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.

12 comments:

  1. They look good - nice pose.

    How does the bottom of the mould work - it looks as if there is no bottom?

    Steve

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    1. Thanks, Steve.

      Good eye. The bases are indeed open, in the style of the old Schneider molds. Which can make for kind of rude shock at first having the metal leak out the bottom. My hot pot is attached to an aluminum base, thus so long as I hold the mold down flush while pouring it presents no real difficulty.

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  2. Nice figures and paint job ! , Tony

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    1. Thanks much, Tony. Glad you like them.

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  3. Bold fellows and a nice review of the mould.

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    1. Thank you, Springinsfeld.

      I'm glad you found the comments about the mold useful. Everyone knows all about Prince August and the quirks of Meisterzinn by now, but for these I thought it worthwhile to provide at least cursory coverage of the casting aspect.

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  4. I only have one of these, 50 041, Pawlowskij Regiment charging Grenadier. It has a different layout than the marching figure illustrated above. The gate is attached to the sole of the trailing foot and the bayonet is pointing straight down. In mold 50041 the base is completely enclosed within the mold. There is a small channel connecting the base and the trailing foot. This arrangement works very well. Complete castings are very easy to produce in this particular mold.

    I also tried poking around the net for information and found the site you have referenced above. Nowikoff seems to have produced 54mm toy soldiers until just before the economic recession. Since then he seems to have concentrated on casting garden ornaments. There is also a web site for that business.

    Nowikoff uses the same base width and shape found on the Schneider castings. There is a small but distinct N engraved in the top of the base. My Creartec Highlanders look a little taller because their base is thicker but you have to put them side-by-side and look very closely to see the difference.

    He seems to be deliberately imitating Schneider. The text on the label comes from Schneider ads. The figure width and height are a good match for my Schneiders, but of course they portray different eras. The poses are also similar to Schneider.

    My mold came with a sample unpainted casting in the mold. During the 1930s American mold manufacturers often included painted samples with the casting “outfits” that they sold.

    Creartec Prussians, French and Highlanders plus Nowikoff Russians and French (including guys in Bearskins). Put them together and you have an interesting “range”.

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    1. Rahway, thanks very much for the additional information. I even wonder about the Nowikoff toy soldier connection as except for the cavalry rider & horse molds 50051/50052, the rest of the 45mm semi-flat figures aren’t stylistically consistent with the 54mm toy soldiers. Also for that reason, I haven’t bitten on 50051/50052 because after you bend his arms & legs in place, the rider looks like he’ll be fully round. Thus I think the Creartec cavalry (what there is of it) is a better match for the infantry.

      I agree, Nowikoffs and Creartecs combined almost make a good range. Although recognizably a hobby products company, for the toy soldier casting Creartec is as much as an unknown as Nowikoff. Thus some seemingly odd design choices in the Creartec Napoleonic range such as lots of Highlanders but almost no British line infantry and the lack of cavalry & artillery – were these never made or it so happens they were but not offered by Berliner Zinnfiguren ? In any case, I plan to augment both ranges with Scad, Heinrichsen 40mm flats and quite possibly plug some holes with downsized Walkerloo paper soldier .pdf downloads. A fun and interesting challenge to mix and match.

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  5. Stately, attractive figures. Flat figures do have undeniable charms.

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    1. Thanks, Ion. Glad you like them. Not quite flats, but close enough !

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  6. These are great! I especially like the straight backs with heads up. Well drilled soldiers. Of course I'm a sucker for a shako with cords. Nothing wrong with semi flats in my books.

    Of course the painting helps.

    Probably just as well that I've sworn off the 1st half of the 19th C.

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    1. Thanks very much, Ross ! Indeed, they do have a stately air about them, eh ?

      You know, I filed the shako cords off the "French" fusiliers and sorry I went down that path as it created extra work for nothing. They'll be imagi-nations troops for God's sake, who cares. Next battalion I won't bother.

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