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.