Sunday, May 19, 2019

Another unit of 6mm Vikings painted!

Well, I got another unit of 6mm Baccus Vikings all painted up!

They paint up VERY quickly... a few hours and they are done.  At this tiny scale they don't look great up close for the most part, but man, from two feet away they look AWESOME.  Again, they are all on individual stands, so I can always change up the unit when I want to.

The highlight of this unit actually isn't from Baccus... it is the commanders, from Microworld!  In this case, it is Odin himself leading the men!  You can see him in the front, with the white beard, with Gungnir in his hand and Huginn and Muninn on his shoulders. The miniatures are REALLY well detailed and beautiful... much nicer, I must say, than the Baccus figures.  I've got a few more... can't wait to get them painted up!

Monday, May 13, 2019

My newest addition to the House of War... a great French Shako from Shakos GBL!

Hi all!

Well, lucky me, I've managed to add yet another fantastically cool piece to the House of War!

If you reading this blog, you'll know that I am obviously a big fan of the Napoleonic wars.  I've long felt that I needed to add a shako to the collection, although I was unsure WHICH... I considered a 95th Rifles shako, but it is a bit plain, so instead I went with an 1806 pattern French voltigeurs shako!

So here it is!  It came in relatively quick from Willem at Shakos GBL.  He works out of the Netherlands, and came highly recommended in Napoleonic reenacting circles, so I figured... why not?  And the price was reasonable, which was an excellent bonus!

I settled on a voltigeur shako for a few reasons.  First, because it is French, and let's face it, the French are the French.  Second, because I liked the yellow and green.  I considered a grenadier's shako instead, with all the red, but thought that the samurai helmet was red enough, and I wanted to get something different.  Finally, it is a light infantry shako, and the French light infantry were awesome troops.

You can order a shako from Willem at...

As an added bonus, poor Willem agreed to answer a few questions as well, because I am always curious and I figured readers might be too!  So here are his patient answers to my annoying headwear questions (slightly edited for grammar and the like, since English is not his first language!)

Here is Willem himself, sitting at his workspace!

Some assorted bicorns

1)  How did you get started making hats and shakos?  Is it your full time work?

I started to make my own shako as I found the prices (from other builders) too high in 2002. It is not my full time work (I am an elevator constructor) but do have an official company making them along with to my regular job.

A fantastic colpack

2) Are you a reenactor as well?

Yes I am a member of Le 85eme Regiment d'Infanterie de Ligne, a Dutch regiment in service of Napoleon

A shako for the Tirailleurs Corses

3) Can you give us a rough idea of the steps in constructing a piece like this shako? (Don't give away any trade secrets!:) )

I use correct materials: wool, linen, leather... pressing the top with a mall. The drying process (is important) and some other secrets!

The Casque (1791-1795)

4) In terms of research, where do you find the historical references for your pieces?

One of my best references is a good friend who is a historian; he always checks my work, especially if I have any questions.  If I am not sure there are also some great books. But "the Customer is the King" as we say in Dutch. If the customer wants it in another way I am always open to their ideas!

Some assorted shakos

5) What are the most common shakos and hatware that you are asked to make?

The French infantry shako. I think since 2013 (the start of the company) I have more than 750 of them!

The Dutch Merliton

6) Which are a few of the more rare pieces you've done?

The Casque (three photos up), the Dutch Merliton (see photo above), a United States of America Marine kepi, and a Dutch marine hat (see photo below).

The Dutch Marine "shako"

7) For you personally, what is a piece you've done that you are particularly proud of?  Is there any piece that was a particular challenge?  What made it a challenge?

I am especially proud of the Dutch marine hat (see photo above)... I got all the information out of a museum and it is completely made out of leather. To get the shape right, and to get the head size correct, was very hard work. But in the end it was a success.

A French shako

8) Is there a piece that nobody has ever asked for, but that you would like to have a chance to make?

A Belgian WW1 cavalry czapka and a Danish one... they are just too complicated, but I would love the challenge... but even if I were able to reproduce them, the costs might be way too high!

A leather WW1 pilots helmet

9)  What are the biggest overall challenges you face making these?

To make my customers happy for a reasonable  price.  One of my motives is to try to produce reproductions that are historically accurate.   Of course, sometimes there are things that go wrong, my motto is that, if there is something wrong, please tell me so I can correct my work and make a better product!

So thank you to Willem for an awesome piece, and for answering my annoying questions... and again, if you want to see hundreds of awesome pictures and maybe even order something for yourself, here is his Facebook page (he is VERY fast to respond on Facebook messenger and email!)

And one last shot of my new piece!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

The first of my 6mm Vikings!

Hey all!

Well, I started a new project!

Yes... about a month and a half ago I decided I wanted to start in on something new... after binge watching a season of The Last Kingdom, I thought I'd tackle a 6mm Viking force.

They aren't intended for any particular game or system... I just thought about how I'd like to do them.

So what I came up with is this: a "unit" is a four stand movement tray.

Then I did a bunch of individual stands of infantry... regular spears, armored spears, archers, two handed axes, and command stands.

You make up a unit of whatever stand types you want to plug in; each type, I would imagine, would add a different element to the performance and capabilities of the unit in a tabletop game.

Here is a shot of the first "unit" I made up... a stand of archers, an unarmored spear stand, a command stand, and a stand of armored spears.

Here is the second "unit," made up of a stand of two handed axemen, two stands of unarmored spears, and a command stand.

Here they are again, from the other side of the front.

And here is that same unit of stands from the back.

Here are a bunch of of the stands pulled out from the unit tray.

Here is another version of a unit... two unarmored spears, one armored spear, and one command... a true shieldwall!