Saturday, 1 December 2018

The Gilded Age

I've been hard at it painting Chasseurs this weekend, but they're complex wee beasties and after every few steps I have to stop to let everything to dry.

During one such episode late this afternoon I decided to dig out a regiment which has been sitting in a box at the back of a cupboard, more or less forgotten, ever since I bought it several years ago. I'm going to need some more redcoats at some point, so I thought I'd get them out to have a closer look at them. They are, I believe, Alberkens with a sprinkling of Hinton Hunt command figures, painted to represent the 42nd Highlanders.
Alberken 42nd Highlanders

I bought them because they looked so charmingly Gilderesque. When I saw them in the lead my heart almost sank a bit because the quality of the painting was so high that the only thing I could really do with them was a little gentle retouching and perhaps remounting with a few bayonet repairs. I may have a go at this over Christmas if I can get the Chasseurs and Lammings finished.

Vintage painting at it's best

Having got them out again, and with Gilder in mind, I hunted through some of my old wargaming books to see if I could spot something similar. Sure enough, on page 13 of Charles Grant's Napoleonic Wargaming (King's Langley: Argus Books, 1974), I found the following photo of Peter Gilder's collection:

The 42nd leading the right flank of Picton's Division at Waterloo in 1974.
Also featured is a very pretty regiment of Lammings on the left.
Do you know, I think it's the very same regiment.

Yours, in some amazement.

WM

36 comments :

  1. I think there can't be much doubt the same figure pose/style, the tattered flag and the unusual 5-figure bases at either end. Someone's added flock since then, are you going to knock that back? Doing so means you might as well match you basing scheme of 'threes'? I did start thinking about another flag, etc. but it seem a shame to alter them in any other way as they (apart from repairs) as they a part of hobby wargaming history and by the 'Great Man' himself - I'm a devoted Hinchliffe man.

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    1. It's altogether a very tricky proposition, Rob. As you say - would one dare actually do anything to them? even the bases look original, apart from the flocking. It's the gaps in the ranks which are the clincher. Gilder seems to have done this routinely when he didn't have quite enough figures to complete a regiment.

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  2. Beautiful Highlanders...and awesome flag!

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    1. Aren't they and isn't it? I'm a little lost for words. I only feel I've taken ownership when I paint them myself. These belong to Peter, I think.

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  3. What a sensational discovery and how they have stood the test of time. They certainly deserve to come out of the back of the cupboard. Thanks for sharing. Now how about a post for Austerlitz Day?

    Stephen

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    1. At the rate I do things it's more likely to be Waterloo Day, Stephen - if I do anything at all, that is.

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  4. Forward The Forty-Twa! Excellent to see such lovely figures.

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  5. What should I do with, GP? My curatorial sensibilities demand that it should be nothing at all!

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  6. Could I ask where you got them from? A few years ago in preparation for his sadly untimely death from cancer Mike Ingham of the Wargames Holiday Centre sold Peter Gilders old 20mm Napoleonic Collection. Sadly for me I was in no position at the time to buy it but he asked me to help identify the various manufacturers. I went down to see him and helped put together a consortium to buy them from him. The figures had been painted by a number of people (including Doug Mason I think) as well as PG himself. These could very well have been from that collection - as I remember it included a few Lamming, quite a lot of Garrison, and other manufacturers as well. I should still have photos on my computer somewhere and could look to see if you would like. There are a couple of photos of some of the Garrison figures on my Old Metal Detector blog at

    http://theoldmetaldetector.blogspot.com/2010/05/wargames-holiday-centre-garrison-french.html?m=0

    There are fifteen posts of Hinton Hunt units on the Hinton Hunter here:

    http://findthatfigure.blogspot.com/search/label/Wargames%20Holiday%20Centre?m=0

    I am only on my phone at the moment so haven’t had the chance to compare the photos myself yet.


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    1. They were from Ian Hind, VW. I'd love to see your photos.

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  7. What an amazing find Matt, I too have closely studied the images and concur that it's the same unit. I have retouched many vintage figures over the existing varnish, it fine and no problems re-varnishing afterwards. I think that's all that they need as the paint job is what Rob has described in the past as 'historical' and I agree :)

    Bases do look original as said above, plus a bit of flock.

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    1. Even getting the flock off might damage these, 'Lee, so I'm in a bit of a quandrary. The bases are original, I'd say, so soaking them in water, which is what I'd usually do, is not really on.

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  8. A piece of wargaming history there, a great find !

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  9. Excellent find, I love em. I really like the two tone painting of the bases, darker green top and light blueish green edging...I´ll do a test of that colour scheme on my next lot of ACW.

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    1. It's quite striking, isn't it. I suspect it was all monotone back in 1974, however.

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  10. A fantastic unit.

    Whilst they are a piece of wargaming history I would re base them to your standard basing and also remove the flock.

    You can retouch up any bits and pieces as needed and a fresh coat of varnish.

    Then they are ready to be fielded once more against Boneys Troops once more.

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  11. It may be blasphemy, but to me the basing is no longer in the same style that Peter Gilder used, and therefore it is within reason to return them to that clean based look that was so common with vintage figures. Depending on the base material, they may be able to stand up to a soak, but regardless, replacing the base will not detract from a lovely vintage battalion. Best of luck with these WM!

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  12. A splendid discovery...
    Given their age the colours are still very vivid.
    Personally I wouldn’t worry about rebasing... they’ve been mucked about with already.
    Of course you could always try just dampening the top of the base I little bit at a time and gently scrapping the flock off with a scalpel.

    Anyway whatever you do you are a lucky man... and I am officially jealous...

    All the best. Aly

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  13. Hi WM, I wouldn't change much, but you could add a King's Colour (there seems to have been one in the black and white photo. Also, pipers didn't wear the Royal Stewart tartan until long after the Napoleonic Wars. At this time they would have worn Government Tartan No 1 (known as Black Watch).

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  14. Can't see a King's colour myself - but I would take off the flock as it's not original and doesn't, to my mind, match the shiny toy soldier aesthetic.

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  15. These are all very persuasive arguments, gentlemen.

    Yes, I saw the piper, GP, but I wouldn't change him. He's been fighting like that for at least 44 years!

    I've also thought about adding a King's Colour, although I think what looks like the second flag in the photo is actually being carried by the regiment in the rear. I'd have to find another officer to carry it though.

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  16. I'll echo some of the previous commenters. At most, I might add a mounted officer and a second standard, but I wouldn't do any more. What a wonderful addition to your collection though. Enjoy them!

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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  17. Well you've been keeping that one under your hat WM! A great find and it really does appear to be the unit in the photo. I agree with others who say you should re-base them to your own style, it's perfectly ok for you to add your own bit of work to this fine old regiment.

    I was also heartened to see the piper in the wrong tartan as I painted one the same in my own 42nd regiment. I did this as a deliberate nod to the 70s as my Blandford from 1974 says the pipers wore Royal Stewart although as GP pointed out - they did not. To me this adds even more charm to the unit!

    Well done you are a worthy new owner of this little piece of wargaming history.

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    1. My sentiments exactly, Ian. They may be wrong, but they're wrong in the right vintage way.

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  18. 23 posts already! The blogosphere has clearly been missing your posts. I trust you’re better now and up to the struggle with those recalcitrant chasseurs.

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    1. A bad back has been the trouble, Rob, and the outbreak of the Wellington Christmas party season. I've been too knackered to work on my soldiers.

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  19. A fantastic find but they need to be rebased - the current situation is sacrilege!

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    1. It's very, very tempting Matt, and I may do it. There's no doubt that the flock has got to go!

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  20. Just thought, one option could be to leave bases as is (less flock?) then paint 2 figures to to fill gaps, with one being a king’s colour. With tiny magnets counter-sunk into the base and the figure they can be easily removed to leave the unit in it’s original Gilder glory. It does mean a 30-strong unit, but if that’ a problem you can always send one base on detached duty to guard HQ...?

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    1. That's actually a not too bad idea, Rob. The issues, however, are that the bases are 45mm in width rather than the 40mm M&M standard, and they're also somewhat thicker than the ones I normally use.

      Fortunately I have the time it's going to take to finish the chasseurs and the Lammings to ponder over it. There's certainly going to be five bases whatever happens.

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  21. Having given this some more thought following all the above comments I would agree that to rebase them in your standard style would not be sacrilegious! They are also crying out for one of your beautiful hand painted Kings Colours Matt :) I wonder who actually painted them as I have read that Peter Gilder used some top notch painters as well as painting some units himself?

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  22. Nice find. As they're a pre-Hinchliffe unit i think it's more likely PG painted them himself (the zoo of tame painters didn't seem to come into effect until Hinchliffe took off, PG has less time & more money 8-).

    If you bought them to use (rather than revere as holy relics) then i'd rebase them to fit better into your collection - that's what i'm doing with the PG AWI collection (although i am keeping the original flags). From what i know about PG he'd be most happy to see them still in use.
    Cheers.

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  23. Zum Teuffel! This Wellington fellow paints better class figures than any other on the staff, including the Gilder legion. He can only improve the quality of any unit he honours with his brush. Let him paint where he will.

    Strewth.

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