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Sunday, November 22, 2020

Wellington's General Staff and the Duke of Brunswick

 As promised, to celebrate a quarter million page views, I have featured the newly spruced up and varnished commanders of the Anglo-Portuguese Army, as well as the Duke of Brunswick and escort.  The figures were originally, and masterfully, painted by Richard Tennant.  I have added some rudimentary shading and highlights.  Additionally I have made a few modifications to some figures, as well as a general cleaning and refresh on some of the paint that had dulled or chipped over time.  I Hope you enjoy!  As I am late in getting these posted I am going to add the pictures and then work on the commentary in the next day or so.  Blame the Tennessee Titans and their stunning come from behind, over-time victory against the Baltimore Ravens for the lateness of my post.

The General Staff of the Anglo-Portuguese Army: The Duke of Wellington, The Prince of Orange as ADC, General of Artillery Sir Edward Howarth, General officer of the Staff Corps of Cavalry, Orderly to the General Staff (16th Light Dragoons), and Royal Life Guard Escort

Though never actually present in the Peninsula to my knowledge, what Anglo-Allied army would be complete without the Duke of Brunswick?  At the very least he should have made a visit to check on the state of the infamous Brunswick Oels (who will be featured in another post in the future).  He is escorted by a Colonel of Brunswick Lancers and a detachment of troopers.

For the following individual shots of the command staff, I constructed a small light box from Kenex toys and parchment paper.  My inspiration for doing so was the extraordinary brushwork and photography on Alistair Morrison's blogsite and his description of his photo technique here:

Sir Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington.  This is an Alberken figure, one of the precursors of the Miniatures Figurines line, likely sculpted by Peter Gilder before he started sculpting for Hinchliffe miniatures, but that is just supposition, as it could have been others associated with the early days of figure design.  This particular figure has had the characteristic rectangular base reshaped to be more in line with the Hinton Hunt figures that make up the bulk of the collection.  The original telescope was also removed, the arm re-positioned, and a new telescope fashioned from wire and epoxy putty "Green Stuff".

The Prince of Orange, or "Slender Billy" as he was known to the senior generals, was an Aide de Camp to the Duke of Wellington.  This figure is a Hinton Hunt ADC figure BN 261, slightly modified with decorative touches on his fore and aft hat, as well as his service ribbon as shown in his official portrait.  While unlikely he would have worn these elements in the field, as a lover of toy soldiers I am guilty of dressing them up a tad.

The portrait on which this is based can be seen here:

Brigadier General of Artillery Sir Edward Howarth - Hinton Hunt figure BN 107.  Wellington apparently had little use for his Generals of Artillery who were not under his direct command.  The British artillery was under the control of the Board of Ordnance rather than Horse Guards which controlled the army.  It was not until 1813 that Wellington got his way, and Alexander Dickson was promoted to command of all Artillery in the Peninsula.  Dickson had actually served under Howarth as a brigade-major of artillery in 1809, before transferring to Portuguese service.  Thanks to Dick Tennant and Nick Lipscombe for helping to identify the list of those who served in this capacity and providing the historical context.

Officer - Staff Corps of Cavalry, Hinton Hunt BN 264 on BNH4.  The Staff Corps of Cavalry were essentially Wellington's enforcers and served as a gendarmes, or a military police force.  This uniform is a tad speculative, but would represent a high ranking officer of that arm.

You can see here how fresh the paint is still, as some of the white glue under the base is still not dry.  The varnish sometimes takes a couple of weeks to fully cure, so the opaque white glue beneath it will turn clear shortly and essentially disappear.

Hinton Hunt BN 60 Royal Life Guard charging, modified by Richard Tennant to serve in a less aggressive pose!

The orderly to the General Staff from the 16th Dragoons is actually an Alberken figure, once again with a trimmed rectangular base to be more reminiscent of a Hinton Hunt base.  This figure bears a remarkable resemblance to a Hinton Hunt figure, and may very well have been a direct copy of a Hinton Hunt figure that was re-cast and re-labeled as Alberken.  Apparently early figure manufacturers were not above a little bit of copyright infringement...

The Duke of Brunswick was so much fun to transform.  Originally a Prussian General, Hinton Hunt PN64, in a peaked hat, I trimmed his hat and added "Green Stuff" mutton chops.  He now bears an extraordinary resemblance to his portrait! 

His portrait can be seen here:,_Duke_of_Brunswick-Wolfenb%C3%BCttel

The Colonel of Brunswick Lancers is a slight modification of Hinton Hunt FN 40, French Lancer of the Guard charging - officer.

The Troopers of the Brunswick lancers are likewise two slight conversions of Hinton Hunt French Lancers - FN 41, and I believe FN303 from the dismountable two part casting series.  Richard Tennant made the original conversions.  By the time they made it to me, the lances were a little beaten up and the pennants in sad shape so I replaced with more robust wire lances and new pennants.

While not a part of the General Staff, I haven't had a chance to show this command stand for the 50th Royal American Rifles.  The two figures on the left are actually SHQ figures with their bases removed and replaced by a spare Hinton Hunt or Der Kriegspieler base for the sake of a consistent look.  The rifleman one the right is a Der Kriegspieler casting.

Even though Lt. Colonel Cameron of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders has graced these pages before, I wanted to take advantage of the better lighting and feature him again.  He had considerable modifications including a head transplant, and "Green Stuff" tartan shoulder swag and sheep skin holster cover.

Lt. Colonel Macara of the 42nd "Black Watch" Highlanders started life as a newline Designs 20mm British Colonel.  He also had a head swap and a command sash worn over the shoulder which was a distinction allowed only to the Highland officers.  His basket hilted Claymore is also a custom addition.  While the small Der Kriegspieler head on the more robust casting style of the Newline Design figure makes him look a bit stout (portly), I figure not every commander was tall and elegant in their appearance.

The prominent right hand (in part an optical illusion due to the proximity to the camera) seems to be beckoning to the viewer - come join me in the madness that is collecting Napoleonic toy soldiers.  If you have made it this far you may already be there.  :)  Hope you have enjoyed seeing this collection of Generals and Officers.  Until next time, David


Sunday, November 8, 2020

A Quarter Million Pageviews! Celebrations Abound!

 Thanks to everyone who has visited my blog and especially those who follow my work and send comments on the posts.  The comments are really what keep me going, so I appreciate all of the kind words!

I will hit a quarter million page-views shortly, or may have already gotten there as I type.  I wanted to celebrate this milestone, but it also has occurred on a great day of celebration for our nation, which was all the excuse I needed to open up a very special bottle of Balvenie double cask 12 year old scotch!  I'll save the next sip for the inauguration!

We had our usual Sunday morning church of the outdoors with a walk in Warner Parks.  It was an extraordinarily beautiful day and the trees are turning golden.  My wife and daughter spent the walk chasing falling leaves and trying to catch them, an extraordinarily difficult task actually!

Saturday night after the US election results were officially announced, we celebrated outside with a nice campfire in the back yard, and for me, a wee (well not really so wee) dram of a special scotch.

The Balvenie double wood 12 year old is an expensive treat, but oh so nice.  I have just enough left for one more special celebration.

To celebrate the quarter million page views, I wanted to start a special little project, and have decided what better way than by giving Wellington and his staff, including The Duke of Brunswick and the Prince of Orange, the spotlight and getting them all cleaned up and ready to join their forces on the battlefield.  His staff includes the Commander of the Royal Artillery, the Commander of the Royal Army Staff Corps, 16th light dragoon orderly, Royal Horse Guard escort, The Prince of Orange as Aide de Camp, The Duke of Brunswick and his staff and escort, and of course the Duke of Wellington, ole "Nosey" himself.

As a father of two wonderful young adults, a proud long time Democratic party member, a social worker, and health disparities researcher, I would be remiss to say that the news of Biden's victory was not a huge relief.  I truly hope we can start to heal the divisions this divisive campaign fueled, and once again become a nation that values the strength of our diversity and the beautiful complexities that diversity brings to our common experience.  We have always been known as a melting pot and I can not help but believe that variety of experience will be our strength as we tackle the future together.