Friday, 15 December 2017

A Wargaming Classic

One of the reasons I've wanted to paint Garrisons for so long is that masses of them appeared in the war games books I read when I was a lad. A lot of the photos in these books, of course, were of Peter Gilder's amazing collections. I didn't know they were Garrisons back then, but I thought they were magnificent all the same.

The all-time classic photo of Peter's troops, as far as I was concerned, was the one that appeared on the dust jacket of Bruce Quarrie's Napoleon's Campaigns in Miniature, published in 1977. The whole cover can be seen here. I spent hours staring at this picture and wondering where the figures came from.

A lot of the soldiers shown marching to their doom at Waterloo in this photo, I now realise, are Garrisons. The detail from the dust jacket I've posted below ought to show what I mean. Those are definitely Garrisons in the back two rows of the column in the foreground, and I think they make up most of the third and fourth rows in the other column as well.



Also depicted, of course, are zillions of Hinton Hunts and Hinchliffes. I'm almost sure that the chaps sporting the red and yellow plumes and marching beside them, however, are Lamming French line voltiguers, although what they're doing in company with the Imperial Guard is anybody's guess. The British on the ridge, by the way, look like S-Range Minifigs and Lammings to me, but if anyone knows better please don't hesitate to say so in the comments.

My own Garrison guardsmen, painted to represent line infantry grenadiers, are shown below. The figures are all Garrison FN 2: Old Guard Grenadier Advancing.



The last two fusilier and voltigeur companies are now on the painting table, but it remains to be seen whether or not I can get them finished before Christmas. Just in case I don't, here's the first half battalion to be going on with:


That's it for now,

WM

Edit: I've added in an extra photo to show how the FN 7 Fusilier and the FN 2 Grenadier compare. I hope it illustrates what I was trying to get at in my comment to 'Lee. The fusilier has a slightly quizzical look somehow - I think it's something to do with the deft little side step he's making, and the slight tilt of his head - like he's trying to decide whether to charge or bolt!


21 comments :

  1. Lovely looking figures and they will look good on the tabke along side your Hintons/DK figures.

    Any chance of Alberken/early minifug unit(s) being added to your armies ?

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    1. Cheers, Mark. There is indeed, although probably not for a year or two. 2018 is going to be mostly about Hinton Hunts if I manage to stick to the plan.

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  2. Fabulous, I zoomed in on the front view of the six grenadiers until the figures appeared about 8" tall and they still looked like great paint jobs. Usually when I zoom into pictures of mine I spot the flaws - usually hairs or gaps in paint coverage...
    I particularly liked the mutton chop whiskers on the guy on the left (his) of the back rank - these subtle variations give them real character.

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    1. It's a bit daft, Rob, I know, as no-one will be able to see this from 3 feet away when they're on the table top, but I do it anyway. I do it because it helps to keep me in a painting frame of mind somehow. Does that make sense?

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    2. It's not remotely daft it's what lifts them from utilitarian toy soldiers into works of art that capture the emotion and joy that we get from our toys.

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  3. It maybe just nostalgia but these figures have a certain style/character that modern figures lack .

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    1. I know what you're saying, Tony, but I don't think it's just nostalgia - these chaps just seem to have a lot of Frenchiness somehow, while being very 1970s at the same time. They've got hairstyles like the 1974 England football squad!

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  4. It was similar pictures of Peter Gilders work that inspired me also, although those were mostly in black and white! Your grenadiers do you proud sir.

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    1. If Miniature Warfare magazine and it's like were still around in the mid 70s when I first became aware of wargaming, they certainly weren't available in my local newsagent. I had to rely on the books by Grant, Chandler and Young for glimpses of what proper Napoleonic wargaming was supposed to look like!

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  5. Oh yes, I spent many minutes drooling over this image in 1969. Its psychological effect on me was to help me realize I could never field a decent Napoleonic wargames army. I'm still paying the price of that conclusion today. Now it's Christmas, so I shall beg your indulgence. I don't like the Garrison grenadiers as much as Hinton Hunt's. I can see that they are the very epitome of Old School wargaming. And your painting of them, WM, is superb as ever. I have a heretical urge to make my little soldiers look like, well, little soldiers. Not iconic images. That's why I prefer HHs (with exceptions) to the opposition. I hope this will not get me expelled from the blogsite(s). I am only defending HHs, after all.

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    1. My dear Archduke, I think we're in almost complete agreement. It's revealing that when I actually started Wargaming in the late 70s it wasn't with Napoleonics. How could one measure up to that?

      Although I also prefer Hinton Hunts, one of the things that impresses me about these old pictures is the eclecticism on display. Robbie's Peter Gilder blog gives a few clues about why this was so - Gilder scooped up figures from wherever he could get them. I also like it because it's what I remember from my local wargaming scene. The old-schoolers fielded very mixed armies indeed. Even I was at it to an extent when I pitted my Hinchliffe ECWs against a Minifigs TYW army. The Hinton Spieler is partly about trying to recapture the slightly chaotic jumble of makes and marks I used to see back then - although not too much, I hasten to add.

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  6. A classic image. The guys in the red/yellow plumes are members of the Young Garde. You may not be aware but I put together a blog re Peter Gilder;petergilderalifeinwargaming.blogspot.com

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    1. I am aware of it Robbie, and it's been a precious source of information. I can't thank you enough!

      As for the Young Guard - do you think so? I tried and failed to find a Young Guard or indeed any other kind of regiment that looked like that. I think I concluded in the end that Gilder was intent on messing with us!

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  7. Hello Matt - great to see some Garrisons getting your special treatment! IN my humble opinion they were ahead of their time, really fine sculpts. I have a few Garrison ECW codes in my collection and are lovely figures. I like the underside of the bases too, stamped with the Garrison logo. I recently contacted Rob Young who still owns the moulds but retired from selling the range in (I think) 2013 to ask if I could place a special order having read that he doe give the moulds a spin a couple of times a year, but to no avail. Seems such a shame to have such a classic range unavailable to collectors. Anyway, I digress, look forward to seeing the unit join the ranks of your splendid collection.

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    1. Thank you, ‘Lee. I agree about the sculpts, although I’ve also got no argument with Foy’s observations about the French fusilier figure elsewhere on this blog and on his own – he’s wearing a sort of mélange of the pre- and post-Bardin uniform. I think it’s the pose (which seems to have been the same for every figure in the 1973 catalogue) which I find so attractive. They could be storming a breach, stepping forward to deliver a volley or stopping dead in their tracks as a thin red line suddenly pops up out of the long grass. It’s the perfect wargaming stance.

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  8. Matt,
    What a super job you have made of those!
    I'm suitably inspired to crack on with some more of my own Garrisons now.
    Although the range was quite limited, and some of the figure designs a little imaginative, i think Garrisons deserve their place alongside HHs on any vintage wargames table.

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    1. Thanks, Tony. Well, that's my theory, but we'll see whether or not it really works.

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  9. Got that book when it first came out as a present from my girlfriend now my wife of 39 years. I kept looking at the pictures and being amazed at what a game could look like. I had always assumed that these were all Hinchcliffe. Well spotted. As to your painting I still am in awe of how many brilliantly painted figures you produce in such a short space of time.

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    1. I've only got the paper back edition without the glorious cover, I'm very sorry to say.

      I haven't quite totted up my output for the year, but it's well under 150 figures. I think I'll be going for a few years yet.

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