Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Pole Position

The weather has been glorious in Wellington this week, so I've spent much of the last three days out in the front garden, stripping, repairing and repainting the front gate. However, I've also found a little time to do some painting indoors. As French light cavalry are on my official to-do list, I thought I'd make a start on some lancers.

Pink Poles!
Now some figures require a little more faith than others, and so it was when I came across these chappies. Decked out in a delightful pink, they certainly didn't look very promising. However, vintage Polish lancers are hard to come by, so I took the plunge.

The figures are Der Kriegspielers DK 39: French Line chevau-légers lanciers (Regiments 7-9). They are identical in almost every respect to the Hinton Hunt figure FN 43: French Guard Lancer, Charging, apart from one small detail: the lance pennants have been turned upside down!

Der Kriegspielers DK 39: French Line chevau-légers lanciersPictured is my first test figure, a trooper of the crack 7th Regiment, formerly the 1st Vistulan Lancers, fresh from the battlefields of Spain where they had virtually destroyed Colborne's Brigade at the Battle of Albuera in 1811.

He was not the simplest of figures, but I'm really pleased with the way he's turned out.


I should really be working on the rest of my Prussian cavalry, of course. However, a French squadron seemed like more fun, which is what the project is really all about!

Der Kriegspielers DK 39: French Line chevau-légers lanciers Happy New Year

WM




Der Kriegspielers DK 39: French Line chevau-légers lanciers

Monday, 28 December 2015

Plans and Schemes

Hinton Hunt Bavarian Line Infantry

As the Bavarians are now on their bases, I've taken a few more shots of them going through their paces.

Hinton Hunt Bavarian Line Infantry
General Qui-est-il (also now based, but still without a name) is in attendance. The windmill is by Dapol.

So, wither the Hinton Spieler in 2016? Well, things could be said to look either daunting or encouraging, depending on one's point of view.

On the encouraging side, I've painted nine battalions, four squadrons and two batteries since September 2014, which works out as just under a unit per month.

Hinton Hunt Bavarian Line InfantryOn the daunting side, I doubt I'll be able to keep producing units at this rate during 2016. Apart from anything else, I'll be travelling overseas for part of the year, and when I'm at home there's a certain amount of deferred household maintenance to attend to!

The key thing, of course, is not to worry too much about the rate at which I can churn out new regiments, but to come up with some sort of plan. In 2016 this is to complete (in no particular order):

1. one additional squadron each for the Prussian Garde du Corps and Leib Hussars;

Hinton Hunt Bavarian Line Infantry2. two more batteries of artillery (one French and one Prussian);

3. a French skirmisher battalion;

4. a Prussian close-order battalion;

5. four squadrons (two light and two heavy) of French cavalry; and

6. a basic wargames table and terrain.

The result will be two evenly-matched starter armies of five battalions, four squadrons and two batteries each; and the completion of Phase One of this project.


I'm not really daring to think about Phase Two yet.

WM

Thursday, 24 December 2015

The Boys from Bavaria

Hinton Hunt Bavarian Line Infantry
The 4th Line on Parade
It's nearly ten o'clock on Christmas Eve. Wellington Girl has gone to bed, the Christmas deserts and gratin dauphinois are in the fridge, and the 4th Line Infantry are all but complete! A very productive day all round.

Impossible Bavarian Flag Number Two was indeed rather tricky as it took me quite a while to work out how to offset the lozenges in a sufficiently psychedelic fashion. However, it was definitely worth the effort, not least because it helps to hide some of the imperfections of flag number one!

Merry Christmas to everyone from Wellington.

WM

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Wellington Girl demonstrates the proper way
 to create a regiment
After eight years in NZ I still haven't got used to Christmas in the Summer time. There's a lot to be said for it, however. For one thing, the most delightful and yummy things are just coming into season.

What a weird and wonderful year it's been. It's now exactly twelve months since I started this project, and I'm amazed I've managed to stay the course. It's been a bit of a shock to the family too. I don't think anyone expected Dad's occasional whimsical murmurings about playing with toy soldiers again to go quite this far.

The 17th Santas prepare to advance. I don't fancy their
chances somehow.
Wellington Girl decided to celebrate the occasion by making a regiment of her own. They fought valiantly at tea time, but the odds were overwhelming.

Merry Christmas and all the very best for the New Year to all those who have enjoyed this blog, and a special thanks to those who provided me with so many words of encouragement, and much else besides. There will be many more good things to come, I promise, in 2016!

WM

There just might be some Hinton Hunts in amongst that lot!

Friday, 18 December 2015

Bavarian Variations

Steve has sent me some wonderful photos of a Bavarian unit he completed a few years ago. Included among them were absolutely stunning drummer, standard bearer and (best of all!) pioneer conversions.




Steve's solution to the helmet-plumes-where-none-should-be problem was to remove them.

The main reason I haven't also removed the plumes on the Bavarian battalion I'm working on is that I was too afraid I'd make a mess of it!

I suspect there are several schools of thought on this issue of conversions. To what extent should figures be modified? Converting or modifying figures is a tradition as old as wargaming. However, in changing the figures we also lose some of their original meaning and all sorts of other information about the designer, manufacturer and the era in which they were made. On the other hand, information about the person who converted the figure is added. It's something I think about every time I do one of my own conversions.

Comments most welcome!

WM

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Bavarian Blues 2

Hinton Hunt Bavarian Line Infantry
The 4th form up.

I really wasn't planning to do any more Bavarians at the moment, but having started them I just couldn't resist. The result is two companies of the 4th Line Infantry Regiment, with two more companies on the way.

The figures are:

1 x Hinton Hunt BVN 1: Bavarian infantry officer, charging;
8 x Hinton Hunt BVN 4: Bavarian infantry private, charging;
2 x Der Kriegspielers DK 174: Bavarian Infantry, at the ready (converted); and

last, but not least, a conversion of Der Kriegspielers DK 7: French Infantry Command 1809, drummer.

Hinton Hunt Bavarian Line Infantry
Drumming up the new recruits.

Hinton Hunt Bavarian Line Infantry
Er...a few too many sausages, perhaps?
Hinton Hunt Bavarian Line Infantry
Impossible Bavarian flag  number 2 is still in production.
An interesting feature of the BVN 4 figures is that a few of them are a bit ....er...wider than the others. Something went a bit wonky during casting, I suspect. However, they line up with their slimmer brethren well enough.

I'm a bit stumped about what colour to paint the helmet plumes. All of Marcus Hinton's Bavarian line infantry have them, despite the fact that it was only the the grenadier and chasseur companies that actually wore them. The plumes, therefore, should either be red or green. However, I wanted to represent fusilier companies in the centre of my battalion, so I painted them white. Transgressive, isn't it...!

The rest of the battalion should be appearing at some point during Christmas, I hope.

Auf wiedersehen,

WM




Friday, 4 December 2015

Prussian 10-Mile Snipers

Hinton Hunt Prussian Artillery
My DK  French gunners positively demanded a Prussian response, and so here it is.

The figures are Hinton Hunt Prussian field artillery:

PN 33: Gunner, holding cannon ball;
PN 32: Gunner with rammer;
PN 31: Gunner with porte-fire; and
PN 30: Officer, looking through spy-glass. 
Hinton Hunt Prussian ArtilleryHaving said that, I have a vague suspicion that the officer may actually be a Der Kriegspieler. Whatever the case, he's an absolutely corking figure. He really looks as if he's spotted something interesting!

The gun is completely mysterious, being devoid of markings and assembled from a box of various artillery bits that may or may not have originally belonged together. Although the barrel and the carriage appear to go together, I'm not at all sure about the wheels. Nevertheless, the final assemblage seems to work together quite well.

Hinton Hunt Prussian Artillery
It's rather heftier than the French Warrior guns, so could possibly be fielded as a 12-pounder!
WM

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

A Standard for the 2nd Silesians

Hinton Hunt PN 17: Prussian Landwehr Officer, Conversion
I present the standard of the 11th (2nd Silesian) Infantry Regiment.

It was painted as a thank-you to Roy. A lot of the things on this blog simply wouldn't have happened if it hadn't been for Roy's encouragement.

The flag is being born aloft, as is only fitting, by another of Roy's splendidly executed conversions. The original, in this case, was a Hinton Hunt PN 17: Prussian Landwehr Officer, charging.

My apologies to Roy for the delay. It took me three attempts to get it right! Is it just me, or is silver more difficult to paint with than other types of metallics?

WM

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Bavarian Blues

Der Kriegspielers DK 174: Bavarian Line Infantry
I'm going to be busy with other things over the next few days, so this week's post is a few days early.

My commission is still not complete, and the reason for it is not totally unrelated to this chap.

The sad truth of it is that I've been captured by a horde of Bavarians. As they're going to require rather a lot of flags, I thought I'd better better find out whether trying to paint my own was going to be feasible. I should, perhaps, have found this out before succumbing to them.

Der Kriegspielers DK 174: Bavarian Line InfantrySo here is my first attempt. The figure is a Der Kriegspielers DK 174: Bavarian Line Infantry, at the Ready. I chose him because his musket was broken off at the hand and thus the prospect of removing the rest of it would be altogether less traumatic. I don't think I'd really have the nerve to hack into a perfectly serviceable figure.

I think there's definitely room for improvement!

I promise that there will be no more mucking about until I've completed the commission.

WM

Saturday, 21 November 2015

A Whiff of Grapeshot

Der Kriegspielers DK 22: French Line Artillery, 1809
The small commission I'm working on is not quite ready to put on show, but all is not lost as the French artillery detachment I've been working on alongside it is almost complete. I decided to have a go at these as something was clearly required to deal with all those pesky Prussian cavalry

Der Kriegspielers DK 22: French Line Artillery, 1809Three of the figures are Der Kriegspielers DK 22: French Line Artillery, 1809. The fourth man holding the rammer, however, is rather more unique, being a conversion of the Hinton Hunt figure FN 254: French Line Infantry Voltigeur 1807-1812, charging. Roy very kindly supplied this man as part of a swap for the Young Guard Voltiguers I painted for him earlier this year


The gun they are serving is a French 8 pounder which the chaps over at Warrior confirm was manufactured by them. I'm undecided about whether or not to repaint it, but may leave it as it is as the paint job is not too bad. I'm also not at all sure about what I would use for French Artillery Green as Humbrol doesn't seem to make this colour any more!

WM


Der Kriegspielers DK 22: French Line Artillery, 1809
Der Kriegspielers DK 22: French Line Artillery, 1809


Friday, 13 November 2015

Prussian Garde du Corps

Der Kriegspielers DK 143 Prussian Garde du Corps
DK 143 at the gallop
The First Squadron, Prussian Garde du Corps, are complete.

As the castings I need to finish the Leib Hussars are still in the post I should really press on with the second squadron.

Der Kriegspielers DK 143 Prussian Garde du Corps
A fine body of men
However, there is to be yet another pause in Prussian cavalry production while I deal with another wee project. All will be revealed in the next post.....

In the meantime, I've combined the hussar and garde squadrons to give an impression of what either of the completed regiments might look like. It's making the French rather nervous.

WM



Prussian Cavalry Charge
Vive la France!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Alberken Interlude

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio....
Although work continues on the Prussian Garde du Corps (and the hussars too, when I can get some more), I haven't got anything to show at the moment apart from an intriguing little bit of wargaming history.

Alberken FN 21: Old Guard Grenadiers
Pristine in their shininess! Never been out of the box, I'd say
Pictured is a box of Alberken toy soldiers. I'd heard tell from the wonderful The Old Metal Detector blog and from a few other sources that Alberken (later to become Minifigs) had originally sold their ranges in boxes of ready-painted soldiers, so I was delighted to find a real example of something that is probably quite rare these days. What also made them fun was that they seem to have been produced at more or less the very moment that Alberken of Newark in Nottinghamshire became Miniature Figurines of Southampton.







Alberken FN 21: Old Guard Grenadiers
..and so they emerge, blinking, into the sunlight!
The other reason I bought it was that the troops inside were French Old Guard Grenadiers (Alberken code FN 21), which you can never have too many of in my book. However, having got them out and had a look at them, I find that I don't have the heart to strip them down and repaint them. Before I came to New Zealand I was a military museum curator (which is just about the best job in the world, by the way, as long as you're not too fussed about trying to get a mortgage), and such an act would be sacrilege to a museum professional. What is more, despite being about 50 years old, they appear to be in absolutely mint condition. I wish I could say the same.

Alberken FN 21: Old Guard Grenadiers
That strange tubular object is a pistol, I think!
Click on the pictures for a closer look.

Although the poses seem to be unique to Alberken, it is instantly clear why the appearance of this range led to the most almighty copyright row with Hinton Hunt.

Alberken FN 21: Old Guard Grenadiers
Rare, interesting and  completely useless!
However, I think it's fair to say that they're not up to the Hinton Hunt standard. I've learnt from experience that there is often a lot more detail once the paint is off, but in this case I suspect that there is probably not all that much to be found!

So, not the solution to my Old Guard Grenadier shortage, but little charmers all the same.

WM


Saturday, 24 October 2015

Prussian Rearmament

Der Kriegspielers DK 143: Prussian Guard Cuirassier
Worth a try. There'll be no árm in it!
I've been forced  to take a break from the Leib Hussars for a while due to the belated realisation that I was a couple of castings short. Reinforcements are on the way, but in the meantime I'm cracking on with another unit of Prussian cavalry. I'm hoping that it'll help me get over my cavalry aversion, which lingers on despite having completed three squadrons.

Der Kriegspielers DK 143: Prussian Guard Cuirassier
The implement of triumph or disaster approaches....
The unit I've chosen is the Prussian Garde du Corps. There were several reasons for this: it would give me much-needed experience in painting white uniforms; it would brighten up my otherwise sombre-looking horde of Prussian blue meanies; and it would give me another chance to play with the soldering iron. The figures I have for this regiment are 12 x DK 143: Prussian Guard Cuirassier.

Until a few weeks ago my only experience of soldering was a week's work experience in about 1982. The job was to remove components from old circuit boards. It taught which was the hot end, but not much else.

Having tackled the Swiss musket butt conundrum by simply constructing them out of blobs of solder, the next thing to work out was how to re-attach things that had broken off. I'd absolutely no idea how to do this before I started, so what follows was entirely experimental.

Der Kriegspielers DK 143: Prussian Gaurd Cuirassier
Just before I became entirely too overconfident!
As the pictures show, the problem in this case was how to re-attach a broken arm. There was no obvious way to do this apart for holding it next to the casting, applying heat and solder and then seeing what happened next.

What I thought I would try to do was "paint" a little bit of solder over the join with the tip of the iron, in the hope it would sort of seep into the crack and bind the two parts together. At first this seemed to go rather well. What is not pictured is what happened next, which was the sudden attachment of an enormous blob of solder over the join. This immediately set hard and looked impossible to get off without melting half the figure.

Der Kriegspielers DK 143: Prussian Guard Cuirassier
The patient (on the right) is restored
The only thing for it was to set to with a craft knife and a file to see if I could could get something at least vaguely resembling the original arm. It took about 15 minutes, but the result, I'm very glad to say, repaid the effort. The new arm even seems to be rather stronger than the original. All my DK guardsmen have been cast with a distinct "nick" in their sword arms which is definitely a bit of a weak spot. If you click-to-embiggen the last photo showing the old and the new side by side you'll see what I mean.

The next thing, of course, was to paint him. He was rather fiddlier to do than the hussars due to his much more complicated fixtures and fittings. The completed regiment, I'm hoping, will look quite fetching.

Der Kriegspielers DK 143: Prussian Guard Cuirassier
I got away with it, but more though luck than judgement!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Preußische Piraten

HInton Hunt PN 85: Prussian Hussar
PN 85: Prussian Hussars, One Piece Casting
The first squadron, (or is it one and half squadrons?) of the 2nd Leib Hussars are nearly complete. The second batch of six, I hope, will not be too far behind.

The question of squadron size has been pre-occupying me a lot lately. Although six-figure squadrons really look the part, in terms of figure ratios they may be a little excessive. Given that the infantry battalions have a ratio in the region of 1:33, six-figure squadrons represent almost 200 men,

Another reason for  adopting a four-figure squadron standard is that most of my cavalry are Der Kriegspielers, which tend to come in groups of eight as it was in packets of eight that they were originally marketed.

The problem with four-figure squadrons, on the other hand, is that they look a little too weedy!

The solution, perhaps, would be to adopt a variable squadron size depending on how many figures are available. It would certainly be the most economical way of using of the figures.

WM








Saturday, 10 October 2015

General de Diversion

Hinton Hunt FN 224: French General
Hinton Hunt FN 224: French General
One of the reasons why my Prussian hussars are proceeding so slowly is that I've allowed myself to be distracted by another one of Old John's very nicely produced Hinton Hunt recasts: in this case FN 224: French General. I was meant to be doing him in tandem with the hussars, but he somehow managed to take over....

Hinton Hunt FN 224: French GeneralFN 224 must be one of the most famous (and most commonly found) of the Hinton Hunt personality figures. The reason for this must be because he is so endlessly adaptable. Not only can he be made to represent a French brigade, division or corps commander, but by using slightly different colour schemes he can also stand in for one of the many French satellite contingent commanders. As I only have the one, however, I've decided to put him charge of my Frenchmen.

I managed to give him a nice dark coat by liberally washing him down with humbrol black. The lighter blue highlighting, however, may have been a little too subtle.

I'm not sure exactly who he's going to be just yet, but General D'Erlon, the commander of I Corps at Waterloo, is in the lead at the moment.

As for the hussars, I hope to have something to show by next week. I'm very keen to get them done so that I can get started on something altogether more spectacular...

All the best

WM


Friday, 2 October 2015

Huzzah Hussars

It's been a slow few weeks on the painting front as my hobby time has been mostly devoted to experiments in soldering bayonets onto broken muskets, of which more in later posts.

However, I couldn't put off the cavalry forever, so opted for what I hoped would be some fairly simple Prussian Leib Hussars. I also really wanted to have a go at painting the rather menacing-looking Totenkopf badges worn by the Regiment onto their shako covers. The result is positively piratical.

Pictured is the single test figure I've completed so far, painted to represent a trooper of the 2nd Leib Hussars. I chose the 2nd Regiment mostly because I liked their red shoulder straps. However, the fact that a few squadrons were also present at Waterloo had something to do with it.

The figure is a very tidy John Cunningham recast of Hinton Hunt PN 85: Prussian Hussar, Charging. He's the first of what is intended to be a 12-figure regiment. I haven't fixed on a standard squadron size yet, but am leaning towards 4-figure squadrons rather than 6 as its easier to find 4-figure multiples than 6.

More hussars should follow in the next post.

WM