Tuesday, 23 December 2008

A Christmas gift For Little Irma

My apologies for the poor photos but my usual place has been taken over by Santa's little helpers.
Again this is just one that I have finished to see how it looks. Still need to work on pose and detailing, but overall I am rather pleased with this one (obviously you do not get to see the ones that I am not happy with).
Quick overview of the little chap. He stands 27mm to th top of his head. The shoes and leggins are as I described in a previous post, i.e. that is done the wrong way round with the gaiter going over the top of the shoe. This will be changed on the next batch. The jackets are; a long under waistcoat with sleeves made of fabric; a short over waistcoat without sleeves made of leather.
It is quite hard to see some of the differences due to the poor lighting.
Other details added since the figure was last shown - the arms, musket, belts, cartridge box, sack, shoulder tabs for unit identification and the @@*%%$%$ stupid decoration on the top of the helmet.
Anyway let me know what you think.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Another Update

I've been quiet on here and thought that I would take the opportunity of sitting up with an upset baby to rectify the situation.
Sculpting practice continues, if a little slowly. Thanks for all the encouragement and advice given after the last couple of posts. I will try to get time to post a few photos soon.
On the design of the uniform, I have been having some fun that I will share over the coming posts. This mainly consists of period and reproduction items that Ican use as templates. My theory being that de Saxe is describing how he would uniform the troops based on variations of existing outfits.
First up, the shoes and gaiters. From looking at the 'original' artwork (posted earlier) and reading Jean-Louis translation, this is what I have come up with. Look at the gaiters on the central figure in this picture and imagine the top of the gaiter extended further up the thigh. Then take the boots from the left side figure and shorten the to just above the ankle, but still over the bottom of the gaiter. Thi gives something that looks similar to the, sketchy, 'original'. Or do you think I have it wrong?

Monday, 8 December 2008

A Quick Update

Having laid down the rather loose rules of how I was going to operate on this blog, I have now disregarded them but only short term. My main problem with this project is that I cannot sculpt at all well. So from now until the new year, my time on this project will be dedicated to pushing putty around. The results of this I will post please let me know what you think and what I need to do to improve.
First up, an infantry man. Legs are finished, torso is mostly finished and the arms are just being posed. The uniform is based on the picture of de Saxes' Legion as shown earlier in this blog. So we have a very high gaiter, long waistcoat under a shorter,sleeveless waistcoat and a lovely helmet!

The Front

The Rear

Head with Helmet
I can't wait to try making te funny wing decorations for the front of the helmet - Iv'e no idea where to start!

Comparison with RSM
Although the RSM figure looks much larger than mine, the completion of the torso will give the body the same height although it will still be narrower. The heads are almost identical in size. Adding a base will also make them look closer.
I still do not know which pose to go with. Currently it is posed so that the right arm is in pretty much the same position as that of the RSM figure. The left arm will be holding the musket with the hand supporting the end of the stock rather than the lock resting in the crook of the elbow. However that RSM pose is one that I really like, does anyone else prefer one pose over another?
Leave a note, let meknow what you think.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Poor Gruns

Starting out again has proved a tiring time for Herr Gruns. However he is delighted when word reaches him that the Duchess is providing him with extra resources to enable him to complete his task. It is hoped that they will be recieved before the end of the year. Until then he spends his time working on the patterns for the new uniforms.

For his own amusement he makes up his initial attempt into a completed outfit.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Onto the Reveries

First up we have the shoes and legwear. This one should prove fairly simple, but who knows.
Unfortunately I am writing while suffering from lack of sleep, one hand usable and no chance of picking up my copy of the book - are babies not wonderful (of course they are, but....)

The picture above shows the clogs recommended for when in camp. I cannot really make out the leg wear, it is either a very high gaiter (there is a change in the shading under the jacket on the right leg) or a tight fitting full length trouser, similar to that worn by grenzers.
This photo shows the alternative footwear of low shoes, as recommended for duty in the field. Again the leg wear could be either of the options given above. From behind the overall look is very much that of a Grenz from slightly later in the century (I have a drawing of one circa 1790 that this combination of shoe and trouser is shown).

Any suggestions? I can't quote from Dover at the moment but one of the earlier posts (on gaiters) does have the quote about the legwear.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Tying up the loose ends.

As promised, the original figure based on how I viewed the uniform described by de Saxe. In this example the 'Turkish Coat' has been rolled and strapped to the bag on the figures left hip.
The coat is loose fitting and has full tails/skirts, folded back to the maximum, worn with a mid length waistcoat/veste underneath.
The musket is based on one desribed in Reveries and being about 60 inches long.
Two comparison shots against an RSM95 Austrian Grenadier.
Problems encountered - the figure has grown by 2mm during the making. All of this extra height is in the body of the figure. The chest seems to have expanded out of all proportion to the rest of the body. Some detail is way too thick i.e. belts. However I hope I can work around all of these things when the 'real' figures are started. Yes I know the hands are not finished and that the musket is far too chunky.
All in all I was quite pleased with the result overall. Obviously more practice is needed, mostly on scaling, and more patience is needed as I want to be changing things constantly. For the new figures I will have several on the go at once which should keep me from tampering too much.
Next up is to get him painted while I work on a few basic armatures for the next batch.

Friday, 14 November 2008

The Way Forward

I have spent the last couple of nights thinking a lot about this project and getting quite excited about it. The hard decision has been about how to proceed. When I started thinking about doing this (nearly two years ago), I wanted to get to an end point that gave me some miniatures that reflected de Saxes writings.
Thanks to Google (and Jean-Louis for finding it), we now have uniform plates from as near the original as we can get, along with the original text. My plan is, unless someone has a better suggestion, to discuss each part of the uniform in turn. Using the plates from the book, the translation of the text that I have (2007 Dover Publications reprint of the 1944 M.S.P.Co edition) and the translation of the original text that Jean-Louis has kindly offered to provide. This should enable us to start off in the right direction.
Then I only need to learn how to sculpt to areasonable level and we are there!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

A Change of Direction

Since the delivery yestereve of an original copy of Reveries, Herr Gruns has been thinking and planning all night long.
His intention now is to first complete his original idea for the commission given to him by the Duchess and then to produce the more accurate version as portrayed in the original book. To aid him in this he respectfully requests that Jean-Louis join him here in Strackenz to provide help and assistance in the translation of the book.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Jean-Louis - My Thanks

Fassbinder the Steward finds a Gunsmith

Picture heavy, but this is a beautiful piece designed by Herr Wardlaw, originally of Connecticut, but now resident here in Strackenz. Following the recent successful trials of the breech mechanism it is to be adapted to the use of the Legions in their muskets.
This original piece was offered to the Duchess, who graciously returned it along with the honour of recieving a Ducal warrant as Gunsmith for Strackenz.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Back in the Workshop of Herr Gruns

Work continues on outfitting his many illustrious clients. But during it all his mind is comparing the options available for what could be his largest commission.

Currently the issue is of gaiters. Should they be higher or lower?

Friday, 7 November 2008

The First Helmet Mock-Up

"Ah Schmied, you have the package Herr Landwirt?"

'Yes Master, he apologises for the rough finish, but you did request it as soon as was possible.'

'The finish is of no import, this will just be the initial idea for Fassbinder to show the Duchess. Come along boy, get it out of the box!'

'Not too bad Schmied, as Landwirt says the finish is not ideal but the effect is pleasing. Let us hope the Duchess also thinks so. All it needs now is some colour before it is presented. That can be your job for today, keep it simple and to the point. And while you are at work upon that, I will start on the clothing.'

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

At Breakfast

"Good Morning Master, I trust you slept well? Your breakfast awaits."

'A good morning to you Schmied, it is well that you keep to your duties. Today you will progress with your studies in what I hope to be a most useful manner.'

'As always Master Gruns, I am at your service and eager to learn.'

'Come, join me at table and let us discuss the day ahead.

When I retired yestereve, I took to my room the copy of Reveries by M. de Saxe. Having read it through several times, I believe that we have the opportunity to use our imagination to a very large extent. Here, let me give you an example -

"In place of hats, I should prefer helmets.
They do not weigh more than hats, are not at all
uncomfortable, protect from a saber blow,
and are sufficiently ornamental."

That is it, there is no further description. Do you not think that we can design these new uniforms using our ideas based upon these writings? We only have to ensure that it meets the three points shown above.'

'Master, should it not also be easy to produce and not cost more than is needed?'

'Schmied, you have been paying attention during these past months, well done. Today, we shall work upon our design for the helmet and then you may take it to Herr Landwirt who has his workshop on Schlauehandwerker Strasse.

In his writings de Saxe takes every opportunity of praising the Ancient Romans in all things martial, so I propose that we base our design upon theirs. In its simplest form their helmet was akin to a shallow bowl, with straps fastening around the face and sometimes with a peak at the front and the rear. Something like this:

Now how can we make this our own?'

'What will the helmet be made of Master, will it be metal or leather?'

'Leather, it must be leather. It is lighter, easier to look after and we have it in abundance here in the Duchy. The trick will be to give it the best ornemantation that we can and for that we will use metal, probably Brass. I thought a comb and maybe a plate at the front, similar to that worn by some fusiliers and grenadiers.'

'That would work well Master. Could we not also adorn the comb with feathers or horsehair?'

'You have me thinking again Schmied. But wool would be better, it lasts well and is easy to look after. A roll of it attached to the comb would look imposing and maybe a sheepskin tri around the helmet. Quick Schmied, let us get this drawn up and then off to Landwirts with you. He may be able to have something for us to look at by tomorrow.'

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

In the Workshop of Gruns theTailor

"Master, this is a great honour that has been given you by our beloved Duchess. However I do not know how we will fulfill this task, the instructions are so vague."

'Do not worry Schmeid, as the apprentice no blame will attach to you if we do not please our little Irma. Tonight I will, again, read the document which Fassbinder the Steward gave us and, again, pray for inspiration.

But I have also had copies of the description made and they will be sent with all haste to anyone who may help us.'

'Master, where did the Duchess get this design for the new uniforms from?'

'Ah Schmeid, it is not just the uniforms. I hear that the whole organisation of the army is to be changed and all because of this little book. Fassbinder did say that the Duchess recived it from one of her cousins in Albion where it was printed last year. I believe that it is called "Reveries on the Art of War" and was written more than twenty years ago by Marshal Maurice de Saxe. It is said that he wrote it while being in an ill humour, and, judjing by what we have been given, I would have to agree! Now Schmeid off to bed, tomorrow will be a busy day.'