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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.


  1. Very busy!! Looking forward to seeing how the Airfix recreation progresses, great start!! Those plinths look the business and really set of those lovely figures.

    1. I was surprised at how hard it was to find wooden plinths for sale in the US. Thank goodness for friends with table saws!

  2. It is already a cabinet of wonders, David. The progress you've made is astonishing. I'm glad you found the time to way out West for a bit!

    1. I "wonder" about my sanity every time I walk by it, so in that you are definitely correct.

  3. Nice one! You've really done D'Hilliers proud with that plinth.
    I'm still very taken with the colonel of the Red Lancers - the unit is going to look fabulous and their first completed photo shoot should be able to take advantage of your backdrop (I need to do one of those).

    1. Thanks Rob, I was pleased to give d'Hilliers the respect he deserved! As for the lancers, these will be the Polish lancers not the Dutch "Red" lancers, but it is hard to tell that at the moment! The officer figure is actually modelled to represent Count Krasinsky, so this unit will be led by a general!

  4. Obviously you are preparing a magnificent collection.

    Three small remarks if I may.

    1/ the regiment of light horse lancers of the guard is the 2nd regiment of the Guard. Nicknamed the Red Lancers, they came from the Hussar Regiment of the Dutch Royal Guard. When in 1810 Napoleon annexed the Kingdom of Holland to the French Empire, this regiment was transformed into the 2nd Light Horse lancers Regiment of the Imperial Guard. The Polishs formed the 1st light horse regiment in 1807 and were only equipped with the lance after the Austrian campaign of 1809. Their uniform is blue distinguished by crimson red.

    2/ the model of the Haie Sainte farm from Airfix will gain a lot if you add frames (doors, windows and shutters) on sale in model railway stores. The scale of the farm is almost HO.

    3/ the general of dragoons is not Count Louis Baraguey d'Hilliers, colonel general of dragoons. His uniform has lapels and pink collar and he does not wear the aiguillettes, reserved for officers of the Imperial Guard and the civil and military household of the Emperor.


    The figurine represents the general commanding the dragoon regiment of the Imperial Guard. (White lapel, green collar, aiguillette on the right shoulder). The first was General Duke Arrighi de Casanova, a distant relative of the Emperor. Others succeeded him like the General Count of Saint-Sulpice or the General Count of Ornano of Corsican origin like Napoleon.

    One last point if I may. In France, holders of the Legion of Honor continue to wear the knight's or officer's cross with the commander's cord or the grand cross insignia of the Legion of Honor. The figurine seems to have lost its own???

    1. Thanks FF - the lancers in question will be painted as the Polish lancers of the guard around 1812, led by Count Krasinski. I'm trying to stick with an "old School" feel for the collection, so too much detail on the Airfix model might be out of place. In some respects it might be like gilding the proverbial lily. :) As for D'Hilliers, one must remember that these sculpts were made in the 1960s so may very well not correspond with what is known today. Charles Stadden was the sculptor I believe and it was his intent that it represent D'Hilliers. We tend to go with the intent of the sculptors, even when the details may be a tad out of place by modern standards.

    2. FF you are correct, as I found out when researching how to paint him. In the end I found a colour pull-out illustrative plate, from issue 31 of Tradition magazine that purported to be d'Hillers and was a match for the sculpture so may well have the inspiration for it - on that basis I painted like that as I figured that was what was intended.

    3. Thanks for providing that detail Rob. I didn't realize the plate you found came from Tradition. Thanks makes perfect sense and insures the fit with our Old School paradigm. Thanks again for doing such fantastic research and painting!

  5. It’s good to see that your Wargames Butterfly is alive and very healthy David…
    The Tennant collection continues to be an inspiration and I look forward to seeing it develop and grow in your hands…
    I love the ‘ Holiday’ pictures… It’s nice to see blue clear skies… We are mostly Grey with grey highlights at the moment… Oh! And rain 🙄

    All the best. Aly

    1. Hah! No shortage of butterflies here. Point Reyes is near San Francisco which is known for its fog. While we had some blue skies, there was also no shortage of damp fog, which actually made the hiking more pleasant. Back here in Nashville we are slated to hit 100 degrees F next week. I would not mind some gray skies and rain instead!