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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Featherstone, Tennant and Higgs - Another Discovery and a Very Special WIP

As our nation's representatives in Congress prepare to vote a second time to impeach, I thought I would take some comfort in my hobby that has brought so much joy to me, and hopefully share a little joy with my readers.  Last month I received a package from Dick Tennant, which was the culmination of his lifetime of devotion to the hobby.  Amongst the items I received were these little gems.  Dick had reached out to me over a year ago asking if I wanted them and I had arranged for them to go to the home of a dear friend, Terry Webb.  As I found out more about the figures, I felt they were just to integral to the collection to break them apart from the whole, so with Terry's kind permission they have remained with me.

These miniatures were painted and designed by Dick Higgs, Design Director for Minifigs, and used on the cover of Donald Featherstone's book, Military Modeling.  The figures themselves were cast by Neville Dickenson, but never produced commercially by Minifigs, so as far as I know are unique.

I will have to ask Mr. Tennant how he came into possession of them, but it speaks to his early involvement with the founders of our hobby.

There have been some very slight adjustments to the figures since their debut on the cover of Military Modelling; the right hand on the rightmost hussar has been straightened to a more natural pose and the painting of his eyes corrected.  Some red striping has been added to the sword tassel on the leftmost hussar.  I will have to ask Mr. Tennant if those were some of his additions.


 After posting a story about the Tennant Collection I received a comment from Mark, over at the Man of TIN blog ( ), regarding some additional connection showing the collaborative nature of the relationship between Tennant and Featherstone.  Below is an image from Featherstone's Complete Wargaming,with some of Dick Tennant's collection.  Mark's copy of the book is signed by Donald Featherstone and Inscribed to Dick Tennant!


Dick had indicated to me that photographs of his own collection had gotten all jumbled up with Featherstone's own and others, Hence the incorrect captioning of the original edition with corrections penciled in, and also some incorrect attribution in the Airfix guide by Bruce Quarrie on which Featherstone also contributed.

The picture above was reproduced from this original

Photography has come a long way since then!  This is the cousin to the 13th Light Dragoon pictured.  The 9th will get the same refresh to their paint and a good cleaning before too long, but there are so many units to bring back up into top notch condition!

And Now for Something Completely Different!

Below is a special Christmas present from my daughter to accompany last years gift of an anthology of the works of Robert E. Howard and his Conan stories.

A beautiful 40mm resin casting she found on Etsy, which will accompany my 40mm figures for a Dungeons and Dragoons type game called The Fantasy Trip.
Clearly modeled on the movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger!

A shot of his back showing his mighty thews!

As a parting shot I will link to the video just released by Schwarzenegger trying to digest and move past the events at the capital last week, featuring the Conan sword as a metaphor for American democracy - a sword must be tempered repeatedly to make it strong and resilient, and our democracy has certainly undergone a lot of that over the last four years.  I have faith we will emerge the stronger for it.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

British Napoleonic Artillery Comparison and Works in Progress

To kick off the new year I thought I would do a long promised comparison of artillery models.  Thanks to fellow enthusiast "Goya" for providing the scaled down measurements of actual British artillery pieces.  If you have other metal 1/72 scale makes and feel inclined to measure them, send me the measurements and I will add them to the file for reference.  Below is a sampling of artillery pieces in my collection that shows the wide variety of what is interpreted as 1/72 scale. 

From left to right: Der Kriegspieler, Hinchliffe 20mm, SHQ (all 6 pdrs), Hinchliffe 20mm, Hagen, Der Kriegspieler (all 9 pdrs) - of note is that Hagen guns come with both barrel sizes, and as they are heroically scaled, the 9 pounder I have shown here is actually the smaller 6 pounder barrel, so I have taken some license to make a reasonably scaled Hagen artillery piece.

A comparison shot for axle width and wheel height.  Note the absence of ammunition chests on the DK gun carriages.
As can be seen from the chart, none of the pieces is spot on for 1/72 scale.  The Hagen is by far the cleanest casting and is currently available.  SHQ is also currently available, but the mold is aging and getting the artillery piece into reasonable condition took some work.


A New Colonel for the Legione Hanovrienne

Colonel Louis-Cyriac Striffler resplendent in his new cutting edge style uniform.

SHQ makes this lovely little model.  The shako cords are a custom addition however.

Leading his battalion

Works in Progress

I have spent over a month prepping these Der Kriegspieler figures of the 3rd Dutch Grenadiers of the French Imperial Guard for painting.  Wellington Man provided the initial 24 figures and command which were in great shape, but the core of these were actually from an eBay find and required a great deal of TLC.  I plan on modelling both battalions so am hopeful that getting the figures from Wellington man ready for painting will not be nearly as painful!  Most challenging is that I have re-positioned the figure, turning the head sideways and clipping off the front foot and turning it 90 degrees.  This put a lot of stress on the metal at the ankles and knees, so all of those areas have been strengthened with super glue.

I just wanted an excuse to try out my new light box so this Dapol model of a windmill gets to make a second appearance on my blog.

Apparently you could rotate the whole upper portion of the windmill using the lever positioned next to the stairs.

The Von Kinkel Regiment of Bavarians will be complete once the second battalion is done.  Last night they got their jackets painted so they are coming along nicely.

I forgot I had purchased a couple of Hagen Bavarian Colonels as part of my artillery order.  I prefer the Franznap mounted Colonels below.  Franznap figures are a little more slender and realistically proportioned than the Der Kriegspieler/Hinton Hunt figures, and the Hagen models are much thicker and heroically proportioned.  Both would work, but given the choice I prefer the Franznap's realistic style.

You can see the Franznap Colonels here, with some infantry from the first battalion on deck to serve as a color reference.

Putting the finishing touches on a Royal Horse Artillery battery from the Tennant collection. 

Lastly I have a shot of the new light box that was my Xmas present next to my home-made one.  The extra space and collapsible design are appreciated!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

55 years from Start to Finish - The Tennant Collection Completed!

This week I was privileged to receive a package all the way from the UK from Richard Tennant.  Over the last year he has been working to finish the last two battalions of his planned British and French Peninsular War armies of 1812-13.  Inside were a few other surprises as well!  55 years from the genesis of this project, Mr. Tennant has brought it to completion.  These were the final additions he had planned.  To see more about the collection, you can read about it and Mr. Tennant's extraordinary link to the wargaming hobby here:

My hands were literally shaking with excitement as I opened the box.
The first item to catch my attention was this incredible hand written indexed notebook with Mr Tennant's observations about the models and armies he was working on. 

Some award certificates were also tucked away, including one for the Rocket Troop (below) that I will reference later in this post.

Below the notebook and several reference catalogs were of course the miniatures...

and this extraordinary item, cleverly packed inside a wine tube, a 10mm battery and British infantry company carved from matchsticks!

I had to chuckle at this one.  Not only does it include some 54mm models, there is also a selection of modelling supplies, including an empty tube of Dutch toothpaste from which Dick makes his flags

The most anticipated item of course can be seen here and featured below: two 36 figure battalions of Spanish infantry, the 6th Regiment de Marina, and the Cazadores Voluntarios de la Corunna

Finally a selection of Dick Higgs 54mm figures, painted and unpainted

All of the contents are packed away under the Christmas tree for now, awaiting Christmas morning when I will unwrap all of the contents and examine them more closely as I prepare them for display.  In the meantime Mr. Tennant was kind enough to share some photos of the Hinton Hunt Spanish Battalions.  As usual his brushwork is just superb!
[Cazadores] Voluntarios de la Coruna

6 th Regimiento de Marine

Below are the army organizational charts.  While not specifically aligned to any one corps or battle, they contain recognizable and distinctive groupings characteristic of the French and British armies in the 1812-1813 period.

The Allied British army OOB

The French Army of Portugal OOB

 Mr Tennant was kind enough to include a summary of his efforts and influences towards the completion of this project, as well as other military history related endeavors over the course of his life:



Early influences
As a lad, I grew up in Southampton and had always been keen on toy soldiers. In
1963, when I was 19, I went along to the first National Wargames Convention at the
Cotswold Hotel, Southampton and ‘discovered’ the world of wargaming. Not only
that, but also realized that my hometown was a haven for the hobby. I bought Tackle
Model Soldiers This Way and managed to join the group run by the legendary Don
Featherstone. Through this local wargames club I also came to know such notables as
Neville Dickenson, Tony Bath, and Peter Gilder.
In 1969 we moved north to near Stockport. At the Manchester Model Soldier Society,
run by Harry Middleton, I came to meet Frank Hinchliffe and visited him several
times over in Meltham, Yorkshire.
Like everyone else at that time, I started with Hinton Hunt figures together with a few
early Miniature Figurines. I had met Marcus Hinton at a wargames convention in
1966 and started buying his figures. In this last year I have been painting my last
allied Spanish brigade. When they are finished, I will have created about 2,800
figures representing both an Anglo/Portuguese/Spanish Army and a French & Allied
Army of around 1812/13. Over the years they have won various painting
competitions at wargames conventions. In 2019 the collection was bought by a
collector in the USA.

Military History
I have continued to broaden my interest, concentrating on what is broadly described
as The Napoleonic Wars. I have accumulated a collection of period drill manuals,
diaries, histories and maps, besides more recent books covering the period. I have just
disposed of this library of around 570 books.
I also collected some medals, as well as a few representative pieces of muskets and
swords, from my period of interest.

Back in 1976 David Chandler and Peter Duffy started the British Commission for
Military History. They invited their fellow-wargamer, Don Featherstone, to be a
founder-member and bring along some of his contacts to swell the numbers. In 1977 I
became one of the 43 original members.

British Commission for Military History (

After my return to the UK in 2002 it was possible to participate more actively in
BCMH affairs. In 2006 I became the Honorary Treasurer during the ‘Richard Holmes
Years’, a position I held until 2013.
I attended the 2005 international congress of the International Commission for
Military History in Madrid and in 2009 headed the BCMH delegation to the
international congress in Oporto. In 2012 I ran the bicentennial battlefield tour of the
BCMH to Spain and Portugal.
In 2019 I was made an Honorary Life Member of the BCMH.

My wife and I have made extensive tours to the Peninsular War battlefields of
Portugal, Spain & Southern France, as well as a series in central Europe ( Austria,
Czechia, Southern Germany / Saxony and Poland ). These have been illustrated on
CD-ROM’s. Many of the photographs have been used by professional historians to
illustrate their books.

In 2008 I became a board member of the Peninsular War 200 organization, the
official British body to commemorate the campaigns of the period 2008-14 in
Portugal, Spain and the south of France. This was headed by General Sir Nick Parker.

I managed to have my first article published in Tradition magazine in 1971. In 1973 a
three chapter article was published in Military Modelling magazine. The Journal of
the Napoleonic Association published a four chapter article in 1989.
From 2005 I was a regular contributor in the bi-monthly magazine First Empire. My
articles are currently in the process of being included on the website The Napoleon
I have presented papers at the Wellington Congress and the Defense Surveyors’
Association Annual Seminar.

Having completed a study into the songs and music of Wellington’s Regiments, this
was complimented by the release of a CD Music of the Allies – from the Peninsula to
Waterloo, recorded on historic musical instruments, released by the Bate Collection
at Oxford University.

In 2009 I was recruited by Lt General Sir Christopher Wallace to be a Trustee of the
Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum in Winchester. This included being made an
Honorary Member of the regiment, awarded by the Colonel Commandant, General
Sir Nick Parker.

The Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum | Winchester (

To mark the bicentenary of Waterloo we commissioned a £400,000 exhibition to
remodel some of the galleries, including the intricate restoration of the 25 square
metre diorama of the battlefield. The new galleries were opened by the Duke of
Wellington on 25th March 2015.

The Royal Green Jackets Museum Waterloo Exhibition goes permanent (

I stood down as a Trustee in 2019.

Since the death of Don Featherstone in 2013 I have been the President of the Wessex
Military Society, which he founded in 1975.

The article in Military Modelling referenced above titled the Rocketmen of 1814 can be seen here:


Click the link above to access the article

I am extraordinarily privileged to be the caretaker of this magnificent collection, but it was never my intention to let it be a static display item, nor do I consider myself a collector, but rather an active hobbyist and figure painter.  I have already begun the expansion of the collection, adding a few figures here and there to existing units, and new battalions that will incorporate the core of this collection into an expansion that includes the forces of Napoleon that invaded Russia in 1812.  To that end I will be adding the French Imperial Garde, elements of the Bavarian and Duchy of Warsaw formations, and of course, the Russians!  So much joy to be had and work yet to be done.