Thursday 20 December 2012

Goodwill to all men

Apparently the world is going to end tomorrow at 11.00 am GMT so I thought I’d better put this blog-post up now rather than leave it until nearer Christmas. This is FN82 French L.I. Voltigeur (charging). I have five of these figures that I’ll be using to complete the Carabineer Company of the 9th legere.

A quick look back over this year’s crop of posts reveals that I have added a total of 52 painted Hinton Hunt foot figures and 5 mounted personality figures to the armies. This may seem pretty weedy compared to the prolific output of many other wargamers, but for me it is pretty good going – and this year I have painted every one of them myself.

So it just remains to say – A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers.

Now I'm off to the garage where I have built a survival chamber under the wargame table...

Saturday 8 December 2012

9th legere Officer

This figure is FN/80 Light Infantry Officer (charging). He is one of six figures that will make up the Carabineer Company of the French 9th legere. Although technically light infantry, this will be a full 24-figure unit based in close order.

Over the course of this project I have found that taking a paintbrush to these old figures makes me appreciate them far more than merely looking at them ever could. This one is a gem, the pose is lovely and full of character and it reminds me why I decided to collect Hinton Hunt figures back in the 70s. My wargaming school friends back then preferred Minifigs because of the price, the superior mail order service and the virtually flash free castings – fair enough I suppose – but I could never get very excited about the way they looked.

I’ve actually already painted one of these before as part of the 10th legere (click here to take a look). For the new unit I will be using castings of FN/254 Voltigeur (charging) to make up the Voltigeur and Chasseur companies, all from the figures recently donated by Douglas.

Sunday 2 December 2012

Back to the… drawing board!

We finished the rule play-test game this week and the good news is that the Duke of Wellington finally broke his run of bad luck and won a battle. The bad news is that I finished the game pretty disappointed with the latest version of my rules Muskets & Marshals.

I realised that I had fallen into the trap of over complicating things, which was contrary to my original aim of a simple enjoyable game. For me wargaming is about having a bit of fun (and hopefully winning of course) but during much of this game I had the same sinking feeling I used to get in maths exams.

After some head scratching and some fairly drastic cutting, I have reduced the playing rules down to just three sheets of A4 paper with another two or three sheets of other rules and definitions. I’m going to do some more solo play testing but I think I might finally have cracked it.

For the battle report click here.

Friday 23 November 2012

Back to the 60s (part 2)

Our rule play-test game is now under way over at the Brother Against Brother blog so if you want to see the Hinton Hunts in action (in full technicolour) click here.

For those of you who liked my last post, there is some disturbing news about the King of Naples but you'll need to hop over to the other blog to find out what it is...

Sunday 18 November 2012

Franconi the circus-rider

Joachim Murat was made a Marshal of France in 1804, by which time he had already seen much hard fighting as commander of the cavalry during Napoleon’s early campaigns. He went on to become “Prince Murat” then “Grand Duke of Berg and Cleve” and finally “King of Naples”, although this impressive string of titles may have had something to do with the fact he had married Napoleon’s ambitious youngest sister. He commanded the cavalry at Jena and Eylau and was present in Madrid at the start of the Peninsula War. He also played an important part in the 1812 and 1813 campaigns.

Murat was something of a snappy dresser and his taste for outlandish uniforms was probably only equalled by that of his chum Prince Poniatowski. Once when he turned up in a brand new outfit the Emperor told him to go away and put on his uniform as he looked liked “Franconi the circus-rider”. He wasn’t all that popular with the other marshals either and quarrelled in turn with Ney, Lannes and Davout. Lannes described him as “a scoundrel in a pantomime dress with plumes like a dancing dog” – so no love lost there then.

He was a brilliant cavalry commander with a superb eye for ground and was undoubtedly very brave. However, he had less understanding of the proper employment of infantry and that led in part to the friction with other commanders. On one occasion Davout refused to allow his artillery to fire in support of Murat when the prince got himself in a sticky situation at the head of a regiment of lancers. On another he was forced to seek shelter in a square of the 105th ligne after his cavalry were routed. Taking refuge in the same square was Marshal Soult who remarked dryly “What about the merits of cavalry and infantry now, old boy?”

During the Hundred Days Murat was preoccupied with trying to save his throne from the Austrians (imagine if he had led the cavalry at Waterloo!) but was defeated, captured and then shot by firing squad in October 1815. His last words were reputedly “Soldiers! Do your duty! Straight to the heart but spare the face. Fire!”

I stuck faithfully to the Hinton Hunt painting instructions for this one (except that I edged the shabraque in red) and Marcus Hinton notes that Murat wore this particular uniform during the invasion of Russia. The previous owner of the figure had painted his horsewhip as a sword, an easy mistake to make given the vagaries of 1970s casting. The figure is listed in the Hinton Hunt catalogue as FN/351 PRINCE MURAT, in plumed “lancer” cap and fur trimmed braided coat (horse FNH/11). My thanks to Clive for making this and many other original Hinton Hunt Painting instruction sheets available on his blog – for Murat click here.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Oi, where's me tigers head?

...four feet from his tail!

Now who rides a horse like this?

FNH/11 Horse.

Sunday 11 November 2012

Back to the 60s (?)

Having just finished the Poles off I thought it would be a good time to get all the troops out on the table and have another play-test of my house rules “Muskets & Marshals”.

My opponent this time will be my brother and it will be the first game we’ve played together using the Hinton Hunts. Those of you who have read back to the beginning of this blog may remember that the Hinton Hunt army my brother and I started to put together in the late 1960s never actually got to see any action.

In recognition of this 42-year delay the battle reports will be posted over at brother against brother and I’ve started by putting up some photos of the initial dispositions. If you follow the link to take a look remember also to follow the blog so that you don’t miss out on any of the action!

Thursday 8 November 2012

Where’s McWally?

Hidden somewhere in the picture below is a lone casting of BC/44 93rd Sutherland Highlander, charging. If you can spot him there may be a small prize (but then again there probably won’t).

 "The Thin Red Line"

Regular readers of this blog will know that my Hinton Hunt armies are all from the Napoleonic ranges and this is my only model from the 20mm Crimean War range, a very thin red line indeed.

 I tried a couple of times to paint more lace detail on the shoulders but just couldn't get it right.

As a teenager I thought briefly about wargaming the Crimean War (I remember getting my Airfix marching Guardsmen to assault a dressing-gown hill defended by Confederate looking Russians) and I did once consider buying some of the Hinton Hunt figures. However, Marcus Hinton never finished off his Crimean War range, and as there were no Russian cavalry or artillery for either side (how can you have a “valley of death” without Russian guns?) I gave up on the idea.

 A view of a Highlander that no Russian would have ever seen!

My thanks to John C for providing me with this figure and helping me to fulfil a boyhood dream. It’s possibly the smallest wargame army I’ve ever possessed but I had fun painting it all the same.

Sunday 4 November 2012

Poles on Parade

In the Hinton Hunt catalogue Marcus Hinton wrote:

The Polish troops of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw were amongst the staunchest allies of France. They fought with traditional Polish dash and courage and in the knowledge that Napoleon was the best hope for a free Poland. The army of the Grand Duchy saw much hard fighting standing shoulder to shoulder with the French and added more than a touch of glamour to the scene in their square topped “Lancer Caps”.

Well Marcus Hinton obviously loved sculpting these figures and I’ve loved painting them too, see what you think...

The 8th Polish Regiment leave a Chateau in column of march.

They stop and deploy into column of attack.

Next they deploy into line.

What a fine looking body of men!

They are joined by the 1st Chevau-Legers-Lanciers of the Guard...

...and a very proud Marshal Poniatowski!

Time to put the pot of “Shadow Pink” away then, because my Polish contingent is now complete.

Sunday 28 October 2012

Pole Update – 2

I’m getting tantalisingly close to finishing the last few figures for the 8th Polish regiment, one or two more painting sessions should do it.

These final few recruits are the fusilier figures WN.13 Fusilier, advancing (the ones converted from the mysterious grenadier version). They are pretty well complete and just need the cross straps black lined and a couple of other bits and bobs done.

I really hope that my next post will show the entire completed unit.

Friday 12 October 2012

Polish Grenadiers

As you can see, I have finished the Grenadier Company of the 8th Polish Regiment. Well, almost finished because I still have to paint the bases.

The company consists of 5 x WN.4 Grenadier, charging with 1 x WN.6 Officer, marching. I had my usual struggle with the varnish and they came out a bit more on the shiny side than I had intended, but then I like shiny, shiny is good.

Just eight more Fusiliers to paint up and the Regiment will be ready for parade.

Saturday 6 October 2012

Guest Appearance #1

Iain sent me some photos of a game he played this week with his 20/25mm Napoleonic armies. There were 485 figures on the table, most of them Higgins, with one battalion of Hinton Hunt, one of Garrison and a few odd Hintons and Minifigs here and there.

They are all vintage figures (not one less than 20 years old he thinks) and as far as I know, they’ve all been painted and based by Iain himself. The brushwork is fantastic and the sight of all these old soldiers massed on the table is enough to bring a tear to the eye of even the most hardened “new schooler”.

I don’t have a game narrative from Iain so I’ve made up my own – apologies to him for any errors!

 The British are defending a vital river crossing.

The French commander sends in the cavalry including elements of the Guard.

Dutch Red Lancers supported by Carabiniers.

The British cavalry counter-attack.

With all these horsemen about the safest place is in square.

The French infantry advance.

Those French columns look unstoppable.

Steady lads...present arms!


 Picton with the Hinton Hunt's see them off in the same old style (at least that's my take on things!)

My thanks to Iain for letting me share the pictures of his superb troops here.

Sunday 30 September 2012

Command Poles

I did say in my last post we’d have to see how I could do in speeding up my Pole painting; well the answer is “not very well”. I have completely finished the command group for the regiment however and they look quite smart except for some of the officer’s buttons, which are a bit blobby.

The picture shows the completed Poles so far, from left to right in the front rank are: WN.10 Officer charging then another WN.10 converted to a standard bearer, then WN.13 Fusilier charging converted to a drummer. In the rear ranks are the men of the Voltigeur Company. The grenadiers are well underway on the painting desk so I guess I can honestly say that the unit is more than halfway to being completed.

The Poles have posed for a quick picture on the tabletop in the garage where I am currently engaged in a 15mm American War of Independence game with my brother. For more on that follow the link here Brother Against Brother.

Saturday 15 September 2012

Flag Pole Finished

I’ve just finished off my Polish standard bearer by adding a Revo paper flag. I like to use the Revo flags where Hinton Hunt cast-on ones are not available because they fit in nicely with the retro theme of this project. The flag sheet I have does actually have a flag for the 8th Polish Regiment but it looked a bit small to me so I used this one instead.

If you remember, this figure is converted from WN.10 Officer charging – I have also finished the other officer and drummer that complete the regimental command group and am now working on the Grenadier company.

I’ve enjoyed converting and painting this figure but I really do need to get back into production mode and get the whole regiment finished off. The painting table is now clear of all other bits and pieces so let’s see what I can do.

Sunday 26 August 2012

Pole update

Well unbelievably it appears to be almost an entire month since my last post. My apologies to those of you requiring a more regular Hinton Hunt fix.

I haven’t painted any Hintons at all in these last few weeks as I’ve been painting stuff for another project but that’s nearly finished now, so I’ll be returning to the Poles shortly. In the meantime here’s a shot of the completed Voltigeur company of the 8th Regiment. The figures are:

1 x WN.25 Officer (marching)
5 x WN.23 Voltigeur (charging)

Only one of the figures pictured here is a genuine vintage casting but you’d be hard pressed to tell him apart from his colleagues and I’ve already lost track of which one it is.

Friday 27 July 2012

Too hot to paint

It's been far too hot here to paint for the last couple of days (what an excellent excuse) so I've dug out a photo taken last year during my solo "Battle of the Farm" game.

This one shows the French cavalry massed on the Emperor's right flank at the start of the game, a stirring sight.

But here's a little quiz - which one of the cavalry squadrons is the odd one out and why?

Saturday 21 July 2012

More Drummers

Steve sent me this picture of some more of his Hinton Hunt drummer conversions.

I’m not sure exactly what they all represent but they certainly are pretty. My favourite is the Austrian one at the right of the line up. I’m starting to think that my Austrian 51st Gabriel Spleny regiment could use a chap just like this (they currently have a Clayton produced one). I think the second one from the left may be a Wurtemberger.

More food for thought, although I must not get distracted!

Tuesday 10 July 2012

The Slippery Pole

Paul left a comment on my last post saying that the conversion bug was the road to insanity – I think he may be right. This evening I have broken out the green stuff once again and finished off my Polish standard bearer.

You may remember that he needed a new hand but I’ve also added a topping to the flagpole. Not quite sure how I managed it but I seem to have crafted quite a decent looking eagle even if I do say so myself. 

Who knows where all this will end?

Monday 9 July 2012

Polish Drummer – 2

Last night I took the plunge and had a go at converting a Hinton Hunt Polish Fusilier into a drummer. I was inspired by Steve’s lovely conversion (click here) and also by Roy’s gentle nudging to “embrace the possibilities of converting”.

So I snipped off the musket from a casting of WN.13 Fusilier, advancing and glued on a drum from a Prussian drummer then added two brass rod drumsticks. Amazingly it all went very well and I’m very pleased with the result.

Now I wouldn’t normally advocate the butchering of Hinton Hunt castings but the Prussian drummer was already missing his head (someone had previously converted him into a Nassau drummer by a bit of cut and paste) and the Fusilier wasn’t actually a vintage figure – so I think it’s all o.k.

I can see all sorts of possibilities opening up now…

Friday 6 July 2012

Polish Voltigeur

The first of my Polish Voltigeur figures is completed at last. I’ve enjoyed painting this one, in part because it’s an excellent little model, but also because I’ve been able to explore my feminine side by finally getting to use my Foundry Shadow Pink.

I seem to be in possession of a ridiculous number of pots of Foundry paint many of which remain unopened - will I ever get to use Nipple Pink or Royal Purple? The situation is not helped by the fact that I don’t use the three-shade system when painting the Hinton Hunts, I only block paint with a single shade. However, I do get almost as much pleasure from lining up my paint pots as I do from lining up the toy soldiers, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

The remaining five figures that make up the Voltigeur Company of the 8th Regiment are almost finished as well. This is good because there are ominous rumours that a large Hinton Hunt Russian force is gathering on the east banks of the Rhine and the Emperor is anxious to have the Grand Armee up to strength.

Sunday 1 July 2012

British ADC

This is the figure that Iain sent me a while back (click here to see him in his flashy state) Hinton Hunt British A.D.C – BN/261 A.D.C in cocked hat, holding letter on Horse BNH/4. You can’t actually see the letter from this angle but I’m sure it contains some vital despatch for the Duke.

I’ve had my usual problems varnishing this one and he now has so many coats of protection that a 12pdr cannonball would bounce straight off him. This is ironic because I had planned to use him to represent William DeLancey who was fatally injured at the battle of Waterloo by just such a missile.

DeLancey was actually Wellington’s deputy quartermaster-general during the hundred days campaign and not an aide-de-camp but I wanted a figure to represent him on the Duke’s staff. However, as Hinton Hunt never produced such a model, this one will be standing in for him.

Saturday 16 June 2012

Wargames with my Brother

A few months back I started a separate blog Brother Against Brother to record the latest series of wargames between my brother and myself. We started playing with toy soldiers as kids in the early 60s with Airfix Union and Confederate troops and games were played on the carpet using dressing gowns for hills. These games were occasionally interrupted by of one of our parent’s five dogs crossing the battlefield but despite this we had a lot of fun.

Our games tend to be predominately American Civil War ones fought in 1/300th scale but there are other things in the pipeline. We fight them now on a proper wargame table (which is an improvement on the floor) but spookily we’re still interrupted occasionally by my own dog Snuff who resents the intrusion into the garage (we have to walk past her bed to get there) and does like to chip in with the odd bark during a game.

Now I know 1/300th isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but please take a look and if you like what you see remember to follow the blog (click here) because there’s a very good chance that the Hinton Hunts may show up there before too long. Right now though we’re halfway through a re-fight of Chancellorsville and things are just starting to get interesting…

Friday 15 June 2012

Polish Drummer

Roy suggested that I add a drummer to the Polish command group by converting a French drummer. This would involved a head graft which I think I could just about manage but I’d worry about him losing his head in the heat of battle.

But then, this morning, Steve sent me this picture of a Polish drummer he converted from an advancing Polish voltigeur (WN.23). I quite like this idea as no head graft is required but it looks a bit fiddly all the same.

To be honest, I wasn’t going to bother with a drummer at all but now I feel slightly under pressure.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Mystery Poles - continued

Don sent me this picture of some of his David Clayton Poles. As you can see these ones look pretty much like regular Hinton Hunt so, as I suspected, my mystery Poles are probably not Clayton ones.

That still leaves either DK or the possibility that they are home-cast conversions. Does anyone have any photos of DK (Der Kreigspielers) Poles?

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Flag Pole

Hinton Hunt never produced a standard-bearer figure for their Duchy of Warsaw range so I’m having another stab at a conversion to provide one for the 8th Regiment. I’m fortunate enough to have two officer figures WN.10 Officer charging so one of these has been sacrificed for the greater good of the regiment and had his sword removed to make way for a flagpole.

I feel a little bit guilty about cutting up a vintage figure in this way, especially as very few of the other figures in this unit will be genuine vintage ones. However, I really do like to have a flag with each unit to provide that extra splash of colour on the tabletop.

In due course I will provide him with a green-stuff hand and a suitable topping to the flagpole.

Monday 11 June 2012

Mystery Pole

Steve very kindly sent me this picture of some Poles that look very similar to my own mystery variant of WN.13. They were genuine Hinton Hunt figures purchased in the 1970s as far as he remembers.

So the plot thickens because my own copy of the Hinton Hunt catalogue from around 1972 doesn’t mention this variant. This also rules out the possibility that they are Clayton figures because he didn’t produce figures until much later, and anyway I’m 99% certain that mine are not Clayton.

This leads me to conclude that the figure is either a genuine Hinton Hunt one (in which case I feel slightly sick about snipping off those plumes) or one produced by Der Kriegspielers in the USA. There is a listing in the DK catalogue 825-205 Polish Line Infantry Charging but no illustration of the figure.

Gentlemen the floor is open, please feel free to comment.

Friday 8 June 2012

Pole Volts

I painted this (click here) test figure for the 8th Polish Regiment almost two years ago so I think that it’s time I got on and painted the whole unit. To this end I’ve been cleaning up the castings and getting them ready for undercoating.

WN.26 Officer, marching + WN.23 Voltigeur, charging

The six figures above make up the Voltigeur Company (my stylised units have six-figure Companies and the 8th will have two of Fusiliers, one of Voltigeurs and one of Grenadiers). The only vintage figure in this line up is the chap on the right of the front line; the others are later but quite decent castings of unknown origin.

When I was sorting through the various Polish figures in the lead pile I noticed something fishy about some ones with tall plumes that I had initially mistaken for Fusiliers. The Hinton Hunt Polish Fusilier figure has a pom-pom and no epaulets and the Grenadiers have bearskins so I eventually deduced that someone had created their own Grenadiers with “Lancer Caps” from the Fusilier model WN.13.

 The "fishy" Pole is on the left, WN.13 is on the right

This was fine though because it has been an easy job to turn them back into the Fusiliers I require by snipping off the plume and taking a file to the epaulets. I do hope it doesn’t take me another two years to finish this lot off.

Thursday 3 May 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful

Firstly, because yesterday this blog received its one hundred thousandth hit. So one hundred thousand thanks to you all (or perhaps just one big thank you to one very sad individual). Secondly, because during the week I finished the unit of Prussian Jagers marking the end of “phase one” of this project. I now have over 350 painted and based figures, which is enough to enable me to play a decent sized game.

I’ve already mentioned that I’m particularly fond of these Jager figures because the very first Hinton Hunt unit I completed back in the early 70s was made up of these same types. Those figures are of course long gone – perhaps hiding in an attic somewhere.

My light infantry units are 18 figures strong and individually based for maximum manoeuvrability. The complete line-up is as follows:

2 x PN.24 Jager Officer, quick marching
1 x PN.25 Jager bugler, quick marching
3 x PN.26 Jager, quick marching
6 x PN.28 Jager, firing
6 x PN.29 Jager, kneeling firing

Next up will be the British ADC I’ll be painting to represent Wellington’s aid De Lancey.

Tuesday 1 May 2012


For the last few nights we have been lashed with wind and rain down here in the west country. This morning when I opened the door to the wargames cupboard I was amazed to see that one of the miniature trees had come out in sympathy with the "real world". Fortunately there were no casualties - all the Hinton Hunts were safely stowed away in the display cabinet, but if Wellington had been under that tree I hate to think what could have happened.

Now just waiting for some miniature Council Operatives to come along and clear away the debris.