I ended last January needing to finish the infantry for the 50pt stage, whilst also needing to then get some games in whilst also painting the 75pt stage. Clearly I needed to get a move on in February!
The 50pt stage required a short infantry platoon, no Milan attachments. There was little point painting just half a platoon so I did the whole platoon in one go.
The first task was to crack open the company blister and form up the individual bases. I do this by first grouping each sculpt together, then grouping up each squad, trying to avoid repeat combinations whilst also creating a narrative for the stand (advancing, firing, forming up).
That done, I cleaned up the figures with a file and hit glued them to some tounge depressers I bought in bulk from Ebay. I used to paint models on base but I have found that off base ensures a better coverage with the airbrush primer. I also reckoned it would make painting the DPM easier.
Finally, I primed the models black using Vallejo Black Surface Primer (with some flow improver) through the airbrush.
Disruptive Pattern Material
I had a bit of a debate how to paint the DPM. Experience with Denison Smocks made me think that basing with the yellow sand colour was the way to go. On the other hand, the book suggested starting with the green. The desire to have some models wearing plain green “lightweight” trousers made the latter win out.
I blocked out the uniform in Vallejo Model Colour (VMC) “Russian Uniform”, painting all the helmet scrim at the same time. I then went back and painted about half of the scrim in VMC “Green Ochre”.
Next I applied swirling patches of Green Ochre over half the green areas (laving some trousers plain green as noted above), then brush stroke of Leather Brown followed by “twigs” of Black. The final effect was… okay? There is something a little off in my opinion. Maybe I’m being too harsh but I may try the milans more like my WW2 paras and start with Green Ochre then layer on Reflective Green (my least favourite paint) and Flat Earth.
I painted the webbing, slings and straps VMC Olive Drab, blocking out the shape. I then layered on VMC US Dark Green, leaving the darker colour in the recesses.
Most of the infantry used my normal formula of (all VMC) Beige Brown base coat, Beige Red primary highlight and Ivory final highlight, with a targeted flesh wash to tie it together.
However, one of the things I was keen to do was to start practising different skin tones. This was mainly in perpetration for doing a US Team Yankee force where units were much more diverse, but also reflected changing demographics in the UK, post war.
I wanted to nail down a decent black skin tone so some research online suggested the following formula, all VMC. Base-coat “Black Brown”, layer on “Chocolate Brown”, first highlight of “Tan Earth” then “Medium Fleshtone” final highlight
I was quite happy with that. I also wanted to try a more anglo-african mixed skintone. I tried “Flat Brown”, layered on “Tan Earth”, first highlight of “Beige Red”, final highlight “Flat Fleshtone”. I was less happy with this, it came out sufficiently orange I was worried about the poor rifleman being inflicted with bone spurs. Something to work on.
The Rifles and GPMG were painted much like the sponson mounted examples covered in part 2. I stuck to black furniture on the SLR.
The Blowpipe, Carl Gustav and M72 Law were both picked out in Olive Drab,layered in US Dark Green with a final edge highlight of Russian Uniform. I picked out the extending barrel of the Law in Black Grey and added some text scribbles in yellow to the body. The Carl Gustav is fairly plain so it was left as is.
The painted infantry were given a couple coats of Vallejo Gloss and Mecha Matt varnish (which seems matter than the non-Mecha Vallejo Matt) and the transplanted to their bases. I applied a coat of Windsor and Newton Medium Grain Gel with some VMC German Camo Medium Brown mixed in. Once dry, I applied some matt varnish as the medium tends to dry glossy, then drybrushed on Tan Earth and a light dry brush of Iraqi Sand. Job done! Overall I’m happy with the outcome but the DPM needs work on the second batch.
With the first 50pts painted I found that I had got my points wrong somewhere and was a point over! I dropped the infantry down to a short platoon, which got me one point under. Not like I’m not used to small infantry platoons from my West German force!
I managed to get four games in before sitting down to write this, two versus Simon, one versus Dylan and one versus Eddie. The army was able to give me:
- One complete tabling in “Contact” versus Simon – the mission and table set-up did not suit my force and Simon was able to overwhelm me in two turns),
- One inconclusive time-out in “Breakthrough” vs Simon, due to his travel needs. I think I would have won it, but it was in the balance when we ran out of time.
- One bloody loss in “Encounter” versus Dylan as he managed to take out my Blowpipes clearing the way for his Hinds to shoot me off his objective.
- One bloody win versus Eddie in “Breakout” as I was able to bleed out his T-72M strength thanks to terrain and not a little bit of luck.
With the exception of the tabling, the games were fun but fraught affairs. It was noticeable that the Scorpion proved far more useful than the Scimitar, that the Striker worked well when it had space to play with and that the Chieftains seemed to be cursed; two out of the three games they made it to the table, they died after firing a single volley due to poor saving rolls and worse morale rolls!
The 50pt stage was more of a fun painting project and a way to get used to Cold War brit camo ahead of the main event in the 75pt stage, but it was surprising how well the army fared. In addition to the win over Eddie, the loss versus Dylan could have been a very different affair if I had been more conservative with the Blowpipes placing and the second game versus Simon was bloody but I felt I was just turning the tide with the Chieftains arrival (surviving an opening volley from the T-62 as they arrived, then killing four of the T-62 in return the next turn).
Of course, the fun doesn’t stop with 50pts, its on to the next step, 75pts!
As most readers will know, I generally eschew gaming efficiency over theme so, whilst I could have kept the medium recce formation and added an infantry formation loaded with Milan whilst still staying in the rules, I wanted to stick with the spirit of the league and switch to Chieftains as soon as possible.
Now 12 Chieftains comes in at 72pts so I could field them plus a pair of Blowpipes for air defence, but somehow I think that might be an extreme theming example, even for me. A half squadron (HQ and two troops) seemed a good starting point and these were quickly joined by in-formation assets in the form of an infantry platoon and the regiment’s recce troop of a quartet of Scorpions. To maximise re-use of the 50pt stage’s production I also added a four-strong Blowpipe air defence unit. I could have gone with a full strength Tracked Rapier platoon for the same points but its more to paint so that will wait for the 100pt stage.
That left me just shy of the 60pt mark. I also didn’t have a clear 30pt reserve block defined. I played around with various ideas for this (including the new Harrier model, plus Lynx HELARM) but decided that adding a troop of Chieftains was the most sensible option. Of course that then bust the bank by 3pts! I couldn’t see anything I wanted to cut…so I cut one Chieftain out the third troop. A dicey proposition given my inability to make morale checks but it made for an easy 30pt reserve (one full strength troop and one under strength troop), got me back under points (a Scimitar troop using the surplus and further making for re-use) and meant all I needed to paint for this section was seven Chieftains. There seemed little point in painting understrength troops so I added in the XO tank and missing third tank in the troop. But that left a troop of tanks to paint later. That didn’t make sense so I put those in too. 11 tanks! Easy.
Preparation…and out of time
And you’ve been so busy latelyBlur – “Out of time”
that you haven’t found the time
To open up your mind
And watch the world spinning gently out of time
Having lost half the 75pt month to the 50pt’s infantry, I needed to get a wiggle on with the Chieftains to pull it back on schedule.
So I probably shouldn’t have spent so much time on the detailing! Adding extra stowage bins (cast from the hull rear ones), the missing stowage bin and extinguisher detail, swapped smoke grenade launchers for surplus Abrams ones and, added the grenade launcher firing lines, camo nets and tarps on all eleven tanks cost time, though I did dump the gunner’s sight flip up cover as the difference on the first three was barely noticeable.
Annoyingly there were two mishaps. I was missing one set of Abrams smoke launchers so one of the tank has the standard ones, albeit with the infil cut out. The 2iC tank was also missing its searchlight piece (pinged off when cutting) so has a somewhat large camo net running down the left side of the turret!
Another new thing I tried was using PVA glue to make tarps. I mixed some Bronze Green with PVA glue, spread it over a clean tile and left it to dry. I then peeled it off and cut it into squares and rectangles and stuffed it into the stowage bins. I reckon it could make the ground mats wound around the aerials for stowage you sometimes see too.
Still, that bought me to the end of February. March will see me finish off the Chieftains then race to get the last 100pts done (although that may just be some Rapiers!).
See you then!