Sunday 29 December 2013

Early War French

Here are some more of the David Clayton produced figures that I recently received from John in the US. These are all figures that were originally included in bag BB09 French Line Infantry 1798-1806 and listed in the Hinton Hunt catalogue as "French fusiliers in bicornes worn 'fore and aft', coat, breeches and gaiters."

FN/271 Officer (charging)

FN/274 Private (charging)

FN/275 Private (firing)

FN/277 Private (marching)
I liked this one so much I just had to paint him!

I’d never seen any of the figures in this range before these lads arrived in the post. I have enough of them now to put together a mixed figure unit for the young general Bonaparte to command.

Thursday 5 December 2013

Bags of fun

I was lucky enough to receive a box of Hinton Hunt goodies this week sent by John from the US, who had been having a bit of a clear out. The figures are all David Clayton ones that were produced in the US a few years back.

The charging figure on the left is a straight copy of the original Hinton Hunt figure RN/4. The one on the right is a Clayton addition of a charging figure in greatcoat - he's a bit small and chunky compared to his friend.

David Clayton acquired the rights to produce Hinton Hunt figures in the 1980’s and as far as I can make out continued to sell them right up until the early noughties. Approximately half of the figures in my collection are Clayton ones and they vary considerably in quality. I believe this is because very few of the master figures were in his possession so new moulds had to be made using production figures with an inevitable loss of detail and size.

These are the officers - again the figure on the left is taken from the original figure RN/1 but I'm not sure about the one on the right as it's not listed in my 1974 Hinton Hunt catalogue (although Clayton lists him as RN/6).

Clayton sold the figures in bags of 50 with mixed poses and command figures included in each bag. John sent me figures that he originally purchased this way including Pavlovski Guard Grenadiers (probably from Clayton’s bag BB150 Russian Imperial Guard Grenadiers). This is neat because it means that I now have examples of all the following:

RN/1 Officer (charging)
RN/2 Standard bearer*
RN/3 Drummer (in greatcoat)*
RN/4 Guard (charging)
RN/5 Guard (firing)
RN/6 Officer (standing)*
RN/7 Guard (marching)
RN/9 Guard greatcoat (charging)*

This is my favourite RN/5 Guard (firing) - almost as good as a vintage figure but a bit smaller and without that satisfying heft of an original casting. Nice though and I will certainly be including this one in the ranks of my Russian army.

Clayton produced some figures himself to fill in the gaps in Marcus Hinton’s original range (I’ve marked these with a ‘*’). Notable amongst these are the flag-bearer and drummer figures. These figures are pretty crude sculpts and I’m not quite sure what Mr Hinton would have made of them.

These command figures are Clayton additions but are rather chunky and crude castings. I think I would prefer to convert one of the officer figures as a flag-bearer. However it's interesting to see these.

I already have some marching Pavlov’s waiting in my lead pile but having these new castings will give me the option to form a second unit of charging figures or possibly one of mixed poses. Of course at the moment I’m supposed to be concentrating on my French forces but those miter grenadier caps do look enticing!

Friday 25 October 2013

Old Guard update

A grand total of seven figures completed in six weeks – not very impressive (but I did also paint that Zulu). At this rate I won’t have the unit finished before Christmas which was the goal I had in the back of my mind.

To chivvy myself along I have stripped and undercoated another batch of figures in the pretence of running some sort of production line. The hope is that this will inspire me to paint more although when I’ve tried this in the past it has tended to have the opposite effect. My problem is that I am very much a plodder when it comes to painting and try as I might I just cannot paint in batches of figures bigger than three.

Things may take a turn for the worse as I am committed to painting three divisions of 1/300th scale ACW figures for use in an upcoming campaign that will run on my other blog Brother Against Brother. Of course these tiny chaps are much quicker to paint than the Hinton Hunt's so I’m hoping production won’t be affected too badly.

Sunday 20 October 2013

Roy's Ruskies

This is a photo that never made it into my battle report on the game I played with Roy back in July (click here). It shows the superb group of mounted officers Roy produced especially for the game (in my rules each infantry and cavalry unit needs a figure to represent the colonel).

Although not all the figures and horses are Hinton Hunt the eagle eyed amongst you will spot some very clever conversions of HH personality figures.

My favourite is the guy in the helmet with telescope (centre of photo) which I guess is converted from RN.85 Russian General – see how many others you can spot (sorry no prize)…

Update from Roy - this is the picture he used as the inspiration for his splendid Hussar!

Monday 7 October 2013

Grumbler standard bearer – Update

Thanks to everyone who commented on the last post and in particular to Tony who sent me this photo of a genuine Hinton Hunt Old Guard standard bearer he recruited into the ranks of King Joseph’s Royal Guard.

My faith in Marcus Hinton’s work is restored because this chap looks to be a far superior bit of sculpting to the figure I have just painted.

I’ve come around to thinking that the figure I have is possibly a Der Kreigspieler offering as Simon commented that he has an original Hinton Hunt casting and a Clayton one and they are identical.

Does anybody know for sure?

Sunday 6 October 2013

Grumbler Command

I finished the command group figures for the 2nd Grenadiers of the Old Guard a couple of weeks ago and thought it was time that I got around to posting them.

The officer is FN/27 Officer (marching), a nice solid little figure and a genuine vintage Hinton Hunt casting to boot.

The drummer is FN/25 Old Guard Drummer, this figure wasn’t listed in my Hinton Hunt catalogue circa 1974 but does appear on ‘Additions Sheet III’. A bit weedy looking – would they have had drummer boys in the Old Guard or men? Actually, come to think of it this one is sporting a moustache!

The standard bearer is FN/24 Old Guard Standard Bearer, this figure is also listed on the later additions sheet. A bit of a disappointing figure and hard to believe this was actually sculpted by Marcus Hinton (I suspect not). The figure is almost flat in profile and the left arm holding the flag is so long that it makes him resemble Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. I included this figure for completeness but my preferred option would have been to convert a charging officer figure if I’d had enough of them.

Monday 23 September 2013

The Washing of the Zulu

Having said he was relatively easy to paint and having looked at the figure again, I realised that in fact I wasn’t very happy with my paint job. The big problem is that my block painting technique doesn’t lend itself well to large areas of the same colour – in this case flesh.

So I applied another coat of Foundry 6A Dusky Flesh and then applied a wash of 47B Leather and Metal Brown Wash to give the flesh areas a bit more definition (thanks for the idea Don). It doesn’t show up well to the camera but looks much better in the flesh, so to speak.

I also repainted the shield front because I felt I could do a bit better. All in all I’m much happier with the final result – just need another 99 figures and I’ll have a decent sized Impi!

Sunday 22 September 2013


Not thousands of ‘em, I have half a dozen due to a recent impulse foray on eBay. The reason for this diversion is that as a teenager I had visions of buying several hundred Hinton Hunt Zulus in order to wargame Rorke’s Drift. Like many kids growing up in the 60’s I was influenced by the famous film and can remember going to Hounslow Odeon to see it when it first came out.

I never did buy any Zulus back then but I thought it would be nice to take a proper look at some now. This figure is listed in the Hinton Hunt Catalogue as a “Warrior of a Headring Regiment” ZWZ6 Zulu, running with stabbing spear at the ready.

The figure is a pretty basic sculpt and was relatively easy to paint compared to Napoleonic types. Individually I’m not all that impressed with this one but I would think that a whole massed Impi would be passable on the wargame table.

Friday 20 September 2013

Guest Appearance #2

I always enjoy seeing pictures of figures from the collections of other Hinton Hunt fans. For a start it shows me that I’m not the only one with affection for these little 20mm fellows but it’s also nice to see different painting styles and unit organisations etc. The following pictures were sent to me recently by Ken and show some of his Austrian and French troops on parade.

Austrian troops on the march - AN/7 Musketeer, marching and on the right, AN/27 Hungarian musketeer, marching. The General out front is one of my all time Hinton Hunt favourites - AN/102 Austrian General (mounted) in cocked hat, reading map.

Austrian hussars (AN/81) - a stirring sight and a great photo too, you can almost hear the hooves thundering!

FN/359 General Lasalle leading some beautifully painted French hussars. Ken's infantry units are 16 figures strong which works well for French battalions.

The King of Naples (FN/351) in front of an impressive array of Cuirassiers. There's just something about Currasiers when they're massed like that - I must paint some myself!

My thanks to Ken for sharing his troops with us.

Thursday 12 September 2013

First Grumbler

This is my ‘test’ figure for the firing pose unit of French Old Guard Grenadiers that I will be painting to represent the 2nd Regiment of Grenadiers.

The figure is listed in the Hinton Hunt catalogue as a Grenadier of the Old Guard 1804/15 in Guard Bearskin, long tailed coat, waistcoat, knee breeches and tall gaiters – FN/23 Grenadier (firing). In my opinion this is one of the best examples of Marcus Hinton’s work and was a pleasure to paint.

I’m also making good progress with the command group of figures for this unit but next I will have to knuckle down to the more tedious task of painting the remaining 20 identical figures – not that I’m grumbling.

Monday 9 September 2013

Additions to the ranks

On Saturday I was fortunate enough to receive a little package in the post from Steve – this was exciting stuff as I was pretty sure there’d be some Hinton Hunt figures inside but I had no idea what they would be.

So here they are, from left to right: 1) FN/28 Old Guard Grenadier Sergeant (marching), 2) a wonderful conversion of a French officer (not sure which original model was used), 3) FN/61 Old Guard Chasseur Officer (charging), 4) RC/6 Crimean War Russian Officer in spiked helmet and long great-coat (marching).

The three French figures will all be assigned to one of my Old Guard battalions whilst the Crimean War Russian officer will be set to work drilling my Crimean War Russian private.

Sunday 1 September 2013

Super Trouper

Well I finally waved the Swedes goodbye on Friday and in their place in part-exchange arrived these pristine castings of FN308 Eclaireur Lancer of the Guard (on horse FNH/3). The figures are all vintage ones with flash intact that have never been painted before – a real treat.

Now I have to confess that until these lads turned up I had thought that an Eclaireur was a pastry filled with cream. For some reason the existence of these units of Imperial Guard cavalry had passed me by. A little bit of quick research revealed that they were formed after the campaign in Russia to counter the effect of Cossacks and to act as scouts/skirmishers for the Guard cavalry.

In practice the Regiments of Eclaireurs were split up and assigned to the various other Guard units. In my army a squadron of them will eventually be combined with my Polish Lancers and Horse Grenadiers to form a composite Guard cavalry unit.

PS - in case you missed it we've just started a new ACW game over on Brother Against Brother.

Sunday 25 August 2013

A plan at last

The conventional way to collect a wargame army is to first plan out what you want in the way of unit types and number of troops and then buy the figures and paint them. In this project I haven’t been able to do that simply because of the random way in which I have been forced to acquire figures due to their limited availability and varying cost.

Up until now this has not really been a problem to me as the ‘old school’ element of the project has meant I haven’t been worried about bizarre OOB’s and strange alliances (Swedes with French etc). However, at the last game I played with Roy, I realised that having British troops allied to the French was possibly going a step too far.

As a result of this I have decided to focus on finishing off my French army and to this end have decided that it will be comprised as follows:

5 x units Line Infantry
2 x units Guard Infantry
6 x companies of Skirmishers (36 figures)
3 x Foot Batteries (including 1 Guard)
1 x unit Line Light Cavalry
1 x unit Line Heavy Cavalry
1 x unit Guard Cavalry
1 x Horse Artillery Battery (Guard)

This is the maximum in the way of figures I feel is practicable for one player to command in a single playing session without running out of time or space to play on my 8’ x 4’ table.

Still to paint are:

2 x units Guard Infantry (48 figures)
2 x squadrons Guard Cavalry (12 figures)
1 x squadron Line Light Cavalry (6 figures)
1 x Foot Battery (4 figures)

That’s the plan then…

Friday 23 August 2013

A neat coincidence

By complete and utter coincidence these chaps dropped through the letter box yesterday just a few hours after I put up my previous blog-post. Amazingly they are the same figures I was just waffling on about (FN24 Guard Standard Bearer and FN25 Guard Drummer). This means I now have enough command figures to complete both of my Old Guard units.

The figures were very kindly sent to me by Don from the US and he originally posted them to me nearly two months ago however due to an address hiccup they have become very well travelled having crossed the pond three times before finally arriving with me. I had no idea what was in the package before I opened it – talk about good timing!

Marcus Hinton gave his line flag-bearer figure (here) a flag based on that of the 45th Line Regiment with the correct battle-honours engraved on it. If you zoom in on this picture you will see from Don’s stunning brush work that the lettering on the flag is exactly the same. Presumably Marcus decided to use the original master rather than inscribe a new one – fair enough as I doubt if he ever considered that someone as nerdy as me would be scrutinising his work so closely some 45 years later.

The figures will eventually be stripped and repainted (although I won’t be able to get that lettering to the same standard as Don’s) and given the honour of being assigned to the 1st Grenadiers of the Guard.

Thursday 22 August 2013

Stopping the rot

These are, I hope, two command figures for the 2nd Regiment of Grenadiers of The Guard. I say ‘hope’ because the drummer and flag-bearer are both suffering quite a bit from lead rot. This is an occupational hazard when trying to create a wargames army with figures that are sometimes up to 50 years old.

Now I am no chemist (ungraded at ‘A’ level – quite a feat!) and I know we’ve touched on this topic before on this blog but, as far as I can make out, lead rot is an oxidizing process possibly helped along in this case by the figures being dunked in chlorine to remove the old paint. Mostly the metal just looks a bit tarnished but in places there are deposits of a white powdery substance.

In the past my remedy has been to brush off the powder as much as possible and then basically ignore the problem and apply a black enamel paint undercoat as usual thinking that once the figure is sealed it will stop any further oxidization. However, this kind of thinking (rather than taking a scientific approach) may be just the reason that I got that ‘ungraded’ result, so do any of you boffins out there have any other suggestions?

Saturday 17 August 2013

General Cambronne

Cambronne’s military career began in 1792 and he fought his way through the entire Revolutionary War as well as the Napoleonic Wars. He took part in many campaigns including the ill-fated French expedition to Ireland in 1796, the Peninsular War, the invasion of Russia and the battles of 1813-14. He was wounded at Waterloo but survived and married his English nurse – he died in 1842.

Tradition has it that when called upon to surrender at Waterloo (whilst commanding the remnants of the Old Guard) he replied ‘The Guard will die, but will not yield’ but was then wounded in the head and taken prisoner. In Les Miserables, Victor Hugo attributed Cambronne with a more colourful response although Cambronne himself said his actual words were ‘Buggers like us never surrender’.

This is FN367 GENERAL CAMBRONNE, in General’s uniform and cocked hat on foot, with drawn sword and waving arm. The figure is a genuine vintage casting of the only foot figure to be included in the Hinton Hunt personality figure range.

Note: I've tried to tone down the 'Mr Punch' look but the size of the nose on this casting has made that quite difficult.

Saturday 10 August 2013

9th legere - Finished

Looking back through my previous posts I see that I started work on painting the 9th legere in December 2012. Even by my standards this is very slow progress but I can now confirm that the unit is finally finished, based and ready for action.

 The Emperor presents the 9th legere with their eagle.

 Marshal Lannes puts the 9th through some drill - first battle line...

 ...then column of attack

 ...and finally column of march.

This leaves the painting desk free to start work on the Old Guard grenadiers. I have two units of 24 figures to do and being realistic they will probably take me a year to complete. With any luck though I’ll have at least one unit ready the next time those Russians put in an appearance.

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Goodbye Mr Punch

This is FN367 GENERAL CAMBRONNE, in General’s uniform and cocked hat on foot, with drawn sword and waving arm who last made an appearance on this blog here back in 2008.

 General Cambronne sporting Tony's touched-up paint work that covered up the Mr Punch look.

I acquired this figure from Tony who told me that he bought it ready-painted direct from Hinton Hunt back in the 70’s. When it arrived he was very disappointed with the standard of the paint job saying that the face of the figure was more reminiscent of Mr Punch than that of the famous French General Cambronne. In fact he was so disappointed that he ended up pretty much repainting it. Hinton Hunt Figures offered all their 20mm range for sale ready-painted and as a twelve-year-old I remember wishing I was rich enough to buy a whole army of them. However, at 88p (equivalent to £9.82 now) for infantry figures and £1.76 (equivalent to £19.69 now) for cavalry figures this had to remain a pipe dream so I was quite pleased in a way to find out that I hadn’t really missed out on much.

 No, no... not the bleach... merde!

Anyway, the time has finally come for Mr Punch to be consigned to the jar of bleach to have his old paint removed as I thought it fitting to paint him first before moving onto my first unit of Old Guard grenadiers – and not before time I hear you say.

Sunday 4 August 2013

Homes fit for Swedes

No, this is not a plug for IKEA this is an attempt to find suitable caring homes for the hundred-and-fifty or so 20mm Swedes I have packed away at the very bottom of the lead pile. Now I’ll make the point right away that these are NOT genuine Hinton Hunt castings they are figures based very closely on Hinton Hunt SW4 Swedish private charging & SW7 Swedish private marching and were produced in the US by an unknown maker – probably in the 70’s or 80’s.

I bought them rather naively in a job lot about six years ago (at the start of this project) in the hope that they would contain at least some genuine figures but sadly this was not the case. I did refurbish three units in an attempt to convince Mrs S I was thrilled to have spent our cash on them but lost enthusiasm to do any more (well, how many Swedes do you need?).

The castings I have available are good and flash free and have a very basic faded paint job (as pictured). Some of the figures were ‘converted’ to Jagers by the original owner who cut off their bayonets. The annoying thing about them to a purist like me is that the bases are overly thick being about 3mm which makes them look big stood next to their genuine brethren (Roy has suggested that I file the bases down but life is too short). Having said that, the figures that I refurbished have done surprisingly well in action (even though I usually rate them as ‘C’ grade) – click here to see what I mean.

The un-refurbished figures wanting a new home are:
39 x Charging (all with bayonet)
67 x Marching (all with bayonet but some are a bit bent)
49 x Marching (no bayonet)
+ various officers and flag-bearers (poor castings)

For the full Swede story click here.


Friday 2 August 2013

The Eagle of the 9th

No, I haven't come across a whole load of Hinton Hunt Romans (although wouldn't that be nice?) I am referring instead to my completed Eagle-bearer for the 9th legere. This is the third one of these figures that I have painted for this project (there is a fourth one that Matt did for my Swiss for which I am eternally grateful) and I noticed whilst tackling this one that my eyesight is definitely deteriorating because I found it a bit of a struggle painting on the battle honours.

Marcus Hinton went to all the trouble of inscribing the honours Austerlitz, Friedland, Essling, Jena and Wagram on the flag of this model and I have faithfully tried to pick out the lettering each time I’ve painted one. While peering through my specs and magnifying glass and trying to apply gold paint with a shaky hand, I was reminded of the character Alfred E Neuman from MAD magazine in the 60’s and his line “anyone crazy enough to read this is crazy enough to inscribe the words 'What me worry' on the head of a pin”.

The figure is FN4 Colour bearer charging. Click on the image to zoom in and see the lettering on the flag!

Thursday 18 July 2013

The Russian are Coming! (part 3)

While the cavalry battle was in full swing on the western flank the Emperor had been advancing in earnest against the Russian right flank. The 45th ligne and the 4th Swiss were leading followed closely by the 8th Polish regiment. Behind them in support came the columns of the combined grenadier battalion and the Austrian 51st Gabriel Spleny regiment. This whole force was screened by clouds of French skirmishers. The Russians meanwhile stayed rooted to the spot preferring to let the French take the initiative.

The view from behind the Russian lines (left centre) at the start of turn 4. French columns are advancing past the churchyard in the distance whilst Prussian Jagers take pot shots at the Russian gunners (foreground).

The Swiss quickly took possession of the churchyard where they deployed along the hedge gaining one vital victory point in the process (each of the major terrain features on the table was worth one VP to whoever occupied them). Meanwhile the French skirmishers were beginning to make their presence felt as they came within range of the Russian gunners and infantry.

The 4th Swiss infantry regiment have occupied the churchyard while the 8th Polish regiment continue to advance and start to take casualties.

The Swiss peek over the churchyard hedge hoping that it will protect them from the Russian guns on the other side!

Soon the French columns started to come under canister fire from the two Russian batteries opposite the churchyard. The men marched determinedly on into this storm of iron with the 8th Polish infantry taking the brunt of their fire losing many casualties including the brave Prince Poniatowski.

The 45th ligne advance in column on the extreme left of the French army covered by skirmishers from the elite 10th legere.

A solid wall of Russians await the advancing French - unfortunately we never got to find out what would have happened if the two lines met.

By the end of turn 6 the French attack was about to close on the Russian line whilst on the opposite flank the Russian Lancers were now bearing down on the French guns and infantry forcing two battalions into square. The battle still hung in the balance but we had run out of playing time. A quick count of VP’s yielded 3 for the French and 2 for the Russians – a technical (but not very convincing) victory for the Emperor.

Russian lancers start to roll up the French right flank by taking out the Austrian field artillery. Behind them the British Guards have been forced into square.

 Stapleton-Cotton leads the combined Hussar squadrons forward against the Russian right flank.

My thanks to Roy for a very enjoyable game and also for going to so much trouble to rebased his Russian army specifically for play with my Muskets & Marshals rules. It was great to have so many nicely painted Hinton Hunt figures on the table - in excess of 600 - something that may not have been seen for quite a few years!

The table at the end of turn 6 - game over. Click on the image to zoom in and take a close look!

As a result of the game I have made a few tiny rule tweaks to Muskets & Marshals – the full rules are available for download here.

Saturday 13 July 2013

The Russian are Coming! (part 2)

By the start of turn 3 Roy was beginning to develop his flanking attack on my right by moving three cavalry units out past the West Woods in line abreast. This cavalry force was closely supported by several infantry battalions moving up behind in column of march. Napoleon reacted to the Russian move by ordering Murat and Ponsonby to extend to the right to oppose the enemy cavalry.

The initial dispositions on the 'French' right. The Naval battalion and Guards infantry are in line beside Western Hill. Behind them the massed ranks of Ponsonby's Union brigade and Murat's French light cavalry.

Murat moved off first with the French light cavalry followed by Ponsonby and the heavies of the Union brigade. Meanwhile Mercer’s RHA battery moved onto the Western Hill and unlimbered ready to open fire on the Russian horsemen as they approached. The Emperor was quietly confident that his forces would stop and repel the Russians.

The cavalry move out to the flank. The Union brigade present a splendid sight as they pass by with the Greys to the fore. The Russian cavalry are just visible in the distance.

The Russian cavalry prepare to charge (Just to reassure you - these are genuine shots taken during the game, the backdrop was inserted later by Dave using some digital wizardry!).

At the start of turn 5, with both cavalry lines fully deployed, Roy ordered all three of his units to charge. I had taken the precaution of ordering my own cavalry to counter-charge but as Roy had declared his charge first it was up to me to take the first morale test. No problem I thought, unless one of my units rolled a 2 on an average die and became disordered – not very likely. I then proceeded to roll two 2’s – doh! – both my cavalry units were now disordered and therefore unable to counter-charge putting them at a considerable disadvantage in the following melee.

The Russian cavalry move in for the kill. The figures nearest the camera are RN42 Russian Lancer (mounted) charging. Roy has replaced the cast-on 'tree trunk' lances with wire ones - they look superb!

The jubilant Russian Cuirrassiers and Chasseurs now ploughed into my line where thanks to some more duff dice rolling coupled with some nice modifiers, they succeeded in routing both my units including the “A” rated Union brigade – the shame of it!

Not a pretty sight - my cavalry in full rout...

Meanwhile Roy’s lancers had conducted a neat right-wheel and charged straight for the mouths of Mercer’s guns. The British gunners got off a round of canister at close range that took out 5 of their number forcing a morale test, surely this time the dice would fall favourably for the Emperor?

 The Russian Lancers in amongst Mercer's battery - definitely not cricket.

Sadly not – the Russian troopers were soon in amongst the guns and limbers running Mercer’s poor men through with their lances in a most unsporting manner. The French right flank was wide open.

To be continued.