Saturday, January 1, 2011

Pickelhaube Experiment

One of the uniform elements that I really like is the Prussian pickelhaube from the Franco-Prussian War-era, similar to this one. In addition to wanting to recreate it for my Wooden Warriors, I was also looking for something a little simpler to create than a shako. For that, I wanted something with a round shape that could be slightly altered. (Making a head with shako either requires you to flatten the top of the pawn's head and then add half of a spool on top or, take half of a spool and hollow out the center so it fits the round of the pawn's head. Either way it is work.)

To start, I took a small piece of wood and shaped a peak out of it, just as I would with a shako (see pictures 6 through 8 in this previous blog entry). This goes just over the eyebrows. Make a second peak only this time the inner curve has to be carved so the peak is angled down rather sharply.

Note that, in hindsight, this figure has the rear peak too high on the head. It should be below the round of the head so that the rear peak protects the neck. Next time I will do better. :-(

For the helmet spike I simply took a round toothpick/miniature dowel and shaped it with a sanding bit using a Dremel tool, then drilled a hole in the top of the pawn's head. Having a drill press would make this go much better, as it could be centered and aligned on the X and Y axes. Oh well, this one must have been bent in a skirmish!

Another observation from this experiment: it would have been better to use a wider piece of wood to create the front and back peaks, so that it would have covered more of the head. All I can say is ... well, that is what these experiments are for!

To get an idea of the look, you really need to paint the figure, or at least the head, when experimenting with hats and helmets. Here is my evening's effort.

I must have been listening to Queen in the background, as Herr Meister looks to me like a blonde Freddie Mercury! :-D Ah well, let's just call it my little homage to him.

With the parts painted you can see why the peaks need to be wider. It looks less like a helmet and more like Sherlock Holmes' cap ... with a candle on top! :-D

I will probably finish off the figure some day, but this experiment gave me ideas.

  1. The pickelhaube is very doable using this method. Just needs a little perfection.
  2. The rear peak is reminiscent of a Roman helmet too.
  3. Adding small bits of wood open up other helmets that are more close-fitting, like a French Napoleonic Lancer,  French Napoleonic Carabinier, Austrian Napoleonic Dragoons and Chevau-legers, etc.
If I get around to trying this again, I will be sure and post pictures.

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