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

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Headless Horseman

…and other mysterious goings-on.

Well you see, Clive was interested in mounted colonels for some of his British infantry, and one of the possibilities was the fellow I have pictured at the top of this post, who had been in my Napoleonic Command spares box for a few years.

I’d never quite identified this figure. At first glance it looks like a Hinton Hunt OPC, but there’s nothing like this in the catalogue. Disregarding oddities such as Der Kriegsspieler, my personal rule-of-thumb for this sort of thing is that if it looks like Hinton Hunt (especially in the horse department), then there is a good chance that it is actually a very early Minifigs 20mm piece. In fact someone had, I think, told me that this was a Minifig, and by deduction it was probably BNC5 – “Line Infantry Mounted Colonel”. Thus I had assumed this was what it was, and it lived in the spares box in this unofficial role.

I was never very taken with the paint job, and I was suspicious about the unconvincing epaulettes, so I decided to clean it up a bit and see what it was. Into the bleach it went, but bleach couldn’t handle a very thick coat of red undercoat, so it required a Nitromors bath. That shifted the red paint all right, but I was a bit shaken to find that it also shifted his head.

It was a conversion.

I should have thought of that – the Nitromors had simply taken out the glue which held his head on. At this point I was actually laughing out loud – there is something very silly about an elderly fellow like me looking so closely at epaulettes on a 20mm tin soldier, and missing the blindingly obvious. I really must get out more.

Having had a quick look around, I think it is actually a Hinton Hunt OPC Austrian General (AN102 – picture borrowed from the Hinton Hunter), with a British infantry head attached. If anyone recognizes the figure, or if you did the conversion, or if you disagree with my ideas about it, please shout.

Hinton Hunt AN102 - thanks to The Hinton Hunter blog
Good fun. Not sure what to do with him. The lack of epaulettes might make him suitable for a Spanish general, but the single-breasted jacket might not work – I’ll think about it.

Subject 2 – On Being Dead

I was happily reading Pierre le Poillu’s account of his visit to the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, when I suddenly remembered that I am buried there. There are, of course, some 1 million other people buried there, so I can’t feel too bad about it if he did not visit my tomb. Out of idle curiosity I had a look in Wikipedia to see which famous people share my final resting place, and was a little upset to find I am not listed.

It would be ungracious to make too much of a fuss about this, but I would remind the reader that I was a prominent general in the Napoleonic Wars (rising to the rank of General of Division – I would have risen higher if I hadn’t blotted my record by being a Jacobin and a Republican, opposed to the Empire), I was wounded 15 times during those wars – the last time being outside the walls of Hougoumont at Waterloo, and I subsequently retired from military service to become leader of the liberal opposition in the French Chamber of Deputies. I became a noted orator before succumbing to apoplexy at the tender age of 50.

Naturally I would not wish to talk myself up here, but there are some pretty cheesy C-List celebs on the official tour of Père Lachaise – actresses and such. If you are in Paris, I hope you have the opportunity to drop in and say hello. My tomb is a bit overdone for my own taste, but it is easily spotted, and I appreciate the sentiment that created it. As you will see, they did not wish me to get out of here in a hurry.


  1. Great conversion - are you going to stick his head back on or will he be a casualty figure?

    1. I think I might make him into a Spanish general - according to JM Bueno there was a simple uniform (pequene uniform) which has a single breasted coat like a French surtout, with a sash. All I need is a head with a bicorn hat. Project 714(e).

  2. Yes, it was the Austrian HH general that formed the main figure, i've checked against mine, pity it came apart but surely it could be repaired as it was a good conversion
    cheers Old John

    1. Hi John - it'll make a better Spanish general, I think. The base seems to have been built up a bit with lead sheet, so it was a decent job all round - I'd suspect Pete Bateman if the uniform details had been more correct.

      Regards - Tony

  3. It is a very splendid tomb. I had forgotten that Wilde was buried in Pere Lachaise until I looked at your friend's blog. I wonder if Stephen Fry will end up there as well?

  4. I kind of liked it as the British line officer, but I'm sure he will make a good Spaniard!