Saturday, July 19, 2008

converting covenanters...

One of the challenges of collecting 54mm English Civil War figures is that it is a pretty specific area of interest and few figure manufacturers pay a lot of attention to it. Consequently, except for indulging in some more expensive metal figures for commanders, etc, I'm pretty much limited to using the 'A Call to Arms' figures. While it is a nice range, there are some figures which are inconvenient for wargaming and I don't expect to seem many (if any) more poses released. Therefore, it is time to try my hand at converting 54mm plastic figures to add variety, especially among officers and standard bearers.

These photos show my first real attempt at converting. True, I've previously amputated a few arms and reattached them, but this is the first head swap and my first attempt at adding new features. Luckily, two of the inconvenient ACTA pikemen work well together. The converted figure is the swilling pikeman, plus the head and left arm of another figure. The swiller's helmet has been carved off and the new head is attached with a small length of straight pin and glued using Aleene's Tacky Glue. The arm is simply attached with Aleene's. I think this will be strong enough since there is ample contact area as the hand lies along the belt line of the torso.

The upper arm is reconstructed with Squadron Shop Green Stuff. This was my first use of Green Stuff and I was not entirely satisfied with it. I found it to be fairly tacky, and it did not have enough body to it to allow much in the way of sculpting while moist. Also, it contains tuolene and is therefore somewhat smelly and not very healthful for use in my poorly ventilated basement work area. Still, having the ability to carve and sand it once dry may override all these detriments. And I have to admit that my tube of green stuff is old (though I had never opened it) and the basement is cold place to work. These may account for the less than desirable consistency of the Green Stuff. Or maybe I'm just spoiled.

The officer's sash is made of plasticene clay. I found this much easier to work with and was quite happy with the 'scupltability' of it. Once I finished sculpting I coated the plasticene with CA (cyanoacrylate, e.g., Super Glue) to give it a nice hard shell. Once this was dry, and as part of my painting routine, I coated the entire figure with Aleene's and then a coat of acrylic varnish. I believe the two glues and varnish will give the plasticene the durability needed for a wargaming figure. Only time will tell.

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