While Tom and I are working at King’s Mountain, we have been playing with hundreds of little soldiers. Actually not playing as much as painting hundreds of little soldiers. And maybe not really hundreds – maybe just 196, but it feels like hundreds! Part of our job is to do various projects. I hinted at one a couple of weeks ago, and I’m not ready to reveal that one yet, but in the meantime we have been painting the soldiers we will be using with the other project.
These are two-inch tall plastic soldiers and someone decided that we should paint them to look as realistic as possible. Because most of the soldiers at King’s Mountain were militia, they wore their own clothes instead of uniforms. So each soldier is supposed to look like an individual. Even the Loyalist Provincials need different hair colors and some personal touches on their uniforms.
It has taken us a good two weeks to get all these soldiers painted. We do one color in the morning, then let them dry for a few hours, and add another color in the afternoon. One color at a time until the entire soldier is painted: hat, hair, skin, shirt, vest, jacket, pants, socks, shoes, belt, canteen, cartridge box, powder horn, trim, gun. We have been very careful and the soldiers are looking pretty good. On Thursday we will put on a few finishing touches and dip them in the coating that is supposed to keep the paint from flaking off the plastic.
Our work station has been out in the main part of the Visitor’s Center so most of the visitors stop by to see what we are doing. This gives us a chance for “an interpretive moment” where we can talk about the battle and the challenges for the soldiers. We can also show them visually how hard it was to distinguish one side from another when both sides were primarily militia wearing everyday clothes.
Painting hundreds of little soldiers has been fun – and tedious – and a good chance to talk to folks about what we are doing. On Thursday this first project will be done and we will be ready to move on to another.