Saturday, January 19, 2019

Third South Carolina Infantry Battalion, reporting for duty.

"In recent years we seem to have lost the knack for making toys.  Toys, in a direct and unembarrassed manner, give us a special kind of pleasure, a pleasure different from the admiration we may feel for a perfect copy of the real thing."

Charles Eames
Toccata for Trains

Mine are not miniatures, but toys...toy soldiers.

In 2012 I completed a project that was nineteen years in the making - the Third Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment in 54mm.  (which can be seen here).

In March of that year I started my second large project - the Third South Carolina Infantry Battalion.  I selected this unit as they were the opponents of the Third Michigan during the Peach Orchard action on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

At the Peach Orchard the 287 men from Michigan fought the 202 from the Palmetto state.   This meant the casting and painting of nearly 500 figures.  The South Carolina battalion took less time than the Third Michigan as none of the figures were custom made by me; instead, they were all cast from commercially available molds.  I was determined that this would not be another decades-long project.

This afternoon the project came to an end, and here, for you, is the result.  Presented with minimal narrative and targeted to my favorite audience for this blog...children.  

I hope you find the delight in these toys that Mr. Eames was talking about all those years ago.

Ready for action are the 202 men of the Third South Carolina Infantry Battalion.

This major leading the way, and the drummer behind him, are two of the 34 store-bought figures that I acquired simply to speed up the completion of this undertaking.

The battle flag is held aloft by another store-bought soldier - a W. Britain flag bearer.

The figures on bases like that in the center of this firing line are those that were not made by me, but purchased from another source.  In this I cheated a little simply to get the project finished.

Many may recognize a casting from an old Marx-style mold.

The figure in the center was one of those that were not cast and painted by me, but rather, purchased on ebay.

As the rebel drummers beat the "long roll"...

Michigan's wolverines say...

"Bring it on!"

Until next time,

Soldier on!



Scott B. Lesch said...

Wonderful work Mannie. Well displayed.

Brianne, You may call me Mistressyness said...

Really delightful Sir! Honestly, the quote of Ames from the toy trains film is special too! A great introduction to your counterpane of wellsian joy.

Reese Crawford said...

Wonderful. Ive been a silent follower for some time. You produce some amazing things!

Mark, Man of TIN said...

Stirring stuff! Thank you for sharing these inspiring photographs, Mannie.

Phil said...

Splendid miniatures and pictures, well done!

Archduke Piccolo said...

Yes: toy soldiers (or, as I prefer, 'Army Men') type of figures have an engaging presence all of their own. Hence my own Army Men project (dormant for a while now, but never so very far from my thoughts) and my small BMC AWI 'kleine krieg' collection of about 50 Franco-Americans vs 50 Anglo-Germans. They make a nice, informal change.

Terence Flynn said...

your blog is really great. I have a question about making toy soldiers. do you make your own toy soldier molds and how can I start to make my own toy soldiers. Also, where do you get your supplies? What would be the best way to start to make my own soldiers. thank you for your time. Sincerely Terence Flynn

Mannie Gentile said...

Terence, pardon my delay in responding...All of my comments got lost in the ether for a while. Of my union soldiers, about 65% of them are originals for which I made the molds. I buy high-temperature silicone rubber and create my molds, the company I use is Alumilite of Muskegeon Michigan, and the product was Silastic RTV. Now to be clear, I haven't made a mould for 15 years, so I don't know if this product is still available, but there are certainly others that you can use. You can also frequently find commercially made molds on eBay, usually the are made of organic rubber, and unlike the silicone, they don't break down after repeated use...they are extremely durable. My pewter comes from eBay as well. Metal sold specifically for hobby casting is expensive and usually come in small amounts. I go to eBay and buy pewter plates, cups, candlesticks, etc. You can get them very cheaply and you just melt them down. You will also need a melting pot. I forget the make of mine but you can easily do a google search for a hobby "production pot." best wishes and soldier on!