[Setting: Fields of Honor gaming convention in Des Moines, IA]
Me: “Hey, I think it would be cool to game the early Pacific War in 15mm for Command Decision.”
Brigadista: “Oh, really?”
Me: “Well, I'm not positive I want to do it. I'm just thinking out loud. You can't hold me to it.”
[Later, at the Flea Market]
Brigadista: “Hey, look at all these bags of Old Glory Japanese. They're selling them cheap! You should buy them for your Pacific project.”
Me: “Maybe... I'm not doing that for sure. I'm just thinking about it.”
Brigadista: “Well, maybe I'll buy them.”
[Fade to black...]
To make a long story short, the Brigadista bought the figures and now we're doing the Pacific War. Amazingly, he somehow maneuvered things so that he got to buy the deeply discounted flea market figures and I'm stuck buying the Allies at full retail! He seems like a nice guy, but he's actually quite evil.
Anyway, the first Allied figures I'm painting up are the KNIL (Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger), the Dutch colonial army in the Dutch East Indies. Initially, the KNIL will muster a Command Decision infantry battalion with some regimental assets. The KNIL had some other interesting stuff, including a variety of light tanks and light armored vehicles, that I also want to add at some point.
Most of my inspiration for gaming the Dutch East Indies came from photos and information provided by a guy named David Reasoner who posts on the Command Decision: Test of Battle forum. David has compiled a lot of organizational material and has posted pictures of his excellent 20mm collection.
I'm using mostly True North Miniatures for the KNIL. The figures are pretty good and the infantry even comes wearing tropical headgear (a mix of bush hats and straw hats). Unfortunately the officers and heavy weapons crews do not.
The machine guns and mortars are from Peter Pig for the simple reason that True North's support weapon packaging is inconvenient. The support weapon pack comes with two machine gun teams, two LMG teams, two mortar teams, and two anti-tank rifle teams. That's all well and good, except that all I need are three machine gun teams and one mortar team for the battalion I'm building. It doesn't make any sense to buy all of that extra stuff that I won't be using. Plus I'd have to buy two packs to get the right number of machine guns! The Peter Pig packaging is much more convenient.
At this point I'm nearly done with the infantry. They just need touch ups, a wash, some highlights, and a varnish. I'm planning to do head swaps to put tropical hats on the support weapons crews so I'll tackle that next. Wish me luck – I've never tried this operation on a 15mm figure! I'll post photos when this unit is done.
After this initial batch of Dutch, I'm planning to add a battalion of Australians from Eureka Miniatures. The allied army on Java consisted of Dutch, Australians, British, and Americans, so there is room for lots of variety here. I'll also be adding some British light tanks for armored support. The Brigadista was kind enough to give me a Quality Castings British MkVIb light tank to get me started. I figure it was the least he could do...