Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New hats for your troops?

Rather off character, thus posted as a comment below.



abdul666 said...

A fellow Imagi-Nation builder recently asked on the Old School Wargaming group (many of you are members, and have direct access to the messages there) for suggestions about the best way to give a tricorn to Perry Napoleonic cuirassiers so he can use them for his 'alternate' Lace Wars; this led to quite interesting exchanges (to reach a wider source of information I posted an echo of the thread on TMP).

A first possibility is of course to convert the existing headgear 'on the spot', as e.g. Major Wittering did to obtain his Mendelstadt Cuirassiers von Stolzhuf (I remember also a similar project in Hetzentberg, and there was a rumor of a mass production of tricorns in Herrschaden).

The other obvious possibility (less requiring in manual dexterity?) is headswapping (probably easier than 'hatswapping'): which raises the question of sources of 18th C. heads less expensive than buying minis just to decapitate them. Sprues of heads are commercially available e.g. for 'gothic Sci-Fi' (read: WH40K and the like) players who wish to add variety to their troops, but afaik none for the 18th C.?
'Tricorned' heads first come to mind, since a tricorn immediatly 'labels' a miniature as "mid-18 th C."; but other 'typical' headgears could be interesting. Such conversion aids would be precious to Imagi-Nations creators (I listed a few examples in the OSW and TMP threads, but each and every one of you will immediatly think of other possibilities), but also to 'historical' gamers wishing to field 'minority types' no manufacturer bothers to produce.
Such a 'semi-commercial' production is probably possible in the Eureka100 Club and the Wargame Factory 'Union and Liberty League' cadres, but would not 'take off' and become available for years. Yet, in the meantime, several wargamers, some of them 'Lace Wars' players and thus familiar with tricorns and mirlitons, sculpt and cast their own minis (at least 4 of them are either members of 'EvE' or have a link to their blog posted here; I'm also thinking of JL Vial of 'Nec Pluribus Impar' fame who creates very good minis and models). Could not one of them accept a private, non-commercial commission from a fellow wargamer (or a group of them), in the same way as 'NBA' David now and then to do the final design, detailing and drawing of imaginary flags (and a marvelous job he does , btw)?

I'm not personally concerned -I'm too old to start a new army, and know from experience I'm too clumsy for conversions!- but thought the topic could be of interest for some of you 'active', enterprising Lace Wars-gamers?



Hau JL,
Swapping heads is the easiest, but the most expensive method. Making hats, by using an existing model and creating a green-stuff mould is the easiest, but time consuming. Then again, 'time-consuming' doesnt really count, does it? Massed produced hats can also be made using breakfast cereal packet cardboard, with a coating of poly-type filler and finish of PVA type glue. It's a fiddly method, but works - which is what you want. Final concept is your best - independent commission for 'parts': hats/heads etc.

Fitz-Badger said...

One question would be what scale and proportion. Even if limited to 28mm, for example, different manufacturers' can heads vary quite a bit in size. Some, like Foundry's are rather large (Kennedy-esque? Kennedy means "big head". lol). Maybe it wouldn't matter?
There was a manufacturer years ago (RAFM?) who sold different heads for some of their troops, like woodland Indians.
So far I haven't bothered with head or hat swaps. Most of my conversions have been weapon swaps or converting a figure to bannerbearer (lots of work to remove a musket held next to the body).

tidders said...

I do occasional head swaps; I use a the Creartec 40mm mould which is about right and just cast the heads(see I've done one conversion of some Napoleonic British figs (see

-- Allan

abdul666 said...

Less difficulties with 25mm: many 1/72 plastics sets include some minis in 'non-fighting' poses. Resented as a wastage when using the figurines 'as they are', but a precious source of cheap heads with suitable headgear when conversions are required: for instance the 'tricorned' heads of 'non-fighting' components of the Airfix AWI 'Washington's Army' set moved these Airfix Waterloo French Cuirassiers some 65 years back in time.
Unfortunately no similar source of cheap heads seems available when it comes to 28-30mm?

abdul666 said...

Got inspirational details on OSW, an 'in-depth' study and some suggestions of commercial sources on TMP.

abdul666 said...

Thanks to a recent post on TMP, a striking example of historical uniform that can be obtained in miniature only by headswapping: a hussar lancer with a 'Napoleonic Carabinier' caterpillar helmet. A mere headswapping would give the helmet to a hussar standard-bearer and voila! a Carabinero-lancero Husar, Guardia del Virrey del Peru, 1815.
Will an Imagi-Nation creator dare to field a regiment in such extraordinary uniform?

abdul666 said...

A single 'spare' tricorn in the Black Scorpion Pirates weapons sprue: 'directly', of use only to give a 18th C. 'look' to a single character.