Saturday, March 5, 2011

French Porte-Aigle of the Ligne - WIP

To the right is a picture of a Third Porte-Aigle of a French Ligne regiment, from Funcken's L'uniforme et les Armes des Soldats du Premier Empire, Volume 1. In terms of the game Songs of Drums and Shakos (SDS), a Standard Bearer confers special abilities on the player's squad. Rather than create an Eagle Bearer, which would not typically go out on a skirmish patrol, much less bring the regimental eagle along, I decided to use a little more interesting figure that had less historical implications, should the standard be lost in the skirmish.

The port-aigle is a part of the color guard. The first port-aigle bears the eagle, the second guards to the right, and the third guards to the left. As shown in the Funcken image, the third carries a halberd with a pennant attached. Not only would using this figure fit for a SDS Standard Bearer, as it has a flag that would be visible to others, but he has an interesting weapon to use and to model.

In the game the figure would be equipped with a halberd and two pistols, in addition to having the attribute Standard Bearer. Although the figure is also equipped with a sword, it seems a bit redundant. (No reason to waste points...)

Finally, this figure will nicely round out the cast of specialty figures that I already have for the French ligne unit.

The first thing I needed to do was develop a pose. I could have done the pose used in the picture; it is basically the same as the marching pose I use with most of my soldiers. But for this figure I wanted more of an 'on guard' position, so I moved the arms to thrust outward, so the halberd could be carried across the chest.

In order to get this sort of pose right you have to drill holes into the figure's hands at an angle, so the dowel slides through smoothly. Once the pole is in place, you can glue the arms into position.

To make the head of the halberd I cut a slice of 5/8" dowel, then drew on a basic shape. Although this halberd is much larger and heavier than that in the Funcken drawing, I think it will look okay, given the 'chunkier' style of the figure. Also, it needs to stay thick in order to drill a hole through it to insert the halberd's shaft.

Using a Dremel tool and various sanding bits, I sand away to get the basic shape. When that is complete, I sand a 'V' edge on the front and back. You can see the basic halberd below.

I will glue a simple pennant to the shaft, below the head. I will probably make that out of aluminum foil, or a heavier metal sheet, so the pennant keeps its shape, which will be slightly furled.

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