Sunday, 31 July 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!

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!


EDIT: The deadline for offers has passed.

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.


Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Enigma Variations

The Archduke has sent me some photos of his enigmatic Hinton Hunt variations, but before getting to them I thought a few establishing shots of what they almost certainly are not are in order, if only to put them out of contention.

The first two shots are what I believe to be the DK and Alberken variations on Hinton Hunt FN 2: French Line Grenadier, charging. As in my previous post, in each shot the Hinton Hunt is in the centre, the DK on the left and the Alberken on the right.

The DK and Alberken figures are:

Der Kriegspielers DK 10: French Line Infantry 1812, receiving; and
Alberken  FN 29: French Line Fusilier, On Guard.

DK 10, HH FN 2 and  Alberken FN 29
Rear view
The DK, in my view, is a clear derivation from the Hinton Hunt. If one looks very carefully it's even possible to make out the traces of the cross belt that would have supported his sabre briquet and bayonet scabbards, all now removed in order to turn him into a fusilier. Unfortunately I don't have the DK 10E ('elite') grenadier/voltigeur variant, if there is such a thing. A DK 10E would have been a particularly interesting comparison, so if anybody has one, please send me a photo!

The Alberken also sports a fair few similarities, particularly in terms of legs and left arm positions, but also has some distinctions of his own. His knapsack, for example, is really rather different.

While I was sorting through the figures I also noticed that not all of the Hinton Hunt FN2s were identical. Pictured below are the two variations I discovered. The main differences are in the head, arm, musket and leg positions.

As will be seen below, the Archduke's splendidly painted examples are something else altogether! When I first saw them I thought they must be DKs (those hanging musket slings, you see), but the Archduke tells me that they are far too heavyweight and far too finely detailed to be DKs, and on studying them I can see his point.

Conventional HH FN 3 in the background, mystery variant in the foregound

HH FN 2 in front, mystery variant in the rear
Has anyone else seen anything quite like these before? Hinton Hunts or something else?


Saturday, 9 July 2016

A Pinch of Soult

Hinton Hunt FN 357: Marshal Soult
Marshal Soult, after Marcus Hinton
I've calculated that I need to paint a general with every unit left to do in my phase-one French army if I'm to match the Prussians. The plan is to start them at the half-way point of each unit. This acts as a very effective incentive to get things done!

This would have been a little hard to do a few months ago, but is achievable now because I've recently acquired a beautiful set of almost all the French general staff figures. I think they're probably mainly David Clayton castings.

The figure I've chosen to do first is Hinton Hunt FN 357: Marshal Soult, on horse FNH 10: French general officer's horse.

Marshal Soult
Marshal Soult, after Jean Broc

I chose him for two reasons. Firstly, which will come as no surprise to anyone, is his magnificent uniform! It's a beautiful representation, complete with marshal's baton, of the portrait of Soult dressed as a Colonel-General of Chasseurs which was commissioned by Napoleon to hang in the Tuileries Palace in Paris.

The second reason is that he'll remind me that I really need to get some French Guard infantry completed before too long!

However, there's that combined voltiguers battalion to do first, which should follow soon.


Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Turning Up the Voltage

It's not all been vintage Napoleonic reviews and battles in the last few weeks, I've also been doing some actual painting.

As I have rather a lot of Frenchmen to paint in order to catch up with the Prussians, I thought I'd start with the biggest job first, which is the battalion of skirmishers I need to take on all those Silesian Schutzen. A few of the French line infantry voltigeurs I've found for this gig are pictured below:

Vintage Napoleonic French Line Infantry
DK and Hinton Hunt Voltigeurs

The figures (from left to right) are:

Der Kriegspielers, DK 12: French line infantry 1812, Légère battalion, firing;

Hinton Hunt, FN 3: French line infantry 1812-15, grenadier, firing, and

Hinton Hunt, FN 1: French line infantry 1812-15, officer, charging.

Although the DK is not an exact match for the Hinton Hunt, and lacks many of the crisper details, he's not all that far off. I think they'll work reasonably well together in a unit.

Vintage Napoleonic French Line Infantry
A certain family resemblance!

As it happens, I've managed to get hold of a fair number of Hinton Hunt and other types of French infantry recently, so a few more comparisons follow. The figures in each case are Der Kriegspielers on the left, Hinton Hunt in the centre and Alberken on the right.

Vintage Napoleonic French Line Infantry
The extra DK on the left is an interesting variant of DK 12. Alberken FN 28 on the right.
The Alberken pictured above on the right is: FN 28: French Napoleonic infantry, grenadier, firing. He's a very good match for the Hinton Hunt in almost all respects except one - a rather horribly malformed right arm that doesn't attach to the rest of his body very convincingly at all!

Next up is a selection of charging/advancing figures:

Vintage Napoleonic French Line Infantry
Some more close cousins....
The figures are:

Der Kriegspielers, DK 9: French line infantry 1812, advancing;

Hinton Hunt FN 5: French line infantry 1812-15, fusilier, charging; and

Alberken FN 30: French Napoleonic infantry, fusilier, advancing.

The Alberken is noticeably taller and chunkier than the others, and lacks the finer detailing of either the HH or the DK. However, I think they'd all look quite good together on the same tabletop.

Pictured last is the same group again but with something completely different: a Garrison FN 7: French Fusilier, advancing. which I just couldn't resist painting up as a test figure.

....and a different lineage altogether!

Garrison only ever produced a quite small range of 25mm Napoleonics, but I've always admired them. Masses of them routinely appear in early wargaming publications, where they look absolutely stunning. As I have enough for a whole battalion I'm sorely tempted to have a go at them after I've finished the voltigeurs. After all, this is supposed to be a blog about "Hinton Hunt, Der Kriegspieler and other vintage Napoleonic Figures"!


Update: As MS Foy points out in his comments, that should be Garrison 20mm Napoleonics, and not 25mm. Doh!

Friday, 1 July 2016

The Battle of La Rothière

It's high time I posted a few pictures of some of the amazing vintage Napoleonics that I saw during my recent travels overseas.

Part of my trip was spent visiting friends and family in the UK. They live all over the country these days, so I hired a car and took to the road. As a certain Roy B (aka Lewisgunner) was on my route, I asked him if he would like to have a visitor and to my very great delight he not only said yes but also invited me to take part in the most spectacular Hinton Hunt war game.

The two sides were the French, commanded by Ian (Stryker) S, with me as his 2IC in charge of the right; and the Coalition, with Roy and Stuart C commanding an enormous force of Russians, Austrians and Bavarians. The fight was to be the Battle La Rothière of 1 February 1814, one of the opening battles of the Campaign de France.

It was an inauspicious start to the campaign. The strategic situation was that Napoleon, with a relatively weak force, had blundered into an army of Austrians, Bavarians and Russians of over twice the size. Napoleon's overconfident advance thus became a desperate defence in which simply securing time to organise an orderly retreat became his main the objective.

I took zillions of photos, but they really didn't do proper justice to Roy's stunning collection.

Hinton Hunt Vintage Napoleonic Battle
Setting up. I rather foolishly deployed my battalions into straight lines,
 They looked lovely, but made the perfect target for...

Hinton Hunt Vintage Napoleonic Battle
Stuart's massive  grand battery on the hill directly opposite.

Hinton Hunt Vintage Napoleonic Battle
Ian, meanwhile, prepared for a defence in depth on the extreme left flank.

Hinton Hunt Vintage Napoleonic Battle
The mighty massed ranks of Russians and Austrians in the Coalition
centre prepared to advance

Hinton Hunt Vintage Napoleonic Battle
While on their right, facing Ian, marched the Bavarians

Hinton Hunt Vintage Napoleonic Battle
Realising my mistake, I awkwardly tried to redeploy towards the centre,
 being raked by Stuart's guns all the while.

Hinton Hunt Vintage Napoleonic Battle
It was left to the cavalry to defend the flank. Thus began a swirling cavalry battle,
 beginning with the heavies...

Hinton Hunt Vintage Napoleonic Battle
....and finishing with the lights, where thanks to a run of
ridiculously favourable dice throws...

Hinton Hunt Vintage Napoleonic Battle
....the French prevailed. The hussars even managed to win the first round
against a Russian square. However, the didn't stick around for a second go...

Hinton Hunt Vintage Napoleonic Battle
....and nor did the Carabiniers, who foolishly charged Stuart's guns
and were utterly wiped out!
Hinton Hunt Vintage Napoleonic Battle
Meanwhile, the Coalition centre steadily advanced....

Hinton Hunt Vintage Napoleonic Battle
...meeting stiff resistance in the fields....

Hinton Hunt Vintage Napoleonic Battle
....and on the edges of the town.

Hinton Hunt Vintage Napoleonic Battle
on the left, however, came disaster, as Roy's cavalry burst on to Ian's right flank!

Hinton Hunt Vintage Napoleonic Battle
After a final desperate charge against the Austrian hordes,
 the French conceded and quit the field!

Not content with providing this wonderful entertainment, Roy and his wife also put me up for the night and fed me like a king. Lovely food, witty and agreeable company, the whole visit was simply glorious. I was at a loss to adequately convey my thanks. I was very touched to be so warmly and generously welcomed.

A special thanks is also due to Stuart C. As I really didn't have a clue how to play Ian's rules, it was Stuart who did all the hard work, He also allowed me to carry out any number of very questionable manoeuvres. This unfailing gallantry, I'm sorry to say, was cruelly rewarded by a seemingly endless run of rotten dice throws. Without these three forms of assistance I think I'd have been utterly crushed by about the 4th turn.

Also on my trip were visits to Ian, Tony and Steve C, of which more in my next few posts.

Best regards to all