Sunday, 25 January 2009

A Bit Of A Bore (Part 2)

More than 200 Stadden infantry have passed through the recruiting sergeant's hands since I started this project. While the rest now march proudly in the ranks of the four battalions so far embodied, one unfortunate individual - known locally as the 'The Not So-Good Soldier Švejk' - has been separated from his fellows and left to languish in the spares box.

His problem stems from a little bit of crud that found its way into the mould when he was born into this world. Although it missed all his vital organs it found its way into the musket - the most vulnerable part of the casting. As a result, said musket was found to be fragile and, with a minimum of force, broke in two when tested. At the time I had no ready solution to the problem and so 'Švejk' was put to one side. He does, however, provide an opportunity for some experimentation. In my last post I expressed my reservations about the qualities of the 30mm musket: with the offending article broken on this casting I can try some surgery without risking a perfectly decent figure.

As John Preece noted in his comment on the last post, there was a time when Minifigs spears were noted for being rather more like the trunk of a tree than the bough from which a spear was made. One of their main competitors - Hinchliffe - addressed this problem by providing a length of steel rod with every spearman. I intend to use the same approach: using a piece of brass rod to replace the barrel, and to form the bayonet by beating the end of the rod flat. Having epoxied the rod onto the figure, some milliput can then be used to hide any gaps and replace parts of the wooden stock that were also lost when the musket broke.

Our Eponymous Hero - A Reformed Švejk

The accompanying photo shows Švejk as he now is. The task of fixing his musket turned out to be relatively simple: the one 'trick' of note is to avoid thinning the musket until after attaching the brass rod. The rod acts as a guide that can be used to slide the craft knife along, as well as strengthening the softer cast metal so it doesn't merely bend when attacked by the knife.

With Švejk summoned back from the dead. The final question was into which regiment I should put him. This was an easy one - where else should a soldier with a dodgy musket held together with brass rod and milliput go, but into the Reichsarmee? I have painted him in the uniform of IR Furstenberg, details being copied from Project SYW, except I have given him white gaiters.

Comparison shot of unmodified and 'improved' figures

As a repair for a broken figure, the method is (for me at least) a success. I am not entirely convinced that improvement to an unbroken figure would be sufficient reward for the amount of work involved: the last photo allows comparison with an unmodified figure. The original Stadden musket does not need replacement so urgently as on other, cruder, figures. However, the improvement is not only in original looks but also in durability - something that will only become apparent after the figure has seen some use.


Der Alte Fritz said...

Hmm, those Staddens could almost pass for Austrians when painted in a white coat. Something to consider.

Fitz-Badger said...

Nice work on the musket repair!
I had to repair the musket on one of my minis a while back. You can see the picture on this post
The militia soldier. I used brass rod for the barrel and a bit of greenstuff putty for the band. Came out a bit heavy.