Monday, August 08, 2011

Victrix Napoleonic British WIP

I'm over here at Central Washington University in beautiful Ellensburg.  I opted not to bring a laptop with me, know I have my iPhone and will have access off and on to a computer lab.  I'll have some down time so I opted to bring along a box of my cherished and well-buried Victrix Napoleonics.

A few years ago at Enfilade I spent some of my earnings from the bring and buy on a few of boxes of the newly released British, the flank and center company boxes.  I purchased these to form the British troops that fought in the Chesapeake region during the War of 1812.  You know, burning of Washington, rockets red glare, those British.  Unfortunately, they've lived quite happily in my garage, never saying a word, until I moved most of them into my painting room this spring.  They cheered a little.

This past Tuesday I opened a box of the little fellows and looked carefully at all the little men and all the little sprues of heads, backpacks, and arms and quickly put them back in the box and put them away.  I was scared.
The Victrix British come with eight sprues.  Four are mostly bodies with backpacks and heads.  The other four are full of fiddly bits-standards, half-pikes, muskets and arms. Don't be daunted.
A sprue of fiddly parts.  There are three more just like these.
This morning, while I packed, I stuffed a box of Victrix center companies into my handy messenger bag in the place my laptop would have gone. After checking in to my room early, I opened my box and looked at the sprues of bodies, arms, heads and equipment.  Oh my God, where to begin?  I eschewed my typical male response to reject the instructions.  The instructions have tons of information, including a rulebook. Most importantly they have a diagram showing how to make the various body styles with the multiplicity of arms, legs, head styles and equipment.
The assembly instructions.  Keep these around; they'll make your life easier.
After looking at the body styles, and all the bits that would be glued to them, I decided the best course of action was to cut out the full bodies and separate them into types.  There are four slightly different body styles for the privates.  There are drummer figures, nco figures and officer figures.  Be sure you have a sharp hobby knife, and remove all mold marks because fit is so important when it comes to gluing. I found all the parts to be relatively free of flash.
I sorted my miniatures into four groups-basic infantrymen, drummers, nco's and officers.
Once the figures were sorted, I decided to assemble the special figures first, and that is as far as I'll go with this entry.  I began with the drummers because they were the most distinct and with few options.  First I assembled the drums.  They come in two halves with a hole for the peg on the figure.  These halves fit together quite neatly, but they have to be wiggled around a bit to snap into place.  I used Zap CA glue to assemble my figures, but plastic cement might work better. After assembling the drums, I glued them on to the figures.  Mistake!  I encourage you to glue the arms on first, let them dry a bit, and then glue the drums on.  With drum on, there is much less room to fiddle with the left drum arm in particular.  The drum pose seems odd to me, the drumsticks seem to cross a bit too much, and I feel like the drummer is sending out some strange gang sign I don't understand. I also gave the drummers a knapsack and blanket roll.  There are some nice choices here.  Cut them out and clean them and you're ready to glue them on.  I encourage you to put your glue on the belting on the back because it's more likely to touch the knapsack than putting glue on the latter.
Completed drummers.  These weren't difficult to finish, but I encourage you to put the arms on first.
Next I chose heads to finish the figure off. There are a number of different head styles: the standard with shako plate and plume, shako with oilskin cover, and even bareheaded.  Gluing the heads on can be kind of tricky.  The heads fit very precisely.  Be patient and move the head around in that recessed collar until it snaps into place.  Be sure you've trimmed the neck properly.  I spent a lot of time picking heads off the floor

You can see the standard with its tassels in the middle of the photo.  Take care cutting it away from the sprue, though it was not as fragile as I feared.

Completed standard bearers.  The officers have their sashes to the right, the nco's are sashed to the left.
When the drummers were done I moved on to creating standard bearers.  Each box of mini comes with four nco's and four officers and I used these figures to make my standard bearers.  The standards themselves are quite nice, but they are spindly, and I always worried about snapping the flags poles or the tassels that come with them. These figures went together pretty easily.  The nco's have their sashes on the left (facing the figure) and the officers have their sashes on the right.

This left the remaining nco's and officers.  You can choose to create your sergeants with a musket or a half pike.  My choice was the latter in order to make them stand out.  Again, I was very cautious cutting the half pike out to avoid breakage. You also have a choice of right arms (facing the figure,) either across the body or at his side.  I chose the latter.  For the officers the choice is mostly regarding the sword arm.  The sword arm can be urging the troops on or at attention.  I decided to make one of each.
Nco with halfpike, more assembly to come.
Sergeants with half-pike, the finished product.
Completed officer figures.
I've assembled twelve figures.  I won't say it's been easy, but it's not difficult either.  It simply requires some patience, and it is imperative to learn while you're working.  Careful with the glue, and some tweezers might help.  There are only a couple of times I felt like Edward Scissorhands.

Next up the kneeling and striding figures which require some additional work.


DeanM said...

Glad to see your progress on the Victrix. As you noted, plastic modelling cement is best - like Testors. It allows for adjustments to ensure the best position for arms, etc. Hopefully you won't be put off from the experience. I found the assembly line process works best for these. Perry plastic have less separate parts - you should try a box when you're done with these Victrix for comparison. Regards, Dean

Ray Rousell said...

It sounds like you've really enjoyed putting them together!!! I'm thinking of adding some plastic Vikings to my collection, as they're so cheap, but I really don't fancy glueing them together, I think what I need is someone to put them together for me....any offers??