Thursday, June 23, 2011

Great service from Lifelites and Caliver Books

Just received my first order from Lifelites, a company that has created a lighting system for primarily Lego models, but that can be applied to apparently any type of model.

Here's the link:

Check out their gallery and the system. Even a Luddite like myself can figure it out. Here's a couple of examples of the results using Lifelites:

I did, of course, cock up the order, leaving out a single cable that would have made it easy to complete the lighting plan I have in mind. So back online I went and ordered the single cable. The freight was expensive, nothing we as modellers don't expect, but Rob at Lifelites took pity on a lonely incompetemt like myself, said that he hated me having to pay so much for a single cable, and he threw in three extra cables, gratis.

Great service and more orders to come.

As for Caliver Books, sent an order in, quite a substantial one, for Minifigs. The order turned up in Australia, two weeks after payment, all present and correct, couple of extra figures (possibly for breakages). Dave and his crew are doing a great job in my opinion and deserve all the support we can give them.

Even when I realised that I had ordered the wrong figure, Dave was happy to rectify the situation. In an earlier order, one of the boxes went astray. Dave replaced the missing figures without cost, and the new pieces arrived a week later.

I have received excellent service from both these companies, and fully intend to support them in the future.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mighty Moghul Fortress (Part 1)

Yeah, that's right, finally bit the bullet, started the Moghul fort. Thought it was about time to kick this particular pig.

I've been promising DV (known to many of you as Greatwhitezulu) a Moghul fort for many aeons now, and after the initial thought I just let it vegetate with all the other composting ideas in my head. But it was always there, niggling at the back of my mind.

Inspiration is easy to find. The fortresses of India are many and, yes, even varied. A few examples:

 They all follow the same principle, that of successive higher levels and massive stone walls, apparently to try to counter the introduction of powerful Western artillery. Not always particularly successful.

My plan for the fort was for a suitably awe-inspiring structure that could be placed in the corner of DW's bespoke game-table. It may be used for a siege game, or simply as an overwhelming symbol of Moghul dominance. If for a game the dimensions had to be suitable to take DV's basing system, so ramps, catwalks and walls had to be at least 50mm wide. This was really the only stipulation I was given, other than "not too heavy", and "elephant spikes in the gates, please".

The inspiration came from an illustration in the Osprey book "Indian Castles 1206-1526". Although earlier than the 18th century European influx, the picture at least gave me a starting point.

A simple enough design, with a water feature and plenty of scope for adaptation. I made a few rough sketches just to cement a few ideas and then transferred the ideas to a piece of card in true size.

Originally, I was going to have the model along one edge of the table, but after consultation with DV, the idea was for a corner piece.

And this became the final plan. Didn't realise just how phallic it would look, but I don't really notice those sorts of things, not being religious and all. Notice Pringles can. Yummy goodness notwithstanding, important later.

That's all very well, you might say, but how may this be interpreted? Well, here we go:

First, the stuff that will be cut out. I will point out that this form is actually two layers of high density insulation foam mounted on gatorboard.

Here it is being crushed beneath the weight of military knowledge. I use gatorboard rather than mdf because it is light, rigid, easily cut with a craft knife and a great conversationalist. After the pieces were glued, using a spray contact adhesive, I drew the new plan onto the surface as you have seen above and the rough shape was cut out.
Now the bits to be removed:

Rudimentary paintshop. Helps to colour code.
1. Brown marks - top arrow ramps up from table level to the first gate where the ramp levels out, then it continues up to level out again between the two large round shapes (big towers).
2. Red marks - rocky hillside into which fort has been constructed. This will be roughly hacked out in a technique I will show later. Rocks and boulders will be pressed into the surface to severely roughen up this surface.
3. Dark blue marks - water feature. A multi-purpose water tank, used as an obstacle for attacking troops, as a bathing pool for Hindus and Muslims, and as a water source in time of siege. This is an example:

 4. Light blue marks - a water covered walkway beind the covering wall. If you look at the picture above, you can see the walkway beneath the surface behind the wall. Nice change of level and water colour, I thought.

So these pieces will be removed from the styrene layers.

Then, construction will begin on the features that will lift the piece out of the ground.

The pink marks show the outer wall system, which will comprise the curtain wall covering the water pools, and the gatehouse. The gatehouse will have two small towers, with the Pringles can acting as  a former for the Hirst Arts blocks that will be used in the construction. The plan is to model the towers after the first tower I built for DV.

The gate will have elephant spikes and be quite ornate, as befits a Sultan.

The brown marks will be two large towers, of the same design as the base of the tower in the picture above. They will probably be taller and built again of Hirst Arts, with matching crenellations and a flat surface to take artillery.

The cream marks are for the final gatehouse, again with elephant spikes on the door, and extremely ornate. Here are a couple of examples:

Can't say I will make them as ornate as these but they will look spectacular. And colourful.

Here's a pic of the elephant spikes.

All the buildings will be removeable, to facilitate moving, and also if later I build ruins to replace them.

All in all, a big piece to undertake, but if I can pull it off it will be worth the wounds.

Might even try to throw in some lighting. Who knows? Stay tuned.


Albert Speer's Lego

I like Hirst Arts blocks. I know some people have problems with them, but some people also like to hear their own voices gonging around in their heads just for the hell of it. To those people I say "Fie on you!"

With a little imagination and some forethought, Hirst Arts can be the basis of exceptional pieces, lending a titanic and substantial quality to a model, that cardboard or thin plastic cannot convey. Of course, at the same time the pieces can look blocky and heavy, without any real attempt at architectural interest or significance.

Like something Albert Speer might have made out of Lego.

In my opinion, restricting yourself to only Hirst Arts when modelling may lead to exactly that sort of feel. I have found that following the maxim of "there are no hard and fast rules to modelling" has helped.

One of the first pieces I made out of Hirst was this Moghul tower for DV. Using a Pringles tube for the former of the tower and foamboard for the crenellations, I think it was a decent first try. It taught me some useful lessons, including using other materials to achieve the final result. And that Pringles are yummy. Lessons that I pursued in my next piece.

This was a neat little ruin, built for CBW as part of a much larger cityscape, which will eventually develop into a 6x4 foot table (if not larger).

The Dark Angel marine (courtesy Anthony Pearson) gives the scale. I wanted a Gothic monument to collapsing civil order, plenty of rubble for cover, with a hint of the imperial splendour that the chapel once displayed. I also wanted several levels on the floor, with a nifty little sniper roost in the shattered dome.

The base is card, although in future I may use gatorboard which is like foam core but with ultra-thin wood instead of card as the outer layers. (Go to Eckersleys in Sydney). Under the back columns is a slight raise in level, with a grate that has exploded out, as if some shambling horror has made a surprise visit from the stygian depths beneath the city (I'd like to thank REH and HPL for the use of the word "stygian"). A couple of steps lead up to the rounded apse.

Both these levels were made from thicknesses of balsa. The basic shape of the chapel was cut and roughly sanded down and then I built the shattered remains of the walls. Apart from the statues in the wall niches, all the bricks and columns were Hirst Arts. The statues were supplied by CBW, not sure where they are from. Once I placed and glued all the bricks, I glued irregularly cut pieces of stone-embossed plasticard on the floors.

I then hacked a hole in the lower floor and fashioned a burst grill from a GW photo-etch set. Just for a bit of atmosphere.

You can see the grating through the apse.

The dome was built after pieces were hacked out using a set of cutters to make the sniper hole. All these elements were then left to dry, as I built the floor of the dome using spare bits of wood from old ship models. Once the floor was built, I made it look like it had been destroyed by . . . destroying it. I twisted it until parts snapped and bent, and then set it alight with a butane lighter. Love the smell of butane in the workroom, smells like . . . modelling.

I attacked the dried brickwork with the cutters, hacking chunks of plaster out of the stones , grinding holes into surfaces and, defacing practically every surface. Be careful at this stage, too much can be way too much. Better to be a little conservative than to have to try and repair damage that undermines the look.

A surface of gravel and sand was spread out over the ground and floors, leaving the embossed plasticard to show the brickwork.

The rubble was a combination of resin pieces from Reality in Scale (cheers, Otto), pieces of shattered Hirst Arts bricks and columns, and bricks from a weekly collectible magazine that builds a medieval castle (after 100 weeks and about a thousand bucks - I gave up after about 6 weeks, although I do have the complete Fokker Triplane kit from the same company if anyone is interested, unmade and unopened - would like to sell, I'll don't have time - there is a website with a weekly how-to for it. Follow this link:

As I laid the rubble down, I was aware of the need to have plenty of room for figures to be standing behind the cover provided. The apse will take a terminator base, the dome fits a sniper, plenty of space in and around the ruins for all manner of figure.

Painting was relatively simple. Sprayed various shades of brown, sand and black, in almost a camouflage style all over the model. Left the dome and wooden floor off to make it easier to paint and treated them in the same manner.

While these were drying, I made the bronze nameplate, out of plasticard and plastic lettering, and Scibor resin Templar shields. The plastic lettering came from Slater'sPlastikard (follow the link: ). I bent the pasticard sheet first.

I inflicted damage aplenty, undercoated in black, painted with Model Masters Brass, washed with a Tamiya clear mix of smoke, red and yellow, washed with a turquoise shade, and drybrushed with brass again.  Don't forget, I paint in enamels, so if you are using acrylics, then . . . well, hell, you're on your own, baby, you drank the cool-aid, you went with water-colours, you're waaaaaay too good to sniff turps fumes 24/7 like a reeeeeeeal man , so you can just kiss m . . . . .

I'm sorry, it's been a long day.

Anyhoo, after the paint has dried and, apparently, the fumes have dissapated, I dry-brushed like a bandit from a mix of brick red, tan, yellow and white, with a touch of black to dirty it up, through several layers , lightening all the time, throwing in some yellow or a bit of blue as my taste dictated until the final colour is as you see, sort of a dirty, battle-scarred, smog-blasted sandstone, very familiar to Sydney-siders (battle-scarred, not so much - peaceful place, Sydney, great for a visit, beautiful city, pissing down rain at the moment and cold - love it).

The wooden floor gets a drybrush as well as does the brickwork on the floors, using more red and tan in the mix, with a lighter yellow-brown highlight, and blackened at the edges.

I added a couple of Nimix photo-etch Templar crosses as floor and wall inlays (you can just see one in the apse above), bronzing them, again for atmosphere.

Once all the elements were put together I was well pleased with the outcome. It can be considered complete, but there are a few things I might add, like a bit of foliage, vines up the front wall in places, grass tufts, just to age the piece a little, and maybe a bit more rubble on the dome level. The idea of some tattered battle flags is tempting as well, but one must be careful not to gild the lily. Detailling is fun, but also can be a pit of despair and can lead you into ever-decreasing circles of "touch-up".

You got to know when enough is enough.

So enough for now. But just wait until I start the step-by-step on the Moghul fort. You will all eat your heads with jealousy.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Back on the Blog

Don't it just cheese you off when you go to a blog hoping, just hoping that there will be something new. And there isn't.

My apologies to all those who have patiently waited for some inkling of what I am doing. Part of the problem is that I don't like posting work I am doing for people if they have a blog of their own. Prime example is, DV's beautiful and informative posting of his adventures into 18th century India, and the rise and demise of Moghul supremacy. As far as I know every figure displayed has been painted by my good self, much to my surprise, considering that DV is now measuring the size of the army, not by number of figures, but by metres of coverage.

This sucker is BIG. Two years of work, for me. Lifetime of devotion for DV. Here is an example DV has already posted so I can break this rule a little.

So it gives him the chance to show his stuff without me pre-empting, and he has way more info on the units and period than do I. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.

However, it also means that I won't show the Skaven I have painted. I trust they will find their way to his other blog, Much modelling goodness there.

The other reason I may take time in blogging is that I don't like repetition. A lot of what I do is similar to previous jobs. If you've seen one French line infantryman, you've seen them all . . .

(Peter steps aside for a second, to muse:

. . . which is actually a good lesson for many figure manufacturers. What is the reasoning behind producing the same type of figures that others have already produced en masse, and possibly better. How many French Old Guard grenadiers can there be out there? How many times will we see a new sculptor bring out another German WWII SS stormtrooper? Kudos to the Perry's for the Carlist list, well done Gringo 40's for the larger scale Mexican and American forces, and to all the others striving for l'difference. Prime example, DV with the new Golconda Indian range he is developing. Breaths of fresh air . . .

Peter returns to his regular broadcast)

I will break the rule a little just to show examples of the Wargame Factory figures I have used in conjunction with Pig Iron accessories, and Back2basix bases.

Simple figures conveying the less well-trained cannon fodder of the WH40K Imperial Guard. Kept the bodies and arms with weapons of the Wargame's Factory stormtrooper, and added heads, backpacks and pouches from Pig Iron. Trench bases are de-rigeur for resin base manufacturers, and they add a rough atmosphere to the piece, courtesy of Back2basix.

There will be about 80 of these Russian-types, as support for the Vostryans. Think of them as opolchenie, militia if you will. Then I'll start on the Germans, as support for the Death Korps of Krieg.

Can't leave without one colourful piece. This is such a good machine, the WH40K Ironclad Dreadnought, big, bulky, heavy armaments, lots of flat surfaces for designs and additions. All in all, a cracker of a piece.

I made this one up to be newly minted, a fallen hero recently incarcerated in a new tin can, ready for his first mission. His awards are few, and he is ready to make his mark. Possibly, as the base indicates, in clearing a space hulk. He would make a good additon to an expanded Blood Angels terminator squad.

I kept the scheme simple, not too many designs, a Forgeworld brass photoetch Blood Angels symbol, all to emphasise his first foray as a dreadnought.

The next blog may be of interest. I'm going to do a step-by-step, I hesitate to call it a tutorial, more a journey, as I put together either a Forgeworld Crassus Transport vehicle, or the Forgeworld Marienburg Landship. Eventually I will do both, as well as the Chaos Dwarf Iron Daemon. Give me an idea on what you would like to see in the poll of to the left there . .  no higher . . . your left . . . no, the other left . . . that's the one.

Cheers and thanks to everyone for your continued patronage.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sometimes it's the Little Things

After the marathon blog of the other day, maybe it's time to slow down, relax and just appreciate some pieces without all the brou-haha.

My two favourite pieces from the Cadian Special Ops Kill Team that I did for CBW, using Forgeworld Cadian drop troops with suppressors added to their guns and in the case of the officer, an added head from Pig Iron Productions. Bases from Dragon Forge.

These Forgeworld Tau pieces are so subtle, little in the way of equipment, just jumpsuits, a bit of armour, no helmets, and an imperious Tau glare. Love these guys.

And finally, from the Pearson collection, a figure that cost an arm and a leg. Picked this guy up from Ebay, wanted him, was going to have him, but not for the price that was being asked. Hit the wrong button on the Ebay page, and found that I was the proud owner of a splendid figure that many others got for free when they bought a GW army pack. Wasn't free for me however. Have become far more cautious when dealing with Ebay since.

Won't say what the price was, my mother may read this.

Despite my faux pas, I like this figure and the scarlet and crimson accoutrements lend a splash of colour to a grim warrior.

Especially when he leads the rest of the Dark Angels. Suitably brutal figures.

Hope you like. Going off to watch Carlton play Sydney in the mud tonight, with my brothers.

Go the mighty Blues.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Finding the Best in a Tenuous Situation

It's 4.35 am.

I hit the sack early thinking, okay, voice-over in the morning, have to be there at 9.00, booked for two hours, get an early-ish night, wake up fresh.

Doesn't happen. As is all-too-often the case these days, sleep is interrupted, not by outside noise (actually the peaceful sound of a long and sustained rain shower at the moment), nor by the need to relieve myself (a new wrinkle in getting older, I have noticed).

What happens is the inner alarm goes off as my subconscious reminds me that the industry I have devoted much of my life to (acting) is slowly going down the gurgler, and that the voice-over I am doing in the morning is a mere shadow of the workload I used to do.

Now, compared to the problems of others, this is a small and probably meaningless hiccough. Many would see it as such. And I agree. I so very much agree. I always believe that things will get better, that change is around the corner, "Onward and Upward" is always my call to arms.

I know, I just know deep down where I keep my deepest beliefs, my warmest memories and my coldest fears, I know it will get better.

But sometimes, just sometimes, when the rent is due, when I am reminded how old I am, when I see the latest offerings from networks and studios out for a quick buck at the expense of taste and talent, when I see that a 15 year old barely-talented boy, famous for a haircut and being discovered on Youtube, is writing his auto-biography, or a woman herself hardly out of her teens, who feels she needs to wear a meat suit to be noticed, is complaining about how hard it is to earn millions and be a superstar . . . sometimes a touch of despair creeps in.

 Where do I go? How do I dispel this feeling of pointlessness and insignificance? Strange to say I go to something even tinier than me.

All I need to do is look at my boys.

Can't say it makes me feel that all is right with the world. I doubt that anything could do that. Not that I'm not hoping.

But I look at something like this and realise that within that world, specifically my small corner of it, there are good things, things to be cherished, things of which I can be justly proud, things I have worked hard to achieve. And all the petty injuries, failures and defeats, the panic and despair, all the regrets start to take a backseat. They don't disappear altogether (again, nothing could achieve that), but they don't have quite the significance they had when they managed to wake me from a well-earned slumber.

For a while I can enjoy the results of my work, and I am reminded of other achievements, acting performances that have pushed me beyond the expectations of my peers, painted figures that came together with clarity and painting skill in a moment that was unexpected, a scene in a script I was writing that reduced me to tears or had me laughing a deep belly-laugh that caught me by surprise.

And right at that moment, I know things will get better.

Here endeth my very personal discourse.


CBW came to me with a box of Perry War of the Roses archers. Now CBW is a willful young man, he doesn't hold with the "GW is the only range of figures to be used with WH or WH40K rule sets", oh no. Don't get me wrong, he loves the GW figures and Forgeworld, and all the other eye-openingly expensive figures that we all drool over in our own special ways. But he also understands the power of a well-earned buck.

So he came up to me one day and said "Turn these into a Dogs of War unit, I reckon they'll come up a treat." He used a sobriquet for me as he always does, but I won't embarrass myself by repeating it.

His request prompted some thought. The Perry box set is full of plasticky goodness, 40 figures all told, 28 archers, 10 polearm troops and 2 command in the configuration I eventually chose. And all for less than $30 AUS.

Now, I'm not going to compare prices, but that's not too damn shabby.

And, at the risk of repeating myself, this is what I came up with:

Same pic as above, but I didn't think you would mind too much.

Here's some more:

Now you will notice some interesting details. So I will go through them. First: all the bows are strung. Have had problems with plastic bows in the past when it comes to stringing them, too delicate, easily warped. That is until I found quilting thread, available from any haberdasher apparently, thin, strong and doesn't fuzz when paint is applied. Works like a charm.

Second: basing, stole this idea from Dave Taylor (thanks, Dave). Normally, GW basing is in singles and in some instances it makes sense, space marine squads, small units, and so forth. But if you have a large unit, what is the point? So long as you can remove the requisite numbers for casualties, how they are based is of no real concern.

This is how I configured the basing:

Nine files across and four ranks back. If you do your maths, it comes out to 36 figures, but I'm only using 32. Nine figure frontage, four figure side, gap in the middle. Or you can say that the unit has 36 figures, they are still straggling in. Justify it, who cares?

And I made a simple movement tray out of card and a length of square model-ship timber. As you can see plenty of individuals, a couple of threes and fours and a nice big command stand, suitably foliaged and displayed. The bigger bases give the modeller a chance to create little individual vignettes that will compliment the larger grouping.

I'm sure others have hit on this form of basing, but for a first try, I'm quite chuffed with this.

I call the unit the Bloody Stride or the Red Legs. The back story is simple: troops were raised by Baron Dietrich von Orken-Fleischeberg*, for defence of the cattle industry and abbatoirs developed by the Baron (as his name implies) and studded around the mountain owned by the family, since it was taken from orcs three hundred years earlier by the Baron's noble ancestor, Friedrich ohne örtlich festgelegten Aufenthaltsort**.

Baron Dietrich's youngest son prevailed upon his father to allow him to use the troops he had raised to lead an expedition across the sea to lands reputed to be rich in gold ("cities are made of the stuff, Papa"), and precious gems ("and you tread rubies beneath your feet"). His father agreed to the expedition ("if you will only shut up and let me read the paper"), giving the boy, Wenig-wiener*** by name, a small selection of the less reputable men in his forces and one drunken sergeant called Errol. He also gave him a ship, the "Fliegenschweinefleischrinde" ****. And so armed off they went.

After an uneventful trip, they landed on far jungle-covered shores, inhospitable and smelling slightly of rising damp and kerosene. Before they could get off the beach however, from the jungle burst a horde of slavering . . . Lizardmen! Not wholly expected. The first to fall was Errol, who tried to offer the lead lizards a draught of ale. He went down, his head split open by an obsidian axe, still giggling and singing a song about a feral cat called Tinkles.

The rest of the men turned tail and fled back to the jolly-boats that had brought them to shore. At the very edge of the water, Wenig-wiener drew his archers and halbards together and ordered them to cover the now panicked and disorderly fleeing. Man after man dropped, impaled by thrown axes or hurtling arrows, but the small band gave as good as it got, and the lizards started taking significant casualties, so much so that there was more blood lapping around the legs of the fighters than sea water.

In a moment of respite, as the lizards gathered for another attack, Wenig-wiener ordered the retreat of his men and they all took to the boats. Arrows and spears followed the retreating men back to their ship.

As the pitiful remains of the rear guard assembled, exhausted on the deck, the cabin boy, Lars, pointed out that their leggings were all red. The blood had soaked into their clothes. The significance didn't dawn on them at that point, because they suddenly noticed that not only lizard-filled canoes, but also flying lizards were starting to congregate around the ship. The prudent decision was made to weigh anchor and get the hell out of there.

It was decided later, when they all got home and the story was told, that an added layer of toughness could be given to the Baron's indifferent troops by associating them with the ill-fated expedition and the deeds of the rearguard . . . sort of making his cow-minding troops vicariously hard. All his troops were given red leggings, even the officers' armour had red painted leg plates, and new banners were given to the troops. They showed a tristar of running red legs and the words "Blutiger Fortschritt"*****, and the trumpeter's banner held the words "Stellung in einem blutigen Meer"******.

The Baron took to hiring the troops out to anyone who had the wherewithall, and they were found to be quite effective so long as they stayed in a tight little bundle, were close to water and someone beat the bushes for skinks and geckos.

Wenig-winer was put to work in a meat-packing plant, where he eventually stumbled into a seasoning vat and expired, although it was commented that his skin had never been so tender or fragrant.

Hope you enjoyed. This was quite a long post, but it's now 6.20am, and I am feeling a lot better. Thanks, guys, makes it all worthwhile.


* Basically "Orc Meat Mountain" - whether it is for the victory over the orcs, or because Friedrich had all the captured orcs impaled on poles and planted on the hillside, about 2,000 all told, is unclear.
** ohne örtlich festgelegten Aufenthaltsort - of no fixed abode
*** Wenig-wiener - "little sausage", nickname from his mother, who was singularly unimpressed at his birth.
**** Fliegenschweinefleischrinde - The Flying Pork Rind
***** Blutiger Fortschrit - The Bloody Stride
****** Stellung in einem blutigen Meer - Standing in a Bloody Sea

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The 3rd Hussars

I have always had a soft spot for the French 3rd Hussars. So when the Perrys brought out their boxed plastics, I had to give it another go. For it was not the first time I had painted these uniforms. Oh no . . . it wasn't  . . . (dramatic music sting)!

It was most certainly watching Keith Carradine as Armand d'Hubert, swaggering through "The Duellists", that first stirred my passion for this uniform. Airfix plastics, Minifigs (15 and 25mm), Foundry, and now Perry. I think I have painted these guys at least a dozen times, not including large scale, 54's and 90's, New Hope and Poste Militaire. Anyone remember Series 77? I do indulge.

I have painted other hussar units, other nationalities, but I always return to the boys in grey.

This time it's a little different. All the others have been Imperial. This time it's Republican. Chris Blaxland-Walker got a hold of an old Republican French army I painted for Mark baker, many aeons ago. After a quick chat, it was decided to go thoroughly berserk and build a huge Republican army, using Baker's boys as a base.

Baker's old army will be rebased, new figures mixed in with the old to build demi-brigades using all manner of figures, and new regiments will be formed. The 3rd is the first of the new formations.

It is a 14 figure formation, based as 3x3 figure bases, 2x2 and a single. This way, all 14 can be used or it can be cut down to a 12 figure unit. The Perry figures are too good to not use them all.

I have them in summer campaign dress, sans pelisse. Hopefully the Perrys might bring out a metal pack of 14 pelisse-wearing top halves for winter dress.

The uniform was drawn from Histoires et Collections' French Hussars 1786-1815 Book 1., as principal source, as well as numerous texts, pictures and sources gathered over the last 40 years. The one thing you notice when researching the 3rd is that before 1804 they are arguably one of the least documented unit in the French army. There are few contemporary illustrations and little in the way of written material and what there is, is a little misleading and confusing.

Case in point: in the H&C book there is a nice illustration of a 3rd Hussar trumpeter, unusual in that he is wearing a grey tailed coat without distinctions (crimson piping or turnbacks) and a bicorne.

To my mind this goes against nature, but was intriguing at the same time. Dare I construct a 3rd Hussar unit without the reverse colours usually associated with trumpeters at the time?

You're darn tootin' I can.

And this is the result:

Using a plastic dragoon body and arms (Perry), a Victrix head, and Green Stuff for the tails I created a trumpeter of the 3rd circa 1793. His lace is silver, as it was for officers of the regiment, the tails are plain (no turnbacks), the horse is grey, the sheepskin is black.

The idea might have been to go for a tailed coat in reverse colours, but there is no evidence that this was practised at all prior to this time. The 1786 regulations indicate long-tailed coats for trumpeters, but it seems that colonels of regiments decided on the colours themselves. An example of the Chamborant regiment, pre-revolution, shows rank and file in brown dolman and pelisse, blue breeches, and their trumpeters in yellow long-tailed coats with false sleeves. Pretty, but not really regimentally sound.

I blame the colonel's wife. No real reason, just saying . . .

I shall now ride off into the sunrise, to the lonely sound of the whistling wind and the irritating sound of a whistling nostril.

More blogs to come.