Tuesday, 16 September 2008


At last the first unit of my converted Perry figures is finished. This is the regiment of the Cuirrassiers von Stolzhuf, the first completed regiment of my imaginary Mendelstadtian "SYW" army, converted from Perry ACW cavalry.

(More photos and relevant history are on the Mendelstadt blog).

As an exercise in conversion, this proved quite time-consuming. On the TMP group, I was called "mad" for doing this, and I think that viewpoint has some validity. However, I've very much enjoyed doing it. And I've produced a unique regiment which also, because of the work involved, feels very much a personal endeavour, meaning I identify with them much more than if I'd merely done a decent paint job. (Which almost certainly means they will turn tail and run at the first opportunity on the battlefield: C'est la guerre, chez moi.)

I've learned quite a lot about how to model with greenstuff, and developed a few ideas for possible future work. You'll perhaps see that I've modelled flames around an eagle (Napoleonic French, I think; or perhaps Austrian) on the head of the flagstaff to turn it into the phoenix of Mendelstadt. Little touches like this make fanciful warfare a la Tony Bath that much more interesting.

Of course, this is not for everyone. I'm simultaneously developing the 10mm and 15mm World War Two collections and these are as close to authentic as I can be bothered to make them. I had my first taste of Flames of War the other day (I'm usually well behind the fashions in rulesets) and was quite taken with them, though I did find the complexity of looking things up in rules, helpsheets, army books and so-on rather too reminiscent of the worst excesses of Games Workshop. I don't know which generation of 40K it was, but I remember with irritation and frustration old games where more time was spent cross-refencing different variants of the rules than actually playing the game. (Needless to say, I gave up playing 40K a long time ago).

A couple of posts ago I mentioned a comment from Adam pointed me towards some Youtube videos which show how to make a mould and cast simple components in green stuff. Thanks, Adam, for this really useful suggestion.

Essentially the process is like casting in metal, except you use green stuff both for the mould and for the casting. Adam's idea was that I could make some of the parts of my figures, such as the hats, this way and thereby speed up the process and ensure a higher degree of uniformity. (You'll see, if you inspect the cuirrassiers, that their hats are quite varied, and the turnbacks, not really visible in the photo, are different lengths, too).

I've found that, once I had my turnback mould I was able to produce 10 pairs of turnbacks in about 15 minutes, a massive increase in speed. And they were pretty similar to each other, meaning that once I'd figured out how to attach one pair, I knew how to attach the rest.

I still needed some judicious filing to make it work, so the process is not yet ideal, but I think with a little more forethought, I shall be able to produce my conversions pretty quickly now.

Which has inspired me to think about sculpting my own masters on a dolly, and perhaps casting my own figures. I've not yet taken this step. But....watch this space....


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Wow - I'm gobsmacked! They look brilliant... such a bright and vibrant yellow for the uniforms as well (what did you use?)

Re. your WWII collections - is it too late to suggest "Blitzkrieg Commander"? I recommend it highly... you may want to check their website for a flavour of how the rules work...


Major Wittering said...

Thanks, Steve. All superlatives greatfully received.

The yellow is Foundry lemon, their three part scheme. I find the three shade schemes don't necessarily work too well on the flatter figures - they're really for the chunkier, more undercut figures. So in this case it's mainly the mid-shade, with a little shading and a little highlighting. Some of the transparency is due to using a white undercoat. I much prefer this, I guess because I generally like the "unrealistic" vibrancy of fancy and full dress figures rather than the drab realism of accurate portrayal.

And, yes, I've discovered Bliztkrieg Commander, but not yet played it. It looks like a ruleset right up my street (I'm fond of its ancestor, Warmaster). I am committed to this with 10mm as well as FoW with 15mm, for long, boring and complicated reasons, mainly to do with the enthusiasms of two different opponents.


MiniWargamer said...

I agree with Steve's comments. Nicely done and very unique. I may have to try my hand at this!

(Curse you....) ;-)

Andy Mitchell said...

"“Mad, is he? Then I hope he will bite some of my other generals.”

As King George noted, some kinds of madness bring results. Congratulations on a superb looking (and unique) unit.

A J Matthews said...

Superb work! Had you not told us I would have found it hard to believe the figures began life as ACW. The tip on making a mold for turning out component parts is invaluable. I'm faced with the prospect of making tricorns for a converted infantry regiment and I admit I'm balking at the task. A mold will make things so much easier.

tradgardmastare said...

Well done Sir!
best wishes

tidders said...

Ah ha, thats the provenance of those fine cavalry on the Medlstadt blog - jolly good conversion work.

-- Allan