Sunday 29 November 2015

Russian (Karoliner/SYW) Cavalry

Don't get too exited!

For the last couple of years, with the arrival of the new SYW range I have concentrated on the new infantry figures and held off painting any more cavalry waiting for the new moulds.

However, I could do with a few more units of cavalry for a game I am putting on over the Christmas break. The new SYW cavalry is some way off, so I decided to use old Karoliner castings that have been sitting in a box in the garage for the last few years.

The Karoliner cavalryman K-931 is a nice figure (possibly not quite as stylish as the old HE version, but much more suitable for fitting in with the new range), and I already have a few units of them in my Karoliner/French army.

Although a nice figure, with the small head and hat it will not really fit in with my new infantry units, so I decided to have a play and see what this figure looks like with the new heads.

The Karoliner range have their belts on the outside, so are only really suitable for Russians and some cuirassiers, so I decided to do a Russian - probably cuirassier! I used the Russian officer's head, as this has formal curls, and also a large cockade on the front.

The head cuts off very easily with a heavy duty knife, and leaves a wide enough area to drill to accept the peg on the head. The fit is bang on, and if you use some thick super glue there is no need for any filler.

I think the more detailed and head and larger hat (the heads are cast in Model Metal for more detail) really bring the figure alive. I was so impressed that I decided to try a horse grenadier with the Russian grenadier head, which I think is also a good fit!

And even the trumpeter (K-931) and standard bearer (K-933) are easy to swap heads.

I have a small unit (8 troopers) of each on the painting table, I will post some pictures when they are finished.

I hadn't really noticed before, but these figures, particularly the trumpeter must be wearing very tight corsets to get a waist like that!

I'm sure the new cavalry will be an improvement on the Karoliners when they come out, and are needed for all the nations with the sword belt under the coat. However if you want to get some more mileage out of those old Karoliner moulds, or like me have some castings hanging around, this is worth a try.

After all...........if you look at the first few posts on this blog; when I first contacted PA all I wanted was some new heads!

Thursday 5 November 2015

SYW range is going digital!

First Sculptures

Chris Tubb (the sculptor) has decided to move to digital sculpting, as you can imagine there is quite a learning curve involved. This has contributed to the slowing up of figure production, but should pay dividends in future.

Changing to digital sculpting part way through the range needs to be done carefully. In order to 'calibrate' the digital design, rather than go straight to the cavalry it was decided to produce some French infantry to get the proportions, and 'feel' right.

The approach he has taken is to manually sculpt an 80mm infantry torso to mimic the pose of the figures already done, and then 3D scan this to form the basis of the new digital sculpts. The first figure digitally sculpted is a French Infantryman advancing, he is shown below with an Austrian in a similar pose for comparison (I know the Austrian grenadier should have a sabre, but it is a similar pose).

The pose matches quite well. Looked at side by side there is quite a difference due to the clean nature of the digital sculpt, however I doubt that would be anything like as obvious in a painted casting.

The musket is probably a more realistic thickness, but i just wonder if it might benefit from thickening up a bit?

Chris is planning to 'print' the figure in the next few days, after which he will make me a mould and I will cast some up to see how they look in the tin.

If you have any comments PLEASE let me have them, and I will pass them on.

Release of French Infantry?

It was originally planned to release the cavalry next, however with the move to digital the plan was side tracked (to a great extent by me), in order to try and get the feel right.

With the French so well advanced, after some test casts have been done it might be worth finishing off a French infantry range and get them into production, I would suggest a couple of moulds as discussed back in August.

Mould 1

  • Rank and file (turn backs) advancing - as above
  • Rank and file march attack (turn backs)- arms changed on above
  • Tricorn - fusilier - as above
  • Tricorn - grenadier
  • Bearskin with bag - grenadier

Mould 2

  • Drummer (no turn backs)
  • Officer (no turn backs), there was a suggestion that he could double as standard bearer - anyone have any ideas on pose?
  • Tricorn - officer
  • Bonet de Police
  • Bearskin with no bag - Cuirassiers du Roi (if it will not fit in the cavalry mould)

Mould 3

Easy to add an 'early' version of mould 1 with no turn backs for WAS etc.


The change to digital is happening, and if not done right could spoil this range. Your comments are important and welcome, so please make them, they will be listened to.

Cartridge box and sword

Rahway commented on the depth of the cartridge box, I thought it looked shallow as well and discussed with Chris, who sent me an additional image from the rear, the depth is OK.

The images seem to have some quirks, for example the base above looks tapered, but I am assured it is not!

The image raises another point we have been discussing. Putting the sword outside the coat leaves a large gap between the sword and leg, details like this may be OK for commercial spin casting, but not for producing the home casting moulds, there are not many options to make it suitable for home casting:

  • Fill in the gap, less work but could be ugly
  • Make the sword septate and glue on

We think that a separate sword is the answer, as:

  • It will look better, even if a bit more work
  • Later in the war the fusiliers did not carry swords so not needed anyway
  • For grenadiers and early war it can be glued on
Has anyone noticed he has two bayonets, one on the musket and one in the scabbard?