Saturday, February 1, 2014
Backdating a PA Grenadier - 40mm Home Casts
Readers of this blog will know my mixed feelings of joy and frustration when it comes to the Prince August range of 40mm semi-rounds, as in this previous post: War of the Polish Succession. Holger Eriksson's many excellent figures are a great tribute to the Swedes of the GNW, but not necessarily ideal for all among us with designs on using them for other armies both real and imaginative. When it comes to toy soldiers and music, my tastes run more to the Baroque than the Classical. Aside from the old-fashioned shoes/stockings and hair styles, the PA's remind me more of Frederick the Great's Prussians than WSS era soldiers.
And as the Irish Prince August mainly perpetuated more Karoliners with recent additions to the 40mm home casting range, it's high time to take matters into my own hands. Quite belatedly, I have discovered the utility of Green Stuff, and even more recently - mold making. I took the plunge last month and bought a hobby molding kit from Reb Toys. It consists of a wooden mold making jig, two jars of Quick-Sil, "RTV jewelry molding rubber" compound, and a container of Castaldo mold separation cream.
My first mold-making experiment made use of a Spenkuch semi-round as the master. The failure was comically bad: the poor fellow's lower body and legs cast nicely but his headless Swiss cheese upper body looked as if he'd walked into a perfect storm of grapeshot. It was readily apparent that more pressure was required during the mold curing process and that's probably what those two wing-nuts on top of the jig were for. For test Mold #2, I emulated Tony Bath in using a flat Zinnfigur as the master. Not perfect but definitely better. In the interest of maintaining harmonious relations with Germany I'll say no more about it when sooner or later a battalion or two of these guys shows up here on the blog.
Now that I'd established that I could indeed create a functional mold, it was time to move on to the objective of modifying a Prince August figure. For this, I selected the grenadier mold PA20. He is one of the older, flatter original Eriksson creations. It's a good and simple figure with the musket casting directly on the centerline. As can be seen in the top photo, all I did here was to file off the turnbacks and bulk the coat and cuffs with green stuff. My mold is nothing fancy, using very similar flow channels to the PA original. The wing nuts on the jig soon stripped out, but I found the brutal expedient of setting a 3-ton floor jack on top of the jig during curing compresses the silicone rubber rather effectively.
Here I've painted the figure as an Austrian grenadier, suitable for 1700-1735.
And next to his original, more 7YW-looking cousin.
Soon to follow, a more ambitious and exciting conversion !