Making a Better Figure

Anyone who has come across the old ESCI #215 British Infantry (Napoleonic Wars) set would have come across the same problem that I used to, namely, what to do with the some poorly posed figures.  I do have a solution for the English figure that is trying to use his musket stock as a club.  Now, I am not saying that hand-to-hand combat did not happen back then, but why is the figure posed in such a way as to hold his musket half way up the stock?  Think about it, if you are forced to club your enemy you want to have as much reach as possible since odds where good that your opponent still had a bayonet at the end of his.  Therefore both hands need to be as close to the muzzle of the musket as possible.

The Pre converted figure, as a painted only conversion to the U.S. 29th Infantry Regiment.

Here is a picture of the offending figure.  Note that his hands are halfway up the stock of the musket.  He is painted as a member of the U.S. 29th Infantry Regiment, around November 1813.   As it is  it is quite a silly pose, but what can be done to fix it?

What if this figure can be converted to a flag or standard-bearer?  Every regiment / battalion at the time usually had two standards and are usually under presented when buying packs of plastic soldiers.  As to why the pose has the arms so close together, I will say that the previous standard bearer meet this destiny, and this soldier has just recovered the flag and is about to move his left arm down the shaft.  (okay, it is possible isn’t it?)

So what you will need is some putty, (I used some Milliput here), an X-acto knife or similar sharp knife, piano wire and wire cutters and a hand drill, as well as a calculator.

Using the knife the musket was removed as close to the figure’s left hand as possible, and removed from across the figures body along the figure’s right arm, and removed as close as possible from the figure’s right hand.

Then the wire was cut at a pre determined length of 10 scale feet. (I figured about 1.666 inches long or 4.233 cm).  This was determined by calculating 10 feet by 12 inches to the foot and then dividing the answer by the scale factor of 1/72.  American Flagstaffs where of a “Wrought Iron” colour, and the piano wire cutting was painted this colour.

The hand drill was aligned to the figures’ hands and the figure was drilled to accept the piano wire.  The putty was used to rebuild the body and hands of the figure if need by, plus it was used to help fasten the wire to the figure.

The converted figure on the left. Painted unconverted on the right. Yup, that's a cm ruler!

The figure was then repainted, in this case, the black coat with red facings of the U.S. 16th Infantry Regiment.

Finally, a paper flag was glued around the piano wire.  Use white school glue and put the glue on both back sides of the flag.  This way you can shape the flag while the glue is drying to give the appearance of flapping in the breeze.

So that is it.  From a silly pose that did not make sence to an okay pose of a figure that is needed by every regiment during this time period.  It was actually quite fun to build up this figure and I will try more complex figures as my skills improve.

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