Copyright 2006 T. Sheil & A. Sheil All Rights Reserved
Most of you do a fine job of making good miniatures. I have long been impressed by the excellent miniatures with their exquisite detail and authenticity. Most of you do nice work. There are relatively few lump-makers trying to pass themselves off as sculptors of miniature soldiers.
Problems arise in poses. It is obvious that some sculptors have never been in the military. In fact, many have never even handled a firearm. That is obvious by the poses of figures. That need not be a problem. Here are a few ideas to help make authentic miltiary miniatures..
1) The method of marching changed several times. Fortunately, the basics within a specific era tend to remain the same. For example, Revolutionary War era drill includes the British 1764 manual, Bland’s. Cumberland’s, Blakney’s manual, Pickering’s and von Steuben’s. While all differ, the basic poses are pretty much the same. They differ from those of the Civil War era, however, and even more from modern Drill. Your solution is to find reprints or digital copies of original drill manuals from the era you wish to recreate. These will show the poses and how the weapon was held at that time.
2) Bayonet fighting has gone through great changes. The few tricks used in the 18th Century will differ from those of the 19th. Ditto for the 20th century,. Styles differ by time and country. Most of the techniques used by all countries from 1840 to 1914 were taken French bayonet styles. Bayoent also changed from spiked things to long blades back to spikes and small blades. Bayonet and close combat manuals are available as reprints and digital copies.
3) The method of loading rifles changed. Fire-locks, also known as matchlocks, were used in the 16th and 17th Century. Flintlocks were in use from the 17th through early 19th Century. Around 1820, percussion caps replaced flintlocks. During the Civil War, muzzle-loading percussion cap rifles were replaced by cartridge-firing rifles. Next came bolt-action rifles with top-loading magazines, and then semi-automatic rifles with removable magazines. Learn hwo the rifles of your soldier were loaded and fired. Few things look as silly as Napoleonic Grenadier wielding a bolt-action rifle.
4) Pay attention to the way field gear was worn. It makes a BIG difference in authenticity to get the gear placed correctly on a figure.
5) Learn the way soldiers held firearms and swords. There is a right way to shoot a rifle. There is a right way to shoot a pistol. Figures shooting the wrong way look ridiculous. Likewise, there is a right way for a soldier from the 17th to 20th Century to hold a sword.
6) Soldiers are trained to fight,. They will use weapons the way they were trained to wield them. Most training required reference manuals. These have been around since 1295. Try to find a reprint or digital copy of a manual for the type of soldier you wish to replicate.
7) Movies and television are the worst place to learn about real soldiers. Go to primary sources whenever possible. Use secondary sources judiciously.
8) Do not try to second-guess the soldiers of a particular time or place. They fight as they were trained because in their day, it was the best possible technique. Other techniques from earlier or later eras might not have worked then. Avoid anachronisms in your work. Use what the figure’s time and place requires.
These are a few tips. I hope they help you make more authentic historical miniatures
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