Tuesday 18 April 2017

Wounded leaders for Chain of Command

I've been trying to think of a way to show wounded leaders without cluttering up the table with markers.  Up until now I have been doing just that, I have been using some acrylic, skull tokens from Litko. The problem is that the light wound that reduces a leader's command initiative by one level is a wound that could last the entire scenario (unless you have a medical orderly who can patch the leader up, of course), so I wanted a solution that reduced clutter, but was easy to notice on the table.

The 'old' method. Litko token skulls - white representing wound (stun) and red for a light wound.
The Plastic Soldier Company Late War German Infantry set comes with some spare heads and each sprue includes a bare head with a bandaged wound.  The PSC Late War British Infantry also includes one bare head.  It's unbandaged, but would work just as well as I plan to have all wounded figures without helmets.  These can be used for any nationality and so I've tried some simple head swap conversions with my Russian, German and British junior leaders.  The first batch of figures will be used to represent Junior Leaders who have been wounded and will operate at one less Command Initiative for the remainder for the scenario.

The PSC German bandage head in grey and the British bare head in brown plastic.

So after a few straightforward head conversions I've come up with this for lightly wounded junior leaders:

Before and after the head conversion

To help the wounded figures stand out I've added a medical bag  

The British wounded:

Figure on the right has the British bare head, with bandage just painted on

And a Russian Junior Leader with head wound:

Wounded leaders confer and exchange war stories.....

I'm trying to think of a way to show those leaders whose wound stuns them for the remainder of the current turn and I'm trialling something using a British casualty figure from the PSC set.  Two thoughts, one simply the leader lying prone on his base:

The other option is to go for something a little more scenic and add someone tending to him.  A bit confusing if I have a medical orderly as a support, but if they are all on the same base I will know what's supposed to be represented.  I'm leaning towards something along the lines of below.  These two are on my standard 25mm diameter base for Junior Leaders but it may work better on a 30mm base.  As this will look so different from any other figures I'm not concerned it will be confusing:

You can see how I made the figures pictured below for the wounded leaders who are stunned in this post Wounded Leaders Part 2.

I haven't thought about senior leaders yet, as they can progress through two levels of light wounds and I don't really want to create that many extra senior leaders (best solution of course is not to let my senior leaders get shot at.....).  I'm going to have to think about that one.

I did think of a Pythonesque solution, straight out of the Holy Grail film, which is to have them getting increasingly debilitating wounds.  Not quite chopped off limbs ("it's just a scratch"), but something along those lines.  A solution in severe danger of getting comical I suspect.

Tuesday 11 April 2017

Saturday night beneath the plastic palm trees

My Pacific/Burma project is going to need lots of coconut palms as there are several actions that interest me, like Buna in New Guinea, that feature large coconut plantations. Here eBay is your friend as there seems to be a plethora of manufacturers based in China (where else!) who are selling these at very reasonable prices. I also saw a set of banana trees produced by Pegasus which would work well in a village setting. I already have trees that will work for jungle trees, so these two new types should give me something close to what I need.

Sunglasses may be required when assembling.

Coconut palms are first on the work bench. While they come in coloured plastic and didn't look too bad (certainly compared to the stuff from Pegasus), they looked a little too plastic to leave unpainted. So a quick prime with a can of grey primer before painting with the airbrush. 

I painted the leaves Tamiya acrylic Yellow Green on their outer edges and filled in the inner parts with Tamiya Flat Green. The dying leaves around the top of the trunk and the trunks themselves were painted Tamiya Flat Earth. They were then dry brushed with Vallejo Tan Yellow and highlighted with a brush of Vallejo Dark Sand. The trunks were dry brushed with Vallejo Sky Grey. I plan to base them on MDF 150mmx50mm strips that will hold two trees each. This will allow me to set up the plantations but also move trees during play. 

The extra effort in painting the trees is well worth the effort and I was very happy with the results.

Given palm plantations are in orderly rows I've mounted two trees to a base. They can be a bit top heavy and so a larger base ensures they are much less likely to be knocked over, but it also helps in having the trees look like they've been planted in rows. Here they are in use in the first game of the Chain of Command Last Stand on Opium Hill.

I gave a very similar paint treatment to the smaller Pegasus banana trees. These are made of a fairly brittle plastic and will not be as hardy as the palm trees when it comes to gaming. I decided to base these as I have my orchard trees by putting three on strips of MDF so they can be moved in different directions to allow the placement of miniatures. 

The bases were then textured with sand and PVA.

The next job was to take to all of these with the airbrush and give them a green colour that will blend them all together with other jungle terrain. Once again I used Tamiya acrylics, Flat Green and Yellow Green and this toned down a lot of the colour. The bases were painted using Dulux emulsion sample pots with my usual earth colour - a base of Deep Bamboo and a dry brush of Arava.

Saturday 8 April 2017

Eureka 20mm Australian Platoon for Chain of Command

The Eureka Australians are now finished and based.  All up, including the set with slouch hats, I have enough for five sections, which gives me more than enough for Chain of Command.  I still need to add a few support units, but this is the core platoon done.  Given I wasn't totally happy with some of the figures in helmets I've mixed up figures from both sets - helmeted and slouch hats. Looking at period photographs this practice seems to be quite common with Australian units, so I will let that be my excuse.  The full range of Eureka Australians are here Eureka Miniatures

Platoon senior leaders with three sections.  

The platoon leader and sergeant are on 40mmx20mm bases, makes them easy to identify.

"Did someone say, charge?"

Eureka make two sets of Australians, one lot with helmets and the other with slouch hats. While the body poses are the same, the heads and headgear are different. As you may have gathered from earlier posts, I'm not so enamoured of the helmet set which has some strange proportions - mainly large heads, grotesque and caricatured features and small helmets.  Not all figures, but some. It really is amazing what a relatively small difference in a face or the angle of a head can make to the overall look of a figure.  I've tried to show this in the following pictures.

Same pose, different heads and head gear, but what a difference it makes.
Take the two figures above.  I really like the one on the right, to me he's thinking about taking a shot and looking for targets or the result of his previous shot.  Figure on the left could be doing the same but he's looking down, why?  At first I thought he was supposed to be bayoneting someone but the pose isn't quite right for that.  Aside from the big head issue, it's unclear what he's doing, while the figure on the right not only has the right proportions his pose is easier to understand.  My wife just walked past and said, 'they look like little munchkin men'.  Speaks volumes about that big head issue!

Ready for another aimed shot....

When your head is this big it is hard to lift it up......

So here are some more comparisons, same poses just different heads:

Figure on the far left is my least favourite - all wrong - head too big, helmet too small, grotesque face.....

I can live with any of these, all work well

Overall I'm pleased with how these have come out.  They work well as a unit.  They all look good after a lick of paint and the worst offenders will be assigned, ahem, 'other duties'.

#1 section.  Junior leader on 25mm diameter base, riflemen and SMG on 20mm base, Bren on 40x40mm.

#2 section

#3 section

Last, but not least a Vickers MG as a support choice:

Tuesday 4 April 2017

Covering fire in Chain of Command

I like the simple mechanic that is covering fire in Chain of Command, I think it's another elegant design feature of a great rule set.  There are often times when some suppressing fire is far more useful than an attempt to inflict casualties. I've seen games bog down into drawn out fire fights when some judicious covering fire and movement would be more effective.

So that preamble was just a way of showing some covering fire 'markers' that I've created to indicate where that fire is, but also add some colour to the table.  A single team can lay covering fire 4" in width, a section can cover 9" so there are markers in both lengths.  The bursts of gun fire are over dramatised and would be more at home in a war comic or Hollywood movie. Nonetheless they do look a lot better than plastic beads or other markers.  As covering fire lasts for the phase it was placed and the following phase these will sit on the table for a while so I wanted something that would blend in well.

Simple construction - flocked strips of MDF with a few pieces of wire hot glued into holes.  The wire is painted black and then livened up with some red and yellow (I know, I know, bullets don't explode like this, but hey, it looks good).  The smoke is white polyester soft toy stuffing painted with acrylic paint.

4" and 9" covering fire markers

The 4" marker
And here they are in a game setting:

Aussies sir...fousands of 'em

Well, not quite thousands, but a platoon plus force for Chain of Command at least.  Here are the Eureka Australians in slouch hats.  Figures are finished but bases yet to be done.  As I said earlier, I much prefer these sculpts over the ones with helmets, but there are enough decent sculpts with helmets to give me 4 sections, enough for a full platoon and an additional section for supports if needed.  The figures will get a coat a gloss varnish (Tamiya acrylic Clear X-22), then when properly dry a coat of matt varnish (the unbeatable Testors Dullcote).  Flocking of bases after that and then these boys are ready for the table.

Owen guns aside, these should also pass off as Chindits.