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Saturday, 24 September 2016

Polish Off

I have finished the 7th Lancers at last. They've only taken me nine months. The varnish has yet to completely dry on the last three, which makes them particularly shiny, but I suppose that's only to be expected from French Polish.

Der Kriegspielers and Hinton Hunt Polish Line Lancers

The figures are:

Der Kriegspielers 39: French Line chevau-légers lanciers (Regiments 7-9) x 8;
Der Kriegspielers 49: French Guard Lancers (Polish and Dutch) x 1, converted to a trumpeter;
Der Kriegspielers 49: French Guard Lancers (Polish and Dutch) x 1, coverted to a DK 39;
Hinton Hunt  FN 43: Guard Lancer, charging, x 1, converted to a standard bearer; and
Hinton Hunt FN 41: Guard Lancer Trumpeter, x 1, converted to an officer!

Der Kriegspielers and Hinton Hunt Polish Line Lancers

Der Kriegspielers and Hinton Hunt Polish Line Lancers

Der Kriegspielers and Hinton Hunt Polish Line Lancers

Many thanks indeed to all those who encouraged me to keep going when I was flagging a bit. Special thanks are also due, of course, to Steve for supplying the missing castings; and Richard, my neighbour, who found me the perfect piece of brass.

Have a splendid weekend everyone.


Sunday, 11 September 2016

Poles Apart

Hinton Hunt FN 43 Polish Lancers
It's been a very busy weekend on the domestic front, but I found just enough time to complete my 7th Lancers command group.

The figures this time are proper Hinton Hunt one-piece-castings, FN 43 Guard Lancer, charging, courtesy of Steve C.

Hinton Hunt FN 43 Polish LancersBoth had the benefit of partial conversion by Steve. The flag-bearer just needed his flag added. The officer, on the other hand, was a bit more complex. In his case I've added a new forearm and sword; swapped his epaulette and aiguillette to the opposite shoulders, and replaced his horse's front left leg!

I decided to repaint the hoist on the flag dark red as a noticed that this is the colour on the surviving second squadron guidon. It may simply have faded from blue, of course.

The final two shots show them next to the trumpeter. Only three more troopers to go and I'll have a regiment.

Salut maintenant


Saturday, 3 September 2016

Aide Memoire

Marbot: "He looks nothing like me!"
Although the lancers are progressing, they're not quite ready for their show-and-tell session.

What I have instead is my latest French command figure. He's the David Clayton version of Hinton Hunt FN 371: Aide de Camp, holding a letter, on horse FNH 13. He's a beautiful casting. His horse is also very fine, albeit a little on the slim side.

Marcus Hinton didn't specify his identity, but for me there can be no doubt. He is Jean Baptiste Antoine Marcellin de Marbot, ADC and beau sabreur par excellence!

 Marbot poses for his close-up.
I chose him once I belatedly cottoned-on that my combined voltigeurs are going to need a commander every time they fight in close order. As it is likely to be only an occasional command, an Aide de Camp seemed the ideal choice.

He's painted almost exactly as recommended in Marcus Hinton's painting instructions (which the Hinton Hunter has published here). It's the uniform worn by the well-dressed ADC to a general in about 1810, if my interweb searches are anything to go by. Something very similar is also depicted in one of Fred and Liliane Funcken's books.

Just don't call me Gerard
Born in 1782 and eventually rising to the command of a brigade at Waterloo, Marbot would probably have remained in obscurity had it not been for the publication of his memoirs, to great literary acclaim, in 1891. In the words of the ever reliable Wikipedia, "to ordinary readers and to students of history alike, these give a picture of the Napoleonic age of warfare which for vividness and romantic interest has never been surpassed."

Very Flashy!

Indeed, Marbot's escapades were so sensational that their authenticity was immediately questioned, and to this day scholars doubt the veracity of many of his tales. They are also (in places, one suspects, unintentionally) extremely funny, and thus ripe for satire.

Certainly Arthur Conan Doyle thought so. The result, beginning in 1894, was a series of short stories published in The Strand magazine charting the outrageous exploits of one Brigadier Etienne Gerard, an officer in the Emperor's hussars. Gerard's outstanding character traits are vanity, indomitable courage, unshakable loyalty and the most amazing stupidity. His adventures, needless to say, are utterly glorious.

Brigadier Gerard was in turn a major influence on George McDonald Fraser's brilliantly funny fictional adventurer, Harry Flashman. There's also not a little of Marbot, I think, in Rik Myall's superbly over-the-top "Flasheart" character in the BBC Blackadder series.

I hope you like him.


Sunday, 28 August 2016

Flagging Efforts

My Polish lancers are proceeding, but very very slowly.

I have almost finished their flag, however, so faute de mieux, here it is. It's probably a good idea to show it at this stage in any case as one of the sides will be partially obscured when my lancer is holding it.

The 7th Lancers didn't actually have a flag, so what I've given them is the first squadron guidon of their predecessors, the Lancers of the Polish Legion of the Danube. They didn't become the Vistula Lancers until 1808.

Four squadron guidons were given to the regiment by Napoleon, then first-consul, in 1800. They were also offered an imperial eagle in 1804,  but refused, preferring to retain the very attractive and distinctive flags they already had. Then disaster struck. In 1809 all four squadron flags were lost to the Army of La Mancha at Los Yébenes in Spain.

We know what they looked like, however, as two of the flags survive - one in a cathedral in Spain, and the other (the guidon of the 1st Squadron) at the Musée de L'Armée in Paris. Pictures of the guidons and the story of their loss and recovery can be seen in the splendid article by Luis Sorando Muzás on the Napoleon Series website, here.

My flag is made from a very thin sheet of brass wrapped around a steel wire. The brass was donated by my good friend and next-door-neighbour, who has the most amazing talent for finding things. The dimensions are approximately 10mm by 14mm. Although the photo doesn't really show it, the flag pole is blue. I may need to use a lighter shade in the finish.


Saturday, 20 August 2016

Opposite Pole

The Magnificent 7th
When Steve C heard about my lancer shortage he came to the rescue with the few Hinton Hunt and DK castings needed to complete the 7th (1st Vistula) Regiment of chevau-légers lanciers.

Bold as brass
The first to be painted is my trumpeter conversion of one of Steve's figures, in this case a DK 49: Guard Lancers (Polish and Dutch).

To make the trumpet arm the simplest thing to do was to remove the original lance arm altogether and replace it with a recast lancer arm supplied by John Cunningham, modified to hold one of my soldered trumpets.

My trumpeter's reversed-facings yellow coat was a bit of a challenge as I've not been very successful with yellow uniforms in the past. I tried a thin wash of brown over the yellow base coat to create a bit of contrast. It sort of worked!

As every one of my remaining lancers has required either conversion, repair or a bit of both, they've been very slow to get started. All things being equal they should start to appear over the next few posts.


Monday, 8 August 2016

Maximum Voltage

Hinton Hunt and Der Kriegspielers French Line Infantry Voltigeurs
The Voltigeurs swarm out of the woods...
I've been conducting manoeuvres with the Combined Voltigeurs using Ian S's experimental basing system.

Hinton Hunt and Der Kriegspielers French Line Infantry Voltigeurs
...and  then recombine in close order to defend the hedgerow.
Ian's system allows the battalion to be deployed either in open order, representing the skirmish element of a brigade, or in close order as an ordinary line infantry unit.

As a line unit they're certainly a bit unconventional, but not disastrously so. It's also rather nice to have a battalion that's doing something other than charging.

The figures are:

Hinton Hunt FN 3 x 3
Hinton Hunt FN 1 x 1
DK 12 x 19
DK 13 x 1
Hinton Hunt and Der Kriegspielers French Line Infantry Voltigeurs
A formidable firing line
The DKs and Hinton Hunts have blended together so well that it's difficult to tell them apart.

Next up: a second squadron of Polish lancers!


Leading a classic  brigade attack (with apologies to Charles Grant),