Wednesday, November 21, 2018


In my previous post, dear readers, I reported on the beginnings of my latest project, the conversion of several figures as Honved command figures. In particular, I related how I was going to... 

 ....represent a snappy Grenz Staff Officer (left) by converting a Perry Figures Carlist War command figure (right). The major difference in the end would be that the subject Grenz officer is in a tailcoat and the figure is not.  As I was painting what was visible of the trousers on said figure, my mind was wandering, as it tends to.  I was especially thinking about this as I was making the most of the little bit of black and yellow braiding that was visible.  This brought to mind the the difference between the tailcoat, with trouser leg exposed, and the mostly covered trouser under the tailcoat.  Which then started me thinking about other likely figures--and it was then that I realized that there might be a closer match. And so there was, from the Perry Napoleonic range...
 ..specifically, the staff officer in the Perry DB 1 set (Prince William of Orange Command).  This figure is spot on. And since both are Perrys, the proportions would be consistent.  Even better, I had this figure set on hand! (No more fussing over having a lead pile for me!). 

Conversion of the DB 1 figure, above: ready for priming as soon as the green stuff sets.  As before, I shaved down the uniform ornaments, clipped the bicorne a bit to fit the lines of the subject, and then clipped the small tuft and added the more pronounced, hanging feather tuft using green stuff. This figure includes a nicely sculpted sash (I was thinking of whether I was going to try and work that up somehow on the other figure.
I suppose I could have just gone ahead with the original plan, but once I knew that there was this closer match I found myself aiming to do it later, anyway.  So I figured it was better to just switch lanes before things had gone too far and go for it now. At least this is a minor shift in a small project, which helped with the decision. (That's my story and I'm sticking with it!)

Now, while I'm painting this fellow, I'm sure that I'll be dwelling on ways to use the original figure, and goodness knows what madness that will bring on. 

Well, we're on the eve of the Thanksgiving Holiday here in the US.  After an interlude of good food and drink, there should be some quality time for painting, too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018


Although there are mounted Hungarian command figures in the pipeline coming from Steve Barber Models (one of which I actually commissioned), there are none to be had at the moment (well, there is a mounted general officer, but I'm not particularly taken by the look of him: a matter of taste; what can I say?).  Thus, I've decided to go ahead with some conversions of my own  (big surprise, right?) to both get some figures on the table now and also because I fancy the way that they will look (and probably because I have a problem and can't stop doing these me!)...

 LTG Artur Georgei

Looking about, I found figures suitable to do three commanders.  As usual, in this post you may clix pix for BIG PIX.  First up, there is  Lt Gen Artur Georgei, pictured above (image taken from the indispensible Gyozo Somogyi Honved Army 1848-49).
For LTG G, I went with this figure from the Perry Miniatures ACW Confederate Commanders set. He's pretty close, to include the high boots. Two key correspondences on the Perry fig are the short jacket and the brimmed hat (although the turned up corner is a bit of a license: you can't have it all when converting!)
I added a feather to the hat using lead foil reinforced by J&B Kwik Weld (miracle stuff for metal on metal and jobs like this). I shaved down the details--the vest, cravat, and holster. I covered over the details on the "gunslinger" belt and buckle with some green stuff to create a sash.  The lapels aren't quite right, but they'll actually be a better platform to paint-in the button braiding details.   I think this fellow will be quite snappy when done.

 Honved Staff Officer In the Uniform of a Border Regiment
Next up, I decided that I could add this rather dandy looking Grenz officer to the general's staff.  (Image again taken from the excellent Smogyi text).   
For this fellow, I once again turned to my go-to conversion figure, the Spanish Colonel from the Perry Carlist War Isabelino Foreign Command set.  Readers of this blog may recall that I've converted this same figure into both a Danish Chief of Staff and an Austrian General
For this conversion, I added the feather tuft on the headgear using green stuff (as I have before), and I shaved down the epaulettes, buttons, and other details on the coat and hat. This will replicate the clean lines of the uniform and allow me to paint-in the single row of buttons in place of the double that the figure had. The coat isn't an exact match for the Grenz officer's tailcoat, but it is close enough to my eye and will look right from all but a head on viewing angle. 

Count Dembinski
 Honved General Staff Officer (left) in Slant Cap (right)

For the third and last command figure, I can represent either Count Dembinski or a Honved General Staff Officer (images once again from the  Smogyi text).  I haven't decided yet.  Both would be in the green jacket and pelisse. The major difference would be the color of the slant cap.  The staff officers wore green hats. 
For this conversion, I used a combination of a Steve Barber Senior Honved dismounted command figure and a Foundry Austrian Red Hussar from their Maximillian Adventure range. I chose the latter because it has the distinctive (and spot on) mid century hussar attila (and is an excellent figure sculped by Aly Morrison, of course: can't go wrong!).
Starting Point (left): The Austrian red hussar and the Honved command figure. The conversion (right): the head of the Honved figure on the torso of the red hussar (sorry, Aly!).  The proportions between the SB head and the Foundry torso meshed very well, I think.  I'm leaning towards painting this fellow up in the Count Dembinski motif as opposed to the staff officer, but you'll have to tune in again see which one it will be.

And that, dear readers, is what I'm up to at the moment.  

Sunday, November 11, 2018


Although we may play with toy soldiers in this hobby, we recognize that it is a bloodless pursuit with no consequence. Nevertheless, it is well that we pause at this time of year to recognize the reality of the stakes involved for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in military service, past, present, and future. 
"Bury Me With Soldiers"  A poem written by the Rev. Charles R. Fink, a Roman Catholic Priest of St. Philip Neri’s Church in Northport, NY who served in Vietnam from March 1969 to March 1970 as a Sergeant in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade.

....A powerful version of the Rev Fink's verse set to song by Micheal Oneal

The troops I know were commonplace;
They didn’t want the war
They fought because their fathers and
Their father’s fathers had before.
They cursed and killed and wept –
God knows they’re easy to deride –
But bury me with men like these;
They faced the guns and died.

As a (now) old soldier, the Rev Fink's lines resonate more every year.

Monday, November 5, 2018


Battle Honors 25mm 1866 Austrian Uhlans 
In this post, dear readers, we return to painting units as opposed to single command figures. Having recently added Uhlans to my Prussian force, I thought it only proper that I should continue to follow the lancer longitude and produce a counterpart Austrian contingent.  After all, it just wouldn't do to have Prussian but not Austrian uhlans given how much the latter were a signature presence in the Austrian force structure.  For this project, I turned to the Battle Honors 25mm Austro Prussian line of figures. This is a venerable set of figs, as such on the small side, but the sculpts themselves are better than average for their time (with good detail and fair proportions).  I've tapped this most comprehensive figure line before when looking to fill gaps in my mid century continental forces.  The cavalry works well enough with other lines so long as you don't mix the figures.   
From the NYPL Vinkhuijzen Collection

The 1866 Austrian uhlan uniform differs from its Napoleonic predecessor in several ways. The most distinctive is the falling crest on the czapka, which is held in place by two faux metal chinstraps.  Also, although not reflected in the above images, the czapka cord was actually not attached to the headgear in practice but draped around the neck (according to the Osprey on the Austrian Cavalry, 1836-66).  Interestingly, the Battle Honors sculpts get these idiosyncratic details right, to include the disembodied czapka cord.  I must say that it was a good thing that I had read about these points in my references.  Otherwise, I would have been hard pressed to decipher all the lines and cords on the figures, especially in the naked lead stage.  Curiously enough some of the other details are off, like the absence of the "flounders" on the left shoulder (except for the officer, which has them), and instead of the single cord that drapes down from the crossbelt there are what appear to be two aiguillettes coming down from the left shoulder, which look like they might be holdovers from another version of this sculpt. I managed to shake myself out of this deep focus on these details, however, and shifted gears to the reality of presentation. Thus, I decided to paint the figures as sculpted, which is 99 percent correct at the micro level but 100 percent correct in terms of actual presentation.  In the below studies, as usual, you may clix pix for BIG PIX.  

Like my Prussians, I added two regiments plus a trumpeter...

By 1866, all Austrian uhlan regiments shared the same red uniform details (piping, cuffs, lapels, and trouser stripes).  Although the colored lapels were capable of being covered, leaving only the trim (like the Prussian uhlans), and references said that the Austrian uhlans wore the standard gray light cavalry coveralls, not a single illustration I came across showed anything other than the colored lapels and the green trousers with red stripe.  Thus, I went with this more colorful scheme--as befitting of "chocolate box soldiers" in the last hurrah before khaki!
Interestingly, the top of the officers' czapkas were in the regimental color, while the troopers' were black leather, which is another difference between the mid-century and Napoleonic uniforms. 

I wound up hand painting the lance pennons. The black counterstripe on the yellow field  is another distinction of the mid century Austrian uhlan kit. I replaced the lances that came with the figs with Northstar wire spears, cut to length so that they would fit in the storage boxes along with the rest of my figures--always a potential issue with lancers in the upright position, exacerbated in my case by the added height of the thick bases.  Fortunately, these lances didn't come out looking too stubby.
The regimental distinctions were reflected in the czapka colors--reds, blues, greens, white, and of course, imperial yellow.  I decided to break from the usual signature imperial yellow headgear and went with the more novel blue and red.

Just as with my Prussians, I did a trumpeter, even though it would be an "extra" figure.  The falling red plume of the musician is a rather good look.  The black and yellow cords and mixed black and yellow in the epaulettes on these figures was a challenge. I was thinking of just leaving them yellow--which would have been another 100 percent solution in practice--but since I had done these details on my Austrian Hussars (also Battle Honors) to good effect, I thought I'd do them on the uhlans for consistency.  Doing these proved more challenging and time consuming than on the hussars, which was contrary to expectation (Something more involved than hussars? Impossible). Fortunately, the figure count was low enough that I was able to sustain the effort and get at least a consistent look across the figures.
Trumpeter, sound the charge!

A surprisingly snappy looking group--a close second to hussars.

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