Friday, April 22, 2016

Making it Real (1): Prepping

It's been such a very long time since my last post and since I turned my attention to progressing my passion for wargaming the Williamite period. The essential issue is that this is simply one of many wargaming interests and it competes with my other cravings.

So, out came the box of my Williamite white metal collection and away I go. As you may recall, I determined to go with a parchment, colourless paint scheme to represent how a battle might look in the sketches of the period. The figures and terrain will all be in a sepia wash. Where uniform details are available I may introduce some coloured units into the mix in the future but for starters, it's a parchment effect for the first units.

In prepping the figures (all Front Range - late 17th Century range) I cut my own pikes and flag poles for the first 36 figure battalion of foot. They have 8 pike and 24 musketeers with a command stand of 4: 2 ensigns, a drummer and commander. I have cut my own replacement steel pikes which is a thicker wire than the rods supplied (see image) - I hammer the ends, cutting and shaping the blade points. I used the spontoon heads from the officer figures, drilling and gluing them on my own steel wire for the flag poles. Drilling a hole and fixing the butt with Araldite in the base and the open hand, I closed the hands over the shaft with needle-nose pliers for extra strength.

Supplied shafts in front for reference
I decided to model a number of higher crown hats on my figures. Whilst the fashion by 1674 saw a widespread adoption of lower crown felt hats, there are still images depicting older, higher crown fashions amongst common soldiery - though not many. Whilst I love the tall 'pilgrim' crown hats of the previous generation, I have gone for a flat topped crown just double the height of the figures supplied. I deliberately made the drummer's hat close to a pilgrim.

High hats before cutting and filing them down.
I filed the figures crown flat, drilled and Superglue'd a pin made from the soft spontoon shafts from the officer figures. This proved important as I could slice through the extensions with a scalpel  once the green stuff had set. I built the extension around the pin using Green Stuff epoxy putty, sculpting and filing the finished extensions once they had set sufficiently (overnight).
Cut down hats

I'm ready to undercoat them now. I think at this time I'm going to undercoat them with a darker, grey-brown water based metal primer. I'm using house paints - a White-Knight tintable primer coloured to Taubman's 'Pickle Barrel' (7Db-2). I'm not used to acrylics and it has a satin finish so we'll see how we go. I can dilute it as I see fit. The undercoat will really be the base coat over which I'll heavily dry brush with an enamel tinted to 'Barefoot Beach' (Taubman's 9Da-3) for than bone/cream over grey brown. I'll finish with a light dry brushing of white just to hit the highlights before varnishing. One textured, the bases will be done in the same way as will the terrain and buildings - all in the same three toned finish. I still don't know if it will work so will experiment on one figure first. If it does, consistency of finish is crucial for everything on the table-top.

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