Sunday, November 12, 2017

Challenges and Choices

"This should be quick and easy....."

Well the first company of the Governor General's Foot Guards is now ready for duty but it wasn't quite as quick and easy as I expected.

The GGFG was raised in 1872 so basically missed the Fenian Raids unlike the older, but less senior, Canadian Grenadier Guards. They did, however, send a company to fight in the North West Rebellion. Of course none of this factual stuff need affect their deployment on the wargames table and since there  are only three Canadian Regiments that wear bearskin caps, of course they are in!

The Governor General's Foot Guards c 1885
(+ Scots Guard and antique Coldstream Guard). The GGFG were linked with the Coldstream Guards so wear a red hackle but on the left. 
The first challenge I had to meet was my impatience. The last toy soldiers I painted had been quite amenable to paint despite my having run out of the matte acrylic varnish that I used to mix with white or light grey paint to seal and prime the figures before painting. Usually I have no problem when I leave the varnish out but these lads  had a rougher surface texture than I expected, possibly due to weather & humidity when casting or something contaminating the alloy. In any event, the paint would brush on ok but then suddenly as it dried there would be a gap or an exposed bit would rub off. Anyway, several coats later, with breaks to allow extra drying time, they are done. 

The next challenge was that I am not yet used to the real Toy Soldier look. The Scots Guard in the picture was painted c1998 and has a simple version of the 1860's cuff and lace trim and some subtle shading (now lost under gloss). He originally  had a  matte finish as well. Beside him is an antique Coldstream Guard with the little round blue cuffs that Britain's used, even in full dress. I had hauled him out for an example along with a few illustrated toy soldier books and found myself pondering just how far I want to go with this revived Toy Soldier fantasy? Do I want to try to make them accurate replicas of antique soldiers, make them glossy but accurate models, or somewhere in between. 

 I've decided to compromise and go for a very simple painting which will evoke the originals but without being pedantic about the antique look.  (Might just go back and add the proper cuffs....)


  1. Sounds an excellent plan re painting. I think the new fellows are great.

  2. Your new troops are truly inspiring. I especially like the looks of the officer,

  3. Well done there Ross - the NEW Soldiers look super!

  4. These look superb - re the Toy Soldier look, there was an interesting article by Andy Partridge (the ex XTC punk rock singer and toy soldier collector ) who designed the Irregular Miniatures Deutschland Hommage 42mm range. He has a web page section on this Irregular Miniatures 42mm page on painting they toy soldier loook, very good on faces, Moustaches etc. I tried the pink dot technique on my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog post on my 42mm plastics, it does help the look.