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Monday, January 16, 2023

Rob's Regimiento de Dragones de Almansa and Some Upcoming Projects

My good buddy Rob recently shared his stunning brushwork for the Spanish Regimiento de Dragones de Almansa with a few of our fellow painter/collectors.  Yellow coated Spanish Dragoons really are a must for any Peninsular army, so I asked if I could share his work on my blog.  Rob did an extraordinary amount of customization and prep work on these.  In his own words:

"I’m not sure but I believe they were okay, but not great, copies of [sic Hinton Hunt] BN/206 (the muskets were crap which was why I definitely wanted to replace them).  The horses all had ‘swallow-tailed’, light cavalry, shabraques but no idea of the code for them – the exception is the officer’s horse which was, I believe, a genuine HH French officers horse, again don’t know which one.  Pistol holsters are solder with holes drilled for steel wire pistols the butts being topped off with some ‘5SecondFIX’.  The trooper horses had the shabraque tails cut/filed off and the edge restored with some Green-Stuff – their rolled cloaks were filed down to better fit the riders as I didn’t think about the fit when adding the longer coat-tails to the riders and was not going to re-do those again! 


All the figures had lost their swords so I added new white metal ones.  I have some old white metal spears in my bits box and these are squashed with plyers to get a flat section which is cut and filed to shape (an easy job).  The hand is then drilled and the sword inserted and glued – too frail to put a soldering iron anywhere near it. 


The musician has his right hand cut off and his sleeve drilled out then a new hand and trumpet added from Newline – the arm being filed to be thin enough to be inserted up the ‘sleeve’.   The trumpet banner is just aluminium foil super glued on.


The coat-tails are solder with, for the rank and file a final finishing off using Milliput as it’s easier to get them looking similar that way than just using solder. 


The command figures had their plumes extended with solder and filed to shape – the pictures I have show the plumes long or short so went for showier plumes for the command figures.  I also gave them gauntlets – the rank and file having bare hands as they want to use muskets on foot – this was also the reason for filing the boot tops down and using a bit of green-stuff to build them back up as gaiters.


Finally, which delayed things a bit, the manky horse bases (very irregular in shape) were built up with some Milliput to look more like HH bases.


The muskets were from that very helpful chap, Sean, at Newline, God’s gift to 20mil convertors.  The cross belts for the cartridge box (that was added with solder and filed to shape) and musket are Green-Stuff and added after the muskets were glued on (Super Glue).  I filed a bit of a groove in the backs of the figures for a good join for the musket and so it wouldn’t have to curve to follow the figure’s back."

 Now that Rob has completely showed up any of my previous efforts, I thought I would at least post a few odds and ends of things to come in 2023:

I was never happy with my 3rd Battalion of the 6th Legere, it being a mix of Der Kriegspieler, Alberken, and Hinton Hunt miniatures.  I have decided to reorganize what was the third battalion into smaller skirmish units, as if the whole regiment of three battalions had combined their elite companies.

I retained one unit of these wonderful Alberken figures painted as Chasseurs, but if you ever see any more let me know as I would love to add another skirmish unit or two of them.

I'll be adding a new skirmish unit of 9 Voltigeurs in busbys of course, because they just look so cool!  The bugler is one of my all time favorite figures so I was very glad to find one to add to this unit.

The Carabiniers will act as a reserve along with the Colonel and standard bearer.

These fine looking chaps will be my own attempt at some Spanish Cavalry, Caballería de Línea Regimiento del Rey, made with Minifig S-series figures.  Despite being intended as British Dragoons, these figures work almost perfectly as Spanish cavalry and almost no modifications were needed.

This fine chap is another S-series Minifig of a Spanish General.  Thanks to Terry Webb for the gift of him as he will lead the regiment to glory on the field of Talavera where the Caballería de Línea Regimiento del Rey made their mark routing the attacking French columns.

These gents are currently on the painting table and will be the first to be featured when finished.  The French 1st Hussars were originally painted by Dick Tennant. I have cleaned off ~40 years of dust, made structural repairs, and will be repairing chipped paint and adding some depth through shading and highlighting before giving them a nice glossy protective coat.  There is one interloper from the 2nd Hussars mixed in who will also be getting a new jacket.  Have to love the officer with the red shako and trousers!

They will be led by a new addition to the collection, a magnificent Colonel of Hussars from the Franznap line.

Thanks to Wellington Man, this battalion of Lamming Grenadiers will be coming soon, as I will need them for my next planned historical battle, the attack on Vimiero Village itself.

And finally I have some original Hinton Hunt Chasseurs a cheval from the dismountable series, but who are unfortunately seated on recast FH 7 horses.  When I purchased these I did not realize the Hinton Hunt horses had been replaced with what could only be described a steppe ponies.  Fortunately I eventually remembered I had received some elite company chasseurs as part of a larger lot, that were recasts of OK quality (probably the same source as Rob's Dragoons), but I too will be doing a lot of work on the bases to fill in all of the gaps.

Well that is quite enough to keep me busy for awhile.  With any luck I'll have them done by the end of Summer.  Till my next post, hope you all have a remarkable and joyous 2023!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Works in Progress - DBX/ADLG Late Medieval or Italian Renaissance and Napoleonic HH Conversions

For quite some time I have wondered what base model Dick Tennant used as Portuguese Dragoons and Mounted Royal Horse Artillerists.  It seems so very obvious now, but not knowing the figure line as some it just took me a looooong time to put the pieces together.  I have two planned conversions in the works to make two Colonels for the remaining Portuguese Dragoon regiments, so I needed to find the right figure.

Below are Dick's Portuguese Dragoon conversions.

Note the shoulder scales.  DT did such a great job with these that for awhile I was convinced he might have opened up a chop shop and was putting random body parts together.  Then I remembered the lead foil in his miscellaneous hobby supplies he sent.

At first I thought the position of the right arm indicated the model started life with a shouldered sword, but if so, why cut it off?

Note the smooth front of the jackets - I believe some file work was key here.

This was a real stumper for awhile, but when examined closely, or blown up as in this photo, it becomes clear that the shabraque and scabbard and sword hilt were custom made for each trooper.

Lastly, note the remnants of the button hole impressions on the trousers.  DT's fine paintwork largely concealed these, but in my effort to add some dimensionality to the figures, my wash for shading the figure inadvertently showed up these depressions.

The Mounted gunners were a similar mystery, but I soon realized with the exception of the officer, they were derived from the same figure.

The boots and shouldered sword make this officer figure likely to have started life as a Light Dragoon in Tarleton.

The gunner on the other hand shows the same custom addition of a scabbarded sword as the Portuguese Dragoons as well as the aforementioned trouser/overall buttons.
Note the hand positions of the mounted gunner, that in my mind makes it clear is the same figure as the Portuguese Dragoon.

The end result of all of this is that I finally realized both the Portuguese Dragoons and the mounted artillerists must have been derived from the same figure.  And the winner is: BN 28 mounted on a cavalry horse (Anyone know which one?  DT ground the bottom of his bases flat for a good glue surface, so the codes on the bottom of the bases are usually missing).  You can see a picture of the figure here:

In other projects on the workbench, I have been preparing an addition to my Late-Medeival/Renaissance army for DBA/ADLG.  Unfortunately I have just learned that I have another commitment the weekend of the ADLG tournament, so I am afraid these poor fellows may not make it to the table for some time.

Here we have a mish-mash of Ral Partha Gendarmes and German Knights with Thunderbolt Mountain (same sculptor, Tom Meiers) lances and axes and flails.  Also at left are a commander from the condottieri line as well as a Reiter and a Dellis from the Ottoman line.  The Reiter and Dellis will be used as Stradiot light horse.

Ral Partha fantasy foot knights

These really work pretty well as 16th century knights

Ral Partha really had only one very awkwardly sculpted English longbowmen, so these are borrowed once again from a fantasy line sculpted by Tom Meier and sizeed as 25mm just like Ral Partha, so a very compatible fit. 

They are part of the Thunderbolt Mountain Arthurian line.  Eventually I will use wood putty to build up the base and paint it to match the rest of the army.

The Billmen are also from the Thunderbolt Mountain Arthurian line.

Here we have the city militia used to fill out the ranks of the professional men at arms or city garrison.

Here's the rest of the army awaiting their compatriots:

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

7e Chevau-Leger Vistula Uhlans

After much perturbation, I have finally gotten up the nerve to finish the 7e Chevau-Leger Vistula Uhlans.  This has always been a favorite uniform of mine, and the core of this regiment was so ably painted by Dick Tennant, that I was a bit intimidated by the idea of expanding it and bringing it up to full strength.  Most cavalry regiments in the collection consist of 18 troopers and a commander, but DT only painted 14 of these.  Probably like me, he had trouble getting the figures to do a full strength unit! I had despaired of ever finding some Hinton Hunt dismountable lancers (rare as hen's teeth I believe Wellington Man called them).  Eventually I located some, but they turned out in the end to be rather poorly cast copies.  Not to be deterred, I cleaned them up and decided to give painting them a whirl.

Five of the troopers are recasts painted by myself.  They're easy to spot if you know what to look for, but in the end I felt as though they were a pretty seamless addition to the regiment.

The intricate buckles and belts were one of those details that really worried me, especially as they were conspicuously absent from the recast figures.

Touching up the original figures painted by Mr. Tennant actually helped to make this into a cohesive unit.  While I might have been very slightly off with my matching of colors (all had to be custom mixed) on the new figures, by the time I had added washes for shading as well as highlights to the whole group, the color differences were minimal.

I wanted to add a figure with a company guidon, and fortunately the figure selected had a broken pennon, so I did not feel bad about removing it and adding the guidon.

As painted this regiment is from the period around 1811.  There were several uniform changes prior to, and after this, but the most notable in this instance was the addition of the blue topped black plume.  Mr. Tennant modelled the entire regiment with white epaulets on both shoulders, which in truth, would likely only have been worn by the elite company.  He also added red epaulets to the company NCOs, but I could find no evidence that this was ever practiced.  Phillip Haythornthwaite was kind enough to look into this for me as well and he too could find no evidence of red epaulets having been worn.  Of course that doesn't mean it could not have happened, and I decided to keep them to honor the work of Mr. Tennant.

The guidon is based on an example still in existence and described in this Napoleon Series article: 
Much work was required to touch up the carbines and saddle cloths, boots and horse legs, as they had been roughly treated in transit to the US.

The Colonel and trumpeter were not quite as well painted as is usual for Mr. Tennant and required considerable work to bring them up to his standard.  I wonder if they were early work of his, or perhaps even incorporated later from someone else's collection.  The most notable change for the Colonel was to separate the sword from the horse's ear as cast, and provide a little airspace between the two.

So glad that this famous regiment can now take its proper place amongst the collection!


These Uhlans were featured in the Airfix Guide to Napoleonic Wargaming by Bruce Quarrie.  When I received this collection a few years back, he was kind enough to send me some color copies of the original photos which you can see below.  This was absolutely one of those photos that hooked me on the idea of starting my own Napoleonics collection!

I literally just noticed that in this photo the Uhlans have yellow tipped plumes. Dick Tennant must have repainted the plumes after the photo shoot. He was working on this collection for 50 years so had plenty of time to do that! I also note that the officer and trumpeter are conspicuously absent from this photo, which corresponds well to my assertion in the blogpost above, that they may have come later or from another painter.  Dick did not texture the bases of his figures, so he and Don Featherstone must have spent hours staging all of these with Dick's buildings and then blending in the turf.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Bavarian 5th Light Infantry Detachment

The Bavarians needed a little skirmish support now that they have artillery, infantry and cavalry, so to the rescue comes the Bavarian 5th light Infantry.  Knotel has a fabulous illustration of the 5th, which went a long way to helping me prioritize this unit, not to mention the small number of figures required!  The figures are primarily Der Kriegspieler, (2xDK 175, 5xDK 174 with plume added), though the officer is Hinton Hunt (BVN 6) and the trumpeter a converted Hinton Hunt/Dave Clayton figure from BVN 7?.

Skirmish order

Recently I was able to host a game to celebrate my birthday.  The game was an excuse to ply good friends with food and wine, and also to get all of my toys on the battlefield.  The British may a good effort to hold their own, but in truth the deck was a bit stacked against them and the French were able to gain the advantage on both flanks, rendering the center untenable.  Some nice pictures of the game can be found here thanks to David R. and his excellent camera work:


The crew minus David R., our illustrious photographer.  Could not have spent the day with a better group of folks.  I only wish I had gotten a picture of Beans, the goofy pup who came to visit, smooshing his head against the back door.  I guess he wanted some ham too!


The real impetus for the celebration was a giant Serrano ham accompanied by Spanish tapas - We are still working through the leftovers!

 Lastly a small teaser for my next post - the 7th Chevau-Legere / Vistula Lancers