Guns for my ImagiNations

Only a small update today, I am very busy at the moment. An Ebay find, two old diecast guns from the 1970s. In a good shape and still working.


The left one is a howitzer from Crescent Toy Co. and the right is an anti-tank gun from Britains Ltd. My ImagiNations project covers a period at the end of the 19th century and these guns are from World War II., but hey, who cares?

Guns? Check.

A little too many cannons lately, right? But that's only a coincidence.



Casting Report: French Artillery Part 3 of 3 : Prince August Mould Set No.80-08 - The Gribeauval Gun

OK, first of all : Happy New Year!

I think we all have the same hopes for this year: that the virus crisis will end soon. But I believe 2021 will be again a long year.

But we wargamers or minature enthusiast have an advantage over (some) other people : we have always something to do, it never gets boring. So 'lockdowns' are not a problem when it comes to the question 'What shall I do with my time at home?'

For me, the next months will see an increased effort to finally bring my 25mm napoleonics to the table. But first I have to finish the 54mm napoleonic artillery during the next days. The last mould set is the gun itself.

 





 
The whole set was pretty easy to use.  And the wheel was a surprise. Normally moulds for wheels make big problems but here the first wheels were done in some minutes. After a closer look I found that this mould already had some air holes for the spokes. That helped a lot. Some inevitable failures later I drilled additional holes to speed things up.

The next day came the other surprise : there was only one wheel left to be casted and I had to figth to make it. I used a sligthly different metal with more tin in it (from some old spoons) and had one failure after the other. I needed about 6 tries to finally get the last wheel done. The realization is: the material is everything.

The amunition box needs a little hole near to the entry so that the lower part of the box don't has a gap. Seems that there is always an air bubble at this place.


I really have a problem with the tiny extra parts. The are a bit difficult to cast and you need them four times for every cannon. Means you have to use a part of the mould more often than it should be. This does not only shorten the lifetime of the mould a bit, you need much more time to make all the parts.

OK, sure, you can produce more guns with this mould set than you (and some other users) would ever need, nonetheless this detail should could have been designed better. If you look at the pictures above you will see there was enough space in all moulds for these parts.


This is the assembly instruction included with the moulds:

 


And here one of the guns ready to be painted. A realy nice and detailed model.


 

 




 


 

 

Casting Report: French Artillery Part 2 of 3 : Prince August Mould Set No. 80-12

The second mould set was as easy as the first one. So I am making it short.

Two hints:

1. The large openings normaly need some time to cool down. If you open the mould to fast it can happen that the a part of the material is still liquid. Don't be to hasty.

2. I forgot this the last time : Drill a little hole through the moulds where the noses of the soldiers heads are. This helps to sharpen the contours of the faces.

 

A failure



Drilling a little hole through the nose.


And voilá, the face has conturs. We can't easily add a nose but we can shorten one if it is to long.

Here are views of the three moulds:


I expected the ramrod to be difficult here. But no...


...the outline of the cuff was the problem. Drill a little hole to the outside so that the air can move out of that dead end and all is fine.


A soldier with a water bucket.


And the officer was also no problem.

Next will be the gun.



Casting Report: French Artillery Part 1 of 3 : Prince August Mould Set No. 80-09

These first three men where made a few month ago before I started this blog. Now I wanted to finish the 54mm french artillery and a casting session later I had all the stuff to show you the three mould sets.  We start with set no. 80-09, three french artillerymen.



The first thing we notice is that the boys are wearing headgear that we don't expect when we think of the napoleonic era. Prince August shows the figures with a hat that the french artillery wore in the first years of the 19th century. The shako for the artillery was, according to Knötel (famous german uniform researcher and painter of the 19th century), introduced in 1810. The artillery of the french guard wore bearskin hats in the later years.

But that's not a problem, because the heads are interchangeable. If you want to represent later periods or regiments, you will find the heads for those in the other moulds of that series. But I stay with this setup. Not everything has to be related to the time of Waterloo.

These are the parts that came out of the mould.

Admittedly, I've only given very little thought about the amount of 54mm figures I am going to create or use so I decided that 3 or 4 guns would be enough for me at the moment. And so three castings from every man in the sets seemed to be enough. 


This mould needed no adjustments..


I made some airvents here : For the hat, the smaller parts and on the soldiers base. The two vents to his left are needed because otherwise the contour of his shoulder would not come out correctly. (Yes, I forgot to insert the plastic rod.)





The same here, some airvents make your life much easier.




No visit to Waterloo in 2020 but some impressions from my last one

At the end of last year I decided to visit the Waterloo battlefield during the first three or four month of 2020. A time when not so much tourists would be there. It's only a two hours drive away, but somehow I did not manage to visit it again since the early nineties.

They have a new museum now that I wanted to see and we planned a kind of hiking tour round the battlefield. Chateau Hougoumont was also an important point on the list since it wasn't open to visitors back in the days because it still was a working farm or something.

And then the hurly-burly began. I saw it coming. From the second week of January I followed it closely by reading the live ticker of a chinese newspaper (in english). It was alarming from the beginning. By the end of the month, exactly on the 30th, we began to stockpile. We called it "slow prepp" : always buying some extra stuff while grocery shopping. May sound strange but toilet paper was not on my list. But that never was a problem. The shitocalypse didn't happen.

Soon it was clear that we had to drop our plan to make a trip to Waterloo. And everything else, including our holidays. Here we are now, so many month later and not a little bit better. Will it be safe next year? No, forget it. Not everybody is as carefull as we are and it will go on.

So here - as a compensation - some of my photos from my Waterloo trip in the early nineties. I think between 1990 and 1993. Scanned from old dias. Please don't mind the quality. I wasn't a good potographer, the pictures are just snapshots and were not meant to be published. And by the way, it's very sad but you can't purchase a good dia-scanner anymore. (If you have one, keep it. Or scan your dias now before it gives up the ghost.)

The Emperor waiting for the battle. Is he still sitting there and waiting for me to make a better photo of him?

A display with 54mm miniatures. Showing the fight at the door of the Chateau.

Not the young guard, not the middle guard, its the Old Grumpy Guard!


La Haie Sainte. When I was there the gate stood wide open and I was able to take a closer look. At that time one corner of the southern wall (to the left of the gate) still looked liked beeing destroyed in the battle. But who knows, two centuries is a long time.

A typical museum display...

... and here a silly one. I am not an expert but this does not look like the wound from a bullet.

And suddenly, a group of reenactors came along.

I like the pose of the guy on the right. He is still in his role.

The mystery of the missing house

Sounds like the title of a 'famous five' story, but this photo drove me mad. In my memory it was "La Belle Alliance". A museum and I remembered that I photographed a small ossuary in the backyard.

I did not photograph it from the front. Photos were expensive back then. But I also cannot say why I took this view from the backside.

The ossuary


But when I checked it on goggle maps and streetview I saw that my memory was wrong. Belle Alliance has only one storey, it couldn't be this house. I searched and (virtually) 'drove' the road up and down and I was nearly sure that the house had gone like some of the houses that stood around the place of the new museum. But finally I found it, the "Dernier Quartier General de Napoleon" (Napoleons Last Headquarter). A small museum about 2km south of Belle Alliance (and the 'front')  and nearly 4km away from the lion monument. It is interesting, Napoleons headquarter does not appear on most historic maps of the battle because it is a little bit too far to the south. (In another post I will show you what special advantage this place had.)


Was this the place where I took a photo of the (original) emperors bed? How would you sleep before a big battle? I would not be able to close my eyes for a minute.

I would really like to compare what I saw back then with the status of today. But Waterloo is so near and so far away now.


Casting report - Hussars from Prince August mould no. 805

Here we have them : The first horsemen for my Imagi-Nations project. And yes, of course the are covered with a thick glossy varnish. They are Toy Soldiers, they have to. They don't pretend to be 'realistic'.

 

The mould flows quite well despite the undercuts. Since two legs of the horse are heavily stressed when removing the piece, I advise you to always let the mould cool down well. I also had to use extra clamps towards the bottom, otherwise the material would leak out. The rather large amount of metal puts a lot more pressure on the mould due to its weight compared to moulds for smaller figures.

I drilled air holes for the toes of the hussar. These run into a "dead end" and are often shorter than they should be.

 In addition, a small air vent at the tip of the saber.

 

Large figures usually cannot do without assembly. And that's a bit of a challenge here too. These are the pieces that come out of the mould.


Glue the horse together after deburring. Allow to harden for at least a few hours - better overnight. Because we need the horse to be really stable when mounting it on the base plate.


The holes in the base plate do not fit exactly to the millimeter. Therefore, use a round file or a knife blade to enlarge the holes a little bit in the direction of the center of the plate (direction of the arrow, see photo) and file off the pins on the horse's hooves a little bit in that direction. It's not much and then you can easily put the horse on the plate.


Glue on the base plate and also let it harden. Then the protruding tenons are clipped off with pliers and filed smoothly. Always practical: the so-called "third hand" that holds the model here.


The rider has various right arms and only one left. The one on the left indicates holding the reins and would be a bit in the way when painting the braids on the man's chest. That's why we glue it on later. One of the arms is well suited to make a flag bearer and I think I am going to 'steal' this piece for other figures.

 

To be honest: I could not really see where to attach the saber and saber pouch. These moulds I got used so I did not have the information sheet that is usually included with them. But apparently nothing is planned for the saber, the whole ensemble is probably something very universal. I glued the saber to the side and glued the pocket over it for reinforcement.


Quite big bolids. From the bottom to the top around 9cm high and about 185 grams in weight. However, I cannot say which alloy I had cast it with,  I processed a lot of leftover material. Since I could not bend the horses' legs in order to adapt them to the base plate, I assume that the amount of tin is relatively high. Which, by the way, is very good, because I've heard stories about 54mm horses that kneeled down on their own after a while because the material was too soft. (Means : to much lead).

Slow down

I am a little bit slow at the moment. Running around with a hurting tooth for about two weeks now. Several visits to the dentist and it's still not completely over. But there is light at the end of the tunnel and my ability to concentrate is slowly coming back. But the good thing with a blog is : it doesn't matter if you take a break.

When dinosaurs... uh... Algorithms ruled the world

 


A bargain! Down from 3.856 Euros! The computer, programmed by some of the most intelligent developers on earth, made this reasonable discount for you! 

Found that screenshot from 2018 in my archive today. Meanwhile the price is down to 29,99. Still a little bit high I think.(?)

But during this year I saw something very similar going on. A package of 1/32 Zulus from A Call To Arms on my wantlist suddenly was worth 120,- Euros. I saw my colonial plans going down the river. When it went back down to normal I finally bought them. But it was close.

About twenty years ago or so practices like that were not legal here. Not everything changes for the better.

Tried to look where the Zulus are now but it seems they are gone on Amazon.