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Le sergent est mort, décapité! (Voltigeur, On Campaign In Spain, 1811)


Old Man
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This is an Art Girona 54mm figure representing a sergeant of voltigeurs in a line company wearing campaign kit in Spain during the war which gave English the term guerilla.

 

Napoleonic figures are usually sculpted in full dress, and while this was often employed in major set-piece battles, like Wagram or Austerlitz, clothing more suitable to the rigors of march and outpost work was generally worn on active service. This usually involved tough cloth trousers instead of breeches and gaiters, and preservative coverings over ornate headgear.

 

The 'uniform' depicted for this figure struck me so odd when I got it I looked into the matter a bit, and it seems legitimate. Apparently the French in Spain seized early from Church stores a great quantity of fabric intended for monks' cassocks, which was put to use for infantry trousers. Light infantry often discarded their coats in summertime, and operated in shirt and vest only.

 

Don't expect too much of this, certainly nothing like the figure in the kit's illustration. I am pretty much a duffer at these, and don't often do one. But we've just moved, and I wanted something fresh to get me going of the new bench. I will describe what I do, but don't rely on it for technique.

 

First step is giving everything a primer coat (Tamiya Fine White rattle-can).

 

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To aid a little in showing shadows and highlights, I doused the pieces in a black acrylic wash, which I then rubbed down with wadded paper towel. I am using tube artists acrylics, which don't grip too tight, so a good deal of the wash went (as intended).

 

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Usual procedure is to start with the face, because if this isn't right the figure can't be, but faces, eyes especially are the hardest part, and re-doing them several times (as generally I must do) is no fun, so I thought I would reverse and do everything else first. Here's the result of last night's efforts:

 

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I use thinned coats, and lots of them. The basic color of the trousers is Burnt Sienna, cut in varying degree with something called 'bronze yellow', a nice dark yellow, with some of this used straight (but still thinned) to pick out highlights. The trousers are pretty much done.

 

The vest and shirt is a bright titanium white, also cut with this 'bronze yellow), which allows the straight white to be used for highlights. These garments still need more work, which I will get to next week.

Edited by Old Man
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On 9/3/2021 at 1:49 PM, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

Welcome aboard always nice to see a figure-model in the builds. 

 

Thank you for the welcome, Sir.

 

We'll see if it's nice to see as things progress....

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Hello

 

This is a nice subject to follow even if I am not able to build something like that.

It is surprising to see that the look of this figure is very similar to those from "Metal Modèles" in France.

 

Patrick

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On 9/4/2021 at 11:14 PM, VG 33 said:

Hello

 

This is a nice subject to follow even if I am not able to build something like that.

It is surprising to see that the look of this figure is very similar to those from "Metal Modèles" in France.

 

Patrick

 

 

Thanks for the tip!

 

I'd never heard of the company, but their selection looks great, and there's an established dealer here in the states carries them.

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On 9/7/2021 at 11:14 PM, JOCKNEY said:

Looks terrific, I'm always amazed to see by altering the colour slightly a figures cloths can suddenly look so much more realistic.

 

Cheers Pat 

 

 

Glad you like it, Pat.

 

It's the same sort of thing you run into with any model, making something small resemble something much larger. The little indents in a figurine can't manage the shadows or highlights of the full-size clothed person, so they have to be helped along.

 

I've got the shirt done, and have started on the face. Hope to get the arms and musket on this pass....

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Went ahead and put some paint on the face, after getting the shirt and vest.

 

 

 

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To get the shading on the white, I did 'outlines' of belts and the little creases in sharp lead pencil, painted over with thin coats of the white/dark-yellow used earlier, and picked out highlights with straight white.

 

I feel pretty good about the face. I only had to strip it down once. Left eye may need a little tweaking, but I'll wait a day or two to decide.

 

These are taken in indoor sunlight, flash washes out the white and color gradations on the face too much.

 

Next will be doing the musket, and getting it and the arms attached.

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On 9/11/2021 at 9:23 AM, Davek72 said:

I really love seeing a figure here.  Top work. 
 

Dave

 

Thanks, Dave.

 

The camera is kind.

 

But I do feel pretty good about this one so far.

 

I am going to look into getting a couple more from the French company Patrick mentioned. they have a foot dragoons figure, and a regular infantryman posed actually using his musket....

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De nouveaux progrès, messieurs...

 

 

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Pictures taken in indoor sunlight, without flash.

 

As you can see, arms and musket are assembled to the figure. I like the pose, this is a tired man. That said, it's awfully tricky to assemble. The hands are molded to the musket, the arms have to be just-so, and test-fitting is not on, at least not for both arms and hands/musket all at once.

 

Seams at the shoulders are being filled with white glue (several applications) and un-thinned tube paint. Standard fillers and any sort of sanding just are not on in something like this. I expect fellow was un vrai as at this could paint the torso front after assembling the arms and hands/musket pieces, but that is quite beyond my duffer's abilities.

 

I still may do a smidge more with the figure's left eye. The shako needs painting, and the epaulets, too.

 

Painting and attaching the various accoutrements, the knapsack, cartridge pouch, etc., is the next big step.

 

I will probably mount the figure to a working base as well. That will give me something to hold that isn't painted.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Old Man
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8 hours ago, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

Looking good sir. 

 

Thank you.

 

I can't claim any credit for it, but I think some personality emerges from the face. My daughter was over with the baby grand-daughter, and when I showed her the figure, she said 'He's seen some things.' In the Spanish campaign he damned sure would have.

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On 9/14/2021 at 9:02 AM, JOCKNEY said:

Absolutely first class Sir, he even looks battle weary !

 

Cheers Pat

 

 

Thanks, Pat. I've got to give more credit to the sculptor than me. If it does owe to me, I made a mistake, under the modeller's definition that if you do it once, its a mistake, if you do it twice it's a technique. I doubt I could pull it off twice, whatever, if anything, I did.

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  • Old Man changed the title to Le sergent est mort, décapité! (Voltigeur, On Campaign In Spain, 1811)

It was done as neatly as if by a cannonball.

 

Here is how things stood yesterday evening...

 

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Yesterday night I was straightening up the bench (this accumulates lots of little palette swatches and jumbled tools and brushes) and I managed to knock it over. There is a small space between the rear of the new bench and the wall. It fell through that. The head is gone. So is the base. The latter is kind of a puzzle, it is a bit large to disappear, but it has. The area is bare floor, there is not carpet monster. I was expecting to find the head, but after an extended search, have failed to do so. Nor did this morning's effort turn up the head. The company (in Spain) has the figure still in stock, and I may get another --- I liked this one a lot.

 

I have a Pegaso dragoon I might take a run at for this GB, but I am feeling a little bleh....

 

The hunting horn on the cartridge box is assembled on the piece from bits of five thou sheet. Took numerous tries, but i can't paint something like that free-hand.

 

I did say I am no example for technique, but I will offer a couple of things.

 

The black wash over white primer did work well, as did pencil under paint for small wrinkles and outlines. I would water the wash a good deal more, though, to make the rub-off more efficient.

 

In filling the seams of the already painted arms, after a couple of goes with the white glue, I took to mixing tube acrylic in the proper color with the white glue. This does not seem to shrink. Excess can be wiped immediately with a fingertip or a bit of damp paper towel. I was happy.

 

Ah, well --- c'est la vie!

Edited by Old Man
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