I felt that I already had a substantial part of the French forces. The Guard, Zouaves, Chasseurs D'Africa and the Spahis would move reasonably smoothly from the Crimean to Franco Prussian War. A repaint of some S Range Napoleonic Cuirassiers and Carbineers gave me my French heavy cavalry.
I consulted John Cunningham's recast list for the Franco Prussian War and ordered figures. The problem I felt was that the list lacked the 'extras' that I love to have where possible , namely flags and musicians. I painted up some Prussians and Wurttembergers and did what I think is the classic conversion by making one of the officers into a standard bearer by replacing his sword with a standard.
To be honest whist it worked, I wasn't that happy with it.
So I came up with a couple of conversions which each took 10-15 minutes. I know the timing is right because I have been listening to a serialisation of the Matrix on the radio and each episode lasted 15 minutes. It (the conversion, not the Matrix) involves snipping away as much of the gun as you can with a pair of pliers, then slowly carving away the remaining parts with a scalpel and filing it down. The left arm can them be gently repositioned, raised and twisted slightly for the standard bearer. You can leave the arm in the same position for the drummer if you like. Then it is a case of drilling holes in the hands to take the standard and drum sticks. The drum itself is made from Milliput or Green Stuff, whichever you prefer.
|Silesian Riflemen and Wurttembergers converted to standard bearers and drummers.|
I think they work. I am now working backwards to give my units musicians and standards. Here are my Bavarians again just made from the advancing rifleman and a Prussian drummer also made from the infantryman as described above.
With a few head swaps which are very easy - a pair of pliers and a quick twist and the head is removed a couple of minutes with a 'hand drill' , a thin piece of wire to link the new head and body and held in place with super glue and the job is done - it is possible to create new command figures.
I had to file away the braiding on the French General coat for the Bavarian General. The great thing about the Minifig S Range figures was that getting the right anatomy wasn't sometimes highest on the list, so a slightly over sized head does not stick out too much. I did however angle the Bavarian infantry officers head slightly to reduce the 'oversize' effect.
I used a Saxon Officer head to make the Prussian Colonel of the 5th Hussars and then it was just a paint job.
For those of us old enough to remember the only way to get a certain figure with Airfix was swapping heads and using pins to fix them to the new body none of this is new. This is just the same except you have to drill two small holes to get the pin into the head and body.
I am doing the same thing to make Prussian Gunners. The original Minifig S range only made the Wurttemberg gunners. Again a quick head swap and a file job on the spike changes the Picklehaub into a ball.
I hope to finish my Prussian Army of the next couple of months and they can take to the table to continue to promote a range which is still full of charm. They can then take the field against the French and result in another battle report.