Sunday, February 10, 2008


Oddly enough, working on the BMC AWI figures made me feel somewhat nostalgic. Many years ago I painted up some 54mm metal figures for a local collector but had few of my own. At about the same time another friend was tinkering around with home casting and that inspired me to acquire some Prince August moulds and try my hand at it. In total I cast ten figures before my attention was drawn elsewhere. I knew they were still down in the basement, somewhere. After a bit of poking around I managed to find them--unfinished, dusty, and not in the best of repair. Only three of them were close to completion. So I washed them off and reattached heads and arms. Unfortunately, I've lost most of the muskets or was not very successful in casting them... I really don't remember.

I still have the moulds and not too long ago I attempted to cast a Prussian grenadier out of epoxy. The results were educational but did not result in a complete figure. Still it was successful enough to make me think that it is possible. I do wonder, however, how the epoxy will affect the life of the mould? My major problem was that I no longer have the clamps to hold the mould shut so I tightly wrapped a rubber band around it. Most of the resin leaked out. So I'll need to get some clamps and probably some boards in order to evenly apply the appropriate pressure next time I try. Interestingly enough, the detail on the resin figure turned out much better than on the original metal casts. That's a bonus!

The three (semi-)finished figures represent the Prussian 18th regiment. I have no idea why I picked that particular regiment. Probably because the pink cuffs and turnbacks are unique. I also think I was substituting heads in order to come up with the musketeer. I have moulds for the grenadier, the officer and a standard bearer. But not for a musketeer. I don't think I ever had one, either.

Packed away with the Prince August figures I found some old Imrie-Risely figures. There's a British light infantryman from the American War for Independence, an unpainted dismounted British cavalryman of the 16th or 17th regiment, two gladiators and a Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. At one time there was a Hound of the Baskervilles but he has apparently run away. I'm not sure that Sherlock is repairable. While the figure is complete he is holding a fairly mangled pistol. The barrel is doubled back on itself and I suspect it will break off easily. Still, it could be replaced if necessary. The painted light infantryman really brings home the effect my eyesight has had on my painting. Years ago I could paint much finer detail than I am now capable. On the other hand, I can now afford to buy these figures without having to forgo a meal. Ah... the salad days...

Lastly in the storage box was a Major Washington in the uniform of the Virginia Militia and an 18th century damsel. She doesn't look like Martha so she must be Sally Fairfax. Well, at least in my mind. The Washington figure appears finished though chipped. Oddly enough only the front of the woman is painted. I have no explanation for that. The detail of the Imrie-Risley figures is commendable, even though these figures are at least a quarter century old. It makes it difficult for me to look at the modern BMC figures without disdain. Still, cheap price and easy availability do have their charms.

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