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WIP Critique Piper Richardson VC

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by ghamilt1, Aug 30, 2014.

  1. ghamilt1 A Fixture

    One of my city's local papers is running an excellent series on the Great War, and I read a really interesting article last week on two Canadian pipers. One of them was Piper Richardson who won a VC in October of 1916 during the battle of the Somme. Here is an exert from his story:

    This is how the Dictionary of Canadian Biography describes what happened next:

    “At this critical point with the company commander killed, casualties mounting and morale and momentum almost gone, Richardson volunteered to pipe again.

    “‘Wull I gie them wund (wind)?’ he asked the company sergeant-major, who consented,
    “For some 10 minutes, fully exposed he strode up and down outside the wire playing his pipes with the greatest coolness. The effect was instantaneous. Inspired by his splendid example the obstacle was overcome and the position captured.”

    It wasn’t quite that tidy. Richardson’s incredible bravery galvanized the Canadian Scottish into ripping down the wire with bare hands and then came retribution as their bombing parties — Richardson included — got in among the trenches.
    The battalion’s second-in-command that morning, Major Cyrus Peck, who would also win a VC, saw Richardson in front of the wire and described it as “one of the great deeds of the war.”
    “The conditions were those of indescribable peril and terror. The lad’s whole soul was bound up in the glory of piping.”

    Later, Richardson was detailed to bring back a wounded soldier and some prisoners but returned to retrieve his pipes which he had left behind near the German trenches despite being warned it was dangerous to do so.

    He was never seen again.

    I thought this story would make a great figure if only somebody would sculpt it. Then I remembered I have Romeo's Waterloo Piper in 75 mm collecting dust in the display cabinet. So I thought to myself; "self, why don't you try a conversion?" And so begins a journey which I will share with you all.

    Here is the original from an old picture


    I began by stripping all of the old paint and carefully deconstructing the parts. Then I had to file away all of the 1815 uniform detail. These first pictures show the figure at that stage.
    DSCN0340.JPG DSCN0341.JPG
    Don, roadking, tiberius57 and 5 others like this.
  2. DEL A Fixture

    Looking forward to seeing this develop (y)
  3. ghamilt1 A Fixture

    DSCN0342.JPG DSCN0343.JPG

    Next step was to find a helmet from the spares box, and start on the collar and the tunic. The helmet is an old Fusilier product and I think the fit is absolutely perfect. I used Magicsculp to form the collar and tunic. I tried only to suggest the outline of the new uniform, not wanting to obscure the folds of the cloth that were already there. These would act as a great guide, so I wanted to be sure and keep them visible.

    DSCN0344.JPG DSCN0345.JPG

    So on to the next step which was to add the arm, which I thickened somewhat, as the original arm was thinner and I think the WWI battledress were thicker, especially in the arms. I also added the pockets and the canvas cover worn over top the kilt during WWI. As you can see, I've also started on the hose as well.
    Joe55, tiberius57, BarrieHynd and 3 others like this.
  4. ghamilt1 A Fixture

    Hi Derek. Well then you're in luck as I am posting progress pictures for a bit. I thought it might be too long for one post so I am doing the SBS by replying to my own original post. I hope you'll think the wait worth while.
  5. ghamilt1 A Fixture

    DSCN0347.JPG DSCN0348.JPG DSCN0349.JPG

    Onwards! So here you can see I have started in on some of the equipment. I am purposely playing a little loose on the letter of the law as far as webbing equipment goes. This is because I wanted to show Piper Richardson as not only a musician, but a member of a combat unit, who as the account states, joined in the trench assault after inspiring his comrades. That and the fact that Canadian troops would often improvise in the field, as I imagine many other troops would do. So if the webbing doesn't necessarily correspond to that displayed on Karkee Web, it's not an accident.

    DSCN0350.JPG DSCN0351.JPG

    Next in line was to add the other, now thickened arm. I've added some webbing ammo pouches and used some of my Tamiya tape for puttees. Still well pleased at this stage, and I think I was at about 3 separate sessions in the studio here.
  6. ghamilt1 A Fixture


    In this series you can see I really dove into the Fusilier spare parts. A special shout out to fellow planeteer and all round gentleman, Dan Morton who was kind enough to send me a bunch of his spare parts. I'm wondering Dan, if you gave up hope of me ever using them?

    Again, I realize I am probably going to catch flak for having the box respirator case in the wrong position, as its clearly not around his neck and on his chest where it should properly be found. Again, I took some license here, thinking that as a Piper, Richardson would probably have found that thing in the way of his pipes, so he's carrying just over the canteen where he can still get it quickly if needed, but where it won't interfere with his playing.
    Joe55, tiberius57, BarrieHynd and 3 others like this.
  7. ghamilt1 A Fixture


    And here we are! All primed and ready for paint, which I will start tomorrow. Primed with black and overshot with white primer from above to help define the values. As you can see I've left off the pipes and mouth piece, as they'll just be in the way of my paint brush. I test fitted them and will have no problem adding them later. I can't believe I pulled this off to this point and have to confess to a great deal of satisfaction. Now to sleep and see if it looks any better or worse in the morning.
    Ventress, Tommi, gothicgeek and 12 others like this.
  8. ChaosCossack A Fixture

    Very interesting watching this conversion develope. Beautifully done. Great eye for detail. I have to agree with your choices of equipment placing... once out in the field I believe the Regs book be used as a vague guideline as to what and how equipment was carried into action.
    How many hours work was put into the project to get to this point?

    Look forward to seeing some colour develope on this piper.


    Great job Glenn...seamlessly done.

  10. housecarl A Fixture

    Brilliant Glenn.
    I don't know if you watched this?(y)
  11. Scotty Well-Known Member

    Excellent job Glenn, I've seen a load of pictures of pipers in the field and I don't think the webbing is the same twice. I'm sure, like today, the guys chopped and changed the gear to suit themselves. All the best with this, I look forward to seeing it finished.
  12. MCPWilk A Fixture

    First class.

  13. Aveleira A Fixture

    Brave man, stripping down a complete figure to make a conversion...I don't know if I could do that.
    The result seems to be very good.
    Looking to see the painting done.

  14. BarrieHynd Well-Known Member

    Fantastic work Glenn. Looking forward to the paint going on. Stripping down a complete figure that is already painted and in the cabinet no way could I do that. Hat's off to you.
  15. tiberius57 A Fixture

    I already can hear the sounds of the pipes! Very, very nice done! And a great tribute!(y)
    Cheers mate! Awesome effort!
    Zeno :)
  16. Don Well-Known Member

    Glenn amazing work on your exciting conversion, very apt at this time.
    Will be following it closely.

  17. Joe55 A Fixture

    Most impressive Sir (y)!

  18. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Glenn - I knew you'd eventually use the Fusilier kit parts. This is outstanding!!!

    All the best,
  19. ghamilt1 A Fixture

    Thanks Carl. Sadly the quality of historic programming here in Canada is atrocious. There couldn't possibly be room in the programming schedule on the History Channel for this documentary because that would mean one less episode of "Ice Road Truckers", or how would Canadians get on with their day without finding out about the lives of "Swamp People". I only wish the BBC would allow streaming of their online programs on this side of the Atlantic, then I could happily unplug my TV. So a thousand "thank you"s ! I will find some time this weekend to enjoy this.
    ChaosCossack, crf and tiberius57 like this.
  20. ghamilt1 A Fixture

    Thanks Scotty and Colin (chaos), it's good that people recognize that aspect of soldiering, as it really helps me out when you can't get the respirator to fit snugly where it's supposed to go! Besides, I spent all that time sculpting pockets, I was damned if I was going to cover it all up afterwards.
    Scotty and ChaosCossack like this.

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