Monday, 30 March 2009

I guess I should entitle this Blog as "An Attack of Madness, tempered by a Return to Common Sense".
The Story So Far......................
So I got interested in the late 17th Century and started to convert some figures for the Monmouth Rebellion with a view to perhaps using them in other conflicts, such as against the Moors at Tangier and in Europe or Virginia etc etc. I found a terrific Blog which has fuelled my enthusiasm and extended the possibilities that this period can deliver, if you are at all interested click on the link it is an example of some of the better thing that the Internet has produced.
So there I was looking at wars in the 1680's when I sort of remembered the siege of Vienna in 1683 (?) and the charge of the Polish Winged Hussars, so I checked my books and found some info, but not in any great detail, I searched the web and found some more pictures and film clips, both movies and re-enactment footage, then I bought, secondhand, the Osprey book on Polish Winged Hussars, the red mist descended and I had to have a go, so the first two pictures show my first attempt, with the converting finished but the painting yet to be done. I will describe how I built this beast, what went well and what went wrong, next time...................
The next two photos show how I built some of the musket armed figures shown in the previous Blog, with another pic here as a reminder. In actual fact these two chaps are the first of my Monmouth Rebels, the construction principles remain the same, however. These two are from the Accurate AWI Militia set. I chose them for a number of reasons:
* They both have flintlocks - apparently Monmouth was fairly well supplied with these.
* They are wearing long coats, which although of the wrong design can be easily adapted to reflect the style of the 1680's.
* They are wearing breeches and stockings, so no work needed there.
They both needed to have different headgear, the one on the left had his hat cut off at forehead level and a new on added, the brim is Milliput, a flattened ball of the stuff pressed onto the flat surface left after cutting, the rest of the hat was built from greenstuff, all very simple. His colleague has a metal head made by Maros. The plastic head was removed and a hole drilled in the neck to take the metal stub on the Maros head, after a dry run to make sure everything fitted the new head was fixed with superglue. When this has dried I added a neck cloth from putty, this is historically accurate and adds strength to the join and covers any gaps.
The rest was comparatively simple the coat fronts, pockets and cuffs were fixed with Milliput, the weight of this material compensates for the top heavy metal head, and the buttons gradually built up with thick paint.
I trimmed the cape from one of the coats and also trimmed off the powder horn and made a more in-period powder flask, finally I added some greenery in the hats, which Monmouth's men used as a sort of fieldsign/badge.
That's it, next time it's the Hussar.
Cheers and take care.


CraigSpiel said...

Inspiring stuff as always. As an aside, I have used thick 2 part epoxy to make buttons. I just mixed it up, and dabbed it in place with a tooth pick. It seemed to work well. I was not pleased with using built up paint, it seemed to shrink as it dried.

Gorgeous as always. Thanks for the W.I.P pics too!

Eric1 said...

Thanks Craig, I'll try your method, I find the paint thing works, BUT it is tedious.


Sir William the Aged said...


Let me suggest an "Old Timer's" tip that I'm pretty sure I "borrowed" from an old Historex catalog, or perhaps an article by Shep Paine, Bill Horan, Peter Wilcox, or Pierre Conrad (one of the Old Timer's I'm sure):

For adding detail like buttons or even the raised detail on a sabretache or sometimes in the corner of a saddle cloth or shabraque, paint the detail on to your satisfaction using black paint then lightly dust with plain talc (baby powder) while the paint is still wet. After drying, carefully tap and/or blow off the excess talc and your detail is now in 3 dimensions and pretty close to in scale for your figure.

I'm sure many remember the daunting task of all the individual buttons and badges in Historex kits, as well as all the various tips on how to apply them. When I first read this article on using the talc I was blown away. And it worked! I can remember one or two times when I need a second coat and dusting for a particularly promininent piece of detail, but not many.

Another method, which I used before the talc, and still for some detail after, was to melt some plastic sprue in liquid cement until it reached the thickness of a thick paste. Then use the aforementioned toothpick to apply small portions. I have built up eyebrows, mustaches, beards, buttons, lips, and all sorts of sundry detail this way. And, after it hardens well, you can use a hot knife or pyro to add detail to hair, fur, etc.