Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Miniature Progress!!!

Hi all! First of all, May the 4th be with you!

Second, after a long wait, I've finally got some lovely miniatures assembled and converted and basecoated to show all y'all!

"Hi, I'm one of Citizen Lafayette's minis,
and I'm one badass mother f****er.

I'm working on a box of plastic "French Napoleonic Infantry 1804-1807" by Victrix. This is a marvelous set of minis that I'm planning to paint up as soldiers of the French Revolution - not a huge stretch! This is my first set of historical miniatures, so I'm excited! 

In this post, I'm going to give a quick walkthrough of my work so far, give my thoughts on the minis and the process, and finally lavish you with the pretty pictures!


The box features lovely artwork depicting Napoleon's finest at their most French, complete with grotesquely droopy mustaches.

Inside the box are 8 eight "sprues," the plastic frames upon which the miniatures are suspended. There are two types of sprue - one with parts for normal line infantry, and the other for the "elites" and "command" minis - the grenadiers, together with the officers, drummers, and flag bearers. They are multi-part minis, with heads, arms, backpacks, and accessories molded separately from the torsos.

The minis are 28mm tall and made of relatively-hard plastic - I found it to be softer than most other plastic 28's, but harder than the soft-plastic 20mm minis that have been available for decades. (This is somewhat annoying, since it means that muskets bend and break relatively easily.)


I'm not going to lie, assembling these minis was a royal pain in the butt. First, there was flash everywhere (the thin line of plastic left where the two halves of the mold come together). And since each little man is made of five different pieces, that meant that all five had separate flash lines.

Second, these figures are "modular" - that is, every torso is supposed to roughly fit with every set of arms. However, I found that the compromises involved in creating this modularity meant no torso actually fit any of the arms! I spent days and days trying to figure out how to combine arms and torsos to get natural-looking poses.

Apparently, thumb-poking the dude next to you was a 
sign of affection during the French Revolution.

But, they ultimately got done, and after doing a few conversions, I applied a liberal coat of white basecoat spraypaint (another first time for me... piccies below!)


But before we get to the basecoated finished product, I want to talk about the #1 coolest thing about plastic miniatures - the conversions! Converting a mini involves modifying its sculpt, and I wanted to really establish these figures as sons of the Revolution, not Napoleon's lackeys.

So, what was the biggest difference between Revolutionaries and Bonapartists? The revolutionaries had giant ass f****ing plumes! I'm serious, those wacky French put all sorts of crazy things on their hats - (spoons are modeled on to these figures) but what every private really wanted was to have the biggest, fluffiest, most flamboyant plume in the regiment. Observe:

Even though it prevents him from seeing anything in his left field of vision, 
Jacques thought his plume was pretty BAMF...

 ...until he saw this! Mon Dieu! What a masterpiece!

So, how to sexy-up those bicornes? I found these sci-fi heads on ebay, complete with topknots that did admirable work as plumes:

"I don't want my luscious locks
on no Frenchie!" (Too bad)

I was actually able to get a number of different shapes by clipping the heck out of these poor helmets. Here's a small selection of how a few of them turned out:

Pictures to Date!

If you've read this far, you deserve the payoff - Pictures!!!!

The whole unit, prior to conversion and spraypainting!

The command figures - this officer means business with that pistol!
Standard bearer and drummer look typically French.

I tried making each flank into a mini-diorama. 
Here, I converted one soldier to be taking a hit,
while his comrade on the right flinches and the men on either side
put their heads down and keep marching on.

 On the other flank we've got soldiers dealing with fatigue.
Guy in the center is putting a brave face on things,
but his buddies don't seem as happy.

Finally, here's a pic demonstrating the dangers of spraypaint;
The backpacks are identical, but the one on the right is caked
with paint, which obscures some of the details and will make
painting more of a challenge. Lesson learned: don't stand too close!

Well, I hope you've enjoyed, and hopefully there'll be some splashes of color coming soon! Au revoir!

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