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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),

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Back to Bases

A half battalion in close-order
The problem with skirmish battalions is that they're not very practical. They look great when deployed as a cloud of individual figures, but moving them all about is so time consuming that it becomes very tempting to simply leave them out of the battle. This is a terrible waste of scarce vintage troops, particularly when one has small armies like mine. Surely, I thought, there must be a way of also using them in a close-order role.....

My initial thoughts about this problem involved a complicated scheme using magnets, steel paper and especially thin sheets of plasticard so that the figures could be deployed either individually or in close order on 6-figure company bases.

When I mentioned this to Ian S he told me that he was planning something altogether simpler and more ingenious. Ian's plan is to mount each skirmish company onto one three-figure base, one two-figure base and one single figure base. This allows each company to operate either independently as a skirmish unit or collectively as part of a close order battalion.

Well, my first two combined voltigeur companies are complete, so I gave it a whirl. Although the battalion will still be a little unwieldy compared to its truly close-order companions, it'll still be a lot better than trying to manoeuvre 24 individual bases. Ian, you are a genius!

...and deployed as skirmishers

Friday, 22 July 2016

Big Brothers

I've received an unusual request.

Richard W from the United States has contacted me for help in disposing of his collection of 54 mm Hinton Hunts, and a few other things besides. One way you could do this, I said, would be to put them on my blog with your contact details, and so here they all are.

Below are the pictures he sent me. I think they're mostly Hintons, but there may also be a couple of other marks (Staddens, perhaps?) among them.

"I bought them in 1964-5", Richard tells me, "and have been lugging these around with me for 50 years".

Included in the sale are the following two pieces of ordnance. The field gun in particular looks like it's seen a little action!

Richard asks anyone wanting to make him an offer for the whole lot to send a bid to by the end of August 2016.

The key thing, he tells me, is that they go to someone who really appreciates them. Payment is by Paypal and shipping charges will be added to the agreed sale price.

I wish to stress that I have no personal or financial interests in this sale!


Friday, 15 July 2016

Enigma Variations Continued.....

Just the briefest of brief posts this week.

Don has sent me the following pictures of his splendid DK Nassauers. After some debate we agreed that that the Nassau fusiliers are all paint conversions of DK 10: French Line Infantry 1812, receiving. This is a tremendously clever use of this figure!

I was also delighted to see the DK 10E (elite company) figure in the next shot. All of the complete DK French line infantry packs that I've come across contain 16 fusiliers and 8 elite company variants. The intent, clearly, was that they be mounted in six, four-figure companies. My own DK 10s, which were acquired painted and based, were without this variant, so I'm very pleased to have its existence confirmed.

I rather like these figures! I'd intended to paint them as French line infantry, but now that I've seen Don's I may think again.......

I also think that the Archduke's unusual charging grenadier is a rather different looking beastie. My personal opinion, for what it's worth, is that whatever it is, it's not a DK.