Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Walkerloo's Free Armies are on the March!

I encountered the work of Christopher Walker maybe a year and a half or two years ago and his work really captured my fancy.  He makes paper soldiers of the Napoleonic era, and although his illustrations are meticulously researched and detailed he still brings to the transaction a delightful amount of cartooniness, or, as he terms it "expression and humor" in his soldiers.  I love his work.

His die-cut armies are available at his website which is nearly as entertaining as his paper armies.

Now Walker has launched a diabolical plan of majestic proportions.  In his quest for world domination he is pre-positioning his forces across the globe, possibly even into China and the hermit kingdom of North Korea.

He is making many of his soldiers available on-line and totally for free (especially if you print them off at  the office, moms and dads).  One needs merely to go here to begin the process.  

Slip a sheet of bristol board into your printer, hit "print".   Do it all over again after "flipping horizontally" and you are on your way to assisting Walker in his nefarious machinations,  and everyone will be have a lot of fun in the process (including the printer ink salesperson).

You'll end up with two mirror-image sheets.  Punch out the registration marks with a paper punch...

evenly spread a light layer of white glue on the back of one of the sheets and sandwich them together, making sure that the registration holes are in alignment.  I found it handy to press the glued sheets between books to keep them nice and flat while they dried.

When the glue is dry, fetch your X-acto knife (#11 blade) and start carefully cutting through the double layer of bristol to liberate your soldier from the sheet.

These free figures are really well designed for a DIY project as the cutting is not too complex (for an adult).  Miscuts were easy to avoid with some care and practice.

Once cut out and attached to his little paper cross piece he is ready to muster-in with the forces.

By the way, when printing, do direct your attention to the quality of print.  Higher dpi is to the left and lower dpi is on the right.  The difference in quality is, as one would expect, remarkable.

Though the Coldstreamers seem outnumbered, be assured that their comrades will join them as soon as another X-acto blade can be loaded.

The graphics are quite "graphic" when it comes to the wounded, unless, of course these are simply overly-exuberant participants from a chili eating contest.

Now, more evenly matched, the belligerents square off for battle.

These robust figures average four and one half inches in height (bearskins included) which makes them tower over...

their 54mm brethren, but this large size may also make them easier to maneuver by smaller hands.

"Haughty" rendered flawlessly in two-dimension.

Christopher Walkerloo's notes provide a wealth of historical information, and even in his text his humor is apparent.  Another very personalized aspect which makes these figures appealing is that Walkerloo himself models each of the poses, uniquely putting a little of the artist into every one of his drawings.

In addition to providing delightful soldiers, Walkerloo is continuing a long tradition of high-quality paper soldiers.  And in my opinion his style, breezy though it is, compares well with the classic paper soldiers of an earlier century, as seen here in the apres combat"battle of the bands" at which some Mcloughlin figures are participating.  

Finally, after all of the glue, paper, and X-acto blades are put away one is left to realize the real genius of Walker as the Clausewicz of paper soldiers. 

 In "giving away" these wonderful, but labor intensive paper soldiers, he makes it abundantly clear how much more convenient, and possibly less expensive, it would have been to merely have purchased one (or more) of his ready-made playsets on line.

Diabolical indeed!

See you all on or around the 15th.  Until then...

Soldier on!



Ralphus said...

great article - love the photos

AD said...

"unless, of course these are simply overly-exuberant participants from a chili eating contest."

Best laugh I've had all day.

Scott B. Lesch said...

These look like fun. At least they have two sides unlike the old French Epinal sheets.