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Thursday, 27 August 2015

The tutorial ends here

     I completed the element I made in the tutorial last night. Here's the finished article.

Just need another light horse element to complete the Blucher base, Turned out quite well I think

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

woodcarving for beginners......

            I had a request from a reader about converting MDF figures and if a tutorial would be possible. Here it is

            To be fair to Walt of commision-figurines the range is quite large now and can with a bit of creative painting cover most types you will need. High comb helmets are said to be on the way and I understand he has Prussian landwehr available off list. If you have a particular need, talk to Walt he can probably help . There are cases however  where conversion is necessary and Bavarian cavalry are a troop type you need to convert and is the subject of this tutorial. The first principle to remember is the figures are not like 28mm plastic, they are 6mm and wooden. So we start at small and fiddly and a media that will split and split very easily. So what you can do is very limited. Most of a conversion consists of a paint job. The only really major conversions you can easily attempt are head changes and minor detail additions.  


                       The vital tools are minimal. The first requirement is a VERY sharp knife that's comfortable to use. ie fits the hand and is simple to guide and hold.  When I say the knife has to be sharp I mean super sharp, almost new and slices through paper etc. I use a Swann Morton knife for which I have a large number of new blades. I guess that's a habit learned from living in Spain and buying everything by mail order. The knife I use is a wonderful little beauty. You can see it here my swann-morton . A nice pair of tweezers will help in locating parts. A decent pair of pliers with flat faces serve in making flags etc. Some end cutters preferably for cutting wire are essential. The final essential tool is a bottle of Loctite super glue three and some nozzles. The super glue makes use of the porosity of the MDF and gives you the strength in depth you need in putting on the heads as it soaks into the wood. The nozzles are vital for getting small quantities of glue in exactly the place you need. These are the type I use extender tip . There are many suppliers for this, you just have to find one in your area. With regards to the craft knife I have three in use. One is super sharp almost new. The second is for normal work and gets the new blade once the edge has gone. The third is rubbish and gets the blade from the second one heheheh


                          The figures I will be prepping are the Bavarian cavalry. There are two types one with square shabraque used by the dragoons  and the other with the light cavalry, long pointed style used by the chevauxlegers. In this case I will make the dragoons  The basic figure will be a French dragoon without plume and head removed with a helmeted head from the infantry. the figures we will make are

9 basic cavalry
1 trumpeter with bicorne side to side.  (head from bicorn infantry
1 commander with bicorne front to back (head from bicorn infantry)
1 standard bearer with helmeted head.
I will be adding plumes to the helmets and carbines. (from cartridge paper)


First gently scrape away any imperfections left by the burning. Not a lot of this but at 6mm it can look ugly.

 Now we start to get fiddly. Cut the head from the figure using a downward slice at the shoulders and remove the head. Try to leave a flat, horizontal surface at the shoulders.

Carve away the remnants of the horsehair on the back. 

 Lets start with the bicorne. First thin the bicorne. They are a bit chunky. Then cut off the head at the shoulders . Again try to keep it flat and square.
drop a small drip of superglue on the shoulders and let it cure as it soaks into the MDF when its almost dry add a drip more and glue the head in position! Can't pretend here this is really fiddly.Hold the position till the Superglue cures. . 

Now do the same for the general and the standard bearer. 

For the standard bearer, drill a 0.5mm hole at the end of his foot to take the support leg of the standard.  cut a piece of 0.45mm brass rod to roughly the size required and make a short L shaped support at the bottom. 

repeat the process for the head applying a troopers head and then superglue the short leg of the "L" into the hole drilled previously. Make sure the standard passes roughly where the hand should be and superglue in place leaving a small blob in the right place to form the hand when painted. 

cut the plumes from cartridge paper and shape with the sharp knife. Superglue the plumes in position. I use the blade of my blunt knife , wet it with spit and use it to pick up the plume.  

 finally cut a carbine from cartridge paper and glue in place on the trooper.

That is more or less it!. Simply repeat the trooper 8 times and the unit is ready for painting. If things don't go well to begin with keep trying.

 It sounds easy but is really quite fiddly. Took me a while to learn the tricks.

Hope this has been of use!

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Oh dear the merest flutter of wings.

                    Today for the first time in almost a year I heard the flutter of those tiny wings and the butterfly was aroused!!!! Somehow my eyes were drawn to my now antique collection of 15mm ancients and a few quick thoughts crossed my mind. I'm sure you know what I mean .

Thoughts like:-
              What rules system.
               Big bases
               Packed troops
               Impetus or maybe dux bellorum redated.

                   It was a soft flutter but nothing serious and I managed to return to 2 battalions of Bavarians and a half rgt of cuirassiers but it's quite worrying. Oh yeah and I found the last delivery from Pendraken for the planned expansion for my imaginations across the great lake into the wild woods of the east. 10mm Cossacks and woodsmen ..  Planned in a moment of madness here With Growing Excitement

               Who knows????????

almost compulsory

                   I recently saw a post for a site called they have republished the wonderful series of booklets by W.J. Rawkins produced I believe in the late '70's
These were simply the best reference books available at the time. It's hard to explain just how much information was hidden in the pages of these booklets which covered most of the small nations. They have been updated and produced in PDF form on DVD. THEY ARE NOT DOWNLOADS. they are however very cheap at 3,99 GBP . I cannot recommend them enough...

In particular I love statements like the infantry were ordered to wear shakos in 1809 but many still wore bicorns in 1811. That's the sort of detail you really need.

So which rules are best for me.

                    Followers of this blog will be aware that when I started my 6mm project I had adopted a hybrid set hashed from  "altar of freedom"/"snappy nappy" Both of which are brilliant fast play corps level rules. We were relatively happy as to where we had arrived with this set when BIG SAM published BLUCHER. We adapted our figures to the ruleset and have spent a few months exploring the rules which have become the standard for our group. I guess most folks are aware of the rules, their simplicity and speed of play and the fun element supplied by the pre-battle manoeuvre system Scharnhorst (which of course could and should be used with any rules system)
                                   For the reasons given my group are sticking with Blucher at the present. I however am still not convinced along with another member of our small group. I really like the "AoF" hybrid. For those who haven't followed some of the earlier posts I will rehash some of the earlier explanations  of how we developed them. I played altar of freedom and immediately fell in love with the command and control system. I particularly loved the variable time system using the clock. Very simple and extremely elegant. Generals are allocated pips per turn which they use to bid for troop movement (by division) or control of the clock. The scenario designer needs a little skill here in allocating the pips as that really affects the game play. We tried using it for Napoleonic but it just didn't feel right. Movement and combat were very much ACW.  for a good description of an ACW game see altar of freedom gameplay

                                        We also tried "Snappy nappy" and really enjoyed enjoyed the rules but felt the C&C was a little cumbersome. However our troop basing was built on this rule set so we decided to persevere.  Then after the legendary light bulb ignited I simply took an axe to both sets of rules and took the C&C from "AoF" and the movement and combat from "SN" . They went together seamlessly and the group loved them. I enjoy Blucher but still prefer the elegance of the variable length move not quite matched by Blucher's MO system. Aesthetically I much prefer the hybrid it does look good but involves a lot of individual base movement. As an experiment   I have ordered some mdf bases to use as sabots. Here's a couple of battle shots . What do you think?

 "nappy AoF"
This clearly highlights the high number of elements to move

Much less units but still feels Napoleonic.

     Perhaps one of the other things that affects my thinking is that AAR's using "nappy AoF" produce battle reports that are spookily like reading about the real thing. I particularly like this one 

The battle of Cazabellissima

So there we have it. It looks like Blucher with friends and "nappy altar of freedom" for solo play. 

Friday, 14 August 2015

Lordy lordy the heat is too much...

        Wow what a summer we are having here. The hottest I can remember in 30 years. It's too hot to do much at all night-time temperatures of 30 plus and many days of 40 plus . Way too hot. That and holidays are my excuse for not posting much.  I have managed a few bits and pieces though and here they are

My first element of French Cuirassiers. Turned out nicely I think . Not much conversion apart from the officer in Bicorn.

Bavarian cavalry . I used French dragoons with the heads from the helmeted infantry.. Thank goodness I only need 4 more elements.

I also managed  a few more Bavarian Infantry