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Author Topic: "The Flowers of the Forest": Highlander casualties for the Great War  (Read 1000 times)

Offline Sidney Roundwood

  • Assistant
  • Posts: 46
    • Roundwood's World
Good morning Lead Adventurers!

I’ve wanted for a while to paint up a platoon of Highlanders from the Great War using the excellent figures from Great War Miniatures (GWM). After a couple of false starts and some planning I’ve finally got started.  I’ve chosen to recreate one of the battalions of the Black Watch fighting in Flanders in 1917.

The main working progress aspects I wanted to post about was my attempt to create some highlander casualty figures to go with their able-bodies comrades.  To my knowledge, no manufacturer makes a highlander casualty figure for the Great War.  There are some highlander casualties around for Napoleonic and Colonial 19th Century ranges, but their uniforms, kit and webbing is completely different to the kit of the highlanders of 1917.

Creating casualties figures is something I feel is an important part of recreating the Great War in miniature. The First World War devastated a generation in Europe and Scotland was no exception.  Creating casualty figures which accompany our formations on the tabletop is one way of respecting that sacrifice and loss.

Aside from a cut away jacket, the main things I felt I would need to change for a 28mm figure were the addition of the kilt (obviously), the kilt cover, the distinctive stocking tops and also the bare knees of the fallen soldiers.  The Great War Miniatures (GWM) casualty figure isn’t really suitable, so I set around hacking off the legs of a set of some 28mm Old Glory British Casualties (which match the scale of the GWM figures pretty well and have a passable representation of a cut away jacket). I wanted to try and avoid having to sculpt new boots and puttees on the casualties, so I carefully cut these off the already-severed legs. 

I glued the torsos down on their bases, and then set to work with Procreate “grey stuff”. 

I added the kilts first, then glued the feet in place, and added the knees (where visible).  I also added in a pocket on the kilt covers which is usually clearly visible from photographs (I am assuming to replace the sporran).   I sculpted a strip of "grey stuff" around the top of the puttees and added the little fabric tabs which tend to be visible at the top of the socks. 

When the grey stuff was set (the following day), I added a little “brown stuff” putty to try and create a sharper edge for the kilt and kilt covers.

I tried my best, but I don’t think I have really captured the fabric nature of the kilts very well.  It really still looks (to my eyes) like putty rather than tartan material.  This may, of course, be a result of my unfamiliarity with wearing a kilt, although part of my family (and my wife's family) is Scottish from a few generations back!

The photographs of fallen highlanders I’ve seen here (but not reproduced out of respect) show the kilt strewn over the legs, with a significant part of both legs often visible.  I’d be very interested in any of you have tried something similar in a modelling project and to receive any comments you may have. I’m very much in learning mode for this project, which is something I’d really like to try and get right.  If you think it's hopeless, I'll start again!

I'd also like to post the finished figures pre-painting and then the painted versions here in due course. Many thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Offline bandit86

  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 2009
Re: "The Flowers of the Forest": Highlander casualties for the Great War
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2013, 10:51:45 AM »
I think they look pretty good, but cloth would tend to fall in between the legs and flatten out a bit.  The sporrans would fall too due to gravity at least I thing they would.
Barbarella: What's that screaming? A good many dramatic situations begin with screaming...


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