Austrian 1866 Gunners Repurposed as Hungarian/Honved Gunners
I mentioned in an earlier post that my Hungarian/Honved contingent was complete--with the exception of command and artillery. Regarding command, I have commissioned a mounted Hungarian command figure with Steve Barber that will work nicely as a generic middle level commander, and I know of another higher level command figure in the works commissioned by another person. I get the feeling that one or both of these might be coming out soon. As far as the artillery, I recall seeing a news item (I don't recall exactly where) more than a year ago showing Hungarian/Honved artillerists. As such, I have been anticipating the release of these for some time. In the meantime, I moved ahead, figuring that given my pace and other projects that it would be unlikely that I would be at the point of completing my Hungarians before the gunners came out. And of course the unlikely has happened.
Having reached this point, I've decided to go ahead with "Plan B" and convert the North Star 1866 Austrian Artillery figures I have on hand into Hungarian/Honved Gunners rather than wait any further. Momentum is with me, and I don't want to lose it. As far as comparability, the Austrian kit is very close to the Hungarian, the major difference being the Austrian small form shako as opposed to the Hungarian full sized one. However, the Hungarians also wore the kepi, which is what I'm using as my license to steal. Thus, I will do my Honved gunners in kepis, which will not only set them apart from their similarly brown-coated Austrian adversaries, but add a dash of color as well, with Hungarian "red cap" gunners and gunners in the standard blue kepi.
Converted kepi gunners with original figure (circled): North Star Austrian gunners
Of course, I couldn't just paint the Austrian shakos like kepis and leave it at that--oh, no, this would never do! Instead, I decided to undertake a small conversion: I would reduce the height of the shako to kepi-size and add a Hungarian pompom. For the curious, this was a fairly simple process, involving a small wire cutter, an exacto knife, a dab of green stuff, a stream of muttering and invective--and Bob's yer uncle, Hungarian gunners!
The way of the world being what it is, I fully expect to see, ere this lot is done, some beautifully rendered Hungarian gunners among the "New Releases" on the Steve Barber website. In that case, I'll certainly be among the first to get them, but given this process, I'll probably feel obliged to convert them into something else (perhaps Mexicans...). Take this as a cautionary tale, dear reader, to avoid the conversion mania or you'll wind up like me!