Friday, October 7, 2011

Von Mackensen - Research on a Real Tight Budget!

So there you are with a new figure or bust and you want to do it up right but you've got nothing much on the shelf to offer in the reference department. Where do you turn?

That is the subject of post number two on my nice little bust here from SK Miniatures. This could be the case really with any kit out there. Most have a nice photograph on the box and a little reference sheet listing color choices inside, that's all. Many people rely on the quality of what they get but if you are like me you want more information, more choices, more details, more accuracy.

Now if you are like I was ten years ago, you have a library of stuff acquired over years of being in the hobby. I would be willing to bet that most are like me now. I have a small but carefully selected research library that focuses on my specific areas of interest. In my case, Roman, Greek, Medieval and Asian subjects. For this bust that is worthless. Ten years ago I could have popped a few books and magazines off the shelf and had everything I needed.

What I rely on most these days is primarily multiple sourcing on the Internet. Anything can be found if you just look. A warning however, like in books, you can't always trust what you find. Many simply repeat old outdated info so the "Multiple Sourcing" can be very important. I start with Google. In this case my search started with specifics related to Von Mackensen, from there I searched on the specifics of his awards and various uniform and regimental links. I keep a file full of saved pictures broken down by era and within that specific to the project. So everything I find is dropped in the file. Right now the file for Von Mackensen has 86 images and I'm still looking. I started with the photo posted in my last blog post. A quick check of Wiki found linked photos of his awards. I then did Google searches on his various uniform items, saving pictures of original equipment and replica equipment, anything that gave me details that might come in handy later. A few phone calls/e-mails to buddies gave me some more details that I couldn't verify on line. (Now if Shep just responds to my last e-mail.......). If anyone out there is planning on doing this bust, here are a few little gems that I found:

specifically the following page for Attila details:  

Shoulder Boards: Although primarily WWII, this page has "prewar" boards for the rank of generalfeldmarschall halfway down the page. Not specific to Von Mackensen but enough reference to apply the details needed.

Leib-hussaren Fur Busby: reproduction but nice examples.

Cool site for references on the Pour le Merite:
Order of the Black Eagle:
Grand Cross of the Iron Cross:

So there you have a few interesting sites for reference on this subject. Once I gather enough info I use Microsoft Publisher to create a quick reference sheet to remind me of the highlights of my research. You could do the same with Word. This is what I created for this figure. If I need more detail or close-ups, I simply turn around and look at my computer files.

I even used a color swatch created by making a rectangle and setting the fill to the R:G:B: listing I found on a site for "feld-grau". I'm not convinced, as I've seen this uniform material for real before, but I also know that no two uniforms look alike in person or in photos so that will be where "artistic license" come in handy. I hope this post has been helpful for a few of the newer members of the hobby, maybe even for a few old hands like me. Now let's pick up the brushes, mix paint and have some fun! Next post, the face!

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