15 January 2017

"Papaflessas" - Prepwork IV: Finishing

All that remains is the final detailing/clean-up/finishing (i.e., pre-prime prep). This will be a rather lengthy process due to the the amount of corrective work done--and the amount(!) of fur to recon- struct, but I will hopefully have this piece on the paint bench by the end of the first week in February. . .

Let the marathon begin. . . !!!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

14 January 2017

"Papaflessas" - Intermezzo: Pre-Finalization

The overwhelming majority of the mods have been completed and are awaiting finishing, so I plan to take a break to let the bust--and my eyes!--"rest". . .

Having said that there are two, possibly three, areas that will require my attention before I barrel into the home stretch:
  • The embroidery on the tunic. DONE! 
  • The tassel. DONE!
  • The sehalik: I have an excellent photograph of the actual item upon which this was based. The reproduction in miniature left off one salient aspect of the piece, and I will evaluate whether it is worth adding. DONE!
  • Reworking the fur trim. IN-PROGRESS
Stay tuned!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

"Papaflessas" - Prepwork III: The Megalo Fesi

Papaflessas' headwear is a megalo fesi. As its name indicates, it is a large fez. This was a common headwear in the Balkans in the 19th c. Unfortunately, what is provided is a fez-turban hybrid that resembles no historical headwear.

First step is to reduce the turban. Megalo fesi were sometimes worn with a wrap ("turban") around its base, so reduce the provided turban judiciously, unless you would prefer to resculpt the fesi in its entirety.

Once the turban was reduced to a band, I began roughing-in the shape of the "crown". This will be a multi-step process (already on step 2) until the desired shape and volume is achieved. 

More to follow. . .  


FOLLOW-UP. . . It took 2 steps and change to achieve what I had envisioned. Before finalizing the "crown" of the fesi, I roughed-in the tassel, which I will pin once cured DONE before refining the shape and fit.  

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

12 January 2017

"Papaflessas" - Prepwork II

The voided back is now completely filled, with the pedestal tentatively positioned--and shortened by about 12mm+/-. I permanently attached the right arm; reducing the feminine "bell sleeve"; and increasing the volume of the overall length of the sleeve, if only to mitigate the two-dimensionality of the limb. Unfortunately, this will require effectively resculpting the sleeves to a greater (right) or lesser (left) degree, and repositioning the right hand. . . 

Stay tuned!

UPDATE 13.01.17. . . Phase I resculpture of the right arm is now complete and the bust is in the oven. I figure there will be 3-4 more sessions before the right arm can be deemed 'acceptable'. I also began working on the cranium, widening the frontal-temporal plane and roughing-in the "turban" around the base of the megalo fesi

UPDATE 14.01.17. . . The pedestal has been permanently attached; and the left upper sleeve has been enhanced volumetrically (Phase I). 

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

11 January 2017

YS Masterpieces' "Papaflessas" (HB-004; Bust) - Review and Prepwork I

Statement #1: I really do like the concept of this series.

Statement #2: I truly dislike the execution and the liberties taken with the historicity of the sub- jects--especially as source material is readily available!

Thus, as much as I would like to generously add to the one example I own, the options AFAIC are but one: YS Miniatures' fourth release in the series: HB-004 - HELLENIC REVOLUTIONARY FIGHTER & PRIEST (PAPAFLESSAS), sculpted by Carl Reid.

The piece is designed in 7 pieces, including the pedestal. As with Diakos, the casting itself is VG+++. Fit, on the other hand, is a different story altogether. Depending on your "standards"-- and your particular casting, be prepared to spend a considerable(!!!) amount of time fitting the left arm to the body.

Now, the "design" of the piece. This is your typical Carl Reid bust with a hollowed-out back(!). I have never understood this quirky trademark. . . I'll leave it at that. Otherwise, no real issues that a moderate amount of effort won't address to my satisfaction

The sculpture is based on the Tsokos portrait (1862) of the Archimandrite. While liberties were taken, they are mostly acceptable--except, speaking for myself, the headwear. When lack of research (or understanding) is egregiously passed off as "artistic license", the historical basis of our hobby is shaken to its very foundation, to say nothing of the implicit trust freely bestowed--whether sculptor, manufacturer, or painter!

Insofar as a refsheet or painting guide is concerned, there is none but a color copy featuring four images of the finished boxart by Danilo Cartacci.  

Finally--and I am definitely getting ahead of myself here, why have all the build-ups I have seen depict Papaflessas with a grey beard; i.e., aged? AFAIC, this is inexcusable! Flessas was but 37 when he died. One might argue that the stress of the conflict may have prematurely greyed him-- however, no depiction has him with anything but the colouration of a youthful adult.

So much for the review. . . 

With the considerable amount of benchtime to be demanded by this piece, there's no time like the present to get the ball rolling . . . 

First on the agenda is refitting the left arm. You can do this any number of ways: I opted for in- creasing the volume of the arm as opposed to that of the kaftan. With the leftover putty (I mixed a considerable amount), I roughed in the void of the back. That left me with about a thumbnail's worth, which I used to start reworking the headwear (more on this in a future posting). 
 
More to follow!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

08 January 2017

Mista' J - Prepwork . . . hmmm. . . oh yeah, IV

When we last left off, nearly 5(!) months ago, I had just completed the Phase 1 work-up on the love of Mista J's life, Harley Quinn. . . or. more accurately. Harley Quinn-in-the-Box. I'd like to have the project off the workbench by month's end, so it's time to start finalizing some aspects of the Joker.

I decided that the fit of the torso to the legs needed tweaking. More to the point, the Joker need- ed butt "implants". Easy enough! The disconcerting dead-air (or gravity-defying tails) is/are no more!!

This should have been a preamble for what was to follow. . . You are hard-pressed to see any completed Joker with the same arm positions/shoulder seams: this is where the kit's parentage reveals itself--and quits "playing nice"! 

The fit of the arms is, at best, imprecise--and I'm being kind! To make matters worse, depending on your paint scheme, the arms will have to be left off until the torso is painted. So once again we are faced with finishing KM's work for them! I won't bore you with the details, but the arms are now positively fitted and filled, and work can continue. . .  (nb: if you would like to know what I did, post your request in the Comments and I will be happy to oblige.)

With the arms fitted (and pegged!), I can now resume the final clean-up and finishing before prim- ing. . . Stay tuned!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

Lynn Sangster - RIP

I just heard from Chuck that Lynn Sangster passed away yesterday at the age of 83. The hobby has lost one of its Founding Fathers. . .

I've known of Lynn since I bought my first military miniature in 1977. While I never met Lynn personally, I exchanged many a pleasant--and enlightening!--letter/email with him whenever I placed an order with Historex Agents.

On behalf of the readership of AMF, I would like to extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the Sangster family.

07 January 2017

It's all about the research. . .

My project of Athanasios Diakos underscored my largely basic knowledge of Balkan weaponry in the first half of the 19th c. AFAIC, this was unacceptable--and thus was I thrust back into the historical arena from whence I came. . .

After wringing as much as I could from the Web, it was time to delve into print. Today I received Robert Elgood's The Arms of Greece and her Balkan Neighbours in the Ottoman Period (NY: Thames & Hudson, 2009)

I will simply refer you to Dr. Elgood's site to learn more about the man and his publications.

Sometimes it's good. . . VERY good. . . to go back. . .

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

"Die Fledermaus"--Painting: UCing (1) - The Flightsuit

I wanted to get a sense of how the figure would "handle" under the brush, so I undercoated the flightsuit this morning. 

I went with a pale, warm olive drab, as opposed to the more commonly seen warm dark greys or cool browns. The final colouration will be established with the oils.

Stay tuned!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

06 January 2017

"Die Fledermaus"--Prepwork: Erledigt!

The prepwork has been concluded!  The figure is now in the oven drying, and she will be primed by the end of the day!!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

02 January 2017

"Die Fledermaus"--Prepwork I (cont. #3)

It's been over three weeks since my last posting re: "Die Fledermaus". While I was hoping that she would be at the very least undercoated by the New Year, it wasn't meant to be. . .

That being said, the surface prepwork of the body is now all-but-done! I still have to finish the prepwork on the arms, the head, and the Geschwaderstock, but I expect the body and the right arm, at the very least, will be primed--and on the painting bench!--by next weekend. 

And with two new Luftkrieg 1919 1/32nd scale figures en route, not a moment too soon. . .   

FOLLOW-UP 03.01.17. . . I have tweaked the fit of the right arm, and have remodeled the left cuff of the ulanka as a Polish cuff per the original. Almost there!
  
When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

01 January 2017

Athanasios Diakos - Prepwork I

First of all. . . ευτυχισμένο το νέο έτος (Happy New Year!)

While the reduction phase of the prep is well underway--and will continue for some time, I began working on the face yesterday evening. 

As I mentioned in the introduction to this thread, the sculpted visage leaves much to be desired. I am basing my assessment on the postmortem portrait executed by Dionysios Tsokos during the last decade of his life (1852-62). There are also at least three busts commemorating Diakos that bear little-to-no resemblance to the miniature before us. 

So what are the issues? The main ones are 1) beady eyes; 2) weak chin; 3) button-y nose; and 4) lank hair. If you elect to correct those shortcomings, the remainder will be corrected via the integrating process. 

I have already addressed the chin and the nose; filled out the cheeks; and enhanced the upper lip (removed the sculpted mustache). The difference is remarkable!

Finally, I have already removed the right forearm at the elbow; removed the kariophili (musket) from the right hand; and removed about half of the left forearm--saving the kilij/pala that will be placed in the right hand with the requisite corrections to the grip (kabza) of the weapon. 

FOLLOW-UP. . . Mustache has been resculpted.

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

29 December 2016

YS Masterpieces' Athanasios Diakos (HB-006; Bust)

Well, this one is admittedly a bit out of left field. . . check that, the ballpark!  

Or is it? 

I am a sucker for portrait busts, especially if they form a series, and are of a relatively obscure and interesting period/topic. The Greek War of Independence - 1821 - is certainly the latter; and YS Masterpieces has taken it upon themselves to honour their national heroes with the former. Still, in spite of some very attractive subjects, I have been a holdout for any number of reasons-- until now.

Why now, you ask? A friend and work colleague of mine sent me this "web article" on Athana- sios Diakos the other day. In a word. . . AWESOME! Then I vaguely recalled that someone had released a bust of this individual. I immediately checked Chuck's site and YS Miniatures. . . eh voilà!. . . their sixth release in the series: HB-006 - HELLENIC REVOLUTIONARY WARRIOR (ATHANASIOS DIAKOS), sculpted by Carl Reid.

At the risk of inciting the masses, I am not a fan of Carl Reid. As he has helmed this series through the first seven releases, I have been hesitant. Regrettably, this particular offering will not make me a fan. . .

But first, the contents of the box. The piece is designed in 12 pieces, including the pedestal. Casting is VG+++, with but the occasional sub-surface air bubble on the mantle: most will not even recognize the discolorations as bubbles! Fit is likewise VG+++--I imagine that it was seam- less perfection when the molds were new(er)!! In short, this offering gets high marks with regard to production quality and qc. 

Now, the "design" of the piece. The bust is based on the cover illustration of the following Greek popular history journal: 


Personally, I have issues with this. Before I continue, I will freely admit that I do not have the actual journal before me (in spite of all my efforts to track one down!), so I do not know if there is corroborating period artwork or text in the article justifying the presentation (NOTE: I found a copy of the article, and it contains nothing to justify the cover illustration). Having said that, I have never seen a black fustanella from the first half of the 19th c.; and unless Diakos was ambidex- trous, I have a problem with the kilij/pala being wielded left-handed!

I am not exactly a newbie when it comes to Balkan and Ottoman fashion, but I am not familiar with an item of clothing in this part of the world at this time that would serve as a mantle/short cape: the same disclaimer applies, and I welcome any balanced and substantive input in response!

Finally, the right arm is too long, and the likeness leaves much to be desired. Admittedly, I am not particularly well-versed in Greek iconography of the period, but the sculpted visage is sorely wanting.

In spite of the shortcomings, I am quite pleased with my acquisition! The cutting and grinding has already begun, and I am enjoying delving into this period of history!

More to follow!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003