Thursday, 28 January 2010

Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad

As the photos show, the second squadron of Hohenzollern Cuirassiers is, at last, complete.  The time taken to complete a squadron is not down to the painting required: as with any low-detail figure, painting is actually relatively quick and easy.  The problem lies with the preparation: each figure has three cast components and another seven items made out of wire, milliput and paper.  Added to that, there's the need to fix any casting flaws with more milliput.  I am reminded of the Douglas DC3, an aircraft that was described as a "a collection of parts flying in loose formation."

Wire, Milliput and Paper in Line

The third squadron is already cast and is now undergoing assembly.  With the completion of the rank and file now plainly on the horizon, I need to decide what to do about the regiment's officers.  I'd prefer to complete the regiment using all my own figures: my first attempt to do so will be by converting the trooper figure by cutting off straps and modelling coats without turnbacks using milliput.

Meanwhile, my attempts at sculpting some new figures is going badly.  I have an acceptable dolly now, but building up the uniform on top of it is proving a frustrating task.  It seems that whenever I add milliput to the dolly, the stuff is determined to adhere to anything else.  However, I shall persevere: the only way to succeed at something like this is to work at it and learn from each failure.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Mangling The Milliput

My experiment with creating sculpting dollies is progressing slowly. The first problem was deciding what gauge wire to use. 1/32" brass rod would seem to offer the right degree of stiffness, but might be a bit thick compared to the limbs of the dolly I am trying to create. I have some garden wire that's thinner, so I'll try making a dollies using both types of wire.

The Milliput Production Line
The photo shows the two dollies in progress. One is still attached to the paper template, the second has been detached from the paper so that its back can start being rounded out. As can be seen, I haven't followed the shape of the template as well as I might. But I am not sure how much effort I should put into that kind of detail yet: if I acheived decent proportions at this stage, all that might be wasted if it doesn't look right once the dolly is bent into the required pose. This is something I'll appreciate better once I've gotten to the later stages on this, my first attempt.
I have also shown the production line for my cuirassier's muskets. I use a single template with eight muskets so I can create multiple muskets per session: I chose eight because this quantity doesn't get too boring to do all at once. Brass rod bent to shape, rods with milliput (crudely) applied still glued to the template, some muskets needing more milliput where I've accidentally broken it off, and the finished article, is shown. I have found it easier to shape the milliput after it has set rather than be too particular when applying it: the muskets are so thin that the milliput can be filed to the correct shape very quickly.