Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Revisiting Old Projects That Never Got Off The Ground

A few weeks ago the Brigadista was nosing around my workshop after a game of Command Decision when he stumbled across some painted stands of 15mm WW2 American infantry. "If you finished these off, you'd have almost enough for a battalion," he announced. Yeah, yeah, I thought. Those models have been sitting like that for almost two years.

After poking around some more, he came across a second batch of painted American infantry. "This is enough for a second battalion. You need to get these on the table," he proclaimed.

Hmmm... Once again, the Brigadista was on to something. After I shooed him out and sent him on his way home, I took an inventory of my 15mm WW2 Americans. I had started this project on two separate occasions, but immediately lost steam each time. The two batches of figures were painted maybe two years apart, so they weren't a perfect match in terms of color or style. However, they were pretty close. Some highlights would go a long way towards making them look good together.

After a count of painted figures, I determined that I did have all of the infantry I needed for two Command Decision battalions. I did need to paint some support weapons, a couple of jeeps, and a couple of light trucks to make the units complete. I dug out my unpainted metal and found everything I needed to finish the two battalions (plus a bunch of other stuff as well - more on that another time).

I started by rebasing all of the painted figures onto 3mm thick Litko bases. I have been using magnetic bases for my other 15mm Command Decision units, but decided to go this route because I didn't have enough magnetic bases on hand and because I didn't want to wait for an order from Litko.

Next, I highlighted all of the painted figures. I did this so they would all have roughly the same shades for their pants, jackets, and helmets. The different base coats on the different batches of figures ended up giving a pleasing variation in final appearance. After the painted figures were ready, I quickly painted up the handful of figures I needed to complete this mini-project. These were painted in a different style from the first two batches, but were highlighted with the same colors.

The last step was deciding how to flock the bases. For my 15mm British, I used acrylic pumice to texture the base, which was painted and highlighted before adding patches of static grass. For this project, I decided to go with something simpler.

I mixed up a batch of Woodland Scenics burnt grass flock with some very small stones. Then I covered the base in diluted white glue and piled on the flock mixture. Viola! Very simple and very quick, but I think the final result looks great on the table. The bases on my British look nice up close, but they tend to stand out on the table. These bases blend in. I like them.

In less than a week I was able to field a nice sized force for Command Decision. In fact, the figures were immediately put to use in a Battle of the Bulge scenario where they valiantly held the town of Dom Burtgenbach against the 12th SS Panzer Division.

It's a good feeling when you can make use of figures that have been taking up space for years. In this case it was remarkably (embarrassingly?) easy. The best part? I put a nice force on the table without spending a dime. (Of course I spent many dimes when I originally bought the stuff, but that was years ago. Sunk costs. They feel free now.)

Now that I have a nice foundation of American infantry, the Brigadista and I have big plans for how we are going to use them. More on that soon.

1 comment:

Rob Brown said...

As one of the commanders attacking Dome Buertgenbach, let me add that Chris handled his troops well, and drove off a much larger attacking force. The key to his victory was his excellent use of interior lines and economy of force. I don't think we ever engaged more than a tenth of his troops, but in every case, the troops we encountered were the right troops in the right place (e.g. infantry in towns, AT guns on road intersections, or tanks firing down clear kill zones). Backing up his superb maneuver was his adroit use of America's killer weapon: It's artillery.

Ach du Lieber! We got our Nazi butts kicked proper.