Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Another day, another horse

Posted by Martin on March 17, 2007

This week I started on the second horse in the Calpe Prussian command set I’m working on at the moment.

Most of the early work, is frankly, necessary but boring: I did a little cleaning up of mould lines with files and a fibreglass brush, not that Peter’s castings ever need much attention in this department. Then I drilled and pinned the rider to the horse. I still use paperclip wire for the pin (the ones I use have a diameter of 0.8mm). But I’ve evolved a couple of time-saving simplifications to my method.

Firstly, I now drill the hole in the horse’s saddle a much greater diameter than the pin – actually 2mm. This means I don’t have to worry about being precise with the positioning. Though the hole in the underside of the rider is still done as a tight 0.8mm fit and the pin is fixed there prior to marrying up with the horse.

The second change is that I can’t be bothered with the fiddle of mixing up two-part expory adhesive any more. It’s too smelly, the stuff is stringy and awkward to work with and it takes ages to set. I’ve never liked cyano-acrylate (i.e. superglue) because the bond is brittle. So, the solution? Simple, I use green stuff – both to fix the pin in the rider and to fill the over-wide hole in the horse. Then I simpy press fit the rider on to the horse and leave the green stuff to harden. Setting still takes ages but the whole job is quicker, simpler and cleaner.

After that, I primed black and left overnight to dry thoroughly. Notice how it takes two nights to get this far! That’s why I always save these jobs for week nights when I’m tired after a long day at the office.

Then, on Thursday, I started painting the horse. This one is intended to turn out as a very pale, almost cream one with dark knees and socks. So I’ve experimented with five layers: flat earth, ochre brown, yellow ochre, buff and ivory. It’s not been entirely successful. My idea is to have the constrast of a really deep colour in the deepest shadows but, on review, the flat earth is too dark and I’ve overdone the area covered by the ivory so the contrast is even more stark.

Later tonight, I hope to apply some remedial measures to cover over almost all of the flat earth with ochre brown and make more use of the other two mid-colours in this palette. If that works well, I can finish up the knees and socks and move on to the rider himself.


4 Responses to “Another day, another horse”

  1. Peter H. said

    Hiya Martin

    I too have started one of Calpe’s command sets … thankfully not the same one as you judging by your first horse. My poor figures wont get quite the same number of layers of paint as yours but will probably take me longer to complete .

    I have found that even with Peter’s rather useful uniform information included in the catalogue listing that I was rushing from book to book to book and back again to the first book! trying to decide how to paint some of the detail on the figures. Having said that I’ve enjoyed what painting I have done on them to date. Not only is it the Calpe figures themselves with the raised detail etc but also it’s rather nice that each figure is a one off and that the uniform doesn’t have to be repeated multiple times to create a unit.

    All the best with your task at hand.

    Peter H.

  2. Martin said

    I’m doing set PC3 at the moment. Which one are you doing?

    Peter made me a gift of all four sets at Christmas, so I feel honour-bound to paint up at least one set before another year slips by.

  3. Peter H. said

    I’ve made a start on Set 1, so I guess that makes it PC1.

    I too have all four sets, though mine were a present from myself to myself. 8O)

    It was quite a decision on which one to start with. I had them all out and was continually (re)arranging them on a base to see which one to start with. By rights I should have started with Set 4, the Hessen-Homburg one, as I am modelling his 3rd brigade but decided to go with the more traditional Set 1. I did consider mix and matching the sets but decided to stay pure about it!

    My army will be over supplied with brigade commanders as they will end up commanding sub groups of the 3rd brigade and some corps assets. Not historically correct perhaps, but damned fine looking on the table top. I’m not sure what will happen when the remaining leaders are released. So much choice! The only certainty is that I’ll obtain them all!!! 8O))

    Peter H. , now a commander meglomaniac as well

  4. Giles said

    Looking forward to seeing the finished set Martin (and to saying hi at Salute)!

    Best wishes


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