Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Austrian Artillery 1866 (12mm)

This will probably be my last article on making minimal soldiers using beads, given that the construction is dead simple and the interest lower than on making the full-sized figures. I will continue making them and may, on occasion, show the painted versions. But unless I come up with something unique (like an elephant), this article will probably be the end of that series.

So to finish it all off, I wanted to go over how I built my Austrian artillery and limber for the Austro-Prussian War 1866 (or the Seven Weeks' War). First, let's start with the artillery piece.

The picture above shows the main components: A) a mini-dowel or section of round toothpick for the axle; B) two short sections of matchstick for the base of the barrel; C) a section of matchstick slightly rounded to serve as the gun barrel; and D) two circle beads that look 'good enough' for wheels.

I start by attaching the axle to the wheels using hot glue.

The hardest part will be getting the wheels aligned.

Next, attach a section of matchstick to the axle to serve as the base of the gun platform.

Now attach the second section of matchstick to the axle 90ยบ away from the first attachment point. If you looked at the platform from the side, it would form an 'L'.

Now we are going to use the pointed end of a flat toothpick for the trails.

Cut them to the right length.

  Now attach them to the axle with hot glue.

Now we need to work on the limber. First we start with two cube beads and a piece of mini-dowel.

Hot glue them together along with two more 'wheel' beads.

I have shown how to make horses previously. Make two of those and glue a mini-dowel to act as the pole for the limber. Face the horses away from the gun. When the gun is forward, the artillery is deployed; when the horses are, it is limbered.

You will need a little mini-dowel at the front for the cross-piece too.

I was using Prussian artillerists in the two pictures above, not Austrians. But I noticed that the two artillerists are a little too close together. I do want to keep things cramped to minimize painting details, but that is too cramped. I am going to have to drill some holes farther apart.

The Austrian artillerists are dead simple. They are a 1/4" flat head plug turned upside-down glued on top of a 6mm spherical bead. That is it.

The white stuff that you see above the face is a product called Writer by Americana and it is "dimensional" acrylic paint. I accidentally picked this up (the accident being that I knocked over the bottle in Hobby Lobby and shattered the plastic lid, so I felt compelled to buy it) and decided to try it.

One of my hesitations about using beads and such for more modern subjects is that so little of the headgear is a simple shape. Take the basic shako or kepi, for example. They are both basically cylindrical, but they have a peak on the front (and sometimes the back) which is, I think, distinctive. Previously I have been either ignoring it or using hot glue, as I did with the spikes on the Prussian pickelhaubes. Because Writer has a very fine nozzle and a very thick consistency, you can squeeze out small embellishments using this paint. For the peaks on 12mm shakos, it is actually perfect. I can see doing this for cockades, plates and other small, but distinctive shape. Here is what it looks like after it was dried and painted.

The figure on the right shows the profile view well and the peak is more visible. If this took anything more than a minute to do, I would not do it. As it is, it takes less time that it does for me to make the hot glue spikes for the Prussians.

Here is the finished artillery piece. I am still pondering whether to paint the gun barrel bronze or keep it black (I have seen images both ways). The spoked wheels are simply painting 'conversions'; there are no modeled spokes. Same thing with the harnesses on the horses, except for the collars; that is hot glue used to hold the head to the body. I decided to paint it like a draft horse's collar.

The rammer is a simple mini-dowel using Writer to create the sponge on the end, painted an appropriately dirty color, of course.

All in all, this was a fun little piece to create.

Next Up!

I went and visited friends last weekend and they reintroduced me to DBA (version 3, this time). It game me the occasion to bring out my wooden 28mm DBA Armenian army and show them off.

The Armenians want a foe to fight!
But as my friends have 15mm armies, I could not use these little guys. I have decided that I need to rectify that! I started an Early Imperial Roman army, but did not get very far. There is a lot of infantry and their build was pretty tedious and complex. But they look cool!

Early Imperial Romans have too much equipment!
So I started looking through the army lists, looking for another possible solution. Something simpler, but something I know I would want to play and play against.


I am going to try and build upon my bead experience, but still have a nicer army at the same (25mm) scale as my Armenians.

For the Huns that fought the Armenians, I have two choices: II/80b Sabir Hunnic Army 515–558 AD or II/80d Other Hunnic Armies 374–558 AD. The first is too specialized and for too short a period, so I decided to go with the latter. Taking all of the options into account, this army would require:
  • 1 General Cavalry unit
  • 1 General Light Horse unit
  • 11 Light Horse (archer) units
That is a lot of horse archers! Still, they are relatively easy to make and they are only two riders and two horses per base. (The Armenian army has four bases of them.)

If I decided to add the Sabir, I would need to add the following:
  • 1 General on foot as a Warband unit
  • 5 Hunnic Warband units
  • 5 Hunnic Bow units
As the Sabir as described as "exceedingly ferocious and rapacious". Hmmm. Might make for some interesting figures and a camp.

I am definitely going to use the same style of horse that I used for my Armenian horse archers, but I am considering using a different construction style for the riders. Partially, this is because I don't want them to look the same save for coloring. I believe the pointed, fur-trimmed hat will call for something different. I will start with a few experiments.

But, that is what is coming up next from me. Matt is on a 'wood hiatus' working on a project with metal figures (๐Ÿ˜  I know, right?) so unless he gets bitten by a bug, it may be a while before we see any of his interesting creations. Hopefully he will figure out how to work wood into the terrain he is building for his project and we can see some of that.

1 comment:

  1. I know you are taking a break from the little fellas, but I just love the troopers, especially the kepi. Your creativity in construction is again solid as usual!




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