Thursday, January 6, 2011

Raising standards

Here are another couple of additions to my Africa Station collection, again from the figures I bought on eBay.

Certain rules have provision for standard bearers to act in the historical roles of rallying points and morale-raisers for their units. The eBay figures had these two fellows in the batch.

The one shown below (which I think is Foundry) had hands poised as if holding a spear or staff, but the hands were solid. I drilled these out and inserted a length of stiff wire to make a flagstaff. The device on the flag is a piece of free clip art found online.

Since this guy is going to be the standard bearer for Sunny N'Sher's mercenary band, I decided to give him a flag that has European influences while still echoing African traditions. I chose the emblem of a bull's head since cattle were - and are - a valuable resource in Africa.

The clip art had to be re-sized to fit the scale, but this was easy enough to do with the basic PC Paint program. I then printed it off and trimmed the paper to size. A wash of Pledge/Future/Klear mixed with a drop of sepia ink gave it a weathered appearance. The polish is a good medium to use on any materials printed from a computer since it doesn't cause the ink to run or smear. A small rectangle of tinfoil was inserted between the sides before they were glued together to stiffen the flag so it can be curled in a realistic way.

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In certain African tribes it was traditional for chiefs to direct combat from well behind the lines. Not for them the undignified rough and tumble of warfare! Some chiefs used umbrellas or parasols as personal standards, and the eBay batch had a figure which I could use for this.

It turned out to have some problems though. Although touted as suitable for Darkest Africa, it appeared to be more a candidate for an ancient society. He has rather chunky legs, which led me to suspect the sculptor may have intended the guy to wear greaves. If so, they were badly rendered, and so was the staff for the parasol he clutched in his right hand. It looked more like a rough-cut plank! Another hint as to his ancient origins lies in the satchel of scrolls he wears over his shoulder.

The parasol staff went right away, the hand being drilled out to take a length of wire. There wasn't a great deal I could do for his legs beyond a little filing, so in the end I left them. The parasol itself turned out rather well, being painted in a fetching shade of pink. The new standard bearer is shown in action above, shading his boss while showing his location for all to see. He holds a satchel of scrolls so the boss can indulge in a little light reading between his onerous duties.

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