Monday, April 19, 2010

RSM Conversion

No, the only RSM figures in this picture are the limber/limber horse/rider and the heavy gun model. However, the pictures that I took are not good enough to show in the headline, so I put this one in instead. A good picture is worth a second look. See the RSM pictures below.

Last night before going to bed (around 1 AM), I got a bee in my bonnet to start working on a conversion of the RSM Prussian general to command my Minden Prussian army. I assume that eventually Frank is going to have some generals and maybe even (hope of hopes) his Royal Nibs Himself. But I digress. Since I can hardly wait for the Minden generals to eventually arrive, I thought that I would try a conversion by cutting off the right arm of the general, replacing it with a raised arm, and building up the new arm with epoxy putty. My feeble efforts are shown below.

The conversion is on the left and the original figure is shown on the right for comparison. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

I used an Exacto fine saw to amputate the figure's right army. I then filed the stub flat and drilled a hole in the shoulder socket to insert a piece of wire. The wire was trimmed to about 12mm, the same length as the original RSM arm. This became the armature around which I would add the green stuff. Once the glue was dry, it was a simple matter of rolling out a small sausage lump of putty and kneading it around the armature. Then I shaved off the extra bits and formed the arm, adding a little built up putty at the wrist to depict the gaunlet glove. Finally, I had to nudge and work the putty to try and form a hand, which was not easy. I had plenty of extra putty, so I rolled out some spaghetti strands and wrapped them around the waist to make the officer's sash. Another little loop became the cravatte on the tail of the horse. Relatively simple stuff, I guess.

Rear view showing more of the arm, plus a waist sash worn outside the coat, as Frederick did, an enhanced pigtail so that it is more noticeable, and a cravatte on the horse's tail.

A side view of the before and after figures.

I think that the arm will be OK, but I was having trouble shaping the gauntlet glove, which you really can't tell from these pictures. Hopefully, once the figure is painted, the paint will hide the worst traits and bring out the best. I was going to make this a Frederick figure, but after finishing I realized that Frederick is often shown with his lapels closed, whereas I retained the orginal lapels on the figure. This did not give me any space in which to add a Pour le Merite (see, he's not the only one missing one, if you catch my drift) on his chest. So I think that this will become Marshal Schwerin and I will add an ensign on foot carrying the regimental colour of IR24 Schwerin and put him on the base with the Marshal. For some reason, I have about six extra IR24 flags from GMB, so I might as well put one of them to good use on the command stand.

I will prime the figure tonight and hopefully start painting him tomorrow. We shall see how he turns out. I have no ambition to ever be a figure sculptor and even with my small little conversion, I can see how difficult it is to create the fine details that we take for granted on the figures that we all purchase. Kudos to every professional sculptor for a job well done.

Update on the Conversion
Tuesday evening I primed the general figure and started painting him. He is looking good so far. I wish that I had added a Pour le Merite sash across his shoulders, but at the time I was not thinking of him in terms of being a Marshal. I should have him finished tomorrow night, but the basing will have to wait until I can find another figure or two to add to the command stand vignette. Hmm, maybe a sign post on top of a cairn marker or something like that.

Joe versus the Volcano
It has occurred to me that the recent eruption of the volcano in Iceland, whose name I can't spell, much less even attempt to pronounce, is going to disrupt even more than air travel. If the airplanes are not flying, then neither are the packages that go back and forth between Britain and the United States. That means no Battlegames magazines or Minden Miniatures or books from Caliver or Ken Trotman. Oh my goodness, we are all doomed!

OK Fritz, take a deep breath and relax. Every figure company on the island of Britain is going to be at Salute next week and so they will be too busy to take and ship orders anyway. Plus, you are going to be running your Fontenoy game at Little Wars next saturday. And finally, you still have plenty of Mindens to paint before you even come close to running out of lead inventory to paint. Off the top of my head, I have one Prussian grenadier battalion and a cuirassier and dragoon regiment left to paint. I have two Austrian infantry battalions, one Croat battalion, and a regiment of cuirassiers and some artillery crews for the Austrian army. That's about four or five months of painting that I can do before I run out of Mindens to paint. I would imagine that the air will clear up in that time span and airmail delivery will continue once again.

Actually, I'm not really in a panic, I just wanted people to consider that there are other things impacted besides passenger airline travel all due to the volcano in Iceland.


  1. Of course you can always have them shipped "surface" . . . ships at sea are not affected by the volcano-whose-name-I-can't-spell-either.

    -- Jeff

  2. Morning Jim,

    Your arm conversion looks good so far. The RSM figures, though fairly simple castings, do seem to offer plenty of scope for conversions of one type or another. Eager to see von Schwerin in his painted state. By the way, my wife actually knows a von Schwerin descendent, who is a German professor at a California university (and still uses the von prefix). Small world!

    Best Regards,


  3. yeah.. that Volcano is seriously interrupting hobby activities. I cannot go to Salute, since there are no planes leaving for London ;(

    But nice conversion work!

  4. That artillery piece looks superb as does the officers' arm

  5. Looking pretty good as far as I can tell from the pictures. Hands are tricky to get right. I've done quite a few and for every one I get even halfway decent I probably get several that make the most hamfisted commercial minis look elegant! Still, it's fun to try.

    Luckily I received my latest shipment of new recruits just the other day. Maybe they left before the eruption.
    Anyway, this is a good reason to stock up on miniatures! You never know when supply might be disrupted...

  6. Looking very good indeed.

    Are the limber and rider in the gun vignette from any RSM95 range in particular? I love the way the rider is looking backwards - very natural and "in the moment".

  7. Yes, the limber, limber horse and the rider are all from RSM95 as is the cannon. The rider pose is taken from an Imrie-Risley 54mm model that is shown in the Jeff Blume book on miniatures.

  8. A very neat little conversion. I hope it stimulates more people to have a go and make their armies a bit more individual. The gun team is really excellent too; not too complicated but it just takes some imagination to think of it in the first place.

    Thanks for the inspiration yet again.

  9. My own inspiration for the artillery vignette was the similarity between the RSM limber set and the picture in the Blum book. Also John Ray did a vignette of the same subject that caught my eye.