Sunday, 7 December 2008

Hello again to all those out there in toy soldier land, here we go with another Blog. Before I describe the pictures I'd like to mention a couple of points. Firstly a huge thank you to all those who mailed in comments after the last Blog, they were a good mix of the positive and the critical, and hopefully I shall bask in the glory of the former and reflect and take action on the latter, as I said I'd like this to be as interactive as possible, so please write in.
The second item is a reflection on the current state of our hobby. As HELMET Soldiers we attended the London Toy Soldier Show yesterday, and although attendance was good our takings were very poor and all the other dealers I spoke with had a similar experience. There were plenty of orange carrier bags around so hopefully Steve Weston had a good day, however the cost of hiring two tables, and paying for petrol and car parking meant that we barely covered our costs, I guess we'll have to have a good long think about the number of shows we plan to attend in 2009, but we won't be giving up yet.
Some of the feedback I received last time asked for a more detailed description of the conversion, so I show a photo of a completed American Militia officer, War of 1812 vintage, prior to painting. The tools and equipment used were a sharp hobby knife, some brass wire, superglue, a small electric drill ( not critical but very useful) and greenstuff modelling putty. I chose a Replicant mule handler as the basis for the conversion and did the following nasty things, cut off his head and left hand and removed the whip from his right. I carefully re-carved two small sections of fringing after the whip had gone, and drilled a hole through the hand where the whip had been big enough to take a musket, and, as it's best to complete all fixing first, I also drilled a hole in the neck and the left wrist.
The new head is from a CTS Mexican round hat cavalryman, and the hand holding the pistol is off an Accurate American Revolution militiaman. These are then drilled in the neck and wrist respectively to take short lengths of brass wire. As this type of plastic is technically unbonbable as there is no solvent, joins have to be pinned and glued, so the new head and hand are fixed to the superglued wire and pressed home firmly. I the glued a HELMET French musket into the hole in the right hand. I then set the figure aside for the glue to set.
Next I mixed a small amount of putty. Greenstuff comes in yellow and blue strips and must be mixed to a consistent green colour to become a sticky putty. I wrapped two short sausages of the stuff one around the neck and the other around the left wrist, I then sculpted a new collar and cuff to the hunting shirt, this also strengthens the glued join. I put a blob of putty on the crown of the hat which I carved to the shape of a top hat with the side of my knife, and made a cockade on the left hand side with a tiny flattened ball of greenstuff, I made a sash with trailing ends and a knot from a "snake" of putty and carved in creases and fringes with my knife. Finally I added a pouch on his right hip from a short crossbelt all out of putty although the photo does not show this clearly, the picture does show all the different parts including the greenstuff, believe it's much easier to describe than to do.
OK, a quick romp through the other photos. First some English Civil War dragoons from Replicant and ACTA pieces converted pretty much as above but with new metal muskets instead of plastic.
Next some Napoleonic British marines, I have a habit of prequelling new release by laboriously converting stuff just prior to someone releasing some in ready made form and these are another example, The officer is the old Aifix figure with missing crossbelt replaced and a new Timpo head, the next two are Replicant Austrians with new heads and slight changes to uniform details, the last ids the old Replicant marine firing upwards, altered to a more normal firing position by cutting at the waist and re-fixing at a different angle ad resculpting the jacket and crossbelts in greenstuff.
Finally some French Old Guard. The first four from the left are metal figures from Irregular, in my opinion, (FWIW) I think these are great models, all I've done is add a bayonet to the fourth man from the left. They are joined by two from the slightly disappointing set by Airfix with full dress plumes and cords added to the bearskins to match the Irregular models.
That's all for now, all comments, questions and feed back encouraged!!!!