Stage Seven: the US troops were finished off with my standard 'hot climate' basing process (the same as my temperate basing process, just with different flock!). Sand was painted GWBestial Brown and drybrushed Bleached Bone. The static grass is GW's Dead Grass. Overall I'm very pleased with how these came up, the colours may have a little too much brightness to be 100% correct but they give a good impression of US Desert BDU and look good on the tabletop. Now I just have to finish off the other two squads of the platoon!
Stage Six: having allowed the dip 24 hours to dry I have given the miniatures a quick spray with matt varnish taking the gloss off. Have to say I'm very pleased with how they've come out, just basing now...
Stage Five: the dip, as with the Soviet Naval Infantry I used Army PainterStrong Tone painted on rather than dipped to maintain a degree of control, checking after a few minutes to remove any heavy pooling (in crooks of arms and between the legs especially).
Stage Four: just a case of blocking in the remaining details having already done the weapons and boots. The kit was painted Vallejo(70890) Reflective Green and the flesh CitadelElf Flesh. Now just a case of letting them fully dry before getting out the dip...
Stage Three: painting the 'chips' was a challenge in that in reality you shouldn't be able to see them at this scale, but they are a distinctive element of the uniform so they need including. I used Vallejo's (70862)Black Grey to paint some small dark dot clusters in the uniform. I found the temptation to just do this on the sand areas as it is hard to see on the brown but resist the temptation! That is because when you add white dots on top, they contrast better on the brown than the sand...
I also painted the weapons and boots using the Black Grey at this stage.
Stage Two: I added the main camo pattern using Citadel's Vermin Brown. Again, in it's raw state it is too bright but I am trusting it will tone down but still provide some contrast. The irony of painting camo in this scale is you want it to look as distinctive as photos of the real thing when in reality a 20mm figure viewed from three foot up should be anything but distinctive! :-)
Stage One: following on from the success of the Soviets I decided to use the dip on the Americans (a mix of Esci and Revell). The first stage after a white undercoat was an overall covering of Vallejo(70819) Iraquian Sand. This is a little brighter than the desert tan DBDU but the dip will help tone it down but still have some contrast.
Given the Second Gulf War it proved quite hard to Google images of soldiers from the first war in any quantity to check uniform details, fortunately I had picked up two Europa Militaria books, Operation Desert Shield: The First 90 Days and Victory in the Gulf, on the war that are copiously illustrated with colour photos of all armies, especially the Americans. Both proved very useful and have me pondering introducing French and British allied NATO support into Whirarwistan one day.
For most of the AFV's in my Whirarwistan campaign I decided to use any available pre-paints looking for plastic/die-cast bargains on eBay. Various companies make 1/72nd pre-paint armour including the likes of Dragon, but for Whirarwistan I turned toward the models made by Altaya (aka Amercom aka Deagostini) (they have been issued under various names in various countries).
Four M2 Bradley's arrived today, pre-painted in the sand over green camo that saw short service in Saudi Arabia soon after the Kuwait invasion of 1991. I went for this as I thought it would make a nice change from the overall US tan seen in Iraq and Afghanistan. The models are okay, they could do with some stowage adding and a good weathering. Also the bogies on one are poorly fixed and will need carefully removing and re-gluing. However for around £7 a model including postage I'm happy enough with them.
Whilst the focus of my games will be infantry actions (with IFV support) I couldn't resist an eBay bargain of an M1A1 (HA) for a fiver. Again this is an Altaya model albeit an USMC model in overall tan. I am not sure whether or not to repaint to match the Bradleys, probably not. Reading about the operational history of the M1A1 in the Gulf War it is clear that the T-72's had a major problem penetrating the front armour so it may be the Russki's in Whirarwistan have a bit of a problem on their hands! :-)
Stage Six: the final stage was finishing the bases. After blending the miniature bases to the coins with some filler I coated them with sand (and some small rocks on a couple that had fallen off my house's pebbledash) before painting the bases Citadel's Bestial Brown and dry brushing Kommando Khaki. The finishing touch was provided with some clumps of Citadel's Dead Grass flock which is great for hot climes like Whirarwistan.
Stage Five: having allowed the dip to dry for 24 hours I have now given the miniatures a spray with some matt varnish which has toned the gloss down considerably, they still have a slight sheen but this should go when sprayed again after basing. I also added the beret and hat badges and the hat straps at this stage.
Stage Four: the figures have now been dipped and are drying (this should take about 24 hours). Rather than physically dipping them I painted the Army PainterStrong Tone dip on with an old brush. I find this gives you greater control over the process, prevents heavy pooling and doesn't waste too much dip. The key with the dip technique is to check the figures after the first few minutes to ensure you don't have any unsightly pooling in creases or (as happens with smaller scale figures) dip forming a membrane in the gap between the top of legs. It's very hard to see how well the dip is working at this stage due to the gloss effect, but close up they look pretty good.
Stage Three: after painting the bitmap patterns it is a case of painting the flesh (Elf Flesh) and equipment using a mix of Citadel and Vallejo. The webbing was painted in Bestial Brown with the bayonet scabbard and brown on the weapons in the slighter more tan Vermin Brown. Pouches were painted (70886) Green Green and the tropical hats (70882) Middlestone with a dash of white. The jerseys were just painted white, I didn't try adding blue lines as the area is too small. The black on the weapons, boots and berets was a dark grey mixed up specifically.
Once they've dried overnight they'll be ready for dipping. I didn't bother adding details like badges as it is likely it would be obscured by the dip and so this will be done last of all.
Stage Two: the most distinctive feature of the KLMK is the light "bunny ear" bitmap camo pattern printed over the basic green. I'm not sure how this will come out after a coat of dip so I painted a number of bitmap patterns over the green using Vallejo(70819) Iraquian Sand which is quite bright but hopefully will look ok after the dip is painted on.
I've decided that to speed the painting process up I'm going to dip the miniatures, rather than work up from a black undercoat. Whilst I'm happy with the results I've had dipping WWI troops and Ancient Celts this will be the first time I've dipped camo'd troops, consequently I thought it worth detailing the process of painting the Esci Soviet Paras.
Stage One: after undercoating white I painted the figures overall in Vallejo(70890) Reflective Green. I added a bit of white to the mix as the diping process will darken the figure down a shade or two. I completely cover the miniatures just in case I miss a bit latter and because acrylic paint 'shrinks' onto the miniature which with plastics helps stop any flaking problems which bedeviled enamels...
Having found a useful site for painting the Soviet KLMK camo uniform I decided a bit of Googling would worthwhile to see if I could find something similar for the famous American 'chocolate chip' (aka cookie dough) Desert Battle Dress Uniform.
It was quite interesting to find out that the design was developed by the US military in the sixties anticipating involvement in an escalating Arab-Israeli conflict (now there is an interesting "what if?" painting 'Nam era figures in desert camo). However, it was not until the invasion of Kuwait that the DBDU was seen in combat.
Painting tutorial wise I haven't found much as yet but did come across this well illustrated one on a 40K forum (ok, the figures are Imperial Guard not US infantry but the BDU is the same). The chips are quite exaggerated compared to reality (see picture above) but that may be necessary to get the right 'look'.
The figures wear the KLMK camo smock, a green overall with sand coloured bitmap patterns over it to break it up. Browsing the internet for any tips on painting the uniforms I came across this useful entry on the excellent Cold War Hot Hot Hot blog that provides some interesting detail on the KLMK uniform plus suggestions on how to paint it, what colours to use and some nice painted VDV airborne troops. It certainly has given me food for thought as I was planning to 'dip' my figures but I'm now wondering whether to go down the traditional black undercoat route...
The internet is a wonderful thing! :-) Back in my formative days of gaming it was very hard (and often rather costly) to find out TO&E's of the likes of the Soviet Union, however in this day and age a few clicks of a button and Google can often provide you with what you need.
In this case I had been pondering between whether to paint the Esci Soviet Paratroops up as paras or something else. The obvious 'something else' are naval infantry who also sport the natty beret the Esci figures are sculpted in (albeit a black rather than blue one). A bit of Google-fu led me to find a PDF of the US Army Field Manual 100-2-3, over four hundred pages of the kind of information I would have sold my soul for in the late eighties as I tried to work out unit structures for my GHQ micro-armour.
Having compared the equipment requirements of both the airborne and naval infantry companies I have decided to go with the naval infantry purely on the basis I prefer the look of the BTR-80 over the BMD as the APC of choice.
US Military TO&E's are a moving feast and consequently it can be quite hard to get something that is accurate for the late eighties/early nineties as it has been superseded by new organisations reflecting the experiences of the military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fortunately I discovered a link to the US Field Manual 7-7J Mechanized Infantry Platoon and Squad issued in May 1993 (this replaces the February 1986 version which I haven't tracked down yet).
A comprehensive document it does detail the organisation of a Mechanized Infantry Platoon and what each infantryman carries/does although it is somewhat unclear as to the composition of the nine man dismount section (this is a lot clearer in the 2002 chart shown below).
The amount of M249's required means that I've had to purchase a box of the RevellModern US Infantry to go with my Esci boxes as the latter doesn't contain any M249's, whereas Revell include a respectable ten.
I did try and resist the release of the 2nd edition of Ambush Alley's Force on Force, but a 43% discount on Amazon proved irresistible and the rule book itself inspiring, chock full of photos and full colour artwork. A quick rummage in the attic led to the (re)discovery of a number of boxes of Esci modern US and Soviet infantry purchased in the eighties which are ideal for some small games, all I needed was a setting...
Whilst the US troops would work for temperate or desert environments with a suitable paint job, the Soviets are clearly in tropical kit so that dictated the need for a non-European setting. With the figures being in Eighties kit and the Russians at that time embroiled in Afghanistan I decided to go with a Harold Coyle style 'first clash' in the fictional country of Whirarwistan (found on the borders of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan).
This blog will detail the raising of my US and Soviet forces for Whirarwistan, scenery for some games and hopefully some Force on Force AAR when I can get it all on the table...