The 7th Cavalry project grew out of two sources. The first was a series of wargames back in 2000-2003, right when Foundry came out with their Cavalry lines. As part of that, I'd purchased the Little Bighorn Personalities pack. They sat in semi-storage for about 10 years, until I ran across a bunch of the Foundry cavalry in a used miniatures sale in 2010. I promptly snapped them up, and thus began my colonials project.
Said colonials project has greatly expanded, with the inclusion of Africa and the Northwest Frontier to the American West and Mexico. But that is a tale for a different day.
Because I had the personalities, Custer's Headquarters detachment was the best place to begin. As part of this project, I have purchased about a dozen different books on the Old West to figure out what people looked like and how they fought. The 7th is fairly easy, because Custer tried to keep all the horses in a company the same color, and several horses (like Custer's Vic, and Keogh's Comanche) are well known personalities in their own right. However, there's always the need to figure out how to paint items like hats, facial hair, shirts or horse markings. The big names are famous, but the "lesser" identities often not.
Thus, I have consulted several Last Stand paintings for information. Richard Luce's Custer's Last Command has been especially helpful, and bears relevance to this subject:Here is the code for the painting:
1. Lieut. Col. George Custer 2. 1st Lieut. W.W. Cooke 3. "Handsome Jack" 4. 1st Lieut. Algernon Smith 5. Capt. Tom Custer 6. Capt. George Yates 7. Boston Custer 8. Autie Reed 9. Sgt. Major William Sharrow
For Sergeant Sharrow, I chose a matching mounted and dismounted cavalry figure they designate "Sgt. Smallwood." These are how they look in the Foundry catalogue:
The mounted figure is no longer sold, but will probably be reissued as part of the Foundry reorganization. It's slightly different from the dismount, in that the mounted figure has overalls.
Thus, there were three pressing conversion needs:
- Add boots to the mounted figure
- Turn the issue uniform trousers into buckskin ones
- Add a beard
The first two were accomplished with green stuff, the third just with paint. For the mounted figure, I sculpted buckskin fringe out of greenstuff and used additional greenstuff to shape the boot.
On the dismounted figure, all I had to do was add buckskin fringes:
Here's the result, after painting:
For the facial hair, I just used paint to add a beard. I followed Barry Hilton's technique for adding a 5 o'clock shadow, and have been doing that for all but senior officers of my 7th Cavalry. The hat cords comes from Captain Richard's Miniature Civil War. I probably should have used yellow, since yellow was the Cavalry branch color, but I was afraid that they would not show up very well. The blue is somewhat off in these photos, but I am quite satisfied with how scruffy and faded it looks in reality.
The only bit left to be done is to add his sergeant's stripes. I'd originally painted them on, but I did not like how they looked. So I am working on creating decals the right size in Photoshop and will add them once finished.
I'm especially pleased with the facial expression:
Because I started (and finished) well before the Analogue Painting Challenge start date, he doesn't count. So that's how things stand. I have another five miniatures for the HQ detachment currently on the painting table, though some may end up in E or F troop and be replaced with Sash and Saber/Perry horse holders. I also need to paint up Dr. Lord, his medical detachment, Mark Kellogg, Autie Reed and Boston Custer to finish off the command element.
Merry Christmas to all! I'm not expecting any miniatures for gifts, but I may purchase a few for myself in the coming weeks . . .