Sunday, November 27, 2011

A New Era

I've decided to begin my personal take on Imagi-nations outside the already well-populated 18th Century, bringing it into the early 19th.  I've been a big admirer of Aly Morrison's Shiny Toy Soldier range since its inception at Spencer-Smith Miniatures.  Which do I like ?  Well, the earlier figures more so than the spiked helmet troops of later in the century.  Do I actually have any ?  Er..., no.  Much as I like them, it's been rather like gazing at that tasty sports coupe through the car showroom window - yes, you can probably make the payments but it's hard to justify the expenditure.  Even Irregular has become a stretch for Americans these days given the weak dollar and overseas shipping costs, and really not much cheaper than STS.

However, I do browse Spencer-Smith from time to time, imagining what fine looking troops could be assembled from the various combinations of pieces for the 1815-1830 era - the apogee of peacock uniforms.  The last visit, I noticed something interesting - Moltzheim heads.  Moltzheim ?  Virgin territory for me.  Took a look at the reference, The French Army During the Restoration 1814 - 1830

Wow !  I was blown away by the magnificence.  And also inspired with an idea.  The French restoration army looks to me very like Napoleon's.  What do I have sitting long neglected in my collection of 40mm casting molds ?  A few Zinnbrigade French Napoleonic infantry molds.  And I knew that Meisterzinn also made several multi-purpose molds featuring a selection of heads: tricornes, bicornes, crested helmets and shakos.  What else is there ?  Creartec currently produces 40mm Napoleonic era molds as well as 7YW Prussians. 

Thus by means of home casting, I could create units less expensively, filling in the gaps with STS, Irregular and perhaps a few 1st Legion here and there.  Yes, not so cheaply as with multi-part 28mm plastics given the price of lead these days, but I just flat out like 40mm better.  And, a glossy toy soldier style for this.  And so it begins.

While already embarked on casting and painting the Zinnbrigades, I decided to create a map for these fictional countries early in the game, vs. painting figures in the abstract.  This (as yet unnamed continent) is the result.  Any similarities to Europe are strictly intentional.  The software is Hexographer, available free here:  The UI is relatively simple and intuitive, no mad CAD or vector graphics skills required.  I did spring for the full version to get more period-compatible icons and the ability to spawn child maps of provinces or battle areas but the free version is quite usable as is.  There is work still to be done in naming geographical features & cities, adding infrastructure (and creating a fortress icon), but I'm satisfied that the basics are covered.

The first troops on the workbench are those of Celtica, looking suspiciously like those of Napoleon and his royal successors. I'm about halfway done painting an infantry battalion of Zinnbrigades, a progress report to follow shortly. The first Creartec and Meisterzinn molds arrived from Germany yesterday and I had a good casting session. Good for the Creartecs that is, downright bad with the stubborn Meisterzinns.  I'm quite happy with the Creartecs, although stylistically they're more like Prince August semi-rounds. Indeed the infantry in particular appear to have a clear lineage to the Schneider molds of olden days (although more detailed), about as old school as you can get.

There you have it, either creativity at work or the ramblings of a madman. ;-)

Friday, November 18, 2011

War Elephant - 30mm Flat

Here's a 30mm flat which I purchased as an unpainted casting from Berliner Zinnfiguren. BZ is pretty sketchy on the details about their third party offerings, but I believe the editor is Tylinski of Berlin. He doesn't maintain an internet presence.  Sorry the color tone isn't good on the first photo (and I'm lazy to reshoot it), the second photo gives a better reproduction of it.

With this post, I'm pretty well caught up on the older flats.  I have a few recently painted Renaissance flats, not yet photographed.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Random Photos - Part 2

Here are a few shots of my own taken during the previous photography session, and a few older ones. 

I created the war elephant out of disappointment with HaT's offering, their 1/72 set pantographed up to 54mm. The elephant was puny, with the crew jammed into a tower the size of an old telephone booth. I retained most of the crew figures, but drafted a more imposing Schleich elephant for war and scratchbuilt my own tower. The archer comes from a David & Goliath set, with a headswap he becomes a Hellenistic soldier. The phalanx are converted Italeri Carthaginians.

40mm PA Swedes advance through town.

54mm plastic pirates. Mostly Barzso.

Two Barzso pirates & a Replicants British sailor.
The phalanx attacked ! 54mm plastics.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Random Photos - Part 1

Here are some photos taken recently by my stepson Benjie for one of his photography classes.  He attends an art school here in Northern California. His project was photographing some of my figures, mostly outdoors.

40mm Prince August. L'artillerie Royale.

40mm Prince August. Swedes head through town.

40mm Prince August

54mm knights. Tradition kits and Italeri 100 YW.

25mm Greeks. He took this with my camera, why can't I do that ?