Sunday, January 2, 2011

French Ligne Officer in Bicorne and Greatcoat

This is the third of three special figures I am making for the French Ligne unit I have started. The other two, a drummer and a vivandiere, are complete; all that remains is the Eagle Bearer.

When I made my officer for the French Legere unit, I found that he was not really distinctive enough on the battlefield, so for this figure I wanted to differentiate it from the privates. One way to do that was to use a bicorne instead of a shako. This would be challenging, but interesting, because the hat is so large and exaggerated. The good part is, most pictures of bicornes are different from all other pictures of them, so it seems like there is a lot of latitude in defining the shape.

I started with a block of balsa wood - in hindsight one that was not deep/thick enough to encompass the whole head - and created a head-size hole in the bottom and glued it onto the pawn's head. I then drew out the basic shape using a pencil (note: use a pen, as pencil rubs off on your fingers) and then started grinding away large sections of the unneeded material. As I had not started with a large enough piece of wood, and because balsa is brittle, I needed to use modeling material to create a better shape and repair some of the damage.

I was not really looking for a perfectly sized hat here, given that the figure itself is shaped in a cartoony way, so it being a little oversized was actually preferable. After the hat was complete I added more material to create the greatcoat 'skirt', in the same manner as with the French vivandiere.

As you can see in the final picture, the top of the bicorne was smoothed out a bit, and a pom-pom added. I've added a sword for the right hand, a flintlock pistol for the left, and the scabbard is peeking out from under the greatcoat. All in all a simple figure, but one which has a bit of character.

The next figure you see in this series will be the Eagle Bearer. Then back to the British.

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