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

Sunday, 16 April 2017

1809 Spaniards - More Leaders, and a Possible Outbreak of Creeping Elegance

You know you get a sort of half idea, and you quite like it, and before you know what's happened you find you can't get it out of your head, and you have a new project starting up...?

For example - years ago, I once found that I had acquired a couple of mounted infantry colonels from somewhere, so the next couple of French battalions I painted up had a mounted figure in the command, just to try it, and I liked that a lot. It looked just like the pictures in the old Charles Grant book - splendid. It was really just to use up the spare figures, but I knew almost straight away that eventually I would end up rebasing all my Napoleonic armies and adding mounted colonels throughout. It took ages, but I got there in the end, and now I never think twice about it - it's a house standard.

This time it's generals. I have my generals based individually, except for army commanders, who are on a rather larger stand, and have an ADC attached. I have a growing box of attractive staff-type castings waiting to be painted - generals and aides and adjutants and all that - the availability of new figures from Art Miniaturen and elsewhere makes this hard to resist. I like painting generals and ADCs - small jobs, lots of fiddly bits - ideal for short paint sessions, and I am looking at painting up a special new staff group for Marshal Suchet, and I have some more Spanish generals on the bottletops at this very moment, and - O Lord - I've just seen the latest post from History in 1/72. I think I would like to have a little collection of celebrities and other oddballs to grace a suitable occasion. I already have a Spanish division commander who is based with an ADC, which is non-standard but looks pretty good (not least because Goya did the painting...). As of this morning, I am beginning to sense that a new house standard is sliding in from left field. I think I'd really like to move to brigadiers based on their own (as at present), division commanders with a single ADC, and army commanders or other special bods based with 2 supporting staff. Brigadiers will be on the standard 30mm x 45mm bases, division doubles will be on 50 x 50, and I need a new size for the triples - maybe my ECW 60 x 60s would do for that.

Three new Spanish generals - two brigadiers (one in his regimentals) and a
division commander (with the gold lace) - in fact they look a bit shiny - better get
the next coat of varnish matted down a bit.
So - anyway - it looks like a period of progressive rebasing and sorting out (and painting) is coming, to get my staff to the new standard. It doesn't have to happen all at once, of course, but I have some very nice unpainted ADCs just looking for a gig somewhere, and I have some of Jorg Schmaeling's latest Art Miniaturen French generals and aides, itching away in the French Command box. Yes - it feels like a good idea, and it's not too disruptive in the short term. Rebasing generals is a doddle, really. If I order in a supply of pre-cut MDF 50 x 50s from Uncle Tony Barr at ERM then that will get me started.

No rush. Looking forward to it. Creeping Elegance - you know it makes sense.

***** Late Edit *****

Now have the chaps based up, and have added a converted Hinton Hunt ADC to the division commander. ADC is in non-regulation uniform, you're right. Some quick pics in the garden...

This brigadier is dressed as colonel of the Regto de Africa (Antonio Senra)


  1. Yes! And Art Miniaturen figures are lovely castings.

    Best Regards,


  2. The juxtaposition on base 405 shows that Marcus Hinton couldn't do horses at all, could he! I think your Creeping Elegance is a magnificent concept, Foy, and can't wait to see the results.

    1. Just a chunkier horse with a shorter wheelbase! I think they fit together quite well - you'd expect the general to be able to afford a rather finer-bred horse. Have to say that HH are still unsurpassed as rugged, practical wargame pieces. My many years of worrying about Les Higgins bayonets, and my more recent acquisition of quantities of elegant-but-flimsy figures from NapoleoN, Falcata, Art Miniaturen and the various makers under the Hagen umbrella have turned me into a gamer who insists on all units being handled by the sabots, all casualties being left in the ranks (and denoted by coloured markers) and little or no tactical manoeuvring - I am the man who once dropped General Maucune, and his horse's legs sheared at the ankles - NapoleoN castings - attractive, but not bred for fighting. I repaired him, and he fights on, but I was never the same again. One thing for sure, if you drop one of Marcus' generals it will not break.

      The Creeping Elegance bit is easy for the Spaniards - they are still being accumulated, so with a small number of refits I can just set out new generals according to the new rules. The French will take quite a lot of work, but I am intending to have a pile of new generals there anyway, and I have good numbers of suitable aides.

      I just had a look at the British, and things are not so clever there - since I can't use the Waterloo-period British ADC, there isn't much available - I have a few NapoleoN Miniaturas ADCs left. I'll have a think about it! Methinks a fair-sized customization project looms.

      I must talk to Uncle John.

  3. Nice work, I don't think that Marcus Hinton could not do horses...I saw some that he had made that wete excelkent, but just a bit big for 20mm scale and some f the opc castings are not n very readonable mounts...its just the horses for the two piece castings that are a bit doggy.
    What the pictures do profe is the old adage, If you want to get ahead get a hat!'

    1. Marcus' horses are fine - distinctive and serviceable - they are, in any case, a tradition of their own. If I have any gripe at all with any of the HH cavalry figures, it's the short legs on some of the separable chaps, but I understand that was a casting issue that got worse as time went on - in fact, it was probably you who told me this!

      Considering how many years ago it was, and how few of the modern manufacturing advantages Hinton Hunt had available, the range is still a remarkable achievement, both for concept and scope.

      Hats - yes indeed - the ADC is the work of Mr Bateman - he has a nice touch. My grandmother used to say, "if you can't fight, wear a big hat", which is similar, but might be more appropriate to my Spanish Army of the Centre, vintage 1809!

    2. Footnote: out of curiosity, I checked out the origins of the "big hat" phrase, and I learned that:

      (1) nobody really knows

      (2) it was common in all parts of the UK, and regarded as local (my grandmother was from Preston, but apparently it is regarded as local in Yorkshire, Birmingham, Belfast....)

      (3) there is a fairly strong claim that it was a Spanish proverb! - that's interesting, but why the blazes did it spread so far over here? I also read that it was a witticism directed at dandies in Regency London.

      So there you have it. The strength of the web. I'll never get that 30 minutes back.