Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WIP: Numidian Cavalry - 30mm Flats

Work in progress here. Long progress, if we can call it that.  Test painted a few of these in 2009 and went no further at the time. I've been inspired by Harry Pearson's excellent new Parum Pugna ancients blog to go back and finish this set of Scholtz (Berliner Zinnfiguren) flats.  They're a unit of 17 castings, 8 each in two ranks as shown plus an officer.

Sets of flats seem to come in three varieties: great engravings not particuarly suited to make a wargames unit of, lesser engravings but a good wargames unit, and a set that combines both virtues. I'd put these solidly in the second category. As historical Numidians go they have some quirks, but for a Tony Bath inspired light cavalry unit, just the ticket.

At any rate, I'm nearly halfway through now, compromising somewhat on the painting style to speed things up.  I'm gloss coating and plan to base them, any suggestions on the frontage per figure ?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Kropotov Horse Grenadiers - 40mm Prince August

I recently received the two new Prince August semi-round cavalry molds, representing Russian horse grenadiers for the Great Northern War.  They are S936 and S937 of the 40mm Karoliner series.  Horse grenadiers seems an odd design choice given their rarity relative to other cavalry types, but they are something unique and I thought I might be able to convert them to regular cavalry with a head swap.

No, I'm afraid this one won't do.  At first glance, the rider appears to be seated way back towards the horse's croup.  Then the eye comes to rest on the overly elongated body of the horse.  Overall, the sculptor certainly appears to have a solid grasp of human and equine anatomy, so how does something like this happen ?  This horse looks to me like the Halloween costume where one person wears the horse's head and front legs and his partner plays the horse's hind quarters with the empty body drooping out between.

I like this somewhat different mold design with the generous air channel.  On my first cast the short sword problem marred an otherwise clean cast.  Nothing unusual of course with the mold not yet up to temperature, but I hedged my bets by cutting a small channel between the large one and the tip of the sword to allow for metal flow.  After that, a 100% success rate with this mold.

Painted per the included painting guide as the Peter's Kropotov regiment of horse grenadiers. The only modification was bridging the unsightly gap in the reins (between the mane and rider's hand) with green stuff. The only other flaw I can really see with this figure is the sword hilt lacking a hand guard.  And the horse's body on S936 also suffers from the stretched appearance, but to my eyes not nearly as pronounced as with S937. It's there,  but I think to a tolerable degree.

And, here as I have modified to a conventional cavalry figure.  Chapeau courtesy of GNW infantry Mould # DK-102.  I also cut off the cartridge box and filed down the associated belt, added to the sword belt and filled in the gap in the reins with Green Stuff.

S936 - Modified

Is it worth the extra work ? If you're already satisified with S931 or getting good casts out of S935, probably not.  However, if you like the idea of your cavalry attired in full coats instead of Swedish turnbacks, the tricorne conversion is an easy one even if you do nothing else with the figure, giving collectors an additional use for this mold after casting the few units of horse grenadiers you might need.

What's next ?  Cast and paint a French regiment, Royal Roussillon.  I haven't had good success with S935 due to the sword casting more like a gladius, but I just modified the mold by cutting another hole to pour directly into the sword tip, so am eager to try this out. If it works, I will combine S935 and this new mold S936 in different ranks.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Prince August Conversions: 40mm Semi-Rounds

Finished these two figures over the weekend.  First, took a shot at converting older series Mould # 41 to a French dragoon. For this, GNW Mould # DK-101 served for the donor head, from the grenadier.  I filed this down a bit to form more of a stocking cap, also converted the turnbacks to a full coat.

Not too bad. The cap isn't quite right, probably need to file down the top a bit more and extend the stocking portion.  This head would be good for a Spanish cavalry figure as is, I think.  I'm also wondering if the head swap is really necessary at all for a somewhat later French army, ca. War of the Polish Succession. Some of my sources show the French dragoons wearing tricornes as often as not.

Next we have Mould # 12.  This officer seems to me quite possibly intended to represent Charles XII, in any case he's certainly attired in the plain Swedish style. My idea was see how he looks converted to a general in richer contemporary dress.  Hence the Green Stuff periwig and full coat instead of turnbacks.

"Soldats, là-bas sont les Ennemis !"

Yes, I'm already waffling on the GNW project idea. ;-)  First, I already have some units painted as French vs. starting from scratch painting Russians.  Secondly, I won't have to deal with pikes if I steer clear of the GNW.  Next up, the "Kropotov" cavalrymen.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

More Prototype Figures - 40mm Semi-Rounds

Here's something new under the sun, 1680's - 1690's era infantry which are compatible in scale with Prince August.  They are home-grown designs, sculpted by the talented hand of John Bertolini.  John was kind enough to mail me these two musketeer and pikeman castings for test painting. Thanks, John !

Next up, a couple more trial Prince August conversions.  I also received the Kropotov Cavalry (Horse Grenadier) molds from Prince August earlier this week.  I had a good casting session with these and will report on them shortly.