Saturday, 1 October 2022

Redcoat Fatigue

Goya popped over yesterday for a toy soldier related chat and showed me a couple of really nice British Napoleonic figures he had painted (20mm but not HH). We both agreed that we enjoy painting British Napoleonic’s more than any other nationality as we consider that they have the most striking uniforms, its just something about the red and grey combo that really works.

Pretty in red my latest finished figure - BN/71 Fusilier Sergeant (charging)

Goya reckons he can paint and base a full 24-figure unit in 21 hours which I consider impressive as I think that the same for me would take in excess of 50 hours. However, I know that I do try and avoid the job in hand when there are 24 figures staring back at me from the painting desk by seeking diversion into my other ‘minor’ projects.

Last night following his visit I knuckled down and only painted Fusiliers and achieved more than I had previously done all week. Revitalised, the aim now is to get on and have the unit finished by the end of October and stop messing around painting other things like ACW buildings for my 6mm armies (click HERE) that I don’t even need.

Friday, 16 September 2022

Royal Fusilier – Test Figure

A few years back when I first started collecting figures for this project, I won a mixed batch of Hinton Hunt on eBay that included a unit of British Guards in bearskins. I rejected these figures and eventually swopped them because of course the Guards didn’t wear bearskins at Waterloo. I wish I’d hung on to them because my feeling now is - so what if they didn’t?

BN/72 Fusilier Private (charging) - test figure for my next unit.

I was really pleased therefore to recently be offered some British Fusiliers in bearskin that are ex Eric Knowles collection. Nice first-generation castings and enough to make a full unit using the charging and firing figure types. Again, it’s unlikely that the Fusiliers (other than possibly the Sergeants) wore their bearskins at Waterloo but certainly the Victorians didn’t have a problem representing them that way.

Here's the proof from the Victorians - they DID wear bearskins at Waterloo!
And at Corunna of course...

At first, I was planning to designate the unit as the 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers but when I looked at the Hinton Hunt painting instruction sheet, I saw that Marcus Hinton had decided on the 7th Royal Fusiliers so that’s what I’ll be calling them. Of course, the 7th didn’t make it to Waterloo because they were away fighting in America, but I won’t let a little thing like that stop me using them.

Boer War Blog - if 20mm Colonials is your thing take a look at my latest post (click HERE)

Thursday, 1 September 2022

More French Heavy Metal

I remember the excitement of opening my first box of Airfix French Cuirassiers just after their release in 1969. Up to that point the only plastic cavalry available were the US 7th Cavalry which were hard to pass off as ‘Napoleonic’ (the rolled-up shirt sleeves didn’t help). I can picture setting the Cuirassiers up on the dining room table ready to charge a square of Highlanders (the only other Napoleonic set at that time) whilst puzzling over the London Wargames Section Napoleonic Rules. Happy days.

"When you meet a Cuirassier beam to beam, you'll be lucky to escape with your life; much less his helmet. Boy, you'll learn the art of fighting from the French!"

I did mention in my last post that I later bought some of the OPC Cuirassiers direct from Hinton Hunt and found them all but useless due to the poor quality of the castings. Not long after that I gave up wargaming for quite a few years and so never did get to paint any.

FN102 Cuirassier Trooper (mounted) charging.

I’m very pleased therefore to finally have a unit of decent OPC figures to sit alongside my other 2-piece regiment. Painting them was a bit trickier than I expected but I’m pleased with the finished result.

If I had managed to file away the flash metal and painted them in 1974 they may have looked a bit like this.

In my opinion you can never have too many Cuirassiers but whether I’ll ever expand the current force to a full division remains to be seen.

Friday, 19 August 2022

Some Cuirassier Progress

Just to prove I am still slogging away at the Cuirassiers here they are.

As you can see, for a bit of light relief, I have converted a trumpeter and given him a cheery yellow coat. I don’t normally like to chop up vintage castings but fortunately the previous owner had already removed the carbine from this figure which meant my conversion was guilt free.

I’m still marvelling at the excellent quality of this batch of castings. This has been a bit of a tonic as I remember ordering some of these in my last ever order to Hinton Hunt (probably 1974). What arrived were hideous lumps of flash metal with the vague outline of a Cuirassier and I never even attempted to clean and paint one. I think it’s fair to say that by then the moulds were completely shot.

Sunday, 7 August 2022

Battle of the Admin Error (Conclusion)

 

This is the state of play approximately halfway through the game. I must say that at this point things weren't going too well for Matt and I.
What? Surely not another Allied cavalry unit broken!

Doh! Tony's Carabiniers have broken my Cuirassiers. There's something wrong with our bloody cavalry today!

The destruction of so many of our cavalry units has forced Matt to put most of his infantry in square. Luckily though the Toskanas appear to have ridden right past the Duke without seeing him.

My last cavalry unit still in good order - the Silesian Hussars - galloping to the left to see off Tony's troopers.

The West Prussian Fusiliers stood under a tremendous cannonade all day but at least these lads didn't break.

Matt hangs grimly on at the church - night or the Prussians must come (hang on aren't they here already?).

The now rallied Inniskillings face off against the Toskana Dragoons. Both sides are disordered and cannot charge for the moment.

Yes, you guessed it - the Silesian Hussars have just lost another cavalry melee and worse still BLUCHER is down!

Nigel throws his infantry against Matt's line but they have become disordered in the process. However his troops have secured the VP location.

Our last cavalry reserve - the Greys - are on the move.

For once the newbies have had an easy battle. In this their first fight the 25th ligne have been mere observers.

The Guard Lancers deliver the coup-de-grace to my Hussars.

More formation dancing from the Young Guard.

Finally the Toskana Dragoons are seen off by the Greys. But it's too little too late as it's the end of turn 8 and the final VP score is 32 to the French and 26 to the Allies.

So ended another highly enjoyable day of playing soldiers although I did feel a bit sorry for Matt being on the receiving end of some uncharacteristically aggressive actions by Nigel. Clearly there was something terribly wrong with the Allied cavalry (not just the effect of the unfortunate Toskana admin error) and I would say that throughout Matt and I both had some shocking die rolls. However, the game did look pretty which is something and it’s always nice to see the Imperial Guard loafing about and to watch in awe as Nigel manoeuvres his troops.

Thanks to Tony, Matt and Nigel for coming along and indulging me once again in the Hinton Hut.


Monday, 1 August 2022

The Battle of the Admin Error (Part 2)

 

Matt gets off to a solid start by advancing his infantry right up to the church. It looks as if those VP's will be in the bag by turn 2.
The Inniskillings trot forward supported by the Blues. There appears to be nothing to oppose them except some low-grade Austrian Dragoons in the distance.

Meanwhile my Prussian infantry are making a determined push for the Windmill. However Tony seems to be wanting to stop them with his Guard Lancers.

The 49th Hertfordshires are forced into square by the sudden appearance of French Lancers. No worries, the British cavalry will soon sort this lot out.

During our pre-game conference I assured Matt that Nigel wouldn't do anything too aggressive, so I was somewhat surprised to see him pushing the Young Guard forward by the church.

And he was coming up on the flank too - what had got into him today?

The A rated Inniskillings cross sabres with the B rated Toskana Dragoons. Hold on, due to the admin error Nigel gleefully pointed out that they were A+ rated today! Matt's troopers became disordered but the Blues were behind them so we weren't worried at all.

Tony was steadily bringing his infantry up towards the windmill. My men were in firm control of the VP site by now.

My horse artillery charged forward, unlimbered and fired at half effect - then this happened. This wasn't quite how I had expected this manoeuvre to develop.

Now Nigel appeared to be putting the Young Guard in reverse - was the Duke of York commanding them today?

The Blues join in the melee with the Toskanas while the Inniskillings leg-it following a second lost round of fighting.

In frustration Matt throws the Light Dragoons against a solid Austrian square with predictable results.

Meanwhile Tony has routed the Brandenburg Musketeers and is now taking on my Uhlans.

While the fight for the Windmill turns nasty.

Yes, Nigel is back where he started!

The Guard take a nap as the battle rages in front of them. None of these gentlemen seem to be even slightly ruffled.

Nigel sees off the Light Dragoons and consolidates his position on the hill.

While the Toskanas rout the Blues

To be continued...

Friday, 29 July 2022

The Battle of the Admin Error (Part 1)

Yesterday we had another battle in the Hinton Hut. Matt G (Waterloo to Mons) flew in from darkest Essex, Nigel made an early morning drive up from Cumbria and Tony (Prometheus in Aspic) sortied across the Forth having collected Matt en route from Edinburgh – an excellent bit of logistics from all concerned.

This was the biggest game I have yet staged in the Hut having reconfigured my table to 8’ x 4’ specially for the occasion and laid out approximately 1,000 figures. Each general took control of half their respective army. Tony (Napoleon) had the French right, Nigel (Mack) the Franco-Austrians on his left. Matt (Wellington) took the right side of the Allied army whilst I (Blucher) had the left.

The initial setup of the armies - Allies on the left, Franco-Austrians on the right. The 8' x 4' table is running longways in the cabin and there was still a surprising amount of space for the four players.
This is the map I used for the initial deployments, the resolution of this image isn't great but you can get the gist from it.

I pre-deployed all the troops before the game but each player was allowed to make three changes to their dispositions in advance as below:

1. Swap the locations of 2 units (e.g. “swap the position of the 45th Foot with the 25th Foot”)
2. Advance an infantry/cavalry/artillery unit 8” directly forward.
3. Change the formation of an infantry unit (e.g. from line to column)

Victory Conditions - at the end of turn eight VP’s were to be calculated as follows:

6 VP for possession of an objective (red stars on the map)
2 VP for each enemy infantry or cavalry unit removed from play or currently routing
2 VP for each enemy general KIA
1 VP for each enemy infantry or cavalry unit currently disordered
1 VP for each enemy flag/eagle captured (cavalry capture a flag/eagle from infantry that they rout on a die roll of 4,5 or6)
1 VP for each enemy artillery battery destroyed
1 VP for each enemy skirmisher group destroyed

In the event of a draw the side who managed to use the most quotes (in context) from the film Waterloo were the winners!

Allied left (Prussians). As you can see I chose to push forward a couple on infantry units towards the VP objective on the hill.
French right. Tony has advanced his skirmishers towards the hill.

Allied right (Wellington). Matt made the smart decision to advance two of his units towards the church VP location.

French left (Franco-Austrians). Nigel has advanced infantry and a gun towards the VP location to his front.

It was only when we started to play that I discovered my admin error having made a copy and paste mistake that resulted in Nigel’s Toskana Dragoons being given an A+ rating (rather then the intended B rating). This was to have dire consequences for Wellington but more on that in the next post.

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

OPC Cuirassier – Test Figure

I’ve completed my test figure for what will be the 8th Cuirassiers. This unit will be made up entirely of one-piece castings of FN/102 Cuirassier Trooper (mounted) charging. The figures are vintage castings of very high quality, the swords are complete and there was very little evidence of flash when I stripped the old paint job (they had previously been painted as Dragoons). This is quite remarkable as Hinton Hunt OPC’s are notorious for having great boulders of flash attached, particularly around the horses hind legs.

The figures were amongst several lots I bought last year from Ian Hinds (as were the infantry unit I just painted) and I would classify them all as ‘first generation’ castings from a time when the moulds were still quite decent. This is borne out by the comment from Ian Hinds that they were originally in the collection of Neville Dickinson of Miniature Figurines fame.

As always, this OPC was a challenge to paint and doesn’t look too fantastic on a zoomed-in photo. However, I think they should look passable when mustered together as a unit.

Saturday, 11 June 2022

French 25th ligne Completed

As you may have guessed these have taken me a lot longer to complete than I expected. Several reasons for this firstly, I got sucked down the rabbit hole of rebasing my old 15mm AWI armies – I have no idea why I did this. Secondly, I got knocked out for a couple of weeks by the dreaded lurgy. And thirdly, the world descending into further chaos seemed to demotivate me (for a while) from painting toy soldiers.

Worth the wait I think - I do like the look of French line units.

Now they’re varnished and based up I am very pleased with the finished look. I took more care with these than my original unit of FN5’s by doing the edging for the collars, cuffs, and turn-backs, whether this is really worth the effort I’m not sure.

It's nice to see their backs too - something Wellington would agree with.

For the record the figures are all very nice vintage ‘first generation’ Hinton Hunt;

1 x FN/1 Officer (charging)
1 x FN/4 Colour Bearer (charging)
20 x FN/5 Fusilier (charging)
1 x FN/6 Drummer (charging)
1 x FN/8 Officer (marching)

I'm not sure how many of those flags I've painted now!

The completion of this unit goes some way towards addressing the imbalance of line and Guard units in my French army. Next, I intend to do the same with the cavalry by painting a unit of Cuirassiers.