Sunday 16 September 2018

Roses grow on you

Recently I have had some success in clearing off long part finished units from my painting queue. One of these was a battalion of Rose marching Napoleonic Austrian Infantry painted as Hungarians. After I had based and plastidipped I realised I had forgotten to do the gold lace on the trousers, but decided I didn't want to  take them off the bases and redo them.

Part of the reason for clearing the painting table was to make room for a refurbishment project which had been on the back burner for a while. About a year or eighteen months ago I bought from the States a collection of around 800 original Hinton Hunt castings, which had all been bought in London from Marcus Hinton on one day in 1965. Among them are quite a large number of painted or part painted figures and I wanted to work through the refurbishment and basing of the painted figures.

Then a couple of weeks ago I went in with Goya on a purchase of old time wargamer's Peter Goldsborough's old 20mm Napoleonics figures, which he had gifted many years ago to the Edinburgh club after he went into 5mm regimental blocks and Plasticine hills.

My share was the sizeable contingent of Rose figures, which predated Alberken/Minifigs 20mm and Hinton Hunt, seem to be less common and also less collected. They were also a considerably less comprehensive range. One of the beauties of this collection is therefore the amount of conversion work which has been undertaken, including head swapping, creating buglers and trumpeters, and converting the mounted Wellington figure into mounted colonels of all countries. This is a reminder of the days when you had to make the best of what was available, rather than access huge ranges or back kickstarters for exactly what you want.

. Some of the figures didn't travel well, in particular heads and top halves of hats on conversions and bases on horses. Rose horses came without bases. The collection included many converted casualties - the horses seemed to have been Hinton Hunts with the bases removed and then used to which to attach the Rose horses, The cavalry have also had wire reins added along with very delicate pin swords.

I've spent a day doing repairs - pinning and gluing heads and hats, matching horses to bases, and when there were no bases using some steel ones. I have also started on the Rose refurbishment project and it is going well - I have completed five units in as many evenings and am pleased with the results.

My usual basing convention for 20mm infantry is 20 x 20mm per figure, but because of the almost semi-flat look of the marching Rose foot figures I felt closer order was more appropriate, and I have gone for four infantry on a 30mm x 40mm base. This is a small change but I think suits them well. They are fairly stylised figures with two standard poses - advancing and marching. The officers are waving swords and have arms which look slightly too long. (I have used Rose officers successfully with units of Les Higgins figures when I wanted figures other than the standard LH officer standing on his football and pointing.

I made a joint purchase a few years ago with someone else of a large number of unpainted Rose foot figures plus around 30 mounted Wellingtons, so with the unpainted figures in the new collection it should be easy enough to make up whole units. This older collection was particularly well provided with officers, drummers and standard bearer figures.

The progress of the Rose refurbishment project may well get diverted either by boredom and butterfly tendencies but I am hoping that given the rapid progress to date I may be able to maintain interest. I am thinking of running the refurbishment of the Hinton Hunt figures from the States in tandem, to add a bit of variety and make progress on both.

I will record progress on the Rose project to some extent on my Old Metal Detector blog, and if the Hinton Hunt one gets going as well that will be reported on the Hinton Hunter..

Bavarian infantry

The first Rose unit to be refurbished was this Bavarian battalion. It needed a little more work than most, as their coats were dark blue. The base figures seem to be French Guard Grenadiers with Austrian helmeted heads.

French line battalion - and separate shot of command element:

Old Guard Grenadiers:

British Household Cavalry:

At first I thought these might be heads from the French Carabinier but I think they are original british figures

Nassau Light Infantry

I will make a further post here and on the Old Metal Detector on the various conversions - highlanders from line infantry are mind boggling. It isn't always easy to identify the base figure, as bases may have been filed  and the codes on the underside not legible. In addition many of the codes which can be read start N, which is not reflected in any of the listings.

As examples, Highlanders and then a Rifleman bugler:


Ross Mac said...

Those cavalry certainly look better than I remember. These were my first 20mm Napoleonics, ordered by mail and when I got them and compared them to my Airfix, well..... but they got painted and fought. I wonder what happened to them?

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

When I moved to London in 1975, Rose Miniatures was based in Sundorne Street, Charlton, about a quarter of a mile from Charlton Athletic's Valley Stadium. They then moved to Llanover Road, Shooters Hill which is close to where I live. I was able to visit them there and to buy some ACW figures.

Regardless of period, the advancing infantry all seemed to have the same pose, but they were very simple to pain even though they were quite stylised to look at.

All the best,


Vintage Wargaming said...

Ross, the cavalry figures have been considerably pimped up by the original owner, with wire reins, pin swords and bases for the horses. Not quite as great an improvement as Peter Gilder made to the Hinton Hunt French Cavalry of his that I have, but in the same class I think.

lewisgunner said...

Well done on resuscitating these old chaps. They are a reminder of how the original figure manufacturers , who mainly made 54 mm and larger figures, viewed wargames. Indeed one if the first clubs I attended was the wargames section of the British Model Soldier Society. I was informed that the BMSS were a rather patrician lot of old colonels who met to adore the latest work on a Rose or Tradition figure.
The Rose figurse show how the wargames figures were regarded as essentially symbolic and designed for mass effect with large battalions. Also the gamer was meant to provide elements of the figures by conversion as the owner of your Scots acquisition clearly did. I well remember the excitement generated at the LWS by a game put on by a father and son duo, the Fewsters which featured eighteenth century british light infantry converted from Airfix WW1 1914 Germans . To convert Rose figures would have been an expensive undertaking as they and HH were not cheap. It must have been deeply satisfying to create a new figure with file knife and putty and have it admired at the next gathering. These days you could hack away at a modern figure, no one would notice and many would think that you could more easily have bought the specific figure from one of the many man ranges available.

James Fisher said...

They do look great don't they? There is something about that classic 'toy soldier' look. I think it is more than pure nostalgia...

Vintage Wargaming said...

Ah the Fighting Fewsters, as a caption to a photo in Wargmer’s Newsletter had it.

I will post up more about individual conversions as I go, most likely on the Old Metal Detector, with highlights here.
The Napoleonics aren’t their best figures (the small range of British Infantry for the Zulu war are lovely) but I’m liking them more and more

lewisgunner said...

Yes Clive,nI lijed the Zulu war figures too...brilliant zulus , though if one ised them accurately all of each regt would be the same pose. The pity of the Brits was that, just lije HH, they only produced line ifantry ( for the 24th foot, no cavalry, no useful colonials, nnNNC, no artillery.....Was that little range for a diorama I wonder? Just a bit of effirt could have produced Brits for 1879-1885 and Zulu, Dervish, Afghan and Egyptian enemies.

MSFoy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Independentwargamesgroup said...

Great to see some Rose figures after all this time. You are very lucky to have been able to get hold of the collection [said I enviously]