|Aircrew finds a new career in the French Horse Artillery|
The aim of my diorama is to have as much variety as possible. Plastic conversions are therefore vital for two reasons: first, because it lets me create units that aren't easily available commercially (although nowadays there is practically nothing that someone, somewhere isn't making).
I am conflicted on this subject: part of me looks forward to the next release as much as anyone else, but part of me quite enjoyed the pleasure of creating a unit that was otherwise unavailable. All this choice has somehow diminished the sense of achievement!
The second reason is that conversions create variety: one can take a figure from one era in a certain pose and turn him to advantage in the Napoleonic context. Particularly useful in this regard are American Civil War figures, and figures from the First World War. Why not other eras you might ask? While British and Russian Crimean/Franco-Prussian figures are very useful, French figures have baggy trousers that make them very hard to convert. For the same reason, late 18th Century figures can be converted with relative ease, anything earlier in the century have full waistcoats and wide bottomed coats which make trimming down hard; this is even more the case with earlier centuries. Second World War figures can be used, especially if they have long barrelled weapons (I find Japanese figures surprisingly useful), but anything with too much webbing or with a short barrelled weapon can't easily be converted.
To these two rules about plastic figures I would apply one caveat: any rule can be broken if one allows enough time.
Metal figures are harder to convert unless it is a straight head swap, but I do plenty of these when it suits.
My secret weapon in the game of conversions is my friend John Cunningham who has produced several thousand assorted heads for me to use, which allows for the mass conversion of figures at speed. I also find that adding knapsacks to Civil War or Great War figures gives Napoleonic authenticity, so I have cut these off a pile of figures that have sacrificed their heads for other purposes.
Muskets are also an issue - too many plastic manufacturers supply figures without bayonets fixed - this seems wrong to me. Les Higgins figures suffer from fragile bayonets as do Qualicast to some extent. Fixing bayonets is therefore a boring but necessary task for me!
|Rescuing the drummer - from the Lucky Toys Red Shirts set|
|Royal Artillery gunner - from the Imex AWI artillery set|
|Another gunner - from Hinton Hunt|
|Young Guard from the Airfix set|
|Another Gunner - Airfix ACW|
|British sapper - Accurate ACW pioneer|
|French horse artillery carrying a plank|
|RHA trumpeter - from the Strelets Light Dragoon on a Newline horse|
|Italeri early war French Infantry with a Zvezda shako|
|A slight tweak to the bearskin gave this Grenadier a visor and made him Guard Foot Artillery|
|Not a conversion at all, just the excellent Franznap figures|
|Some converted Franznaps as 3rd Hussars|
|Some more conversions -on the right these were Kennington on Revell horses|
|Brunswick officer - ACW figures make great Brunswickers|
|The Zvezda set - again no conversions!|
|A head swap with an Austrian makes this fusilier.|
|From the Revell ECW artillery set|
|A Franznap conversion makes this Prussian Dragoon|
|Brunswick horse artillery - from the Esci Zulu war set|
|Guard Foot Artillery, from the Esci set.|
|Prussian ADC, from the Strelets Crimean War set|
|Slightly out of focus Guard Foot artillery from an AWI set.|
|Dutch militia - can't remember where from.|
|Brunswicker despatches Frenchman - from the Atlantic set|