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Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Scenic Backdrop, La Haye Sainte, Plinths, Polish Lancers of the French Imperial Guard and more!

 I have been having one of those weeks when I just feel like I am making no progress in my goal of updating the Tennant Collection of Hinton Hunt miniatures.  Richard Tennant painted 2800 of these tiny fellows and I have updated perhaps a third, but that still leaves a lot to go.  Every time I start another project it just pushes the completion of the collection's refresh back even further.  That being said, the additions I have made add a nice variety to the collection which I hope  will be a coherent whole in a few years.  In any event, below are some of my current distractions:

Eventually I'd like this cabinet to be full of beautifully refreshed miniatures, all consistently painted and based - there's a long way to go!  Note my guard dog protecting the collection...

One of two shelves that are essentially completed, representing one British and one French Division.

Among the current distractions is a scenic backdrop.  I got it in my mind that it would be fun to recreate a picture from the Airfix guide to Napoleonic Wargaming that featured these miniatures.  Dick Tennant and Don Featherstone worked to photograph them and provided the shots to Bruce Quarrie for publication.  No pressure there to do it right!

The first step was to enlist the services of a friend with a woodworking shop to create the 1.5'x6' wooden frame, on which I stretched some muslin (from another good friend who works in a fabric shop).

The backdrop is secured to the table with metal L brackets and a clamp so that it is mobile.

Primed with lots of leftover spray paints that I was never going to use.

At six feet long it should provide ample coverage for panoramic shots of the battlefield.

Hopefully I can turn cheap craft paints into some that resembles a landscape in Portugal or Spain.

Yet another distraction is this Airfix kit of LaHaye Sainte

Assembled and with a few farm animals begging to be painted.

One of my woodworking friends had this lovely piece of 1/8" ply with a mahogany veneer as scrap, which I will use as the base.

Chief among the distractions is the regiment of the Polish Lancers of the French Imperial Guard!

They are coming along, but there is so much detail to paint on these handsome lads and their horses.

And yet another ongoing effort, I wanted to get some nice plinths for some larger scale miniatures that friends across the pond and locally have painted.  

I found these maple blocks from an online craft wood distributor that were dirt cheap.  My buddy with the woodworking shop helped bevel the base piece, which I then glued to the pedestal and secured with a countersunk screw. 

Not bad for about a buck a piece if even that much.

Rob's rendition of Louis Baraguey d'Hilliers now nicely elevated on a stained plinth.  I was terrified drilling into the base and legs to insert some pins that help secure the piece to the plinth, but all turned out well.

This view just cracks me up!

Here is my own poor attempt at painting a larger scale figure.  While not bad, it is a far cry from the tour de force of Rob's work, though it must be said, the Stadden figures are far superior to the Hinton Hunt sculpts.

This one came as part of the Tennant collection and needs  little repair, but will make a nice addition.  It is a Stadden sculpt I believe.

My understanding is that this is a Dick Higgs sculpt that was never put into production.  His compadres are featured on the cover of Don Featherstone's "Military Modelling".

The final distraction was a lovely trip to see our son in California, and just get away for a bit!

Point Reyes National Seashore

Cypress lined Avenue

The trail out to the westernmost point in California - no whales this time though.

Cindy tests out the hammock at our B&B.

Muir Woods

Hike out to the coast at Point Reyes

More Redwoods at Muir Woods

Cindy and Carter being swallowed by the "trail" out to the coast.

Thanks for following my journey.  I'll post again as each of these projects near completion.

Wishing you joy and the peace of mind to recognize it.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Waterloo Farm - Airfix Style

 So I don't usually post about my purchases, but I found this one going relatively cheap and just thought it was high time I build it.  I am strangely excited about finally adding this iconic kit to my collection of scenery for the Napoleonic collection.  I'm very glad Airfix chose to model just the farm and not the entire Hougemont complex (edit - La Haye Sainte, not Hougemont - Thank you Rob.  I knew that, once upon a time...), as that would have made it enormous.  As it is, I think it will be a good size for the wargames table.  We shall see once I get it assembled...

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

French 76th Regiment of the Line

 I recently finished up rejuvenating some vintage 1960s or early 1970s 1/72 scale Napoleonic Alberken (early Minifig) figures, representing the French 76th line infantry regiment's 1st and 3rd battalions around 1811.

Many of these figures graced the pages of the Bruce Quarrie Airfix Guide to Napoleonic Wargaming. They were from the collection of Richard Tennant who provided many of the photos for the guide, along with Don Featherstone.

I first heard of l'ordre mixte in the Airfix guide and always had a fascination with that deployment, so here I have put my own spin on it with some good sized 36 figure battalions.

Here you can more clearly see the supposed benefit of the formation that combined the firepower of a line with the impetus of a column.

The two Grenadier companies form the center of the line.

Voltigeurs to the front - these have to be some of my all time favorite castings, which were featured prominently in the Airfix guide.

Dick Tennant's penchant for detail is shown here with a corporals rank stripe on the sleeve and shako cords and bands literally just painted on.

My contribution to these figures was a good cleaning and touch ups and then the addition of shading, highlights, a protective coat of gloss varnish and a nice bright base to stand on.

GdB Jean Chemineau is modelled using a personality figure from Hinton Hunt meant to be Marshal Ney.  I hope he will forgive me for the demotion...

For Colonels I tend to use more modern castings.  Here is an SHQ casting playing the French Chef de Bataillon Portemont, of the 3rd Battalion.  Somehow he managed to find an 1812 style uniform before the rest of his regiment.

For the 1st battalion Colonel I have used a Franznap casting.

The Eagle bearer of the 1st battalion is a grizzled veteran with only one arm, no doubt customized by Dick Tennant from an Alberken officer figure.

The 3rd battalion has turned in its Eagle and flag as required by Imperial decree, and now sports the more simple red battalion flag.  The sapeur was a complete repaint which I managed to make fit in with Dick Tennant's style rather well.

Finally I have a shot of the collection's guardian hard at work.  It's a tough life but someone has to do it. Nyra is a 4-5 year old Great Pyranees mix we adopted last year from Big Fluffy Dog Rescue in Nashville, and as you can see, she is fitting right in!.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Legion Irlandaise

They are a little late for their St. Patrick's Day debut, but I am happy to show of the refreshed Legion Irlandaise, originally painted by Richard Tennant.  My good friend Wellington Man has just posted his beautiful take on this regiment on his blog, The Hinton Spieler,
 I thought it would be fun to post these as well to compliment his work.  I am fairly certain these are made up of David Clayton castings, as they tend to be a bit smaller than original Hinton Hunt figures.  Nonetheless, they are beautifully cast and painted.  It was a pleasure to just touch these up a bit and add some shading and brighten the colors a titch.  I did add a new flag as the previous one was a bit too ordinary for such a splendid regiment.  I decided to model the 2nd battalion of the Regiment that served in Spain.  They are not quite as fancy as Wellington Man's 1st Battalion with their full plumes, but I do like their workman like simplicity.  They are lead by Lt. Colonel Jeremiah Fitzhenry, who is modelled with a lovely modern Franznap casting of a French Light Infantry Colonel.  He is the only figure I can claim as my own, but hopefully my touch ups have improved ever so slightly on the original rank and file.