Thursday, August 13, 2015
Here is my modest collection of Rieche flats. The Franco-Prussian War isn't my main period of interest, probably because it was such a one-sided walkover for Prussia. But in the world of toy soldiers, who can say that the French can't turn the tables ? As most surviving Rieche figure sets seem to belong to that period, 1870 it will be then.
The photo on top shows the French Chasseurs-à-Pied de la Garde. I really like the figure in gaiters and baggy trousers but I only have one of him. The rest look a bit older in uniform style, perhaps representing the Crimean War. The paint jobs are battered, so I've repainted a few in my own style:
My literal painting style doesn't compare with the old figures for pure toy soldier charm, but I think it does highlight the appearance of the castings better compared to the old factory paint jobs. This particular figure may be easier to try making a mold of as the rifle isn't so spindly as the others. Piracy yes, but as the Rieche factory at Hannover was bombed out of existence in 1943, the odds of finding more of a particular pose are not good.
Next we have some factory painted French line infantry for 1870 in the classic style in kepis and overcoats. I do like the gliding pose, rather toylike and appealing.
I've been able to locate another set uniformed in this manner, so will be able to assemble a full battalion. The next group I bought as unpainted castings. The uniforms are somewhat different, perhaps they are intended to portray Franc Tireurs or some slightly later uniform. And as you can see from the command group below, it's definitely a hybrid set. The officer and bugler look decidedly French in a bit earlier style, the rider matches the bulk of the infantry and the standard bearer looks like he's probably Swiss judging by the flag.
And the ones I've painted so far.
Now for another set of castings. I got a good full group of the French cuirassiers. The command castings below.
And as I've painted the first two examples. Very nice figures these, typical of the slightly impressionistic Rieche style and well animated.
And now for the enemy. Here my collection is very scanty, just the one set of factory painted Hannoverians.
Once again, dynamic action poses, although unfortunately about half the men are in the "clubbing with musket" pose.
And that's it for now !
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Pictured above is a set of French horse artillery of the Imperial Guard, 2nd Empire. Purchased on German eBay, they were sold as Heinrichsen and there's no particular reason to question that. They are the small figures prevalent ca.1860.
Bidding was light and I got them cheaply. Perhaps because the figures had been modified at least to some extent and clearly the bore brushes had been redone due to breakage. Good idea but I think the previous collector erred in his choice of very light gauge wire. As seen below, I reworked this and of course repainted. I wonder about the figure at left, a bit larger and more dynamically posed, perhaps he's from another set.
And the "original" paint jobs below in comparison to my own rework. I found also when I stripped the paint that the figure reaching into the pouch had been quite crudely modified with the pouch and hands cut away. Rather than tossing the figure, I repainted with his arms at his sides (see last photo). The figures as sold certainly have the period look of simple facture paint, but enough was changed that there's absolutely no guilt on my part about "colorizing Citizen Kane", a criticism once leveled against me at TMP for committing sacrilege by repainting antique figures.
As can be seen in contrast with the 33mm Rieche figure, the old 28mm's are quite diminutive.
And a couple of parting shots.
Rather statically posed soldiers but I do like the uniforms, a definite throwback to Napoleonic times. Too bad there's no mounted figures in this grouping, but likely some will surface sooner or later.
I had intended to post the 28mm Austrians next but as they're pretty mediocre, I'll put up some Rieche Franco-Prussian war sets soon.
Friday, June 19, 2015
Here's a set of old Heinrichsen 28mm flats which I've gradually repainted over the months. More about them on this previous post. It's a bit embarrassing to see that I'd predicted a 3 week completion time for this unit at that time, now 7 months past. Not that they take long to paint, they don't. But I'd left them in the queue 3/4 completed until this month. Well, better late than never !
Yes, they are small. This photo showing the vagaries of scale between musicians of the Heinichsens and Eureka Toy Town soldiers (ostensibly 28mm scale), is rather comical.
|"I'm 28mm." .... "No, I'M 28mm !"|
And as completed.
If I game with them, I'll need to mount them simply on cardboard bases as repeatedly knocking down the ranks like dominoes while setting up for the photos was an exercise in frustration.
I do like the old school appeal of these figures, and as a lot were produced back in the 19th Century, there's enough old sets and castings still around to make a go of assembling both a French and Austrian army. The unit sizes tend to run around 20 foot, 10 horse which actually suits horse & musket gaming in the Featherstone style rather nicely. Most of them are factory painted and can certainly be sent to battle that way for the near term. And Heinrichsen has re-issued a few things.
Next up, first painted examples of some Austrians in this same antique style of figures. I also recently scored a very nice deal on a set of Garde Imperiale horse artillery on German eBay, which will effectively take care of the guns for the French side.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Just a quick post here to show an unusual figure I found on eBay recently. It's evidently a home casting, as Roer's Bleisoldaten shows it on the Formenhersteller (mold manufacturer) section, "Ersten Weltkrieg von HDL". As purchased, someone had crudely painted the sailor's head and nothing else, thus a simple matter to repaint it to my own standard.
Rather an appealing, toylike figure.
Next up, a battalion of antique Heinrichsen flats, French infantry of the 1850's.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Here's a nice mold, SCAD's Napoleonic Prussian cuirassier. Maybe the best deal I've gotten yet on eBay. French eBay in fact, the new mold going for 10 euros with free shipping to the US. Putting myself in the seller's shoes, the transaction can barely have been worth the trouble to pack the mold and drive to the post office.
Here's the mold design.
It casts nicely except for a couple of trouble spots, the scabbard casting short and the reins designed somewhat overly ambitiously in attempting to capture the full detail in thin channels out front of the horse. The scabbard problem I belatedly fixed by cutting a channel down to the base, the reins I'm not bothering to salvage so long as the main portion casts okay.
These molds all come with a painting guide.
And as completed and painted.
I neglected to post a head on view, but the casting is quite thin. For all practical purposes it's a flat although not engraved, but made from a sculpted master. Stylistically it's closer to a fine miniature than a toy soldier and perhaps that's where SCAD missed the target a bit.
I'd rather the rider had been sculpted in a more warlike pose with the sword drawn and shouldered, but at least the elegant horse is in motion, and the figure still of some use on account of the style of helmet and uniform being common enough in the early 19th Century. So I'm pleased with it and plan to paint more in time.
Friday, May 8, 2015
Here we have some examples of the Nowikoff home casting figures. Similar to the Createc Napoleonics ? Yes, identical in scale and style. I can find almost nothing about these on the internet although likely there's a connection to sculptor Anatoli Nowikoff. I welcome comments from any collector who knows more about the rather mysterious Nowikoff line of molds.
So far the only dealer I've been able to find is Berliner Zinnfiguren and although they've discounted the molds somewhat less than the list price for me, no question that at their prices these molds are expensive. Of course I can always rationalize, there's some economy of scale as - the more you cast the cheaper they get, at least relatively speaking.
No matter, let's take a look. This blurry photo gives the general idea. The material is somewhat harder than the soft rubbery Createc molds but the casting design is the same, with a simple straight pour into the shako plume and bayonet. For some reason I haven't been able to get many full casts before the results tail off. The weakness is incomplete casting to the middle of the musket, as you can see I've cut another channel there and perhaps I'll widen it. Some experimentation with metal temperature may also yield improved results.
As you might expect, they're thin. Fine by me as it saves lead. I think at this point it's pretty clear that for better or worse, I'm wed to the flat and semi-flat figure styles.
And as painted. I do like the Russian uniforms ca. 1812, quite appealing.
I've ordered one more of the marching infantryman pose to speed up the casting process. I plan to use these for the early 1800's imagi-nations project. I'm going with historical Napoleonic uniforms to add resale value (when the day comes) but the flags will be imaginary. Next up, the results of my best deal ever on eBay.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Here's an interesting Heinrichsen flat from set # 4052 - Schlacht an der Katzbach. The set was initially offered in 1888, dating from what I think was the golden age for Heinrichsen, many great 40mm sets being issued in the 1880's. From the same set, here's another artillery group as yet unpainted, representing the Prussian side.
And the reverse of the painted casting. Heinrichsen was the early master of these one piece figure groups.
Objectively, not one of my best paint jobs but the casting itself is well animated. In any case, it's good enough to be of service in my 1815-1830 imagi-nations project. I've also been casting and painting some of the Creartec French and Nowikoff Russians. These latter figures I haven't shown yet, will post something about them soon.