Sunday, 21 October 2012

Refurbishing Empire Cannons - Budget Wargaming

Around twelve months ago I picked up a couple of Empire Great Cannons off of Ebay for around £5.00 including the postage. At the current time of writing a brand new Empire kit will set you back £15.50 so quite a saving on new retail but they were far from 'as new' condition. I cleaned the figures using Detol, the disinfectant removes the paint without damaging the plastic underneath. Stripping them back to the original grey. I then sprayed the cannons in plate mail silver from the Army Painter range of primers.

After the clean up process the crew looked like this. You'll notice some missing heads but the figures are mainly intact with minor repairs required.

I then cut two pieces of 3mm acrylic to the same size as a chariot. These will be the bases for the cannons and crew.

The two bases were covered in my 'washed building sand' mix with a focus of larger bits at the one end to resemble boulders. These components are held in place with PVA glue.

I then spent some time experimenting with different positions of the figures to tell a narrative when in place.

Spare heads form other Empire kits were used as replacements. You will also notice the rolled up blankets placed upon the cannon to hide a missing bracket.

Paper clips can also be used to add a unique appearance to figures but giving them hooks.


The two cannons side by side showing similar but different basing. I have painted them in the red and white colours to match the rest of my Empire force.

The base is earth with a light grey dry brush to pick out the stones and grains of sand. The grass is tufts glued into place using super glue gel. This glue also holds the cannon and figures in place. Only when posting this photo did I realise that I had not painted the flame on the end of the firers stick!

Close ups show a perfectly acceptable models. (I do need to tidy the models but wanted to take photos for the blog, spot the white paint on the ramrod!)

By comparing this photo with the above you will notice the rolled up blankets from the pistoleers kit used to hid the missing bracket of the cannon. A lot easier than crafting another bracket from scratch and aids in the narrative of the figures. 

 Yes the blond does have the head from the demigryph kit. The line down the side of the gun barrel in near invisible when not under the macro lens and flash lighting of the camera.

All in all it would be hard to tell that these are reconditioned rather than new. I feel that the skin tones are still too dark at the moment, as with some of the leather work, still nothing five minutes of highlighting would not cure. In total a saving of around £26, bargain. 

I think in the future I may set myself a challenge of building a 'bargain' army where I recondition a whole army for a minimal cost to see if it can be done. Not for a while though as I've still got loads of Empire to paint before I get sidetracked. 

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