Following my teaser post on Facebook a few days ago, here are some photos of the Royalist Mercenray - English Civil War figure I completed earlier this year. This is my second figure from this period and was inspired by one of the paintings from Chris Collingwood's English Civil War series, which some of you are likely to be familiar with. (Click on any pictures to enlarge)
I had to construct this zischagge helmet over about 12 stages. The most tedious part was the 50 tiny rivets, each about a 1/3 mm diameter. I don't possess a punch and die set and these days I can sculpt individual buttons quickly enough that the time saving from using one would probably be negligible. I wonder if the size of these rivets would be possible to produce accurately with a punch and die set. Even if it was I'd probably spend more time on the floor looking for all the rivets I'd dropped while trying to glue them onto the helmet!
I decided that the tassel to the right of the powder flask didn't look to be falling in a natural position so I repositioned it. Compare this pic with the final painted version.
I love the detailing on these flasks and wanted to try and depict it well in small scale. It was difficult since the actual size of this is about 5mm.
One thing that really motivated me to do this sculpt was the boots. They look great in Chris Collingwood's picture and I really wanted to do them justice when realising them in 3D.
Check back in a few days for another update on the Grenadier Sergeant....
Here's a photo of the oil palette I used for the buff coat. I can't recall the exact colours but believe they would have been mixed from something like Yellow Ochre, Ivory Black, Burnt Umber and White. Maybe some Naples Yellow. I try to keep my mixes simple so I can replicate them easier if I have to. As well as this, once the oils were dried I would have applied some controlled washes mixed from black and burnt umber into what would be the darkest areas to deepen those areas.
After getting the various accoutrements to a nearly completed stage (as shown in update #13) I cold now use these to help me to ensure the straps were positioned correctly and that everything could be fitted around everything else..
I used to often use electrical tape for straps but more recently I've preferred sculpting the straps with putty much of the time as I like the fact I can achieve more accurate placement and can control the thickness. We,, there are pros and cons for each method. One trade-off is that it takes quite a bit longer to sculpt straps from putty. So for the longer straps I'm seriously contemplating reverting back to using tape or, if other thicknesses are needed, duro which I've rolled into a thin sheet and allowed to fully cure.
Here are some pics of the next few steps after update #13
Test fitting the arms and pose before fixing the arms in place. The angle of the rifle may be altered slightly when actually fixed later. As with everythng else the balance of the pose will be carefully considered when deciding the angle of the rifle.
In this photo you can also see the pencil marks I've placed to determine the correct spread and placement of the buttons. By adding the buttons in after the straps I saved myself sculpting about 11 buttons!
After sculpting the arms I instinctively felt that the left arm looked too long and I realised that I'd cut off the cuff further along the armature wire than I'd originally allowed for. After cutting back the length slightly, repositioning the elbow on the rear and adding the cuff details I then decided the cuff area looked too bulky and decided this needed to be addressed.
In fact, a lot of the time I'll use small amounts of Duro to attach things instead of glue,. Done correctly the bond is very strong and since Duro has a degree of flexibility it may make parts less susceptible to becoming detached if knocked.. Duro works particularly well compared to glue if the contact surfaces are a little uneven.
One feasible option for the canteen strap seemed to be leaving the right epaulette shoulder board off so each end of the canteen strap could be glued on beneath the knapsack, nicely out of sight if some glue oozed out from the join.
It then occurred to me that I could incorporate a buckle on the front of the canteen strap which would remove the need to sculpt the shoulder board post-painting. I can easily use a tiny amount of Duro to fix the strap exactly in position when the time comes and add the buckle detail over the join to conceal it. The strap going to the rear can be fixed nicely beneath where the knapsack will go.
In these two photos the knapsack and pouch are held with bluetack just to give an impression of how they will look on the figure.
I'm now looking forward to getting started with the painting of this figure in the next couple of weeks.
After some scraping and sanding I was happier with how it looked and moved on to detailing the epaulettes, adding cuff buttons and sculpting the hands.
In the past I've always added fingers with duro (green stuff) but I found it troublesome getting the fingers to look natural enough for my satisfaction. It's always easier to sculpt fingers if they are gripping onto something.
I therefore resorted to using my magic sculpt/duro combination as it is easier to do more shaping after the putty has cured by gently scraping with a scalpel blade or using fine grade wet 'n' dry paper. Or adding more tiny amounts of putty.
Since the fingers are pretty delicate in this scale I had to undertake that work in a very patient and gentle manner to avoid breaking them.
Another problem to solve was how I would attach the canteen and strap after painting the figure without making a mess of things. Glueing is something that I hate doing because of the risk of damage if things don't fix in the correct position first time around.
I've been spending a few days working on some other art but in my spare time have got everything washed and ready to start painting the Grenadier in the next few days. When I say 'washed' I mean gently cleaned with warm water and a minute amount of dish-washing liquid using a soft flat-tipped paint brush. This stage probably isn't essential but I prefer to do it to ensure any dustiness and grease from the constant handling and sanding, etc, is removed. I'll start a new page for the painting updates, hope to start these for you next week.