Saturday, May 19, 2018

Quartermaster Saturday at Schloss Fritz

Schloss Fritz Game Room. An AWI battle is set up on the 6ft x 12ft game table.


Yesterday I finished the first battalion of the new Minden Observation Corps Grenadiers and so I had nothing to paint today, even though I had a lot of free time. Ouch! So I decided to go down into the man cave and tinker around with basing already-painted units and getting new ones ready for the primer spray booth. 

So there was no figure painting today, but catching up on some of the behind the scenes things that I needed to do in order to get my castings turned into painted figures ready for their first tabletop battle. So in effect, I was the quartermaster today working on uniforms, supplies and other logistics for my little metal men.

I based the Russian Observation Corps grenadier battalion  and several Prussian 3-pound battalion guns, then I glued castings to cardboard in preparation for priming and painting, and made some custom flags using the Kronoskaf flags as a template.

Getting the figures ready to paint

Since I have nothing to paint, it was time to get a new regiment ready for the paint table. So this afternoon I picked out 32 of the new Minden SYW Russian Observation Corps Musketeers and glued each figure onto a piece of card using white glue (Elmer's or PVA). Having already painted the OC grenadiers, I want to have a battalion of musketeers for gaming and for marketing purposes.

In case you missed the news, Minden Miniatures recently added SYW Russian Observation Corps grenadiers and musketeers.

Minden Observation Corps Musketeers line up for their new uniforms.

Making New Flags for the Observation Corps

GMB Designs is my go-to supplier of flags for my SYW armies, but alas, they do not make the flags for the Russian Observation Corps troops. So the next best thing was to go to the Kronoskaf web site for SYW information and copy/download a set of OC Grenadier flags.

Kronoskaf Observation Corps Flags

 So the process is to click on the flag image and select "download" if you have an iMac computer (I don't know how the Windows PC system does this function, but it is probably similar.

The next step is to open the downloaded image in Preview, which allows you to futz around with the image a little bit (light exposure, color etc.). Then save the image to one of your files.

Next, open up a new Word document and insert the flag image into Word. Click on the flag image and a sort of square appears around the outer perimeter of the image. Move your cursor to the corner of the image and start pushing inwards to change the size (height and width) of the flag image. Once this is done, then click on the Edit pull-down menu and select "Copy". Finally, move your cursor next to the flag image and click to complete the copy-move function. Now you should have both sides of the flag next to each other, thus forming a single two-sided flag.

Once you are satisfied with the size of the flag, then print it out and cut it out like you would any other paper flag. Swab the backside with white glue and then fold the halves around your flag staff. While the glue is still wet, take old paint brush or pencil (something round) and curl the flag around it to create furls and bends in the flag. (see example below).

Someone once told me that flags flap in the breeze in a diagonal pattern to the flag staff. So never have your flags furled perpendicular to the flag staff.

Tricking out your new flags

The Kronoskaf flags will look to shiny and ordinary and without any depth, shadows or highlights. So my next step is to customize the flags by painting over them with acrylic paint. If you want to keep it simple, using the existing color as your highlight for a white flag, or your shadow for a dark colored regimental flag.

In the colonel's white flag below, I painted over the surface with white paint and then added shading by using a light grey color. This gives you instant depth and dimension and looks much better than using the flag straight off your printer.

For the red regimental flag I used the printer red as my shade color and added lighter reds to achieve the highlights that you see in the photos.

Front view of the Kronoskaf flags after some paint embellishment.

Rear view of the customized Kronoskaf flags.
I decided to take the alterations another step further and add shading and highlights to the decorations that are on the flag. So the sun rays were over painted with a dark yellow and then the sun rays were painted back onto the flag with a brighter yellow paint. The black double-headed eagle received a middle coloring of black mixed with some flesh colored paint = painting the wings in this new color. I decided that the first highlight of black was not distinctive enough, so I mixed up a new highlight color using the black/flesh combination and then adding a small bit of white paint to the mix. This new color is light enough that one can paint lines on the eagle's wings to give the impression of feathers. You can touch up some or all of the decorations in the flag to whatever level you fancy. The two flags above had everything repainted except for the red heraldric shield on the breast of the eagle.

By the time you are finished with all of this, it almost looks like you have a hand-painted flag. My freehand painting of flags is very ordinary to average, but having the actual design on the flag as your guide, you can create what is basically a custom painted flag for your unit.

By the way, I did all of the paint customization once the flags were glued onto the flag pole.


  1. Those flags look great to me and much more effective than my 10mm efforts!

  2. They have turned out well top work.

  3. Very nicely done - I need to get my AWI project restarted

  4. Looking good, Jim. Several other people who run blogs do something similar with their printed flags. have you used the Flag Dude? he can do some very nice flags for some very off-beat units.

    Once again - very well done!

    1. The Flag Dude seems to be one tough hombre to get in touch with, so I hadn't considered using his products. He does make very nice flags though.

  5. It sounds like a wonderful Saturday. The best sorts of days are when nothing is planned, and the day takes shape as and when one addresses various smaller (related) tasks. Puttering around as you say. Your flags too look stunning. I find that over-painintg as much as possible on printed out flags prevents any later smudging or fading of the printer ink(s). Yours do indeed look impressive and well suited to the new Russians. Well done!

    Best Regards,


  6. Inspiring stuff as always, but the flags are especially good!

  7. Thanks for the tutorial. Your flags look great! I also use flags printed from various internet sources. I'll have to try painting over them.