Wednesday 31 December 2014

Highland Sergeant

This is BN/31 Highland Sergeant (charging), another part of my rather large command figure contingent for the Black Watch.

I’m working on the flag-bearers now which will take me to the halfway point of the unit. With a bit of luck I will have the whole battalion finished in a month or two.

If you haven’t seen it yet you should check out the Hinton Spieler blog from Matthew in New Zealand. Some lovely Hinton Hunt figures rejuvenated with some equally lovely brushwork!

Saturday 13 December 2014

One piper piping…

Not quite the twelve days of Christmas but it’s a start I guess. This is a vintage Hinton Hunt casting of BN/38 Piper (playing bag-pipes).

I read in my Blandford (Uniforms of the Napoleonic Wars) that the Black Watch pipers had kilts with ‘Royal Stuart’ tartan rather than the ‘Government tartan’ of the other ranks so I’ve tried to represent that here. I really enjoyed painting this one and spent way too much time on him but I’m quite happy with the result.

This will probably be my last post until after the festive season so “Happy present giving day” (yes, I really did see this politically correct but sad seasonal greeting on TV yesterday) and a Happy New Year to you all!

Sunday 7 December 2014

Highlander update

I’ve just finished a further five figures to make up my first company of the Black Watch. Painting these figures is pretty time consuming the way I do it but they haven’t proved as tricky as I thought they might. I have another twelve of these to go plus the command figures.

Six down, eighteen to go...

To break things up a bit I’m allowing myself to paint the first group of command figures next including the piper. These figures are all vintage ones: BN/31 Sergeant (charging), BN/37 Officer (marching) and BN/38 Piper (playing bag-pipes).

 Now who doesn't love to paint a piper?

Finally, thanks to Jack, I now have two DK versions of the charging officer figure and I will be converting these for use as standard bearers. Jack also sent me a DK highlander in a ‘high-porte’ position. This is an original DK model I believe as there is nothing like it in the Hinton Hunt range – a superb little figure.

The two DK officers and the 'high-porte' figure - nice!

Thursday 27 November 2014

Guest Appearance #4

Continuing with the Scottish theme Don sent me some photos of his superb Hinton Hunt highlanders this week. He says that these were all painted “long ago, back when I had more patience and sanity”. I think painting 3 kilted regiments would push the best of us over the edge but I love the effect Don has achieved here distinguishing the different tartans.

The 42nd Black Watch. The officer figure is BN30 - I have one of these, a lovely figure.

The 92nd Gordons comprised of BN33 Highland Private (charging).

The 79th Camerons (I think) - love the tartan on these lads!

The 71st Highland Light Infantry. Don has used British light infantry figures BN93, BN96, BN90 and the rifles bugler BN20 to represent this splendid unit.

The command stand features General Picton BN253, a Sergeant BN31 and a beautifully painted DK regimental flag!

Great stuff and a real encouragement to get me working on my own version of the 42nd.

Saturday 22 November 2014

Where’s your troosers?

Although I’m half Scottish I’ve only even worn a kilt once and that was at my daughter’s wedding last year. It was a bit of a strange experience but I have to say that I found it surprisingly comfortable and the sporran came in very handy for holding my mobile phone. I’ll probably never wear one again but I’m glad I did it.

 Luckily for all my nobbly knees are just hidden from view.

During the Napoleonic wars the Highland regiments didn’t wear the sporran on campaign but then again they didn’t have mobile phones. The photo below shows my test figure for the 42nd Black Watch listed in the Hinton Hunt catalogue as BN/36 Highland Private (marching). I was surprised to find that over half of the figures I have assigned to this unit are vintage ones with the remainder being Clayton castings of very good quality.

 It's a broad bricht moonlit nicht tonich the noo!

I followed the Hinton Hunt painting instructions on this one as Marcus Hinton even included detailed instructions for the tartan. I think the effect is pretty good and it was less of a fiddle to paint than I had feared.

 A view of a Highlander that no Frenchman is likely to see (unless the pub has just opened)

I’m hoping to get on and get a few more of the rank and file done before Christmas but I have a bit of a problem with the command figures as Hinton Hunt didn’t include any standard bearers in the range. I only have one officer figure suitable for conversion so I’m considering using a couple of converted charging figures instead.

Sunday 16 November 2014

Naumarkisches Dragoons

Here they are varnished and based the latest addition to the Prussian order of battle, a six figure squadron of the 6th Naumarkisches Dragoons. The figure used is PN.81 Prussian Dragoon (mounted) charging.

I had to paint approximately 125 white buttons in total on these lads and it nearly drove me crazy in the process. However, I seem to have survived it and I must say I’m pretty pleased with the result.

The bases are painted with Humbrol Matt 80 Grass Green. I’ve had a lot of trouble of late with this paint as it was drying streaky with yellow patches so I bought some new pots direct from Humbrol because various bloggers had mentioned that they are now produced in the UK to a new formula. The new paint does dry to a consistent colour which is good but the coverage is poor (requiring 4 coats) and the paint dried to a satin finish not matt! A coat of Testors Dullcote eventually did the trick.

I’ll be leaving the Prussians for a while now to start work on the Black Watch. I’m expecting the Highlanders to be a bit tricky to paint so we’ll have to see just how quickly I can get them done – by the anniversary of Waterloo I hope.

Thursday 6 November 2014

The Votes are in

I decided to close the poll early basically because I have already prepared and undercoated the first half-dozen Highlanders – this is the final result:

Surprisingly little support for the Old Guard but at least they got 1 vote!

Now I had said that my Highland unit would represent the 92nd Gordon’s but I remembered that I have a copy of the Hinton Hint painting instructions for BN32 to BN36 and Marcus produced these for the 42nd Black Watch. So Black Watch it will be and at least the blue facings will be easier to paint than yellow ones although I still have to tackle the dreaded tartan.

The original Hinton Hunt painting instruction sheet for the 42nd Black Watch.

The Prussian Dragoons are finished and just require varnishing and basing before they appear here then I’ll be ready to start on the 42nd. Thanks to all of you who took part in the poll or left comments.

Thursday 30 October 2014

Democracy in action

I’ve almost finished the squadron of Prussian Dragoons (all bar approximately 100 white buttons still to paint) and my thoughts are turning to what to start on next.

I was going to continue with the Prussian theme and tackle another infantry unit but then I started to wonder if I should work on some British or Allies to be ready for the Waterloo anniversary.

Then again some extra French would be nice just in case Roy shows up again with his Russians.

So as I’m not sure what to do next I thought I’d throw it open to the floor and conduct a poll (see opposite). Please enter your vote and feel free to leave any comments on this post in support of your choice. I can’t guarantee that I will observe the result (that would be taking democracy too far) but I promise I will at least consider your request!

I just realised that the voting options don't appear if you view the blog on a phone so here they are:

1. Highlanders (probably the 92nd)
2. Brunswickers (the easy-paint option!)
3. Old Guard Grenadiers (this would give me 2 Old Guard units)
4. French Curiassiers (the 2-piece castings)
5. French Guard Eclaireurs (these are lancers not cream cakes)

You can only pick one!

Sunday 12 October 2014

Prussian Review

With the Fusiliers now finished I thought it would be a good time to hold a review of the Hinton Hunt Prussian forces completed so far. In total there are 70 foot figures, 3 mounted Generals and 1 gun and limber, and rather unusually all these figures have been painted by me.

Gneisenau, Blucher and Bulow prepare to review the troops.

Here they come - the massed ranks of the Hinton Hunt Prussian Division!

The Silesian Landwehr bring up the rear behind the newly arrived West Prussian Fusiliers.

The Field Artillery - the Officer with spyglass and map (PN30) is one of my favourite castings.

The full Division.

There is still a way to go if I’m going to recreate the force of 200 or so figures I had back in the 1970s but I’m not really intending to go quite that far. However, I hope to add another 3 infantry units and a few squadrons of cavalry in the fullness of time.

You may have noticed that there are a few 15mm ACW troops lurking in the background of a couple of the photos above. This is because the table is currently being used for a re-fight of the Battle of McDowell – to take a proper look follow the link here to visit my Brother Against Brother blog.

Sunday 5 October 2014

West Prussian Fusiliers

I actually completed them a couple of weeks ago but it’s taken me this long to find the time to take photographs and write this post. Anyway here they are, the West Prussian Fusilier battalion comprised of 23 vintage Hinton Hunt figures plus 1 Clayton casting (the flag-bearer) completed in less than three months which as you know is lightning speed for me.

The unit is mainly comprised of PN.4 Private (firing).
The command figures are PN.1 Officer (charging) and PN.7 Officer (marching).

Also included are PN.6 Drummer (charging) and PN.5 Private (the figure cast with seperate musket that I have converted to a flag-bearer).

 This is how they would have looked back in 1972 if only I'd had a camera.

This is my fourth unit of Prussians after the Silesian Landwehr, Jagers and Foot Artillery battery and takes me a little further towards recreating my 1970s Hinton Hunt Prussian forces.

Sunday 7 September 2014

French Artillery

I never did get around to posting a picture of my last completed French artillery battery before they had to be rushed into action at the battle of The Great Redoubt. To make up for this I decided to hold a review of the entire French artillery arm overseen by Marshal Lannes.

The full Grand Battery deployed ready for action.

The Guard artillery - foot and horse.

The gun on the left is by Newline Designs, the one on the right is Hinton Hunt.

The two line batteries side by side.

This completes (yes I did say ‘completes’) the French artillery for my Hinton Hunt forces.

Friday 5 September 2014

WIP – Fusilier Command

I’m tantalisingly close to finishing the West Prussian fusilier battalion and only have to complete the command figures now and the whole 24-figure unit will be ready for varnishing and basing.

The flag-bearer figure is a conversion of PN.5 Private in an advancing position with separate musket for customer’s assembly. This is a handy figure to have as it lends itself well to conversions, there were similar figures produced for the French and British Hinton Hunt ranges.

I used this same figure pose to make flag-bearers for my old 1970s army but back then I had very limited modelling materials and know how. I used a straightened paper clip for the flagstaff with a hand painted paper flag sporting a Maltese cross (I had no references for proper Prussian flags!). This was in the days before Super Glue so I stuck the flagstaff to the figure using Bostick with the result that the flags were continually coming adrift.

This updated version has a flagstaff that is firmly attached with green stuff and super glue. It’s a bit over sized (but that was a common feature of 60s and 70s wargame armies) and will be receiving a Revo flag once the figure has been varnished.

Thursday 28 August 2014

Prussian Dragoon

This is the completed test figure for the proposed squadron of Prussian dragoons PN.81 Prussian Dragoon (mounted) charging.

A trooper of the 6th Naumarkisches Dragoons (as per the Hinton Hunt painting instruction sheet).

I know I’ve said it before, but these one-piece Hinton Hunt cavalry figures can be very tricky to paint so I find doing a test figure before starting work on a whole batch of them is a good idea. Otherwise if I change my mind about something half way through (and I always do) I end up doing a lot of repainting.

 Painting the buttons on the trousers was a bit of a chore but they look fine viewed from a distance.

I never had any of these figures in my original 1970s army but I always fancied the idea of including Dragoons with their sky blue coats to break up the sombre look of the massed ranks of Prussian infantry.

Thursday 21 August 2014

Humbrol archaeology

This week I started work on a test figure for a squadron of Prussian Dragoons and remembered that I had recently rediscovered a pot of Humbrol MC12 Prussian Dragoon Blue from the long defunct Authentic Colour range. I still have quite a few old Humbrol paints kept in air-tight plastic containers and this one must be about the oldest in my possession.

Like a find on a Time Team special my pot of Prussian Dragoon Blue waiting for the lid to be gently prised off by the hand of Phil Harding – or me in this case.

To the best of my recollection I bought it in 1974 along with a pot of Polish Crimson and British Rifle Green from the model shop in Bury St Edmunds (now also defunct). I can’t remember exactly why I bought them as I never had any Prussian dragoons, Polish troops or British riflemen in my armies at the time. It was probably simply because when I started painting toy soldiers in the late 60’s the Humbrol range was very limited (there wasn’t even a flesh tone) and I must have been excited to finally lay my hands on some ‘proper’ Napoleonic colours.

Not really surprising that the paint had turned to goo after 40 years – I hope this hasn’t happened to my 1974 Chateauneuf-du-Pape!

Anyway, as you can see, 40 years has proved to be just a little too long for this particular pot and the paint has congealed into a very smelly green sludge. Sad, but not totally unexpected, so I’ll be using Foundry Tomb Blue 23A instead.

Thursday 14 August 2014

The personal touch

I was sorting through some bits and pieces when I came across this letter from Hinton Hunt Figures Marketing Ltd. It was enclosed with one of the orders of figures I received in the early seventies, probably 1973 or 1974. I can’t make out the signatures but I’m thinking that the bottom one may be by Marcus Hinton himself (click on the image to zoom in).

It seems likely that the letter came with the last order I made which may be why I stuck it inside my catalogue. That order was for French figures as by that time I had completed my Prussian army. As I recall I ordered several units of line grenadiers in the advancing pose, some guard horse artillery and possibly some one-piece cuirassiers.

The orders always arrived in a padded Jiffy bag with the figures wrapped together in newspaper or tissue paper. This wasn’t the safest way to pack such delicate items (Minifigs for instance came packed in sawdust in a stout cardboard box) and there were always casualties long before the figures reached the wargame table. I soon got wise to this and ordered a few extra figures to allow for breakages.

I never painted those French figures and they went the same way as the Prussians.

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Blue is the new black

So I’m back on track with the Prussians after my little Austrian interlude and as you can see I’m not doing too badly by my standards. I’ve almost finished 20 of the fusiliers and then have only 4 command figures to paint and I’ll have the whole lot completed.

Now there was a debate a few posts back about Prussian blue actually being Prussian black according to the film Waterloo but then that film also showed French infantry armed with 1890 Russian bolt action rifles so perhaps (much as I like it) it may not be the best source of historical information. I paint my own Prussians with Foundry Deep Blue 20A which is the same blue I also use for the French. Prussian blue may well be correct but at normal playing distance the figures become too dark for my liking.

Thursday 31 July 2014

Admiring Austrians (3)

Steve sent me an email with some really interesting info and photos of various Austrian figures in his collection. As it all seems very relevant to my last few posts I thought I’d share it here in full – the words in italics are Steve’s:

Re the Austrians, you are right, the Der Kriegspieler figures are very good, more or less the same height and stature as the Hinton ones, and very collectable now in their own right. 

I have attached a couple of photos, I think the first one, painted as a Hungarian Fusilier, is the figure you mention you have recently acquired, its Der Kriegspieler Austrian Line Battalion receiving, marked on the underside ‘93‘ (I think you have identified it as 89?). See note below regarding the base.

They paint up very nicely, I have found that generally the bases on the Der Krieg figures are very thin and benefit from mounting on 20 thou card, making them the same height as the HH figures !! The picture (below) really does show the compatability with Hinton AN4, Der Krieg 93 and Der Krieg 91 (I think).

I have also attached a photo of a couple of other Austrian figures for comparison, Der Kriegspieler 91 or 92? Austrian Infantry advancing, Alberken AN3 Fusilier advancing , wearing helmet, Alberken AN1 Line Grenadier on Guard, and Hinton original AN4 Fusilier and AN/12 Grenadier.

Finally !! regarding the Hinton / Der Kriegspieler size difference on the horse attached series, I find that if you carefully snip the Der Krieg horses front hoof from the base and gently bend the other front leg to straighten it slightly, it lifts the whole figure up quite a bit making it really compatible in height with its Hinton equivalent (again see photos of 2 DK figures , French Dragoon , before and after ‘ tweaking ‘ legs, tail, helmet etc).

So there you have it – the answer to my DK cavalry problem is tweaking and 20 thou card!

Sunday 27 July 2014

DK Austrian Grenadier

I just couldn’t resist painting up one of the DK Austrian grenadier figures. I decided to keep the paint job to a bare minimum because I feel that the figures don’t really deserve the level of attention I give to my Hinton Hunt vintage figures. That said I still found that I spent quite a bit of time fiddling around trying to get it to look right.

Following an email from Steve I checked the bases on these grenadier figures for the DK identification code and discovered that this one is actually 194/1 German grenadier receiving (this is an updated picture after a bit more fiddling!).

As an individual the result doesn’t stand up to close inspection but I think that a whole unit viewed from normal playing distance should look perfectly ok. At the moment though I need to put him to one side and carry on with the Prussian fusiliers – no further distractions!

Update: Further to the great debate on the colour of the bag on the back of the grenadiers cap Roy sent me this picture of some Austrian grenadiers having a chat.

The suggestion seems to be that the bag was ochre yellow not the facing colour - I guess I will have to repaint mine!

Saturday 26 July 2014

Hungry for Austrians

Now as you know I am supposed to be concentrating on building up my Prussian forces at the moment but you may have detected over the last few posts that I am developing an appetite for Austrians. This slippage has been aided and abetted by the arrival this week of a package from Jack in the US.

 There's nothing quite like receiving a package of toy soldiers!

The figures are mostly Der Kreigspieler but there are a fair few Clayton Hinton Hunts and also one or two vintage castings as well. My favourite amongst them are some DK figures in an advancing pose 89/1 Fusilier advancing and 97/1 Grenadier advancing. This is because, unusually for DK, they appear to be an original work rather than a clone of a Hinton Hunt casting as Marcus didn’t produce figures in this particular pose.

As far as I can make out this figure is Der Kreigspieler 97/1 Grenadier advancing.

 And this is the fusilier version 89/1 Fusilier advancing. I like this pose because they will be easy to base up without their bayonets projecting into the rank in front!

There are also some very handy command figures including a Clayton standard bearer and DK drummers for both fusiliers and grenadiers. The drummers will save me the trouble of making any further conversions as Hinton Hunt never produced any for their Austrian range.

This charging officer pose is one of my favourite Hinton Hunt (er, I think I mean 'Der Kreigspieler') creations.

DK drummers - hooray, no more conversions!

Jack also included a very nicely painted DK version of AN.77 Austrian Dragoon (mounted), charging. This is another example of a DK casting being almost as good as a Hinton Hunt one and certainly once painted and based these figures would be very hard to tell apart from vintage HH figures.

 DK Austrian dragoon - lovely paint job.

Thanks to Jack’s very generous supply of reinforcements (and allowing time for my ponderous painting output) I may eventually have enough troops available to turn any refight of Austerlitz into a famous victory for the Austrians!