Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Mighty Grasshopper

If you are willing to spend the time required to clean and repair the castings (literally hours for 2 guns in my case) then the Hinchliffe AWI 3pdr Grasshopper can be made into a nice little model, though personally i'd recommend steering clear until the moulds are remade (which is on the cards apparently). The crew comprises 2 Hinchliffes, and an old Dixon figure that has been subjected to the indignity of a head swap.

Readers of a nervous disposition please take note that no Dixon 'pumpkin heads' will feature in this blog.

New Willies!

I've just received an email from Tradition announcing further reworked/converted and remastered Suren 30mm 18th century figures - a few French and the first of the Prussians. The 'Gentlemen' set above is my favourite. Whether David Wilson has been able to match Suren's standards i can't say as i haven't seen any of the reworked figures in the flesh, but if i had the time and money (the new sets work out at about £1.50 per figure) for a SYW project i suspect i'd choose the Willie range.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Paint Along with Peter (1)

As promised we have the first of the Peter Gilder penned painting guides - this one from the 1972 Hinchliffe catalogue. This comes to us courtesy of Clive (the 'Old Metal Detector' himself) as i am far too young to posses a catalogue from 1972.

The booklet on 'Painting Wargame Figures and Armies' that PG wrote for Mil Mod in 1981 will follow when i figure out how to host PDFs on the blog.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Plastering with Peter

Above is an excerpt from The Hinchliffe Guide to Wargaming published in 1977. The experienced wargamer or modeller won't find anything new in this short guide but the novice dc found it very handy way back when.

With so many off the shelf structures available i wonder how many people scratch build these days..? By nature i'm a scratch builder but i have to admit that all of the buildings for my current projects are resin or plastic kits. That said, i hope to have a go at replicating Gilder's Chew House (as seen in Curt Johnson's 'Battles of the American Revolution') at some point soon...ish.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Gardening with Gilder

One of the intentions i have for the blog is to host various painting and modelling articles by Peter Gilder. Matt's comment on my previous post has nudged me to look out a short article on basing from the 1976 Hinchliffe Handbook. It's essentially the method i still use although i have substituted coir broom bristles for sisal string.

I have a couple of different Gilder painting guides and hints on model making to post in due course.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Just a Minute!

The Culpeper Minutemen are one of my favourite AWI units, i'm not sure why - perhaps it's the green hunting shirts, their name, or their uncompromising slogan, but regardless they have featured in all of my AWI collections over the years.

The current incarnation features 18 standard Hinchliffe castings. I was tired of painting riflemen at the time, and luckily could find no record of them putting more than 200 men in the field, so i felt i could stop at 18 figures (my main interest is replaying historic actions so i rarely paint more figures for a unit than i need to replay the particular battle that i am interested in). Ideally i like to animate or convert a few figures in a unit to add a little interest to each one - i find firing poses hard to alter so i copped out this time and only tweaked one of the officers.

Incidentally, a cunning substitution of the command stand turns them into the 1st Continental Rifles c.1776.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Return of The KLF

No, not that KLF - this is the King's Lifeguard of Foot. Here we see the Lifeguard preparing to repel a Puritan assault on their display cabinet, whilst Gerrard's (another Gilder unit) lurk in the background. The unit comprises 40 largely standard Hinchliffe castings (the only customisation being the addition of plumes to some hats and helmets) painted by the unknown artist - though the style suggests to me it was PG himself.

One thing that really impressed me about these figures is the quality of the hand painted flags - the brushwork is superb. Whilst the style and quality of figure painting varies the flags are universally excellent.

The Gilder ECW are in serious need of dusting off, sorting out, and some restoration (ouch! sorry..). So until i get my act together the blog will concentrate on the AWI for a while.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Another George

And whilst we're talking George Washington here's one of my early conversion attempts - George Washington and friend in 'Trenton' mode. Both figures are conversions of Hinchliffe Napoleonics - win a free night with me if you can guess which...

Ted Suren

Whilst i'm in the mood to shower praise on talented sculptors it would be remiss of me not to mention the late Ted Suren. Suren's 30mm creations ooze character, and have a lean and hungry look that feels entirely appropriate. His 30mm AWI cavalry, once remounted on Gilder horses, fit remarkably well with Hinchliffe 25s (though his 30mm infantry are just a tad too big for me). Above we have Suren's George Washington and Baylors Dragoons officer mouted on Connoisseur medium horses.

Surens are currently available from Spencer Smith and Tradition. Beware though - some of the moulds are in bad shape, so be prepared to do a fair bit of clean-up. The end result is worth it i think. The good news is that Tradition are in the process of remastering and extending the Suren range.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The Genius of Hezzlewood

Genius is not a word i use lightly (and does seem rather silly when talking about toy soldiers), however, i believe it is merited when discussing the work of the late Steve Hezzlewood. Hezzlewood's work for Hinchliffe and then his own Pax Britannica and Echelon Design ranges is at the very top of the tree. He's right up there with Charles Stadden when it comes to replicating the human form in a practical wargaming miniature, and capturing the essence of the 18th century soldier. If you can see past the rather clumsy painting above i hope you'll appreciate what i mean.

Hezzlewood's work is still available from Ian Hinds at Hinchliffe (X range AWI, and ACW..i think?), and from DPC in the States. Even with the tumbling exchange rate Hezzlewood's SYW figures from DPC remain one of the the bargains of the hobby.

At the moment i have scandalously few Hezzlewoods in my collection. Washington's Lifeguard (Hinchliffe X Range figures) is in the painting queue and so should (baby and work allowing) appear in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Gilder's ECW

One of the stand-out units of Peter Gilder's old ECW collection was the King's Lifeguard of Foot. I remember it featuring in various issues of Mil Mod and Miniature Wargames, and you'll also find it in Stuart Asquith's Naseby book. It's a 40 figure strong regiment, of which here we have the command stand. More Hinchliffe (and Minifigs!) from Gilder's collection in due course...

AWI 'In the Grand Manner'

My most enduring wargaming love is the AWI - i've been interested in the period for over 25 years. My original armies were Hinchliffe, Minifigs and Tradition 25s that i foolishly sold many years ago. My current collection was sparked off by a chance purchase of various ex-Gilder/John Ray collection units a few years ago. I've been adding to those slowly over the last 3 years. As things stand the armies are a mixture of Hinchliffe (scuplted by Peter Gilder and Steve Hezzlewood), RSM (Hezzlewood), Willie (Ted Suren) and John Ray miniatures. More of these anon. Meanwhile, by way of a taster, here's a rebel command stand (i like command groups) - standard Hinchliffe figures, painted by me.