Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Old Old Guard done

I know I’ve used this pun before, but these guys really are old, the quality of the castings and their provenance lead me to suspect that they must have been very early Hinton Hunt figures possibly dating from the 60s. The figures used are:

20 x FN/29 Grenadier (marching)
1 x FN/27 Officer (marching)
1 x FN/28 Sergeant (marching)
1 x FN/24 Colour-Bearer (advancing)
1 x FN/43 Minifigs Line Sapper

It was a bit of a slog getting through this unit, but I enjoyed painting them more as I went on and for once even the flag went well. That’s probably it for the Imperial Guard now as I think 4 foot units is more than enough for most scenarios.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

More Grumblers and a virtual wargame

First up, it looks as if reducing the number of figures in a painting batch has increased my productivity as this week, I have completed a further 6 of the Old Guard Grenadiers including an officer and sergeant. At this rate I should romp home in the “race of the Old Guard” (click here), famous last words no doubt.

Looking menacing, 19 Grumblers of the Old Guard done and dusted.

Yesterday I was privileged to take part in a virtual Command & Colors Zoom game hosted by the reclusive Foy himself (ably assisted by Tony). It was a great success and was the next best thing to being in the room with Tony, Goya and the toy soldiers. Tony had put a lot of thought into how to run the game, not just the scenario but also the camera angles and lighting and it went without a hitch.
A screen shot of the action at the Coa. Tony had set up a camera at each end of the table which together with the map he provided gave ample coverage of the game.

Tony has already covered the game on his own blog (click here) but suffice to say it was another of those C&CN games that went right down to the wire. The result was a 7 to 6 victory for Goya’s French forces after 14 turns of play. Top marks to Tony for staying on his feet for 3 hours, moving all the troops, throwing all the dice, and keeping track of markers while Goya and I slouched over our keyboards at home with a mug of coffee. I’m hoping we will get to do this again.

Friday, 15 May 2020

Mustn’t Grumble

Painting the Grenadiers is still feeling a bit like wading through treacle at the moment. The current batch, just completed, brings the unit to just over the halfway point. I think I am conscious that these are very special old castings that deserve my best possible efforts.

It would probably be easier if I painted them in smaller batches as doing six at once hasn’t really worked as the paint tends to dry out on the palette along with my enthusiasm. I decided I’m going to paint the rest of the unit in batches of four.

There have been no Napoleonic games of late as Tony, Goya and I are of course confined to barracks. We had been hoping to have a stab at a C&CN Leipzig scenario, but I guess that will have to wait. However, we have been experimenting at bit with Zoom and hopefully a small virtual game may be in the offing soon.

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Mustering the Guard

I am slowly (very slowly) working my way through the Old Guard Grenadiers. I’m not sure quite why they are taking me so long as the uniforms are no more complex than regular line infantry. It may be that there are just too many distractions when I come into the Hinton Hut for a painting session. This is perhaps the downside to having all my wargame stuff within easy reach.

I do normally try to be disciplined and have only one unit at a time on my desk but I am failing in this as apart from the Grenadiers I also have a Boer War British unit on the go and some ACW scenery. The Boer War infantry are much less taxing to paint than the Old Guard so it’s natural that I am tempted away to spend my time on them.

That said, I do now have 7 Grumblers painted, just 17 more to go.

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Old Guard Sapper

In with the lot of Old Guard Grenadiers I bought back in 2006 was a Minifigs S-range Guard Sapper that had obviously been included in the seller’s original unit as all the figures were painted in the same style. So, it seemed wrong not to include this figure with the rest of his comrades in my re-painted unit.

Slight problem of course is that the bases of S-range figures don’t look Hinton Hunty enough for my liking. Now, let me make clear, I have nothing against S-rangers (I am a great admirer of the collections of both Goya and Clive) but the fact is that they don’t mix well with Hinton Hunts. So, I came up with a cunning plan to file down the corners of the base on this figure to match the other Guardsmen. However, in my enthusiasm, I went too far and made the base too small - doh! The solution, cut the base off a spare deformed figure, make a hole, cut the Sapper base to fit – then glue.

I’m not intending to add any further S-range figures to my collection, but I do like this one.

Thanks to Rob and Anon for their comments on the last post re the test Grenadier figure. I have made a couple of subtle amendments and hope to be starting full production soon.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Test Grumbler

This is the test figure for the 1st Regiment de Grenadiers-a-Pied de la Garde Imperiale. The figure is FN/29 Grenadier (marching).

I was trying to remember when I acquired the figures for this unit, and I think it must have been around 2006 because I know it was before I started this blog. That’s a long time for such lovely original Hinton Hunt castings to have been hanging around in the lead pile.

I think subconsciously I may have been avoiding painting them out of concern I might not do them justice. Whatever the reason, I think it is high time that they saw the light of day again although I doubt if I will risk them in battle.

Friday, 10 April 2020

Marshal Massena, Duke of Rivioli, Prince of Essling

Massena was born in Nice in 1758, ran away to sea aged thirteen, enlisted in the army, retired fourteen years later and set up a profitable business smuggling contraband into Italy. For most people that would have been enough excitement for a lifetime, but not Massena as the Revolutionary Wars brought further opportunity for adventure.

Under Bonaparte, he performed exceptionally well at Rivoli and after the battle Napoleon greeted him as the “darling child of victory” and made him Duke of Rivioli. He went on to gain further glory by successfully defending France from invasion in 1799 while the main army was off in Egypt. Advancing into Italy he had a great time pursuing his two favourite hobbies – money and women, until finally forced to surrender Genoa after Napoleon left him in the lurch and headed off to Marengo.

In 1804, when Napoleon was being crowned emperor there were no seats allocated to the top fifty generals who had to stand in the nave. Massena tipped a priest off his chair and took it for himself then the other generals followed suit causing quite a commotion. Shortly after he was made marshal along with the other thirteen originally created by Napoleon. Typically, when a friend congratulated him, he was quite miffed and replied he was only “one of fourteen”. Clearly, he was expecting more. 

In 1806 his army swept into Naples to put Joseph on the throne and he resumed his life of womanising and plunder, also selling licences to trade with Britain. The emperor got wind of this and confiscated three million Francs from a secret bank account, Massena never got over it.

He had a big part in the victory at Aspern-Essling in 1809, and at Wagram, as a reward Napoleon made him Prince of Essling. Shortly after this whilst on a hunting trip, Napoleon (who was a better shot with a field-gun than a fowling-piece) managed to shoot out one of his eyes and then blamed Berthier for it – nice move. Massena forgave him about the eye but never over the three million Francs.

Massena was sent to command the Army of Portugal in 1810 and upon arrival the jaded marshal said to his staff “gentlemen I am here against my own wishes”. Interestingly Wellington was nervous of the appointment commenting “we are in the presence of one of the first soldiers in Europe”. Massena did the best he could in Spain, probably better than any other marshal could have but after the defeat at Fuentes de Orono he was dismissed. Napoleon’s rather harsh remark was “So, Prince of Essling, you are no longer Massena”.

Massena died in 1817 but did meet with Wellington at Soult’s house shortly before where the two of them discussed the finer points of strategy in the Peninsular War.

The figure is a vintage casting of FN/356 Marshal Massena in marshal’s uniform.