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

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Marshal Ney's command base now complete

The command grouping for Ney is finished now - the third figure is a General de Brigade from the Chief of Staff's department. This extra figure (on the left here) is another Art Miniaturen casting - this time an old, OOP one.

Don't tell us that Old Foy got three postings out of a single figure group, they chorused - has the man no shame at all? Well, I guess not - guilty as charged.

You know what happens to newly-painted troops? - these fellows are bound to meet with a very sticky end at Quatre Bras on Tuesday...

Friday, 14 June 2019

Ney's ADC

He's a day later than planned, but no matter - this is Marshal Ney's ADC, Colonel Pierre-Agathe Heymès, all ready for Quatre Bras next week.

A couple of things about Heymès: his background was in the horse artillery, which seems unusual for an aide; also, because I really had no idea, I checked with my consultant, and it seems that the French would pronounce his name "em-ess", with the stress on the first syllable. The French would probably also regard his name as sort of Spanish, I think. After the Restoration, he was appointed ADC to Louis XVIII, which surely cannot have been a very strenuous role.

The figure is one of the High Command at Waterloo set by Waterloo 1815 (in metal), but in the interests of calming him down a bit I have given him a more placid horse (by NapoleoN Miniaturas). He is still obviously a bit overexcited, but let's just assume he is waving his sword to attract attention, or to motivate the troops. At Waterloo, Heymès is usually depicted as riding a grey - as on Dumoulin's great panorama at the battlefield Rotunda. I have chosen to place him on another of his (numerous?) horses, since I regard a grey horse as a high-risk project, and I would not like to spoil this effort by mounting him on a ridiculous-looking cuddy.

Ney, being of Army or Corps-Command grade, is entitled to have two accompanying figures in my organisation. Commandant Lachoucque insists that Ney only had the one ADC in the Waterloo campaign, so the other one (which I start tomorrow) can be a rather mundane ADC borrowed from a Général de Division.

I must say I really enjoy painting staff figures. Something to do with my attention span, I think. Col Heymès can enjoy the distinction of being the most flashy soldier in the army until I get round to painting Soult's ADC (who is also in the queue).

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

The Return of Dan O'Herlihy

There's a battle coming up next week, and I have a few bits and pieces to sort out for my contribution to the spectacle. I have to paint up a couple of staff chappies, for a start. This evening's deliverable is Marshal Ney, gentlemen. His varnish is still wet and shiny, but here he is.

I do have an official Ney figure in the spares box - in fact I have a couple. I had intended to paint up Art Miniaturen's Marschall Ney, complete with bare head, waving sword and rearing horse, but I changed my mind. I also have the metal Waterloo Staff set from Waterloo 1815, but they are wildly dramatic - they are also, let it be said, some 25mm to the eyes [Massimo should drink less coffee]. The Perry Twins have now done the definitive charging Ney, albeit in a larger scale than I use, but Ney complete with bulging eyeballs, as seen in the rotunda painting, does not seem a very useful figure for me. So I've gone for a rather calmer Ney - it is an Art Miniaturen casting, right enough, but I think it's actually supposed to be Auguste Coulaincourt - I shall now forget all about that - this is Ney. I've given him a nice dashing white jabot, and he has the necessary red hair.

With a bit of luck he should have some staff by next week, and he should be a lot less shiny.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

eBay - Definitely the End This Time

I recently posted a sad tale about an apparent hack of my PayPal account - I managed to take quick action on it, but it seems that not quite everything was sorted. I now find that I have been subjected to what is becoming a common scam - someone hacks into your PayPal account, inserts a fake address so that they can link to your eBay account, and then - as they have done in my case - sets up a fake listing for sale on your eBay account.

First I knew about it was when I started getting emails about an "unresolved issue" on eBay - someone wanted a refund because I had failed to deliver a set of security cameras which they had bought from me. Erm - security cameras? The listing was still active - it seems I had sold 1 out of 50 sets available. No money had reached me though PayPal. The purchase took place on 22nd May - the following day I got a request from eBay to change my password, and did so, though they sent me no details which might have put me on my guard. I changed my PayPal password as well (again), at the same time.

This morning I had a phone conversation with an eBay security man, based in the Philippines. He was very good and very reassuring - they were already aware of the problems with my account, and are in the process of cleaning everything up - the eBay listing has now been taken down, I have no need to worry about refunding anything - the purchaser (if there is one - that may be a scam too) will be reimbursed. The law enforcement authorities will be notified about the incident as appropriate. Was there anything else he could help me with?

Well, no - nothing else really. I will be closing my eBay account as soon as they let me back into it. That's enough - I've been muttering about this for ages - I think that God has now sent me a sign.

Watch your step. As it happens, I had kept a note of the full name and address which was hacked into my PayPal account, back in April. It is a guy named Nikolaj, who lives in London. Interestingly, the security cameras were supposedly for sale in London. OK - there's lots of people in London, but the man in the Philippines tells me the incidents are related. The security people were quite impressive, though I'd have been more impressed if they'd sorted the matter out before I reported it.

That's it for me - eBay now officially stinks - I have had good use out of it for 15 years, but for me its time is up. There are too many fifth-rate crooks hanging round the internet, trying to suck some blood out of the system.

Cheers, Nikolaj - I do have your full ID and address, and I do have friends in London. I shall fantasize about that for a bit. Incidents like this always (well, "always" is a bit strong - I'm very careful, and pretty savvy, and have had very few problems in the past) leave me feeling ashamed for being stupid. With hindsight, other than changing my passwords rather more frequently, I don't think I could have done much better.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Old Friends

I was dredging through my "Generals & Staff" spares box, looking for some suitable French ADC figures, and I found these fellows hiding in a corner.

They obviously came from eBay - Lord knows when - they look as though they were painted by the same collector and they have obviously seen some action. Minifigs S-Range figures - they do have a certain battered charm. I recalled that the Lone S-Ranger blog once tried to identify which of these chaps was which, according to the S-Range catalogue (which means VINTAGE20MIL these days, of course), so I checked that out and the results seemed inconclusive. I'm keen not just to go round the same loop again, so though I am casually interested to identify the figures, the main excuse for this post was to feature these three old friends, as a token of my respect. It looks as if they have been together for about 50 years - they are presently resting in my spares box, but no matter.

As far as I can make out, the candidate figures are:

NS 2s - French Marshal
NS 9s - Ney
NS 10s - Murat

though it does seem surprising that Minifigs didn't attempt a more spectacular uniform for Murat. I confess I have no idea; whatever, here they are.

I'll maybe get them a gig in the Guard Division, now that I have one.

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

With thanks to Goya, here's an example of post-S-Range "Intermediate" Minifigs celebrity figure - this is Nansouty, who was FNCX5, apparently (and probably still is in the current range, but without a saddle).

And here is a uniform for Murat which appears consistent with the right hand fellow in my original photos...

My thanks to Goya and Alan and everyone who contributed!


Monday, 3 June 2019

A Tale of Two Flags

Yesterday was a flagging day, which means I was involved in attaching a flag to a new unit. I keep stocks of my home-printed flags, and fitting them is not complicated, but it does require some care, because it is very easy to mess it up. And I do mean a mess. Water-based glues and ink-jet printed flags are a potent mixture, especially if you have fingers like elephants' feet.

Thus my stock of flags includes enough extra copies to allow for the odd failure.

Since I had the flagging kit out anyway, and since I have now (at long last) produced a correct flag for the Régiment de Prusse (4eme Étranger), I thought I might as well invest in a little drop of creeping elegance, and replace the flag for that unit. A tale of yesteryear beckons...

The fact that I have a Napoleonic army at all has a lot to do with the OOB for the Battle of Salamanca, which has always been a central inspiration. I'm not sure exactly when, but maybe 10 years ago I was tempted by mention of the Regt de Prusse in that OOB - admittedly only a residue of 80-odd men by 1812 (in Brennier's [Taupin's] 6th Divn), but that was enough of an excuse to encourage me to paint up a battalion of something (anything?) to provide a little variety among the otherwise relentless blue and white of the Armée de Portugal.

At this time NapoleoN Miniaturas had released their pack of "Allied Infantry", which basically represented Confederation troops in Spain during the 1808 period. These chaps are in moderately scruffy campaign dress, with covered shakos and rolled overalls. I painted them in the dark green of the Foreign regiments - the Prussians had red facings, silver lace and rank insignia. They also had, I had read, a non-standard flag - it was 162cm square instead of the normal 80cm for a French 1804 flag - and it had a spearpoint finial instead of an eagle. This was all faithfully reproduced in my little battalion.

A couple of asides here.

NapoleoN Miniaturas are sadly missed nowadays, but their figures are an odd mixture, ranging in quality from the exquisite to the downright agricultural. This is probably not unconnected with the fact that they had two master-makers, one of whom was a very talented sculptor and one of whom was the owner. Interestingly, a close parallel might be argued to have existed at Falcata, around the same time, and maybe even Les Higgins (much earlier). Whatever, the Allied Infantry set was not one of NapoleoN's best. In particular, there was an officer on foot, marching, wearing a bicorn with an oilskin cover - I've seen the same JM Bueno plate as the sculptor obviously had, but the hat is so blatantly made of a folded newspaper that I omitted this particular officer from the unit.

As originally recruited, with big flag. Both the photos in this post look a bit washed-out - the reds are proper reds in real life. The figures are from the NapoleoN "Allied Infantry" set, with the mounted and foot officers from Kennington - the foot officer at the end of the 2nd rank was drafted in to replace the man with the newspaper hat.
The authentically oversized flag I produced looked - well, daft. I've always been a bit touchy about it. If anyone were ever to comment on it, I had even memorised the references in Dempsey's Napoleon's Mercenaries so I could justify it! This is an area where I am a tad fussy. Stupid really, since my French army includes Les Higgins figures sporting 1806-style queues but wearing square-lapelled Bardin-type habits, not to mention Garrisons with high gaiters and the same late-model coat. Many of my British infantry strut happily around the Peninsula, wearing their Waterloo shakos. My armies are full of howlers, inconsistencies and known inaccuracies. I gloss over them all, but I do like the flags to be reasonable.

The infamous Bueno drawing of Confederation troops in Spain, featuring the officer in the newspaper hat
One trend in wargame armies which I have not approved of over the last couple of decades has been caricaturisation (if there is such a word). Beautifully- painted 28mm figures with grotesque faces, huge hands, outsize heads, giant muskets - OK - that's all down to the sculptors; there has also been a move to crazily-oversized flags. The French flag of 1804, let us remember, was 80cm square. If your French army has lovely flags which are 6 feet square in scale then that is your taste and your choice - no problem - but to me that looks daft. Thus my big Regt de Prusse flag, authentic or not, has troubled me.

With replacement (regulation) flag. Of course, it may be incorrect now. Hmmm. Must give the flag a little curl. Flags which look like hatchets are not cool.

Yesterday I replaced it. It no longer looks daft, I think - of course, it may be incorrect. I'll have to worry about that for a while now...

If I change it back then I promise I won't mention the fact.

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

By special request, for Liverpool Dave, here's another dodgy photo of one of my Confederation battalions. This time these are Badeners (alas the Baden infantry in Spain did not wear the fabby helmet) - the newspaper hat is in evidence on the left end of the second row. 


Sunday, 2 June 2019

French Refurb - 1/47e arrives

Another finished battalion for the French Refurb project - this time very kindly painted by Lee, for which my sincere thanks and appreciation.

Castings are appropriate Old School Les Higgins, for the most part, with some more modern support. I was more than a little disappointed to find, when they emerged from the stripper, that some of the fusiliers were in fact re-cast copies, but Lee coped with all that. The grenadiers and the drummer are Schilling miniatures, and the colonel, predictably, is by Art Miniaturen. The eagle bearer is an old NapoleoN casting. All a bit of a mish-mash, really, but very welcome. The first battalion of the 47eme Ligne, these chaps will form part of Ferey's Division of the Armee de Portugal, early 1812.

Thanks, Lee.

Second Topic

This morning I re-acquainted myself with a very nostalgic aroma. I sharpened half a dozen old "Beryl" pencils. Wow - the smell of freshly sharpened pencils - instantly transported back to ancient classrooms, old workplace scenarios, even my old sketchbook when I was a kid. Reminds me - do they still have the Cumberland Pencil Museum in Keswick? Haven't been there in years, but it used to be a fun place to visit.

Third Topic

Purely my worthless opinion, of course, but since Mr Trump's forthcoming visit to the UK is in any case not a widely popular event, why does he feel it is appropriate to express his views on our current political situation? Notwithstanding the compulsion to put in a plug for a couple of his pals, would it not be classier and more polite if he just kept his fat lip buttoned?