Thursday, 29 December 2016

Old Chestnuts

Christmas came early in the Wellington Man household, heralded by the arrival at astonishing speed of the Archduke's guard dragoon reinforcements. I am at a loss to explain how this happened. Wasn't there supposed to be a postal strike going on or something? Whatever the case, it means I've been able to squeeze in one more post for 2016.

Thanks to the Archduke my Guard Dragoons are now over 80% Hinton Hunts and what would otherwise have been a rather weedy Der Kriegspieler squadron is now something altogether more intimidating. The best chestnuts are the old chestnuts, ladies and gentlemen.

So, without further ado, here are the results:

To recap, the figures are:

Hinton Hunt FN 60 Empresses Dragoons x 10, with various repairs and conversions; and
Der Kriegspielers 48: Guard Dragoons x 2

The DKs are not actually all that bad. The main differences are in the position of their swords, the left forelegs on their horses and, weirdly, the details of their pistol holsters. These are already rather strangely modelled on the Hinton Hunts. On the nearside of the Hinton Hunts there are three overlapping holster covers, but on the offside there appear to be only two, or perhaps three rather oversized versions. The DKs, on the other hand, have only two on the nearside and three on the offside. It was doing my head in for a while, I can tell you. The pictures below should show what I mean a little more clearly:

Left: Der Kriegspieler 48
Right: Hinton Hunt FN 60

Left: Der Kriegspieler 48
Right: Hinton Hunt FN 60

My first French cavalry brigade is finally complete!

Happy New Year everyone. I have to stay that mine has got off to a flying start, and it hasn't even started yet.


Thank you Archduke. *Cough*.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Hintonstein's Monster

Er....there's been a slight delay to the Empress Dragoons due to the wrong kind of figures on the production line. Painting will resume with the arrival of yet more Hinton Hunt replacements. These are even now winging their way across the globe, courtesy of the Archduke!

This should have been the perfect opportunity to crack on with my final French battery, but what I ended up doing instead was obsessing about something else entirely. This was: what to you do when you're one figure short of a regiment of Chasseurs and all you've got is a ropy old Lamming French hussar officer, a spare Hinton Hunt horse and box full of unwanted Scruby, Hinchliffe and Minifigs bits and bobs?

And the answer, two very nervous weeks later, was:

an officer of the Chasseurs à Cheval de la Garde Impériale. 

Mrs WM, on the other hand, refers to him as the "Essex Hussar", but then she's like that.

It was the horse, of course, which was the really nerve-wracking bit as I had to detach him from his base and reposition one of the hind legs in order to get him to rear up properly, as well as more or less completely reconstruct his left foreleg. I had to resort to a bit of Scruby assistance for the last part.

The hat is a Hinchliffe creation with the original Lamming French officer's plume grafted onto it.

He's not quite the Théodore Géricault masterpiece I had in my mind's eye, but he'll definitely fill the gap.

As this is likely to be the last Hintonspieler post for 2016, it only remains for me to say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


With sincere apologies to Géricault .
Note to self: don't try to get a job as a Photoshop artist.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Here be Dragons

My first squadron of Hinton Hunt Dragons de l'Imperatrice are ready for their photo session.

They required a lot of preparation as they were covered in a thick coat of house paint which took a week in the dettol jar to get off, only to reveal some very flashy and bashed-about castings underneath. They made my heart sink a bit when I first saw them. The swords, muskets and aiguillettes on all but one of the troopers had been either cut away or otherwise damaged, but in a way this was an advantage as I could take my drill and soldering iron to them without too many qualms! The results are quite pleasing, I think, as no two are completely alike.

First up are the officer and the standard bearer. Both have had their muskets removed and been given new aiguillettes on their right shoulders and fringed epaullettes on their left. I also contemplated removing their portmanteaus, but my nerve failed at that point!

The standard bearer's original arm had been severed at the elbow and replaced with a bit of scrap lead, so the only thing to do was to replace it altogether with another one of John Cunnigham's very useful recast lancer arms. The flag is made from another bit of that wonderfully thin piece of brass donated by my neighbour, Richard. The eagle comes from an old Minifigs guardsman that I found in a local junk shop.

In the next photo the troopers on the left and in the centre were also missing their aiguillettes, so I replaced these too. I rather like the effect of seeing them flying about in different directions.

The second squadron are on the painting table and I'm very pleased to report will now be a mixture of Der Kriegspielers and Hinton Hunts. This is thanks to a very generous donation by the Archduke.

His Royal Highness also sent me this beautifully realised self portrait. It commemorates the moment, he tells me, when he personally seized the colour of a faltering infantry regiment at the Battle of Aspern-Essling and ran forwards with it to great morale boosting effect. Now that is classy!

The Archduke himself!
Until the next time,


Saturday, 19 November 2016

The Duellist

What with earthquakes and so forth, I haven't got quite as far with the first squadron of the Empress Dragoons as I'd hoped. However, I have finished their commander. He is Général de Division Phillipe-Antoine d'Ornano, who was a colonel of the Empress Dragoons from 1813 to 1815.

The figure I've used for him is a vintage Hinton Hunt FN 362: General Baraguey d'Hilliers, Colonel General of Dragoons. He was missing his horse (which should have been an FNH 10), so the mount I've given him instead is an FNH 2: French Guard Heavy Cavalry Horse, which was kindly donated by Hans. I've modified it slightly to turn it into an officer's horse by removing the portmanteau.

Born in Corsica on 1784, d'Ornano was a cousin of Napoleon's and served with distinction as a cavalry officer, fighting at Austerlitz and Jena. In 1808 he was made a Count of the Empire and spent the next few years in Spain and Portugal where he was promoted to général de brigade  at the battle of Fuentes de Onoro.

In 1812 d'Ornano took part in the Russian campaign. At Borodino he charged the enemy at the head of the cavalry of IV Corps, for which he was promoted to général de division. During the retreat he was wounded and left for dead but he clearly got out of Russia somehow as in 1813 he became a major colonel of the Empress Dragoons and would go on to fight at Dresden, Kulm, Leipzig, and Hanau.

When Napoleon returned to power in 1815 d'Ornano was placed in charge of the Empress Dragoons, but his hot-headedness prevented him from taking part in the Waterloo campaign. When General Bonet refused to salute him, d'Ornano considered himself insulted and the result was a duel.

There are various versions about what happened next, but it seems that the duel was fought on two consecutive days and ended when d'Ornano was gravely wounded. Bonet, it is said, was saved by a 5 franc coin in his pocket, which deflected d'Ornano's bullet.

D'Ornano eventually recovered from his wound and was briefly married to Napoleon's former mistress, Marie Walewska, with whom he had a son before her untimely death in 1817. D'Ornano himself lived until 1863. His descendants went on to found a perfume empire!


Saturday, 12 November 2016

Dressed to Empress

Hinton Hunt FN 60: Empress's Dragoons
What with the arrival of Cambronne and the Chasseurs à pied, it seemed logical that the next regiment to mobilise should be cavalry of the Guard. When they're complete all I'll need to complete the Phase One French are a battery of artillery and one of Rob's splendid teams, plus a general or two.

The figures I have for the latest unit are six each of Hinton Hunt and Der Kriespielers Empress Dragoons. The Hinton Hunts were all grizzled veterans of many a battle, and had suffered a bit, so were ripe for a bit of conversion.

Hinton Hunt FN 60: Empress's Dragoons
The figure pictured here is a conversion of Hinton Hunt FN 60: French Empresses Dragoons of the Guard, in handsome brass helmet with flowing horse-tail plume, in green coat and top boots (mounted) charging.

His sword arm had been replaced by a very ugly bit of scrap lead, so there was nothing for it but to cut this off and replace it with a new arm, in this case donated by a Lamming cuirassier trumpeter I picked up from somewhere.

I also had to remove his musket, ammunition pouch and shoulder strap, and give him a new set of  aiguillettes. It took a few goes to get these all to attach properly, but I got there in the end.

Some proper green-coated troopers should be appearing in the next post.

Have a great weekend,


Saturday, 29 October 2016

CàP in Hand

The Chasseurs à Pied are ready, and I'm even prepared to admit that I'm quite chuffed with them.

Only two paint conversions were required to turn my Dutch grenadiers into Chasseurs: a change to their cuffs to make them pointy, and an extra little tassel on their bearskins.

They were easier to paint than ordinary line infantry, although I complicated things a bit by giving them their full-dress, summer gaiters. The original plan was to paint these black as I'd noticed that wargamers tend to paint their Chasseurs in a rather grungy, campaign-stained style, no doubt as a way of adding a bit of variety to their otherwise pristine guard divisions. When I saw the effect of the white gaiters on my test figure, however, I was hooked.

I was hoping that finishing this battalion would cure my very long-standing desire for French guardsmen for the time being, but I'm wondering what they'd look like in white and red as Dutch grenadiers now!


Der Kriegspielers DK 220 Chasseurs a Pied of the Imperial Guard

Der Kriegspielers DK 220 Chasseurs a Pied of the Imperial Guard

Der Kriegspielers DK 220 Chasseurs a Pied of the Imperial Guard

Der Kriegspielers DK 220 Chasseurs a Pied of the Imperial Guard

Der Kriegspielers DK 220 Chasseurs a Pied of the Imperial Guard

Der Kriegspielers DK 220 Chasseurs a Pied of the Imperial Guard

Friday, 21 October 2016

Head Hunted

As I'm halfway through my latest regiment, it's time for another Hinton Hunt personality figure.

The Archduke guessed who he was going to be. He is Pierre Jacques Étienne Cambronne. At Waterloo he was a maréchal de camp (an archaic title for General de Brigade) in command of the first regiment of the Chasseurs à pied of the Imperial Guard.

In 1815, at the age of 45, Cambronne was a veteran of 23 years, having served in the campaigns of Jena, Spain, Russia and1813 and 1814. Starting as a humble grenadier, he rose steadily through the ranks of the Imperial Guard. In 1814 he commanded the battalion of guardsmen that accompanied Napoleon to exile and was rewarded with the title of Viscount when Napoleon returned to power.

The Emperor's offer of promotion to General de Division, however, was refused by the typically self-effacing Cambronne. It was thus with a relatively modest colonel's command (which, as a guardsmen, required him to have general's rank) that Cambronne fought at Waterloo.

Cambronne entered into legend when it was said that he heroically refused to surrender his regiment after it was surrounded at the end of the battle. His legendary reply when summoned to lay down his arms was: "the Guard dies but does not surrender!" Some sources say that it was altogether briefer and more direct.

The exact circumstances, however, are disputed, as Cambronne didn't die and did surrender! Anglo-German accounts insist that he was captured by Sir Hugh Halkett, the commander of the 3rd Hanoverian Brigade. Halkett claimed that he seized the wounded Cambronne by one of his epaulettes and physically dragged back behind British lines.

The figure is Hinton Hunt FN 367: General Cambronne, in general's uniform and cocked hat on foot, with drawn sword and waving arm. He was, until very recently, the only French personality figure I was missing. Hans, however, has very kindly donated him so that I could complete the set.

Marcus Hinton evidently preferred the legendary version of Cambronne and depicted him much as he appeared in the famous print by Hippolyte Bellange. In Bellange's work, Cambronne is grasping the tricolour, surrounded by his defiant guardsmen. My attempt to re-stage this stirring scene is in the last shot.


Cambronne at Waterloo, after Bellange.

Cambronne at Waterloo, after Marcus Hinton.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Head Hunters

Der Kriegspielers DK 20 Chasseurs à pied command group

The DK 20 command group for my Chasseurs à pied (literally "Hunters on foot", in English) is ready for inspection.

I've had an ambition to paint a battalion of French Imperial guardsmen for as long as I can remember, so I've been beavering away during the weekday evenings to get them done.

Der Kriegspielers DK 20 Chasseurs à pied command group

The flag is my attempt to produce the 1812 pattern infantry flag. It's a little impressionistic as I couldn't quite squeeze everything on to it! I can't help thinking that the Imperial symbols down the sides look just bit too much like Chinese characters, but they ought to be OK when viewed from a distance.

I have a special commander for these chaps! All will be revealed in the next post....



Saturday, 8 October 2016

If the CàP fits....

How does one say thank you? You know, properly, in a sincere and manly way, without sounding like a gushing nitwit?

In New Zealand, the land of stunning understatement, the approved method is to stare at your feet, take a deep breath, and then very rapidly mutter "aaaawww, cheers mate" in a deep, gravelly and barely audible manner, followed by coughing.

It's a massive problem for me. I'm continually being humbled by the industrial-strength generosity of complete strangers who read my blog and then send me treasures beyond all imagining. The torture is refined when they absolutely refuse to take anything in return.

The latest Wellington Man-humbler is Rob. Rob doesn't collect Hinton Hunts, so when he acquired some when he was really after something else, he sent his unwanted surplus to me. Here's a picture of them.

The figures are Hinton Hunt:

FN 36: French Artillery Driver x 9
H 3: French (nearside) Gun Horse x 9
H4: French (offside) Gun Horse x 9

There's enough there for four gun teams, with a pair to spare. Rob also threw in spare muskets sufficient to equip a battalion and a couple of SHQ French 12 pdrs (not pictured) for good measure.

Not only did Rob fill a gap, but he also solved a problem, which was how to finish off the Phase One French. I was dithering about this something terrible the whole time I was painting the 7th Lancers.

Once I was able to get up close and personal  with the FN 36s, I could see that they are actually guard artillery drivers! Their tall plumes, fancy waistcoats and dainty little hussar boots leave no room for doubt. Now, it just so happen that I have a Hinton Hunt Foot Artillery of the Guard set to go with them, and some infantry that I've been dying to paint up as guardsmen for ages.

My guard infantry are Der Kriegslpielers 220: Dutch Grenadier Battalion, Defending. As soon as I saw these I knew they'd do very well as Old Guard Chasseurs à Pied. All they needed was a little paint conversion on the cuffs. Readers may remember that I also used a few of these for my Swiss battalion.

Progress to date is pictured below, with the Swiss grenadier versions included by way of comparison.

Commanding them will be three really splendid examples from the Der Kriegspielers set number 20: French Guard Infantry Command. This set included both Chasseur and Grenadier variants. Pictured below are the Chasseur marching officer, standard bearer and drummer. Their bases are marked: "CHASS 20", which is rather helpful.

Yes, I know, it's not exactly "painting them as intended", which I've been a bit pious about in the past. However, I have another battalion, and they really are going to be Dutch Grenadiers!

The last three shots were supplied by Rob. They show his breathtakingly magnificent Spencer Smiths, complete with his superb hand-made buildings and terrain. Rob even supplied some of the plans. The bridges explode, and the buildings lift up to reveal ruins beneath! Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

 Aaaww, cheers mate. *cough*


EDIT: As LewisGunner reveals in his comments below, the Artillery Drivers are actually Hinton Hunt FN 188 rather than FN 36 as I originally assumed.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Riding the Tiger

My Polish lancers are in need of a colonel, so the figure I've selected is the most Polish-looking figure I could find. He is, of course, none other than Prince Joachim Murat, Marshal, Admiral, Duke of Cleve-Berg and King of Naples.

Prince Charming, Prince Charming...
The figure is the David Clayton version of Hinton Hunt FN 351: Prince Murat, in plumed "lancer" cap & fur trimmed braided coat, seated upon horse FNH 11.

He's painted exactly as recommended in Marcus Hinton's painting instructions, which state that it was the costume Murat wore during the Russian campaign of 1812. Judging from the contemporary iconography, however, I suspect it more closely resembles the uniform Murat wore during the Polish campaign of 1807. Dazzled by the ecstatic public reception he had received on entering Warsaw, Murat began to fancy himself as the next Polish king and dressed himself accordingly. Napoleon, however, failed to take the hint, telling him: "Go and put on your proper uniform; you look like a clown".

Murat's reputation as a dandy with an eye for the main chance was more than made up for by his flashes of brilliance as a cavalry commander. His bravery, however, tended towards recklessness. It was a character flaw that would eventually lead to his execution by a Neapolitan firing squad in 1815. Having fallen from the tiger, Murat simply couldn't resist climbing back on again and making a reckless attempt to regain his throne.

...Ridicule is nothing to be scared of.!

I was quite daunted by the this figure when I first saw him as it required so many elements that I haven't attempted before. I also spent a very long time gazing at photographs of tigers!


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 I 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