Saturday, 22 May 2010

The Imperial Infantry At Last (Part 2)

I have finished painting the first four castings. The photos show the final result.

Imperial Infantry (Home sculpted and gravity cast)

Imperial Infantry - Rear View

I have a second mold for the same figure currently drying out: if that works then I have all I need to start casting the figures in quantity. I still plan to make a third mold for safety's sake.

Imperial Infantry - Side View

The muskets are made from 1/32" brass rod, which allows them to be far more slender - and stronger - than if they were cast.  Surprisingly enough using this diameter brass rod means they are still slightly too thick than if they were properly scaled.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Bizarre Basing

One consequence of my starting work on my fifth infantry regiment is that I have to rethink my method for basing the figures. It is apparent that my armies are reaching a size where moving individual figures becomes too lengthy a process to be practical: fighting a battle with hundreds of men on each side cannot be done in the few hours that will generally be available.

Infantry Company on Single Bases?

Moving to a system where I can pick up and move multiple figures is now a necessity. I know trays are used successfully in many big battalions battles. This, to me, is a pragmatic solution that sacrifices too much of the 'look' that I want. The trays have to be relatively robust if they are to hold the weight of an entire big battalion,  and so they add to the already considerable bulk of the bases of the figures and are very noticeable.

But I don't like the look of multi-figure bases either. It is possible to create terrain on them that is, in itself, a work of art, but to my jaundiced eye it never really works out. The problem here is that the bases do not merge tidily into the terrain that they cover. For example, it always appears that a battalion marching along a road is dragging turf and other foliage along with it. The problem becomes worse when the terrain is contoured, as the base cannot sit comfortably on a rounded surface.

I'd like to preserve the look of Charge! formations as much as I can. So I have decided to try using a base that has gaps between the figures on its exterior edges. If the connecting material can be made stiff enough to support the weight of the figures and yet remain sufficiently slight; it might appear to the observer, if he does not look too closely, as if the figures are still individuals.  My infantry battalions are organised into four companies each of twelve rank and file. My plan is to rebase these on eight bases each of six men. This will allow the battalion to be deployed in all the formations I use ( I use three man wide columns of march rather than four man wide).  And so, on the photo at the top of the page, the six figures on the right are all mounted on the same base.  I hope this was not immediately apparent.
I won't be leaving any figures on individual bases for casualty removal: whether I use casualty markers of some form or else rely on record keeping is still undecided.  Officers, standard bearers, and musicians will be left on separate bases so that I will still get the look of Charge! battalions where the mass of the battalion is surrounded and decorated by such folk.