Examples of Scott's painted work.
Friday, 10 February 2017
'The Prince and I' article by Scott Dummitt.
Prince August Moulds and myself go back a long ways. I was 18 years old when I got my first set so we’re talking 43 years ago. I even remember my first mould; it was an 18th Century Musketeer figure standing shooting. Believe it or not I still have it in my box of moulds. I thought I would approach this subject as the days of buying a couple of dozen figures to create a display of soldiers have gotten rather expensive for most of us. It has also gotten difficult to find the right bands that we want for our display, and yet with a set of moulds we can still create small armies at a rather respectable cost.
With the use of a hot plate, a starter set and my first mould I was able to create a firing line of British soldiers representing a Royal regiment from the French & Indian wars. Of course the same mould could be used for producing a French regiment as well. The early sets of moulds produced by Prince August Limited were made in Ireland, and then shipped to Sweden for packaging, so many of us believed that they were a Swedish company. In fact the owner of the company, Lars Edman, is Swedish. The factory is now found in Kilnamartyra, Macroom, Co.Cork, Ireland and both production and packaging are done in the same place.
Most of Prince August Limited’s early moulds were 40mm or 25mm figures, and while you could do a lot of moulding using lead weights, it didn’t fulfill that need many of us wanted, 54mm. Then something wonderful happened. The company started producing 54mm moulds of Prussian Seven Years war figures. While still not an era I was deeply interested in, it was a start. Time at University, and an early 1st marriage, took me away from the hobby for a while. I still dabbled in trying to paint connoisseur style using Imrie/Risley miniatures and Airfix sets, but as far as the toy soldier style went, that was out. Then something magical happened in the 1980s when I was in the Navy. William Britain Limited came out with a ceremonial set of the Cameron Highlanders and I was hooked once again. I also found John Tunstill’s Soldiers Soldiers in the UK while on leave and was able to not only purchase finished products, but could purchase the castings as well. This all lead back to me collecting Toy Soldiers again and getting involved with a group in Victoria, BC. This round about story leads me back to Prince August Moulds.
While stationed at Esquimalt, I met a former Canadian Guardsman/PPCLI Officer named Steven Brodsky. Steve was a wonderful gentleman and taught at Royal Roads Military College. At one of our meetings Steve brought in the Colours and Escort of the Royal Roads Cadets. He had made the set from a recently released 54mm set of moulds produced by Prince August Limited. I desperately wanted to get my hands on this set of moulds as I could imagine doing countless regiments of Canadian & British units. It would be another 5 or 6 years before I could find them. Remember there really was no internet of home computers in the late 80’s.
Eventually I was transferred to Ottawa after a trade transfer and things didn’t start off to well while I was there. I was frustrated with the military and my second marriage fell apart. It was a pretty low time in my life and then I came across a small store in Norwood, Ontario that sold militaria, soldiers, and prints. The gentleman who owned the store had some Prince August Limited 54mm moulds that he wanted to sell off (they were used) of the Dragoons and Household Cavalry. I purchased these from him and using tire balancing weights; I started moulding a Blues & Royal mounted band. I used any band instrument arms that I had managed to scrounge or collect over the years and constructed the tenor drums from cigar sleeve holders and wine bottle lead cork wrappings. A few months later I showed the set to the store owner and he suggested I start making the figures for purchase. By this time I had also found the address for Prince August and had received a catalogue from them in the mail. I may not have had a lot of extra cash at that time, but using the Prince August moulds and a little ingenuity, I was able to start getting back in the hobby. It also started me off with my own business.
In 1996 I created figures for the Canadian War Museum and sold them on consignment in their small souvenir shop in the old location. This also lead to my first contract for figures when I was approached by Marty Lane of the Governor General Foot Guards kit shop to create 100 sets of a Guardsman and Sentry Box for their 125th Anniversary. While I produced the Guardsmen from the Prince August “Toy Soldiers on Parade” moulds, I purchased 100 W. Britain sentry boxes from OMSS member Richard Malott. Dick told me later that it was the largest single sentry box order that Britains had ever had. If you look at the official GGFG web page today, you can see that they still have some of my sets in stock.
Today I only use the basic body to start creating figures for my business and all figures are cast using lead free pewter. Using spare heads, and Milliput you can make a lot of different figures with the basic moulds. All of the PRIDE OF THE NATION figures that I produce have been built off of the headless, armless figure you can cast using Prince August. The great things about these sets are you really are only limited by your imagination and your abilities. Casting figures and painting them gives you the ability once again to create large groupings for a fraction of the price that finished products cost. Some of my personal creations are the Corps of Drums Canadian Guards, REME Staff Band, the RCN Stadacona Band, the Corps of Drums Fort Henry Guard, the mounted band of the Blues & Royals, “Brock’s Last Charge” and countless other figures. The Corps of Drums Canadian Guards set has extremely strong feelings for me. I had started the figures around 2006, but had put them aside. Then in late 2007 I decided to finish them off and put them in the 2008 OMSS competition. I had found a wooden side drum rim to use on the display base and my Dad took the time to strip it and sand it for me. This was our last project together as my Dad passed away early in 2008. I finished the project for the show that year and if you look at our OMSS pamphlet you can see that the unit is the center photo.
Yes, the Prince and I have had a long relationship together. I expect it will continue until my hands aren’t steady enough to hold the moulding ladle or a paint brush.
Examples of Scott's painted work.
Examples of Scott's painted work.