Friday, June 19, 2015

Heinrichsen French Infantry - Old 28mm Flats

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

Naval Artillery - 35mm Semi-flat


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

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.