Friday, 6 October 2017

Putting out the Bunting

Ian S, more famously known as Stryker and the primary inspiration for my own gloriously deranged project, has supplied me with all manner of vintage goodies over the years. Pictured below is my latest feeble attempt to reciprocate.

Ian wanted a flag and a drummer for his Russian grenadier battalion (which was the very first to be presented on his famous blog), and the same for the new battalion of French Young Guard Voltigeurs that he announced he was planning to do a month or two ago.

Hinton Bunting
They are my usual fizzy-can flags, which I've started to get a little better at since I discovered how to inscribe designs onto them. If the inscription is done too deeply it will cause the metal to split when it is bent, so it requires a very light touch which is only just visible beneath the undercoat. Ian also asked me to adapt two officer figures to carry them. This was very simple to do for the Russian, but more complex for the Frenchman as I had to remove, remodel and then re-attach his left forearm.

The drummers were a separate challenge. Both started out as charging musketeers and although removing the muskets was simple enough, I had a few dramas before I was happy with them. In the Frenchman's case, his left hand came off and needed to be reattached.



In the Russian case his right arm needed to be almost completely replaced. This was because he had an exceptionally weedy right forearm which disintegrated as soon as I tried to bend it! I've found that Scruby parts are rather good for these sorts of repairs as the metal is soft and has a low melting point. The drums are from Musket Miniatures, which were very generously donated by Monsieur Foy.


Just to prove that I haven't been totally neglecting my own troops, pictured below is the new flag for my Prussian reservists. I'd been dreading this one a bit due to the requirement for white lettering, but was determined to give it a go nonetheless. I think it went about as well as I expected!


I haven't quite decided which regiment I'm painting yet, but as many of the reserve battalions were uniformed identically there's a bit of scope for identity flexibility.

The reservists will start to appear in the next post, I promise, although this may be delayed a little as I'll be travelling overseas again soon. It's a busy life.

WM

20 comments :

  1. Your flags are 'scary' they're so good; in particular your lettering and handling of metallic enamels that I find hard to control. Do you use some sort magnifying lens? If not then a travelling break will be just what you eyes need.

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    1. My secret is my incredible short-sightedness, Rob. If I take my specs off I have a focal length of about 10cm, which makes the flags look very big indeed!

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    2. I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum; without my glasses I can't focus on figures even if I hold them arm's length!

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  2. A fantastic job Matt - can't wait to get my mits on them!

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    1. If they encourage you to get on and start your young guardsmen I'll be happy, Ian!

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  3. Brilliant conversions and I think the flags are very good , you must have a steady hand

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    1. That's very kind of you to say so, Tony. I've developed a special breathing technique to keep everything very still while I'm painting.

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    2. More fabulous figures. As a matter of interest, why have you selected charging figures for the drummers? I have always used marching, but am approaching a project where only charging figures will be available.

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    3. I think it was my experience with the RGL, Archduke, where I only had a charging figure to work with. The hand positions seemed to work quite well, as did the slope of the left thigh, which made an excellent anchor for the drum. Having said that, my Lutzower drummer was made with a marching figure, and he came out reasonably well too. His Litewka was an added advantage, mind.

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    4. I should have added that the figures are all Ian's own. He had to sign an agreement first absolving me of all blame if I totally stuffed them up!

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  4. Where to start or finish with the comment? Fabulous flags, I have read before your reference to fizzy drinks can flags. I have searched the blog and wondered if there was a tutorial anywhere about how to make them?

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    1. Hello ABC. I've dropped the odd tip here and there but there's no tutorial on the blog, partly because the method is still evolving.

      The key things to do are:
      1. Measure out the flag as squarely and accurately as possible. I use a ruler, set square and a very sharp pencil.
      2. Dimensions: The Russian flag is 21mm square on the pole, but was measured out as a 45mm x 21mm rectangle. The extra 3mm is the part that ends up wrapped round the pole.
      3. Lightly score the design onto the flag.
      4. Cut by heavy scoring. The metal is then just snapped off, leaving perfectly straight edges.
      5. Fold gently until the two halves of the rectangle line up exactly, but without pressing on the crease.
      6. Open out just enough to squirt in the superglue. A cocktail stick to smear it about is useful.
      7. Insert the wire. I make these with steel wire cut to length, flattened at one tip with a hammer and then shaped at one end with my rotary tool.
      8. Press hard and flatten against the wire. I use a blunt steel ceramic art burnishing tool to do this, pressing hard against the wire to get a good, tight and even fit. A teaspoon would do just as well.
      9. Leave to dry. I use a clothes peg to keep it clamped.
      10. 10 minutes later, remove the peg and then bend the flag gently into the desired shape. A ball-point pen or similar cone shape is useful for this to make the folds, which I tend to have radiating from the corner nearest the spearpoint.
      11. Paint. White undercoat, naturally!

      If you try to bend the metal too much it will snap, and watch your fingers as the edges can be very sharp!

      When I do my next flag I'll try to remember to create a proper illustrated sequence and the stick it on the blog.

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  5. Your flags are wonderful. How do you get the flag to wrap around the flagstaff?

    I have yet to try converting figures. I may try making an Officer for my Lutzow Lancers using a Prussian Dragoon figure.

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    1. Hi Mark. I've tried to explain it in my reply to ABC, but its basically just the same thing one would do if using a paper flag, but with more swearing.

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  6. Wonderful flags, conversions, and repairs! I wish that I had your abilities and patience. Very eager to see your Prussian reserve battalion take shape.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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    1. I you can use a ruler and do colouring in, then you can make a flag, Heinz-Ulrich. It's just practice after that. My first flag (for the Prussian foot guards) was dreadful! I've come to really enjoy doing them. It certainly makes a change from endless ranks of identical soldiers.

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  7. Great, literally just cut this out from an Ali drinks can?

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    1. That's right, although I cut up the can, wash it and flatten out the metal first! Kitchen scissors will handle the disassembly part.

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  8. A long time ago, before plastic toothpaste tubes, the metal foil from toothpaste tubes was often used. You can buy lead foil now but drinks cans are much much cheaper

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    1. One can sometimes still get metal foil tubes (although not with toothpaste in them), but as you say, VW, there are few things as cheap as fizzy-can aluminium. It's a surprisingly versatile material. I'd use brass if I could find out where to get sheets of it that were thin enough and work out how to weld it to steel wire. I'm pretty sure my little soldering iron wouldn't be up to this.

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