are certainly very crude in comparison to later castings but I think they’re great. These lads will eventually join my Scots Grey’s in the Union Brigade.

Another gem included were twenty of FN244 French Fusilier Charging. This figure is listed in the Hinton Hunt catalogue as a Fusilier for the period 1807/12 and will give me a second unit of Fusiliers to go with my Battalion of the 45th. Mark had painted these as Swiss Infantry and added in nine Old Guard Grenadiers in the firing position (FN23) to go along with them. As I have mentioned before, finding French Line Infantry figures has proved surprisingly hard so I am very pleased to have these.

Also received were five British Royal Horse Artillery gunners (which means I now have plenty of men for my lonely RHA Officer to boss about), four British Household cavalry troopers, two French Guard Engineers, seven Hungarian Grenadiers and a spare horse for Napoleon - could things get any better?

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Austrian Update

Just in case you were thinking that I might have gone AWOL here is an update on the progress on the Austrians. As you can see, I have completed a company of Hungarian Musketeers which when added to the Grenadiers takes me to the halfway point for the 51st Gabriel Spleny Regiment. Not a lot of progress in four weeks I agree.

I have been finding the white cross straps a bit tedious to paint as of course black on white shows up all my wobbly outlining. However I have resolved to complete the unit before I allow myself any other painting distractions.

The figures (shown here on their temporary painting bases) are all vintage castings comprised as follows:

1 x AN21 Hungarian Officer Charging
5 x AN24 Hungarian Musketeer Charging

I hope to have some exciting news on some reinforcements, which I will post later in the week.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Merde!

Due to a distraction caused by another project (the unexpected decision to re-base my entire 15mm Napoleonic figure collection – don’t ask!), I have made zero progress on the Austrians. This resulted in me rummaging about in the Hinton Hunt box to find something worthy of a blog post and this is the result:

1 x FN367 General Cambronne, on foot
1 x FN27 Old Guard Officer, marching
1 x FN28 Old Guard Sergeant, marching
8 x FN29 Old Guard Grenadier, marching

General Cambronne’s last stand with the Imperial Guard is the stuff of legends. In the failing light at the climax of the Battle of Waterloo when called upon to give up, he is said to have exclaimed “La Garde meurt, elle ne se rend pas!” or “The Guard dies, it does not surrender!”. Rather less dramatically he was attributed with actually saying “Merde!” or “sh*t” which, to be honest, seems more likely given the fact that he did surrender to a British Officer after wandering too far away from the relative safety of an infantry square.

This figure of Cambronne is interesting in that the eBay seller I bought it from said it was a ‘factory painted’ one. Hinton Hunt Figures offered a painting service at prices that seemed astronomical to me as a lad. The paint job is not fabulous and I know that the previous owner (disappointed when he received it) has re-touched the figure. This leaves me in a little bit of a quandary because, as you know, I like to completely repaint my vintage figures but feel it’s disrespectful to strip the paint from this one.

The Guardsmen are also vintage figures that I bought a couple of years ago when it was still possible to get hold of them on eBay without having to consult the Bank Manager first. I have a full unit of 24 figures and they look like suitably seasoned campaigners in their faded uniforms – these chaps will definitely be re-painted, the only question is when?

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Church Parade


The Hinton host assembled on the green.

A couple of posts back Matt asked me if it was perhaps time to hold a review of the troops. Well I had been thinking about it, so after church last Sunday the lads assembled on the village green for a photo shoot. It was a well-attended affair with some 139 of all ranks present. The whole thing was presided over by the Iron Duke himself (click on the images for a close-up).

The Iron Duke in the company of Generals Klingspor & Aldercreutz take the salute.


Russian Grenadiers supported by a solid looking Swedish line.


Austrian Grenadiers and the French 45th Regiment.


And finally, a trip back in time to the black and white 1960's - or is it?

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Superquick (not)

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a new local model shop and anxious to support such a brave enterprise I ventured in. Amongst the display was a stand of Superquick cardboard building models. I had imagined that this range was long since defunct and was excited to find that the church model (ref B29) was still in production. This was exactly the same model I had last constructed in 1970 for my old Hinton Hunt army to fight around (sacrilegious lot). It was obviously just what I needed.

Then a couple of evenings ago I thought I would assemble the thing as a bit of light relief from painting. I figured that with my finely developed adult model making skills it would only take an hour tops, leaving me plenty of time to settle down with a glass of malt to watch another re-run of Waking the Dead on UK Drama. Alas it was not to be.

Five minutes in and the vestry window was covered in glue, how did that happen? Then the belfry went wonky, this was not turning out as I had hoped. Perhaps my teenage skills were better than I remembered. Next I super-glued my index finger to my thumb whilst accidentally fixing tab A to tab C instead of tab B. How retro was that – I was actually making a worse job of it than I did aged 14. Eventually (two days later) after a total of three and half hours hobby time, the model was complete. I won’t be making another in a hurry.

My original model disappeared many years ago but can still be glimpsed here.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Wellington

A little distraction last week in the shape of Sir Arthur Wellesley - a.k.a. The Duke of Wellington mounted on his famous chestnut stallion Copenhagen. This is one of the Clayton figures I received a few weeks ago. Once again I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the casting, which was near perfect except for a few pits in the base. It was a new casting that had never been painted before so I could forgo the usual bleaching and scrubbing.

I’m sure that Sir Arthur needs no further introduction from me, as there will be few readers of this blog not familiar with this great British hero. As for Copenhagen, he was apparently a bit of a flop as a racehorse winning only one minor race at Newmarket before being shipped off to Spain in disgrace. Wellington acquired him there in 1813. By all accounts he was a spirited beast who tried to kick the Duke when he dismounted after Waterloo – possibly not too pleased with the dodging the shot and shell aspect of his job. The Duke kept him until his death in 1836 at the age of 28. Interestingly he was buried with full military honours on Wellington’s country estate, not bad going for a horse.

This figure then, is a David Clayton produced version of Hinton Hunt BN250 Duke of Wellington on BNH10 General’s Horse. I mount my General Officers on individual plasti-card bases measuring 20mm x 30mm and add the General’s name on the top of the base as well as full details underneath (see basing). The font I use for the labels is Old English Text MT, which is as close as I could get to the one used in the original Hinton Hunt logo. Click on the image for a closer look at the great man.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Hungarian Grenadiers

Here are the first of the Austrians, the Grenadier Company of the 51st Gabriel Spleny Regiment. I picked them not just because of the silly name but because they were listed in my copy of Blandford’s Uniforms of the Napoleonic Wars as having dark blue collars and cuffs that I thought would look good against the white uniforms.

I have been looking forward to painting these chaps for a long time never having painted any Austrians before – I think its something about those furry hats! Whatever the appeal these have to be some of my favourite Hinton Hunts ever. The stance and proportions of the firing figure are just right and the Officer really looks the part waving his sword about and urging the men on. The figures are all vintage ones repainted by me, they are:

AN33 Hungarian Grenadier, firing
AN30 Hungarian Grenadier Officer, charging

I’m now getting stuck into the musketeer companies of which there are three to make up the full 24-figure unit.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Cooke not Alten

Due to an identification glitch (and with help from The Hinton Hunter) I am slightly embarrassed to announce that the figure I had previously thought was General Alten is in fact General Cooke. My apologies to both parties and their descendants for any distress caused.

Major General George Cooke commanded the Guards Division at Waterloo where he was wounded. I haven’t been able to find out much of interest about his career other than he served in Flanders during the early part of the Napoleonic Wars and later, as a Major General, commanded at Cadiz from 1811 to 1813. It doesn’t look like he served directly under Wellington except at Waterloo but if anyone knows anything more please feel free to leave a comment. Cooke rose to the rank of Lieutenant General and died in 1837 at the age of 69.

For the record then, this is BN256 General Cooke mounted on BNH11 General’s Horse. The casting is vintage Hinton Hunt and is currently waiting in the queue for a re-paint.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Off Topic #4 – Celt Iberians

I thought I should confess about the misuse of my painting time for the last couple of weeks. I have not been painting Hintons at all but have regressed to an earlier project. Now, please don’t worry about blog creep as I can assure you that this blog will remain true to it’s mission – there will be no photos of the kids or dogs (well, maybe the dogs).

I started painting a Carthaginian WAB army before my Hinton Hunt project and they were unceremonially dumped after the first of the 20mm Napoleonic’s arrived. I have been feeling a little bit guilty about this unit of Celt Iberians ever since as I had only painted 3 of them before the change of direction. Being a bit anal and liking things to be neat I decided it was time to put things straight and complete them. The unit is actually going to be 24 figures strong but I feel comfortable enough with them at half strength.

The figures are 28mm Gripping Beast Celt Iberians. I had naively thought that by purchasing the Foundry paint range along with Mr Dallimores painting guide that I would magically take on his painting abilities. Unfortunately this was not to be. Interestingly the figure second from the right in the front row (looking spookily like Mr Magoo) was painted before I started wearing reading glasses. The more recent additions, produced with the aid of glasses and magnifying glass are a little more realistic. To be honest I think that the Hinton’s are more my thing painted with simple block colours.

You will be pleased to hear that I have now started work on the HH Austrian infantry.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Hinton Hunting

It’s over three years ago that I started to trawl through eBay in the hope of finding some old Hinton Hunt castings. For ages I didn’t find a single one and had just about given up on the idea of collecting a few for ‘old times sake’ when I finally stumbled upon this little group of British Riflemen which turned out to be 3 Officers and a Bugler (BN15 & BN 20). After that there seemed to be a torrent of vintage figures suddenly available and my collection grew at an alarming rate but identifying the figures has often been a bit of a problem.

During my Hinton Hunting I have come across quite a few connoisseurs and collectors of vintage wargame figures but none so prolific as The Old Metal Detector. Clive has built an impressive collection of 20mm figures from the sixties and seventies and along with it a good deal of expertise. He recently acquired an interesting batch of Hinton Hunt Figures with models covering nearly 80% of the infantry figure range. As a result The Hinton Hunter blog has been born which aims to catalogue the entire range (click on the link to take a look).

I have (almost) put the brakes on my own collection now as I have upwards of 800 castings. My intention is to re-paint the whole lot but as I only manage about 100 or so each year it’s going to take me a long time yet to turn them into proper armies. Thanks to The Old Metal Detector it will be great to be able to take a peek at those Hintons I don’t have and maybe make a wish…

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Scotland Forever

Surely one of the most famous cavalry charges in history – the charge of the Scots Grey’s at the battle of Waterloo. Here my Hinton Hunt Scots Grey’s troopers are about to collide with the French 45th Infantry Regiment. Sergeant Ewart (that must be him on the horse out front) is just moments away from snatching the Eagle from the hands of the French.

The Scots Grey’s were brigaded with the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons and the 1st (Royal) Dragoons to make up the famous Union Brigade at Waterloo. There were six troops present commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton and they suffered over 200 casualties on that one day of action. Interestingly the Grey’s spent the whole of the Napoleonic Wars except the last 100 days at home in blighty. I haven’t been able to find out exactly what they did during that time but I guess they must have been employed on policing duties. No wonder they were a bit keyed up by the time they finally got to make that charge.

There was a rumour that the Grey’s were drunk at the time of their famous action although some believe it may just have been a mix up in the translation of the word grey into French. I am half Scottish myself and many years ago had the experience of being in the middle of Glasgow at closing time on a Friday night. I can confirm that the average Scot has difficulty negotiating Sauchiehall Street on foot after a wee dram so I think galloping about on a big grey horse is definitely out of the question.

Monday, 30 June 2008

Royal North British Dragoons

You may have grown bored waiting for them but here at last are my Royal North British Dragoons – the Scots Grey’s. Six troopers mounted on the finest dapple-grey horses I have EVER painted. The figures are all vintage Hinton Hunt castings of BN49 Scots Grey’s Trooper Charging.

The models are one-piece castings from the horse-attached series, which as I’ve said before are something of an acquired taste. Excellent little models that I really enjoyed painting – once I got over the dapple dilemma.

Napoleon was greatly impressed with the Grey’s when he saw them in action during Waterloo apparently exclaiming “Qu’ils sont terribles, ces Chevaux Gris”. Now, I gave up trying to learn French at the age of thirteen but roughly translated I think this means “those blokes on the grey horses look a bit tough”.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Swedish Generals

These are Generals Klingspor & Aldercreutz proud commanding officers of my Swedish army. Both figures are actually AN102 Austrian General mounted holding map from the horse-attached series. Mr A (riding one of my famous rocking horses) has had a new head fitted and the map removed from his hands. In common with my other Swedes I refreshed the original paint job on these rather than strip them and start again, although they were in a pretty bad condition so it ended up being more of a re-paint.

I received these lads with the rest of my Swedish army from the USA last year. Their origin is a bit of a mystery. They are not vintage UK castings and neither are they Clayton castings or the more obscure Der Kriegspieler Napoleoniques. There are quite a few knock-off Hinton Hunt figures about and most of those were produced in the USA so it’s fairly safe to assume that someone slaved away over a hot kitchen stove to make these from original figures – I wonder if they felt guilty? Although not official castings they are probably at least 20 or so years old and the quality is good. The only annoying thing about them is the extra thick bases which make them taller than their genuine comrades.

Messer’s K & A look a bit glum possibly because they have only just heard that Russia has knocked Sweden out of the Euro 2008 football competition. Perhaps a new Russo-Swedish war is in the offing?

For more on my Swedes click here.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Off Topic #3 - Making men out of boys

We have just returned from a holiday in the Emerald Isle where my reading material for the week was a copy of Neil Oliver’s excellent new book Amazing Tales for making men out of boys. I came across this book by chance and have thoroughly enjoyed it and have a sneaking feeling that many readers of this blog will enjoy it also.

Oliver is known here in the UK for his TV appearances in the BBC’s Coast and the Two men in a Trench series of programmes. What truly amazes me (no pun intended) is that his book is totally un-politically correct lamenting the emergence of new men and championing tales of what he describes as manly men. Each chapter has a highly readable tale of daring-do focusing not just on the deeds of those such as Nelson, but also on some of the more obscure figures and events in history - the stand of the French Foreign Legion at Camerone and Ernest Shakleton’s voyage across the Southern Ocean in an open top boat to name just two.

What has given me heart is that Oliver is a good ten years younger than me so cannot yet be categorised as an old git. His story telling reminds me of my 1960’s Junior School textbook called People in History that really fired my imagination and life long interest in History at the age of nine or so. The sort of book that would never find its way into a school today!

Great stuff, buy a copy and immerse yourself in the age of manly men (after you’ve first done the washing up, made the tea, changed the baby etc.).

I promise now to get back on topic…

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Austrian ID Parade

Over the last few days I have been lucky enough to receive over 100 Hinton Hunt castings produced by David Clayton in the USA (thanks Clive). Clayton acquired the Hinton Hunt moulds back in the early 90’s and was producing and selling the figures up until a few years ago.

My stated aim at the start of this project was that I was going to build my armies using only vintage figures but the reality of the situation is that I am going to have to use some of the later castings to complete my units. There seem to be a reasonable number of vintage British and French figures around but some types are just too rare for me to stand a chance of building whole 24 figure units. The Austrians are a case in point – I have 16 or so vintage figures but I had given up hope of finding any more to make up a full unit. I now have enough extra charging figures to make up the ranks.

The picture shows two each of AN21 Hungarian Officer Charging and AN24 Hungarian Musketeer Charging. The painted figures are vintage ones and the unpainted ones next to them are Clayton castings. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the figures. The Clayton officer is almost identical to the vintage one whilst the musketeer, apart from being a slightly lighter metal, only differs in that the base is square without the normal rounded corners. What really surprised me is that the USA versions both have the full Hinton Hunt figure codes marked under their bases. I had previously thought that Clayton’s figures had no codes and often used this as a way to determine if a figure was vintage or not – so it’s back to the drawing board on that one.

Ironically of course, the Clayton figures themselves are now becoming rarities. He told me he sold the moulds to a mysterious (my word not his) Canadian bloke who apparently has plans to market the figures again. For the full Hinton Hunt story check out the link to Harry Pearson's superb Vintage20mil site.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Fusilier Command

This is another shot of my command group for the fusiliers of the French 45th Regiment. I realised that I had made a few changes to the final version of these figures since my original post and thought that this was a much better photo anyway.

I had initially painted some blobby buttons on the white parts of the tunics but these looked huge in close up so I removed them. Knowing how far to go with detail on these Hinton Hunt figures is always a bit of a dilemma. Sometimes less is more particularly with my limited level of painting ability.

I am still plodding away at those Scots Grey’s after the break last week. You will be pleased to know that all six of the horses have finally been painted – now for the riders.