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Workbench

Welcome to the workbench. This page is constantly changing. I aim to update it in the middle of every month, showing you work in progress from various projects. This is a chance to see behind the curtain (or to see the latest mess I’ve made).

Customer Josh L requested a batch of painted Hessian infantry, along with a Hessian grenadier drummer. I'd never created one of them before, so thought it would be a fun challenge. I started with one of our standard drummers already on hand and primed gray. His head was from our Napoleonic French line to get the mustache. The top of the head was cut flat to fit one of our separate grenadier miters.
To achieve the right look, I added greenstuff to create full gaiters, and added shoulder wings appropriate to a musician. I considered adding physical chevrons to his sleeves, but decided they would look better painted on instead.
You can see how everything blended together with a white gesso prime. I could have gone with gray as had been done before, but white makes for brighter painted colors and the extra layer does no harm. This figure is ready for buddy Dean to paint.
In the same Hessian theme, here's a Colonel Rall figure in painting progress for customer Ed Y.
Customer Fred O shares his vision for creating black soldiers for the Union army by combining our heads and plastic bodies by Accurate and CTA. You can see the grisly results laying on his painting mat.
There's never rest for the weary here at ATKM as regular casting sessions are in... session. That's our George Washington mold in the foreground.
Check out our past workbench entries, below.
Eyes. Probably the most difficult thing to paint on figures of any scale. If they look natural, no one notices them. If they look unnatural, everyone notices them. For my own satisfaction, it's the kind of thing I wouldn't even put on figures unless I know I can get them to look natural. I'm probably an "eye snob," if there is such a thing. Many painters think the whites need to be as wide as the whole socket, which leads to a personal pet peeve -- "fried egg eyes."
But there's a very easy technique to creating eyes. Use the thinnest pointed brush you have, even one trimmed down to a hair or two. Mine is 5/0 and that's arguably too big at the point. Put a tiny dab of white on an eye, just off center toward the side of the head. (Pic #1) If you can barely see the dot, PERFECT! Less is more in this situation.
I then use a Micron pen from the craft store, size 005. The nib is tiny! I dab in a pupil hopefully at the center of an eye, leaving some white exposed to its side. I then draw an arc at the top of the eyeball, and an arc for an eyebrow. Done! (Pic 2 & 3) Sometimes one or more of the two arcs don't even get used, depending on the shape of the casting and look already achieved. The whites on the soldier above are probably too big, but as you can see the finished result partly covers them with iris/pupil for a reasonably understated look (to my eye... pun intended).
Micron pens are available singly or in packs. You can also order them online with a google search. If you're getting one, get several. They tend to dry out and/or the nib wears out before its time. Still, they're indispensable for creating eyes.

Among our newly revised AWI figures are our British infantry. These will look familiar to many. The basic figures remain the same as before, even down to the command. They haven't been converted, but have been re-mastered and re-tooled, making for sharper castings than ever. That includes the soldiers, officer and color bearer.

I have even remedied the tricorne where it could have a notch over the soldier's right eye.
Now here are some truly converted figures in progress. I used our Recruit Your Own Regiment menu to create the 3rd New York. They combine bodies at attention with “Leather Cap Head Set #2.” The officer and color bearer are also from the menu, and show the versatility of pose that results from separate arms and heads.
Like the marching British, above, our familiar Continentals have been re-mastered and re-tooled. This set is available on the ATKM site. No need to mix and match figures and heads if you want a basic Continental set of troops.
You really get to see the crisp details of these castings on the soldier's back.
Here's a set inspired by Butler's Rangers – our soldiers in hunting shirts combined with “Leather Cap Head Set #1.” The musician is our classic ensign body, now with a hunting horn option as shown here. This particular combination of officer body, pointing arm, and head look really sharp to me.
One of my personal favorites among our revised sets is these Highlanders in Trews. The now-separate heads really make them looked distinguished.
I went back to the original green to re-create these soldiers, and it shows in a figure that is more robust than before.
This AWI officer was originally part of our Queen's Rangers set, but has universal application, so I've made it available separately as part of our Recruit Your Own Regiment menu.
Likewise this drummer. It has wide application for almost any regiment, so I've made it available separately.
And this fifer. Choose the kinds of heads you want to go with these, like any troops on the menu. None of these three command figures has been revised; they're already at the standard to which ATKM offerings are launched. By separating heads on many of our older AWI sets, I have made them as versatile as these are.

The following are pics of the new and revised ATKM facilities. Shown here is the deluxe painting area with more space than before.

Here we have custom-made display cases (which is a fancy way of saying, "I put them together.") The shelves are removable so whole armies can be pulled out at one time.

The mess of a computer station, where sticky notes reminders rule the land.

The ATKM workshop. In particular, the spincaster and melting pot.
These two little fellows are vulcanizers, used to create molds.

The mold cutting and general-purpose area. Normally the place isn't so tidy, but I got sick of my own mess and cleaned up.

Products on this website are for adult collectors. Products are cast in white metal and are not for children under the age of 14. Items also pose a choking hazard.

 

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