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Royal Naval Division in Antwerp 1914

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by Dan Morton, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Not much to show on this one yet. The groundwork consists of one of those blue cobblestone roads on which RND sailors and RMLI marines produced many blisters. The blue stone is or was quarried in Belgium and it is a light blue color - that's all I know about it, having never seen it myself and only read about it. Would really welcome a picture of the stone itself from those of you who live there! ;)

    I've sculpted the road out of Sculpey and thought I'd show you that. The "tree" will be added at the side of the road, stuck into papier mache with pumice paste and some kind of sparse ground cover made of Oregano or something. Haven't made my mind up fully. Since this action took place in October 1914, we'll have to work on it looking suitably autumnal.
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    There will be 3 figures -
    (1) Hawke battalion sailor in overcoat, Naval leather field equipment and ammo pouches (if I can find enough images of the darn rare stuff), long Lee Enfield rifle, leather (bandito type) ammo bandoleer, knife, but no bayonet, leather gaiters and boots.
    (2) Hood battalion sailor in typical sailor uniform without the top multi-colored portion of the tunic, same kind of field equipment, bayonet, leather gaiters and boots.
    (3) Royal Marine Light infantryman, typical British infantry 1908 field equipment in canvas, extra canvas ammo bandoleer, SMLE rifle, leather gaiters and boots.

    The figures will be posed at rest on the road. The Hood sailor is leaning over slightly lighting his cigarette off the end of a butt held by the Hawke sailor. The RMLI is puffing on a pipe.

    I have the 3 figures as armatures with heads and boots, but that's all. Not much to see, so I'll show you that after they have bits of uniform and equipment aboard.

    Comments gratefully appreciated, as always. ;)
    All the best,
    Dan
  2. m@rp Active Member

    Country:
    Belgium
    Hi Dan,

    Good subject you will start!
    Indeed in the beginning of the last century, In Belgium and France, many roads were built with square stones called in french "pavé de grès" and so it was very nice for many reasons.
    In the end of the 60's and 70's these roads were gradually replaced by tarmac and concrete.
    As you will see these stones weren't really blue.
    The blues stone are used for domestic/home apllication(like staircase and base for windows)
    here under you will find some links on that matter

    http://www.cossutta.fr/htfr/0001.htm
    http://www.pierrebleuebelge.be/
    http://www.mpydapsens.be/

    I hope that these links will help you
    Regards
    Pascal
    Belgium
  3. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Many thanks Pascal! :) ;)

    Although there are several different shades of grey, blue, brown and yellow, certainly there was one section of 'ancien pave' shown on the first web site that is exactly what I had in mind.

    All the best,
    Dan
  4. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    This sailor is definitely a WIP. The photos certainly aren't great, but they're good enough for now. Lots left to do! Piping around the top of his cap, piping to replace and/or clean up on the coat. Buttons. Complete the straps on the back pack and over the blanket, Long Lee Enfield rifles to sculpt, etc., etc. The crumpled up thingie on the cobblestones is a newspaper.

    Hope you like it! :)

    All the best,
    Dan

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  5. garyjd Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Dan, Nice to see this project underway. The sculpting on his is shaping up to be your best.~Gary
  6. megroot A Fixture

    Country:
    Netherlands
    Dan,

    Great subject. I really like it. I live not in Belgium but i ride the racingbike the whole year. Alot of times we come on the trackx with colbblestone's. Here is a picture for the colours. The one that Pascal gave you are new ones, these are the old ones. The are more blue and grey.

    [IMG]

    Marc
  7. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Glad you like it, Gary! :)

    The photos really don't (this is the first time I've said this about one of my figures!!) do him justice.

    The Royal Marine will be more fun to sculpt than this one. More interesting uniform, but 1908 field eqpt and SMLE.

    The 3rd sailor will be dressed in the more typical sailor uniform but without the striped collar. He'll be equipped with a mix of field equipment like the first sailor.

    I still have no idea how to make the setting uniquely Belgian. The cobblestone road is as close as I can get to an idea, but I'm pretty dissatisfied with just that. Any ideas?

    All the best,
    Dan
  8. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Thanks Marc! What kind of vehicle is that in the picture?

    Any ideas on how to make the setting uniquely Belgian? Also, I'm reconsidering using the "tree". ??
  9. DaveCox Member

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Is this going to be a one-off or will the individual figures be available commercially? I'm asking because navy/marine figures of this era are very few and far between, and I like the idea of the two sailors on a base sharing their light.
  10. Roy New Member

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Dan....I gotta go with Gary on this...this is your best piece so far...it's great to see such improvement...really good job.. (y)

    All the best..Roy.
  11. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Thanks Dave and Roy! And yes, I agree that the figures will be a bit unique. :) There will be three of them in all - 2 sailors and a Royal Marine.

    Dave - thanks for the compliment, but building figures as a commercial enterprise gives me goosebumps on the back of my neck. Every time anybody suggests it, my sotte voce response is, "You gotta be kidding!" I've only been sculpting figures for a very short 2 years and a bit. Frankly, I don't think I'm nearly good enough to "go commercial" and even if I was good enough, I'm not sure I'd want to. Heck, that might destroy the whole fun and hobby aspect of this. Since I don't paint, I'm working with 4 painters. Would you like to join the ranks? :)

    All the best,
    Dan
  12. DaveCox Member

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Thanks for the offer Dan, but is my painting good enough to pay proper tribute to your sculpting?!
  13. megroot A Fixture

    Country:
    Netherlands
    Dave,

    i wouldn't do the tree. I should go for a small part of a building on the corner of the cobblestone's and a street sign with the word (btw: Keizerlei) in it.
    That vehicle: no idea, maybe a SMART VAN :lol: :lol:

    Marc
  14. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Your painting is a lot better than my painting bro'! I saw your rifleman - excellent job! E-mail me if you're interested. dpzpmorton@cox.net Warning - I'm a very slow sculptor!!!

    All the best,
    Dan
  15. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Marc - I was thinking about a corner of a building with a complete wall on one side. On the side of the building would be a painted on ad for DUNLOP tires. I have a period photo of a brick barn with that ad on the side. A road sign - that's got some possibilities too.

    'Keizerlei' - Altavista Babelfish says that means "emperor slate" in Dutch. Uh...the ignorant US midwesterners in the audience don't get it, but you have piqued my curiousity. :) ??

    All the best,
    Dan
  16. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    The first seaman of the trio is complete. Still working on two Long Lee Enfield rifle conversion from David Parkins excellent SMLEs. The one you see is still under construction - thought I'd add it anyway. The mounting of the figure is definitely temporary with a little phototac used to hold it. Hence the fact that the figure is leaning a little. When I mount it finally, it will be straight.

    The cobblestone road base has been raised about 4 inches by 'encasing' 3 wood blocks in Super Sculpey and gluing the road on top. One side is intended to be a canal wall complete with boat ring. The other two are just earth or whatever. I still want to add a brick wall along the long axis with about a 20% roof. This is intended to duplicate a farm or commercial building from a 1914 photo of Antwerp. Still looking for some kind of landmark or 'Antwerpish' feature to include. Anybody got ideas?

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    Features:
    Resin canteen and lead SMLE rifle from David Parkins, head, shoes and hands from Verlinden, the rest sculpted in 120mm using Magicsculpt
     Dark blue bell bottom trousers over brown half-boots (no gaiters)
     Dark blue sailor cap with dark blue tally, RNVR in gold lettering, cap tally tied in bow and pinned
     Khaki 1911 single-breasted dismounted pattern other ranks wool greatcoat
     Khaki 1908 canvas field backpack and felt-covered aluminum canteen
     Very light grey or off-white 1901 canvas naval landing kit bag
     Blue outside and white inside enameled tin cup
     RN issue wool blanket, light grey with 1 each broad blue and white stripes
     “Long” Lee-Enfield 0.303 caliber rifle - actual rifle length 49.5” / barrel 30.25”; by comparison, the SMLE rifle 44.8” / barrel 25.2”
     White 1888 Slade-Wallis blancoed leather parade ground belt with brass buckle
     Dark red Boer war era leather naval landing kit ammunition carriers
     Dark red Boer war era leather naval landing kit leather field harness
     Very light khaki Boer war era canvas and brown leather ammunition bandoleer (less than half full)
     Light blue civilian wool gloves with finger tips removed

    I want to offer my thanks to the photographic researchers and librarians at the Imperial War, Royal Naval and Royal Marine museums. Each provided fascinating photocopied photos, illustrations, and a wealth of details I couldn't have found anywhere else! Also thanks to the uniform experts at the Great War Forum page for invaluable help!

    Although I've said elsewhere that I'm going to work on the Belgian cavalryman next, I started on the Marine and completed his trousers - so we'll continue with it.

    Comments and critique welcomed!

    All the best,
    Dan
  17. garyjd Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Dan, this piece is coming along nicely. Are you going to be painting it or is it a collaboration. I especially like you adding the features showing the particulars of the uniform and equipment.~Gary
  18. rej Well-Known Member

    Country:
    Malta
    Dan. Excellent job you're doing :eek:

    Keep it up and take care,

    Ray ;)
  19. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    I echo what everybody else said, excellent work. ;)

    Keep up the good work.

    Cheers
    Roc. :)
  20. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Thanks guys! Appreciate the comments and - have no fear - I'm working. I have the Marine back in the cooker right now with some changes to those trousers and a stiff collar for the rather strange-looking (I think!) Marine tunic.

    Gary - I've offered the entire diorama to Dave Cox to paint and he's accepted. Three figures and the base should keep him busy for a bit, don't ya think? Of course, who knows when I'll finish this???? 2008!!!!????

    Looking at the photos myself, I'm particularly pleased by the "cap tally" ribbon and so forth. That looks pretty darn good if I do say so myself! Everybody understand what that is? If not, it's a ribbon usually silk with the name of the seaman's ship - HMS Hood, HMS Ark Royal, etc. The Royal Naval Divison seaman-soldiers were not posted in ships at the forming of the division. Almost all of them were Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) so when they reported to RND, they were mostly wearing a silk ribbon around their cap with gold letters RNVR. The ribbon was knotted more or less bow tie fashion and pinned in some way. After some months (after the Antwerp defense in October 1914), they were re-issued with cap tallies labeled "Royal Naval Division". Incidentally, if you happen to have your great-grandpa's original cap tally from the Great War, they're worth a few bob nowadays.

    All the best,
    Dan

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