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.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Empress’ Dragoons - Update 2

As I’ve completed the required number of Landwehr figures for our game next weekend I decided to return to and finish off the Empress’ Dragoons. The painting desk was getting a bit crowded with so many figures on the go and completing them has helped to restore some order.

As always these one-piece castings have been a challenge to paint but I’m fairly happy with the result. Next I need to base them ready for a parade with the Horse Grenadiers.

Friday, 13 July 2018

More Head Wardens

Don took pity on the 2nd Silesian Landwehr and very kindly sent me an officer, drummer and standard bearer this week to fill some of the command vacancies. This means I’ll be able to expand the command group to include an extra officer and a drummer (the standard bearer will be set aside for future use as WM is supplying a flag for my converted figure).

The officer Don sent is possibly a vintage one but if not is a very good Clayton casting. What has fascinated me about him is that he is identical to the figure that I finished up with after I carried out the head swap (previous post). I’m pretty certain then that Marcus Hinton produced the master for PN.17 Officer (charging) with a simple head swap to the line officer.

The drummer PN/22 Drummer (advancing) was never included in the original HH range and is a later addition produced by David Clayton. The figure has a French style pack rather than a haversack as modelled on the rank and file so again I’m guessing that the master was converted from another figure although I’m not sure which one, possibly a DK?

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Head Wardens

I needed some command figures for my new unit however as I have no Landwehr officer figures I decide to convert some from regular line ones. This involved a head swap which is not something I have ever attempted before and proved a bit fiddly as I don’t really have all the right gear. In the end I used a padded mole-wrench to hold the decapitated heads while I drilled them and it seems to have worked quite well.

One of the donor figures was of the thin variety which has given the new figure a bit of an odd pinhead look. I’ll be using this one as the standard bearer and hopefully the flag will attract attention away from this when he is completed.

The officer figures used are PN.1 Officer (charging) with heads from a couple of charging Landwehr figures who were missing their bayonets. They were all Clayton castings so no vintage figures were harmed in the making of these conversions.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Landwehr progress

I’ve managed to complete another 6 Landwehr this week taking me to the halfway point of the unit. However, I think it’s unlikely that I’ll have the whole unit finished in time for the game at the end of next month due to distractions caused by a combination of work, the World Cup and the heat wave.

Fortunately Goya has come to the rescue by offering to paint up 6 S-Range figures to make up the numbers if I can get my own tally to 18. Another 6 figures from me should be achievable I hope and the resulting temporary unit should look quite interesting.

Whilst painting the current batch I noticed that there are some figures aligned sideways on their bases rather than diagonally as they should be (see the figure in the centre at the front). All these figures are Clayton castings and all came from the same source a few years ago. Presumably these are just casting variations as the figures themselves are identical.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

A confession

A few days ago, Mark called for a chat and one of the things he mentioned was whether I’d seen that someone paid £26 for five Hinton Hunt Old Guard Horse Artillerymen on eBay. Caught on the hop (and not wanting to appear like an idiot) I didn’t admit that it was actually me. Not strictly me I suppose as it was Mrs S bidding for my birthday, but I was the one who increased the bid from a sensible(!) £2 per figure to the outlandish £5.20 each I paid.

Now I’ve stayed clear of eBay for quite a few years because I still have way too many figures waiting to paint and these days I tend to acquire stuff through swops or privately or ideally not at all. However, I really wanted to have another Guard Horse Artillery battery and all the usual channels had run dry and there they were beckoning at me, and it was my birthday after all.

They are very nice castings (no honestly, they are) but that really is it for French artillery now!

Saturday, 16 June 2018

French Line Artillery

Having added to the Guard artillery I decided I should add another battery to the French Line foot artillery to even things out. This gives me a total of three Line batteries and at some point I’ll do a fourth.

All my artillery batteries have one gun and four foot figures. The new additions are:

FN/34 Gunner (positioned for manning gun)
FN/35 Gunner (ammunition carrier, running)
FN/33 Gunner (ramming home)
FN/31 Gunner (firing the gun)

The two artillery pieces left and centre are I believe Hinchliffe ones (I’ve had them a while but I'm not completely sure of their pedigree). The gun on the right is by Newline Designs.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Return of the Traffic Wardens

Just when you thought it was safe to park freestyle… the Traffic Wardens are back! These are David Clayton castings of PN.18 Landwehr Private (charging). They are the advance guard of the 2nd Silesian Landwehr.

The 1st Silesian Landwehr have gained something of a reputation for themselves as tenacious fighters bucking the trend of ‘C’ class Militia and seeing off some formidable foes over the last few years. I’m hoping the new battalion will perform equally well.

The reason for this departure from my schedule of painting Imperial Guard is that Goya is planning to host a Plancenoit Command & Colors game soon and we are lacking in Landwehr units. C&CN should be a gentle introduction to table-top warfare for them – just the ticket (forgive the pun).

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Empress’ Dragoons – Updated

One of the comments on my last post suggested that my horse was painted as a bay rather than a chestnut which got me wondering. A quick look at my Kevin Dallimore painting bible confirmed that this is indeed the case as he shows a chestnut as having a light coloured mane and tail.

I’m not normally too fussed about how I paint horses as I’ve never been very good at them (I have the thin excuse that this is a retro project about recreating an army I had as a teenager when my painting left a lot to be desired). However I thought I should revisit my test figure (which is of course the point of doing a test figure) and dry brush the mane and tail with Foundry 53C. I think it was worth this little extra bit of effort.

A couple of you asked what green I used for the coat. It was nothing too exotic, just the unimaginatively named Foundry French Dragoon Green 70B. I’m going to plough on with the rest of the squadron however this may get interrupted by another unit of Silesian Landwehr which is entirely Goya's fault.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Empress’ Dragoons Quiz

Continuing on my Imperial Guard theme I thought it was time to expand the Guard cavalry. As you may remember my only Guard cavalry unit is the combined Horse Grenadiers and Polish Lancers which is hardly an historical unit. My aim is to produce a heavy cavalry unit comprised of half Horse Grenadiers and half Empress’ Dragoons and a light unit made up of Polish Lancers and Eclaireurs.

This is my test figure for the Guard Dragoons FN/60 Empresses Dragoon (Mounted charging). I used the Hinton Hunt painting instructions for guidance along with Wellington Man’s blog for help with the usual detail conundrums (a bit sneaky I know but Matt has done the hard work for me!).

There are a couple of subtle differences between the Hinton Hunt painting instructions and Matt’s version so see if you can spot them (no prizes if you do though).

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Guard Foot Artillery - Completed (again!)

According to this blog I apparently completed my Guard Foot Artillery in 2011 (click here) but I decided after the recent battle that the expanding French army needs a bit more clout in the ‘Emperors Daughters’ department. This was brought home by the fact that the Austrian Artillery had to be drafted in to the French line of battle to bring it up to the six batteries required.

My intention is to take the French Artillery to a total of eight batteries which is the top limit per side on my maximum 8’x4’ playing area. This will be made up of four line foot batteries, two Guard foot batteries and two Guard Horse Batteries. Unusually, all the artillerymen will be vintage Hinton Hunt ones although the guns are a mishmash of Hinton Hunt, Hinchliffe, Newline and RSM.

I applied three layers of gloss varnish to the new figures as a bit of an experiment. This meant I had to re-varnish the original four gunners as these had been completed with my old satin varnish. I’m still not totally sure about a high gloss finish for my figures as I find it does make seeing some of the detail harder although in the long run this may be an advantage.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Battle of the four Generals (conclusion)

There is tension also for Blucher as the Silesian (aka Death-Star) Landwehr
take a pasting from Tony's guns. They took similar punishment in the next turn
but despite their 'C' class status did not rout.
The fight for the rock is in full swing. There is more cavalry action in the
foreground with East Prussian cuirassiers about to clash with the French DK's.
Across the table Tony has pulled his men out of square and looks set to attack.
A full view of the table at the end of turn 7.
The cavalry melee looks even with one casualty each. Meanwhile the Leib
Hussars have finally been routed (despite which they still get my 'man of the
match' award).
The Swedish Alderkretuz regiment eject the 4th Swiss from the farm which
changes hands for the fourth and final time. It's been a while since the 4th
Swiss have finished a battle with over half their number still standing so well
done for that at least.
The Young Guard rout the Russian Grenadiers. This was the high water
mark for the forces of the emperor. Wellington looks on "Make ready guards!".
Despite the success of the Young Guard the situation for the French is critical.
The Old Guard have voluntarily withdrawn behind the 45th ligne who are now
taking the full fury of the British rifle and artillery fire.
On the British flank the Blues&Greys are in action. Big men on big horses
with lots of pluses on their die rolls!
WM makes one last effort to take the hill by deploying the Musketeer regiment
No4 Hoch-Und Deutschmeister. But too little too late, those Cambridgeshires
are going nowhere.
The emperor gets ready for one last throw of the dice by combining the remnants
of the Old Guard with those of the Guard Marines. This is the first time we have
used the rule that allows two units under half strength to combine into one unit.
Turn 8 game over and all three objectives are in allied hands. Here WM's
18th (6th Reserve) regiment proudly wave their flag in a victory salute.
Straight from a copy of Minitaure Warfare circa 1972? WM's DK Garde
du Corps. Fittingly not a feather was ruffled on these fine fellows who stayed
in reserve throughout the game.

My thanks to my fellow players Tony, Goya and WM for a great game and to Mrs S for lunch.