Monday, June 16, 2008

the gentlemen assemble...

The first officers to answer the call. The figures in the Call to Arms command set are large. In fact, their size and styling makes me strongly suspect they were sculpted by someone other than the rest of the range. They are not my favorite figures though they do exhibit a fair amount of character. One thing I can say for certain is that the large surface area of the officer's coat loudly cried out for shading. This was a good chance to experiment. I wanted to keep the shading subtle yet I know that I also have to keep the paint 'dry' or risk washing off the base coat of glue. So shading came down to an exercise of mixing paint on the figure. This was something new for me as I am traditionally more of a 'wash' painter. I am not unhappy with the results, though clearly more practice is required.

This officer figure grew on me. At first sight I was none too impressed. But as I added color he seemed to come to life. Now I think a great deal more of him. His sash made me think about what I was actually trying to accomplish with this project. I'm not certain how much variety there was in command sashes in the English Civil War. While it seems that Royalists generally opted for red, and Parliamentarians for orange (though I've seen some yellow), I wasn't sure that I wanted to commit the figures to one side or the other. In the end I went for a reddish-purplish-pinkish color. I'm certain this quandary will revisit me.

The ensign in particular has quite a bit of funkiness to him. The legs are somewhat awkwardly sculpted and really don't become two separate appendages until they get to the knees. A word of advice here: don't glue his arm on until you've painted his face. I learned that lesson the hard way. However, just keep in mind that if you can't get to his face to paint it, viewers won't get a clear shot to look at it either.

I learned another lesson with the drummer. As previously mentioned, sealing the figures with glue gives them a rubbery finished texture. In order to alleviate this (and trying to avoid aerosol sprays where I have to trek them out to the garage in the humid Ohio summer) I purchased some water based polyurethane sealer from the craft store. I coated all three command figures with this as an experiment. On the officer and standard bearer it worked well. But on the drummer it did not dry clear and left an unsightly cloud of whiteness on his legs. I'm not quite certain about the cause though I suspect moisture was the culprit. Whether it was humidity in the air, or water in the brush, I'm far from sure. Clearly I need to experiment some more.

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