I wanna tell you a story.. Tales with toy soldiers - INCIDENTS

A grenade explodes!

Barry Hilton - Things that have just happened are great for vignette pieces whether these are used for command bases or integral to a unit. I try as much as possible not to resort to heavy conversion work for several reasons;

If done quickly they can often look wrong. If too complex they can be fragile and thus your heart skips a beat every time someone picks them up or manhandles them. This is one of the situations I want to avoid most. The last thing you want to do is get mad at a well intentioned friend who is a bit careless. We all know that feeling when a piece of treasured work is accidentally damaged. You want to sound magnanimous whilst suppressing the desire to shout loud and angrily! It is often as bad if you are the offender. You wish the floor would open up and swallow you and profuse apology sounds really pathetic. So avoid fragile constructions wherever possible!

Heavy conversions also take time and often the effort put in is hidden amongst a mass of other detail. Finally but not the least important, I am pretty poor at sculpting and using putties so 'the less of that I do the better' is my motto.

The power and impact often comes from the idea not the real detail. Imagining something interesting and modelling it will make the most impact with the casual observer. People crawling all over the figure checking button numbers or hat trim are missing the point.

This 60 x 60mm base is part of a Swedish unit which I wanted to use both in Flanders fighting for the Dutch and in the early Great Northern War. An explosive device; grenade or mortar shell has exploded in the advancing ranks. A musketeer is thrown backwards, another side ways a third is already on the ground. There is no conversion work here only bending one figure way back off the vertical and appropriate painting of the others. The explosion is steel wool anchored in a milliput crater. The earth thrown up into the air was put their by daubing diluted PVA into the explosion after painting and dipping into the sand tray. Run a dark ink was over those areas afterwards to produce the clods of earth. The positioning of the figures and flags is all important to the overall effect.

This 75 x 80mm stand of Jacobite cavalry shows a wounded trooper newly unhorsed in a charge. A dead enemy infantryman lies in front of his fallen mount. The Jacobite trooper examines his wounded foot and his bloody boot stands stuck in the mud to his right. A comrade charges by shouting and cheering in the charge. The only real conversion here is the dead horse. Cut from its base with the legs compressed down. A deal of filing its right side flat to sit evenly on the base was needed. The boot in the mud comes from an old booted leg on a spare figure. The mounted trooper has his sword replaced with a cavalry standard. The groundwork around the fallen mount depicts wet mud using some gloss varnish over the low highlight paint job.

The fallen rider motif is one I have had great use out of. Here are two other examples one using Foundry models representing Bavarian cuirassiers the other with Swedish GNW cavalry. The wounded rider is a Redoubt ECW torso with a grafted Foundry head.