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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

All The King's Men 54mm School Diorama Project

Apologies for not posting in a while, real life has dominated my time this year, but I have gotten at least one project in.

One of the classiest acts in the hobby today has got to be All The King's Men, fine purveyors of 54mm wargaming figures for the AWI, ACW, and War of 1812.  I had the privilege of playing in their recreation of the Battle of Camden last year at Historicon and I must say it was the single best convention game experience I have ever had.  Doubly nice as I am a Camden native and my dad lives a few miles from the battlefield,

Why?  The organizers were organized!  The had well organized reference sheets, markers and dice for every player, and enough helpers to guide folks through the rules (although I think it only took a couple of turns before most of us were operating without help.  Their terrain and figures were beautiful and the GM kept the game moving along at a good pace while keeping it fun.  Other GM's could learn a lot from watching how they do it, I know I did.

Now, my wife, who is a New Hampshire native, is an 8th Grade South Carolina history teacher.  It has led to some interesting conversations over the years, but I decided it would be nice to use my limited painting skills to make an American War of Independence diorama for her classroom.  I decided to go with ATKM 54mm figures for maximum impact and to do a sampling of troops that fought in the Southern Campaign during the war.  I selected:
  • 2nd SC Continentals
  • A SC, NC. or VA Militaman
  • 1st Maryland Continentals
  • 33rd Regiment of Foot
  • British Legion
  • Volunteers of Ireland
I ordered individual figures from ATKM with separate heads.  The separate heads were nice, I could get exactly the headgear I needed for the regiment I wanted to depict.  Ken with ATKM helped me select exactly what I needed and when he was a couple fo days late shipping (still well on time as far as I was concerned) even threw in an extra officer figure!

This was my first experience with 54mm in the raw, here are the figures being glued to popcicle sticks for painting.

They were very clean castings with minimal flash. They are similar to 1/72 scale plastics and proportioned more like real human beings than heroic 28mm figures, so look slender compared to them.  As a consequence, while being significantly larger, they do not take up that much of a larger footprint on the table.   I think they would be an excellent choice for the periods they cover, especially for something like Sharp Practice.

Here they are in progress after a little painting.

Meanwhile, I purchased a long narrow display case for model cars from Hobby Lobby.  It was entirely of clear plastic, so I glued down soem artist matt board to give me something to glue the figures to and terrain.

I finally finished painting the figures, I found it was not too much more than painting a 28mm figure.  I did paint buttons, but I took a pass on the eyes.  Even at 54mm they should not be too large, and back when I did add eyes to figures they always looked surprised.

I added my favorite product in teh universe, Army Painter quick shade and glued them down.  I was going to hit them with matte spray, but my wife liked them shiny,


I then terrained the base using my usual approach for gaming figures: 
  1. Wall filler to hide the bases
  2. Watered down PVA glue with sand / model rail road balast.  Let dry.
  3. Paint black, then dry brush tan and light gray.
  4. Add flocking, woodland scenics clump foliage, odel railroad plants, and some sticks.
To make it look even more professional, I ordered some engraved plastic name plates from Trophy Depot and they were certainly worth it.  Only cost me $20 for all 6 and they really add to the finished look.

And here is the finished product.

And some close ups:




I finally added the cover and here is what the finished product looks like.


My wife reports that the kids love it and I think I may wind up being talked int running a gaming club at her school.  I am subversively propagandizing the next generation of gamers!


In conclusion, ATKM is a class act, 54mm is a great scale, and I have the best wife ever for letting me do this. 

Until next time, may you roll high and live!

6 comments:

  1. But if you don't paint the eyes, the rebels will never get to shoot at the British.

    Very nice. I think about doing something in this scale, but then I "come to my senses".
    And then someone like you comes along and, 'Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.'

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  2. Thank you all for your kind comments. Getting ready to gear up and do a CSS Hunley diorama for her.

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  3. Very well done. Congrats for your wife and your work in the classroom. If you haven't seen it yet, you might find of interest the work of the Civil War Trust in their Campaign 1776 which is promoting battlefield preservation for those battlefields in your backyard in SC.

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  4. BTW Shep Paine of model painting fame does NOT recommend painting the eyes of figures 54mm and smaller and I concur.

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