Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Firing Pose

The one comment that could have been construed as slightly negative about my wooden warriors was "why are they not in firing poses when it is a skirmish game?" Well, actually there are a number of answers for that, but I interpreted the basic question as "why don't you have any figures in a firing pose?"

Why indeed! Well, the short answer is that I could never come up with a pose that felt right. I had tried several things, like: other materials (rejected because I wanted to use the same materials for all figures, and for arms that is craft sticks); two-part arms (rejected because of too much cutting and gluing and the poor fit was hard to cover up); and cover-up (rejected because it was obvious I was using paper to cover the gaps).

So, tonight I decided to tackle the problem once again. The basic problem is that the right arm is bent in a "V", thus shortening the arm, while the left arm is extended out, lengthening the arm. Further, the left hand cradles the musket stock, so it should be horizontal to the body, but the army itself should be vertical; not possible with a one-piece craft stick. Finally, the left leg should be forward while right leg stays aligned with the body. This makes the feet form an "L" shape.

To start, I have taken a flat toothpick and measured out 2", as that is the length of my muskets with bayonets affixed for a 42mm figure. I've also marked off 5/8" on a craft stick (both of the rounded ends), as this is the standard length for the figures' arms.

I want the musket butt to be close up to the head, past the cheek, so I cut a notch out so the flat toothpick would seat properly and have some contact surface for the glue. I've drawn a red rectangle to highlight the area I am referring to.

Remember that in this period, especially with muskets, the men "leveled" them rather than aimed. So I am not worried about putting the eye over the sight. You can easily do that, however, by adjusting where you paint the eyes and other facial features.

Also note that the notch is on the front side of the figure (on the right), not on the side. I have decided that the figure will fire twisting to the left. (This will become more apparent in later photographs).

With the notch made you can glue in the toothpick. Keep the musket relatively level.

A shot from above with the figure standing up. This shows you the angle with relation to the feet position.

I took the arm and slightly rounded the bottom, representing the bent elbow. The upper part was rounded more aggressively so the musket butt is visible. Is this anatomically correct? No, but it conveys a sense of a bent arm.

Here I've attached the left arm. Essentially the should is glued where it would normally, maybe slightly forward. Rather than cradling the musket I simply let the fingertips touch it. Again, not anatomically correct, but I think painted up it will look okay.

I've drawn in black lines to represent the centerline of the face vertically (the nose line) and horizontally (the eye line). This gives you a better sense of which direction the face is facing versus the body, hips, and feet.

More black lines on the body showing the hip line and the gap between the legs.

The firing pose from the side.

I could have used my old method for making feet and had the left facing forward, aligned with the line of firing. That is a trade-off everyone has to think about. Using the old method allows me to have each foot face in a separate direction, giving a more realistic (anatomically correct) pose, but at the expense of time and effort. Using the new method, with a heart shape, saves time, but looks less correct. Personally, I have no problem with the above figure.

Please let me know what you think of this method, either here in comments on on the Wargaming on a Budget forum.


  1. I personally think it's great.
    Look, these are never going to be perfect, or ever look 'right'. But the way you have positioned the arms looks comfortable, it looks right for the actual model and it is obvious what the model is 'doing'.
    Well done, keep them coming!

    What next though? Russians? Prussians?

    I want to see how you would tackle a bicorne!!!


  2. What's next? I am painting KGL Light Dragoons at the moment, both mounted and dismounted. I want to get a French Ligne standard bearer, officer, and drummer on the painting table. I need a British Officer (in bicorne) for gaming. I would really like to tackle an artillery piece with crew. And finally, I have one Russian Guard Cossack (on the masthead) and it wants some companions.

    Fortunately I have the next two weeks off, but I doubt I will get more than one of those items done this year! :(

    Here is Steve's rendition of tricornes:




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