Wednesday, May 20, 2015

SCAD Prussian Cuirassier - 40mm Semi-Flat

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

Nowikoff Russian Infantry - 42mm Home Castings

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

French Napoleonic Artillery - 40mm Flat


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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

War of the Spanish Succession - 30mm Flats

I've hit a bit of a lull in terms of new things to post. Still painting, but nothing quite ready yet. Here's some filler, flats that I painted some 20 + years ago.  I have to say, my style then was a bit blander when it comes to colors and less proficient in shading.  Still, better eyesight and steadier hands made for more precise work so there has been a gradual tradeoff over the years.

The photo on top and the one below are figures from the WSS staff officers set from Golberg. They closed the shop several years back, not sure what has become of the molds.

Here's a set of Austrian dragoons, the editor is Siegbert Wagner.  He had a lot of WSS sets, as I recall you could get the horse in standing, walking/trotting and galloping poses. I don't recall why I opted for this static group.

I liked dealing with Wagner. Although he spoke no English, thus in that pre-internet era everything was done by means of sending letters, obtaining catalog sheets then sending international money orders.  I don't know what has become of Herr Wagner as I believe he was already a mature gentleman at that time.  I also have his set of 300 WSS uniform plates, black and white line drawings with German text.  Again, these pre-date the ease of buying the Hall CD's although they had a charm of their own.  If anyone is interested, I could post a few examples.

Here's a set Austrian infantry advancing, Kieler figures.

Not every man was in accord with the plan to assault the enemy guns.

I hope you enjoyed the old figures, although perhaps my photos didn't do justice to the castings.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

War of the Spanish Imaginations - 45mm Wooden Flats

No doubt some of you are familiar with Wooden Wars toy soldiers made by the very talented Thomas Foss. as seen on his blog Skull and Crown.  Lots of good reading about them, but suffice it to say they're larger scale and beautifully done Napoleonic flat toy soldiers used to introduce children to wargaming.  And no doubt bowling them over is fun for adults too.. 

When Thomas unveiled a WSS era figure as a part of 54mm commision project, and showed a "45mm" figure alongside it, he really got my attention.  Particulary since I have the 45mm Schmittdiel flat infantry in frontal poses, so possibilities for actually getting some use out of them in conjunction with the wood figures came to mind. I contacted him about it, resulting in what you see here.

Please bear in mind that these are still prototypes, and the figure on the left below is the only good one.  The other three are rejects from the laser tuning process which Thomas sent along as practice figures.  That's why they look rather blurry because indeed they are, and the laser scribed detail is rather deeper than on the good one.  But it does serve to give a small preview of how they'll look in formations.

The bayonet scabbard is also something I painted on, if it's not good that's on the painter and not the designer.

I'll delve into some of the challenges involved with scaling these down from the kid's toy soldier size in a subsequent post, and as Thomas and I work through continued development.  Besides pushing the laser process at the lower limits, another issue is this:  although they're "flat", they are also multi-part figures glued together in layers. So what works quite well visually at 54-60mm doesn't necessarily work as well at 45mm when the thickness remains the same and the ratio of height:width:thickness now altered.

More to follow. I also got reinforcements for the Toy Town soldiers, and am still working on those.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New Horse - Toy Town Soldiers 4

After completing the newly sculpted horse master shown above, for better or worse it was into the casting fires.  I was definitely concerned about being able to mold it but it turned out okay.  The main problem was the base collapsing under pressure. Otherwise it cast to the extremities well enough.  Certainly I encountered none of the problems with the impression as I did with the Toob horse mold. I gave up on the cast base, just sawing off it off at the hooves and making new bases from 1mm styrene.  As the scribe and break is easy, that's the way forward.

One other issue, couldn't free the right leg from the mold after the first casting. I cut some of the silicon rubber to free it up but clumsily cut a bit too much, leaving metal residue to be cleaned up on all subsequent casts, but the results are tolerable. At some point I'll make another mold but this will suffice for now.

So how does the completed horse look ?

And in comparison with the Toob pony.

Steve's horse left, Toob horse right

One last shot.

I'm reasonably happy with it. If I had a do over, I'd have made it smaller but at this point I'm not about to spend more time sculpting another.  I think the same horse can serve for the heavy cavalry, just need to file the shabraque into a rectangular shape. And now I'm out of riders until the next shipment from Eureka. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Scuplted a Horse - Toy Town Soldiers Part 3

The previous post showing the Toob horse that I used to replace the standard Eureka horse stimulated some quite interesting comments.  Thanks to everyone who contributed and it caused me to have a something of a rethink.

The more I look at the Toob pony, the less I like it. I think primarily because it's so chunky.  Then too, the comments that it wasn't toy-like enough to match the style of the Toy Town men made a lot of sense.  So what's needed is probably something that splits the difference stylistically.  My next move was to search thoroughly on eBay for something suitable. I found a few things, such as the Hallmark rocking horse Christmas ornament.  Way too small, unfortunately.  Nothing else was the right scale either.

What to do ?  Time to take a stab at sculpting something myself.  My thinking was this: although I've dabbled with Green Stuff modifications, I had no experience at sculpting anything completely from scratch.  Therefore whatever I did was probably going to look rather toy-like from lack of sculpting skill and experience.  And so long as it turned out better than a pathetic green blob, I had nothing to lose by giving it a shot.  The other benefit would be a fresh start, getting away from the casting and assembly headaches with the Toob pony.

Here's what I came up with:

I think I whiffed on the toy horse objective.  I have the same problem with the ships, just can't seem to do simple and abstract no matter what. Perhaps my brain just works too literally.  On the plus side, it's recognizably a horse and not a bad one.  So I'm encouraged by the attempt and it gives me some confidence that I can try scuplting other things in the future when necessary.

And for size:


Perhaps a bit large for a light cavalry horse but a bit more svelte than the Toob pony so I think she has the makings of a good replacement for it.   I plan to proceed with adding the shabraque and tack.  She is also thinner which should ease the mold making task a little.  More to follow.

Oh, and a salute to the 100th Follower of this blog, Andrew Palmer !