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Sunday, April 19, 2020

92nd Gordons WIP and Lt Colonel Cameron conversion

I'm closing in on adding the 92nd Highlanders to my list of completed battalions.  As a reminder of the conversions planned I am using the figures pictured below to add to the color party and of course to represent Lieutenant Colonel Cameron:

 Stage one of the conversions are shown above.

 Above are two Victorian era depictions of Colonel Cameron that helped guide my efforts.

 Hence the addition of the shoulder roll from kilt material.  Not a true great kilt as he is wearing trousers, but apparently this type of sash was common enough.  Also added is a sheepskin holster cover to disguise the figure's origin as a French general.

 The kilted shoulder roll was constructed using "green stuff" epoxy putty.  I also heard from Mr. Tennant that the boots needed to be trimmed down to be British in style, a detail I would have missed, so was very grateful for his help.  So just when the conversions were going well and the painting was coming along nicely, I got it in my head that the time to clean the garage was at hand.  I would after all, need a gaming space once these gentlemen are ready for the table, so the darkroom I had constructed for my years as a professional photographer had to go.

Darkroom Demolition!

First step, get all of the crap - er, I mean stuff, out of the way!

 The darkroom sits at the far end of the Garage, most of which is usually occupied by my wife's car.

 Fortunately my hobby painting table remained accessible, just to the right of the darkroom.

One full afternoon of really hard work with a sledge hammer and the business was done.  Thanks to my friend Chris who tutored me on how to dead end the electrics formerly powering the lights and fan of the darkroom.  In all of my years as a photographer I never went to the expense of plumbing the darkroom, and would just take items needing to be washed or rinsed upstairs to the utility sink.  Without plumbing to deal with the demolition was much simpler!

 Of course all of the hobby crap, er I mean stuff, that was hiding in the darkroom had to come out and find a place to sit.  It was there partly so my wife wouldn't know how big the unpainted pile of lead is.   My dear one is actually quite forgiving of my hobby expenditures both in terms of money and time, and has been quite supportive over the years of her quirky husband and his "little metal men".  She's also quite clever so my ploy to hide stuff never really worked...

After all of that work indoors trying not to breathe in all of the dust, I really needed to get outside (and take some Mobic!), so off we went Sunday morning to a local park; Bell's Bend.  I have said it before, but it bears repeating; one of the best aspects of living in Nashville is all of the nearby parks, each with its own character.

 Bell's Bend sits in a bend of the Cumberland River, and being former farmland, is mostly open fields, so was nice to be there on a cloudy day that was nice and cool.

 As usual the pups benefit from our excursions.

While we were walking in the park the 92nd Gordon Highlanders were sitting in front of a fan.  The varnish is dry and all that is needed now is basing and flags.  Hopefully I'll show off the finished unit next weekend.

Until then, here is a parting shot of the Gordons getting ready for their debut.

Be well and stay safe out there everyone.  Hope you can find joy in some new places as we all adjust to life during a pandemic.


Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Coping with COVID 19 - Work in Progress: Fusilier-Chassuers and 92nd Gordon Highlanders

One of the great things about a hobby like ours, is that it does lend itself well to time spent indoors.  For me time really ceases to have much meaning as there is a bit of a meditative peace as I paint.  It of course doesn't hurt that I am usually nursing a Scotch whiskey towards the end of the day when I am working on these little guys.  :)

Above is a recently finished expansion of the Fusilier-Chasseur battalion, now brought up to full strength and including some NCOs that can be seen in the 1st file with gold shako rims, and decorated with green and red shako cords.

Of course you can't paint figures non stop, and though working at home now, I feel as busy as ever.  With the advent of the shelter at home policies affecting the way we work, it is important to get out and exercise as much as possible.  The governor and mayor have recognized the importance of getting outside and exercising to maintain health and declared that an essential activity.  We try to get out to the parks early in the morning when we are not likely to encounter many other walkers.

 While the communal places are closed, such as picnic shelters and the nature centers, the trails and walkways remain open.

7:00 on a Sunday morning and not another soul to be seen.

 These two goofballs, Bozon and Darla, are unconcerned and simply thrilled to be out on a walk.  I think they have learned to discern the subtle change in our routines that indicate it is a weekend, and look forward to their morning walks - and give voice to their insistence that they get it soon!

 Spring wildflowers are blooming and along the way we encountered an entire hillside covered with Dutchman's Britches (Breeches).

 Bozie and Darla checking their "pee-mail".  They get a lot of messages so have to check frequently.

Warner Parks has closed many of the paved roads to vehicle traffic and these are now lovely walkways lined with beautiful moss covered walls.  These walls were built back in the 30s and 40s as part of the WPA (Works Program Administration) created to get people back to work after the Great Depression.  I have to wonder if we will need a 21st century equivalent after the Pandemic.

 Around the aptly named Bluebell Bend the Bluebells are in full bloom.

There has been lots of rain this Spring so the creeks are full and the park full of the sound of running water (and squirrels and birds!).

One last check of messages and a quick drink before heading home.

Next up - The 92nd Gordon Highlanders!

 The core unit is painted by Dick Tennant and contains 34 immaculately painted figures.  I will be adding two figures to the battalion to bring it up to 36 total figures.  One will be an NCO with a Halbard converted from a DK 188 preparing to fire figure (above), the other a slight DK variant (below - 2nd image) of the standard Hinton Hunt infantry figure (HH BN33, DK 187)

 Here we have a colonel figure ready to have a head transplant from a poor hapless Highlander with a broken rifle.  He will represent Lt Col John Cameron of Fassiefern: raised to Lieutenant-Colonel 23 June 1808; commanded 1/92nd Foot 1809 to 1815; served at Walcheren 1809; served in Peninsula October 1810 to April 1814, wounded four times; commanded brigade in 2nd Division in Peninsula June and July 1813; brevet Colonel 4 June 1814; wounded and thrown from horse at Quatre Bras 1815, died shortly afterwards.


Here is the conversion fodder for both the Gordons and the Black Watch.  I decided the Halbards were a bit too long so they have been shortened from those pictured here.  (left to right - DK 188, 187, 188, 150 and unidentified mounted commander with head transplant)

Here they are primed and the painting has begun!

 These were some of the figures that really cemented my interest in the hobby.  They were pictured in the Bruce Quarrie Airfix guide to Napoleonic Wargaming in black and white glory (below).  The figures are HH BN 37 Highland officer marching, BN 30 Highland officer charging converted to ensign for color bearers, BN 38 Highland Piper, and BN 33 Highland private charging)

Mr. Tennant was able to provide a digital copy of the original photographs of his figures used in the Airfix guide, reproduced here in black and white, though the originals are in color.

There is a lot of work to be done on these that is not readily apparent.  Mostly as is usual, touch up on the ankles and elbows and bonnets, but unfortunately in this case the ankles are often painted in the argyle sock pattern!  Nonetheless I hope to get them done quickly so I can be ready for Rolica when the shelter at home order is lifted!

Best wishes to you all and be safe out there!