This is why I paint Napoleonics. It is because of uniforms like this. I first saw a picture of the 1807 French Napoleonics Carabiniers in a copy of a Funcken uniform book and I always wanted to paint it, but I never got around to it … until now that is. Granted, it is not an entire regiment, but these four guys will run roughshod over many an enemy in a game of Drums and Shakos.
Click on any images to enlarge.
There are actually a lot of new changes to how I build figures in these models. Although the horses still have a "camel head" look (I need a split egg size between this and the one I use for 25mm horses), I think they look much better using a small thread spool for the neck. The image below shows the spool in better detail.
Also, you can see the new sabers, made entirely from foam. They flex a lot, but they won't break!
I had never really been happy with the horses' hair. I had tried modeling material to make a mane, tail, and ears, and they material was hard to control (as it expanded when it dried) and very fragile. I've replaced all of that with foam sheet.
In #1 you can see the tail, cut from a brown piece of foam sheet. I used alligator teeth scissors to cut the shape, then scrapbooking scissors to "bevel" the edges a bit. #2 was done the same way, except that you can see I made the hair from three separate pieces of foam sheet. By layering two pieces I got a taller mane. In #3 you can see a variation of that mane. Also, you can see that the ears were cut out and simply glued to the back of the split egg. When looking closely at the detail it does look a little strange, but at arms length I think it looks pretty good.
These are the alligator scissors. You can find them in any scrapbooking section of craft stores. There are all sorts of shapes and designs to the teeth. I used these in my Troglodyte experiments.
The image below show some of the detail of the rider. In #1 you can see I put a lot of detail into the uniform. It was later (after I finished, but before I painted the buttons on) that I realized that you will never see that detail when the rider is mounted on the horse! #2 shows the detail of the saber. This time I cut the arm and the saber from foam sheet separately, then glued them together. Next time, it will all be one piece. (Live and learn!) #3 shows the legs of the rider made from foam sheet. As the rider is a shortened pawn sitting atop the spool horse, I needed legs to extend past the end of the pawn and around the spool. In the past that was wood; now it is foam sheet, which follows the curve of the spool much better. Finally #4 shows a change from previous figures. I used to model the epaulettes with wood and modeling material. Now I do not even model them at all. When viewed from the side, painting the epaulette with a dark color, then detail with a light color gives the illusion of depth, and looks fine. (#1 shows what it looks like from the front, if you look really hard.)
It is interesting that building and painting these figures – especially the more complex uniforms or the cavalry – takes a long time overall, but that is largely because there are a lot of steps and I have a tendency to do several projects all at once (building 20+ figures at a time). In a way you don't really have much interest in the figures at the start. They are simple shapes, and although you can see the potential, they are not really exciting. Then you come back to it, add a bearskin and a plume and get a little more excited. You can start to see it. They you start adding basic paint and get a little more excited. It is when you start reaching the end that you start to see the figure. You want to finish quickly, but for me, I just want to keep adding detail. Finally, it is done and you paint the bases, photograph and then blog them, chomping at the bit to go play a game with them. But, you look over at that table with the other 16+ unfinished figures, and see even more potential just waiting.
I hope you enjoy looking at them; I really enjoyed making and painting them to show them off.
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