Monday, 20 May 2013

MiniArt (2) Netherlands Musketeer

Another early MiniArt figure I took on, and perhaps my favourite of the ones I have done so far, is this figure of a 17th century Netherlands Musketeer. The figure is tied in with similar figures of a French Musketeer and a French Guardsman, familiar figures to me from the 'Three Musketeers' films. That is perhaps the reason why I chose this figure, because it was unfamiliar to me and seemed to have a great deal going for it, both in pose and overall style. I could see that the figure with its long gun, musket rest, powder flasks and ornate sword, as well as its quaint mode of dress, was going to be fun; difficult, maybe, but fun. Sure enough, I did indeed enjoy putting it together and overcoming the numerous niggles and problems that it presented.

Assembly of the figure seemed to be pretty pain free and I quickly put all the major parts together and checked them against each other before final assembly. The arms needed some filling, but that seemed the only major problem until I noticed that the foot on one of the boots was wider – noticeably wider – than the other. To remedy the situation I decided to partly narrow the wider right boot and widen the left boot, which required a bit of surgery and some heavy duty filling and sanding back. I thought I had done a pretty good job, but looking at the model now with fresh eyes, the right boot is still slightly wider than the left.  

Anyhow, after that, I did finally assemble the figure, minus its various weapons and painted it up using oils for the face and a mixture of Humbrol and Citadel paints that gave me the nearest approximation of the colours on the chart. To read this it sounds like I did it in an afternoon, but the painting gave me quite a lot of trouble as I was still learning how best to use Citadel shades. The longest part in decorating, though, was the white piping on the edges of the musketeer’s belts, which gave me immense trouble. I was, however, rather pleased with the light grey shading I gave to the ornamental white tapes on the musketeer’s tunic.
The weapons were easily painted, though the long sword with its ornate swirly hilt guard took some time to finish and assemble as the delicate plastic parts kept breaking at an alarming rate and I had to figure out how to assemble the guard as the instructions were none too clear. Finally, though, I got there.   
The various strings used to support the powder flasks and represent the match for the musket were fashioned out of coloured cottons. The twisted blue and red cords were simply red and blue cotton strands twined together, the ends being held by two clothes pegs. When I had twisted the cord enough, I covered the string in PVA (white glue) and let this stiffen off for a couple of days before releasing the pegs. Hey presto, pretty cords for my dandy musketeer. The match was done in a similar manner, but with roughed up light brown cotton. When I had threaded the cords, some parts were then touched up with red and blue paint and stiffened further with a little super glue.
Final impressions; a very pleasing figure despite the jip it gave me and though one boot is still bigger than the other and fact that the figure seems to be staring into space rather than at his musket,  I gained a lot of satisfaction in completing the model, learning a lot in the process.

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