27 November 2010

Introducing the Box o' Bits. . .

Two of my (now-painted) classic Spencer Smith dragoons at left along with a couple of Holger Eriksson dragoons at right. This photograph appeared originally on the Grand Duchy of Stollen blog during July or August of 2007.

Since the Grand Duchess and Young Master Paul are visiting relatives (who don't live far enough away) this afternoon, I've had a little time to do something on the mental to-do list for months and months. Yep, go through the pile of lead here at Stollen Central, take stock of what's in it, and weed out the various and odd bits, pieces, and sundry things people have sent me, weird and broken figures, etc., etc.

The good news is that I have discovered an extra regiment of 60 RSM Prussian musketeers and command plus an extra 60 RSM horses. All of these are over and above the remaining units for my initial Sittangbad-sized project. So, I'll be able to add a few more units once I have filled my initial order of battle. Related to those 60 RSM horses are 30 RSM hussar and 30 dragoon castings that I'm going to replace with heavy cavalry figures at some point. As much of a fan as I am of the RSM mid-18th Century range, I don't particularly care for the Prussian and Austrian hussars, or the dragoons with open hands into which you must glue the swords. T-E-D-I-O-U-S! But I'm getting ahead of myself a bit.

Otherwise, all of the additional odds and ends have gone into a sturdy wooden box that had clementines in it last Christmas. And I'm surprised by how much stuff related to the mid-18th Century I have accumulated one way or another in the past five years. So, as Charles S. Grant suggests in a couple of his most recent works, I have decided to hang onto all of this unwanted "stuff", in the hope that it will have some as-yet-undiscovered use in the not too distant future. Hence the box o' bits mentioned in the title of this particular post. That seems like a better idea than simply throwing the items out or unloading my garbage onto another unwitting soul, a charming habit some of my in-laws have, which drives me up the wall because we are then left to dispose of their trash and unwanted items that should simply have been thrown out to begin with. But I digress!

On a happier and unexpected note, I have discovered that almost enough classic Spencer Smith dragoons and officers are in the pile of lead here at Stollen Central to form another 30-strong regiment of cavalry at some point before too long. All it will take is a small order to Peter at Spencer Smith Miniatures for a few more of said dragoons as well as a standard bearer and trumpeter from the Holger Eriksson range. Giddy up!

Now, some wargamers on various "discussion boards" (and I used the term very loosely) have criticized the two ranges, and the former in particular, saying they don't "get" Spencer Smiths. These individuals complain about the amount of flash on the castings, mentioning that the results are not worth the effort required to prepare and paint the figures, blah-blah, blah-blah. . . Well, to each his (or her) own. But, since SSM figures are produced outside the United States and still seem to have a very high lead content, a sharp hobby knife makes rapid removal of any flash an easy job. Especially in comparison to hard pewter castings, or those that contain other types of metal.

The Spencer Smith and Holger Eriksson figures work very well together, especially once painted. And since there is not a great deal of minute detail on these castings, painting is considerably faster. With a little time and care, you have finished figures that look as nice as any of the latest, most detailed (and considerably more expensive) figures in 25-30mm. Especially at arm's length. And there's just something about a shiny regiment of charging Spencer Smith cavalry arrayed across the tabletop. The epitome of old school and all that, what? So, today's (re-) discovery of these figures at the bottom of the lead pile has been an exciting pre-Christmas find indeed. Chaaaarge!


Bluebear Jeff said...

Oh, Stokes, you are a FOOL, sir.

Do not "discover" these figures less than a month before Christmas AND publish the fact . . . why, sir, the Grand Duchess might learn of it and then change her mind about your Christmas gift.

Quick, delete this post until AFTER the holidays.

-- Jeff

PS, nice finds, my friend.

Der Alte Fritz said...

The RSM Prussian dragoons have their swords sheathed. Look at the scabbard and you will see the hilt of the sword at the side. so if you added a sword to the hand, then the dragoon would have two swords. If you glue a sword to the hand, then you have to clip the hilt off of the scabbard.

I guess the idea was to put a carbine in the open hand, but I don't like this so I usually leave the figure open handed or add a pistol. They make for good standard bearers though.

Big Andy said...

Personally I don't I find their 28s bland - though the AWI is one of their better ranges. I know a couple of painters who hate 'em- simply because its hard to bring out character in them . I've not painte many but I'd tend to agree and anyhow the more choice the better. I can see me buying these where I would not buy perry.
And yes I'd go with Steve and Stokes on this one.


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