Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dragoon Conversion

Minden Jager turned into a dragoon officer, with RSM standing horse tied to an Irregular Miniatures rustic fence post.

I have been looking at the Minden Prussian jager standing firing and have decided that he would be a suitable candidate for a conversion project. I envisioned cutting out the jager's rifle and substituting a spyglass or telescope and turning him into a dragoon officer on recon.

The jager/dragoon conversion was fairly simple to do. At first, I tried to just cut out the rifle and use both arms/hands. Sometimes you can make a good conversion by simply bending arms and heads and doing some minor cutting under the arm pit or at the elbows. But in this case, it was apparent to me that the bend in the right arm would be unnatural. So I decided on an amputation.

Once I sawed off the right arm, I filed the stub flat and then drilled a hole in the shoulder socket. Here I cut off a pin to 12mm, the same length as the now discarded arm, and glued it into the hole. Once the glue dried, then I applied a sausage roll of green epoxy putty and shaped the arm until it looked about right. Then a small flat piece of putty was rolled out to create the cuff of the gauntlet and the right hand. This worked out much better than the hand conversion that I attempted on Marshal Schwerin last week.

RSM horse with epoxy putty horse furniture added.

I used the standing horse from the RSM range to create a saddled horse that I could use in the vignette. I filed off the reins and drilled a hole into the muzzle so that I could replace the reins with wire reins for a more realistic look. Since the horse comes without a saddle (I wish that someone would make saddles with shabraque accessories for the 18th century to use on this type of project) I had to make my own shabraque and saddle out of green stuff. I'm not entirely happy with the result of the horse furniture -- it looks a little lumpy and lacks sharp definition, but it will probably look all right after it is painted. I could have used one of the Mirliton saddles, but I didn't have any left. That would be a better choice if I want to do a line of four or five horses tied to a hitching post.

A view of the original jager figure (left) and the conversion figure (right) for comparison.

I finished the sculpting last night around midnight so I am going to let it cure all day tuesday, before priming the figures on Wednesday night and then painting them on Thursday.

I am still deciding whether I should use one of the Minden horse holder figures to hold the officer's horse, or dispense with the extra foot figure and tie the reins to the Irregular rustic fence. Or, I could add one of the RSM officers pointing and perhaps directing the attention of the dragoon with the spyglass to something that he has spotted.


  1. I really like the look of that fence . .. if it was me, I'd certainly just use the pose as depicted in the first photo.

    Again, a very nice bit of conversion work for what will be a fine little vignette piece.

    -- Jeff

  2. Very nciely done. Simple, yet interesting moment. One cannot help but wonder what he is seeing.

    I vote just the officer and his horse. More figures would detract from the officer's moment of discovery.


  3. I'm kind of leaning towards using the composition shown in the first picture, so appreciate the comments and opinions. Keep them coming.

  4. Jim,

    You are becoming quite the conversion expert! I also "vote" for the initial idea of the officer's horse just tied to the fence.


  5. Really enjoying your work on these different vignettes, Jim. And combining various pieces from different manufacturers is a great idea to have in the back of one's mind. This latest vignette is, I think, your best to date.

    Best Regards,


  6. clay shapers go look them up and purchase them. Size zero as they are big enough for what you are doing. They will help your sculpting so much more then any of the metal tools.

  7. Hi Jim,

    If he's an "Exploring Officer" chosen for his intelligence, experience, and self-reliance go for the single figure with the horse tied to the fence. If he's a Staff Weenie, showing off for the higher ups, then an orderly or two to hold the horses, help him get back in the saddle, properly interpret what he's seeing, and/or keeping him from getting into too much mischief, will be necessary.

    Great work on the conversions. Please keep us posted on any further developments.