Thursday, 29 October 2009

Its been a long time coming

That's both this post and it's subject. But first off a thank you to all those who responded to my rather lazy invitation to write this blog for me. As always some really thought provoking comments that I will return to in time.

I was quietly sticking bits of lorry together when a lot came up on ebay. Stadden Pavlovski Guard Grenadiers 33 figures! Like all of you when I first bought Charge! for the very expensive sum of 3 Guineas, I drooled over the pictures and loved the light infantry. I am sure we all vowed to have a unit ourselves one day. The seller certainly had because the figures were organised exactly right for Charge.

A few clicks later the figures were mine for the very low price of £6. Of course at that price I am happy with a few blemishes and a few bayonets missing and a slight amount of lead rot are tolerable. So straight off into a bleach soak to stabilise the oxidisation, this also turns it brown so that it can easily be removed with brass wire brush. At the same time I decided to remove all of the bayonets rather than replace a missing few. My excuse is that they are skirmishers and it gives them a reason to Carry the sabre moulded at their side.
With the knife in my hand I got carried away. The officers had all Napoleonic bits such as epaulets removed and while I was at it I sawed away the packs that they were carrying. I quite understand that an officer may wish to have a warm cloak and a cold chicken and bottle of champagne to hand, but in my armies a Gentleman will have a manservant to carry such things. The sword went at the same time, a pin will be required here.

The unit has a mounted officer in the book. Interestingly Stadden never made one so a search brought out a George Washington figure that would do the job. A head donor was selected and the saw was back in action. I do wonder if I could have brought myself to hack away if these had cost £1.20 a figure rather than 20p.
Almost finished and yet... After being involved in the 'WarGamers' refight of Sitangbad I realise that their is always a degree of tension involved when copying these classic units. Does one slavishly copy or adapt as it goes along? In this case I thought I would change the figures a little to personalise them for myself. I was unsure about the tall brass fronted mitre for Light infantry. I think I prefer the idea of a cloth mitre. I have always liked the way that it is illustrated by contemporaries as curved to the front like a 'Noddy' hat. So out with the pliers and file and I change Charles Stadden's perfect rendition of a grenadiers mitre into something much more sloppy.

Since I am having the temerity to meddle with the masters work, I decide to add pigtails. I do like all my 18C to have powder and queues. This is a job for greenstuff. I hate Greenstuff it sticks to everything but the figure and works like a blob of chewing gum. Still I do one, perhaps tomorrow I will go and get some epoxy putty.

Time to start thinking about what colour to paint them. Like an archaeologist studying tomb paintings I start to pore over the illustrations to Charge. And that is where things get interesting. But I will leave that for my next post...


Jim Wright said...

Why not paint them up as shown the period illustration of the curved hats you used?

Brass mitre, green coats, red trim, white pants, white belting, black boots.

It works.


Der Alte Fritz said...

I wouldn't bend the mitres John. They have enough natural curve represented by the slope of the cloth backing.

You could probably ask CSG Jr. what color the originals were.

Ross Mac said...

Good hunting! Green jackets are of course traditional for light troops, the fact that they were born Russian only makes it more fitting, but perhaps green pantaloons or red instead of white? Less conspicous and easier to keep respectable looking when flitting about woods and farms.
I like the cloth cap idea,what about a low brass plate in fron with the embroidered bag above? Puts me in mind of the Danish CNW mitres or early Scots Greys.
Looks to late but what about milliput vs green stuff? Less chewing gum-ish.

WSTKS-FM Worldwide said...

Morning John,

Exciting news and an equally interesting post! Looking forward to your next post.

Best Regards,


abdul666 said...

For me I really like the way you 'personalized' them. Now they no longer are quasi'generic' minis to be painted in some unhistorical combination of colors, but really are *your* creation.

Green coat / mahogany facings is a 'classic' possibility for such light troops, but what about reversing it?

Looking eagerly forward to discover the unit in its painted metal!

abdul666 said...

'Charge!' is indeed a great book (though imho 'The War Game' is definitively superior, both as an irresistible introduction to wargaming and -except for the artillery templates- as a set of rules) but would not it be excessive to treat is as some Holy Text carved in stone? For 'The Wargamers'' refight of Sittanbag most of units were in 'invented' uniforms -they *had* to be, since obly the cover of the book is in full colours. Thus, feel free to dress your regiment as you like!

How does your *Bohemia* sits with regard to this 'Charge!' project?

Btw I wondered why so many people undertake a 'Charge!' project (explicitly or implicitly, re. the name of the 'Emperor vs Elector' collective blog) and so few a 'War Game' one? I guess it has to do with the scale of the battles illustrated in the books. 'Action!' in 'The War Game' is too diminutive to be really inspirational, as opposed to Blasthof Bridge, while the huge size of Mollwitz (as compared to Sittanbag) is deterring the average wargamer?

Anonymous said...

Floppy mitres? Whatever next? Given the fact that they were fairly heavily embroidered, I'm not sure how floppy they would actually be, but I concur that they would not look metallic, stiff and Prussian.

Good to see you inspired by such lovely figures and having fun with Green Stuff. It makes me realise how most of us, for the vast majority of the time, just pick up figures and paint them 'as is' when a little personalisation can transform not only the look of our games, but also how we feel about the troops we are using.

marinergrim said...


If it had been me and I'd had to pay full whack they would not have met the saw and pliers either.

old-tidders said...

What a good buy; like the floppy mitre idea. I'm sure they will be a fine unit when painted.

-- Allan

Peeler said...

What a great buy! i like the way you've personalised them, and look forward to seeing them painted and conducting daring deeds on the tabletop.