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!

Thursday 24 July 2014

Admiring Austrians (2)

Steve sent me this picture of a unit of Hinton Hunt Austrians that he used to have in his collection. The figures are all of the elusive vintage persuasion except for a couple of conversions. They look great and whoever owns them now must be very pleased.

 These are mostly AN4 Austrian musketeer, charging with converted drummer, flag bearer and mounted officer - lovely work Steve!

As you know my own Austrian contingent is a bit on the thin side but yesterday I took delivery of a very exciting package of soldiers (of course all packages of toy soldiers are exciting). In it were 100 or so DK and Clayton unpainted Austrian infantry castings – they’ll be appearing here just as soon as I sort through them!

Thursday 17 July 2014

Two shades of Grey

When you’re a slow painter and you're trying to stay focused on finishing a single unit of figures what’s the best thing NOT to do? Possibly deciding to revisit some figures that you’ve already completely finished, varnished, based (and even used in battle) and re-painting something!

When I originally painted my Prussian Jagers I used a dark grey for the blanket roll and a mid-grey for their trousers (possibly dazzled by the array of paints in my Foundry collection) but I was never entirely happy with this as the overall effect, when combined with the green jackets, was a figure that looked too dark. So having recently consulted the Hinton Hunt painting instructions (on the Hinton Hunter) for the line infantry I saw that Marcus Hinton described the colour of the greatcoat as ‘medium light grey’. Well, as you know that’s good enough for me!

PN.28 Jager, firing - the one on the left is the revised version.

One of the great things about the Foundry range of paints is that if I change my mind again about the colour I believe there are another 48 shades to try.

Sunday 13 July 2014

Admiring Austrians

As a teenager I did briefly toy with the idea of collecting an Austrian army. It appealed for a couple of reasons - firstly it looked like they’d be easy to paint as even I could manage white all over (this is long before I had any ideas about lining in black). Secondly I was captivated by the story of Napoleon’s 1805 campaign and the surrender of General Mack at Ulm.

AN.85 Austrian Uhlan Lancer (mounted) charging. This dashing figure was painted by Don.

AN.73 Austrian Curiassier (mounted) charging. This figure has had his sword replaced with a pin which makes getting him out of the storage box a bit tricky.

It has to be said at this point that my entire military reference library in those days consisted of just two books (Montgomery’s History of Warfare and Lawford’s History of the British Army) and it’s from these limited resources that I gleaned all my information on the Napoleonic Wars. For some reason the episode at Ulm caught my imagination, although in retrospect it seems like a bad motivation for wanting to paint Austrians.

Napoleon accepts the surrender of the encircled Austrian forces at Ulm - I want an army that can surrender too!

AN.77 Austrian Dragoon (mounted) charging. Another of Don's works.

At the time I was painting my Prussians another budding wargamer at school painted up a unit of Hinchliffe Austrians. It was the first time that I had seen beautifully painted and shaded figures and it made me feel that my own output was quite inadequate (made worse by the fact he was in the year below). I think this well and truly put me off the idea of an Austrian army at the time.

 This is for the 'Archduke' - Page W.G.12 from the Hinton Hunt Catalogue.

However with the passing of time my attitude has mellowed and I do have a smattering of Austro-Hungarians in my current army including the 51st Gabriel Spleny regiment, my Tirolean Jagers, some Hussars and one artillery battery. Like the Prussians, the supply of genuine vintage figures has proved to be thin on the ground and although my infantry arm is small I have been lucky enough to assemble a decent cavalry contingent. I’m looking forward to working on the cavalry although I think that day is still a long way off.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

More Prussian perusing

Following my last post Steve kindly sent me some photos of his own Prussian Landwehr cavalry. He had a unit that was a mixture of Hinton Hunt and the DK version and confirmed that they are very hard to tell apart. This is good news for me as DK can be of variable size and quality but it means that the figures I have should fit nicely in the ranks
Steve's Landwehr lancers - the one on the left is DK, the one on the right is Hinton Hunt.

I’m not so sure about my Prussian Hussars though – I have a couple of Clayton castings of PN85 Prussian Hussar (mounted) charging that are pretty good quality but I’ve never been able to find any vintage figures. Recently Old John managed to find me some DK castings to make up the numbers to a full six figure squadron however, unlike the lancers, there is a bit of a size discrepancy with these.

PN85 Prussian Hussar - the Clayton HH is on the left, his kid brother DK version is on the right.

It may be that the size difference will be less pronounced when the figures are painted - well that's what I'm trying to tell myself.

Thursday 3 July 2014

Perusing Prussians

I spent many happy hours as a teenager thumbing through my copy of the Hinton Hunt Figures 20mm catalogue drawing up lists of potential purchases. It was necessary to buy a minimum of 100 figures at a time to get them at an affordable price so the lists tended to be quite long. In addition to my Napoleonic wish lists I also toyed with the idea of ECW (foiled when my school mates opted for Minifigs), ACW (rejected because the figure poses sounded limited) and even Norman Conquest (what an investment that would have been!). In the end I decided to stick with the Napoleonic Prussians that Dave and I had already started to collect – a rare example of restraint.

A well thumbed page of my original Hinton Hunt Figures catalogue - click the image to zoom in for the full 'anorak' experience.

Back then I only got to see the figures poses I actually bought as the catalogue wasn’t illustrated and Miniature Warfare magazine had just the occasional fuzzy black and white picture that might (or might not be) Hinton Hunt figures in action. Now though, with my second wargaming childhood, I have examples of most of them and those I’m missing I can at least get to see pictures of.

Der Kreigspieler 139 Landwehr Lancer - an almost perfect (and contemporary) copy of Hinton Hunt PN.39.

One example that I hadn’t seen before dropped through the letterbox this week (thanks to Don) namely PN.39 Landwehr Lancer Trooper (mounted) charging. I now have a 6 figure squadron of these (they are actually the Der Kreigspieler equivalent of Hinton Hunt but this is one of those occasions when DK is of a quality almost as good as HH) and the plan is to combine them with a squadron of HH Uhlans – but first those fusiliers!