Wooden Wars: Wooden Soldier Project Part 2: Cavalry and Cut lines

Nice piece of period horse flesh!

 After completing the first iteration of the infantry model and learning some of the tricks of the trade, I started on the cavalry model.  Anyone that has played any Napoleonic game with me knows I love to command cavalry, not only because you get to dash devil-may-care about the battlefield, but because you get to look amazing doing it!  Murat is my fashion hero!
mat board mock up for scale
All of my designs are done with quill and sharpy pens on  bristle or mat board.
I am pretty sure I haven't drawn a horse in 20 years, most likely because I've not morphed into a 12 year old girl;  not to mention, they are difficult!  Like the soldier, I wanted my horse and riders to have a good silhouette which reads as "Cavalry" from across the battlefield. The challenge is remembering that only one side of the horse will be detailed with laser etching.  Again, using contemporary drawings from the period for inspiration as well as the Perry miniatures' horses in my war game stable, I aimed for rounder haunches and more triangular features, like the image above.  The legs I made a bit sturdier to make sure that they could handle being knocked around during gameplay.
To make up for the fact that the horse body is etched only on one side, I decided to  make two detailed head pieces that attach to either side of the neck.  This not only gave the horse a more 3 dimensional form, but added detail to the places your eyes naturally travel.  I did the same thing with the saddle.   

 Cut lines, or "Sayyy...how do you get those prototypes?"
I had in mind from the beginning to laser cut and etch the models for Wooden Wars.  My drawings   could be faithfully replicated, and I could get lots made.  I also knew from the start that I wanted to have the models and game pieces made as much as possible in the USA or North America.  It meant possibly higher costs, but my product would be higher quality and a I would have a happier conscience.  My kids are going to play with these. I want the best I can make.  Which put me on the path to looking for the right shops to help me.
 After doing 3 full months of research, sending out emails, having phone conversations and face-to-face meetings, getting a couple of prototypes done,  and even looking into buying my own laser cutter,  I started to get the discouraging feeling that I would not be able to make my wooden soldiers happen. Laser cutting wasn't as low-cost or even as mid-cost as I was hoping it would be.  Undaunted, I kept searching and was lucky enough to  find a company in Montreal (yay, NAFTA!) called UMake. www.umake.ca 
Umake is owned by  great fellow by the name of Luke Kirkwood and his partner in crime known only as M.P. by the locals.  From the start we had good working rapport.  Being artists and, well, "makers" themselves,  they understood my artistic vision and were able to provide excellent prototypes.  Luke worked with me step-by-step, listening to my feedback as well as educating me on the "process" so that I could design better for the end product.  I highly recommend Umake, but not for a few months as they'll be booked up by me. :)
Prototype sprue of Hussar and horse.

Long story short, we've been working together for about 9 months now on the wooden soldiers, constantly revising, and figuring out ways to keep quality up (like using the best birch plywood) and noodling on different ways to make production costs reasonable.  (More on that and the whole process in another update.)
Enough with the words, it distracts from the "wow"!  Here are more pictures of finished Wooden Wars hussars ("wow!").  
Painted and ready for action!

Next dev Diary update - Artillery!


  1. Beautiful as always. I love the fact that as long as you can color within the lines, you’ll have some great looking figures. & they look equally good just glued together.

  2. Brilliant! I also like the continuation of the FSG tradition of plentiful exclamation points!!! :)

    I am planning for a regiment of Murats, all in different - yet stylish - outfits.


    - Rod