Saturday 19 December 2009

French Grenadier

This is my test figure for the next infantry unit in the painting queue. It’s a vintage casting of FN2 French Grenadier Charging. I only noticed while taking the photo that it looks as if a round shot has gone clean through this poor chap just below his left shoulder – perhaps I need to get a smaller rat-tailed file.

In the very last order I made to Hinton Hunt in 1973 I ordered 72 of these figures along with a few other types. I think I have explained before that back in those days I had very little knowledge about unit organisation and had no idea about the correct ratio of grenadiers to fusiliers etc. I simply made all infantry units up of 24 of the same figures so three battalions of grenadiers was no problem.

I was going to follow this same principle with my new armies but I ran into a snag because I didn’t have quite enough fusilier figures to complete a full unit and had to double up on command groups to make up the numbers (click here for a reminder). However, this has bugged me ever since so my solution will be to spilt the fusilier unit in two and add 12 grenadier figures to each. This isn’t quite as crazy as it seems as I will paint half of the grenadiers as voltigeurs so I’ll end up with two more balanced looking infantry battalions. This is the plan but I still have 23 more of these figures to paint before I get there.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

RHA Limber updated

This is the revised and very definitely final version of my Royal Horse Artillery limber. Actually I’m quite impressed with it, as somehow I seem to have accumulated a full set with four horses, two limber horse riders and both limber-box riders. I found the left-side limber rider in my lead pile along with an extra horse rider. This was quite a surprise to me and confirms that I really do need to go through and reorganise the way I store my Hinton Hunt stash.

This is the full line up:

1 x AL2 British Limber (vintage HH)
2 x H1 Allied draughthorse, nearside (vintage HH)
2 x H2 Allied draughthorse, offside (vintage HH)
1 x BN26 Gunner riding on limber (right side – vintage HH)
1 x BN27 Gunner riding on limber (left side – vintage HH)
1 x BN28 Driver positioned for riding gun horse (vintage HH)
1 x Driver positioned for riding gun horse (Der Kriegspielers)

I particularly like the two limber-box riders clinging on for dear life. It must have been quite an experience charging into action on one of those things. It’s also interesting to see the comparison between the Hinton Hunt horse rider (nearest the limber) and the Der Kreigspielers one (at the front). The DK model is again a bit thin and weedy but a nice figure all the same.

I think the finished item is far less pony and trap like (forgive my cockney rhyming slang) than it was before, being a more substantial representation of an RHA limber. Captain Mercer has certainly given it his full approval.

Sunday 29 November 2009

Prussian limber – final version

Thanks to everyone who chipped in with suggestions on what to do about my limbers and also for the various offers of extra horses. In the end I decided to opt for proper four-horse teams rather than the original truncated two-horse ones. I feel more comfortable with this because it’s how I made up the limber teams in my original 1970’s army and is more in keeping with the idea behind this project. However, as limbers are a bit of a luxury on the wargame table, I will initially limit their presence to just one per nationality with probably two for the French.

This final version of a limber and team for my Prussian artillery has been put together from various sources and is made up as follows:

1 x AL/4 Prussian Limber (David Clayton casting)
1 x H1 Allied draughthorse, nearside (vintage HH)
1 x H2 Allied draughthorse, offside (vintage HH)
1 x Allied draughthorse, nearside (Der Kriegspielers)
1 x Allied draughthorse, offside (Der Kriegspielers)
1 x PN38 Artillery driver (probably vintage HH)
(Prussian field piece by Newline Designs)

All the old castings were stripped and repainted by me and then mounted on plasticard bases. The pair of horses with the limber are on a piece 30mm x 60mm and the other pair on a separate detachable base 30mm x 30mm. The DK horses are interesting because this is one occasion where DK are virtually indistinguishable from Hinton Hunt other than the fact that they are slightly thinner.

Now I just have to re-vamp my RHA limber then I promise I’ll move on to something new.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Napoleon’s Giant

Jean Lannes was a talented soldier who rose from the ranks to become one of Napoleon’s original eighteen marshals of France. During the campaign in Italy he personally intervened to save Bonaparte’s bacon at the bridge of Arcola and thereby earned the eternal affection of the Emperor. Some of the other marshals weren’t quite so keen on him however - notably Murat with whom he had a long running feud.

Lannes was always in the thick of things and commanded the left of the Grand Armee at Austerlitz and further distinguished himself at Jena and Friedland. The Emperor took him along to Spain in 1808 where he won a rare French victory at Tudela. At Ratisbon in 1809, when his men were looking shaky, Lannes seized a ladder and ran forward shouting “I was a grenadier before I was a marshal!” then attempted to scale the walls himself. On the second day of Aspern-Essling he was mortally wounded by a shot from a 3-pounder cannon and carried from the field. The Emperor later said of him “that he had found a pygmy and lost a giant.”

Marcus Hinton never included a figure of Lannes in the personality figure series but Roy suggested that he probabaly chose the subjects in order to represent as many different uniforms as possible rather than for reasons of popularity. So I decided to use my vintage casting of FN224 French General in cocked hat (one-piece casting) to represent marshal Lannes and here he is – in pygmy version.

Sunday 1 November 2009

What I have mostly been doing (Off Topic #12)

Those of you who drop by on a regular basis will probably notice that my Hinton Hunt painting output has been pretty weedy for the last few months. The main reason is that I became sidetracked into rebasing my 15mm Napoleonic collection. This picture shows the results of my endeavours so far.

My 15mm project has been an on and off one since 1984 so most of the figures are Minifigs old style (before the range was redesigned). I have a few of the newer Minifigs mixed in and also some more recent AB Figures bought before the range went down under. I was surprised at how nice the current Minifigs are and I will be using their figures to complete the project. It’s good to see Minifigs under new ownership as I feel the brand has been crying out for some TLC for a long time.

I’ve said before that I definitely have some sort of compulsive disorder when it comes to basing figures and most of these troops are now on their third bases. This time I have opted for the system given in Age of Eagles as I will probably use an adapted version of these rules for my games. According to Rafa this is also the same basing system used for Napoleon’s Battles so that’s a double result.

So why have I got distracted in this way? Well I blame it squarely on Noel the Garage-gamer who invited me into his wargaming heaven a few months ago (actually come to think of it I invited myself). Noel has converted his double garage into a fantastic wargame room with two huge tables, lovely hand made terrain units and literally thousands of beautifully painted 28mm Napoleonic figures (click here for Noel’s blog).

Anyway, this inspired me to look again at my old 15mm armies with a view to doing something similar but in a much smaller way – perhaps the box-room gamer? The point is that at the rate I am currently painting my Hinton Hunts I will never have enough ready to play a decent sized wargame with them so 15mm is more practical from a gaming point of view. The idea is to add to the 15mm collection via eBay with occasional units painted by myself and base everything in the same style for uniformity. Meanwhile I will keep plugging away painting the HH forces myself.

On the subject of 15mm Napoleonics take a look at Napoleonics in Miniature (click here) for some nicely painted 15’s including some of the very same early Minifigs I have in my own collection.

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Hold on to yer hat

When I painted my RHA limber I had completely forgotten that I had a limber rider lurking in the Hinton Hunt lead pile so he missed out. Having just come across him I thought it only proper to paint him up and seat him in his rightful place. The figure is BN26 Gunner riding on limber (right side).

I must admit that the overall effect is now more reminiscent of someone engaged on a pleasant pony and trap ride rather than thundering into action with the Royal Horse Artillery. I think this is due to only having a two-horse team rather than the six required for a serious bit of kit. As I’ve said before this is due primarily to a lack of HH limber horses in my collection but also because such a large model would take up too much precious room on the wargame table.

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to see the King’s Troop RHA put on their display at the Devon County Show. It was a stunning sight (only to be equalled by seeing the Naval Gun Team at the Royal Tournament as a kid) and I was very impressed with their skill at manoeuvring the limber teams at speed. It gave me a small glimpse of what a Napoleonic battle may have looked like and it occurred to me that just watching the enemy deploying in battle must have been a very unnerving experience for the participants - no wonder the Duke of Wellington preferred his men to lie down on a reverse slope where they couldn’t see what was coming.

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Hold yer horses

Thanks to Roy my Prussian limber is no longer a runaway and has been brought under control by the addition of an artillery driver. Roy kindly donated this casting of PN38 Artillery driver, positioned for riding horse (H/1).

I couldn’t find any uniform information on this one so I’ve based him on a picture of a Prussian train driver (no doubt this limber will always run on time) I found tucked away in my copy of Blandford’s Uniforms of Waterloo. The blurb in the book says that the train drivers were responsible for moving all the heavy equipment and baggage in the Prussian army so maybe this included the guns as well.

This is yet another occasion when I wish I had kept my original Hinton Hunt painting instruction sheets as every single figure Marcus Hinton produced was accompanied by full uniform information. If only modern figure manufacturers would do the same!

Sunday 11 October 2009

Galloping at everything

General Ponsonby has just held a full review of the British heavy cavalry. From left to right: The Grey's, The Blue's, The Inniskilling's, The Royal's (click on any image for a close up).
The Blue's and The Grey's sweep past on their fine chargers.
The Duke and Copenhagen enjoy the show. Captain Mercer fires a one-gun salute for the Duke of Wellington. Ponsonby leads out the Grey's. How the Brigade might have appeared on a wargame table back in the 1960s'

Sunday 4 October 2009

RHA Limber

This is the limber to go with my RHA gun and crew. The horses (H1 & H2) and the limber (AL2) are vintage Hinton Hunt castings. The rider is almost certainly by Der Kreigspielers as he seems too weedy to be Hinton Hunt but I can’t say for sure as I have no vintage HH figure to compare him with.

Stripping the old paint from the limber and rider was quite a pain as firstly the rider’s crop broke and secondly a wheel came off the limber under the gentle scrub of the toothbrush. The crop had to be re-attached with super glue for a second time during the painting process and to be honest I’m not sure if the finished result is up to the rigors of campaign.

You may wonder why it has taken me so long to paint a couple of horses and a limber and I would have to say it’s because I’m still distracted into my on-going project to re-base and reorganise my 15mm Napoleonic armies. When I return to full-blown HH painting I will probably be tackling some French infantry but please be patient.

Friday 25 September 2009

Mercer’s men

Captain Mercer’s battery of Royal Horse Artillery was probably the third most popular Napoleonic wargame unit in the old days (i.e. 1970’s) coming just behind the Imperial Guard Grenadiers and Scots Grey’s in ranking. It’s only fitting therefore that my little group of Hinton Hunt RHA gunners will represent the gallant Mercer’s men in my army.

These figures are all vintage castings that I have stripped and repainted. In my opinion the artillery crews sculpted by Marcus Hinton are among his better creations and I think that these lads have bags of character. In the end I settled for ochre for the froggings (Foundry 4C) for all ranks having taken Matt’s advice not to use gold for the officer. The bright yellow I used originally (see last post) just didn’t look right but I’m pretty happy with the final result. The gun is a contemporary Newline Designs model. The figures are as follows:

BN21 Gunner (firing the gun)
BN22 Gunner (holding cannonball)
BN24 Gunner (ramming home)
BN25 Officer (holding spy-glass and pointing)

I just have a couple of limber horses to complete now and the British heavy cavalry contingent will be finished. Once I’ve done this a full parade will be ordered for General Ponsonby’s inspection - it’s possible that the Duke himself may attend although rumour has it he’s not a great fan of the cavalry.

Wednesday 9 September 2009

Going frogging crazy

I’m having a bit of a problem painting the lace on these Royal Horse Artillery gunners. Apart from the fact that in true Hinton Hunt style the detail is not easy to follow with the brush I just can’t decide what colour the braiding is supposed to be.

According to the pictures in my Blandford Uniforms of Waterloo it appears to be almost a gold colour for all ranks and I have tried this on the Officer on the left. However in my copy of Military Dress of the Peninsular War it says it should be yellow for the rank and file so that’s what I’ve done to the gunner on the right. I don’t think that either really looks right and every picture I find seems to show a different shade of yellow/gold.

So what colour should they be? Answers on a postcard please (or perhaps just leave me a comment).

Sunday 6 September 2009

Got the blues again

Since I started hoarding vintage Don’t know what to do Get no thrill from fifteen mil It’s left me feelin’ blue Got those Hinton Hunt blues baby It’s Vintage Hinton all the way I’ve tried to kick the habit But then I’m right back on eBay
Since I started hoarding vintage Aint’ got no piles of cash All I got is BN60 With a hefty chunk of flash Got those Hinton Hunt blues baby It’s Vintage Hinton all the way I’ve tried to kick the habit But then I’m right back on eBay Repeat and fade out...

Saturday 22 August 2009

More Dragoons

Having been inspired by the final look of the Inniskillings I decided to fish out my DK British Dragoons and give them a make over. These are more of the figures supplied by Don in the US which I have touched up and re-based rather than give them the full re-painting treatment.

The figure is listed in the Der Kreigspielers catalogue as 825-215 British Royal Dragoon and seems fairly unique in that it does not bear any resemblance to its Hinton Hunt counterpart. It does however have the same general look and stance as a generic one-piece HH charging cavalry model (although obviously this is pure coincidence). As with all DK figures they are a bit thin when stood next to HH models and are very definitely 2nd line troopers.

This unit will represent a Squadron of the 1st Royal Dragoons and join the Inniskillings and Grey’s to form a proper Union Brigade. I’m still working on the Blues and I also have a battery of Royal Horse Artillery in the pipeline so all in all General Ponsonby will have a respectable force of British Heavy Cavalry to command.

Saturday 15 August 2009

1980’s Flashback

This picture was taken around about 1981 and shows some of the Hinton Hunt Prussians from my original collection in action against a motley bunch of French (including dare I say it, unpainted Airfix). This was taken after I disposed of the figures to my good friend Malcolm and before he disposed of them to some bloke he met in a pub. You really will have to click to enlarge this image to make any sense of it.

In the centre, defending the Airfix cottages (how old school is that eh?) are a square of Prussian Infantry (PN4) and a square of Silesian Landwehr (PN19). In the foreground are some Minifigs Cavalry (also painted by me) although I can’t remember what they are. You can also clearly make out a Prussian gun, crew and limber supporting the squares. It actually looks like I painted a six-horse team for that gun complete with both horse and limber riders, sigh…

If you put your glasses on and peer carefully to the top of the picture you can see the awful sight of my HH Hussars (PN85) being routed by unpainted Airfix Cuirassiers. I have decided that in the rules I will be using with my new HH armies they will add +1 to any die roll against plastic troops!

Saturday 8 August 2009

Inniskilling Recruits

Thanks to the arrival of some recruits sent by Clive I have been able to make up my small troop of British Dragoons to a full six figure Squadron. If you remember (and why wouldn’t you?) I originally had only three of BN40 British Dragoon Trotting in Helmet so the extra figures have been a boost to the British Heavy Cavalry contingent. I have said before that these Hinton Hunt one-piece castings are a bit of an acquired taste being of variable quality and detail. This particular figure is one of the oldest offerings from Marcus Hinton with less animation than his latter work but perhaps this is part of the reason that I like it so much. These castings suffered badly from HH flash metal syndrome and each one took me half-an-hour with an array of files to transform from an almost solid block of metal into the fine looking troopers you see here. It’s no wonder that the original owner of some of these figures had just painted over the flash rather than remove it – he probably had something better to do with his time than I do. This latest addition to the British Cavalry now leaves my three Household Cavalry Troopers out on a limb as they had been amalgamated with the Inniskilling’s into a single combined squadron. Fortunately I have also received a couple more spare figures that will enable me to increase the Blues to a full Squadron as well.

Friday 31 July 2009

Prussian Limber

Various distractions including a couple of trips away and an on-going re-basing saga involving my 15mm Napoleonic armies has meant that Hinton Hunt painting progress has been rather limited for the last few weeks. I have however found time to complete my Prussian artillery battery with this limber.

The horses are vintage castings of H/1 and H/2 that I stripped using my usual method and repainted. The limber is a Clayton produced Hinton Hunt AL4 model and the gun is a contemporary piece produced by Newline Designs.

I never expected to have limbers for my artillery but I now have quite a few thanks largely to Don in the US. I decided to go for just two horses in ‘Fire & Fury’ style as I think that four-horse teams take up too much room on the table (also I have an aversion to painting horses). The Hinton Hunt range does include both limber riders and limber-horse riders for the Prussian forces but sadly I have neither of these in my collection hence the run away effect.

Sunday 19 July 2009

Swedes on Parade

Having only recently arrived in the display cabinet, Marshal Bernadotte thought it would be a good idea to hold a full parade of the Swedish Division to introduce himself as their new C-in-C. He was pretty pleased with the turnout – from left to right are Regiments Abo, Kajana and Alderkreutz.

Here we can see the Swedish commanders conferring during the manoeuvres. General Klingspor is on the left and General Alderkreutz the right, Marshal Bernadotte is the chap in the middle.

The day was tinged with sadness however with the news that some of their compatriots will be leaving them shortly due to a couple of eBay sales completing tonight. During a recent inventory check I decided that I just have way too many of them and with vintage Hinton Hunt and Clayton figures pushing their way to the front of the painting queue, I took the decision to prune them. I will still have enough figures left to make up another three Regiments however so Bernadotte can rest assured that he will continue to hold an important command in my armies.

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Prussian Artillery

I’ve just finished this Prussian artillery battery. The gunner with the cannon ball is a vintage casting that I stripped to repaint whilst all the other figures are Clayton ones that had not been painted before. These particular Clayton castings are superb and almost completely indistinguishable from original figures. The only telltale sign is the single rectangular casting-plug that was under the base of the figures – vintage castings have two separate plug marks. My favourite figure from this batch has to be the Officer with his map and telescope. Perhaps he is checking out the target to make sure he is not engaged in a blue on blue strike as at Waterloo where Prussian “friendly fire” decimated Mercer’s RHA battery.

The gun is a Newline Designs model and the crew are as follows:

PN30 Officer with spyglass
PN31 Gunner with porte-fire
PN32 Gunner with rammer
PN33 Gunner holding cannon ball

I’ve enjoyed painting this little group as I tend to flag a bit when painting larger units. This one is another “nostalgia” unit as I had a couple of Prussian gun batteries in my old Hinton Hunt army. Back then I had the HH painting instructions for the gunners but nothing for the guns so I just painted them brown. I assumed they’d be natural wood so it’s been good to put that little error right although my guess is that on campaign they probably did end up a mixture of bare wood and mud.

Sunday 5 July 2009

Top Swede

This is Marshal Bernadotte aka Charles XIV of Sweden aka Carl III Johan of Norway aka turncoat. So just how did a French Marshal rise to become a top Swede? Well, I’m not entirely sure but he was brother-in-law to Joseph Bonaparte which may have helped. Later he turned his back on his old master when Swedish forces took part in the Leipzig campaign fighting along side the Allies.

Those of you who know about these things (and you know who you are) will be aware that Hinton Hunt never produced a personality figure for Bernadotte. This figure is actually a clever conversion given to me last year by Roy. The horse is APH/1 Ancient Persian Chariot Horse with a blanket added (how did you do that Roy?). The rider is PN60 Marshal Blucher with a different head attached.

I decided to paint the figure as Bernadotte to give me someone to command my Swedish contingent. The uniform is pure speculation although having just found a picture of him on Wikipedia I see I’m not that far off.

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Happy birthday to us

Well this blog is two years old today so Boney and Nosey came together to receive a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday from me (and a slightly more muffled version from their comrades behind the Perspex of the display cabinet). Then all the lads waiting in the lead pile joined in with a rendition of “for they’re such jolly good fellows” followed by three hearty cheers.

I’ve noticed a tendency for blogs to tail off around the two-year mark as ‘blog fatigue’ sets in so I guess I’ve reached a critical point. I don’t think I’ve ever focused on a single wargame project for as long as this one but I’m hoping to keep going for a while longer yet.

Saturday 20 June 2009

Silesian Landwehr

Here’s the finished unit at musketry practice in the churchyard (the vicar is getting mighty fed up with all the noise). All the figures used were David Clayton produced Hinton Hunt castings of varying size and quality (which I can just about get away with in a Militia Battalion). The flag bearer is one of the figures added to the range by David Clayton and I think the officer may fall into the same category as he doesn’t appear in my Hinton Hunt catalogue. The unit is made up of:

22 x PN19 Landwehr Private (firing)
1 x PN20 Landwehr Officer (marching)
1 x PN23 Landwehr Flag Bearer (advancing)

This is the first of my Prussian units to be completed and I have quite a few more to come including two more Landwehr and a couple of Line Infantry units – I may even be able to stretch to a third one with some odds and sods. However, the commencement of painting work on these is still a very long way off.

Next up will be another personality figure – who could it be?

Thursday 11 June 2009

Growing Land-weary

They are growing in numbers but it is a very slow process and I have to admit I am getting just a little bit fed up with painting them. This always happens to me when painting a 24 figure infantry unit, the first few are fun then the next batch are not quite as much fun, then I find a distraction (in this case those Schleswig-Holsteiners) and then finally I finish them. I hope to complete the last few of the Landwehr this evening or tomorrow.

I had a rummage through the Hinton Hunt lead mountain a couple of days ago and concluded that I really do need to get my finger out and increase the rate of production. I was quite surprised at just how many tired old figures are waiting to join the ranks of their comrades in my display cabinet. This was despite the fact that I have a spreadsheet listing them all (I have a spreadsheet for everything) – I guess seeing them in the flesh has more of an impact.

One thing is sure; I need to produce some more artillery batteries to balance up the force although this is no trouble as my gun crews are only 4 figures strong. However, I am still low on 24 figure infantry units so I will have to focus on these for the rest of this year. The plan is to paint up my next unit of French line infantry as Swiss – Many years ago I was inspired by this picture of Peter Gilder’s Hinton Hunt Swiss. After that I’m not sure, maybe the Old Guard or the Nassau Grenadiers or the British Light Infantry or the…

PS. The sharp eyed among you may have noticed that I made yet more changes to that darn flag – I realised that the eagle in the centre looked more like a bedraggled vulture than a magnificent bird of prey, but that’s it now I’m not touching it again!

Sunday 7 June 2009

Mit Gott

When Rafa innocently commented on my last post that he thought the flag my Landwehr were carrying might be the wrong one I immediately felt uneasy. This was because I knew that Rafa knows his stuff and also that I hadn’t bothered to research the flag at all – after all a Prussian flag is a Prussian flag right?

Wrong actually, a quick look on revealed that the Landwher did carry flags that were different from the Line Regiments. Now I never set out to make this project particularly historically accurate but my little error bugged me so much that I had to re-paint the thing. So here is PN23 Prussian flag bearer carrying the colours of a Silesian Landwehr Regiment. The flag is apparently conjecture but if anyone does have more specific info kindly keep it to yourself.

Whilst on the subject of my errors (not a favourite area of mine as Mrs S can testify) Roy pointed out that the original Hinton Hunt range did contain one more flag bearer that I didn’t mention in my last post. This is FN24 Old Guard flag bearer. I had thought that this figure was a Clayton produced one because it does not appear in my catalogue but then I found it listed on an Additions sheet. This is all the more embarrassing for anorak-kind as I have one of these figures in my possession and a quick inspection shows it to clearly be a Marcus Hinton creation.

Saturday 30 May 2009

Landwehr Command

I mentioned in a previous post that the original Hinton Hunt 20mm wargame range only offered three standard-bearer figures and these were limited to the French and British forces. They were BN13 and BN14 representing Regimental Colours and King’s Colours respectively and FN4 Colour Bearer for the French 45th Regiment.

When David Clayton took over production of Hinton Hunt in the US he introduced several new standard-bearer figures presumably in an attempt to fill this gap. His figures are not the best of sculpts but they do at least provide some reasonable models with cast-on flags to brighten up the battlefield. The alternative would be to convert some regular HH figures but this isn’t something I’m particularly skilled at so I’m happy to use the Clayton ones.

The figure pictured is PN23 Prussian Landwehr Colour Bearer Advancing. These cast-on flags are very delicate and I managed to break this one while striping the old paint from the casting (thank goodness for super glue). The other figure is PN20 Landwehr Officer Marching - another Clayton casting but this time of an original Marcus Hinton sculpt. The flag is painted free hand, something else I’m not very skilled at but it’s passable when viewed from a distance.

Wednesday 27 May 2009


You may recall that I have been using plastic guns from various Revell/HaT sets with my Hinton Hunt gunners. This was because I had no HH artillery pieces when I was painting gun crews and I justified it to myself on the grounds that “HH artillery is out of scale anyway”.

Well, it is true that the HH pieces are a little small in comparison to the gunner figures but I have been fortunate to acquire several vintage models recently – thanks largely to Don. The picture shows (from left to right) a vintage Austrian field gun (AL5), a model from the Newline Designs range (AU 12/1) and a plastic gun from the HaT Austrian artillery set (8037).

It’s fairly obvious from the photo that the model produced by Newline Designs is a very close fit in size with the original HH one and they are superb little castings as well. The plastic gun is a bit big and thin and er, plastic. So in the true spirit of this project I have decided to include vintage models where I have them and use Newline substitutes where I have none.

Saturday 23 May 2009

Four go mad in Dorset

Just back from a nice holiday in Dorset with Mrs S and the in-laws. The high point for me was finally getting to visit Bovington Tank Museum only fifteen years after first expressing a desire to go. We did get to Monkey World next door once when the kids were small which is not quite the same thing.

The Mark I tank was smaller than I thought

Like many men I have a grim fascination with these machines and to see them up close and be able to touch them was quite an experience. I enjoyed seeing the tanks built in period up to the end of World War II but the more recent examples in the museum made me feel a little uncomfortable. The museum is well worth a visit – we were there for 3 hours and only really saw about a third of it.

The Tiger tank was bigger than I thought

My second favourite destination of the week was Maiden Castle, which is a massive Iron Age hill fort just outside Dorchester. We’ve driven past it many times over the years but this was our first trip on foot. We went on a sunny day but at the top of the hill there was a force 10 gale blowing. Undeterred Mrs S and I managed to walk the entire circuit of the rampart, which must have been over a mile in circumference.

One of the ditches at Maiden Castle. These things are huge and you can’t really get a sense of scale from this photo.

Interestingly, on the very top of the hill just as I was starting to absorb the atmosphere and imagine the place populated with Ancient Britons, Mrs S announced that she had great reception on her iPhone. This enabled her to complete several transactions on her eBay shop from the top of a scheduled monument.

Corfe Castle from base-camp

And finally, number three for the week was Corfe Castle. We had been there before but quite how we struggled up the hill to the Keep with a pushchair, toddler and baby escapes my memory. The view from the top is great and there are enough ruins left to make it worth the climb. Most of the walls show evidence of the attempts by Cromwell’s men to blow the place up at the end of the Civil War – they didn’t succeed completely but they didn’t do a bad job either.

Wednesday 13 May 2009

Getting thinner

This is not the result of half-rations or a forced march but an illustration of the ‘diminishing mould’ effect. Both these figures are David Clayton produced castings of Hinton Hunt PN19 Prussian Landwehr Firing. The one on the right is a decent specimen while his puny friend on the left looks barely strong enough to hold his musket up. When Clayton took over production of Hinton Hunt he had very few master figures from which to make moulds so many were created using second or even third generation figures. This resulted in a progressive loss of detail and reduction in the size of the castings.

It wasn’t until I came to paint up my first batch of these Landwehr figures that I began to see how much variation there really was. The figure on the right is of such good quality that I would have thought at first glance it was a vintage casting. The one on the left is considerably thinner and missing some of the detail such as the correct number of buttons on the front of his tunic – yes I really did count the buttons (mental note to self – must get out more). Another noticeable difference was that the weedy ones came with square bases that had a curved impression on the corners rather than actual rounded corners. Again this must have been something lost in the moulding process – a little bit of attention with a file soon put this right.

This problem in the moulding is by no means confined to just Clayton produced castings as vintage Hinton Hunt ones sometimes have similar variations as well. I remember receiving batches of figures direct from Hinton Hunt in the early seventies where the same figure type had at least three variations in size and quality. Roy says that Marcus Hinton himself would often create moulds from production figures rather than master figures so I guess this explains it. Anyway, I think the scrawny look is perfectly acceptable for Landwehr but perhaps not for the Imperial Guard.

Friday 8 May 2009

Schleswig-Holstein Infantry (Off Topic #11)

I finally finished the Schleswig-Holstein infantry unit and I have to say I am pretty happy with the result. It’s been a nice change to paint some bigger figures (these ones are 28mm) and experiment with shading rather than painting block colours as I do with the Hintons. I also got around my glossy finish problem by applying Testors Dullcote over the varnish, which worked a treat – thanks for the hint Matt.

I’ve already explained that I know virtually nothing about the first Schleswig-Holstein war and my uniform reference book for this conflict is restricted to a single page in my copy of Blandford’s “Military Uniforms of The World”. Luckily Matt kindly sent me some painting notes or I would have been completely stuck. I thought it was actually quite old school to approach a new period in this way with no preconceptions, very like the way I approached wargaming in my youth. In fact I may just leave it that way and not buy any reference books at all.

I was hoping that by allowing myself this little distraction I would be able to focus with full attention on the Hintons for at least the rest of this year but my strategy seems to have backfired on me as I have enjoyed painting these so much. Matt is just about to release some Schleswig-Holstein Jagers and it seems poor tactics to leave my infantry without a skirmisher screen.

For now though I am knuckling down to work on those HH Landwehr – honest!

Saturday 2 May 2009

Don’s Grand Armee(s)

I’ve recently received some pictures from Don in the US of his impressive Hinton Hunt armies in action and I thought it might be a nice idea to show some of them here. Don and his group use a variation of the rule-set “Grognards & Grenadiers” using a hex based terrain system and I think the overall effect is very pleasing. The figures are a mixture of both vintage and Clayton produced Hinton Hunt and some Der Kreigspielers - click on the pictures for a closer look.

Storming a village (those are casualty markers on the soldiers heads not giant busbies)

Russians looking like they mean business
Drat and blast – that’s much better than my Austrian flag!

Are those Don’s Cossacks in the distance (Don's Cossacks - geddit?)

Vive le Emperor!

Now, if I could just crank up the painting output maybe I could have armies like this by say 2020?