Short busbies with bag?

Started by streetgang, 25 October 2023, 03:46:25 PM

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I'm working on an 1866 Fenian invasion of Canada project. One of the Canadian militia units was the Welland Canal Field Battery. They served as infantry but wore a Royal Artillery uniform to include a short black Busby with a plume and bag.

Are there any figures available from Pendraken that wear this headgear? My plan is to chop off heads and convert the Canadian militia bodies to wear the Busby. Thanks!
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Possibly one of the Hussar figures (Pendraken has a wide variety) or British horse artillery?

Having done head swaps with mixed success, I'd be interested in the technique you use. Mine could use improvement!
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pierre the shy

If you are going to headswap there is a good guide to "how to do head swaps" on Keep You Powder Dry's blog:

note he is using 15mm figures in this case.

Hope that helps.

Though much is taken, much abides; and though
we are not now that strength which in old days
moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are.

John Cook

I've never seen a picture of the Welland Canal Field Battery so its hard to say for sure but the British Hussars in the Crimean range mind work.  They wear the small Victorian busby also worn by the RHA.  The German hussars from the WW1 range might also work.
However, it is a pretty expensive solution and I'd probably use Greenstuff or Procreate putty and make new headgear.  I suppose it depends how many you want but this is what I did when I needed 30 British/KGL Peninsular war period hussars with their tall busby/colback.
With 10mm I have found head swaps difficult insofar as there is rarely enough metal to make a strong enough bond to take a lot of handling, even with industrial strength superglue, and they are too small to pin.  I have found hat swops are much better for a permanent solution.


Pierre, thanks for that link.

As John says 10mm head swaps are difficult at best. The process I have used in the past is similar to KYPD's, but with these changes:
1) to remove heads I place the figure in silly putty (easier to work with) and then use an xacto chisel blade to make a perpendicular cut at the neck. The accuracy of these cuts is critical to any success.
2) As John also says, forget trying to drill and pin.
3) I use cyanoacrylate gel and baking soda to get a rapid set of the two pieces. Often the head becomes attached to a finger.
4) Once attached I follow by brushing on a UV activated glue which forms a protective layer around the join.

I would not want to use this procedure for a large number of figures (ten or more).
You do get some nice looking results but often the new heads may end up looking in an odd direction.  :o  :D

John has the better way, I think. I have converted dozens of figures to Scots by cutting off their headgear and then using green stuff to make a bonnet. Bonnets are easy, anything with more detail is beyond my skill (or interest) level.
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Well, as a sculptor of 10mm figures, and I think it's fair to say I've become decently good at it, I can tell you I don't attempt head swaps. Way too fiddly. After my first year I stopped doing it. If I need to swap a head I cut the head off, drill a hole in the body, insert a wire for the neck and resculpt the head. As involved as that sounds, its easier.

Now I know doing that is going to be a big ask for most people. What I would suggest as an easier alternative, and what I do mostly instead of head swaps is a hat swap (its more appropriate in 90 percent of "head swap" cases). Don't bother cutting the hat off and trying to drill anything. Drilling a 10mm head is the devil's work.

Just take a pair of plyers and crush the hat carefully so you don't wreck the face; do it gradually crushing front to back then side to side. If there's a lot of metal snip or cut away awkward parts as you go. Once you've got a stump or "tooth" (cut away any excess metal) you can sculpt a busby over it easily enough. Greenstuff or procreate will do.  Make the cylinder of the busby as close as you can- the tooth you've left will give it a solid centre to push putty against if you've done it right. Then use a pin to make tiny divots for a fur effect. A bag is easily added with a sliver of putty.

Techno 3

Totally agree with Clib. :)

'Hat swaps' would be far easier. The only difference in method is that I'd use the Dremmel, with appropriate burrs, and grind the old headgear down, before adding the putty.

Clib's right. Trying to drill into a '10mm' head is the devil's work..even with 0.5mm tungsten carbide bit.
I've only done this once..and wouldn't try it again.

I'll do this later

John Cook

Clibinariam and Techno have given the perfect advice.  The only difference between them and me is that I have a pair of old toe nail clippers that I use to remove the old headgear, piece by piece.  Had 'em for years and they are one of my most useful tools.