Saturday, 24 June 2017

Ten years (surely some mistake?)

Apparently, and rather incredibly, it is ten years since I started this blog. I never for a moment thought I would still be plugging away collecting and painting Hinton Hunt figures in 2017 but here I am and the collection continues to grow.

I wanted to take a photo of all my figures for this post but unfortunately most of them are still packed away following our recent move, instead here are some of the highlights from the blog year by year.

2007 - my little stash of Hinton Hunt figures that started this project. Looking at the contents of the box now I can see that nearly all of these figures have been painted with the exception of the marching Old Guard, probably time I got on with them (zoom in to take a look).
2008 - this photo of the great man himself was sent to me by his daughter Tanya.
2009 - I completed my unit of Silesian Landwehr. I have fond memories of this particular figure type as it was the first Hinton Hunt figure I ever painted back in 1970 (or thereabouts).
2010 - the Battle of the Crossroads, a fun little solo game that was the first outing of my Swiss unit. The Swiss, as you know have been in the thick of the fighting ever since. The castings are wonderful original ones that came from Mark D and were most ably painted by Matt G.
2011 - one of the first games I played with Roy (back when we were still thrashing out the details of the rules) involved this charge of the Scots Greys against the 45th ligne. The French kept their eagle on this occasion.
2012 - I painted the 9th legere. This is one of my favourite figures, showing Marcus Hinton at his very best. The 9th legere haven't had much table time as they are based individually as skirmishers so I am in the process of adding another 6 figures to their ranks so they can serve as a close order battalion.
2013 - Roy's splendid Russian army. Apart from being a huge inspiration to me, Roy is the most enthusiastic and prodigious assembler of Hinton Hunt armies that has ever lived!
2014 - I completed the 2nd Regiment de Grenadiers-a-Pied de la Garde Imperiale. Finally the emperor had a unit truly worthy to serve him on the field of mars. They've taken a few knocks since but have never routed (possibly because the rules are stacked in their favour).
2015 - a boyhood dream come true, refighting the battle of Waterloo (in the 200th anniversary year) using Hinton Hunt figures. I can still say this is the best wargame I've ever played, truly stunning looking table, great bunch of chaps and the right result!
2016 - the ultimate game, Vintage Leipzig. I doubt if so many Hinton Hunt figures have ever been assembled for a game since the 1970's. Roy excelled himself and hosted another spectacular event having built a huge Austrian army in less than six months - go Roy!

Thanks to everybody who has supported this project over the years with figures, encouragement, comments and information, without you my enthusiasm would doubtless have fizzled out long ago.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Chevaulegers

Yesterday I took delivery of some Hinton Hunt Chevaulegers, a very generous gift from across the pond. The figures are not vintage or even Clayton ones but reproductions dating from the 1990’s during the period Hinton Hunt was not readily available. I’m really impressed with the quality of these and I would easily have thought they were vintage figures if I hadn’t been told as the mold plug marks, HH markings and general feel and heft of the metal seem perfect.

BVN.44 Bavarian Chevauleger (mounted) charging (Horse attached)
SXN.41 Saxon Chevauleger (mounted) charging

I’m quite excited to have the Saxons in particular as I greatly admired the unit Roy fielded at Vintage Leipzig. This gives me a rare chance to field some French allied cavalry in red as I chose to paint my guard lancers in Polish blue. I did also wonder if the Bavarians could be painted as Swedes to give my Swedish contingent a mounted arm – any ideas?

Friday, 16 June 2017

Austrians on parade

As I had the Austrians at hand ready for the (temporarily delayed) battle of Raab I thought I’d take the opportunity to parade them in front of the camera. I hope you like them.

General Mack at the head of the Austrian division (as he would have appeared in 1972).
The 51st Gabriel Spleny Hungarian regiment - the splendid Splenys.

Musketeer regiment No4 Hoch-Und Deutschmeister.

The high command – Mack is still looking at his map trying to find a way out of Ulm (Klenau and Gyulay were painted by Nigel).
These lovely hussars were painted by Don.
Tyrolean Jagers - Yodel-lay-hee-hoo!

This is just about it for my Austrian contingent although I do have some more cavalry that may get painted eventually.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Tools of the trade

A few posts back Clive left a comment asking if I could write about the paints that I use for my Hinton Hunts. So in the hope this may be of interest to others as well, here goes.

Preparation
I strip any old paint by soaking over night in bleach and then scrubbing gently with a toothbrush. I’ve tried using Dettol but really don’t like the smell and it doesn’t seem to be any more effective than bleach. Figures are then cleaned up with a hobby knife and various files (Hinton Hunts need a LOT of filing) before being stuck to a plastic bottle top with PVA glue. I prefer PVA to blue tack as it holds the figure firmly during painting and can easily be removed afterwards.


Undercoat
I undercoat my figures by brush using matt black enamel Revell No8, I’ve given up on Humbrol as it doesn’t dry consistently matt and any sheen makes it much harder to pick out detail on the figure.

Colours
I use the Foundry paint system acrylics. I’m still using some pots I bought ten years ago and I like the fact that they don’t seem to dry out. For those of you who don’t know, the Foundry system has three shades for each colour with ‘A’ being the darkest and ‘C’ the lightest. The idea is to make it easy to shade figures without having to mix colours. As I don’t shade my Hinton Hunts I tend to use only the ‘B’ shades. For French blue for example I use 20B, British red 15B etc. I do use Humbrol acrylics for black and white as I tend to get through quite a lot of those colours and Foundry paints are quite expensive.


Varnish
I initially used Humbrol Satin Cote for this project but as the quality of Humbrol paints declined I got fed up with the inconsistent results. I now use Humbrol Clear gloss varnish which is a very thin water based varnish which I apply in three coats to build up the gloss. If for any reason I need to turn a gloss finish back to matt then I use Testors Dullcote (top tip from Matt G).

Work in progress - French Voltigeurs

Bases
I hand cut these from 1.5mm plasticard. I did try getting some plywood ones cut but they came back slightly too small which bugged me so it’s back to hand cutting. I paint them using Humbrol enamel matt green 80. The quality of this paint has become awful and never dries properly matt but I’m stuck with it as I can’t find a similar shade in Revell. I stick the figures to their bases using Super glue, despite the name the figures can easily be removed from the plasticard if required without damage.

Brushes
I use the Foundy ones, expensive but seem to be worth it.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Foy’s road show

Unfortunately the battle of Raab has been delayed but as Tony and I were at a loose end on Saturday he kindly brought his battle-boards, terrain and some troops to my house for a fictional Peninsular war Commands & Colours game. Tony played a dashing marshal Marmont whilst I broke out my stiff upper lip to play the Duke of Wellington.

Tony allowed me to set up the terrain while he sorted out the troops. This was great as I’ve always wanted to play around with the magnificent terrain pieces that feature on his blog. As the British were slightly outnumbered I set up a defensive position for the Duke with a ridge (of course) and a river on one flank. In the centre of the table were two villages (East and West Suffolk – don’t ask) providing victory locations.

Initial set-up, French on the left and British on the right. The river is fordable (zoom in to take a good look).
The French right flank - I believe the cavalry in the foreground are Garrison, lovely slender little figures (the same cannot be said of me).
Wellington takes position under his tree. He remained with this artillery battery all day calmly chatting to his ADC and ignoring the enemy cannonballs bouncing around him.
Although supposedly on the defensive Wellington surprised Marmont by advancing and taking West Suffolk in the opening stages of the battle.
A view from the British left after the first few moves.
French Light infantry move up in preparation for an attack on the village. These are mostly Les Higgins figures.
The French take the village - there was a see-saw fight for the place that ran until the final turn of the game.
British heavy dragoons in reserve behind the ridge. These figures are beautifully painted but didn't get to take part in the action. Stapleton Cotton is out in front of them, one of Tony's Hinton Hunts.
To take the pressure off I ordered the KGL hussars to charge an enemy battery. To the amazement of both of us they succeeded in pushing the battery back and leaving it at reduced strength.
This is a wonderful Alberken rendering of general Picton. In this game Picton was shot at by the French no less than three times but he lived to tell the tale (at least until Waterloo that is).
The British have retaken West Suffolk but here come the French again.
More Les Higgins figures beating the pas-de-charge. This battalion was to eject the British for the final time and win the game.
The field at the end of play. There are very few French troops left in the centre but crucially those there are have taken the village victory location bringing Marmonts tally to 9 VP's - French victory.
The 79th Highlanders (Hinton Hunt) look on from the ridge while Wellington gives the order to retreat...

It was a thoroughly enjoyable game that saw me battling back from a poor start to bring us neck and neck until eventually Tony managed to rustle up a card that allowed his troops to punch through in the centre and win the day. There will be more rumblings at Horse Guards.

This was only my second stab at C&C and I have to say I really like the game system and speed of play. It is of course a board game but when used with miniatures you tend to forget this and it does have the advantage of having defined victory conditions. This isn’t to say that I will be abandoning Muskets & Marshals (perish the thought). M&M is a completely different type of game and will always be my Napoleonic rules of choice but C&C is now a firm second favourite.

Thanks to Tony for carefully transporting his road show over the bumps in the Forth Bridge to get here and for such a splendid afternoon’s gaming.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Eugene de Beauharnais

Eugene was Josephine’s son by her first marriage and was officially adopted by Napoleon in 1806 although he was excluded from the line of succession. Most accounts say he was the ablest of the family members and he retained a field command right up until the first abdication.

He served as Napoleon’s aide-de-camp in Egypt and then as a Captain in the Guard Chasseurs a Cheval at Marengo where he led a cavalry charge that wiped out half his command. He was promoted to commander of the Imperial Guard and then to C-in-C of the Army of Italy. Eugene fought at Raab, Wagram, Borodino and Lutzen but took no part in the 100 Days.

FN/352 Eugene de Beauharnais uniformed as Colonel of the Chasseurs a Cheval on modified horse BHN/11. I didn’t have the Hinton Hunt painting instructions for this one so based him on an illustration from a link sent to me by Roy.

Eugene will shortly be getting another chance to fight the Battle of Raab.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo

These guys are not lonely goatherds but rather rough tough Austrian Tyrolean Jagers. They can fight just as well as they Yodel being crack shots with their rifles.

According to the napoleonistyka website General de Ligne wrote: "You should not tell a recruit: 'I will make you into a jager !' You must instead take them from the forests. They know how to perch on a rock, how to conceal themselves in one of those fissures which open in the ground after a great drought, or hide behind a mighty oak. They make their way slowly and softly, so as not to make any sound, and in such a way they can creep up on a post and take it by surprise, or shoot down the enemy generals.

Sound like a very good unit to have on your side. All I need to do now is re-base these lads to my new light infantry system.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Careful with that modelling knife Eugene

I can’t remember exactly how I came by this casting of FN/352 Eugene De Beauharnais but he has languished at the bottom of my lead pile for some time as I assumed from his rather hideous appearance that he was a poor copy of the Hinton Hunt figure. However when Tony asked me if I had a Eugene available to command the Franco-Italian army in our forthcoming game I thought I’d dig him out and see what, if anything, could be done with him.

The figure had been painted with a thick coat of gloss paint which hid most of the detail and I was pleasantly surprised to see this reappear as the casting emerged from its overnight bleach bath. Far from being a copy it turns out that the figure is almost certainly a Clayton one whilst the horse is a vintage casting of BNH/11.

The rider had been ‘welded’ to his saddle with copious amounts of Araldite so I didn’t want to try to remove him to put him on a more appropriate mount. Instead I have added to the horses docked tail to make it look more French (if a horse can look French that is) and also given poor Eugene some feet as these were missing. I’m now looking forward to painting this one.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

The hills are alive…again

I am amazed to see that it is ten years since I painted my unit of Tyrolean Jagers (click here). They haven’t featured very heavily on the blog since and this is mainly due to them being an 18 figure strong individually based skirmish unit. As I’ve noted before we haven’t used the individual skirmishers in the large games played of late.

So in line with my new policy of making my 18 figure units up to 24 figures the Jagers are about to be expanded. The advancing figures are actually DK101 but they are a perfect fit with their Hinton Hunt brothers. The marching officer is a genuine vintage Hinton Hunt casting and a very nice one too.

There is a bit of a sense of urgency about this as I want to get the unit ready for a game to be hosted by the famous Goya. It will be another C&C game featuring Austrians against Tony’s French forces on an expanded board. Let’s hope my beginners luck with the dice holds out.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

The men from Ucles

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to be able to take a trip to chateau Foy to take part in a refight of the battle of Ucles. I was on the Spanish side under the tutelage of the great man himself whilst the French were ably led by General Goya.

A general view of the table from behind the Spanish right flank.
The centre of the field - that's Ucles in the middle, an objective for the French but almost impossible to take due to sheer cliffs on most of the hex sides. Tony uses 15mm buildings with his 20mm troops and it works really well.
Now, call me old fashioned if you will, but I’ve never really liked the idea of hexes for miniatures games believing that the best place for them is board games, campaign maps and beehives. That said however, I’ve always admired the photos on Tony’s blog of his neat set up of miniatures and terrain for use with the Command & Colours rule set and it was great to be able to see all this for real.

The Spanish light cavalry shown here are all Hinton Hunt although Tony's armies have troops from just about every 20mm figure maker. Tony and I were eager to throw away our cavalry needlessly (we're both that sort of general) but we had to wait several turns before we could achieve this.
Spanish militia in the woods on the far right of our line. These militia boys put up a splendid fight, clearly Bruce Quarrie's rules were never translated into Spanish.
Those of you who follow Tony’s blog will know that he primarily wargames the Peninsular War and he has a truly stunning collection of 20mm figures for the period. It looked to me as if he has every single battalion of British, Portuguese, Spanish and French troops that ever took part but if not he can’t be far off that total.

The French cavalry were mostly comprised of Dragoons. I think these are Les Higgins (Tony, put me right).
The game started with a French assault on our outpost at Tribaldos. Our defending grenadiers made a great fight of it with an action that resembled La Haye Sainte or Hougoumont. Although the Spanish were eventually ejected we ground down the French so much that no further serious action occurred on this flank.
There can’t be many wargamers who have a Spanish Napoleonic army but Tony’s is well researched and spectacular to look at. My own prejudice against having one stems I think from Bruce Quarrie’s rules in the 70s which incorporated rather biased national characteristics that made a Spanish army pretty much unusable. Why waste time collecting one when you could have a division of British regulars instead?

A view of the Spanish left flank - the fighting around Tribaldos continues in the distance.
And here's a view of the right flank - French reinforcements are arriving on the far table edge.
As it turned out the game was highly enjoyable and provided a realistic ebb and flow that is hard to find with most conventional miniatures rules. Once you get away from worries about unit facings and formations (although there is a cunning rule for squares) and focus instead on the tricky command decisions you have to make C&C becomes a very gripping game.

Eventually the action on the right flank developed into a serious clash of arms. At the end of play each side had 7VP's which was a very good result for the Spanish. If we had played on my suspicion is that the French would have picked up the required 10VP's for a victory before we did.
I came away very impressed with both Tony’s fantastic figure collection and the C&C rules and am looking forward to another game at some point in the future. My thanks to Tony and Mrs Foy for their hospitality (we had lunch in the garden – in Scotland in April!) and to my travelling companion and opponent General Goya. A grand day out.

For a full battle report hop on over to Tony's blog here.