06 October 2009

Cuirassier Painting Continues Apiece. . .

Here they are -- Colonel Heinrich von Heide along with his trumpeter and standard bearer, all done save for the usual two coats of Future/Klear acrylic floor finish. A pretty basic paint job based largely on Austrian cuirassiers of the period though I took considerable license with the trumpeter, who is English since the RSM Austrian SYW cavalry lack a trumpeter figure. The standard is that of Austria's Anspach Cuirassiers, which I printed out, attached, and then painted the appropriate colors carefully over the computer inks to prevent fading later.

Besides a quick photograph of the three figures above, I've spent a delightful couple of hours working on the first real squadron of nine Austrian SYW cuirassiers this evening here in Zum Stollenkeller. Nothing exciting to look at just yet, only mundane things green bases and navy blue drybrushed onto the black horses to provide a highlight. This time, I think I'll finish the horses first before moving onto the men.

So, tomorrow evening it's white markings on horse muzzles and fetlocks. Then, if there is time, because I have to show a film at school tomorrow evening between 7-9pm, I'll add a few little brass fixtures on the halters and martingails of those fine chargers, paint the leather girths, and voila! Horses all finished and time to move onto the their riders. Giddy up!!!

"So, how'd he do the flag?"

Steve the Wargamer asked me to describe the standard and standard bearer in a bit more detail. The figure is an extra Prussian cuirassier officer from the RSM95 SYW range. These are cast open-handed and separate swords can be ordered to attach painstakingly with epoxy or something like Crazy Glue. Since the Austrian SYW cuirassier figures do not include a standard bearer, I decided to use this fellow and simply ignore the slightly different horse furniture.

The flagpole is an extra that I've had floating around for some time in my large cardboard box of unpainted metal figures that sits on the left end of my painting desk. It's either an RSM or a Huzzah! piece. Anyway, the flag was made by downloading and saving Austrian SYW cavalry standard and guidon images from somewhere on the net. Sorry, I don't remember whether this was Warflag or somewhere else.

Typically, what I do is resize these images a bit, either larger, or smaller as necessary, to make them fit my figures better. I next print out the image in color and carefully trim it, using an X-acto hobby knife and metal ruler on my cutting pad. I then carefully fold the small paper flag in half, spread a TINY bit of white glue on the rear of one half, using a small triangular piece of thin card like a spatula, and then attach the flag to its pole.

Attaching the flag to the pole IS tedious, but if you do it correctly, the results are worth it. Take your flag and wrap it carefully around the pole with the fold tightly against the pole. Don't get any glue on your fingers, or you flag will end up with finger prints on it, which spoils its appearance. Hold the flag in place for a few minutes to make sure everything is stuck permanently together. Be sure that the edges of the two halves match, and that your fold is tight against the flagpole. After about two minutes, CAREFULLY bend and fold the flag to approximate the image of a real-life standard or guidon flapping in the breeze. Set everything to one side for an hour, or even 24.

Later, you can paint everything. Computer inks fade with time, and commercially purchased flags are too shiny for my tastes, so I like to paint over the colors with my usual GW or Ral Partha hobby paints. For 25-30mm figures, I usually use a #2 or #1 brush along with a very thin spotter brush for occasional tiny, tiny, tiny details, like those commonly found on coats of arms or other heraldric images at the center of flags, standards, and guidons. Sometimes, I paint my own colors over the original images gleaned from the Web, in effect creating my own design that looks similar to, but not the same as, historical flags. This certainly makes sense for imaginary 18th Century quasi-Germanic "statelettes" like the Grand Duchy of Stollen and the Electorate of Zichenau that have their basis in reality.

For this particular cuirrassier flag, however, I stayed with the actual standard carried by squadrons of Austria's Anspach Cuirassiers during the SYW. These were a madder or maroon red with a dark brown double-headed eagle on each side and gold fringe along the edges. I opted, though, for the brighter GW Blood Red. Many of you will know already that I like bright colors, which tend to show up better on the table even if departing from reality somewhat.

Once the red field on both sides was dry, I painted the eagle a nice, dark GW Chaos Black. For the gold edges, I carefully applied GW Gold (what else?), taking care to cover any exposed white edges of the paper onto which the flag was printed. It drives me absolutely nuts when gamers/collectors display otherwise nicely painted figures on the table or in photos, but the flags show unpainted white edges peeking out around three sides. Come on, men! It only takes a few minutes to fix that!

Anyway, when everything was dry, I took my spotter brush and applied a thin line of black between the gold and red on each side of the standard to define the border between those two colors a bit better. I also painted in 7 -8 tiny black nails on the flagpole, to hold the standard of Von Heide's Cuirassiers firmly in place, even at the gallop! So, there you are, Steve. That's how I do my flags in a nutshell. A bit tedious, yes, but I like the results so far, and it fits well with my imaginary hybrid armies that borrow bits and pieces from 18th Century Prussia, Austria, Russia, and other lesser states, principalities, and territories of the age.


A J said...

Excellent! I'm looking forward to seeing the finished results.

Steve Turner said...

Super painting as always Stokes (I wish I could get those kinds of results). Just one question though...
Did you also design & paint the flag (and pole) yourself? Or did you buy it?

Cheers, and keep up the great work,


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