Tuesday 12 December 2023

A Trumpeter for the Guard Chasseurs

With the Hut temperature back to a balmy 5 degrees I have once again taken up residence. No damage to report except that my tub of PVA glue froze solid and had to be chucked so something to put on my list for Santa.

As you can see, the trumpeter is finished and I’m rather pleased with the result. The pale blue dolman against the deep red pelisse is particularly pleasing, well to my eye anyway.

I’m thinking that the four chasseurs now sat on my desk do look quite Christmassy although that probably wasn’t the aim when the uniform was devised.

Thursday 30 November 2023

Guard Chasseur test figure

I found a bit of time to begin work on the Guard Chasseurs starting with this test figure of the Der Kreigspieler version of FN/48 Chasseur a Cheval (mounted) charging. This is another case of a DK castings being virtually indistinguishable for the Hinton Hunt one so I’m happy using them.

I used the Hinton Hunt painting instructions as my guide for this figure and was curious to see that they varied quite a bit from the illustration in my Funcken (Part2) book. The illustrations for Funcken were drawn in 1969 but I'm pretty sure Marcus Hinton would have published his instructions before that. However, as you would guess it's no contest for me as the 'official' Hinton Hunt guide will always win out!

With the evening temperature currently below zero I have been forced to decamp from the Hinton Hut to perch on the end of the kitchen table for my painting sessions. I did insulate the floor and ceiling of the Hut when I built it which makes it habitable 99% of the time even in a Scottish winter. I’ll happily sit out there with a fan heater and my heated blanket but sadly the acrylic paints are not so hardy, as I discovered to my cost (literally) during my first Hut winter.

I now have four troopers completed and have started on the trumpeter but more on him in the next post.

Friday 24 November 2023

33rd Line – Done!

You’ll be pleased to hear that he French 33rd Line Regiment are painted, based and ready for action.

They do look quite colourful when all ranked up.

The figures used are as follows:

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

All the figures are very nice vintage first generation castings.

I painted the flag with a brush that really needs to be chucked away so I'm amazed that the results are so legible.

I managed to bamboozle Mrs S into looking at the Colour Bearer (and why not, she’s always getting me to admire her knitting) and was astonished to find she could read the battle honours on the flag. Impressive stuff as she even managed to pronounce Austerlitz correctly. I may run with this and try to get her to come and see Napoleon with me although that may be a bit more tricky.

où est monsieur le rosbif?

With these chaps out of the way the painting desk is cleared for the Guard Chasseur-a-Cheval.

Friday 17 November 2023

What? More Guard cavalry?

Earlier this year I did say that my French Guard cavalry was complete unless I found enough Chasseur-a-cheval for a full unit – well, be careful what you wish for.

Thanks to Nigel (and Tony) I have managed to assemble enough troopers for a full 12-figure unit. This will be made up of 7 x 2-piece castings, 1 x one-piece casting and 4 x DK one-piece castings. I really like the effect of mixing one-piece and two-piece figures in a unit, and I think this one is going to look very smart.

Back left is an original OPC converted to trumpeter, back right a vintage 2-piece casting and front is a DK OPC painted by Don W.

The Hinton Hunt OPC was already prepared by the previous owner for conversion to a trumpeter as the carbine and sword have been removed. All I had to do was add a trumpet with arm from another casting (of unknown origin) to make a rather nice-looking figure.

Two of the DK castings are figures sent to me by Don about 15 years ago so it’s about time they got used – I won’t be stripping the paint from these as I’ll opt instead for a touch up of Don’s original work.

I can’t wait to get started on these!

Sunday 5 November 2023

A wargame at Nigel’s

On Thursday I was privileged to attend an inaugural wargame in Nigel’s fabulous newly converted dedicated wargame room at his home in the rolling Cumbrian hills. After a bit of panic in the morning due to the cancellation of my train I made good time by car to join Nigel and Tony for a battle based on the Prussian arrival at Waterloo.

I took the part of Blucher while Tony played the dastardly French, Nigel umpired as we were using his own house rules. Most of the figures were Hinton Hunt and all were from Nigel’s vast collection.

Nigel's man-cave.
The table is 8' x 4'. This is the initial setup with the Prussians on the left and French on the right. That's Plancenoit church at the far end of the table with Papelotte in the foreground (the two other buildings near the farm mysteriously disappeared before the game began).
Here are the Prussians and that's Blucher himself in the rear. Most of Nigel's infantry units are 30 figures and cavalry are 16.
My lads are getting ready for the assault on Plancenoit.
However, the action started with an attack on Papelotte as in this scenario the farm had been occupied by the French.
A view along the Prussian line with both sides starting to advance.
The French edge forward towards the church.
While the Prussians do the same!
Tony and I both had a large cavalry force in the centre and of course we couldn't resist getting stuck in with the sabre (the lovely Leib Hussars with their big white plumes are a conversion)..
The battle in full swing.
And how it might have looked in the days when Nigel started wargaming. In the end it was the Prussian cavalry who were to emerge victorious from a seven-unit scrum.
Over at Papelotte though Tony had the upper hand and I was never able to occupy the place.
My infantry were thrown back from the church but I had sneakily brought up two batteries and started blasting the place apart.
A melee at Papelotte where I just about held my own.
The Young Guard in the foreground are running away but they were to rally next turn.
Blucher brings up the Landwehr - you know the French have had it when that happens!

In the end (we managed a full 8 turns) it was a narrow victory for the Prussians but this only came about as I was able to reduce Plancenoit church to rubble thereby denying it as a VP location to Tony.

It was a great day and full credit goes to Nigel for running an excellent game and displaying an impressive grasp of mental arithmetic during some rather complicated melee calculations. I very much enjoyed trying a different set of rules to my own, but ones written in the same vein with mechanisms harking back to the 1970s. I hope I get the chance to play again.

My thanks to the Archduke and Archduchess for their generous hospitality.

Saturday 28 October 2023

Drummer for the 33rd

I've made a bit of progress over the last few days and have completed all the rank and file for the French 33rd Regiment so I'm on to the command figures starting with this drummer which as you know is FN/6 Drummer (charging). He's clearly not a drummer 'boy' judging by his luxuriant moustache.

For a change I've given this chap a blue coat rather than green livery.

I've painted a fair few of these over the years and my stocks were dwindling until Tony recently kindly donated some. This was useful as the haul of figures earlier this year did not include any drummers although there were plenty of officers.

I tend to paint the command figures last as a reward for plodding through the rankers so hopefully I'll have the whole unit completed soon.

Saturday 21 October 2023

The madness continues

So, I’m back painting Hintons after a bit of a break and it’s on with the effort to reduce the French FN/5 Fusilier lead mountain. This next unit will nominally represent the 33rd Line infantry regiment.

They’ve been on the desk for a while, but various distractions have meant I’m only just a bit over halfway through them. I’m going to pull my socks up and crack on with them now that storm Babet has eased and allowed reoccupation of the Hinton Hut.

Friday 14 July 2023

Waterloo in the Hut

On Wednesday Tony, Nigel, Goya and I gathered in the Hinton Hut to fight out Waterloo. The figures were drawn from the collections of Goya and I and were mostly Hinton Hunt with a smattering of other 20 mils.

We drew cards to determine our commands, I ended up playing Uxbridge (allied left) Goya was Silly Billy on my right, Tony (who attended if full regalia) was Marshal Soult (French right) and Nigel calmly drew the card for Marshal Ney (French left). We had no overall commander and each side played by committee whilst Wellington and Napoleon looked on impassively.

The game was scheduled to last for 8 turns with reserves entering for each side starting on turn 2, to speed things up the reserves could be deployed up to 2 foot forward of the player baseline. This meant that reserves (cavalry for the allies and the Guard for the French) could suddenly appear in unexpected areas. There was also a cunning system of drawing playing cards from the start of turn 3 (and for each subsequent turn) that allowed the possibility of either Groucy or the Prussians (or neither) showing up on the French right flank for added suspense.

"Well that opens the ball!"
We began the game with an initial round of artillery fire from both sides. For the British this included a rather nice Rocket Battery from Goya's collection. Firing the rockets was fun but they weren't overly effective.
Tony brought Wellington's tree with him - no wargame is complete without it.

I started by pushing forward on the left with the 11th Light Dragoons supported by some very nice KGL Hussars.
The Belgians were soon taking a bit of a battering from Tony's grand battery on the other side of the valley and Picton had to ride forward to steady them to avoid a 'disordered' morale score.
Turn 2 and a curious movement by Tony's infantry who turned their columns left rather than advance ahead. I never did quite get to the bottom of the purpose of this but then "Anything that wastes time is good!"
Nigel's men were also inclining to the left putting pressure on our right flank.
The Nassauers in Hougoumont seemed to be his main target.

Goya brought his own troops forward to fill the gap between Hougoumont and the end of the ridge. The Fusiliers (bottom left) were one of several units getting their baptism of fire in this game.
A general view of the table at the end of turn 2 (from the allied left with Papelotte in the foreground).
And from the other end of the table.
After some desperate hand-to-hand fighting the Nassauers fought off the attempt to take Hougoumont. The 1st Light Infantry were another of the newbies and they took heavy casualties is this assault.
Nigel started to make some threatening movements with his heavy cavalry. I think it was about this time that Marshal Ney received a mortal wound during a morale test that prompted Tony to comment that "At least he won't be able to throw the cavalry away in this game!"

More manoeuvring from Tony's infantry - are they heading for La Haye Sainte? 
Turn 3 and would you believe it? The Prussians arrive! Fortunately the French were able to bring on the Young Guard at the same time.
Just beyond the Young Guard a serious cavalry clash was developing that would eventually draw in  6 units of cavalry in a running melee that lasted for the rest of the game.
As Tony's infantry moved off to my right I took the opportunity to advance the 42nd Highlanders down from the ridge to bolster the Dutch-Belgian line.
Meanwhile over on our right Goya had brought on the Greys and Inniskillings from our reserve.
Nigel's men try to regroup after the failed attack on Hougoumont.
The 6th Chasseurs move forward supported by the 8th Cuirassiers.
This must be the end of turn 4 or 5. The action is pretty much confined to each flank as the French infantry seem very wary of getting within range of the KGL Rifles in La Haye Sainte.
The Prussians charge the Young Guard with mixed results whilst the cavalry melee continues behind them.
The Light Dragoons take a hammering from the Guard Lancers.
I try to make an infantry line below the ridge as Tony finally starts to move forward.
Nigel resorts to using a time machine to nip back to the 1960s to see if he can find a set of more favourable rules.
The view from Hougoumont along Goya's line. Top right you can just see that the Brunswick Hussars and 6th Chasseurs have crossed sabres.
The result was not too good for the Brunswickers who are routing.
The Silesian Musketeers have been routed by the Young Guard whilst Silesian Landwehr and Fusiliers are fighting the Guard Marines.
Tony "comes on the same old style"- actually no as he has sensibly adopted line formation in the face of my artillery and rockets.
But his own artillery have been blazing away all day causing me quite a few problems as well.
The view from behind the French left - in the distance you can see that the Old Guard have arrived but instead of heading for Hougoumont Nigel has them standing back in line formation - "never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake!"

A second attack on Hougoumont is beaten off. Where are those Old Guardsmen with their extra melee plus when you need them?

Goya's line is holding but is under pressure "Give me night or give me Blucher!"
But then then 8th Cuirassiers ride to destruction in front of Mercer's battery. Apparently Nigel "just wanted to see what would happen" if he charged the guns, well, now we know.
Poor Picton is down trying to steady the 92nd Gordon Highlanders - "I like the cut of your men Gordon!"
Hurrah for the Scots Greys! They see off the 6th Chasseurs and so ends the French cavalry threat to our right.
You'll be pleased to know that not a single Old Guardsman was injured in this fight although it is rumoured that one did get splashed with a bit of mud - shame.

The end of turn 7 and the end of the game. The French really needed to take either Papelotte, La Haye Sainte or Hougoumont to stand a chance of winning.

It was a great day and even though we only made it to turn 7 before time ran out, we did at least have a clear conclusion – a resounding win for the Duke.

My thanks to Tony and Nigel for threading their way through the early morning traffic to get here and to Goya who had to resort to public transport at the last minute. Good show all round!