Friday 25 August 2023

Lorraine Cross and Village Pumps

I've now finished these village "bits" and also the tavern and industrial building that you may recall from a WIP post a little while ago. They are all photographed too, but I'm going to just show these bits for now because there would be more images than I like to post at one time. I'll do another with the buildings very shortly.

This village cross model was made out of styrene rod and sheet, the Jesus and other figures coming from a model railway set of calvaries and the like, produced by Faller. In this case I closely copied the original, which you see next. I quite like the shading on this cross, which is really sharp without being too cartoonish.

The original cross stood just north of the village of Rezonville and forms a centrepiece of the epic painting "Panorama de Rezonville" by Detaille and De Neuville. From which this fragmentary image is extracted. The mounted figures in this fragment are the staff of Marshal Conrobert. Sadly I have no French staff painted yet, so I've had to show the model with Prussian staff instead. I chose not to do the effect in the painting where the lower part of the cross is a darker, greyer colour, presumably to indicate the gathering shadow of early evening. I thought it would look a bit odd on a wargames model.

Also from the Panorama is this village pump and trough. Pumps mostly replaced wells in the nineteenth century, before giving way to piped water in the twentieth century, at least in developed parts of the world. Working the big handle up and down pumped water out of the ground and through the spout, to fill either buckets or the drinking trough for animals.

Without wanting to go too mad, I tried to get a water effect in the troughs. I used two thick layers of clear acrylic packaging covered in PVA, finished with gloss varnish. I think it's come out reasonably convincing. Remember it's only supposed to be a few inches deep, not some dark, deep pool.

Here's the original from the Panorama, an image which some of you may recall from the Detaille book on the French army published some 30 years ago now. I loved this scene and it's nice to model it after all these years. The figures, by the way, are Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard, who were defending the village by the end of the battle.

This second well is based on a French one of about 1850, shown nicely in a contemporary cartoon. Again the central column of the pump is wood with the working parts being iron. I guess the two iron strips fixed above the trough are to make a convenient spot to rest a bucket while you worked the pump. I got the original image from the Alamy image database, but their cunning programme stopped me showing it without paying Alamy £9.99, which I am too mean to do! The figures are Prussian Jaegers, form the North Star 1866 range.