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


Saturday, 8 May 2021

Still in the Boxes... more rarities?

 Since I haven't yet tidied up the ex-Eric Knowles boxes or put them back in The Upstairs Cupboard, I did a little more digging around, and came up with these, which might be of interest to people, like me, who care for fossils:

 
Here are some very dashing Scots Greys - I can almost hear the cinema organ. From the general style, I would guess these might be Alberkens (the official catalogue number is BNC 2, which I have never seen, even in a photo), but these are mounted on sheet metal bases, and - though badly faded now - the paint job seems to have been pretty fancy at one time. No markings - someone did a unit of these for Eric.
 
For comparison here are some French cuirassiers: (L to R) a couple of Greenwood & Ball, a Hinton Hunt OPC (FN 102) and an Alberken OPC (FNC 3). The Greenwood & Balls mostly have sheet metal bases, and appear to have been improved - I can hear the shouts of "Tradition!" from here... 

 
...but no - hold your horses (!) - one of them still has the original, cast base, which says "MADE IN ENGLAND by Greenwood & Ball" - this doesn't show up too well in my picture, but, if you want to see it more clearly, place a piece of thin paper against the computer screen, and rub gently with a soft pencil...
 
 
So, having established that there are some (tweaked) G&Bs present, here are a couple more - this time dragoons, again with sheet metal bases. These figures are very slightly tall and lean in comparison with Hinton Hunt (for example), but fit in reasonably well, as the pictures show, so - if you are more knowledgeable than I am about G&B (and most carbon-based life forms are) - then you can have a guess what period and range these come from. They seem too big for the three-quarter-inch diorama series. Anyway, G&B they certainly are, and 20mm too.
 
Here's a one-off - this is another of these improved OPC mounted figures which I suspect are both cast and enhanced by Mr Gilder - note that this is another of these distinctive, Airfix-style horses. This is very similar to the tweaked Grenadier à Cheval which started this whole study project, but this chap has gold epaulettes and a bicorn, and he has no musket, so I think he's supposed to be an officer for the mounted grenadiers. Because you won't see many of these around, I've done 3 views of him.

 
Good grief - I thought I was ugly until I saw him. A number of the PG (?) figures show some corrosion of the areas of the figure which were treated with flesh-coloured paint - I've seen this quite a lot on old figures - I wonder what the paint was? Some lead in the pigment?
 

 
I also dug out, for a photograph, some samples of an ex-Eric unit of the 2eme Eclaireurs de la Garde, which have unmarked bases (in fact the bases may be sheet metal), and they look sort of like Alberken, though I suggest that they don't look very like the official FNC 4. I have plans to restore these fellows back to duty condition, though the 2eme Eclaireurs had a very limited service record, and have a very good chance of not being required for action very often.


I hope you enjoyed that lot - time for me to get properly tidied up and get on with a sensible weekend - I hope to paint some WSS figures today, but we seem to have a North-East wind again, and the attic is perishing cold!


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

 
"I wonder what history will say about them, eh? You couldn't pass me the loofah, could you, Soult?"
 
Completely different topic - my DVD for the 1970 Waterloo movie has to be just about my greatest buy ever - I think I paid £3.90 for it, years ago, and I must have watched it over a hundred times. However, I observe that there is a BluRay version available. Now, I use a BluRay player, which definitely improves the quality of the picture from my DVD, but I was thinking about buying the BluRay disc. Some of the reviews on Amazon are really pretty terrible - subtitles in random languages, all sorts of issues.

A question: does anyone have a BluRay disc of Waterloo, and is it any good? I see there is a "Special Edition" to be released on 14th June this year - I feel I ought to get a copy!

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22 comments:

  1. Lovely cuirassiers and dragoons! How cool it is to see these old figures. Some of them certainly hold up against more modern offerings.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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    1. They are fun. aren't they? The trick is to know when to come back out into the daylight!

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  2. Hello Tony:
    Those were certainly painted with a great deal of love. Glad they are in safe hands.
    Cheers,
    Michael

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    1. These figures were all painted and in action over 50 years before they came to me, so I treat them with respect.

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  3. I have of 5 of Eric's Eclaireurs in my pile of things to paint. Mine are all sans Lance so will strip, repair and paint although I will try to match the original paint job.

    It will be interesting to see if they have sheet metal bases.

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    1. I'd be interested to see how you get on!

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  4. I have never seen these G&B before. As Stokes wrote, better than some modern producers.

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    1. G&B are quite unfamiliar to me - I think the ones I have were worked on by someone, though individual animation and painting was also provided by the factory. They were famous for being very expensive!

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  5. Another fascinating post, Foy. I think you may have revealed the origin of PG's Grenadier a Cheval horses too. Their resemblance to the the first of your Greenwood & Ball cuirassier horses is pretty unmistakable in my view.

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    1. Thank you WM. Interesting your view on the horse influence - I really can't see that at all. There's an example of the strange "Gilder horse" 3 pictures after the first G&B here - I don't see much similarity; having thought about it for a few days, the slight squat on the side-by-side back legs is very similar to many of the Alberken (and, later, Hinchliffe) horses, so that may be one of PG's defaults, and the running front legs look like the front end of an Airfix US Cavalry horse grafted on. However, all views are as valid as my own! I have a suspicion that Gilder would be falling about laughing at my attempts to stalk his work!

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  6. Great stuff again! My thoughts? Those Dragoon horses are very much in the painting style of Mr Gilder with what looks to me like his trademark 'wiped' highlights. Of course others quickly picked up on it too but I understand his horse painting lesson was a favourite at the Wargame Holiday centre. The brushwork on the Scots Greys is very neat and one thing that I remember about Gilders early horse painting style was that his white or greys always had that slightly 'yellow' tint as though a wash of some kind had been applied (long before such became common). of course those could have yellowed over time being gloss varnished. I know that PG had many painters working for him. A workmate of mine back in about 1976 applied to paint for him, was sent a couple of Hinchliffe figures which he returned and was accepted, he was a very good painter and could do the wiped horse method well. can't remember where it went beyond that though.

    Anyway, please excuse my ramblings but you have made me all nostalgic.

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    1. Hi Lee - interesting insights - thanks for that. The Scots Greys I have here are mostly yellowed anyway because the gloss varnish is turning to barley-sugar, but it's still apparent that the underlying original shades were all a bit different.

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  7. This is all very educational Tony - excellent post!

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  8. Wargaming history in those photos, all very nice. The G&B pieces I haven’t seen before. Mr Braithwaite and his entourage used to attend our local club on a regular basis but always displayed their 20mm Ancients. All superbly painted by Steve Walker. The chap on the eastern garrison blog bought all the old 20mm G&B moulds and I’m sure has their Napoleonics may be worth contacting him.

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    1. That's great stuff, Graham - thanks for that. I'll get in touch with Mr Young forthwith (if not fifthwith).

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  9. Nice figures, I do like the 2eme Eclaireurs de la Garde, what unusual figures!

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    1. Hi Ray - thanks - I understand that the 2eme Eclaireurs used to accompany the Empress Dragoons (during 1814 campaign?) - the dragoons are also on my queue for refurbing, so the pressure is mounting!

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  10. This is excellent stuff Tony...
    I first saw Greenwood and Ball 20mm figures in Under Two Flags many many years age... I thought they were very pretty... but outrageously expensive.
    I left with a box of German Napoleonic Flats... even that pushed my meagre budget...
    I have a vague memory that you could by painted sets in Hamley’s and or Harrods...
    All the best. Aly

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    1. Thanks Aly - I have a vague memory of having read that it was Ms Ball who painted the figures, but this may be nonsense. German Napoleonic flats? - oooooooooh!

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    2. Yes I believe Ms Ball was the figure painter

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  11. This is a wonderful 'dig' that you are having Tony. Are you surprising yourself with what you are unearthing?
    Regards, James

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    1. Hi James - I guess so! My lack of knowledge in this area is such that I sort of expected to be surprised, so it wasn't much of a surprise. Or something like that.

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