Thursday 29 June 2017

La Ferme

As you can see I’m on a bit of a roll now as far as buildings are concerned. After my visit to Hougoumont earlier this year I decided to buy another Airfix La Haye Sainte model on eBay with the idea of making some sort of Saint-a-Mont type of building. What you see here isn’t quite what I had in mind but it is a farm of sorts on a much smaller footprint (10” x 7.5”) than the original model.

Converting it turned out to be much harder than I thought and some prior planning might have been useful. It’s not likely to win any prizes for agricultural design as farmer Jacques will struggle to get his horse and cart out of the barn due to restricted turning space.

Following the controversy over basing infantry and using them in buildings in my last post, I have gone for a dual purpose finish with this farm. The figures can either fit inside the farmyard or be placed around the perimeter depending on your basing preference. Roy, Matt B – you can relax (not that Roy was ever going to rebase 2,000 figures).

I am now eyeing up my old La Haye Sainte model to see what further havoc I can wreak.

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Buildings in Muskets & Marshals

In the Leipzig game last year Roy had the idea to represent built-up-areas using an A4 sized piece of MDF. This worked quite well except that it threw up some problems of ground scale. Under my rules only one unit of infantry can occupy a BUA at any one time and the A4 size distorted the number of attackers versus defenders as it potentially enabled up to 6 units to attack the lone defending unit simultaneously.

This was on my mind when I bought the recent clutch of Airfix buildings and I have decided to go back to my old idea of using individual buildings as separate BUA’s that can be joined together to form villages and towns. Each building will have its own separate MDF base that will project from the side of the structure by 25mm enabling the placing of a single rank of figures around the perimeter. During the movement phase the defender will be allowed to move any of his troops around the perimeter to meet a threat with no penalty to firing. Normal firing rules will apply with troops able to fire at any target in range (the old rule that up to 12 figures may fire from any side of a BUA will be scrapped).

I used a similar system years ago and it seemed to work quite well as I remember. I do need to have a rethink about Hougoumont type strongpoints as again these occupy a large area. The solution may be to divide them into two zones and allow a unit to occupy each. I will be rebasing my old La Haye Sainte model shortly and will put more thought to this then.

Note: those using figures mounted in 2 ranks can retain the old rule. I think I feel rule version 5.6 coming on…

Monday 26 June 2017

Church of Saint Boniface

Having enjoyed putting together the Airfix cottage I felt inspired to have a go at the church next. Things didn’t go quite as well this time and there are a few dribbles of polystyrene cement where there shouldn’t be and some gaps that will need filling. I also decided to leave off the fiddly bits like the bell, drain pipes and crosses as I’m sure these would only get broken over time.

The building modelled doesn’t say classic English church to me so I was intrigued to find out that it is based on the old church at Bonchurch on the Isle of Wight. Interesting that Airfix chose this as the basis of the model rather than one with a more traditional Norman tower. I seem to remember having a plastic kit of a church when I was a kid but it certainly wasn’t this one.

This new church will be replacing my old Superquick one that has taken a few knocks during several battles and two house moves. I’m sure the vicar and verger will be pleased to have some peace and quiet at last.

This model is listed on the Dapol website as C029 Village Church.

Sunday 25 June 2017

A new billet

Back in the early 70s I had a total of four model buildings for use with my Napoleonic armies. Two Superquick ones (including the church as here), an Airfix La Haye Sainte and one Airfix cottage. The Airfix cottage was a real pain to assemble as the bits didn’t go together properly and mine fell apart several times before the polystyrene cement finally dried. The finished item was forever a bit on the wobbly side.

It was only recently that I realised that this cottage, together with several other Airfix buildings, was still in production from a company called Dapol using the original moulds. They’re made in Wales from recycled plastic which means you can feel very good about yourself if you buy one as you are both helping the environment and Wales at the same time.

Having purchased one I was relieved to find that it went together very easily and I think this is because the plastic is quite pliable unlike the hard plastic of the original. The only thing I wasn’t too happy about was the windows which, if put in correctly, make it look like a double glazing salesman has recently visited. I decided to reverse them (with the window sills on the inside) as I felt this gave less of a 20th century suburban look.

I’ve been mulling over some ideas on built-up-areas for Muskets & Marshals that I will expound upon at a later date.

Saturday 24 June 2017

Ten years (surely some mistake?)

Apparently, and rather incredibly, it is ten years since I started this blog. I never for a moment thought I would still be plugging away collecting and painting Hinton Hunt figures in 2017 but here I am and the collection continues to grow.

I wanted to take a photo of all my figures for this post but unfortunately most of them are still packed away following our recent move, instead here are some of the highlights from the blog year by year.

2007 - my little stash of Hinton Hunt figures that started this project. Looking at the contents of the box now I can see that nearly all of these figures have been painted with the exception of the marching Old Guard, probably time I got on with them (zoom in to take a look).
2008 - this photo of the great man himself was sent to me by his daughter Tanya.
2009 - I completed my unit of Silesian Landwehr. I have fond memories of this particular figure type as it was the first Hinton Hunt figure I ever painted back in 1970 (or thereabouts).
2010 - the Battle of the Crossroads, a fun little solo game that was the first outing of my Swiss unit. The Swiss, as you know have been in the thick of the fighting ever since. The castings are wonderful original ones that came from Mark D and were most ably painted by Matt G.
2011 - one of the first games I played with Roy (back when we were still thrashing out the details of the rules) involved this charge of the Scots Greys against the 45th ligne. The French kept their eagle on this occasion.
2012 - I painted the 9th legere. This is one of my favourite figures, showing Marcus Hinton at his very best. The 9th legere haven't had much table time as they are based individually as skirmishers so I am in the process of adding another 6 figures to their ranks so they can serve as a close order battalion.
2013 - Roy's splendid Russian army. Apart from being a huge inspiration to me, Roy is the most enthusiastic and prodigious assembler of Hinton Hunt armies that has ever lived!
2014 - I completed the 2nd Regiment de Grenadiers-a-Pied de la Garde Imperiale. Finally the emperor had a unit truly worthy to serve him on the field of mars. They've taken a few knocks since but have never routed (possibly because the rules are stacked in their favour).
2015 - a boyhood dream come true, refighting the battle of Waterloo (in the 200th anniversary year) using Hinton Hunt figures. I can still say this is the best wargame I've ever played, truly stunning looking table, great bunch of chaps and the right result!
2016 - the ultimate game, Vintage Leipzig. I doubt if so many Hinton Hunt figures have ever been assembled for a game since the 1970's. Roy excelled himself and hosted another spectacular event having built a huge Austrian army in less than six months - go Roy!

Thanks to everybody who has supported this project over the years with figures, encouragement, comments and information, without you my enthusiasm would doubtless have fizzled out long ago.

Sunday 18 June 2017


Yesterday I took delivery of some Hinton Hunt Chevaulegers, a very generous gift from across the pond. The figures are not vintage or even Clayton ones but reproductions dating from the 1990’s during the period Hinton Hunt was not readily available. I’m really impressed with the quality of these and I would easily have thought they were vintage figures if I hadn’t been told as the mold plug marks, HH markings and general feel and heft of the metal seem perfect.

BVN.44 Bavarian Chevauleger (mounted) charging (Horse attached)
SXN.41 Saxon Chevauleger (mounted) charging

I’m quite excited to have the Saxons in particular as I greatly admired the unit Roy fielded at Vintage Leipzig. This gives me a rare chance to field some French allied cavalry in red as I chose to paint my guard lancers in Polish blue. I did also wonder if the Bavarians could be painted as Swedes to give my Swedish contingent a mounted arm – any ideas?

Friday 16 June 2017

Austrians on parade

As I had the Austrians at hand ready for the (temporarily delayed) battle of Raab I thought I’d take the opportunity to parade them in front of the camera. I hope you like them.

General Mack at the head of the Austrian division (as he would have appeared in 1972).
The 51st Gabriel Spleny Hungarian regiment - the splendid Splenys.

Musketeer regiment No4 Hoch-Und Deutschmeister.

The high command – Mack is still looking at his map trying to find a way out of Ulm (Klenau and Gyulay were painted by Nigel).
These lovely hussars were painted by Don.
Tyrolean Jagers - Yodel-lay-hee-hoo!

This is just about it for my Austrian contingent although I do have some more cavalry that may get painted eventually.

Tuesday 13 June 2017

Tools of the trade

A few posts back Clive left a comment asking if I could write about the paints that I use for my Hinton Hunts. So in the hope this may be of interest to others as well, here goes.

I strip any old paint by soaking over night in bleach and then scrubbing gently with a toothbrush. I’ve tried using Dettol but really don’t like the smell and it doesn’t seem to be any more effective than bleach. Figures are then cleaned up with a hobby knife and various files (Hinton Hunts need a LOT of filing) before being stuck to a plastic bottle top with PVA glue. I prefer PVA to blue tack as it holds the figure firmly during painting and can easily be removed afterwards.

I undercoat my figures by brush using matt black enamel Revell No8, I’ve given up on Humbrol as it doesn’t dry consistently matt and any sheen makes it much harder to pick out detail on the figure.

I use the Foundry paint system acrylics. I’m still using some pots I bought ten years ago and I like the fact that they don’t seem to dry out. For those of you who don’t know, the Foundry system has three shades for each colour with ‘A’ being the darkest and ‘C’ the lightest. The idea is to make it easy to shade figures without having to mix colours. As I don’t shade my Hinton Hunts I tend to use only the ‘B’ shades. For French blue for example I use 20B, British red 15B etc. I do use Humbrol acrylics for black and white as I tend to get through quite a lot of those colours and Foundry paints are quite expensive.

I initially used Humbrol Satin Cote for this project but as the quality of Humbrol paints declined I got fed up with the inconsistent results. I now use Humbrol Clear gloss varnish which is a very thin water based varnish which I apply in three coats to build up the gloss. If for any reason I need to turn a gloss finish back to matt then I use Testors Dullcote (top tip from Matt G).

Work in progress - French Voltigeurs

I hand cut these from 1.5mm plasticard. I did try getting some plywood ones cut but they came back slightly too small which bugged me so it’s back to hand cutting. I paint them using Humbrol enamel matt green 80. The quality of this paint has become awful and never dries properly matt but I’m stuck with it as I can’t find a similar shade in Revell. I stick the figures to their bases using Super glue, despite the name the figures can easily be removed from the plasticard if required without damage.

I use the Foundy ones, expensive but seem to be worth it.

Sunday 11 June 2017

Foy’s road show

Unfortunately the battle of Raab has been delayed but as Tony and I were at a loose end on Saturday he kindly brought his battle-boards, terrain and some troops to my house for a fictional Peninsular war Commands & Colours game. Tony played a dashing marshal Marmont whilst I broke out my stiff upper lip to play the Duke of Wellington.

Tony allowed me to set up the terrain while he sorted out the troops. This was great as I’ve always wanted to play around with the magnificent terrain pieces that feature on his blog. As the British were slightly outnumbered I set up a defensive position for the Duke with a ridge (of course) and a river on one flank. In the centre of the table were two villages (East and West Suffolk – don’t ask) providing victory locations.

Initial set-up, French on the left and British on the right. The river is fordable (zoom in to take a good look).
The French right flank - I believe the cavalry in the foreground are Garrison, lovely slender little figures (the same cannot be said of me).
Wellington takes position under his tree. He remained with this artillery battery all day calmly chatting to his ADC and ignoring the enemy cannonballs bouncing around him.
Although supposedly on the defensive Wellington surprised Marmont by advancing and taking West Suffolk in the opening stages of the battle.
A view from the British left after the first few moves.
French Light infantry move up in preparation for an attack on the village. These are mostly Les Higgins figures.
The French take the village - there was a see-saw fight for the place that ran until the final turn of the game.
British heavy dragoons in reserve behind the ridge. These figures are beautifully painted but didn't get to take part in the action. Stapleton Cotton is out in front of them, one of Tony's Hinton Hunts.
To take the pressure off I ordered the KGL hussars to charge an enemy battery. To the amazement of both of us they succeeded in pushing the battery back and leaving it at reduced strength.
This is a wonderful Alberken rendering of general Picton. In this game Picton was shot at by the French no less than three times but he lived to tell the tale (at least until Waterloo that is).
The British have retaken West Suffolk but here come the French again.
More Les Higgins figures beating the pas-de-charge. This battalion was to eject the British for the final time and win the game.
The field at the end of play. There are very few French troops left in the centre but crucially those there are have taken the village victory location bringing Marmonts tally to 9 VP's - French victory.
The 79th Highlanders (Hinton Hunt) look on from the ridge while Wellington gives the order to retreat...

It was a thoroughly enjoyable game that saw me battling back from a poor start to bring us neck and neck until eventually Tony managed to rustle up a card that allowed his troops to punch through in the centre and win the day. There will be more rumblings at Horse Guards.

This was only my second stab at C&C and I have to say I really like the game system and speed of play. It is of course a board game but when used with miniatures you tend to forget this and it does have the advantage of having defined victory conditions. This isn’t to say that I will be abandoning Muskets & Marshals (perish the thought). M&M is a completely different type of game and will always be my Napoleonic rules of choice but C&C is now a firm second favourite.

Thanks to Tony for carefully transporting his road show over the bumps in the Forth Bridge to get here and for such a splendid afternoon’s gaming.