Saturday, 21 February 2009

Der Kreigspieler

Here are a few more of Don’s figures newly refurbished and rebased by me. Don actually pointed out that if I just soaked the bases of the castings in water the old textured material on them would come away quite easily. Well it did and this method was much less destructive than my previous one involving a Stanley knife, various files and a small charge of TNT.

All these figures are by the USA maker Der Kreigspieler. As mentioned before they bear a spooky resemblance to Hinton Hunt and at first glance it can be easy to mix the two up. When I first came across examples of this make at the start of my project I considered them lowly impostors not worthy to stand in the ranks of my Hintons but I have changed my opinion a little since then especially after I realised they were contemporary with HH. These particular ones are:

6 x 42/1 French Cuirassier (painted as the 3rd Regiment)
6 x 44/1 French Dragoon (painted as the 7th Regiment)

Der Kreigspieler were based in Dayton, Ohio and were fronted by American gamer Duke Seigfried. Apparently he had the idea of trying to make figures cheaper by selling them by the bag way back in the 60’s and 70’s. Another innovation ahead of it’s time was the inclusion of figure variations within the same code (the Cuirassiers in the picture have two horse types). The castings tend to be rather weedy with poorly defined detail when compared with their HH or Clayton brethren but they have a certain charm to a hardened Hinton Hunt nut like myself – others not looking through such rosy specs may be less enamoured. Anyway, as I’m short of HH French heavy cavalry these lads are a welcome addition to combat the growing strength of the Allied horseman they now face.

Thanks to Don & John for the background info on DK and to John for his help with the DK code numbers.


Matt said...

They look the part to me! To my untrained eye I would not be able to tell them from HH figures.


Paul said...

Hi Ian

I think they look the part and should fit in with the others nicely


Stryker said...

Thanks chaps - they do fit in well but are noticeably thin when stood against some of my HH cavalry. Perhaps they would be best suited to use in a Spanish campaign as they are obviously used to poor rations.


DC said...

They do look a wee bit skinny, but you've done a fine job as usual.

Am i right in think DK figures were essentially pirated HH? The pictures i've seen of 'their' AWI figures look remarkably like the rather splendid Tradition range...coincidence..?

Stryker said...

You may well be right DC (although I could not possibly comment!)- there's some really interesting stuff on the subject on the Hinton Hunt page of the vintage20mil website (follow the link from this blog).


Anonymous said...

I have tried over several years to get other master makers to copy the style on an HH figure. This has signally failed. I can get a master maker to convert an HH figure to give me a variant, but it only looks HH because its 90% an HH original.

I have some Kriegspeilers and IMO they are pirates of HH. The reason that they are thinner is that when you cast from an original figure the resultant cast is a little smaller all round. This is not particularly noticeable on the first cast, but if you use secondary castings as masters then the thinning becomes noticeable.
HH suffered from quite lot of pirqating in the Uk and the US. Indeed, There are so many pirates out there that it is very difficult to know that a figure you buy today is an original. Some Minifigs early Napoleonics and ACW are pirates of HH. Indeed I have some ACW union Minifigs figures that are converted from HH British Napoleonics and have the same waterbottle as the British figure.
Generally Minifigs and Alberken smoothed down the detail and changed the position.
There was a lot of private pirating too... One might say we all did it, with drop cast moulds that we made from silastomer, a cold vulcanising rubber or even plaster of Paris.
Marcus caused the problem himself by charging far too much for his 25mm figures. He came from a world in which a few rich men (often retired army types) played wargames. Money was no object to them so prices were high and production slow. There was so much pirating that HH would not fulfil orders for one figure only. Of course that hardly helped people who wanted to see what a sample figure looked like before purchasing a proper order.
I bought stuff from one chap a few year ago who had masses of pirated figures and who said that at the time you just couldn't get the HH originals and that too is true. For may years there was no manufacturer.
I accept the pirates whether commercial like De K's stuff or private if they are good enough. As I said, with many of the figures you just cannot tell a piarate from an original or even from a Clayton that has remade from an original that was itself a two stage step down from an original.

Stryker said...

Hi Roy - good to hear from you. I think you told me once that even Marcus Hinton himself used to make moulds from figures rather than masters. Is this right?


lewisgunner said...

Correct Ian, I suspect that the moulding process damaged the masters and that the original design was to step down once and then make moulds from the 'B' figures. However, it was much more ad Hoc because there were no moulds with only one figure on them. At the least there were four figures to a mould. There wasnot a central holding of 'B' figures to make new moulds so when new ones were required the Hintons were using C figures. If you got Bavarian foot advancing with musket at 45% then one was fat, two medium sized and one thin.

Also there was an attempt to cut costs by using cheaper hard moulds and, at one time harder metal. The hard moulds were OK for the 54mm figures as they had few undercuts. However, the hard moulds soon became brittle and broke leading to large amounts of flash. When there was only one mould that had to be used so out went figures that needed substantial carving to get back to the desired look. Originally most figures at tge charge had a clear space between the left arm and the musket, but when this filled in the figure was still continued.
Customers often complained. One chap wrote in saying that he ' did not expect to have to take a knife to his investment' Cynthia asked if we could recast the order but she had to make a new mould first. The Hinton's attitude to quality control was just send out the flashy figures. It was a very under invested business!!

Paul said...

fascinating information ! Thanks roy.


The Old Metal Detector said...

I've just posted listings of Der Kriegspielers from a Walthers' 1975catalogue over on the Old Metal Detector blog. There are very few pictures of the figures themselves, but loads of illustrations from the Full Color Painting Guides they produced (B+W in the catalogue, I'm afraid). Also interesting are the boxed sets for Waterloo and Borodino, which I hadn't come across before.

I hope to add more detailed listings with larger pictures of the painting guide drawings in the future.