Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Monday, 25 November 2019

English Safari (wet) - Small Game Hunting

Rain in Lincolnshire - just like my last day
I was away for most of last week. I had private business in Lincolnshire, and I combined the trip with a visit to Essex, where I obtained some old soldiers, of which more in a moment.

I travelled in my van, which is actually quite a friendly sort of vehicle - high seating position (and thus a great view), surprisingly comfortable, and it allows me to stooge along steadily, without anyone feeling obliged to cut me up or out-drag me at the traffic lights. As the time approached for my journey, I had been watching the weather forecasts nervously, but my trek down was all in bright sunshine - no problems at all.

In Essex I had the great pleasure of actually meeting DC - he of the Wargaming Odyssey blog. David and I have been on email terms for some years, and have even spoken on the steam telephone, but the old face-to-face bit was a new departure. David was just as jovial and enthusiastic in person as I had expected, and I must express my deep appreciation for his time and for his looking after me during my visit. We had a lot of interesting conversations during my day-and-a-bit in Essex - I got to see his famed man-cave, which is indeed a great honour, and I learned a lot about wargaming. Excellent all round.

Oh yes - the soldiers. I can't really say an awful lot about them at the moment, not least because I am still finding out the details of what I obtained. I bought a load of very old Napoleonic figures, many of which, I understand, were involved in the 1965 "refight" of Waterloo, at the Duke of York's Headquarters. The first job I have (and it's a big one) is to sort them into types, makes and units - they have been stored in some very dilapidated old boxes for a great many years, and have got a bit mixed up as the current owner (and DC) worked on identifying and listing what was there.

After two pretty solid days of effort, I am starting to get the idea of what is here. Some of these can probably be freshened up and rebased, and could be available for active service fairly quickly - some may require rather more work, and some may just go in the spares box for a while, but Goya has been talking of having a bash at Waterloo sometime soon - these should certainly help to fill some gaps!

I'll leave it at that for now, with some photos showing the inevitable chaos which is involved in opening up the boxes and trying to sort things out. I must say that I would like to know a lot more about the 1965 Waterloo game - I'm trying to get some extra information about that. If anyone knows of any write-ups, or has any personal knowledge of the event, I'd be very grateful if you could get in touch. I can certainly state that Hinton Hunt castings from circa 1965 appear to be cleaner and nicer than any I have seen. There are also some very early (small) Lammings, and a number of figures I have never seen before - no idea of the manufacturers - I may put up some more photos later on.

This is the mess in the dining room starting to abate a little - some of the figures are already sorted into boxes, and I have trays and all sorts of containers on all horizontal surfaces
This looks like French foot artillery in the warm water bath, soaking the bases off

Various Guard artillery figures, foot dragoons, miscellaneous generals and staff
Another tray - assorted cavalry - including enough cuirassiers for a very serious charge indeed
This looks like a heap of French line infantry to me...
Dragoons of different nationalities, RHG, Guard sapeurs...
Some highlanders in this lot...
A good number of lancers for Waterloo, including some Alberken Eclaireurs I haven't seen before, plus yet more riflemen - and so it continues. I'll be working on this for a couple of days yet - I've ordered in some more Really Useful Boxes - 4 litre size!
On my return journey I stopped again in Lincolnshire, where, by a complete fluke, my landlord (who knows nothing at all of these matters) recalled seeing a film clip of the 1965 Waterloo game on the Blue Peter TV programme (for kids). I can't find anything on Pathe News or anything, but I'm still looking. On my last day, Saturday, my luck ran out with the weather, and I drove for about 6 hours in a monsoon. No problems. The van just quietly got on with the job, and I was home in time for tea.

A very serious plaque to commemorate the fact that Thomas Paine was very briefly associated with Alford. I am hoping that there will be a plaque one day to say that I had my dinner in the Half Moon Hotel one evening.
Mind you, one of the Alford street names suggests that they may be familiar with my blog already
Yes - this is a picture of Margaret Thatcher, which is a first for me. The event was the opening of the M25, one of my least favourite stretches of highway in Britain. I have a theory - next time you are stuck in a nightmare on the M25, listen carefully - I bet you she is laughing somewhere
 

38 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Hi Jon - yes - this was something of a shock - the figures come from a vast collection, much of which has been sold off already, and I was under the impression that the Napoleonics were all gone. I was tipped off that some more had been found, but wasn't quite expecting this lot! It's obviously part of something larger, since there are lots of some things and none of others, but there is a pile of Waterloo period French Guard stuff here, and much else.

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  2. What a splendid purchase!

    There are some cuttings about the 1965 game reproduced at http://vintagewargaming.blogspot.com/search/label/Waterloo%20refought

    And Featherstone's write-up is at http://unfashionablyshiny.blogspot.com/2014/03/gilder-and-waterloo-150.html

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    1. Many thanks for this - much appreciated - I was aware of the Vintage Wargaming post, but the other link is new to me, and I shall check it out.

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  3. Ha...I flinched when I saw Maggie smiling - Gawd bless 'er; she must be spinning right now.

    Right - my old boss was known as 'DC', so when I read your intro, I did a double take. It can't be, he doesn't do wargaming does he? Nooo. He would have said, surely. All those years ...I...

    It isn't him.

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    1. That's a relief about your old boss - it hadn't occurred to me that there might be more than one person with initials DC. No wonder the lawyers make so much money on libel cases.

      Maggie - hmmm. When she disposed of our UK manufacturing capability, what little sense it made at all (with apologies to Friedman and my friend in the Southern Hills) relied on the context of being in Europe and still having some vestigial Empire interests to exploits. Don't get me started on this crap, for God's sake, but now that the Third World countries who were to do our manufacturing for us are busily leaping past us in the economic race, her idiot successors here in the UK would do well to ponder this fact. Ach well.

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  4. And here's someone who was there - http://horseandmusket2.blogspot.com/2015/12/waterloo-200th-anniversary.html

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    1. Again, many thanks. I shall have some interesting reading this morning!

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    1. It is rather remarkable, certainly. So much so that I spent much of my drive home thinking (in detail) about what one does with this sort of windfall - I feel a profound blog post coming on - you have been warned.

      In passing, one of the "oddments" was the Crimean War S-Range officer with an umbrella, made famous as the logo of the Old Metal Detector. I shall keep him in a special place!

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  6. You certainly seem able to sniff out some wonderful collections you lucky man.
    I shall check my Miniature Warfare magazines I'm sure there's a photo report on the event.
    Of course any refight you undertake you will be required to wear jacket and tie as homage to the figures history

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    1. My past involvement with such collections has been as a bystander and occasional photographer. This is the first time I've been so directly involved, and I am very grateful to DC for bringing it all to my attention, and keeping me informed.

      Jacket and tie, as you say. Did the guys in Callan were tuxedos, in fact? Can't remember. It would be a good excuse to get my suit out for something other than a funeral. Tie? Should be regimental, really, but I have no right to such a thing. I could wear my actuaries' tie, but that doesn't appeal. Hmmm. Liverpool FC? - nah - I understand the collection has Chelsea connections, so that would be disrespectful. I'll work on it.

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  7. That is quiet a haul of figures. It will be good to see these cleaned up and back on the table in a Waterloo game.

    The Alberken Eclaireurs are most interesting as I have 5 of these figures in my spares box, sadly mostly with broken lances. Looking at your picture mine are painted exactly the same as and I conclude that they are from the same unit as yours. Mine also came from Essex.


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    1. I know that a lot of this collection had already been sold off, so there will be relations all over the place. These units were pretty big, eh? I wonder what sort of figure scale they used. Pathetically, I also keep wondering how they reached the middle of the table! I must check out these reading links.

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    2. Do you think they had ladies with long poles a la WRAAF or Observer Corps, or perhaps orphans who were alowed to scramble around the table (a blessed relief from the chimney-sweeping)!

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  8. Ah, so that's what you were doing down in Essex! Looks like you hit the jackpot there with that lot. Interesting that you say how clean the HH castings from the mid Sixties appear, early days of the moulds? I look forward to reading more on the Waterloo game as you research it and seeing some close ups of what you have there.

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    1. Hi Lee - I am going to have to adopt a very sensible approach to this lot. I'd like to try to keep the figures together, for the sake of their heritage, and I'm certainly not going to dunk the lot in the stripper - that would be an outrage. On the other hand, they would benefit from a little judicious tickling-up, so I have to strike a clever balance between not doing them justice and driving myself potty thinking about it!

      Essex is fine - never been there before (well, maybe I have - is Stansted airport in Essex? - don't know). My problem with the Sarf generally is mostly that I get panicky when confronted by so many people and so many vehicles. When I got home, I stood in my garden (in the rain) for a while, to soak in the peace and quiet.

      Enjoyed my trip very much, and met some super people.

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    2. I was not aware of that 200th Anniversary game (I am of course far too young!), but have enjoyed following those links.. How wonderful that the figures have survived all those years in good nick. I like all the photos and have spent some time this morning looking at them, best one for me is that huge heap of French infantry, lets hope the varnish does it's job. I think touching up is a good way forward, I did a lot of that with my old Hinchliffes after a clean up with warm water which bought out some vibrant colours buried under the years of 'muck'. As for the M25, I can't recall how many times I have been stuck on that road, certainly don't miss that.

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  9. God but you are a sucker for punishment man. Should keep you busy for a wee while though. Maggie on the M25. Mmm. If only It could've been when the traffic was flowing at full pelt...

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    1. Lol, I was thinking the same thing but wasn't sure if expressing it might be regarded as in bad taste! Yes, that would have been worth at least 50 points I reckon.

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    2. Less spitefully (?), I was looking at some photos of MT from this period, and noted what terrible posture the woman had - always stooped, and very clumsy on her heels - did she have bad feet? No wonder they built her up with the padded-shoulders power-dressing look later on.

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  10. Wow!...I think that pretty much sums it up.

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  11. As someone born and raised in Lincolnshire I can only apologise for That Woman.

    On to more positive things. That’s an amazing haul. It’s going to keep you busy for a good while.

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    1. My mum saw her on one of her state visits to Liverpool, this convoy of outriders, military vehicles and even helicopters whizzed down Chaloner Street at about 75 mph - my mum reckoned it must be the Pope or else a mafioso. there was no danger of her meeting a real person, that's for sure.

      Or in later years it might have been Degs Hatton going for his tea break.

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    2. I thought that was how Hatton delivered redundancy notices to council workers?

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    3. During the Hatton years, my mum worked as a teacher at a school for special-needs kids in Woolton, Liverpool. When all the nonsense was going on about council employees being required to vote on the council's bizarre decrees, the voting had to take place by a show of hands in the playground, and representatives from Degs' inner circle would attend each one. Anyone who was seen to vote the wrong way (or not vote at all) was likely to have their car smashed up, and would certainly kiss goodbye to any chance of career advancement - in some cases, the schools were closed.

      Strangely, there are still whiffs of this. Until recently, I was a member of a FaceBook group sharing pictures and tales of Old Liverpool (which, these days, is the only Liverpool I remember!). I contributed some photos of the Orchid Houses at Calderstones Park, with which my family had some slight connections, along with a brief narrative of the history of the place. Since some aspects of this story did not reflect well on Mr Hatton, the post was pulled within a day, and my membership revoked. This was last year. You may imagine how I wept.

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  12. They look fantastic. How many figures are you planning to use altogether for your Waterloo extravaganza? Will you use your Ramekin rules or do you have something special in mind for such a large-scale game?

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    1. A very good question - no idea at present. Ramekin has advantages in speed of play - still to be thought through, for scope, scaling and how much of the battle to include. Yesterday I was looking at a heavy-duty scenario which excluded Plancenoit - that's no good, is it...?

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  13. Blimey, what a marvellous acquisition - worth even going down South for. That a Hinchliffe Eugene de Beauharnais sharing a tray with the highlanders? I think I've got a toned down version of him somewhere.
    Mrs T standing in the fast lane of a motorway? That's the dream of many in this part of the world a few years ago. Usually involved a heavy truck too.

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    1. Hi Chris - there are a couple of well out-of-scale celebrity and command figures in this section of the collection, alongside Old School 20mm rank and file - Mrs T and chums might have approved of the implications of a giant masterclass. Not the way I organise things myself, so they will be humanely removed and sent to join more compatible fellows. Apart from the Hintons and maybe the earliest Alberkens, most of the other figure makers in this purchase - Lamming and Hinch (I think) for a start - wouldn't have been around in 1965, so the armies have clearly been developed further long after that date.

      Digression: I always recall Mrs T as part of a double act with Reagan (though I'm not sure now which bits were real and which were Spitting Image). Weird days. A mate of mine owned a firm based in Livingston which back in the early 1980s made the finest high-resolution X-Ray cameras in the world - indisputably. He was tooling up for contracts to supply all UK hospitals, and was getting orders from the US. As a consequence of Mrs T's agreements with Reagan, suddenly the UK hospitals were required to buy American kit, and the US hospitals who had been interested were not allowed to buy anything made outside the US. My mate got round this by setting up business in the US - relocating everything (to the surprise of his wife and kids, who were left behind in Scotland). He made an absolute fortune - he even sold stuff to British hospitals. Sadly he wrecked his health with drinking, but this story has now digressed beyond tolerable limits, so I'll end it there. One strange reflection on this now is that Reagan looks like a genius compared to the current Archie Tupper incumbent. [Any fans of Ian McEwan out there?]

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    2. Aye, I was thinking the 25mm Hinches might be a bit tall compared to the 20mm HHs, not to mention a bit on the young side. Acceptable losses, a few personalities compared to the rest, I'd say.

      Funny, I always think of Margaret as a double act with Arthur Scargill - like opposing WWI generals on the Western Front.

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  14. Absolutely splendid stuff, and I'm sure the figures couldn't have gone to a better home, you have a little (well, actually quite large) bit of wargaming history there. I think there are a couple of pics of the 1965 event in one of Don Featherstone's books - perhaps 'Advanced Wargames'? I think they show how crowded the room was, as described in one of the posts cited above. And of course 'DC' is a fine chap!

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    1. I've been doing a bit of reading, and the main thing I've learned is that 1965 was a long time ago. There were obviously a couple of Waterloo anniversary events, Don Featherstone set one up, there was a Peter Gilder one (I think), and then there was the one at the Duke of York's HQ, but references to this last one don't seem to feature the principal players I would have expected - I'm still digging!

      I used to have a copy of Advanced Wargames, but it went the way of all flesh (?), and I never felt it was a good enough book to replace. DC is a very fine chap - no question at all about that.

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  15. Hello Tony, what a marvellous find! I look forward to your further writings on the subject. You seem to have a talent for sniffing out such treasures.

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    1. This one came looking for me! Cheers Iain.

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  16. A truly splendid find Tony...
    It should keep you out of trouble for a while... ;-)

    It would be nice to see some ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos...

    I was going to say something about Maggie T.... but even I was offended when I read it back to myself... ;-)

    All the best. Aly

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    1. Aly - I am going to aim to do as little as possible to these figures - your recent WSS refurbs have been inspirational! There is a risk that before-&-after shots might be difficult to tell apart in my case.

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