French Dragoon (Napoleonic Wars)

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Company: MiniArt - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Rod Lees
Box Art

This was a “mom saw it, and I bought it” modeling effort. Here in OKC (the home of Hobby Lobby Corporate) they have a discount outlet for the wedding crowd; and that is where they drop the occasional “model samples”; the store is called the “Basket Mart”…. Depends on when you show up if you get cool stuff. 98% of the time, nothing… but in this case I walked in and instant birthday gift for the horse-loving mother of mine, who just turned 21 this week. (HA!)

Ya’ll know I am an aviation/naval/sometimes armor guy. And in this case, I had an opportunity to do something a bit different. Waaaay different. Having visited Waterloo, I was aware of the time period this model represents; Warfare was changing again, and the use of cavalry was still being finessed. This kit represents a time period unlike any other… Muskets, Swords, and Horsepower.

Miniart has been around for a while; a Ukrainian company manufactures many unique items; including armor, diorama accessories, etc. This kit comes in a sturdy box with paintings of what the finished product should look like. In the box are four runners of parts; two different horse heads, and a lot of common parts for other MiniArt models in their line. The instructions are basic, and color details are left to the box art. Don’t toss it and you will be ok… NO DECALS!

I started with the equine parts. Two main body halves with legs attached. Same for the head and neck. The alignment pin sockets need drilling out, but once you have that done, you are on the way. Assemble the parts; and in my case it was “Pull out the large wood clamps to hold the horse body together while the liquid cement and superglue reinforcement is drying.” There was a bit of warp in the parts; it is not severe, but when all is said and done all four hooves are on the ground. That is just cool. Offer up the neck and head, which fit perfectly.

On to our “Hussar”. Lower body parts with boots, upper torso, and arms. All two-part assemblies; they fit just fine as well. The head is in three parts, and also fit together well. I used a bit of putty on some areas, but for the most part I was able to use natural joins and liquid cement to take care of the seams.

Assembly of the Hussar was easy; I used liquid cement and a bit of superglue to tack everything in place, and used the musket to position the arms and head. Let dry, then get cracking on the two-sided helmet (sorry, could not resist). Attach the bill, the horsehair finials and “upside down shaving brush on the forehead and it looks like a helmet. The back-blanket provisions are attached behind the saddle seat; these, along with the saddle and various bits, are all well molded and fit in place. Some filling was required, but in the end everything went on without problem.

Painting involved primer, filling some missed gaps, more primer, and then an overall tan for the horse. The Hussar was painted white primer; I worked the eyes using standard methods, and tan/brown for skin tones to match the Northern European appearance. The Horse was painted with Tamiya deck linoleum and various tones with brush strokes to simulate hair. The mane and tail were painted black as were the helmet details and harnesses. The trousers were painted with a yellow/white mix, and the saddle highlights were emphasized with washes. The harnesses were made from card stock painted black; the sword harness was painted white. The green was a combination of Luftwaffe light green, with USAF light green for shadows. Testors provided the gold highlights, buttons, etc.

One problem I had was I kept knocking the tail off. I finally drilled out the butt and the tail bone area, and inserted a 5/32 wire as an armature to reinforce it with superglue. Took care of my ham-fisted nature, it did…
The base was a Hobby Lobby pre-cut wood plaque, stained and lacquered, with Woodland Scenic details for turf, rocks, and small shrubs.

All in all an 8 of 10 for fit, but 10 for subject matter and overall detail. I put about 14 hours into this one. I highly recommend this kit as a good starting place if you have never done figures before; you can work the facial details without overdoing them like 1/76 scale can do, and the detail is most satisfying when complete. Well done MiniArt!


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