Sunday, 28 September 2008

New conversion job - 2

All twenty-four figures are clean and ready for painting. I'm doing them in two batches of twelve. As an experiment I gave the first batch an undercoat of black Vallejo paint mixed with a drop or two of Klear/Future. This is intended to combat a tendency I noticed in the earlier converted figures for the undercoat to rub off exposed areas with disturbing ease. It seems to be working. All will be painted in Russian green greatcoats with red cuffs.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

A small diversion...

I apologize for a brief diversion from SYW era postings, but I felt this deserves to be mentioned. I repost this from one of the Yahoo loops, because frankly, this guy should have been awarded the Nobel Peace prize...
Friday was September 26th, Petrov Day, celebrated to honor the deed of Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov on September 26th, 1983. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, take a minute to not destroy the world.


The story begins on September 1st, 1983, when Soviet jet interceptors shot down a Korean Air Lines civilian airliner after the aircraft crossed into Soviet airspace and then, for reasons still unknown, failed to respond to radio hails. 269 passengers and crew died, including US Congressman Lawrence McDonald. Ronald Reagan called it "barbarism", "inhuman brutality", "a crime against humanity that must never be forgotten". Note that this was already a very, very poor time for US/USSR relations. Andropov, the ailing Soviet leader, was half-convinced the US was planning a first strike. The KGB sent a flash message to its operatives warning them to prepare for possible nuclear war.


On September 26th, 1983, Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov was the officer on duty when the warning system reported a US missile launch. Petrov kept calm, suspecting a computer error.Then the system reported another US missile launch.And another, and another, and another.What had actually happened, investigators later determined, was sunlight on high-altitude clouds aligning with the satellite view on a US missile base. In the command post there were beeping signals, flashing lights, and officers screaming at people to remain calm. According to several accounts I've read, there was a large flashing screen from the automated computer system saying simply "START" (presumably in Russian).


Afterward, when investigators asked Petrov why he hadn't written everything down in the logbook, Petrov replied,"Because I had a phone in one hand and the intercom in the other, and I don't have a third hand."


The policy of the Soviet Union called for launch on warning. The Soviet Union's land radar could not detect missiles over the horizon, and waiting for positive identification would limit the response time to minutes. Petrov's report would be relayed to his military superiors, who would decide whether to start a nuclear war.Petrov decided that, all else being equal, he would prefer not to destroy the world. He sent messages declaring the launch detection a false alarm, based solely on his personal belief that the US did not seem likely to start an attack using only five missiles.


Petrov was first congratulated, then extensively interrogated, then reprimanded for failing to follow procedure. He resigned in poor health from the military several months later. According to Wikipedia, he is spending his retirement in relative poverty in the town of Fryazino, on a pension of $200/month. In 2004, the Association of World Citizens gave Petrov a trophy and $1000. There is also a movie scheduled for release in 2008, entitled The Red Button and the Man Who Saved the World.Maybe someday, the names of people who decide not to start nuclear wars will be as well known as the name of Britney Spears. Looking forward to such a time, when humankind has grown a little wiser, let us celebrate, in this moment, Petrov Day.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

New conversion job

A bit of work with files and knife, some Milliput, and the IR3 Kostanza, the next regiment-to-be of the Markgraaf's army went into the detergent soak this morning. I should be able to work on them over the weekend, after finishing-up a small batch of 15mm WW2 US infantry mortar teams for Flames of War. Pictures at eleven - if my power-hog of a digital camera doesn't devour what's left of the batteries first...

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Tricorn mold - 2

I've made a two-part mold for press-casting tricorns. It's a bit crude but functional. It was made using Herculite 2 engineering plaster which is excellent at capturing sharp detail. The tricorns themselves will be made of Milliput, pressed into the mold then released. I've no idea whether it would be better to let it set first and glue it onto the figure, or to remove it gently so it can be molded onto the figure's head. All the fun of experimentation awaits...

Friday, 19 September 2008

Tricorn molds.

The base work of removing the shakos from the French Napoleonic figures is done, and now I'm ready to move on to shaping tricorns for them - almost. Adderphue's blog had a comment from a chap called Adam who pointed out a number of useful links on YouTube for casting components using molds made of Green Stuff. It cuts down the length of time and general hassle involved in creating these for figure conversion work. Unfortunately my cranky browser crashes whenever a video clip starts to play and I can't watch the demonstration!
I know enough about making molds to do the job, but I post the link above for those interested.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The Tuhellenbach Hussars (Regiment Kramer)

For Jean-Louis, here we have the prospective Hussar regiment of the Markgraaf's army, the Tuhellenbach Hussars, led by their able inhaber, Casimir Kramer. Not the sharpest tool in the box, Kramer nevertheless possesses great dash and courage. Whether his men live up to his example will remain to be seen.


The regimental uniform is based to some extent upon that of the French 3rd Hussars as worn during the Second Empire period. The tunic is dove gray; the pantaloons shown above are close to the garance color favored by French troops in that era. Most French hussar regiments were issued sky-blue uniforms but the 3rd Hussars resisted the change. I've shown Kramer's Hussars pelisse in this color.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Onwards and upwards.

Following the pleasing results of my first conversion of figures to tricorn'ed glory, I've embarked on a second regiment. Thanks to all who posted kind comments on the pictures.

The new figures are equipped mostly with shakos which require cutting off (for the "hat" companies to be) or trimming and filing (for the grenadier company). A bit more work is involved but there's no rush. It'll make up the yet to be named third and final regiment in the Margravate army's first brigade.
By the way, is anyone else having trouble with Sitemeter? They migrated to a new server recently and the hit counters have vanished. I do like to see how many visit this blog (5,200+ at last count) and from whence my fellow gamers spring.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

The Assembling Might of the Markgraaf

On an upland heath IR 1 Prinz Georg and IR 2 Margravine Josefina's Own maneuver, screened by the Sobelsburg Jagers...

...watched critically from the rear by Babbington's Legion.


So here we have them, the first two regiments of the first brigade in the Margraaf's army. In the distance is IR 1 Prinz Georg, screened by the Sobelsburg Jager Regiment. Directly behind them are Babbington's Legion, a mercenary regiment composed mostly of British Catholic exiles. Formerly in Gallian pay then in service to the Free Stadt of Cottbus, they now serve the Markgraaf as a steady veteran regiment. In the foreground is IR 2 Margravine Josefina's Own, the latest regiment to join the colors.


The figures are Spencer Smith (IR 1) and Front Rank Miniatures (the rest). IR2 began life as 1990's vintage French Republican infantry before a little conversion work turned them into tricorn'ed heroes in waiting. All scenic work was composed using a basic brown cloth with some touching up using Microsoft Picture It photo suite.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Conversion job - finished

All done. Very tiring day driving so photos tomorrow. =)

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Conversion job - nearly done

All the new figures are based and the flock is drying even as we speak. Once I get a set of colors done for IR 1 to bear in battle, I'll take pics...

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Pootling on...

Not a huge amount to report. Real life tended to get in the way of hobbies these last few days. Still, I've begun painting the grenadier company of the Margravine's Regiment. They'll follow the same format as the "hat" companies, but their greatcoats will be in a lighter shade of green. I converted the shakos to bearskins but retained the peaks. They'll now be a form of bearskin distinctive to the Margrave's army, of a style known as "Josies" after the Margravine.
Margravine Josefina noticed the soldiers of the grenadier companies squinting in the bright sunlight during an inspection parade of the new regiments. Being a compassionate woman she asked that something be done to modify their headgear to give them the same advantages as their hat company brethren. The generals don't particularly like the design but the "request" came from their boss' wife, so it stands. In any case, the grenadiers like it as it keeps the sun and weather out of their eyes, and appreciate the Margravine's concern for their welfare.
The Markgraaf limits his comments to grumbling about the cost.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

IR2 - Margravine Josefina's Own Regiment of Foot

The regiment on parade for the first time.

Some new recruits...
On the whole I'm pretty pleased with the way these figures came out. As I mentioned earlier I discovered a batch in greatcoats and shakos which will be converted to a bearskin-wearing grenadier company for this regiment. Two of the new recruits are pictured to the left on the bottom photo. This morning I rooted out another batch of greatcoated figures - enough for the third regiment in the Margave's army! All I need do is to add a cavalry regiment of some kind, a battery of artillery apiece, and the armies of Dunkeldorf-Pfuhl and Hetzenberg will clash.
All I have to do after that is to get them together on the same continent...
The greatcoats are painted in loden green, a nice color for an Austrianesque army, I think. As usual I printed-off the regimental colors after designing them using the standard Paint program on my computer. They were hand painted with acrylics mixed with a little Klear polish, followed by a coat of Klear when dry to give the shiny silken effect. The basework will be done once the grenadier company is completed so it looks consistent.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Conversion job - 4

I've almost completed the new regiment converted to SYW-like figures from French Napoleonics. All that remains is for the musicians (a drummer and fifer) to be painted before I can begin on the the base work. I should have all done by tomorrow, and I'll post some pictures then.

On the whole I'm pleased with the results. I have a batch of French infantry in bicorns which *may* bear conversion in a similar way, and some French Chasseurs a' cheval (I think) which might change to hussars without too much work. We'll see.
Additional: Since making the above post I've discovered another 6 figures in greatcoats and shakos that can be converted to bearskin-wearing grenadiers. Although I was going to make this regiment a *light* one at 18 figures I can now add the grenadier contingent.