The first pair of replacement Minden standard bearers for my line infantry regiments is almost finished. Just sword scabbards, hilts, and neckstocks to do and then Bob is your mother's brother as the saying goes. Once that is done, it will be time to work on the two flags and cords. The poles will be made from brass rod, the cords come from Front Rank, I think. I bought, in any case, two packs of these back in 2014 specifically for the planned reflagging. Funny how it always seems to take a couple of years for plans to reach the actual doing stage! If only I had two or three more pairs of arms. The Human Centipede Goes Wargaming. Now there's a horror film for you!
Anyway, for the flags themselves, I will try something a bit different this time. My usual modus operandi for many years now has been to print out a flag on plain old white copy paper, cut it out, carefully attach it to the pole with thinned white glue, shape it a bit, and then paint carefully over the designs with acrylic paint to make things sturdier and more permanent as well as to impart my own painting style (really??!!) and help everything blend together more effectively. Computer printer inks fade with time, and, frankly, commercially produced flags look too perfect in my view.
Last year about this time, I painted a couple of conjectural flags for a regiment of Ernestine Saxon infantry, and followed the same procedure but with a slightly smaller piece of aluminum foil between the two paper halves. This helps the flag to keep its shape without flexing into something less inspiring once the white glue dries. I was pleasantly surprised with the results. Something approaching what looks like two silk flags whipping around in the breeze as they are carried into battle at the head of their regiment. Of course, the addition of gold cords and tassels certainly helps.
This time around, I have got hold of a tablet of Chinese-made rice or calligraphy paper, which, since it does not have sizing in it, should be much easier to shape in a realistic way after painting. At least in theory. This type of paper is also highly absorbent, so my source of information on all this suggests using acrylic hobby paints at full value rather than in diluted form.
And where, pray tell, did I learn about all of this? Well, the internet is a wonderful thing, or it can be if you don't mind wading through all of the garbage. I came across an interesting video on this way to create more realistic wargame flags two or three years ago on YouTube. Here is the link for those who might be interested. As my artist/photographer/sculptor mother says at 72, "You can find out about and learn how to do anything on YouTube!" Kids, don't try this at home.
It is worth noting that there are still a few people around who create their flags totally by hand, from start to finish, sketching the design by pencil first and then painting in the various details to produce stunning examples of our craft. And how I wish my own hand and artistic abilities were up to the same level of raw talent and skill. Sadly that's not the case. My own method seems like a reasonable compromise between the two however.
The various retail stick-on flags, while I can see their usefulness, and while they might make things easier, have never appealed to me though. I've always had a soft spot for the look of the various hand-painted flags that adorned Peter Gilder's 25mm troops all those years ago in the many photographs of his collections that graced early issues of Miniature Wargames and later Wargames Illustrated. Times and tastes change, true, but it's funny how certain things -- a particular wargaming aesthetic in this case for example -- stay with you for decades.
There is also the issue of the white edges, unless you manage to get the stick-on flags just so, that too many wargamers never attempt to disguise, which kind of spoils the intended effect. This is a particular pet peeve of mine when it comes to otherwise nicely painted figures. But, of course, that's just me before anyone decides to leave a strident, expletive-laden comment to the contrary.
Oh, and the flags themselves that are replacing the original single flag carried by a lone MiniFig ensign in my regiment? Given my interest in the Reichsarmee of the SYW-era or thereabouts, and since the facing color of the existing regiment (consisting mostly of Revell 1/72 Austrian grenadiers painted during Spring and Summer 2007) is close enough if you squint in poor light, I've decided to use the standards carried by the Kreisinfanterieregiment Fürstenberg. Cross your fingers, hold your breath, and be sure to drop by in a few days to see how things have proceeded with all of this.