Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Foremost ECW

The Foremost range was originally advertised as a separate venture by Peter Gilder, though it was always exclusively available from Hinchliffe Models. When Frank Hinchliffe sold out to Skytrex the Foremost range went too, so whatever the commercial arrangement was with Peter Gilder it must have ended there.

PG did some of his best work for the Foremost range - the British Napoleonics come immediately to mind, as do the horses. That said, i prefer the earlier Hinchliffe ECW to their Foremost peers - the 'Prince Rupert's Charge' cavalry were a late addition to the Foremost range and are a tad chunky for my liking. Nevertheless they retain all the elan of classic Gilder cavalry.

These particular examples were painted as Ireton's Horse by John Tilson, and a splendid job he did too. If you've been paying attention then you'll remember that John took part in the Edgehill episode of Battleground. Something that was not noted in the Battle article i posted earlier was that John used his own Parliamentarian army during the game - sadly this army was stolen a short time later.

Win absolutely nothing if you can identify the classic tome that Ireton's are deployed upon.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Edward Woodward

Has died aged 79.

A great shame, but then we all have to go eventually. Woodward was in two of my favourite films - Callan (of course) and The Wicker Man (cheesy, but entertaining, and filmed nearby). I blame the Callan movie for my interest in the ACW. Woodward owned the Gettysburg terrain for a while (he'd offered to purchase the entire set-up featured in the movie but Gilder wouldn't sell the figures).

BBC obituary here.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Warrior Miniatures AWI Range

Over the years i've owned examples of most 'vintage' AWI ranges but these chaps have always eluded me, indeed i've never even seen a listing of the range. This is a review from Battle November 1976. It looks like they might have been compatible with Hinchliffe, Tradition, Garrison, etc. (being slim with decent anatomy), and the choice of subjects was interesting (officers with spontoons no less, and a fifer), so i'd still like to get my hands on some.

Unfortunately the current Warrior AWI range are relatively recent designs in the modern style.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Brewer Besieged

Some great modelling work by Bill Brewer. I think the town buildings are particularly attractive, and despite being constructed over 30 years ago (where, in general, there wasn't the abundance of materials, parts and tools we have now) i reckon they knock the socks off much of what is available today.

Again the majority of figures featured are the wonderfully characterful Hinchliffe Landsknechts.

I've always been fascinated by sieges (i'm not really sure why....certainly from a wargaming perspective they are a great excuse to build stuff, and then knock it down with lots of artillery) so this article was always going to fire my imagination. Maybe an AWI or ECW siege could be on the cards soon.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Bill Brewer

Bill Brewer was another master modeller and painter who is sadly no longer with us. Founder member of the South London Warlords, proprietor of the Rye Stamp and Hobby Shop, and paintbrush for hire, the quality of Bill's painting and scratch building was inspirational.

As far as i know Bill's work first gained (inter)national exposure through the pages of Battle - from which the above scans were taken. All 3 images are of the same Renaissance game staged during a club meeting in 1977. The first 2 illustrated an article on the Warlords ('With the Warlords', June 1977).

The majority of the figures in use are, of course, Hinchliffe.

Duncan MacFarlane seems to have been a fan as Bill's work featured frequently in the pages of Miniature Wargaming and Wargames Illustrated.

More on Bill Brewer shortly.

Monday, 2 November 2009

The Talented Mr Swales

Whilst i'm on the subject of the Hinchliffe Handbook i thought i'd post a couple of pages of Norman Swales illustrations (of which the Handbook must contain a few hundred). Swales' illustrations could also be found in various other Hinchliffe publications, Quarrie's Napoleon's Campaigns in Miniature, and Humbrol Authenticards (and no doubt elsewhere too). A fine illustrator and sculptor/designer...don't you just hate multi-talented people....8-)

Whilst Swales' illustrations were a pleasure to look at, and useful as an approximation of the subject figure, i must admit i would have preferred Hinchliffe to have used photographs of the actual models more often (which is one area where Minifigs scored top marks).

I wonder - did PG sculpt based on Swales' illustrations, or did Swales' drawings come afterwards? I have always assumed the latter....?

Pete's Elastic Ruler

I came across this in the Hinchliffe Handbook and it made me chuckle. Did no one tell Mr Gilder that his figures were supposed to be 25mm to the top of the head, or did he use an elastic ruler to measure them? Hinchliffe 25s varied from about 22mm up to 30mm - this inconsistency could be frustrating (why did i always end up with midget officers leading my Napoleonic battalions?)......... but you couldn't knock their style.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

An Old Chestnut

OK, i know it's a dun, but painting horses is one of those issues that seems to have troubled wargamers since prehistoric times. I'm currently contemplating painting some cavalry next so i had a look through the vintage ranks - looking for inspiration and tips from the 'great masters'. I came across this Hinchliffe ECW officer by Phil Robinson and, although in general i find his horses a bit garish, i do like the effect he's achieved here. The horse has been washed in a tan colour, most of which has been wiped off, and then shadows have been applied in a mid grey. Details have been lined in brown ink (since unfortunately aged to black) in the usual Robinson style.

A funny thing is how my photography just doesn't do the Robinson figures justice - this isn't just down to my ineptitude as usually my own figures actually come out looking better then they really are....very odd...

Where i think i go wrong with horses is in not being bold enough - they benefit from a bit of drama in just the same way as human figures. With that in mind we'll see how i do with the next batch i smear paint onto (ETA Christmas - judging by my current workload).

Monday, 19 October 2009

All Roads Lead To....

Donald Featherstone (at least as far as post-war UK wargaming is concerned).

I was one of probably many who were drawn into the hobby during the 1970s and 80s by pictures of Peter Gilder's wargames, and, as PG himself told us, he was introduced to wargaming by Featherstone - so in the end we are all children of The Don, so to speak....

The above scan comes from Wargamers Newsletter 146 May 1974 and i suspect the two photos will be known to you already having been published in various books and magazines over the years. They were taken during one of Don Featherstone's visits to Peter Gilder's home in Norfolk in the early months of 1964. The game depicted is ACW - and this is before Airfix released their ACW range, so most of the 20mm figures will be conversions.

Again this comes to us via Clive - who has contributed so much content recently that i may have to start paying him a salary... BTW, i welcome any and all relevant content (pictures, scans, anecdotes..whatever) as inevitably your stuff will be far more interesting than my stuff. I can be contacted via the email address in my Blogger Profile.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

You Can't Get The Staff

Well, you can, but with the Hinchliffe range you have to be prepared to do a bit of hacking in order to add a bit of variety.

Inspired by the recent Bill Gaskin postings i knocked these out recently - they may not be to the same standard but i'm fairly pleased with them. They are all Hinchliffe figures (apart from the grey which is a Steve Hezzlewood designed RSM piece) converted to some degree (e.g. the bloke on the grey started life as Thomas about coming down in the world...).

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Gilder on Diversity

Here we have an extract from a letter sent by Peter Gilder to Wargamers Newsletter printed in issue 91 (October 1969 i believe). The background is the spat that rumbled on for some time between the London and Southampton 'sets' of wargamers (Featherstone vs Tunstill, seconds out...), but the real reason i post this is the insight it gives us into PG's hobby philosophy - his rejection of standardisation is music to the ears of this dyed in the wool individualist....

Thanks to Clive for supplying this scan.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Great Gilder Set Pieces 2

If you own a copy of Curt Johnson's 'Battles of the American Revolution' (and if not, why not?) then you'll already be familiar with this image - Gilder's the death of Rall at Trenton. I'm sure Rob will be delighted to see Garrison Prussians to the fore (lovely figures that i still prefer to the Hinchliffe Hessians or SYW Prussians). The rebels are a mixture of standard Hinchliffe figures and Peter Gilder 'specials' that have never been commercially available (well, not yet anyway....).

I scanned this image from the cover of Battle magazine from August 1976 (i wasn't going to risk breaking the spine of my copy of Johnson - it's a holy relic).

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Great Gilder Set Pieces 1

I was drawn into wargaming by the toys, rather than, for example, a great desire to replay the antics of Napoleon, Wellington, or any of the great generals (though i have managed to mimic the win/loss ratio of George Washington rather well). As a young (and inept) military modeller i was captivated by the photos of the Peter Gilder collection that were published in Military Modelling magazine from time to time, and when i discovered that a cousin had been collecting 25mm Napoleonics i was sold.

This is one of my favourite shots - Napoleon and entourage from June 1975. Unlike some classic Gilder shots i don't think this one has been widely used elsewhere - i can't remember seeing it in any other magazines or books.

Saturday, 12 September 2009


August 1972 and Charles Grant takes a look at the next batch of Hinchliffe Napoleonics.

Again this comes to us courtesy of Clive.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Grant vs Gilder

Whilst it might sound like an intriguing episode of Celebrity (Wargamers) Death Match sadly this post is merely an article from the February 1972 edition of Military Modelling. In it Charles Grant takes a look at some of Peter Gilder's earliest work for Hinchliffe Models - 25mm Napoleonics.

This is another article sent to me by Clive- thanks Clive.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Bill Gaskin 2

More Gaskin collection pieces courtesy of Mike Siggins. The quality of these pretty much speaks for itself, so i'll shut up....

August 2010 Edit: When he originally sent me these images Mike did suggest the figures may have been by Phil Robinson, and Phil himself has just confirmed this. Phil also tells me that the majority of his command figures were Suren (though often converted) remounted on Gilder horses.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Bill Gaskin

If you've been a regular reader of Wargames Illustrated, or attended Partisan, then Bill Gaskin will need no introduction from me. His AWI, ACW and vast Napoleonic collections have been the subject of much drooling over the last couple of decades.

His current collection, whilst superb, sadly lacks shinyness but these early pieces (now in the collection of Mike Siggins) score top marks for composition, painting, and...gloss finish!

Apart from a single Steve Hezzlewood designed Hinchliffe X Range horse i think all of the above are basically Connoisseur figures.

More to come from Gaskin and Siggins.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Siggins Again Again

This time some of the good guys; two anonymous English gents, and the Old Guard equivalent (in that everyone has some) of the British army - the Scots Greys (or North British Dragoons if you want to annoy a Scotsman). Not that you really needed me to tell you that....

Is it just me or is the bloke in the second pic puckering up (perhaps he brought his mistress on campaign, or maybe he's ex public school)...?

The Napoleonic splurge is set to continue for a while with more great stuff from Mike and a couple of other fine gentlemen.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Siggins Again

More splendid Connoisseur personalities from Mike. Other than being Austrian (presumably) i have no idea who these chaps are - win absolutely nothing if you can enlighten me.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Siggins Goes Shiny

Regular readers of Mike Siggins' columns in WI and Battlegames will be aware that he's a long time fan of the great Mr Gilder, and if you've browsed his website you'll be aware that Mike is a very accomplished painter. So it should come as no surprise that he's a dab hand at the shiny style.

Mike was good enough to send me some images of the Connoisseur Napoleonics he has been working on recently. Obviously i'm impressed. To my eyes Mike has that artistic flare that can turn a pedestrian piece into a work of art with a few swirls of the brush - something that all the great painters i have admired over the last 30 years have had. I am even more impressed that Mike has achieved all this with acrylics (though the horses were painted with oils).

Napoleonics are of course the archetypal 'Grand Manner' wargame period, and Connoisseur the ultimate range (for me at least), so i'm glad to be able to feature some at last. More Napoleonics from Mike (and a couple of other talented painters) soon.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Frank and Norman....

...both designed rather splendid equipment pieces and set a standard that few have lived up to since. Frank Hinchliffe began his commercial model making career designing 54mm artillery pieces in the late 1960s. Of course he went on to expand into other scales, hire Peter Gilder (and others) to design wargaming figures in 15-30mm, and work with sculptors such as Charles Stadden, Julian Benassi, Dave Jarvis, etc. to create an extensive range of model soldiers in 54-90mm - all of which made Hinchliffe Models one of the dominant companies in wargaming and military modelling through the 1970s and 80s.

I have fond memories of receiving Hinchliffe equipment sets in those little blue boxes - complete with extras such as lengths of chain, harness and stirrups for horses, etc. Hinchliffe definitely 'went the extra mile' - not cheap at the time, but worth every penny.

Norman Swales first broke cover (to my knowledge at least) as an illustrator for Hinchliffe in the mid 1970s. By the early 80s he was designing equipment for the original Wargames Foundry. Foundry presentation was a bit rough and ready (remember when they gave you a nail for an axle?) but the design of the pieces was first class.

The first picture above is a Hinchliffe ammunition wagon - 30+ years old, and still a fine model. The second picture is 1980s vintage Wargames Foundry model. Both are accompanied by converted Hinchliffe horses and attendants.

I've always been keen to add the 'tail' to my wargame armies - not just as table dressing but because i feel it's important to incorporate some aspect of logistics into wargames. In our current AWI games this is reflected in restricted ammunition supply - hence the two pieces pictured.

I'm sure you'll agree that that's quite enough of my old tat for a while. Next up i'll be focusing on a couple of guest contributors.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Garrison ECW

More Phil Robinson creations. These Garrison figures form the pike element of two of the regiments in my ECW collection - the musketeers for which are Hinchliffe, and i think the second photo shows that the two ranges work quite well together (the officer and drummer being Hinchliffe). This particular figure (EW11) is not currently available from Garrison but Rob Young tells me it will be within a couple of months.

I have a couple of Hinchliffe pike blocks sans musketeers and i'm planning to make good on that deficiency via the Garrison range. I could also do with another unit of ECW dragoons... and more Garrison SYW Prussians to serve as Hessians in my AWI armies, and ...

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Minifigs ECW

No, really, this time they really are (at least 3 of the crew anyway). After my identification faux pas in the last post i thought i'd post a few genuine Minifigs ECW. As before these were painted by Phil Robinson and feature in Asquith's Naseby Osprey.

With all that red hair i wonder whether they are Scots or Irish.....

Monday, 10 August 2009

'70s Baggage

Nope...i'm not referring to your collection of Hawkwind LPs, i mean this collection of Hinchliffe ECW wagons and limbers painted sometime in the mid 1970s by Phil Robinson (he of the big hair, and even more impressive SYW and WW2 collections that featured in early editions of Miniature Wargames).

Robinson's painting style back then could perhaps be described as 'basecoat, highlight and line'. Lining in was done in brown ink drawn on with a mapping pen (i've read of pens being used to line in before but this is the first time i've actually come across someone who's used the technique successfully) - sadly the last 30 years have not been kind to these chaps and the brown ink has turned black, making the overall effect somewhat less pleasing than originally intended.

Much of my ECW collection was painted by PR, so there's more to come. As with the other ECW pieces i've posted these chaps can be found pictured in all their fresh-faced original splendour in Asquith's Naseby Osprey title.

Now then chaps - spot the Minifig.......?

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Fun with Humbrol

Since starting this blog i've had a few requests to outline what passes for my painting technique. An illustrated step by step would probably be the most effective approach but, with no painting time on the horizon, that will have to wait (if indeed there is really a demand for it). So for now i'll present a few notes on the painting of the unit featured in my last post - Lamb's New York Artillery.

As i've mentioned previously my main weapons of choice are Humbrol enamels. Most of you will no doubt have abandoned enamels years ago and switched to acrylics, but, being a semi-professional masochist, i have stuck with them through the various reformulations they've gone through over the last 20 years or so (each of which seems to have resulted in a worse product than before). Back in the day Humbrol's matt enamels were the dog's doo-dahs in terms of consistent coverage and finish. Sadly their latest incarnation is but a pale shadow - some matt enamels have a very grainy consistency, and many do not cover well in one coat. The gloss colours also cover poorly but this works to my advantage as this means they 'wash' well. They have a much finer, smoother finish than most matt colours (finer pigments perhaps?) - none of that grainyness - and so come in very handy for fine detail work. The Humbrol satin colours are in many ways the best of both worlds - they cover reasonably well and have a fine finish - so come in very handy.

I also use artists oils for horses and occasionally leather and woodwork. Remember to mix in a generous blob of Liquin (or an appropriate enamel colour) to your oils or you'll be cashing in your pension before they've set properly.

Finally, i use a few acrylics - Humbrol matt white (34) as an undercoat, and Coat d'Arms 'matt' (really satin if you ask me) white (101) as a final undercoat, and to finish all white areas. An ancient pot of GW 'Brazen Brass' takes care of any brass, bronze or gold items.

As for brushes i use Windsor and Newton Series 7 Kolinsky sable almost exclusively. I doubt it matters which brushes you use as long as they hold a decent point, but if you are using sable make sure to arm yourself with a good brush cleaner - i swear by Chroma 'Incredible Brush Cleaner'.

Figure preparation
One of the disadvantages of my method is that it highlights (literally) any imperfections in the figure - any mould lines or flash that you neglect to remove will scream out at you from the finished figure. Preparing badly cast figures can be a soul destroying task - but no pain, no gain... (in an ideal world my collection would be exclusively Suren 30s but i just can't face spending years of my life cleaning and reparing the usually poor castings, never mind the cost...).

The undercoat is important. The figure needs to start life with a good strong, even coat of white. As ever multiple thin coats are preferable to one thick - i usually go for a couple of coats of Humbrol finished off with one of Coat d'Arms. A matt white spray may well be a quicker and better alternative at this stage.

Plastering on the pigment
I'll deal with each colour roughly in the order that it is applied:

I reinforce white areas with one (or more as appropriate) thin coats of Coat d'Arms matt white(101). I find it relatively easy to avoid overpainting crossbelts, etc. when painting the rest of the figure (and, thanks to Coat d'Arms plasticy satin finish, it's usually easy to remove any mistakes with a damp - with white spirit - brush) but it might be more sensible to leave white areas til last.

I start with a wash (roughly 50/50) of matt khaki(26). Cover with matt flesh(61) leaving an outline of the khaki base coat, and khaki in the eye sockets, down and under the nose, round the mouth and ears, between the fingers, etc. With a mix (50/50) of flesh and white i paint in the highlights (typically nose, chin, bottom of ears, top of chin, fingers and knuckles, etc.) and whilst this is still wet work some white into the very tip of the nose, chin, and maybe the knuckles and anywhere else that looks right. The cheeks should really be painted with a flesh/crimson mix - though you risk a very toy soldier look if you over-do it.

I paint the coats with a thinned matt dark oxford blue(104). Whilst this is still wet i remove most of it (leaving a blue stained undercoat) from the prominent raised areas and anywhere i think requires a highlight - i do this with a brush, or even my little finger on prominent areas such as down the arms. Once this first blue has set i wash the entire blue area with a thinned (50/50) gloss french blue(14). This wash will remain workable for a few minutes allowing me to reinforce it or remove it as i see fit to create a pleasing contrast.

I paint all buff areas with a thinned (50/50) gloss tan(9) - i don't go overboard with the amount of mix i use on the brush, i use just enough to cover the area in question - don't drown the figure. Whilst this is wet i remove most of the paint from all accessible areas (as i did with blue above, only more so) - the aim being to leave a stain in shadow areas, with highlights being almost white.

The officer's sash and water canteens are painted with a thinned gloss crimson(20). I use a fine brush to remove a little of the paint from any area that would benefit from a highlight.

I paint all grey areas with a thinned gloss grey(5). Again i use a brush to remove most of the paint from any area that would benefit from a highlight - leaving highlights almost white.

I paint all black areas with a strong coat of matt black(33) (this may need two coats depending on how the particular tin of paint is behaving - matt black can be particularly grainy, and lack covering power). As i'm just looking to block in all the black areas an acrylic matt black may be a better option (the only real advantage the enamel has is that it's easy to remove any mistakes with a wet brush). Once this has set highlight with a drybrush of matt light grey(64).

I paint hair and leather areas with a thinned mix of gloss brown(10) and matt red-brown(100). Again whilst still wet i remove some paint from raised areas to create highlights. The bucket handles are painted in matt red-brown, with highlights dealt with as above.

By the time i've finished all the basic colours i usually look at the figures with some concern - they just don't look very good. Luckily the next step makes all the difference...

Lining In
Outlining clothing and equipment (and painting in the most prominent folds in clothing, etc.) seems to really bring the figure to life. I never use straight black as i feel it is too harsh and seems to deaden the adjacent colours, instead i use a dark version of the dominant colour. For example: where white crossbelts cross the blue coat i outline them in a very dark mix of gloss black(21) and matt oxford blue(104), where these same belts cross the buff waistcoat they are outlined in a mix of gloss brown(10) and matt scarlet(60). The majority of the uniform is buff - and these items are outlined and detailed in the previously mentioned mix of brown and scarlet.

There's no way round it - lining and detailing takes a fine brush and a steady hand, but the advantage of enamels is that any mistakes can quickly be rectified using a clean damp brush. I always paint with two brushes handy - one with which the paint is applied, and another clean one with which the paint can be removed.

You can save a lot of time at this stage by prioritising - only outline the most prominent areas. Consider how the figures will be arrayed once based, and what will be visible once they are on the table, and act accordingly. However, if you are like me and probably borderline obsessive/compulsive then you will feel compelled to outline everything whether it be visible or not - in which case you are doomed...

Finishing Off
After lining in all that is really left is to correct any glaring mistakes. I then set the figures aside for a day or two and varnish with a high gloss poly varnish (my weapon of choice used to be International Japlac High Gloss Enamel however i've been unable to find any lately so it may well be out of production). I avoid Humbrol Gloss Cote -expensive and not tough enough.

The figures are then based, the bases textured with a (dry and lumpy) sand/PVA mix, painted with matt grass green (80) and then drybrushed with matt pale yellow(81).

Incidentally the guns are painted in a similar fashion with gloss grey (5) carriages, black (33) ironwork, tan (9) leatherwork, and 'Brazen Brass' barrels washed in a very thin mix of gloss cote and gloss black.

Potential Improvements

This is one area where for some reason i didn't follow a Gilder style method. To be frank i wish i had as i think it would be both quicker and more pleasing to the eye. A quick Gilder-esque method for flesh would be a wash with gloss tan, whilst this is still wet remove some paint from nose and chin to create highlights and work a little bit of crimson into the cheeks and lower lip. Leave this to dry and then line the eye sockets, sides of the nose, between the lips and fingers with a mix of gloss brown and matt scarlet.

Painting a solid coat of dark blue (104) then drybrushing with a suitable highlight would probably be more sensible - the trick of course is to find a suitably vibrant mid blue for the highlight. I couldn't find one in my armoury at the time so went with the rather odd process i described above.

Well, that's all (!) there is to it. I hope this is useful to someone as it's taken me bloody ages to type out - i could have been painting instead!

I've always been fascinated with techniques for modelling and painting so i am eager to hear any observations, suggestions or questions ......

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Lamb's to the Slaughter...

...or maybe they'll do the slaughtering - i suspect it'll depend on my notoriously fickle dice.

Another part of the New York contingent is Lamb's artillery company. Resplendent in blue faced buff they make a refreshing change to the blue and red combo of most other AWI artillery units.

I like artillery - both from a gaming and an aesthetic point of view. Each artillery base is a little diorama in it's own right (or can be if you put a little bit of thought into animating and composing the crew). That said, i've been lazy again and the crew here are standard Hinchliffe castings with just a couple of minor tweeks. The guns are hybrids - Foundry carriages with Hinchliffe barrels.

My AWI rebels probably have more than enough artillery already but i am tempted to do some more.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Gilder at Waterloo....Again..

Unlike everyone's favourite Corsican midget Peter Gilder had many Waterloos - indeed with at least 3 written up for magazines, 1 televised, and no doubt numerous refights at the WHC, PGs Waterloos must have been as frequent as Abba encores....

I am left with the impression that he won them all too.

If you have been left frustrated by the sudden end to PG's series from Miniature Warfare then this article from September 1975's Mil Mod might help complete the picture to some extent as it's an account of a different refight staged by PG and friends 5 years later. Guess who won...