Late last month I posted about my 7/8″ scale Decauville and noted that I had a suitable engineer en route from the UK. The figure – and a few others – arrived last week and I spent an enjoyable few days painting them up. The lead photo shows Claude in the cab of the Decauville, looking right at home.
Claude is the creation of Chris Johnston, part of the Short Staff range of 7/8″ scale (1:13.7) figures. The resin model (technically a kit since the head is a separate piece) was well cast and required minimal cleanup once separated from its sprue. I prepared Claude with Tamiya Fine Surface Primer in a rattle can.
Then, I used the full-colour photo that came with the figure as a guide and built up layers of paint using Vallejo acrylics and Citadel Contrast Colours from Games Workshop. I finished the model with a protective overspray of Alclad II flat finish.
Over the past few years, I’ve painted several hundred figures for various 28mm table top war games. These are quite small – an adult human is typically a little over an inch high. Many gamers like to paint more than play and do an exquisite job of finishing these tiny sculptures. They’ll paint the eyeballs, add several skin tone shades, imply light sources, and so on.
That’s not me. I “paint for the table” – which is the figure-painting equivalent of railway modelling’s “three-foot rule”.
Still, the work on all of those little figures sure helped me as I tackled Claude. (So did a couple of painting books in my collection, written specifically for gamers.)
I ordered my Short Staff models from Simon Harris at Model Earth in the UK. Simon’s service was excellent – the figures were well packed, promptly dispatched, and he provided the tracking number. I’m definitely going back to Simon when I want more figures.
Since I really wanted Claude and was paying international postage rates, I threw a few other Short Staff figures into the order. So this week I actually I painted six figures – all sculpted by Chris – including Patrick, Pamela, Flynn, the Station Master, and Eustace.
While posing the figures on the back deck this morning, I popped a couple of farm toys into the scene to see how they’d look. The size feels right, but the mass-market plastic toys don’t have the same character and wonderful hand-made quality of the Short Staff figures. I admire what 3D Printing has done for the hobby in terms of bringing new products to market, but in this case it was most enjoyable to work on something that was so obviously hand-sculpted.
Maybe I can convince Chris and Simon to add some animals to the Short Staff range? I’d love to find three or four sheep to help keep the grass neatly trimmed on the estate – and a border collie to keep the flock in line.