Monday, 16 June 2008

Methode d'Equitation

No, not Baucher's work, but simply a bit more on the correction of the bad habits of a Prussian dragoon officer. I haven't read the book anyway, I was just looking for a title, and a pretentious one will do fine (I came across a reference to Baucher while reading a biography of Louis Nolan). I've gone ahead with my plan, the remodelling of the draggon officer being done in a number of stages.

The big problem I find is that I have a bad habit of holding the wrong place and so damaging other bits that I've just done. This is a particular hazard when the milliput decides to misbehave (a common occurrence) and I concentrate on the immediate problem and forget about other, vulnerable parts of the model. The only solution is to let the milliput harden before continuing. So what should have been a simple, quick modelling task took a few days while I allowed the milliput to harden between each stage.

Step one was the easy bit: mostly a matter of minor vandalism as I attacked the figure with a craft knife. I removed the horse furniture (reins on the horse, and blanket and pistol holders on the officer). The officer's scabbard was lost along with the blanket that it was attached to, so a pin hole was drilled to accept a wire scabbard that would be added later. The officer's coat at the rear was also pared down a bit. A paper saddle blanket was then glued onto the horse, and the officer was then glued onto that, now of course, in the desired upright position. So far so simple.

Step two saw the application of milliput to form the lower parts of the horse furniture. First up was the rear of the saddle aft of the rider's buttocks. The front of the saddle was next added although this is invisible and serves only to support the rider and the pistol holders, which were then placed on top. The square pads beneath and to the rear of the rider's legs were then added. Lastly, the horse's mane, where it was damaged when removing the reins, was also repaired. None of this is particularly difficult as it involves only simple geometric shapes. The figure after this stage is shown in the photo.

After Minor Vandalism and Some Milliput

The next step started with a wire sword scabbard being pushed into the hole drilled in step one. With this in place I could then add more bits of milliput to extend the rider's coat downwards. This requires rather more skill and judgement than previously, and I found it easier to do in two steps: the first being to add enough milliput to establish only the general look of the tails. Once this had hardened I tidied up with a needle file and then added a few more touches of milliput to refine things. I also added the top covers of the pistol holders and the pistol buckets at this point.

The final step saw new reins made out of thin, beaten wire glued onto the figure. The officer's hand holding the reins was also remodelled using milliput (as little more than a blob, I'm not a good enough sculptor for anything better). After that it was done to a paint job to hide all faults: the final result is shown below.

The Riding Master's Star Pupil

Well, from my admittedly biased viewpoint, I think the remodelled figure is a big improvement. At the very least there will be no unkind remarks from the ranks about the officer's riding ability: Captain Nolan would have approved of the change.


abdul666 said...

Don't sell you cheap: a very good, and efficient conversion!

Stokes Schwartz said...

Morning Andy,

Your remodelled dragoon is nicely done and quite a stunning improvement versus the original. Wish I had your skill and patience.

Best Regards,


Fitz-Badger said...

I agree, very nice bit of conversion and a much-improved pose!
As for curing time, have you tried using a "putty oven"? What I do is place a small reading lamp (25 watt bulb) over an empty peanut can with the minis placed inside the can. This can speed up curing time enough that I can get multiple sessions of sculpting done in an evening.

Andy Mitchell said...

Speeding up things by reducing curing time will be a huge help: thanks for the tip.

tidders said...

I like the Dragoon Officer now its remodelled - fine work

-- Allan