A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

New Lamps for Old

To be more precise, that should read "New Lights for Old", but Aladdin never said that, so it wouldn't have worked for a heading (oh yes it would! - oh no it wouldn't!).


It's that old Creeping Elegance thing - where you replace a unit that you have some prejudice against with a newer, better made or more appropriate version. For about 35 years I have been less than delighted with my 14th Light Dragoons - not because there is anything intrinsically wrong with them, but because what I really wanted was proper Peninsular Light Dragoons in Tarleton helmets, but there was never anything available. This original unit consists of Phoenix Model Developments (formerly Les Higgins) castings - nicely made if you like Higgins' stupid horses - and I didn't make a completely terrible job of the painting (Humbrol, and that orange will almost certainly be a model railway colour). It's the Waterloo-period uniforms that grate with me.


By dint of a few swaps and some eBay captures, I've finally collected a third unit of NapoleoN Miniatures' Light Dragoons of the appropriate period - I already have the 11th and 16th regiments in my British army. Matt very kindly did the very fine paint job for me on the new one, and here we have the replacement 14LD, ready for action. The old ones are spoken for, and will go to a very good home. Since I am a prince among skinflints, I have managed to re-use the original bases. Looking at the bases, you may wonder why I bothered, but there is some vague whiff of continuity which I find pleasing - the Executioner's Axe raises it's replacement head once again.

This little side project is especially satisfying because it is something that I didn't really need to do, but have wanted to do for many years. And now it's done - YES!!!

I don't have a big list of things to replace - the odd misfit figure of dubious scale, the odd item which I don't like for some reason or other. One recurrent theme is a back-burner intention to replace units which have the wrong period uniform whenever I can. Having all my British Light Dragoons in Tarletons is pleasing, though there is an element of rearranging deck-chairs on the Titanic, since most of my British infantry wear the Belgic shako, and most of my British heavy dragoons are in Doric-type fire-bobbies' helmets, neither of which is awfully clever for the Peninsular War around 1811-12. Still, says I, no-one knows for sure when supplies of these later items became available, do they? And by the time the answer comes, I have my fingers firmly in my ears, and am singing la-la-la-la-la.

Thank you, Matt - another small step for progress.


  1. I'm extremely jealous!

    I found out about NapoleoN after they apparently turned up their toes, but was tantalised by the pictures still available on the web. No-one does Peninsula-appropriate cavalry which is extremely annoying, so seeing your wonderful examples makes me gnash my teeth in frustration!

    Lovely looking figs, btw :-)

  2. Sounds like great progress to finally change one of those little annoying things. Now what if the new neighbor in the house next door turned out to be a Napoleonic miniature historical wargamer with 20mm who finds your rules interesting but has mostly 1813-14 French for the Rhine?

  3. For many years I had a big box full of Minifigs BNC20 - the mounted RHA officer - and I was slowly carving them into light dragoons, but the results were not pleasing; the saddles were all wrong, I had to change the jackets and improvise swords - they just looked like someone had done bad conversions on RHA. Eventually I gave up on the idea and - rather lamely - used some of the uncarved ones as mounted RHA officers.

    Clive, the Old Metal Detector himself, admitted that he had abandoned a similar plan using BNC20, which shows the desperation levels we had all reached. In small 25mm or 20mm, the only known Tarleton LDs were by Hinton Hunt (I've never seen even a picture of one) and Rose Miniatures (back in production at Garrison Miniatures). Even Scruby didn't do one in this scale, and they did just about everything you can think of. Then - briefly - NapoleoN produced the ones in the picture above. They also did British dragoons in bicorns - oh - STOP IT! - where's the damn tissues? Qualiticast did Peninsular cavalry, but for some reason the figures are smaller - almost Newline scale. You would think that HaT or someone would do something in this line?

    Mekelnborg - this new neighbour sounds interesting. We could wait for another neighbour to move in on the other side with a bunch of suitable Prussians and Austrians, or the new chap could get on with doing what I have always done, which is build armies for both sides in a campaign. Either way, 1813 is an easier proposition for getting figures, I think.

    It is strange that Peninsular British cavalry in 20mm is in such short supply when you consider how many units of oddities such as Scots Greys, mamelukes, eclaireurs of the guard etc there must be, fighting on tabletops the world over.