Today I had a lot of time on my hands – what with all of the conference calls – and so I decided to play around and experiment with making new hats. If I have learned anything with gaming with 6mm miniatures it is that the hats make all the difference in the world in recognizing the soldier you are trying to portray. It is also the point of the figure closest to your eye so it is the most visible component of the model. A hat well represented can make a model.
One of the interesting things about making your own miniatures is that you can pick some subjects outside of the mainstream, where other manufacturers tend not to make miniatures because of their obscurity (and thus limited commercial potential). Because I like to game skirmishes I often only need at most a dozen figures on each side. (Well, at least until I decide I want one of each unit, but that is another issue.)
I work from home, so it is easy for me to grab some Crayola Model Magic and start playing around. I found this bag on sale from Hobby Lobby because it is both a garish color and it was starting to get old. The bright colors sometime helps as it can be easier to see when shaping. In the end, you are going to paint it anyway, so weird colors don't really matter. For these experiments I cut some of the material into thin strips while the rest was rolled into thin strings.
I started with my basic pawn (I bought 1,000 of them to get a discounted price and am not even close to putting a dent into them) a wrapped the pieces around the head in the shape of a turban. One one I started with a small flap, representing a piece of cloth tucked under the turban which will be exposed in the back.
The first turban I did was more the style I see with the Afghans in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Sort of a "coiled rope" style.
The second turban was an attempt at a more neat and tidy Sikh style, with overlapping left and right strips in the front. It actually looks more frumpy than the first. But I still like it.
The third is also a more formal style, which shows the flap hanging down in the back, but again it ended up a little frumpy and messy. The sharp inverted "V" in the front will have a patch painted in the middle. Hopefully it will look better with paint.
Finally I experimented with simply putting a piece of material over much of the head, using a craft knife to shape the edge and then impress the lines to give the appearance of a wound turban. I think it suffers from it being too close to the head and not bulk enough. Fortunately, there is a style of headdress like this, but it is more East Asian than Central Asian. Still, I like it.
Because my goal was to make a couple of figures for fighting a skirmish in the North-West Frontier during the Interwar period (say, the Third Anglo-Afghan War of 1919). I found this following picture – which was attributed to the Third Anglo-Afghan War – but I think it is from a different period.
Anyway, here is my attempt at that sun helmet. I think I got it pretty good, but it took some work. Like working with Green Stuff, you have to keep massaging the material slowly shaping it. Wetting your figures really helps smooth out the material and keep it pliable.
I look forward to painting test figures for these models. They should be interesting as well as showing how easy it is to use cheap modeling material to make headgear that would be pretty hard to replicate in wood.
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