Saturday, 10 August 2019

Filling a GàP

To my shame and dismay I still haven't finished my write up of Blasthof. Part of the reason for this is illustrated below.


The figures are all really splendid vintage Hinton Hunts, being FN 29 Grenadiers of the Old Guard 1804-15, Grenadier marching x 12. As an incentive to get the battalion finished I've decided to save all the fancy command figures for the second half. This was an idea suggested by Rob G and it's working just fine so far.

The next post really is going to be Blasthof, I promise.

Best regards

WM

Edit: I meant to add, those Lamming test figures ought to be appearing over the next few weeks too,

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Three Little Lammings

I promised Blasthof for this post, but I've been distracted by a burst of painting energy (of which more anon), and by these little chaps:

Lamming 20mm French Napoleonic Infantry
By the Left

The figures are all 20mm Lamming Miniatures French Foot Napoleonics of early 1970s vintage, specifically (from left to right):

FI/8: Line Fusilier;
FI/3: Imperial Guard Grenadier Advancing; and
FI/1: Line Voltigeur or Grenadier Elite.

Lamming 20mm French Napoleonic Infantry
Face Front

These are not well documented figures (although the Vintage Wargamer has a wonderful collection of FI/3s on his Old Metal Detector blog), so I'm very pleased to present them to the blogosphere. I have very many more of them than is really wise or sensible, so the first task is to paint them up as test figures.

Lamming 20mm French Napoleonic Infantry
About Turn

They won't be to everyone's taste, I fear, but I think they have the same very clean, simple and sharp qualities as the Lamming British infantry I finished earlier these year and I have high hopes for them.

Wish me luck!

Yours, as ever

WM

P.S. My special thanks to Goya, international man of mystery and all-round smashing bloke who alerted me to these and was instrumental in getting them to me.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Lützowers Let Loose

The Lützow Lancers have been let loose behind enemy lines.

Leaving nothing but scorched earth in their wake....

…..the Lützowers  were ordered to show no mercy to isolated enemy detachments.

Napoleon: nous serons vengés!
The figures are:

Der Kriegspielers Napoleoniques set # 139: Prussian Cavalry 1813-1815, Landwehr Lancers x 8

Recast Hinton Hunt Prussian Cavalry 1810-1815, PN 39: Landwehr Lancer, charging x 2, converted into an officer and a trumpeter.

These were supposed to be a quick and easy regiment, but to my dismay I see that I actually started painting them in February. Oh dear. I'll try to do better in future.

Next week: the Action at Blasthof Bridge.

WM

Edit: As Rob has pointed out, there are clearly Der Kriegspielers Napoleoniques set # 139: Prussian Cavalry 1813-1815, Landwehr Lancers x 10.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

The Hundred Hours

Rob G, figure painter extraordinaire and a frequent commentator on this blog, was the first to invite me to put the CEF through it's paces. The scenario he proposed was based on Napoleon's march from Cannes to Paris following his escape from Elba in 1815. What would have happened, he said, if General Marchand and the 5e de Ligne had put up a fight instead of joining the Corsican fugitive? We set up the table to find out.

Rob's wargaming surface is a large sheet of coloured lino which is altogether smoother, greener, lighter and in every sense more practical than the half a ton of former ping pong table I have at my house. Rob also supplied the exquisitely painted Hinton Hunt Napoleon and ADC needed to lead the Emperor's army.

Into the Gap

It is March 1815, and the Emperor is advancing into a narrow defile near the small town of Gap. All Europe trembled, although only a battalion of the guard (disguised as line infantry, for some reason) and his trusty Guard Chasseurs were accompanying him.

Napoleon: Stop worrying, Marbot. The French Army will never fight
for that ridiculous Bourbon beach ball in the Tuileries!
At a bend in the road, however, a Bourbon force was found to be blocking the pass. It was General Marchand (who had a remarkable resemblance to Marshal Soult, or so everyone said) at the head of the 5th Line Infantry. The 3rd Swiss and the 7th Lancers were deployed in support.


Marchand: Vive l'Emp...I mean, Le Roi!
The Emperor signalled the Guard to halt. "There is nothing to fear, mes enfants!", he declared, "They've come to join our forces!". Spurring his horse, the Emperor trotted forward towards the 5th Line. Marbot scrambled to keep up. "Sire, I beseech you, let me go before you", he cried.


Napoleon: Nonsense, Marbot, they'll never lift a finger against me! Here, watch this...
Waving Marbot to be silent, the Emperor continued his advance until he was but a few paces from Marchand's impassive infantry.

Napoleon: Soldiers of the 5th, if there is one amongst you who would kill his emperor. let him do it. Here I am!
 The 5th prepared to fire.

Marbot:  They're raising their muskets, Sire....
Napoleon: You're right, Marbot. Let's send in the Chasseurs instead!
In a trice, the Chasseurs of the Guard were charging straight towards Marchand's line. The 5th held their fire until the very last moment.....

Marchand: Wait for it, wait for it.....fire!!!!
 …..and delivered an annihilating volley.


Men and horses crashed to the ground, sending the Chasseurs reeling back in confusion. As the smoke cleared, the lifeless body of Eugene de Beauharnais was seen lying on the stricken field.

Napoleon: Oh dear, Josephine isn't going to like that!
As the Emperor dashed back to try to rally has shaken Chasseurs, Davout led forward the Grenadiers of the Guard in an all-out assault.

Davout: The Emperor's eyes are upon you, Grenadiers!
I wish he had something else to give you, but there it is....
In the desperate fight which followed, the 5th were gradually overwhelmed by the Emperor's elite veterans. Marchand fell during the melee (or at least that's the story he told afterwards).

Davout: One down, two to go!


The 5th may have been overthrown, but there were still the 7th Lancers and the Swiss to contend with. As the Emperor tried in vain to rally his shattered Chasseurs, Davout was compelled to form square against the coming onslaught.

The fate of Europe hung in the balance as Murat's Lancers charged pell mell into the defiant Guardsmen.....

Davout: Merde!

...while the Swiss charged in column from the rear.
Davout: Double Merde!

It was too much for the Guard, who fell back and broke, but not before Murat was also toppled. Nevertheless, the Emperor's desperate gamble had failed.




As Davout lifted his hat to signal surrender, the Emperor turned away. Exile beckoned once again.
Napoleon: Oooooookay.....Follow mw, Chasseurs. If we head back to Cannes now
 we might just catch the last boat.....


My sincere thanks to Rob for an extremely entertaining game, particularly as he allowed me to play Marchand.

Since this game, Rob has painted a few more Hinton Hunts, which are illustrated below. I sincerely hope he does a few more. They're absolutely spectacular.

Rob's French Voltigeurs:



Rob's Marshal Junot:




I cannot thank Rob enough for the wonderful welcome and hospitality he showed me when I arrived travel worn and somewhat disorientated in the UK. We also fought another battle, of which more in future posts.

To finish up, and to prove that I haven't been entirely idle in the meantime, here are a couple of shots of the command element for my Lützower Lancers.



They're all finished now and should be appearing on the blog next week.

Salut maintenant,

WM

Friday, 7 June 2019

Conversion Diversions

Readers of Stryker's magnificent blog will know that I was in the UK recently, complete with a  corps expéditionnaire français. Tales of their doings will follow in future posts.

The CEF on foreign soil.

Back in NZ, it took me two weeks to get over the jetlag, but I'm very pleased to say that I'm now back in the hobby saddle. I intend to paint for most of this weekend, but to get me in the mood I've also been doing a few conversions. The plan is to get them cast up eventually, but I'm in no particular hurry.

Pictured below are the first batch. These are intended to be Hanoverian militia, which I've been threatening to do for a while.



The original figures are all vintage Hinton Hunts. From left to right they are:

BN 177: British infantry 1801-11, marching, with hair shortened, added trousers and added shako cords;
BN 94: British Light Infantry, firing, with shoulder wings removed and added shako cords; and
BN 93: British Light Infantry, charging, also with shoulder wings removed and added shako cords.

It is the modern fashion, I know, to depict Hanoverian militiamen in soft field caps, but I've always preferred the old-fashioned view that they got about in stovepipe shakos bedecked with shako cords.


The shako cords were exceptionally tricky to do. I only succeeded when I managed to get hold of some very thin 0.2mm lead wire (they sell it in fishing shops!). It is pretty soft stuff, however, and may fail when it comes to the mould making. We'll see how we go.

Yours, as always

WM

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Dappol Grapple Part 2

The Silesian rifleman lining the hedgerows grimly selected their targets as the French mass advanced across the open fields.


Meanwhile, the 7th Lancers clattered forward unopposed. Murat, however, felt strangely uneasy. The fate of all Europe seemed to hang in the balance.

Murat: The eyes of the Emperor are upon us boys, so don't cock it up!

The Death Ride von Dörnberg

Dörnberg knew that unless he acted the French cavalry would be pouring onto his open flank within moments. It was time to do or die.

Dörnberg: Time for a bit of Warsaw Coleslaw lads! Charge!

With a cry of "Hurrah!", the Estorffs charged straight towards the Poles. Lowering their lances, the Poles immediately spurred their horses into a countercharge. Within an instant the two regiments were upon each other.

rumble, rumble, rumble...………….ting!
Murat: Go get 'em boys. Those damn Prussians 've got my Polish crown in a vault in Berlin, you know!
Meanwhile, pausing only to straighten his line, Soult marched his men straight towards the cottages. The Silesian  riflemen behind the hedgerows began picking off the voltigeurs, but could do nothing to halt the advance.

Soult: We must be dressed to impress!
 The French army opened its arms, preparing to embrace....

Napoleon: Let's let them feel the love then, shall we?

...only to receive a sharp rebuke from the defiant Germans as Murat's men were decimated by Dörnberg's Dandified Desperados.

Murat: Nooooooooooooooo!!!!

As their captain was cut down by the furious Teutonic onslaught, the shaken lancers fell back and then broke. The pursuing Estorffs then charged straight in to the Guard Dragoons who had been forming up in the rear.
Ornano: We've been Pole-vaulted!

The leading French battalion formed square, bringing the entire flanking column to a shuddering halt. Dörnberg's desperate gamble seemed to have paid off handsomely.



That far-off afternoon suddenly seem to flicker in and out of view. The atmosphere was electric.


Napoleon: Eugene!!!! Do something!

As the sound and pictures crackled and fizzed, JC and I thought we could hear the Emperor furiously shouting something. It took a couple of sharps thumps on the time machine to restore reception. As the picture resharpened, we could see that Ornano's men had made short work of the Estorffs and were chasing their shattered remnants far into the German rear. Dörnberg, alas, was dead.


Meanwhile, the inexorable French pincer movement was also beginning to have an effect.


Held up by the hedgerows to their rear, the Silesian riflemen were mercilessly shot down as they tried to retreat.


Castella de Berlans and the Swiss, however, had been made to pay dearly for their advance against the Silesians on the far left.

Swiss: We're getting more holes than our cheese!
Moments later, Alten and the Bremen Battalion, disordered by the hail of shot tearing through the cottage, were engulfed by flames as the thatch was set alight by a French cannon ball.

Alten: Now that is the flaming limit.

The Lützowers also started to take losses from the storm of French shot. Another French cannon ball tore through the walls, killing von Arentschildt. Lützow's men cried out: "Vhere are ze Prussians!"
Lützow: : It's Hanover for him!
With the fire taking hold in the ancient and tinder-dry timbers of the cottage, Alten's men were swiftly forced to evacuate. The French infantry surged forward, determined to follow up their advantage,

Napoleon: Ah, there's like coming home to a real fire!
Forced back into the narrow lane between the buildings, the Bremen Battalion started falling fast in the hail of French museketry. Alten could do little except continue the retreat.

Alten: It's getting a bit too hot for us, boys!

The only hope was for night and the Prussians. The prayers of the Lützowers seem to have been heard, however, for as the shadows lengthened in that late afternoon, the Prussian army burst onto the field.
Prussians: Dat Dat Daaaa!

Ornano had no option but to launch his blown dragoons into the Prussian masses.
Onano: Have we got to do everything round here!

It was now a race against time. The clockwork on our time machine was running out.
Napoleon: Drat! Those cursed Rosbeefs are going to get away!

Blucher reviewed the situation and realised that there was little he could do other than conduct an orderly retreat. All was far from lost. The French had been severely mauled and could be stopped another day.
Blucher: Ve're late Clausewitz! Zat ist ze last time I let you do ze navigating!

The French struggled to reorganise in the gathering darkness, but could not prevent the escape. In the confusion Ney was hit by a stray shot coming from the churchyard.....


French: Time to start frying the onions, lads.
...and Davout was felled by a Russo-German cannon ball as it raked through his beloved 67th.




It was a costly victory.
_____________________

…..And so it ended. Wellington Lad II declared a narrow French tactical victory, which just about salvaged the family honour. JC, however, claimed the moral victory, and I was forced to agree. The insane charge of the Estorffs had mucked up my plans completely! JC was chuckling all the way back down the hallway as he headed back to his car.

Those were the days.

WM