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.