Friday, 6 April 2018

Le 67e Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne

I'm off on my travels again in just a few days, so I've been going all out to complete my latest regiment. I couldn't bear the thought of it sitting about unfinished until I came back.





The 67th are my first Hinton Hunt French infantry regiment. For those who like to know these things, the figures used were:

Hinton Hunt, French Infantry of the Line 1807-12 :

FN 241: Officer, charging x1
FN 244:  Fusilier, charging x 9
FN 234: Grenadier in Bearskin, charging x 6; and
FN 254: Voltigeur, charging x 6

Filling out the command group are also two recasts: FN 4a: French Colour Bearer without sword; and FN 6a: French drummer 1807.

The thing I really wanted to know, however, is how well they'd work with my DK and Garrison early French imperial battalions. The answer is shown below.


I've cheated a bit with the Garrisons. It's hard to spot in the picture, but if you look really carefully it's just possible to make out that I've mounted them on 1.5mm plasticard rather than 2mm!

I should be back in about 6 weeks or so.

Till then...

WM

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Easter Egg

Every shiny new French infantry regiment deserves a shiny new marshal to command them, so as promised here is my new general.


His is, of course, Hinton Hunt FN 355: Marshal Davout in marshal's uniform raising his hat, on horse FNH 10. These particular examples are David Clayton castings.

Louis-Nicolas Davout, it is said, was Napoleon's ablest marshal, with an uncanny ability to turn up at exactly the right time to save the day. His most famous victory was Auerstaedt in 1805, where he took on and defeated a Prussian army of over twice his strength while the Emperor had the somewhat easier task of thrashing a smaller Prussian army at Jena. Nobody likes a clever clogs, however, especially one prone to denouncing the incompetence and corruption of his fellow marshals, so he wasn't a very popular chap.

Davout's star really began to wane after the Russian Campaign and all the finger-pointing that ensued, but in 1813 and 1814 he fought a very capable rear-guard action against hugely superior Coalition forces, including a model defence of Hamburg right through to Napoleon's abdication. It was undoubtedly because of his administrative ability that he was appointed Minister of War during the 100 Days. The Armée du Nord could not have been put together nearly so successfully by anyone else. His absence from the army when it marched, however, has been regretted by Bonapartists ever since Waterloo. Certainly, if it had been Davout, rather than Grouchy commanding the French right wing after Ligny, things may have turned out very differently.



When she caught sight of him, Wellington Woman wanted to know if he was a Portrait of the Artist as a French Marshal, which is an outrageous thing to say as my barnet isn't nearly as grey as that. I still get a few funny looks when I wear that hat in to work, though.

As for the shiny new regiment, I've been making progress but haven't quite got there yet. Below are two of my work-in-progress flankers. Both are from the Hinton Hunt French Infantry of the Line 1807-12 range. The chap on the left is the air-guitarist par excellence, an FN 254: Voltigeur, charging. The fellow on the right is an FN 234: Grenadier in Bearskin, charging.

The former is one of six which were very kindly given to me by Ian S. The latter, also one of six, is from a set of what I thought were Guard grenadiers, but was delighted to find were line grenadiers when I eventually got all the paint off. They've been waiting around for over three years while I set about finding sufficient figures to build a regiment around them.




Happy Easter!

WM

Sunday, 25 March 2018

First Class Fusiliers


I've got a bit more to show off than I expected this week. I think it must be the novelty of working with proper Hinton Hunts. I can actually see what I'm doing for a change.

First up is the command group, which features an absolutely cracking Hinton Hunt FN 241: French Infantry of the Line 1807-12, Officer charging. Next to him is a recast David Clayton FN 4a: French Colour Bearer without sword. Considering that he's effectively a recast of a Clayton copy of a Der Kriegspielers conversion of a Hinton Hunt, he's not come out too badly.


Behind them are nine newly completed vintage Hinton Hunt FN 244: French Infantry of the Line 1807-12, Fuslier charging. I think these are gorgeous figures, although having said that I've modified them slightly by turning their heads to the left. The originals were sort of vaguely staring off to the right rather than looking where they were going, no doubt as an aid to casting. Marcus obviously expected his customers to reposition the heads, or that's my story, anyway.


I've even managed to finish another general for them, but as he's yet to dry I'm saving him for next week. If nothing else he'll help to fill the gap while the next two companies are in production.

That's it for now,
WM

Sunday, 18 March 2018

A Different Drum

Fans of Stryker's brilliant blog will recognise this chappie. I suppose it was only a matter of time before we ended up working on the same figure simultaneously. I guess all I can say is: "Snap!"



He is the advance guard of a new French infantry regiment. I'm under a lot of work stress at the moment, and it's the only cure. The other reason I've started this regiment is that it's high time I did something about the fact that my vintage French army has hardly h'any Hinton Hunts h'innit.

We'll see how I do. I'm off on my travels again in less than a month.

Best regards,

WM

Friday, 9 March 2018

Guns Fever

I managed to get my second gun battery finished today.



The figures are:

from the Der Kriegspielers set # 70: Russian Line Artillery 1812: Gunner with rammer and Gunner with port fire;

Hinton Hunt:
RN 73: Gunner holding cannon ball;
RN 74: Gunner holding hand spike for traversing; and
A 6: Russian Field Gun

The DKs were very kindly donated by Mark S, who also supplied the RGL infantry. The HHs came as part of a small mixed lot of HH odds and ends that I bought a couple of years ago without any real idea what I was going to do with them. I think I just wanted to know what they looked like up close.




They're painted to represent a foot battery of the Russo-German Legion. They really ought to be horse gunners, but Hinton Hunt never produced Russian horse artillery and I have the excuse that there really was a very short-lived RGL foot battery. It was armed with very poor quality British iron guns, apparently, which was why it didn't last very long. My battery, I'm very glad to say, has a splendid Hinton Hunt Russian gun, which was given to me ages ago by Roy B. I hope you approve of what I've done with it, Roy.

The completion of this battery is a bit of a milestone as it means I've finally reached the half-way point in Wallmoden's army. To celebrate, here's a picture of them:



My thanks, as always, to everyone who helped me to put all this together and encouraged me to keep painting.

Have a great weekend,
WM

Friday, 2 March 2018

Ultima Ratio

As promised, I have a new set of gunners to display. First off, however, is the gun, which is a rather rickety Der Kriegspielers French howitzer. This ranked as possibly the worst gun model I'd ever encountered when I saw it in the raw, but I think it's painted up reasonably well.



To man it I have four more Der Kriegspielers French gunners, from set #22: French Line Artillery, 1809.


Well, they're mostly DK 22s. The chap holding the ramrod is actually a combination of a DK gunner holding handspikes and a Prince August figure. I didn't have a DK rammer so I decided to have a go at another conversion. He's not my greatest effort, but he'll do.



The base is a standard Muskets and Marshals 6cm x 6cm artillery base, made from 2mm plasticard and, as I explained last week, painted with a green emulsion that was the closest match I could get to Humbrol 80: Grass Green. I'm really pleased with the effect.



The last couple of shots are of them lined up with my other two French batteries. The French artillery is really starting to look quite formidable.



They're not the only gunners I've been working on, however. All will be revealed next week...

WM

Sunday, 25 February 2018

A New Pirch

My new gunners are complete, but as I haven't finished their guns yet I've used an existing gun detachment to illustrate the spiffy new plasticard gun bases I've made for them. The prospect of painting this (in fact I needed to do six) with my increasingly dodgy supply of Humbrol 80: Grass Green was so daunting that I finally bestirred myself to head down to the local DIY warehouse and get a 250ml pot of matched emulsion.


It wasn't an exact match, but this was by no means a bad thing. I rather like the daring two-tone effect it produces with the original Humbrol colour on the figure bases. I think I'm going to all my plasticard bases like this from now on.

Pictured with the gunners is my newly completed Der Kriegspieler Prussian General. He is to be Generalleutnant Georg Dubislav Ludwig von Pirch (or Pirch I as he's generally known, to distinguish him from his brother). Pirch I was the commander of the Prussian II Corps in 1815, a gig that was awarded to him because the previous incumbent, Ludwig von Borstell, had refused to execute a group of mutinous Saxon soldiery who were less then keen to join the Prussian army.



He's not the most spectacular figure in the world, but he'll do for me.

Brand new gunners to follow, I promise.

WM

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Von Lützow at Last

Colonel Von Lützow has arrived at last to lead his famous Schwarzen Jäger.


And very dapper he looks too in his black duds, which match his black heart!




How I made him

As explained in the last post, von Lützow is actually a converted Hinton Hunt PN 10: Prussian Foot Guards Officer, charging. The tools I used for this conversion are pictured below.



The first job was to cut him off his base and then bend, cut and file his legs until he could sit  comfortably on his horse. Greatly aiding this process was the 'D'-section shaped microfile, which was just the thing for hollowing out his...er...undercarriage.

To make his litewka I tried out something new which was to create a very basic frame for it using 5-amp fuse wire. This was bent into shape with pliers and then glued into place. I hoped it would give a well-defined edge to the litewka once I started smearing solder around, and it worked a treat. The only major thing needed after that was to drill off any excess solder with my rotary tool.

I also repositioned his sword arm and added a couple of epaulettes. The latter were made by attaching small blobs of solder onto his shoulders, filing them flat and then shaping them with a small hand drill.

The final touch was achieved using the tool shown below. It's known as a "Diamond Poger", apparently, and is normally used for setting gemstones in jewelry. The little concave cups at the end of each point, each of a slightly different size, also happen to be excellent for making buttons!


My sincere thanks to Lewis Gunner for sending me this device when I couldn't find one in New Zealand.

Should be gunners next.

WM

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Horsing Around

I was supposed to be painting gunners today, but it didn't quite work out that way. Before getting down to the job on hand I thought I'd do a simple conversion and things sort of escalated after that. The upshot is that no gunners were painted, but I've ended up with a couple of new Prussian generals, so it wasn't all bad.

The simple conversion was a quick head swap on another of my Der Kriegspielers #50 mounted officers. The new head I gave him was left over from the recast Hinton Hunt PN 64 I used to make General Zieten.


This didn't take very long at all and since the soldering iron was all nicely warmed up I started fossicking about in my might-do-a-conversion-but-haven't-quite-decided-yet box. What I came up with was a  Hinton Hunt PN 10: Prussian Guard Grenadier officer, charging. "I wonder if he could be made to sit on a horse", I said to myself. The answer was "yes, he can", although it took several hours to find out.

He still needs a little cleaning up, and perhaps a bit more work on his sword arm, but he's mostly complete. He is to be Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm Freiherr von Lützow, of course. The horse, by the way, is a recast Hinton Hunt FNH 13.

I should be getting back to my gunners now, but I suspect they're going to have to wait a little longer....

Yours, soldering on,
WM

Saturday, 20 January 2018

A Swiss Confection

Well, I survived my encounter with the wild clans of the South Island and am back at my at my painting desk. To ease myself back into the painting groove I've decided to have a go at another general officer figure.

The figure I picked was another one of the Der Kriegspielers command figures (set #50) featured in a previous post. He is the generic French general figure, who is clearly based on a Hinton Hunt FN 224: French General. Interestingly the DK version has the horse's head turned slightly to the right, rather than to the left as in the HH version, and the rider's head is turned to the left rather than to the right.


My version of this figure is also painted red because he is to be Nicolas Antoine Xavier Castella de Berlens, who was the only officer in any of Napoleon's Swiss regiments to reach the rank of General de Brigade. The uniform he is wearing is based on a portrait which was probably painted in late 1815. I couldn't find a colour photo of this portrait, but an engraved copy can be seen in the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, here. He is to command the 3rd Swiss on the grounds that Marshal Soult always seemed a little too grand for that gig, and because I really fancy having a French general dressed in red!



Castella de Berlens started his military career in the Saxon Swiss Guards, but was persuaded to transfer to the French service (despite being a convinced Royalist) in 1806. He commanded the 2nd Swiss Regiment in Spain and Russia and was made a General de Brigade in 1813. It seems fairly clear, however, that he never went into in action in this capacity. Having been badly wounded in Russia, he sat out the 1813 and 1814 campaigns, and then made himself scarce (along with most of the other Swiss officers in Napoleon's service) during the Hundred Days.


To make his uniform conform to the portrait I filed off the single row of buttons running down his chest and replaced them with a double row, and also added a bit of fuse wire to represent the leather cord that he used to suspend his sabre. The only other thing required after that was a bit of filing and scoring of his pistol holsters to simulate the fur covers which can also be seen in the portrait.

I hope you like him.

WM

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

A Bridge too Near

On Saturday morning JC arrived to take part in the annual JC-WM stoush. Still smarting from his stinging defeat of twelve months ago, JC once more took command of the Prussians and was determined to wreak his revenge.

The rules in use were Stryker's Muskets & Marshals v.5.3, although with a special amendment. The untried Prussian reserve battalions, we decided, would test for their moral class the moment they came under fire. One D6 would be thrown for each battalion: a score of 1,2 or 3 would make it C class and a 4 or a 5 would bump them up to B. Throwing a six, however, would make it A class fanatics, driven by an unquenchable hatred for their former French overlords.

The situation

A strong Franco-Bavarian advanced corps of two divisions has established a bridgehead across a river, occupying the hills and villages on the far bank. The French have to hold these positions until nightfall (10 turns). The Prussian mission is simple - to seize and hold the bridge and cut off the French.

La Debacle

To cut a long story short, it was a swift and decisive Prussian victory, which left JC feeling very pleased indeed. Almost nothing seemed to go right for the French.

Let Battle commence....
JC's plan was to throw everything he had at the bridge and the farm, while leaving a token force to delay and disrupt any counter offensives by the French left. My plan, such as it was, was to cram as many of my best troops as I could into the approaches to the bridge. The strong task force in my centre and left, I assumed, would easily deal with JC's right, which was made up of C-class troops and a single regiment of hussars. Aaah, this'll be a breeze, I said to myself.

As JC's forces straggled forwards, I prepared my riposte.
This'll teach him, I thought.....
But there was method to JC's apparent madness. His advance may have looked a bit disorganised, but is was bristling with firepower. I discovered this by rashly attempting to ride down the Neumark Landwehr with my lancers.  It...um... ended Murat's ambitions.

...but the only one receiving a lesson was me.

As the lancers retreated to safety, JC's crack Silesian marksmen advanced into the woods flanking the approaches to the bridge. A deadly firefight ensued against the French Combined Voltigeurs lurking amongst the trees - deadly for the Voltigeurs, that is. The Silesians hardly suffered a scratch.

If you go into the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise...

It was my first intimation of JC's uncanny dice-throwing abilities. So much started to become clear when the Empress Dragoons were utterly annihilated after only two rounds of melee with JC's Leib Hussars. More or less the only thing I could do after that was to lob cannon balls at them until they scuttled off for cover behind some trees. The Lutzowers, by the way, spent the entire battle lurking behind that hedge.

I forgot the Leib Hussars are invincible......

Safe from any sort of cavalry menace on his flank, JC sent in his Silesian regulars and 21st Reserve Regiment against the farm. The 21st, to JC's distress, tested as C-class, and sure enough the two battalions could make no impression at all against the farm, which was valiantly held by the 13th Legere. They needn't have bothered, however, as it had absolutely no effect on the rapidly unfolding debacle going on behind them.

It was just like Rorke's Drift, which would have been fine but for the 
Isandlwana which was also starting to unfold just off camera.

I knew something was up when JC's 18th Regiment tested as A-class as soon as they came under fire. In no time at all they were carving through my Bavarians. Most remarkable of all, however, was the performance of the B-class Field Battalion Bremen. They not only stopped my Imperial Guard in their tracks but then beat them up in fine style.

JC seeing off my crack battalions armed with only Prussian reservists
and Hanoverians

With mounting panic there seemed nothing for it but to launch an attack with my Swiss, supported by the remnants of the Lancers. Amazingly, they managed to see off JC's Cuirassiers, but it was all far too little and too late.

One of my very few and entirely pyhrric victories.

The end came in the next move. With my Bavarians and voltigeurs already routed, I had only a single battalion of line infantry left to try and stop the rot. They'd barely begun to move, however, when the Guard broke and fled before the absolutely unstoppable Hanoverians. With JC's Prussian foot guards bearing down on me, half my infantry gone, and all my cavalry in tatters, there was nothing for it but to thrown in the towel.

La Garde Recule, made all the more atmospheric by me
accidentally smearing my phone's camera lens.
JC, needless to say, was absolutely delighted and so, in a way, was I. This is just the incentive I need, I thought, to crack on and paint some more Frenchmen.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

WM