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,

WM

20 comments :

  1. Very nice job WM, splendid colors...

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    1. Cheers, Phil. They are a very colourful bunch. I'm finding guard units quite addictive!

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    1. Thanks, Tony. It was a relief to discover that there were swans to be had from these ugly ducklings.

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  3. Your usual very classy job, and another unit that will be unique thanks to your abilities with the soldering iron!

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    1. The extreme scarcity of castings is what drove me to do it, 'Lee. Two years ago my skill at soldering was nil!

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    1. Cheers Pierre. In theory, the second squadron should be a bit quicker as they're in much better shape!

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  5. Great stuff! Your "conversion" and brushwork are moving in the direction of Doug Mason. I never tire of perusing your finished figures, and these are no exception.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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    1. You are being far to kind, Heinz-Ulrich!

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  6. Paintwork worthy of their Guard status!

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    1. Aaaw, thanks Matt. Truth be told, these one's worried me a bit. They were pretty ordinary looking right up until the moment when I finally added their orange lace, when they suddenly came to life. It's very pleasing when that happens!

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  7. I can see that a lot of work has gone into these and it has paid if because they look superb!

    That Archduke will do anything to get noticed!

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    1. I'm not saying anything rude about the Archduke, Ian! He tells me off too often as it is.

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  8. They are lovely and a tribute to your engagement with the art of bringing these old figures to life. Whether they were meant to be so improved or not I am not sure, but at the time of their production modellers such as Peter Gilder improved them by replacing swords, changing horse positions, swopping heads and creating standard bearers and drummers and generally enhancing the basic figures. They created some lovely and unique little figurines and it is great to see that tradition being carried on.
    Roy

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    1. Thank you, LG. I find the whole process very calming and meditative in these troubled times.

      I haven't dared to try any radical horse-repositioning, however. I don't think I'd be very calm about that at all!

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  9. Excellent job, a really good paint job, you have a wonderful collection

    Paul

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    1. Thanks, Paul. It's a tiddly collection, but I enjoy it!

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  10. i altered leg positions on some ACW cavalry a few years back. They were the standing figure, much tge same as the British heavy dragoon opc. My changes were pretty conservative, bu they did improve a rather wooden position. I recall seeing figures years ago where the modeller had used an oblong of brass as a base, cut the original horse from its cast base , repositioned the legs and then soldered them to the new base. That's a bit beyond my soldering skills, but you might well ge able to bring it off. did ask someone who was good with an iron how it was done, and was told that they roughed up the brass where it was to be soldered to and slicked on some solder to the brass at that point, then they soldered the horse hoof to solder, rather than to brass.
    Another thing these old boys did was to solder the traces onto artillery horses. I have a fine example of this and wish I could do the same, but it requires a deft touch. I assume that it is done after painting and basic basing as that would hold the horses in place and mean the minimum of movement of the pieces after soldering. Whoever did it has my admiration.

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    1. I've been looking at Rob's teams and wondering about exactly that question myself! If I come up with a solution you'll see it on blog near you soon enough.....

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