Here we have a French surveyor, courtesy of the German company Hecker-Goros. I'd never heard of them, but I needed some filler to pad out an order from Berliner Zinnfiguren, and this one got caught. There's just a handfull of parts in the bag, but a figure like this doesn't need a huge parts count, and the quality of the parts is excellent. The base was not included, that was picked up ages ago in a clearance sale somewhere.
There is nothing to help the builder align the legs and deck of the tripod with the measurement tool, so I've been improvising a bit. So far, strips of thin polystyrene have been glued to the large disc, with a space between the strips and the center axle. There are also holes drilled into the base. Hopefully that will give me enough grip to align the bits.
I've run into a slight glitch with the surveyor. The tripod thing is as tall as he is, which makes looking throught the instrument on top rather challenging. I suppose this is due to the fact that the tripod legs end in spikes, that are supposed to be pushed into the ground. This won't work on the cobblestone base I had planned, so I'm currently constructing a grass covered alternative out of some scrap wood and leftover 'grass'.
The face and hends were painted today, not because I wanted to work on this figure, but because I had some skin colour mixture of artist's oils left over from another project.
I managed to shoot myself in the foot with the surveyor. Like so many Napoleonic figures, he's wearing white pants. I have no fear of doing faces, but having to do an even coat of white by hand never fails to inspire terror. By putting oils on the visible skin, I've blocked the use of my airbrush for this..
So far, I've put two coats of acrylic lacquer on the trousers. Normally I wouldn't want to use that type of paint with a brush on a large surface under the best conditions, but I remembered a trick someone mentioned of dipping the brush in acrylic retarder every now and then. It seems to have worked. I'm still debating whether to add more layers of the same paint, and risk re-activating the current one and making a mess, or to let this cure properly and then finish up with titanium white oil paint. I'm tending toward oils, because or their very, very high pigment load.
The base for the surveyor was subjected to another experiment I had planned for a bit, using bits of
printer resin and a UV flashlight as high speed, thin filler. I can't recommend it. I put a good thick
coat if the sticky liquid on the sides of the "box" (make of plywood) to seal the ends of the wood,
and switched on the flashlight.
The resin blistered. Apparently, the reaction doesn't just produce heat, but also gas. In this case, it's not a problem, I'll be sanding it all smooth anyway, but on a more fidgity object, this would have been bad.
Before I managed to hit it with the light, the resin also ran, forming a very thin coat over large parts of the base. A very thin coat won't polymerise even when hit with UV, and will remain sticky until washed of or otherwise banished. Again, manageable in this case, but on a model this would have been a disaster, possibly a write off.
Test successful, trick rejected
The base, despite the difficulty with the resin, is coming along nicely. Once wet sanded, there is no residual stickyness, and the resin did produce a nice smooth finish over most of the rough ends of the wood. Some more filler and sanding will be needed though.
The surveyor is complete.
In the end, I decided to use acrylic titanium white for the trousers, which is almost as good as the oil variant, and did a decent job. Further painting was straight forward, needing nothing but time, fierce concentration, and whatever paints were sitting within reach.