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Saturday, December 11, 2021

Out With The Old And In With The Shiny!

There is always something very rewarding about breathing new life into older things (people included!).  The Tennant collection has done just that for me as I have breathed new life into each and every battalion.  This week I was able to upgrade some figures in my Highland battalions thanks to a lucky eBay find of some original Hinton Hunt Highlanders and a lovely modern casting of a Highland Colonel from Art Miniaturen in Germany.


The newly minted command stands and Lt. Colonel Robert Macara of the 42nd Highlanders (Black Watch)

Here is a comparison of the Macara figures, with the new Art Miniaturen model on the left, and a slightly customized Newline Designs figure that was previously serving in the role as Macara.  For such a famous military leader, the Art Miniaturen figure just seems so much more apt for a representation of Lt. Colonel Macara, who famously died while defending the British position at Quatre Bras as depicted in paintings of the time.

Lieutenant Colonel Sir Robert Macara of the 42nd Black Watch and his men attacked by French Lancers at the Battle of Quatre Bras on 16th June 1815 during the Napoleonic Wars: picture by William Barnes Wollen

"Here the Goddess ceased her lay ;

Weak, her wings refused to fly ; -
Faint, her voice forbore to say
How Macara dared to die.
Be it, then, to friendship giv'n
Such a warrior's name to save,
While 'tis borne on breeze of heav'n
That he found a soldier's grave.
By unequal hosts oppos'd,
Still he proved his valour true;
For his bright career was clos'd

On the plains of Waterloo!"

Here are some comparison shots of the older Der Kriegspieler NCOs that have been replaced by Hinton Hunt originals (right).

The DKs are much more slender in build and never really fit in with the rest of the Hinton Hunt figures in the Battalion, so I was very glad to be able to find a replacement for them.  Painting those kilts is a bear I must say!

Now on to the French army.  Below are the Colonel and Chef de Bataillon for the 69th Regiment of line infantry.  The command figures are new, but the battalion is famously pictured in Bruce Quarrie's Airfix Guide to Napoleonic Wargaming published in 1974.  Because these were such iconic figures, I did not want to make too many changes, and confined my efforts to refreshing some paint that had dulled or chipped over time.  I did trim the bases to be more in line with the rest of the Tennant collection (The bases were not shown in the photographs of the Airfix guide, but covered in ground flocking), and modified the position of the eagle bearer just to add one little touch to the battalion to make it my own.)

Colonel Benoit-Antoine Guinand (right) and his Chef de Battailion, now promoted to Major thanks to an astute reader.

Major Dornier (left), who provisionally took command of a battalion of the 69th in 1811, is actually a plastic figure from the very nice set manufactured by Waterloo 1815.  He has now been upgraded to Major with silver straps on his epaulets and a red tip to his pompom.

Colonel Guinand on the right is another masterpiece available at Franznap.  I can't say enough how beautifully sculpted that range is.

Without further delay I give you the premier battalion of the 69th Regiment of the Line.  Note the rather odd black boots with white gaiters.  This is in all likelihood a mistake on Dick Tennant's part, but I left it as a tribute to the original work.

With rather limited figure choices at the time, Mr. Tennant had to do a lot of customization, often just through his paintwork.  Note how he has simply painted over the long trousers to make them look like black boots.

I believe all of the figures used in this battalion were manufactured by Alberken, though at the time let us say there may have been some almost direct copies of Hinton Hunt figures incorporated into the line.

Originally all of the Grenadiers, Voltigeurs and many of the command figures had the distinctive very large Alberken rectangular base.  I trimmed those down to match the more rounded cornered square bases of the Fusiliers.  The Fusilier bases were trimmed down a little as well to essentially match the Hinton Hunt style basing that is prevalent in the rest of the collection.

Note the rank insignia on the sleeve of the lead Fusilier.  Mr Tennant incorporated amazing levels of detail and accuracy into his work.

The only significant changes to the battalion can be seen here with the addition of the white sword baldrics on the two command figures and the addition of the red Baldric for holding the eagle.  I also re-positioned the flag/eagle to be held upright as opposed to being supported by the base of the figure.  I always felt like the eagle should be held high!

Garage Sale!

I recently agreed to help a friend find a home for some of her father's collection of miniatures.  The majority are 54mm figures from the 1960s - Rose, Stadden, Hinton Hunt and Bussler (IR) miniatures primarily.  I would love help with positive IDs if someone out there recognizes the pieces.  Basically I want to get a reasonable but not necessarily collector level price for these, if you see anything below that strikes your fancy, please do drop me a line at and make an offer on what you think would be an attractive price.  All proceeds will go to the daughter of the collector and I will be retaining a few pieces for myself in payment for finding these lovely miniatures a good home.  One little item I will be keeping for myself is a letter written to the collector and signed by Marcus Hinton 3 days after my birth!


54mm English Civil War? or later figures  Edit: The two pikemen on the right are Staddon figures of British Guard pikemen 1660.  Further Detail provided by RB: The two,pikemen with brass or tinplate bases are Tradition figures by Norman Newton, presumably sculpted by Suren.  TD also felt like these were Tradition, so not Stadden after all.  TW indicates Stadden after all and acquired by Tradition from Stadden and dates the figure as a Guardsman of 1660 that was part of the British contingent sent to Tangiers in that year. The year 1689 was the last year of the NYW and by then uniforms had changed dramatically. In 1660, the two regiments of Guards sent to Tangiers had the pikemen in one uniform and the Musketeers in a quite different uniform.  The two Stadden/Tradition figures are SOLD!

Britains Hollow cast One horse is missing his tail.

Britains Hollow cast?  Edit: This is a Britains French Cuirassier 1870. Broken heads were common with this line of hollow cast figures, and were repaired using a match stick to reattach the head.


WWI National leaders with original painting instructions Edit: L-R SP-121 Tsar Nicholas II of Russia 1914, SP-109 Kaiser Willhelm II Germany 1900-14, SP-120 Franz Joseph 1914

British Colonial

British Colonial Indian set  Edit: The figure at far left is a Stadden. The one in the bag with the yellow uniform is an Imerie-Risley figure of Skinner's Horse.


54mm Napoleonics Edit: All three of these are probably Imerie-Risley, but not 100% sure on the two French. The figure far left is a US infantryman in 1812.

I had the Greeks set as a kid.  Fun to see a set in the original box!

American Civil War

(Matthew Brady Figure SOLD!)

Grant? and soldiers set

Matthew Brady with Camera - original painting instructions included! Imerie Risley or Bussler

I also have this amazing 54mm American Civil War artillery set with limber and horses - unpainted.  This is not my auction but apparently shows the original piece fully painted.  He's asking $600 Canadian for the unpainted set, but I think that may be priced a bit high.

 There are a few more items as well that I have not pictured.  There are a number of 54mm WWI castings, some Historex and Metal 54mm Napoleonic Hussars.  There is also a rather nifty complete set of American War of Independence reproduction buttons and badges, each with its own descriptive narrative booklet.  Let me know if there is anything of interest.  Thanks to Roy, Tom and Terry for some help with IDs!



American War of Independence Button Set- SOLD!

American West

Mexican American War?


Sunday, November 7, 2021

November 2021 - Works in Progress

 I have a fair number of units under way for my old school Napoleonics collection, so though none are finished yet, I thought it would be interesting to show some works in progress.  This should give an idea of my process, an idea that I have shamelessly stolen from Aly over at Aly's Toy Soldiers.

The Legion du Midi is well underway with all of the base coats essentially done.  The devil is in the details as they say and these fellows will be no exception; lots of fiddly work still to do.  The prep work on these was challenging as well.  All of the shako cords were removed, a carrot shaped pompom added, and the shako plate of an eagle removed to be replaced by a teeny tiny diamond cut from cardstock.  The rank and file as well as the command on foot are all Der Kriegspieler miniatures, while the mounted Colonel is an exquisite modern figure made by Franznap.

Also just now getting underway are two line battalions of French infantry, painted by Richard Tennant.  These battalions were featured in the Airfix guide to Napoleonic Wargaming by Bruce Quarrie.  Mr. Tennant and Mr. Featherstone contributed a good many of the pictures that were used in that guide.  I still can't believe I ended up owning a collection that was so vital to my early interest in the hobby.

Here's how they appeared in the Airfix guide, though of course in black and white.  Mr. Tennant still had copies of the original images, which he kindly shared with me after I realized his figures had been featured in Napoleonic Wargaming.  I hope to have them spruced back up to their original glory soon.

Unfortunately the trans-Atlantic crossing was pretty rough on the collection and there were a few casualties and a lot of chipped paint.  The metal is so soft in these early Alberken figures, that drilling out the ankles to put in support posts was a very challenging process.

But worth it in the end!

A little bit of green stuff and he will be good as new.

The Battalion flag for the second battalion was in pretty rough shape so I decided it would be best to replace it.  Though I try to stick with the original paint scheme as much as possible, I think I will likely paint over the inked in flag holder, as the way it is presented just doesn't seem particularly practical.

The first battalion eagle and flag are actually still in pretty good shape so I will likely keep them, but may add the complete baldric, rather than just have it painted on as it is presently.

My current conundrum, which I would love feedback on is two-fold: 1) Should I pare down the Alberkan grenadier, sapper, and voltigeur stands so that they match the Hinton Hunt fusilier stands which are the majority of the battalion?  2) I swear I have seen this before, probably in the Funken uniform guides, but were there really white, over the knee gaiters, with black boots?  I suspect I will keep this as it hearkens back to the early days of our hobby, but was this really a thing?

My buddy Rob has been harassing me to get on the stick and get the first of the Vimiero scenarios ready, but sometimes you have to take a break and just enjoy life when the occasion presents itself.  Not long ago we got the chance to enjoy my wife's fall break in nearby Chattanooga on the banks of the Tennessee River.  Sometimes the little metal guys have to take the back seat!

I've also been busy harvesting the last of the garden veggies.  On the stove is a mash of fermented and pulverized Jalapeno, Poblano, and Anaheim peppers.  Not too spicy but oh so flavorful!

Alright, back to business.  Along with all the infantry I have been prepping three squadrons of Imperial Guard Chasseurs-a-Cheval, and the attached squadron of Mameluks.  For these I am using Minifig s-series as well as early minifigs, which are in this case quite similar.

I have worked to give the figure pose a little more animation, as well as shorten the sword to be more in line with the Der Kriegspieler Chasseurs-a-Cheval.  Size-wise the two figure brands match remarkably well.

The Chasseurs-a Cheval of the Imperial Guard were known to have a Mameluk kettledrummer, so I converted a trooper into a convincing looking drummer.  I was also very fortunate to find a bugler for the Mameluk squadron.

The kettle drums themselves were actually cut from a 15mm Essex camel drummer from their Ottoman range, to which I used epoxy putty to model the drum cover and fringe.  I also stole his drumsticks.

Here is the command group for the Chasseurs-a-Cheval of the Imperial Guard, all made from converted troopers.

The bugle was donated by a spare Mameluk who had no need of it, and the eagle is actually available as an accessory pack from Hagen.  The cord attached to the bugle is actually from Richard Tennant, who sent a few of his modeling supplies along with the collection.

Here is a shot of the command figures in process.  In the background you can just make out the Legion du Midi before receiving their brown jackets.

Lastly, as if all this were not enough, I wanted to give a quick shout out to Wellington Man who let me hang onto these beautiful Hinton Hunt castings of the Princess Dragoons from a figure lot he found here in the US.  Many thanks WM.  They are already cleaned up and stripped of the old paint.  I understand know why you are always eager to get the Hinton Hunt castings over the Der Kriegspielers.  These really are magnificent little figures.