Musketeer with shouldered Musket, marching, 1700–1760
Prince August 40 mm Mould Review
The 40 mm semi-round Prince August musketeer with shouldered musket is a classic miniature created by the Swedish sculptor Holger Eriksson. The tin soldiers pictured above belong to the French foreign regiment de Bulkeley (№ 92). Theses troops have been painted with artists‘ acrylics and they are based individually for Charge!.
- Musketeer with shouldered Musket, marching
We tested this Prince August vulcanized rubber mould with a lead-free, non-toxic alloy Sn95Bi5 (95 % tin, 5 % bismuth) which delivered excellent results. Older versions of the same mould are smaller and the mould cavity of the miniature is aligned at a different angle. There are three runners in the older mould, one of which is positioned near the top of the ingate. Casting this mould was easiest when the metal was poured from a ladle, filling the ingate quickly, thereby ensuring that molten metal reached the uppermost runner with minimal delay. Casting directly from the spout of an electric furnace proved less effective, because the mould took longer to fill. By the time the ingate was topped up and the molten metal reached the uppermost runner, the casting had partially solidified, leading to cold shuts where two fronts of liquid metal did not fuse properly. The modified layout of the current version of this mould is a welcome improvement.
Excellent choice of subject, the marching musketeer resembles one of the soldiers in Carl Röchling’s painting «Eilmarsch nach Küstrin» of the Prussian forced march to the fortress of Küstrin. Not suprisingly, the mould is very popular with collectors and wargamers interested in raising entire infantry regiments of marching soldiers. With his musket on the shoulder, this tin soldier is really only suitable as an infantryman approaching or leaving the battlefield. During an engagement, infantry advanced with the musket supported against the shoulder. However, Old School Wargamers do seem to prefer their line infantry exactly in this marching pose, popularized by The War Game.
Unfortunately, the musketeer is marching at a highly unlikely pace of 98 cm; where 75 to 80 cm would have been correct. In addition, it is motorically incorrect that the soldier can have both feet comfortably flat on the ground during such an enormous step. Try this in the privacy of your own home, and attempt to take the next step from this instable stance. The instant our forefoot touches the ground, the heal of the stiff limb lifts off the ground. Holger Eriksson may have chosen to plant the rear foot on the ground incorrectly to facilitate casting and to strengthen the join between the figure and its base.
The infantryman wears a tight-fitting uniform coat with long tails, turnbacks, and swedish cuffs, common to many European armies of the period. The waisbelt worn above the coat and the long waistcoat went out of fashion after the War of Austrian Succession, although French troops continued to dress like this as late as the Seven Years’ War.
Semi-round tin soldiers are toy soldiers, not historically accurate miniature figurines of particular regiments. Buttons, pocket flaps, lapels, and many other distinctive features of military uniform are not actually sculpted, they need to be painted on. Collectors and painters prepared to follow this route may use Prince August’s marching musketeer to represent line infantry of virtually any 18th century army. The plain tricorne of the Swedish infantryman may easily be improved with a pompom or cockade sculpted from »Milliput«, »Green Stuff«, or »Pattex Repair Express Putty«.
Using pliers and files, the tin soldier’s large square base can be trimmed to an elongated hex shape in less than three minutes, reducing the miniature’s weight by 15 percent to only 12 grams. The cut-offs from six musketeers treated in this way may be melted down to produce yet another marching soldier. If this operation is applied to all 59 soldiers of a Charge! line infantry regiment, enough tin may be saved to cast nine more men. To steady the musketeers, mount them on 15 × 32 mm metal stands cut from 0.2 mm sheet steel. Covered with fine gravel and painted in the base colour of the wargame table, these bases blend in very well with the terrain. With his new ferromagnetic base, the marching musketeer will stand firmly in any diorama and company- or battalion-sized movement tray lined with magnetic tape or individual rare earth magnets.
Moulds made of vulcanized rubber are said to be suitable for 1000 metal castings or more. Indeed, many online auctions offer moderately used Prince August moulds, which appear to be good enough for additional high-quality output. With an unmodified weight of 14 grams, Prince August’s marching musketeer is significantly lighter and cheaper than his Meisterzinn brothers in arms.
- Swedish infantry of the Great Northern War, 1700–1721
- Infantry of the War of Spanish Succession, 1701–1714
- Infantry of the War of Austrian Succession, 1741–1748
- French infantry of the Seven Years’ War, 1756–1763
Pictured above is a soldier of the French Volontaires du Dauphiné of the Seven Years’ War wearing his fashionable blue uniform with yellow-brown (ventre de biche, chamois) facings. The volontaire was undercoated Dupli-Color Deco Matt Acrylic «Sapphire Blue», painted with artists‘ acrylics, and finished with «Lascaux Transparent Varnish 1-UV gloss».
- Grenadier with bearskin cap
- Chasseur or Pandur with mirliton
Pictured above are fusiliers and a converted grenadier of the French infantry regiment de Vastan (№ 58). The grenadier has received a new head with bearskin cap, taken from a casting of Prince August mould PA18. These French soldiers have been painted with artist oils, and they are mounted individually on 15 × 32 mm steel bases compatible with the Charge! wargame.
The Prince August mould of the marching musketeer provides an excellent introduction to 18th century miniature painting and wargaming. Four additional moulds, officer, NCO, ensign and drummer, are needed to raise an entire infantry company or regiment.