Lancer Figure (France 1914)

  • 10 posts
  • Last reply 6 years ago
  • Victory Miniatures
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  • Rob Pollock said 6 years ago:

    This isn’t the sort of topic most people are interested in, but I thought I’d post a few photos anyway.

    This is a 120mm WW1 figure (product ref 5201, £49.99) from Victory Miniatures of Gloucester, England, of a mounted rider from the 16th Lancers, France, 1914. It was on their stand at Telford last year, as a prototype, and I decided to place an order for it, and it duly arrived in December.

    The ‘kit’ consists of 27 resin parts, including a terrain base, plus a few metal items which are used to make the reins and the lance shaft. The quality of the sculpting is very good, with well-defined details.

    As is often the case with figure manufacturers, the instructions are basic.

    I had a couple of queries about the placement of some of the smaller parts, and VM came back to me quickly with a good placement description, but to me it seems like something that could have been resolved with better photos on the sheet. Anyway, all resolved.

    There’s a fair amount of clean-up and general prep, and I had to do some work on the horse’s rear legs and the horse’s head where it meets the torso, to get the fit just right.

    After cleanup and fine-filling, the main figures were washed and primed.

    The horse was treated first with Andrea inks (brown and black) to establish a broad tonal field in keeping with the colours of a bay horse. After this, various Vallejo colours were used as glazes to accent the horse’s coat. The basic sculpted harness was painted and weathered. Other, more delicate harness/reins will be added later.

    The Lancer figure was base-coated with Vallejo English Uniform, and the puttees and leather boot strap items were weathered in, as was the bandolier. I decided to work on the various leather straps generally before adding shadows and highlights to the uniform, and the hands have been left off to ease painting of the uniform. As you can see, the face has also been base-coated.

    I still have some ‘point work’ to do on the ammo belt weathering.

    I decided to set aside the Lancer figure and focus on the horse accoutrements. The saddle unit is ‘topped and tailed’ with two bedroll-type items. The item across the saddle horn also has a leather saddlebag so that the single item is finished in both leather and fabric. I also finished a small flask item which will hang across the Lancer’s left side in due course.

    The forward bedroll is rebated to sit tucked against the saddle horn, so I fixed it to the saddle and thought the complete saddle arrangement would then fit across the horse’s back. However, when in place there was a large gap at the front between the bandolier and the saddle horn. In the end I decided to fit the bedroll item directly to the horse’s neck, trim the leading edge of the horse blanket, and then fit the saddle. The result is that a small gap appears between the horn and the bedroll, but I couldn’t see another way to make it work. I thought about putting the saddle in boiling water to soften the resin but I was concerned that the whole saddle would lose its shape. So, not sure if ‘it was me’ or the sculpt is a little skewed at this point. It looks ok.

    And the above-mentioned items in place.

    The next major addition is the rifle pack, with its long holster and moulded-in haversack. There’s also a second haversack that’s fitted (pinned) adjacent the holster unit.

    Remarkably, the unit took nearly a day and a half to complete, with its various finishes, and the addition of holster straps that disappear beneath the rear saddle area.

    The last of the main horse fixtures is the sword, with its scabbard and other small items attached. The sword was painted with a brass lacquer, and then painted khaki green acrylic. A cotton bud damp with water lifted the top coat to expose the brass beneath, along the edges and on the pommel. The khaki had also been weathered a little prior to the lifting work. Straps, etc. have been picked out in leather finishes.

    Next finished are the stirrups, with (foil) straps. The cylindrical shape adjacent the metalwork is for the Lancer to rest the lance end. I couldn’t find information to confirm whether or not this piece was wood or leather, but I opted for wood as it made more sense in terms of practical wear, where the metal lance end tucked down into the hole.

    These are now set aside pending completion of the Lancer himself. The rider needs to be in place on the saddle with the stirrups fitted, in order to get the strap lengths correct where they ‘disappear’ into the undersaddle area.

    I’ve done a little more work to the uniform, mainly adding washes of light and shadow based on the English Uniform colour, with combinations of Dary Sea Grey and Yellow Ochre. I think I’ll still go back and refine it a little. The folds of the uniform are not so well defined that my own techniques bring out the best in them, perhaps, but hopefully some improvements can be seen compared to the earlier photos, one of which I’ve repeated here for comparison.

    The figure is now complete and in place, with the hands also in place. I still have to create the reins from foil.

    I’ve done a little initial work now on the terrain base, with various grits/gravels applied with weak white glue on the ‘ground’. Various earth colours will follow. The stones will have washes applied to create colour depth.

    And here’s the base with additional terrain features and the stones coloured.

    The figure is now set in place on the base.

    As the reins and halter rope are all that remain to be fitted, I’ll end the WIP here.

    Overall impression: good sculpt on the horse, but with a few fit issues; the Lancer has some nice detailing, but also some soft detailing that has to be ‘sharpened up’ with fine-line painting; the bed rolls, saddle and other accoutrements are all well sculpted, but with some fit issues when bringing the various components together; the terrain base is a nice addition and offers scope for detailing by preference; the title of the piece ’16th Lancer’ doesn’t really mean much, as there’s nothing I can see that identifies it as a ’16th’ Lancer as opposed to any other similar outfit of the time – maybe should have been simply ‘British Lancer, France 1914’.

    Lastly, when it’s compared to other short-run sculpts, at a price of just under £50, this mounted figure offers very good value for money, and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in modeling military figures.

  • Gregor d said 6 years ago:

    Wow this is gonna be a stunner Rob. Really nice looking figure/horse combo. Good luck with it mate!

  • Simon Whitney said 6 years ago:

    Go for it Rob, after seeing other builds of this genre that you done I am sure that this one will be a cracker too.

  • Rob Pollock said 6 years ago:

    Thanks guys. Yes, quite a dramatic combo.

  • Bernard E. Hackett, Jr. said 6 years ago:

    Thanks for posting this.
    I know I’ll never see one, otherwise.
    Given it’s the WW I 100th anniversary, very timely.
    Is this from the “Battle of the Frontiers” period, early on? I suspect so, as after the lines stabilized, and the trenches and machine gun became the way it was, lancers went into reserve. No war of manoever, no big breakthru for the cavalry to exploit.
    Though cavalry saw action off and on ’til the end of WW II, latterly on the Eastern Front, the machine gun put paid to it.

  • Rob Pollock said 6 years ago:

    Thanks, Bernard. I think the depiction is from the early months of the war, that is, probably autumn 1914. The Lancers were a holdover of the 19th century, and the type was common to all European countries. I think the British version only changed their scarlet uniform jackets shortly before the start of the Great War, which wasn’t an uncommon practice.

  • AL HOFFMAN said 6 years ago:

    Always enjoy builds off the aircraft beaten path & you can be counted on to provide them. What does the size equate to in inches?
    Will be following along.

  • Rob Pollock said 6 years ago:

    Hi Al,

    The horse is 20 cm in length (8 inches) and 12 cm tall (say 4 1/2 inches). The seated Lancer is 11 cm (4 inches), so when out together the unit is around a hand’s length and the same again in height.

  • Marek Halas said 6 years ago:

    Nice work there Rob. I’m always impressed by the amount of effort that goes into figure (and animal) painting. Looking forward to seeing the finished piece.

  • Rob Pollock said 6 years ago:

    Cheers Marek. Thanks for looking in.

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