Thursday 4 July 2019

Franco-Prussian War 28mm - French Generals

Some projects are easy, and others evolve and take on greater complexity.  This particular project started off as the former and ended as the latter as small details became more apparent during test basing.  Until in the end I finished up with this!

This is the Foundry 28mm French command pack for the Franco-Prussian War.  I have always loved this set. It was the Perry's at their most imaginative.  You can see that they loved their subject as they sculpted these figures.  The animation is first class and the body language just talks.

Having painted several brigade command stands (see earlier posts), it was time for the big one.  My plan was to base these on a large circular stand (or maybe rectangular) with the usual fare of scatter grass and be done with it. I painted more details I became more aware of small details.

a.  There is nothing holding the map down.  Anyone who has tried to lay a map down on a table knows how difficult this is!   You need weights on it..unless you are indoors.

b.  In addition The table and bench is quite large, more like household or barn furniture rather than something to be dragged outside off of a wagon.

c.  Finally the Carabinier of the Guard is putting his coat on. One really only tends to put a coat on if going outside.

So there were three reasons why I could not go with my original idea of the round grassy base.  I had to have the generals indoors.

Then I was left with the despatch being handed to the Guide of the Guards by his officer.  Well they couldn't be indoors really - who would ride a horse into the General's quarters(?!) Nope - it had to be more imaginative.  Several different ideas were tried and dry runs and drawings until I finally found a diorama style which seemed to tick all the boxes for me.

The door is made from thin slices of wood, whittled with my penknife.  Wire, plastic tubing (for door handle), card and plasticard formed the door furniture with tiny cuts of wire forming the large metal nails.

The walls were made of packing foam coated in Polyfilla household plaster.  The door furniture on them was from cut plasticard and paper card.

The floor planking was also made by applying a coating of Polyfilla and inserting the figures into pre-planned positions.  I then used a sculpting tool to cut in the planking.  I wanted the overall effect to be of a French provincial Farmhouse/Barn.  I wanted it to have lots of rustic charm and look servicable but somewhat neglected.  I had lots of fun looking at pictures of old decayed paintwork and wood and trying to replicate the appearance.  Applying washes is always a risky business, but it was a lot of fun and there are all sorts of colours in those walls.

I was tempted to add a partial roof but this would have obscured essential detail.  I think the method used allows the imagination to 'see' the building as it should be.

Just to finish off, here is a wider overview of the whole diorama.  I used to be a keen modeller in my teens but other than some minor fettling of small scenic items, I have not tried anything diorama-like for many years, so I am pleased with the way this turned out.

Next on the painting table... I have no idea!  I have so many plans and wishes, it could literally be anything!