EXCERPT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Friday, May 13, 2011

Where were you when the lights went out?

Or at least when blogger went down on Thursday? I was taking a few pictures to post. So here they are.

First off the ill fated Mexicans. The latest casualty has been merely glued back together, after all they use super glue for surgery on full sized humans these days, besides, I think the units may end up 20 rather than 24 after, but that's a story for another day. (As in "Why do I have this urge to do 20 figures when 24 seems so much more logical, and am I clever enough to justify it beyond "I felt like it" or will I go with the logical approach.")

Zinnbrigade homecast Napoleonic French + a Perry Peninsula War Officer , painted as 1836 Mexicans.

Then the first new 1/72nd Rebs in 28 years. My current plan is to do 36 stands of Yanks and 27 of Rebs which added to Jerry's should do us for now. With this "as the flu lets up" regiment, I am up to 30 Yankee infantry, 3 cavalry and 4 guns and 18 Reb infantry and 2 guns. (need to buy more)

Tentatively, I am organizing them into "Brigades" of 36 figures on 9 stands.  Two 3 stand regiments including an officer, and a 3 stand regiment including a flag and bugler as well. Which puts me back into the discussion on practical game vs recreating historical OB's but I'm postponing that.

Airfix Rebs (flag to follow...)

Next, for those who might be interested,  a comparison of Zinnbrigade, Perry, Irregular, Scruby and my own 40/42 mm figures.
Various 40mm figures. Zinnbrigade 1900 Prussian Artillery Officer painted as an 1848 Schleswig officer despite the anachronistic uniform style, Irregular Crimean British Guards Officer, Scruby 1812 British Infantry (listed as US), Perry Lippe-Detmold Officer painted as British Engineer,   one of my original 1812 British officer in frock coat. I really need some STS figures to round things out, hopefully they will still be available when the warchest finally refills.

and lastly, because someone once asked me "who are the GGBG?", my slightly twisted to version of the Governor-General's Body Guard.  Chamber's 1902 history of the Regiment (The actual title is 3 lines long) includes some interesting bits on cavalry in the War of 1812.  Colonel Denison's auto biography, Soldiering in Canada,  (if I'd known 10 years ago that it would be digitized and put on line, I'm not sure I would have shelled out the amount I did for an original copy) not only relates the early story of the regiment but is an interesting look at the Canadian military and politics in the 19thC, which oddly seems little different from today, other than in details.

Zinnbrigade Homecast Prussian Dragoons, infantry and artillery converted into "my version" of the GGBG.

This toy regiment illustrates not only one of the problems caused by starting work before you decide what you are doing  but also the joy of not really caring since you are doing "alternate history" or "imagi-nations". The figures are Zinnbrigade 1900 Prussian (sic) Dragoons.  I started out to do them as the Governor General's Bodyguard in their new 1866, Fenian Raid era, uniforms with tunic, plumed helmet (probably not worn on campaign but pretty) and unofficial, privately provided butcher boots. Part way through, I decided to back the project up to the 1830's  when, as the Queen's Light Dragoons, the uniform would have been a plumed,  Light Dragoon Bell Shako, (theoretically, in practice a fur cap with red bag was worn in winter at least),  laced dark blue shell jacket with buff facings and overalls. Rather than scrap the figures already started, I decided to do them in shell jackets but leave the helmets and boots. A few minutes scraping removed the jacket tails, the paint was touched up and I carried on, finishing them as the Faraway Trading Company Director General's Bodyguard. Having repatriated the project to an alternate history North America, the regiment is prepared to march west 45 years early under their  future title, wearing a uniform that isn't quite right for any period, but is close enough.


  1. Ros
    Love the figures esp the Canadian GGBG chaps! I have been tempted in the past by this period of Candian History through the super rafm figs I saw pictures of...

    Do Airix still manufacture these acw figs? I had myriad boxes worth years ago but sadly loooong since gone !

  2. 40mm look marvellous - proper toy soldiers - you could really make friends with a 40mm figure. The tale of the dropped casualty was alarming, but has a happy ending. It also gives a useful practical illustration of Foy's Figure-Strength Index (as discussed) in action - the ratio [cross section of ankles]/[casting mass] for a 40mm figure is, of course, 1/2 as much as that of a 20mm of identical proportions. Test it - drop one of your metal 20mm the same distance - I betcha it doesn't break.

    Oh, all right then - don't bother.

    If you haven't done it before, I'd be fascinated to read about how you cast your own figures - they don't look like the homecasts I see on eBay. If you've done a post on it before, any chance you could point it out for your fans?



  3. Alan, there are some interesting looking Canadian campaigns, alas there is not much actual fighting to support historical gaming but lots of scope for the "coulda been" games. I still want to do a Riel Rebellion game, the only campaign I'm aware of where the home service spiked helmet was worn in the field.

    As for Airfix, I don't think any one has re-released them currently, which is a shame. This lot were from the MPC re-release in the early 80's. There are enough of them floating about that prices on ebay etc aren't too excessive and luckily they do mix with some later (inferior :) ) plastics.

  4. Tony, I've dropped enough figures in my life to know that you've missed a key factor: the quality of the metal. When I was gluing this chap together again, I noted that he was one of the old figures from the days I was diluting store bought metal with various recycled bits leading to a brittle end product.

    Hadn't considered doing a post on homecasting, I'm pretty much in the klutz category and have just followed other websites and online advice etc. Wouldn't hurt to put one together though, including some of those links and a cradle to table look since I do occasionally fiddle with masters and home made molds as well as store bought molds. Good idea. Thanks