Sunday, 25 November 2007

Hello and welcome to the latest HELMET Blog. We start off this week's effort with a bit of HELMET PR in the form of our latest kit, Number K33, a French Infantry Officer in pre-1812 uniform. This can be painted in a number of ways including officers from the Young and Middle Guard, so you could use one to lead the Armies in Plastic French Napoleonic Infantry. Also in the kit I've included a few spare parts to enable the construction
of a mounted French ADC, again this figure can be used alongside the Italeri French General Staff set. We'll be launching the kit at the London Show on December 1st and it will be available from the website in the near future.
The next three pictures show some recent, I only finished the bases this morning, work where I have been looking at ways of providing opposition for the Americans I'm making for the War of 1812. The 6 figure picture is of a Canadian Fencible, a private from the 5th West India Regiment, and four men from the 95th Rifles, this hot is followed by close-ups of the two Redcoats and the Rifles. These are all basically HELMET figures as follows:
The Canadian Fencible, also can be a British Infantryman from the Peninsular War or even a member of Bernard Cornwall's South Essex, is a standard kit apart from his head, which uses a test shot of a stovepipe shako head with "standard" plate, we hope to have these available soon, as I think they'll open up a whole new area and can be used in America and Peninsular and elsewhere, for infantry and artillery models. The West Indian has his pack straps carved away and a bayonet scabbard added from scrap. Both have had their shoulder strap tufts built up from the ubiquitous greenstuff, always a challenge to my spellchecker! All the rest is achieved through paint.
The Rifles are pretty much basic HELMET kits, with an added waist belt and small pouch made from scrap plastic. The Baker rifle is just a cut down Brown Bess, shoulder straps ass before and one figure has shako cords in greenstuff. I wanted to add variety to the existing Riflemen that I already have ready to paint (Replicants and Italeri) and also I wanted a Bugler and Officer, you can see that latter on the Conversions page on the website. I'm quite pleased with the result, they look a bit different and to my biased eye, quite elegant.
I've mounted all the infantry models on small metal washers, which I bought very cheaply in a local "Pound shop", this provides a bit of stability and "heft" when picking them up and moving them.
Finally a taster, some cavalry from our Zulu War set-up, these are Natal Carbineers, mounted and dismounted. I really want to game in this period, but wanted to get away from hordes of Zulus attacking the 24th Foot in a defensive position so have started to build a few mounted units to have a more open type of game. The idea is to duplicate most of the mounted models so that they can fight on foot. The horses are Imex, although the Officer's mount has a metal head which I added as an experiment in variety, the dismounted figures are A Call to Arms British infantry with their kit carved away and new belts and bits from greenstuff. Pins and a dab of putty make the helmet spike. The mounted men started out as Cherilea Mounties, heads and gear as before with A Call to Arms weapons and boots added from other models as appropriate, all making up something a bit different.
Going now, have got stuff to do for the show next week. Comments and feedback welcome as before.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

If it's Sunday it must be Blog time. Hello everyone from a wet, dank and dark south of England. We've spent most of the weekend getting stuff ready for our first show on December 1st at the Royal National Hotel in London. We've never done this before, and there seems to be so much to think about and prepare, but if you're coming to the show, drop by table A1 and say hell. I am continuing our quest to get some new HELMET products on the market, and I fully realise that we have at least one customer patiently waiting for new stuff out there, but I'm quite excited that we'll have some new and interesting items in the near future. I'll not mention this again until I know that we can actually supply the new bits and pieces.
So, on to this week's pictures. There is nothing new here, the show preparation has seen to that, but there should be some more War of 1812 pictures ready soon. I particularly like British 18th century uniforms, The Revolution and before, and have long been interested in the Jacobite Rising of 1745/1746 and the French and Indian War, so have devised a cunning plan whereby I can use the British troops for both conflicts. I realise that there are subtle uniform differences, but as I said in an earlier Blog, I paint and convert to get the "look and feel" rather than complete down to the last button accuracy. These grenadiers are mainly from the A Call to Arms grenadier set. I have trimmed their bearskins and produced mitre caps from the ubiquitous greenstuff, and added deeper cuffs and some additional bulk to their coat tails from the same material. The drummer is a metal figure from Dorset Soldiers and the officer is made by Barzo. The loading figure is from the Maryland Infantry set.
The Romans are mainly from the newish set from A Call to Arms, the conversion work consisted mostly of turning heads through 90 degrees so that at least some of them are holding their shields in front of them. I read somewhere that equipment was only replaced when it was worn out, and as this makes perfect sense, I used a few heads from the Toyway set and a mail clad body from Italeri. The centurion and a couple of legionaries are metal models from a New Zealand company who are no longer operating.
The two Napoleonic cavalrymen are made from HELMET spare parts. I saw a photo of a painting by Eugene Leliepvre on the front of an old Military Modelling - July 1984, I was only 10 at the time (not!) and was impressed by the simple but elegant uniforms. These are Declarers of the Guard, I think the nearest translation is "scouts" and were formed apparently to counter the threat from Russian Cossacks. We could issue these as a kit, what do people think?
Finally the Russian steamroller from the Crimean War. There are two companies from a line regiment here and about 20 packs of greenstuff. The figure come from the usual wide range of sources and take ages to make, but there is some compensation in the fact they are fairly quick to paint up.
That's all for now, any comments and feedback gratefully received.
Cheers and take care,

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Hi everyone, the English Civil War cavalry pictures we published last time seemed to cause something of a stir, so not being one to ignore a passing bandwagon, I've continued the mounted figure theme on this edition of the Blog. True to my word in promising that this would not be a vehicle to advertise HELMET products, there are none of our kits or spare parts on display here today, however it must be said that there is an influence in the use of pipecleaners on some of the conversions.
The photos that show cavalry from the American Revolution, or American War of Independence, depending on your preference, show mainly Loyalists dressed in green jackets, this is our standard organisation for a cavalry squadron, an officer, a sergeant, a trumpeter and 15 men. They are mostly CTS Mexicans on HaT horses, although there are a few Historex bits and pieces along with a couple of Italeri converted Scots Greys. Usual rules apply with pins replacing most of the plastic swords and additions from greenstuff. I have tried to add a little variety through the chap firing his pistol with his sabre attached to his wrist by the leather sword knot, and the guy, somewhat unwisely reloading his carbine whilst riding at the gallop. I really like the plain and simple uniforms they form a marked contrast with the three 17th Light Dragoon conversions riding alongside. The Loyalist are "sort of generic" by which I mean they are probably closer to the Queens Rangers in their uniform details, but could easily be used to represent Tarleton's British Legion Dragoons.
I've added a picture of some of our Parliamentary Horse from the English Civil War, like the Royalists shown last week, they are pretty massive conversions using a great deal of greenstuff and/or miliput. The excellent heads on most of the figures are metal and come from Maros here in the UK, I'm not sure if they are still available, does anyone know? I'm very much Old School when it come to the English Civil War, so all the Cavalier cavalry are flamboyant and colourful, whilst their opponents are uniformly dressed in lobster pot, back and breasts and buffcoats, well I like it that way, The second photo shows a few of the boys getting stuck in..........
The Roman was made as an experiment, we've got some infantry, I'll feature these on a future Blog, but was unsure about cavalry figures, so this poor Frankenstein monster is made as follows: the head and feet(!) are from the Toyway factory painted Romans released a few years back, the torso is Italeri, the legs, down to the calves are from a HaT French Dragoon, I had to extend the mail shirt with greenstuff, javelin from brass rod, shield from card and an old Timpo horse......phew! The result is OK but I need to make a few more to improve on some of the methods and techniques.
OK thanks for looking, any comments gratefully received, cheers for now,

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Welcome to the latest version of the HELMET Soldiers Blog. What I've got this time are some old school photos showing part of our English Civil War set up, produced a few years ago, and some work in progress when I return to the War of 1812.
The English Civil War is a great period to model in 1:32/54mm, and I really like the A Call to Arms Infantry especially the pikemen set, which I think contains 20, rather than the more usual 16 figures. The musketeers need a little more work on them, hence the usual round of conversions and additional figures from Replicants, amongst others.
This group represents a company from the Royalist Marquis of Winchesters' Regiment. To be honest I have based them on a re-enactment unit in the English Civil War Society, so cannot vouch for their authenticity. The Marquis was the owner and commander of the garrison of Basing House, which eventually fell to Cromwell in 1645. The ruins of Basing House are only a few miles from where I live and we often walk around the now peaceful grounds in the summer. I particularly like the claret colour of the clothing and the huge variety of headgear which breaks up the uniform appearance. At the moment there are over 60 figures in the company, which is probably, on a 1 to 1 ratio, about the correct size for an infantry company on campaign.
The cavalry also come from a number of different sources, and are the usual massive conversions, they represent troops from the regiments of Prince Rupert and the Prince of Wales and include some modified figures produced by Replicants and others. Most of these were bought from Steve Weston, who provides a helpful and friendly service and has a great website at .
The others pictures are a return the the War of 1812, currently my newest period. I've started to make a company of US Regulars in the short grey jackets issued to some regiments, Although very plain, I think they paint up as simple but attractive models. Most of these feature the usual HELMET head, the hat less private is from an old Phoenix part. I looked for models that had short jackets, so the Accurate ACW Confederates were a good start, although the downside is their lack of crossbelts, so I rather painstakingly added these from greenstuff, there are also toys from Marx, HaT, Imex, BMC, A Call to Arms and HELMET, I've just realised that's seven manufacturers for eight figures, where does the madness end?
Finally for the War of 1812, the first "British" figures and a confession. I don't normally give my painted units any form of flag until they number at least 40 "privates", however the ensign in the photo was an experiment to see if I could convert an infantry officer from HELMET parts. I wanted the colour he carries to be something a bit different, so chose the Swiss Regiment Meuron, because of both the strange pattern on the flag itself and their unusual light blue facings, so you see before you the complete British Army for the War of 1812. The privates are from HELMET and A Call to Arms with HELMET heads.
I'll post some more next week, as usual any comments or feedback gratefully received. By the way I thought it was about time I mention Plastic Warrior magazine, A great read every two months and also a terrific show in Richmond each year, you can reach them through the ever helpful editor, Paul Morehead, at .
Finally don't forget us, , cheers for now,