Friday 29 December 2017

Let it Snow…

The weather outside is frightful (with 3 inches of snow and still falling thick and fast)
But the fire is so delightful (not lit yet but at least I’ve brought the wood in from the wood store)
And since I’ve no place to go (already been to Sainsbury’s)
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Our back garden - 3 inches of snow and still falling.

A good time to open up the painting desk and take a proper look at the two units of vintage Old Guard foot Chasseurs that Santa brought me. The marching figure is FN/67 Chasseur (marching) and the firing figure is FN/65 Chasseur (firing). It’s great to have these as they seem much harder to come by than the foot Grenadiers.

The Chasseurs differ from the Grenadiers in that the left foot
of the marching figure is forward (right foot Grenadiers) and
the firing figure is leaning forward (whereas the Grenadier is
more upright).
The mounted Colonel appears to be a conversion from the Blucher figure with a head graft from Dorsenne. If it snows for the next 12 weeks I might just get these painted.

Saturday 16 December 2017

Russian Parade

My Hinton Hunt Russian Grenadiers were paraded today to receive their colours at long last.

As there are no Russian Generals in my collection the duty of presenting the
colours fell to Marshal Blucher. "Here mein children take zis early
Christmas present!"
The regiment is proud as punch, they've only been waiting since 2006!
Off they go, drums beating and flag snapping in the wind. There'll be a few
miniature bottles of vodka consumed at the barracks tonight.

Thanks to Tzar Alexander and WM for making this possible.

Friday 15 December 2017

Young Guard Command

I’m on a bit of a roll because tonight I have completed my Young Guard Voltigeur command group by finishing off a marching officer FN/74 Young Guard Officer (marching). I’ve had this particular figure for many years, in fact I think he was included in one of the first batches of figures I acquired at the start of this project.

I guess that’s the fun bit of this unit done as I’ll have no option now but to move onto the rank and file next. Perhaps painting them one at a time is the way to go to stave off boredom although it would probably be quite wasteful of paint.

Four down twenty more to go.

Thursday 14 December 2017

Young Guard Flag Bearer

Although painting time is now officially over until after Christmas I just had to have a go at the Young Guard Flag Bearer. The figure used in the conversion is FN/70 Young Guard Officer (charging) and the amazing flag is the handiwork of Wellington Man.

I had to do another paint job conversion for the strap that holds up the flag (there must be a proper name for it) and I still need to do some touching up however I’m very pleased with the result. Of course Hinton Hunt never did produce either flag bearer or drummer for the Young Guard in common with several of their Napoleonic ranges and perhaps this was to encourage such conversions.

Three down, only twenty-one more to go.

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Young Guard Drummer - Take 2

Matt gently pointed out to me that my drummer was missing the shoulder strap that supports the drum. He was right of course and I was vaguely aware of this while I was painting him but not enough to engage my brain.

I have now corrected this and removed the levitating drum effect by adding a suitable strap by way of a paint conversion. Matt had even gone to the trouble of removing the cartridge box for added authenticity when he did the conversion so shame on me for my omission.

I also took the opportunity to repaint the drum hoops in a lighter blue which matches my other French drummers – consistency is everything.

Monday 11 December 2017

Young Guard Drummer

It’s amazing what things I can find to distract myself with when faced with a full 24 figure infantry unit to paint, even buying Christmas presents seems preferable. However I did manage to pull myself together enough to paint up the great little drummer conversion Matt did for me.

This has been converted from FN/75 Voltigeur Guard (charging). I’m not very talented in the conversion department so it was nice to have this difficult task carried out for me. Left to my own devices the unit would probably not have had a drummer at all.

Anyway that’s two out of the twenty-four done although they do of course still need to be varnished which should make the colours pop a bit. I doubt very much if we will see anymore finished this side of the Christmas festivities.

Sunday 3 December 2017

Allied light cavalry on parade

Stapleton-Cotton, Ponsonby and Uxbridge have been reviewing the recently expanded allied light cavalry contingent.

The 11th Light Dragoons
The Brunswick "Death's Head" Hussars
The entire brigade including Mercer's horse artillery
Stapleton-Cotton looking spiffing
If I'd had these figures in 1972 they might have looked like this

It was never part of my plan for this year (if I had a plan at all) to increase the size of the allied light cavalry force but sometimes things just happen.

Sunday 26 November 2017

Commands & Colours – Möckern

Yesterday we knocked the snow off our boots and convened at Goya’s house to play another Commands and Colours game; this time it was the Battle of Möckern, October 1813. For this scenario we used a standard board as we were only fighting the French left flank position. I played the French and Goya the Prussians, Tony acted as aide-de-camp and umpire.

The initial set-up - French on the left, Prussians on the right.
Mockern is the built up area in the distance covering a total
of 5 hexes. As you can see the troops were a bit thinner on the
ground than in our last battle Talavera.
These are some of my French forces preparing to defend
Mockern from the Prussian hordes. Possession of the town
gave a crucial 2 VPs to the holder.
Most of the Prussian were S-Range Minifigs from Goya's
collection. Goya had made herculean efforts to get the troops
ready for the game and very splendid they looked.
The game opened with an attack by the Prussians on this farm
forming part of the Mockern defences. A walled farm is a
tough nut to crack in C&CN so I was quietly confident I could
see off anything Goya could throw at me.
And he had quite a lot to throw - 22 units against my 14.
However quite a few of his units were Landwehr and
Reservists and his cavalry, although looking impressive,
were weak compared to my brave French troopers.
However, just like an England soccer game, we found
our defences shockingly penetrated within the first few
minutes of the game when a unit of Prussian Grenadiers
successfully stormed the farm.
I decided there was no real advantage in trying to re-take the
farm and withdrew the forces on my left to a safer position
behind the town.
The action now shifted towards the centre and right of the
battlefield. I didn't have very many troops in these sectors but
did manage to concentrate my artillery to oppose the Prussians
who were starting to creep forward.

Goya tried to silence my batteries with a manoeuvre that
looked suspiciously like something out of the Crimean war.
Those coins are 'iron will' tokens that Goya was forced to play
to keep his lancers from retreating!
Buoyed up by the excitement of seeing the Prussian lancers
broken on our gun line, the famous 15th Chasseurs charged
against a unit of Reservists. I fully expected to see the Prussian
 infantry flee but they rather unsportingly formed square.
No 'man of the match' award for the 15th this time around.

You may recognise these lads as my own 2nd East Prussian
Cuirassiers. Sadly they didn't get to do very much which was
a similar story to their last trip out at Vintage Leipzig in 2016.
These are some of the Prussian gunners I recently completed.
This battery did good work against my right flank and didn't
receive so much as a scratch in return.
I had some lucky dice rolls in this game and Goya had some
spectacularly bad ones which got me fairly easily to the point
where I had amassed 8 VPs (I needed 10 to win). In a bid for
victory I launched a sneaky attack up the left flank past the
farm - it almost worked.
The inevitable Prussian counter-attack resulted in an exciting
escapade for General Lagrange who eventually fell foul of
those lancers. However this little setback was not enough to
turn the tide of battle against me and in the end it was a 10-4
victory for the French.

It was another great day of wargaming (and talking toy soldiers) with a superb warming lunch served by Goya. This time however we gave the garden a miss as, being a soft southerner, zero degrees Celsius was a bit chilly for me although Goya and Tony would have been out there in their T-shirts and kilts given half a chance.

Thursday 23 November 2017

Old Young Guard

FN/77 Voltigeur Guard (running at the trail)
I spent many hours in my youth leafing through my Hinton Hunt catalogue (I didn’t get out much) but one page held a particular fascination for me, the very first one. This is the page that had all the listings for the Imperial Guard. I had heard of the Old Guard thanks to the film Waterloo but the Young Guard was a bit of a mystery as the only information I had was that written by Marcus Hinton:

"The Young Guard was formed to increase the numbers of Imperial Guard Regiments on which Napoleon greatly relied and also to eventually be recruited into the ranks of the Old Guard. The Young Guard wore corded shakos, short tailed coats, waistcoats, knee breeches and short gaiters. The Tirailleurs wore round pom-poms on their shakos and had pointed shoulder straps. The Voltigeurs had tall plumes in their shakos and wore fringed epaulettes on their shoulders."

In the end I was too baffled by it all to order any Guard figures and perhaps also back then I didn’t feel my painting ability would do justice to Napoleon’s finest. Since I started this project however I have wanted to paint up a unit of Young Guard but it has been a painfully slow process to collect enough vintage figures. Finally, thanks to Clive, I have managed to assemble enough castings for a unit of Voltigeurs and have been able to make a start.

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Russian Command

These are the really superb command figure conversions that Matt did for me together with one of his sublime Coke can flags (other soft drinks are available). I can’t tell you how pleased I am to finally have such splendid command figures for my unit of Russian Grenadiers. Marcus Hinton never produced flag-bearers or drummers for the Russian range although David Clayton did later produce some rather inferior ones so having these unique creations is great.

The Russian Grenadiers were the first unit I completed for this project over 11 years ago (before I even started this blog) and back then I never thought I would ever have more than a handful of Hinton Hunt figures. The collection has grown considerably since then but the Grenadiers are still the only completed Russian unit. Fortunately I’ve kept a notebook recording the colour shades used for this project so painting these to blend in with the earlier figures has been relatively easy.

My thanks to Matt for providing this senior regiment with its colours at long last!

Friday 17 November 2017

Dolly the Light Dragoon

It’s all Tony’s fault that I painted these six figures as, if he hadn’t kindly donated the Brunswick Hussars to me, I wouldn’t have had the problem of having half a unit of Light Dragoons spare. Having said that though I’m really pleased to have got to grips with these castings which otherwise may never have seen the wet end of a paint brush.

Hinton Hunt BN50 British Light Dragoon "wearing bell top
shako and French style blue coat with coloured facings".

The reason I may never have painted them is that all but one of them are reproduction castings and I have been trying to concentrate on working through my genuine vintage Hinton Hunt stash in line with the title of this blog. The reproductions were produced a couple of years ago to fill a big gap in my British line of battle namely my complete lack of light cavalry.

Ok quiz time! Which is Dolly and which are the sheep?

When I came to sort the figures out to complete the unit I found that I only had five useable castings so it seemed like the right thing to do to use the original vintage casting they were cloned from to complete the line up. Actually it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between the original and his children and I’m happy with the final result although of course this lot will never qualify to be more than ‘B’ grade in my rules due to their pedigree.

Sunday 12 November 2017

Home renovations

Rather predictably (for anyone who knows me) I changed my mind about the building bases I completed a few weeks ago. The plain green bases just weren’t working for me so out came the brown paint and flock, lots of flock.

My original idea was to go for an old school look rather than a more mainstream effect however because I wargame on flocked terrain tiles the bright green bases just stood out too much. I’m happier with the way they look now being somewhat more scenic but not too much so.

This has been a pleasant distraction from finishing the British light dragoons but hopefully I’ll have those done by the end of the week.

Wednesday 8 November 2017

Light Dragoon Trumpeter

Or is it a bugle? I have no idea but whatever it is my completed and painted conversion for the 11th Light Dragoons is holding it.

I’ve said it before that I find Hinton Hunt one-piece cavalry castings can be tricky to paint and they’re certainly not everyone’s cup of tea aesthetically. The later two-piece castings are less chunky and perhaps more pleasing to the eye. However, I like the challenge these older figures present and I’m quite happy with the way this one turned out.

The first half of this unit was painted by Matt G a couple of years ago before I managed to get hold of a copy of the Hinton Hunt painting instructions (thanks Clive) otherwise I would have chosen them to represent the 12th regiment as specified. One thing I have noted is that there is a lot more uniform detail mentioned in the instructions than I could ever hope to paint (or for that matter find) on the figure. This may stem from the fact that Marcus Hinton was an expert on Napoleonic uniforms and perhaps some of the detail just never made it onto the figures e.g. the shabraque “yellow crown above G.R. with XII below and L.D. beneath” – hmm, I think a blob will do!

Thursday 2 November 2017

Prussian artillery – done

I finally have one part of this project which I can categorically say is completed – the Prussian artillery. I know it’s definitely done as I have used all bar two of the Prussian artillerymen in the lead pile. These extra figures and guns bring the total to four batteries which is the maximum I will need for my projected Prussian army.

The figures are mostly Clayton ones with a few vintage and
DK's as well. The limber and horses are vintage Hinton
Hunt, guns and howizter are by Newline Designs.

The figures used are mostly Clayton castings with one or two vintage figures and a couple of DKs thrown in for good measure. Interestingly there are virtually no differences between the three manufacturers output although one or two of the Clayton’s had miscast bases which had to be made good before painting.

Image taken from a 1971 issue of Miniature Warfare - the
original wargame magazine from the 60s and 70s. Reproduced
here without permission but hopefully John Tunstill won't mind.

For a touch of nostalgia I have tried to recreate a photo from a 1971 (annoyingly this one is printed without the issue number) edition of Miniature Warfare. The original photo was a huge inspiration to my 14 year old self being one of a series showing the collection of Hinton Hunt Prussian figures belonging to Stephen Connolly.

My own collection in 2017 (how they would have looked in 1971).

Next on the painting desk will be those British Light Dragoons.

Friday 20 October 2017

Prussian artillery – WIP

I’ve had a few evenings on the trot where I have been able to spend an hour or so painting with the result that the Prussian artillery recruitment drive is progressing quite nicely. There are a total of 12 figures on the go with half of them more or less finished and this will give me 3 extra batteries.

I‘ve also been working on some Prussian guns from Newline Designs. I think the Newline models work well as they sit halfway between the undersized Hinton Hunt ones and the rather nice Hinchcliffe 20mm ones. This batch as you will note includes a howitzer for variation although there is no distinction between these and regular guns in my rules.

The final item on the desk at the moment is a trumpeter conversion of a British Light Dragoon BN/50 Light Dragoon (mounted) charging, wearing bell top shako and French style blue coat with coloured facings. This conversion doesn’t include any clever stuff with a soldering iron just a bit of brass rod, Super Glue and Magic Sculp.

Previously my 6 figure squadron of Light Dragoons were combined with the Brunswick Hussars to form a single unit. However since the latter have recently been expanded to a full unit I need to increase the dragoons by a further 6 figures.

Update: Goya got in touch yesterday and pointed out that the gunner’s tools should actually be painted the same colour as the guns. Now I did know this but had decided to go with natural wood because I had done so for my other Prussian battery. This is also a bit of a hangover from years back as a teenager when I always painted all guns brown because I had no information and natural wood seemed logical. Anyway as you can see I have updated the tools.

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Not very sharpe recollections

"ee by gum 'arper get the lads in the back rank to run about a
a bit to fool the frogs 'int thinking we're a whole battalion!"
In my early teens I borrowed a copy of The Recollections of Rifleman Harris from the local library. Back then (in the dawn of time) this was one of the very few books on the Napoleonic wars available to the public at large. I’ve never looked at a copy since but my own recollections are that it was quite heavy going because of the 19th century style of prose

Much later in the 90s I very much enjoyed the BBC serialisation of the Sharpe novels although I never got on at all with actually reading them. Sharpe was an excellent programme in its day although it is of course a bit dated now. The early episodes did suffer somewhat from a lack of extras in the battle scenes but the spirit of the Napoleonic wars seemed to shine through. Perhaps it’s time for a remake with CGI?

My own version of the 95th rifles has now been made up to 24 figures and completed in line with my other units. I think they look quite smart and the 6 figures I recently painted blend in well with the original 18 figures painted by Matt G. All the figures in this unit are vintage Hinton Hunt ones that I assembled from different sources over the last ten years. They’re just waiting now for a chance to go over the hills and far away.

Thursday 12 October 2017

Muskets & Marshals – the final cut

Following the last game I decided it was time to get around to revising my rules Muskets & Marshals to incorporate various ideas, suggestions and clarifications since the version we used for Vintage Waterloo. The updated rules don’t include any radical new ideas being more of a tweak to iron out a few glitches and hopefully facilitate game play.

For those of you who have tried the rules before I’ve summarised the main changes below:

There is a reduction in line movement rate to 4”.

Reserve Movement
The non-initiative player moves his reserves first to give an advantage to the initiative player.

Counter-charging cavalry now receive the melee charge bonus.

An infantry unit that loses a melee against charging cavalry immediately breaks and routs – added “but not if it is an un-disordered square”. A unit losing 2 consecutive melees will rout unless defending a BUA

Multiple Melee – this is defined as follows: All melees are fought one on one during the initial turn of fighting regardless of formation. In the subsequent round a second unit may join with a flank or rear attack although this unit will not receive a charge bonus. The player with two units rolls the dice for his lowest rated unit of the pair plus 2 extra dice.

Introduction of a -1 for troops receiving fire from close range British volley fire (a volley is defined as 12 figures firing at a single target). This is to give British troops a good reason to fight in line and not just because the Duke keeps losing!

Becoming disordered after a pursuit is now on a die roll rather than automatic. A pursuing unit coming into contact with another enemy unit will melee but without a charge bonus.

Built up Areas
These are now properly defined in the rules. Up to half of the occupants of a BUA may fire from any side of the BUA (replaces the rule that 12 figures may fire). There is now a limit of 24 to the number of troops who may fire into a BUA.

Troops Types
I have extended the listings to include all the types in play. These can of course be varied by scenario if desired.

Mass Battles Rules – Firing I have removed this section as to my knowledge it has not been used in any of the large battles we have played.

Thanks to Stuart, Goya and Roy for their input.

Tuesday 3 October 2017

More recruits for the 95th

You may recall that Matt G painted some British rifles for me a couple of years ago as part of the big push for Vintage Waterloo. In fact we had so many rifles available when the great day dawned that there wasn’t enough room in the sandpit for them. Consequently they have seen very little action having only recently made their debut at the Battle for the Road.

These extra six figures will bring the unit up to full 24 figure strength and hopefully help to ensure their participation in future games. I had a slight problem trying to match the green of their uniforms to the green that Matt had used but I’m happy enough with the result now. I just need to rebase the whole lot to my light infantry standard system and then my rebasing project will be complete.

You will no doubt have noticed the batch of Prussian gunners lurking behind them. These have been cleaned up ready to receive black undercoat and there are enough of them to make up another three artillery batteries. We can blame Goya for this.

Sunday 1 October 2017

At Talavera we stole Boney’s eagle (not this time you didn’t!)

Yesterday Tony, Goya and I convened in the drawing room at châteaux Foy to refight the battle of Talavera on Tony’s sumptuous wargame table. Tony had devised a clever three way player mechanism for C&CN that enabled each of us to have an independent command. Goya took the part of Arthur Wellesley, Tony played Cuesta and I took on the mantle of Marshal Victor (I thought the name sounded promising).

Tony’s clever system meant that I was able to play two cards per turn allowing me far more coordination than I would have had in a regular game of C&CN. The allies also played two cards but frustratingly for them it was only one each and in differing sectors of the table making it much more difficult to coordinate actions. The result was a French victory in a game that was neck and neck right to the last turn.

The drawing room at chateaux Foy (note the radiogram on
the dresser).
This is Cuesta at Talavera issuing his one and only
order "Hurry up and wait lads!"
"I think we should move away from this tree it seems to attract
French cannon fire, perhaps over there?"
I managed to assemble a decent force of cavalry on my right
flank and they were instrumental in the eventual French victory.
That's me, Marshal Victor, next to the King of Spain (on the
white horse).
French infantry massing in the centre of the field. It takes time
to organise a big attack in C&CN but the ability to play 2 cards
per turn certainly helped things along.
My plan was to feint in front of Talavera to prevent Cuesta from
sending troops to reinforce Wellesley. It worked like a dream
although perhaps Cuesta never had any intention of helping
the British out!
The attack in the centre finally gets underway. Each of those
hill hexes across the stream are worth 1VP to me if I can
occupy them.
The fighting fizzles out in front of Talavera although the
Spanish did make a couple of local counter-attacks.
A view from the British left flank. The 15th chasseurs (bottom right)
have just seen off 2 enemy units and captured one of the hill hexes.
These lads definitely qualified for 'man of the match' and were
still on the field at the end of play.
One of Tony's splendid units, Les Higgins figures I think.
I managed to bring up some heavy cavalry to support my left
flank whilst gradually moving some of the infantry there
towards the centre to reinforce my main attack.
This cavalry clash was an exciting affair of to and fro eventually
resulting in a big fro for the British who were wiped out.
Late in the afternoon and there is not a single British soldier left on the
ridge. I'd like to say this was a clever tactic employed by Wellesley to use
reverse slopes but it had more to do with British troops running away.
With the ridge vacated I was able to exploit the situation by moving
forward and occupying enough hill hexes to win the day.

Thanks to Tony for hosting another truly superb game and to Goya for once again letting his British infantry run away (and also for not pushing me off the Fourth Bridge on the way home as had been suggested in the heat of battle). I’m looking forward to the next one!

 And soon we were transported through hell and its fury
Through smoke and through fire, through shot and through flame
And at Telavera we stole Boney's Eagle
And in that short time we were heroes of Spain