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


Saturday, 27 June 2020

Napoleonic Refurb Work - British Dragoons

It's been rather hot in the attic this week for extended painting sessions, but I've finally finished the refurb work on some ex-Eric Knowles British Dragoons. These are Hinton Hunts of great vintage, having been present at the 1965 Waterloo Anniversary game at the Duke of York's Headquarters. Accordingly, out of respect, my efforts have been directed at restoring the faded and worn sections of Eric's original paintwork rather than blitzing it and starting afresh [I understand that maintenance work on the Mona Lisa, for example, is approached in the same way!].

All based, with gaps left for the command figures
One consequence of this is that it has been quite a lot of work to get the figures to a state which I would describe as "good but not perfect" [which is probably how the job reports on the Mona Lisa read, too].

A few nights ago, at about 1am, I found myself working away, smartening up the piping on Eric's original turnbacks (in 20mm), and I was laughing to myself, wondering how I had managed to get here. Some of the original paint has also roughened a bit over the years, which makes it something of a challenge to get horse harnesses and so on to brush on smoothly over the top, but I got there.

Anyway, having reminded myself that Napoleonic uniforms are more labour-intensive than the WSS, I am now left with the job of adding some converted command figures to complete the two units, which are to be the 1st and 3rd Dragoons. I don't propose to start hacking up 50-year-old Hintons for spare parts, so the trumpeters and officers will be SHQ/Kennington figures, mounted on Hinton Hunt horses. Shouldn't take too long.

30 comments:

  1. "Mona Lisa: Good but no perfect." Good one!

    I can understand not wanting to destroy the sentimentality of the Eric Knowles' figures. Wise choice, I think. Hopefully, you can resist any urge to repaint the Freitag Battalion in the future...

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    1. Nay, verily - the Freitag Battalion will be stored with a Certificate of Authenticity, and with modern varnish, careful storage and my constant use of sabots to avoid handling, they may still make it into the Louvre one day.

      Refurbishing projects are always weird - I started off this job, quite rightly delighted by the nice painting job Eric had done on the dragoons all those years ago, but the figures had been well played with, rebased a few times and - stored in cardboard boxes in a horse-box (as I understand it) - been subjected to cold and a little damp and a great deal of Tempus Fugit. The retouching work has to be done sympathetically, in the circumstances, and I'm happy that they have come up very nicely. The Eric Hoard contains some more challenging refurb jobs than this!

      Hope you are well Jon - here in Britain there suddenly seem to be a lot of people who wish to give Covid a second chance, with street parties. Lemming parties?

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    2. Hi Tony. Yes, I continue to remain well. Out West, we are determined to give the virus a second chance at taking us down even before the first wave has run its course. The Sunbelt states of Texas, California, Florida, and Arizona are being battered very hard. In Washington State, our governor implemented a new mask wearing policy on Friday since cases are increasing in the Pacific Northwest at a rapid pace. Holiday weekend at the end of May, protests, business reopenings, and a general easing of vigilance has given the virus a new lease.

      Stay well, Tony.

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  2. Good progress on a very worthy project to bring then back to life for tabletop action. Cheers Greg

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    1. Thanks Greg - I am encouraged to crack on with more of the same!

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  3. Looking smart Tony. Very smart. It must feel amazing to think that you are using what are now artefacts from the history of the hobby.

    And congratulations on the late arrival of the championship. Did you allow yourself a little dance around the garden?

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    1. Thanks Chris - very quiet here - no-one else interested in football in my house, so I had a small glass of the 1965 De Montal while I watched the Chelsea vs Man City game on Match of the Day - all by myself! Gave me bloody heartburn, of course...

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    2. At that price I’m not bloody surprised it gave you heartburn.

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    3. I bought a bottle for my dad for his 60th birthday (far back in another century), and he bought me two bottles in about 1995 - I still have some of one bottle left - not much. I can't remember what I'm saving it for - perhaps it was the Premier League. Oh well. When my dad bought them he sent me the money and I purchased them from Justerini & Brooks in George Street, Edinburgh - the last two bottles of the 1965 they had in stock! J&B's shop in George St is now gone, alas, and I think the address is a posh ladies' clothes shop. Why does that make me sad?

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  4. The dragoons are lovely Tony, and especially nice given the great vintage. I'm guessing that you have more still to come?

    I thought of you when Liverpool took the title. Mad celebrations in this time of lockdown, not that there's much social distancing going on around here, neighbours have been having get togethers for weeks now.

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    1. I think that's about it for the heavy dragoons, once the command figures are added, but there's lots more in the queue! Social distancing - I fear there is a belief gap somewhere. There is news, and there are facts, and then there is pick-the-rumour-you-prefer on social media. Or maybe it's a collective attention span problem. I really hope this doesn't all turn to rat droppings - the current situation in the US is not promising. I wonder if people had street parties during the Black Death? Maybe they did. I haven't seen it mentioned, though.

      Football - yeah - pleased with that, but let's just get on with it! Lots to do - we've got to keep the Hammers up, for a start.

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  5. Great stuff, good for you! Your approach seems entirely right, and backed up by probably the most trusted people in Britain today - the experts on 'The Repair Shop' on TV.

    Btw have you seen the 1970s film version of 'The Four Feathers'? The opening credits might look familiar - available on Youtube.

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    1. Thank you David. I am embarrassed to admit that I missed the "1970" bit of your comment, and have just watched the first 10 minutes of the 1939 (non-Harry Andrews) production, wondering what was the point I'd missed. Now I know, of course - very good!

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    2. Sorry I was being a bit too subtle there, forgot to say directly that according to Bob Cordery, those figures in the film were from Eric's collection - so perhaps you have some of them now..? ( unless they are not Hinton Hunts, of course!)

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    3. Ahh - RIGHT! Anything more complicated than a foghorn is too subtle here - thanks for the footnote. I shall now pay attention and watch again - how exciting! I may advertise for paying visitors to see the museum - far oot, as they used to say in Scotland.

      Thanks David - that's brilliant. I may have to buy the film as well, of course. [Note to self: remember - 1970... 1970... 1970...]

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    4. Oh wow! I see what David means! The guns are on angled bases even to show ‘field of fire’

      I’d forgotten about that version. It really was Robert Powell’s day. And I’ve just discovered there were at least 5 versions! 1929, 1939, 1955 (Storm Over the Nile), 1978 and 2002.

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  6. Are those the BN 40 OPC figures? If so you've done an absolutely stunning job on them. The example I have looks like some kind of hideously misshapen chesspiece.

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    1. Yes, BN40. They were in very good shape, so my task was achievable. If these were on the Duke of York's Waterloo table in 1965 they must have been very recent castings? In the same collection, I have HH OPC light dragoons with actual cords on the side of their shakos, rather than the usual soup plates - stuff like that - amazing. My first, terminally depressing experience of HH figures was in about 1972 or 73, when the moulds were shot, and in many ways it was a disgrace that they still marketed them. There is no substitute for time travel, apparently. As they used to say in the Women's Realm stories, I didn't know it could be like this.

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  7. Hello Tony, I have an original programme for that DoY's game. Would you like me to copy it for you?>

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    1. Iain - that would be fantastic - thanks for the very kind offer! I have a scan of the report in the Wargamer's Newsletter, but have never seen the programme - that would be a very fine thing indeed.

      If scanning it is feasible, if you could email it to the address in my Blogger profile that would be excellent. I would propose to post it here, so if you have concerns about that, please shout.

      Great! - very excited about that - thanks very much.

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  8. Excellent job Tony, those must be very early castings if they were flash free. The ones I have were pretty much solid blocks of metal from which I eventually carved something closely resembling dragoons!

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    1. Hi Ian - your comment seems to have taken about 2 and a half hours to get here, so I guess Mr Blogger has foot on the cable!

      Thank you - yes, the castings were absolutely fine - very easy job, really. My command figures, as I say, will be SHQ, but I'm going to mount them on BNH3 horses (?), which is a bit more Old School. I don't really know when these figures were first marketed, but it can't be too long before 1965, I would think. You don't suppose someone bought in a lot of figures from Marcus specially for the demo game? Was Marcus involved in the event? [That's all the questions for today...]

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    2. Aha - according to Vintage20Mil and another source I have, it seems that HH figures first appeared around 1964, and that Marcus used to announce big extensions to the range to coincide with historical anniversaries - you don't suppose these Waterloo figures were new for the demo game, do you?

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  9. These look marvellous Tony. Definitely a spot for them in the Louvre.

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    1. Thank you James - maybe behind bulletproof glass - in fact, maybe we'll just put a copy on display and store the originals in a secure lock-up somewhere. Maybe a horse-box...?

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  10. Those have scrubbed up rather well Tony...
    They do look like good castings...
    Pure Hintons as opposed to some of the nuggets of lead I remember from the early 70’s...

    All the best. Aly

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    1. Hi Aly - I have to say I was very surprised to see how good these early HH castings could be - I've seen some beautifully restored specimens from Stryker and Wellington Man, among others, but the ones I bought were just very very old and very original.

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  11. They look delightful, Tony, and th history is surely an added plus!
    Some parts of the US. mostly the ones that got slammed the hardest initially, like here in CT, NY, NJ, and MA are doing well, with low and declining caseloads; our main hospital is down from 160 Covid cases and almost 40 on the ventilator in mid April to 15 cases and none on the ventilator 2 weeks ago. Hopefully that will continue as restrictions are loosened. Other parts of the country, especially those where they reopened far too quickly despite expert advice, well, the expected is happening; cases and hospitalizations are soaring, and hospital bed capacity, PPE supplies, etc is being strained. Surprise, surprise... NOT. As you already know, I cannot say enough ill of the ignoramus in the white house,. but certainly his constant stream of disinformation and utter lack of leadership... wait, it's worse than that, his malignant interference with public health measures etc, is certainly the most amazing display of incompetence by any US President in my lifetime. Imagine making NOT wearing a mask to prevent the transmission of the virus into some kind of political statement. How utterly crazy is that? Forget about a "second wave"; we're still in the first.

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    1. Thanks Peter - I'm pleased with the old soldiers!

      About the old fool - I have never understood how it can be that the White House issues directives to protect public health, and the PotUS then personally encourages citizens and individual states to break these directives. I am not convinced of his sanity anyway, but if a manager in industry behaved like this he would be removed. Really very strange. Never seen the like, as my grandma would have said.

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  12. Superb looking cavalry, very nice job...

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