Saturday 8 June 2024

Albert and Ken again

When I was a lad growing up in the 70s, the wargaming books of that era were full of wonderful photographs of little soldiers that I didn't have a clue how to identify.

Depicted below are some I found to be particuarly mysterious. They were clearly British light infantry of some description, seen here guarding Hougoumont in the amazing Waterloo layout created by Peter Gilder for David Chandler's The Art of Warfare on Land (London: Hamlyn, 1974), but I had no idea who made them or where I could find any of them.

Fast forward to 2023, and a parcel of these wee treasures arrived in the post, courtesy of Aly Morrison:

And in 2024 arrived a few more, courtesy of Mark Dudley:

Mark identifies them as Alberken/early Minifigs British Riflemen, and I haven't the slightest doubt that he is correct.

In my view, however, it is to be Hanoverian riflemen, and the 2nd Light Battalion of the King's German Legion in particular, that is their true destiny. I had a bit of time off this week, so I thought I'd test this hypothesis by painting a few of them.

First up is an Alberken BN 3: Rifleman on Guard:





He's been cleaned up a bit and has had some some buttons added and the belt plate removed, but is otherwise unchanged.

Next up is my conversion of an Alberken BN 4: Rifleman Officer to make him look a wee bit more Hanoverian:



The head was donated by a Hinton Hunt BN 15 British Rifles Officer, which I'm fairly certain was a pirate, so no harm done. He's also got some new buttons and a new bandolier made with flattened soldering wire. This was bent round his chest and soldered at the back, with the resulting blob of solder carved into the shape of a cartidge box.

Although 2nd KGL LI officers are usually depicted in light grey trousers, credible sources suggest that they may very well have worn black, so I decided to go with that. I reckoned he'd look a bit gnarlier that way.

A Hinton Hunt BN 20 British Rifles bugler completes the command group:

Definitely meant to be KGL, I'd say.

Only 21 more to go, although a farmhouse might also be in order.

Cheers,

WM

15 comments :

  1. Lovely! The command group look quite superb, really good work on them and they will look stunning when the troops are done and the whole unit is together. Great figures.

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    1. Thank you Donnie. I like them too. They're very basic, but are nicely proportioned and rather elegantly posed. Dead easy to paint too.

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  2. A nice group (the black trousers really give the officer a different look) and an interesting post spurring some questions.
    The detail of Gilder’s Waterloo looks very high definition, do you have a source for this other than Chandler’s book?
    What is soldering wire? Is that just solder, and if so how did the whole lot not melt when you added the buckle?

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    1. Cheers Rob.

      The detail is just a crop from the scan I made of the book on my home printer/scanner. I've only just figured out how to get the scanner function to work, as it happens.

      "Soldering wire" is just solder it its original wiry form as it comes out of the tube. The attachment method was to simply blob more hot solder on to the point where the flattened strip crossed on his back. This was all very experimental and I was rather amawzed that it worked, to be honest, The buckle was just painted on!

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  3. Another question? Is the farmhouse you said you need to make going to be the Airfix one or a scratchbuilt affair to match the Gilder 'look'?
    If the former then perhaps I should dig my kit out of the loft and see who gets one finished first, you, me, or 'Minions' David...
    You've done it again, you've just recharged my mojo, and now I and can't wait for my guerrillas to get to the head of the painting queue as your KGL officer has me champing at the bit to pimp up some figures as guerrilla chiefs in their OOT outfits!
    It's all your fault!

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    1. *Laughter*. Glad to be of service Rob! You must get cracking immediately before it wears off.

      I'm leaning towards a scratch-built affair at the moment, not least because the New Zealand National Treasure who lives nextdoor has just acquired a very posh miniature table saw which he may just about be persuaded to let me borrow from time to time. If it all turns to custard, however, I have the Airfix version to fall back on. It'll serve as a basic template for the scratch-built attempt in any case.

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  4. Lovely work Matthew and cleverly done with the solder. I remember being fascinated by that same photo of the figures within Hougoumont although my source for that was Miniature Warfare magazine. I imagine these were the same photos as in the Chandler book (which I’ve not seen) but in black and white. I look forward to seeing the completed unit and of course the farmhouse!

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    1. I can scan the whole section for you if you like. There's a fab Gettysburg colour section too, and much else besides. I had this book on more or less permanant loan from Oxford central library in the mid 70s. It took me ages to actually get round to reading the text, but when I did it turned out to be extremely informative. It's worth checking out second hand bookshops for it as it seems to have been quite popular and there are aa lot of them about. I picked up my copy here in Welly.

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  5. Matthew, the transformations you are able to make from raw tin to painted figure is nothing short of miraculous. Your painted figures almost look as if they came from an entirely different figure, so complete is the transformation. Very nicely done!

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    1. Cheers David. There's so little detail on these that one can paint more or less anything on to them!

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  6. Splendid work Matthew…
    You have certainly brought these plain but elegant figures to life…
    I’m looking forward to seeing both the finished unit and your building work…

    All the best. Aly

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  7. Cheers Aly. I love these wee figures and cannot thank you enough for them.

    As for the buildings, I might need to start with something a little less ambitious - La Belle Alliance, perhaps?

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  8. The have come up nicely. The officer conversion is exquisite.

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    1. Cheers Mark. I owe you big drinks for helping me to complete this battalion.

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    2. Just amazing. "A bit more Hanoverian" ? He just stepped out of my screen and offered me a schnapps....

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