Diorama Confederate cavalryman worth finishing?

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Aug 25, 2012
I recently moved and am slowly going through boxes I never unpacked. At some point before I moved I started this Confederate. I was never real happy with the effort and he go put in the "junk box". After not seeing him for months, I am not sure it would be worth doing any more work on this.
horse.jpg


Both the man and the horse are soft plastic and I have never much cared for soft plastic. The man is more of a toy figure and came from a different source. The horse is a bit off scale for the cavalryman. The head of the horse is a bit too large for the rest of the horse. It is still in the early stage and finishing it would take a bunch of additional work. I am not sure it is worth the effort.

So should I throw it away? Put in back in the "junk box"? I could drive to the Toy Soldier Shop in Detroit, get a better kit and put the effort in to a kit that will turn out better.
 

Pat Answer

Sergeant Major
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“...somewhere between NY and PA”
My eye for miniatures is not even at the newb level, so my "looks cool to me" doesn't say very much. From the situation as you describe it, I would keep this even if only for 'lessons-learned' reasons and take that drive to the Toy Soldier Shop... Work on the new kit to your satisfaction then return to this or not as you see fit.
 

Cavalier

Sergeant Major
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Jul 20, 2019
I've never painted any soft plastic figures myself but there are some guys that have a site called The Campaigns of General William Augustus Pettygree that have lots of photos of their 54mm figures, some of which are soft plastic I believe, (Armies in Plastic ?). Some of their figures are 54 mm collector figures also, so that is going from one end of the figure spectrum to the other it seems. However they look good enough together in the photos, in my opinion anyway. It might give you an idea of what is possible with soft plastic figures. Just a thought.

John
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
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Southwest Mississippi
I was never real happy with the effort and he go put in the "junk box". After not seeing him for months, I am not sure it would be worth doing any more work on this.
Agreed.

No matter what you do, this will always be a painted plastic toy soldier.

Years ago, I learned this " first hand " by trying to paint some larger scale American Revolution figures.
Both British & American.
I failed on all levels !

:bounce:

However I did achieve more success with simpler 1/700 scale figures.
Specifically WW II German Afrika Korps troops.

Much less paint involved !

Plus ... 1/700 is so small no one is going to be looking at belt buckles and such.
And as a newbie, one can create some really cool miniature dioramas !

I modeled some pretty good vignettes of individual German positions in North Africa using
three bottles of Testors flat paint, shoebox cardboard, a bottle of elmer's glue,
along with some real sand from a local river sandbar.

:smoke:
 

rebel brit

1st Lieutenant
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Feb 7, 2013
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United Kingdom
The horse is a bit off scale for the cavalryman. The head of the horse is a bit too large for the rest of the horse. It is still in the early stage and finishing it would take a bunch of additional work. I am not sure it is worth the effort.
If the horses head is too large, no matter how much work you do on it, it'll probably never look quite right.
Maybe as @Pat Answer suggests it might be better to keep it in the junk box, you never know when bits and bobs come in handy. Personally I never throw anything away.
 

7thWisconsin

Sergeant Major
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Nov 21, 2014
Is that 54mm or 1/72 scale? The horse looks like one of the old, old sculpts by Atlantic. Their horses were always a bit frantic in their poses. The horse is basically done - and that´s the hard part for me - so I´d say finish him. But the detail on the soldier´s uniform is pretty good, even if the face leaves something to be desired. Why not paint him into something unusual and outrageous like a Brazilian cavalryman from the War of the Triple Alliance?
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Aug 25, 2012
They are 54mm scale more or less. The Indian War soldiers they came with are on the large size, they could almost pass for the 60mm scale Britain models. However, the horses are not as large scale as the soldiers. I have some 54mm Napoleonic horses in my "junk box" but thought converting the saddles and horse equipment would have taken a ton of work.
 

7thWisconsin

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
In that case, as it has been said, he´ll always be a painted toy soldier. Now I enjoy gaming with toy-soldier-looking minis. I had a good time painting some of those BMC American Revolution figures that are ubiquitous in Visitor´s Centers. But if that´s not your cup of tea, I´d pitch him.
 

Booner

2nd Lieutenant
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May 4, 2015
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Boonville, MO.
Keep it.
If nothing more, it'll show how much your painting technique has improved over time. Or, you could use the figure to try different techniques on. Try some dry brushing or painting highlights and shadows on it. I agree it looks more like a toy figure than a miniature, and it has some proportional problems (such as the overlarge horses head) so it may not add to a collection that you would display, so use it for practice.

This is strictly my opinion, but I think an "action" figure as you have here is more difficult to paint than a figure that is showing a more relaxed posture. Your figure shows a different amount of action in the man verses the horse, so to do it well, everything has to be more dramatic and match in their level of energy. The cavalryman shows more action (slashing his sword), while the horse looks to be merely trotting along. The horse needs to be running, showing the whites of it's eyes as evidence as to how excited it is, maybe having it's mouth open more. So as the figure was made, to me, the horse and man don't match up in their action.

I also think it's harder to paint animals than it is to paint a human, (unless they're naked). You painted you horse brown, but it's a solid brown all over. Look at a picture of a horse and you'll see in most cases that the animal's coat is of different shades of brown; normally darker on it's back and lighter shades of brown along its sides and much lighter on it's underside. So you could use this figure to practice subtle color changes on it's body, and dry brushing and highlighting.

A human figure wearing clothes to me, is easier to paint. I'm wearing blue jeans right now, and if you laid the jeans on the ground, they would like the same color blue all over. Put put those jeans on and have a light source hit them and the places wear the light hits them directly will be a lighter color than the areas that are in the creases. So use you figure to practice shading and highlighting. It will make your figure come alive and look more life-like.

One last thing, use flat color paints on uniforms. Wool doesn't have a sheen. Flat colors don't have a sheen. It might be ok to paint your horse with a semi-gloss paint, as perspiration and natural body oils can make a horse have a little bit of a sheer, but go lightly.

I realize I probably got carried away with answering your question. Sorry, but keep the figure and use it as a gauge for how much your painting has improved.
 
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