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, August 30, 2013

To horse!

When I bought my first couple of 40mm Elastolin figures about 10 years ago I had no expectations of ever having enough to game with, it was just an indulgence, a few collectibles to go on a shelf because I had always wanted them.

Prince Michael, on horse and on foot. 40mm Elastolin conversions.

 It was a "right time right place" ebay purchase of a hundred gold vikings for ten Euros that suddenly changed that. I still didn't know what kind of games I was going to play with them but suddenly I was in a position where the occasional lot of cheap-ish broken figures and kits would allow me to convert and paint small wargame "armies". 

The making of a mounted prince. 

In 2009, when I was playing through Scenarios for All Ages, I came to a Scenario 18, skirmish scenario that called for small numbers of single figures. Most of my horse and musket figures were on multi-figure bases at the time and suddenly the Prince Valiant figures seemed like just the thing so I had a closer look at what I had on hand. One of the broken figures I had purchased was a Prince Arne who had lost his triangular medieval shield and had been given a round shield from a viking. I gave him a name and sent him into battle. Suddenly a character and story line and setting were created.

Prince Michael in his first battle.

As I was working on turning the layout for Hook's Farm into a Saxon raid scenario, it occurred to me again that sometimes it would be good to have a mounted version of Prince Michael. Turning to the spares box I dug out one of the Prince Arne kits that I snagged from Wally's Basement at Historicon 2011, one of the remaining gold vikings for his shield arm, and a spare horse. I was sifting through various mounted figures looking for a set of legs when I realized that I could use an old toy soldier converter trick, carve out the legs and tunic a bit and mount the prince directly. I should really have either bent the left leg for a stirrup-less grip on the horse or straightened the right leg to fit long, knightly, stirrups but I was afraid the result would be fragile and finicky and decided that I could get away with leaving things as they were.  A bit of putty to add a sleeve to the new arm, repair the tunic where it meets the horse and add a saddle, and he was ready for paint. 


  1. A testament to your ingenuity Ross. I look forward to seeing him on the field.

  2. Very clever job - figures look excellent. I admit I was peering at the top picture, wondering where the conversion was, before I read the text.

    Do these pics also give a glimpse of your legendary budget acrylic paints? Such things don't seem to exist in the UK - well, only in bathroom shades.

    Cheers - Tony

    1. Pastel uniforms are rare aren't they? Hard to believe they haven't wormed their way into craft shops over there. I used to be a bit self conscious barging in amongst the dried flowers, styrafoam shapes and packs of glitter in search of wargame supplies but then I wasn't comfortable the one time I wandered into a GW store either.

  3. Great conversion Ross ,bring on the opposition...

  4. Jolly nice indeed! And just the thing to have one on foot and one horsed.

    1. It will but now I feel guily about not having more. I suspect I may have just eaten a peanut (metaphorically speaking)

  5. Great conversion. Huzzah for craft acrylic paint. I have a project in the back of my mind for making a GW replacement chart. The only problem is I don't even know what the colors are after 20 years out of the hobby.

    1. Unfortunately the craft paint folks seem to be able to tell when I find a shade I really like or perhaps its a coincidence that those get withdrawn?

  6. Ross,

    Very nice conversion, really like the idea of having one each of the same figure, mouunted and on foot. Thunderbolt Mountain used the same idea with their King Arthur range a while back, and to my eyes, still the best medieval 25mm figures ever done.


    Got a good laugh of recognition out of your craft and GW store experiences. I too have stood out like a sore thumb in the checkout lines of Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabric stores, but they do have some very useful stuff.