Or – painting up some World War II French Resistance miniatures from Wargames Atlantic.
It’s been a bit quiet on the blog recently, but that is mostly because I have been busy on a number of different hobby projects. Primarily I have been preparing spaceships for games of Osprey’s A Billion Suns, as well as revisiting my 28mm scale 7TV Apocalypse bits.
Despite this I have still found the opportunity to get distracted and try something different. Wargames Atlantic have for the last couple of years been releasing some really interesting hard plastic 28mm scale kits across loads of different periods and settings. I’ve got into the habit of buying individual sprues from eBay of sets that interest me, more often than not just to have a look at the kits and painting something up a bit different.
One of their recent releases was a set of World War II, (nominally French) resistance fighters. However I could see these guys working in a range of games and settings from pulp and inter-war right through to later twentieth century armed civilians.
There were loads of options on the sprue and I went with a mix of armaments, inclusing quite a crazy looking dual stick genade weilding chap.
For the most part I used contrast paints to paint these fellas up. I am quite pleased with the way these turned out and they will be going into my pool of figures for 7TV.
I recently also picked up some other releases from WGA I also liked the look of, including a sprue each of the Napoleonic British Riflemen and the Classic Fantasy Lizardmen.
The latter come with some sci-fi options on the sprue and as I am currently reading the alt-history World War series of novels by Harry Turtledove I am somewhat inspired to build some members of the so called alien ‘Race’. (This is a truly bonkers series of novels by the way where some space lizards decide to invade Earth during the second world war!)
These were rescaled from the original files that were downloaded from Thingiverse. Designed to be printed at 1/100 (15mm) scale I blew these up to 1/48. I wanted a couple of pieces of ‘terrain’ to add to my UFO/V2 rocket base board and so went for something suitably ‘Weird War’. So here we have an E-100 (one of the so called ‘paper panzers’) and a slightly more realistic (in that it actually existed) Opel Maultier.
In the end these were both surplus to requirements for the game (I’d got more than enough terrain in the end and hadn’t realised just how big the E-100 would end up being).
I got some nice smooth prints from my Creality CR-10S which made preparation and painting a joy. Both models were basecoated in Dunkelgelb spray (from Plastic Solder Company) over a black undercoat.
The airbrush was used to add the dark green camo patches and weathering was achieved using a sponging technique. Decals were appropriated from my stash (they were applied following the base coat / camo, but prior to the weathering).
I’ve also recently been making a dent on the big pile of plastic miniatures I need to paint for Reichbusters. At about 35mm (maybe even 40mm) scale these also fit in very well with the 1/48 vehicle prints.
As an aside I am a big fan of using 1/48 vehicles for my standard wargaming with 28mm figures. I find the usual 1/56 vehicles (such as the Bolt Action and Rubicon ranges) while albeit nice models, just a little small in comparison to based 28mm miniatures. The bonus here is that I could use these vehicles with slightly larger figures, such as the Reichbusters ones, without having to worry too much.
Having done a couple of test pieces I chose a squad of ‘standard’ German troopers from the game to tackle first. These are lovely one piece miniatures, the sculpting and ‘hardness’ is good for boardgame pieces so I can see them being used extensively outside the actual game for more wide ranging tabletop adventures.
One of the disadvantages of course with board game minis (especially when considering troop types) is a lack of variety in poses. To work around this a bit for this squad I varied the colour scheme slightly. While keeping the basic field grey fatigues (for which I used an excellent multi-shade set from Andrea Colour) I varied things like the trenchcoats and boots by using different colours. This was mostly achieved using Citadel contrast paints (black, grey and various browns).
Unlike the test models which I had undercoated black I worked up from a white undercoat here (as I knew I wanted to use contrast to save some time).
Although these chaps did get a bit repetitive I really enjoyed painting them and as such I’ve picked a variety of different models from the game to paint up next. As the weather has been so good recently I have been doing a lot of undercoating outside and some of this lot have been done using my new favourite tool, Citadel Colour Wraith Bone spray.
A month or so back I went along to my regular club meeting without any real plans for a game. Last minute I arranged to play a game with one of my mates who had some World War II micro-armour and a few different rulesets he wanted to try out. Having had a flick through the different books we settled on Iron Cross by Great Escape Games.
What appealed about this was both it’s simplicity but also its approach to getting a lot of toys on the table at once. Add to this a (welcome) lack of weapon ranges and things seemed to add up to this being the one to try.
Iron Cross in 6mm scale
Iron Cross in 6mm scale
The rules themselves only span about ten pages and what immediately appealed was the use of ‘command tokens’ to activate, react and plan your actions. This put me in mind of the use of plot points in 7TV, so of course this immediately drew me in. It’s fair to say that I have not played that many historical wargames in my admitedly long gaming career, but I have done extensive painting and modelling of particularly WW2 in primarily 28mm.
Playing in 6mm scale (and adjusting inches to centrimetres for movement) on a 2 foot square board resulted in some really fun and fast paced games. Although the placement of tokens on the board to represent activated units provded a unique problem with this scale as the glass beads we were using were in some cases as big as the models. What became apparent to me as we played through (and was backed up by reviews I have read of the game) was that this would be ideally suited to a larger scale on a larger battlefield. 15mm seemed an ideal way to go. So emboldened with yet another new project I started plotting.
I wanted to put together two forces (rather than just build up a single army) and knowing that Flames of War 4th edition is currently hot I sought out the new (and really good value) Hit the Beach starter set. This provided me with a good basis for two starting forces and I supplemented this with some eBay purchases and also managed to track down a reduced price full German army box by Plastic Soldier Company.
My start in 15mm scale WW2 gaming
The contents of the current good value Flames of War starter set
15mm had never really appealed before, but with the enthusiasm gained from my first outing with Iron Cross in 6mm I really begun to see the attraction of getting a lot of figures and armour on the table at once.
Having agreed to give the game another go game at this larger scale at the next meeting which was only a few weeks away I got to work assembling and painting.
Most of the armour was a pleasure to put together. I’d probably say that the Battlefront Miniatures Flames of War stuff is slightly easier to assemble with the Plastic Soldier kits being slightly more fiddly. I also picked up a couple of Zvezda 1:100 scale snap fit kits to add a few of the big cats to the German forces (including a King Tiger). While cheap and ‘snap-fit’ I found that these do need a lot more after-assembly love and care (gap filling in particular).
In addition I’ve also done a bit of 3D printing to expand some forces. You can see a comparison between the Zvezda King Tiger and a 3D printed version below. While not a bad model, the obvious issue with 3D printing at this scale for a large game is simply the length of time it takes. We are not yet in the position I don’t think where the availability of 3D printing files for WW2 armour is going to have much of an impact on traditional kit sales for this very reason.
Painting the tanks and vehicles was case of keeping it quick and easy. Basecoat, dry brush highlight, wash, silver drybrush and spong chipping. For the allied armour I used a Halford Camo Green spray for the basecoat, which I would highly recommend.
The German armour was basecoated using Plastic Soldier’s Dunkelgelb yellow from a spray can. Trying to keep things at least a bit historically accurate I did various camo patterns on some of the German tanks. I am not hugely happy with these as I think they were a bit rushed. I hand painted these, whereas really I ought to have broken out the airbrush to get a better result.
Both allied and German decals have been purchased, but I haven’t yet got round to applying these.
So, the elephant in the room for me with respect to painting were the infantry. I’ve never painted anything smaller than 25mm so this was going to be interesting. In the end as the majority of the miniatures I was working with were one-piece I decided to try painting them on the sprue. In general this has worked quite well so far.
Anyhow after a productive couple of weeks assembling models and painting, this last weekend at the club we got a couple more games of Iron Cross this time on a 6′ by 4′ table in 15mm scale. Taking a very relaxed approach to matching up our forces, in the first game I got the upper hand as the Germans. In the second game we adjusted the forces to be slightly more realistic in terms of numbers (with the allies outnumbering the superior German tanks) and it went as you would expect with a victory for the British/Americans.
The rules worked really well again, we spotted some mistakes we had made last time and both games played through relatively quickly. I think we have found our go to club game for 15mm. I didn’t have enough infantry done to include them, so I think this will add an interesting new dynamic next time and that’s what I’ll be concentrating on painting wise.
So the moral of this story is don’t be afraid to try something new; however accept that it will add to your plastic/lead pile and project to-do list.