Tuesday, February 26, 2013

7th Cavalry Troopers

The 7th Cavalry Regiment is a United States Army Cavalry Regiment, whose lineage traces back to the mid-19th century.  The Seventh Cavalry Regiment patrolled the Western plains for raiding native Americans and to protect the westward movement of pioneers.  In 1873 the 7th Cavalry moved its garrison post to Fort Abraham Lincoln, Dakota Territory. From here, the regiment carried out the historic reconnaissance of the Black Hills in 1874, making the discovery of gold in the Black Hills public and starting a gold rush that precipitated the Great Sioux War of 1876–77. Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer was killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876 with 211 men of the 7th Cavalry.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn was an armed engagement between combined forces of Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, against the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army. The battle, which occurred on June 25 and 26, 1876 near the Little Bighorn River in eastern Montana Territory, was the most prominent action of the Great Sioux War of 1876. It was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho, led by several major war leaders, including Crazy Horse and Chief Gall, inspired by the visions of Sitting Bull (Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake). The U.S. Seventh Cavalry, including the Custer Battalion, a force of 700 men led by George Armstrong Custer, suffered a severe defeat.

Information paraphrased from Wikipedia.

These are 54mm recasts of Crescent Toys' 7th Cavalry set. Crescent Toys was a British toy manufacturing company in operation from 1922 to 1980. The original 8 figure box included a model of General Custer and were painted. The recasts however only included 3 poses, came unpainted but cast in a variety of colors.

picture taken from www.michtoy.com

The officer is in a "charge" pose, with a sword in his left and a pistol in his right. Since General Custer was known to have worn a different jacket, this figure could represent one of his officers.

The next trooper in firing his pistol and carrying a knife in his left hand.

The last figure is running carrying a flag. The flag is quite small and mounted on a small staff. The figure is scuplted wearing sergeant stripes and among the three, his pistol is looks long enough to resemble a Colt 1860 Army.

I remember seeing another pose from this set in my parents' house a few years back and might have a go at looking for it when I visit next week.

More on these guys soon!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Doughboys: World War 1 Americans

Doughboy is an informal term for an American soldier, especially members of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I. One of the supposed origins of the term was during the Mexican–American War, where observers noticed that U.S. infantry forces were constantly covered with dust from marching through the dry terrain of Mexico, giving the men the appearance of unbaked dough, hence “doughboys.”

I only have four poses from an unknown maker. Three are marching and one is preparing to throw a grenade.

One of the marching men is wearing the M1912 campaign hat with the Montana-style peak, commonly seen by parading troops arriving in France, but not seen at the front. On his back though, together with his pack is his Brodie-style helmet. When the first American troops landed in France they were were not ready for the trenches supply-wise and found they had to rely on Britain and France for much of their equipmenty and supplies, so that by the time they first saw action they closely resembled the British soldiers.

The other marching figure is wearing the peaked cap but without a pack and helmet. Both figures are wearing the practical puttees as well as the ten pouch rifle belt. Lack of equipment such as the gas mask bag and heavier packs seem to place these figures as far from the front, probably on exercise at the rear.

The grenade thrower has a bag slung across his chest and a grenade in his right hand. The Mk 1 grenade is a fragmentation hand grenade used by American forces during World War I. The MK 1 is a time-fused fragmentation grenade and has 32 serrations on it. To start the fuse, the user has to pull the safety pin, then push off the cap on top of the grenade. Right before throwing, the user has to move the switch on the lever away from the grenade in order to start the fuse. This was quite difficult to use in the field. The grenades were often not ignited properly before being thrown, and enemies would return the grenade, this time properly lit. The MK 1 was immediately recalled and production stopped. Unused Mk 1 parts were used to make Mk 2 grenades while factories were retooled to make the Mk 2 "pineapple."

The figure reminds me a lot of Gary Cooper in the 1941 film "Sgt. York."

Friday, February 22, 2013

Lionheart Crusader

The 4D Master Lionheart Crusader is a 1:25 ( roughly 70mm) figure puzzle manufactured by the Fame Master Enterprise Limited of Hong Kong. The set comes with 4 parts to build the fully painted knight and horse.

 The figure is depicted wearing what would soon be known as the Royal Arms of England. Its blazon is Gules, with three lions passant guardant in pale or armed and langued azure, meaning three identical gold lions with blue tongues and claws, walking and facing the observer, arranged in a column on a red background.

The box and the armor style labels the figure as a crusader but Richard the Lionheart used a single lion rampant, or perhaps two lions affrontés on his surcoat, during his time in Outremer. Richard later used three lions passant in his 1198 Great Seal of England, and thus established the lasting design of the Royal Arms of England.

The figure is covered in chainmail, a surcoat, a great helm and armed with a lance, a strapped sword and a heater shield. The horse also wears the knight's blazon on its caparison but has horse armor on the head, which didn't appear until the 15th century.

If the knight and horse were meant to represent a crusader during the 13th century as suggested by the chainmail armor, helm and the shield, the blazon should only have at the most two lions passant guardant in pale with the horse mantle or quilting in white with a cross. As it is, the figure would better depict an english knight during Richard the Third's later campaigns in England and France. The horse though would have been better supplied with an unarmored head.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Crusaders: Teutonic Knights in 1:30

 These are 1:30 (60mm) recast of the Italeri Teutonic Knights set, but only featuring four figure poses and two horse poses. The figures are molded in silver plastic with minimal paint applications of black or white. The horses also come molded either in black or in white with minimal painting on the horse furniture and bridle.

The Ordo domus Sanctæ Mariæ Theutonicorum Hierosolymitanorum or the Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem, more popularly known as the Teutonic Order, was a German medieval military order formed to aid Christians on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land. The order also served as a crusading military order in the Middle Ages together with the other two orders of Jerusalem, the Hospitallers and the Templars. As early as 1192 they were endowed by Celestine III with the same privileges as the Order of St. John, whose hospital rule they adopted, and as the Order of the Temple, from which they borrowed their military organization.

The Knights wore white surcoats with a black cross. A cross pattée was sometimes used as their coat of arms; this image was later used for military decoration and insignia by the Kingdom of Prussia and Germany as the Iron Cross and Pour le Mérite. The motto of the Order was: "Helfen, Wehren, Heilen" ("Help, Defend, Heal").

More information on these knights here and here.

The figures are largish copies ofthe Italeri set of the same name. At 60mm, these figures dwarf the original figures ( which are 1:32) very noticeably. Cast in a soft plastic, I had a moderately hard time smoothing off the engraved details on the horses I wanted removed. It was a good thing that I had a very sharp knife as well as a motor tool with variable speed settings. Sanding this material at high speed would result in a fuzzy layer of plastic. By reducing the speed, I was able to eliminate most of the knife marks left from cutting away the unwanted details and contour the surface to match the original areas.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Crusaders: More of the Not-Britains Knights on Horseback

More photos of this set. Enjoy!

Crusaders: Not-Britains Knights on Horseback

The knights' armor and horse furniture owe more to fantasy than to historical accuracy but they look pretty cool en masse. I've cleaned these figs up for painting soon but I'll probably start with the Saracens.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Crusader Knights & Saracens in 1:32

These are recasts of the Britains Deetail Crusader knights and Saracens. The foot and mounted figures came bagged with a catapult and small packets of weapons.The Crusaders are composed of two foot poses and 2 mounted knights and horses. The Saracens have more foot poses, with 5 foot and 2 mounted. The horses came in two poses only.

The standing figures come separate from the bases and little pegs at the solesof the feet plug into the bases. The horses are mounted thru a peg on their bellies.

 More on these soon.