Wednesday, 13 December 2017

AB 20mm US army - the Yanks are coming

I never had any plans to create a US force for Chain of Command, but that changed last January at the 2017 Cancon tournament in Canberra.  I checked out the Eureka Miniatures stand to see what they had, and there, seemingly waiting just for me, was a basket of AB 20mm figures at a marked down price.  At first I was a bit disappointed to see they were mainly US army, but as I looked through it soon became apparent that there were probably enough sets of figures to make up a platoon, plus supports.  Before I knew it I'd sorted out a neat little pile that covered off most of the figures I would need.  At 50% off the list price, I happily passed over my credit card.  It turned out someone had placed an order for US figures and for some reason or other they had never been collected.  A happy turn of events for me.

Naturally I couldn't just have some infantry and so over the following weeks and months I set about acquiring a few vehicles and guns, you know, as you do.

It's taken a while to think about getting them ready for the table, but a few months ago I set about cleaning, basing and priming the figures and doing the same for some guns and vehicles.  I've never painted US army figures so I needed to do some research into uniforms and colours. While doing that I came across a blog with a suggestion for speed painting using a simple colour scheme and Army Painter dip.  I have some dip and used it with my earlier figurers, but I've moved away from using it with more recent figures.  However, seeing pictures of the figures on the blog, I thought they were passable enough and decided that's what I would do.

The figure would be painted wearing the 1943 field jacket and brown woollen pants.  I painted up a test figure and coated it in dip and was fairly deflated when I saw the result.  The figure just didn't pop at all and looked rather washed out.

The figure hasn't had a matt varnish and there's no painting of small details, but I think you can see there's nothing very special happening.  I wasn't a fan of the colour of the 1943 field jacket - the colour is correct, but I think I prefer the look of the Normandy campaign uniforms and chances are that's where most of my games would be set.  So I decided to use an alternative painting approach with a different uniform colour and the M1941 Parsons jacket over the brown woollen pants and shirt.  It's slower and more detailed, but I was much happier with the result.  My test figure is below and although the base is yet to be flocked, he is otherwise finished.

There's no dip used here, I've used the three shade method starting with a darker base coat and slowly working up the highlights.  It's not quite as time consuming as I thought, which is why it's become my preferred style of painting.  I think the effort is rewarded with figures that stand out on the table.

When compared with the earlier figure, I think you'll agree there's a big difference.  To be fair, the first method was never meant to be greatly detailed and to be honest I would have my platoon on the table a lot quicker using that method.

With my mind made up I've started on the first batch of figures, which is made up of the senior and junior leaders and the first few squads. They all still need their weapons and bases to be painted, others need their gaiters done and their hands, but this gives a good idea of how they will look.

Some senior leaders close to completion

Senior and Junior leaders

BAR man and a rifleman

I'm happy with the way these are turning out now that they near completion.  Hot on their heels are a mixed bunch of BAR men, 30 cal MG, Bazooka team and a batch of riflemen.  Enough variety to stave off the boredom that comes with painting repetition.

The next batch of figures

Then of course there's the rest of the platoon, and the engineers.... the flame thrower... the sniper... the gun crews... 50 cal... 60mm mortar.... etc etc etc

And I did mention I had a few guns and AFVs, didn't I?  Once done then the pint sized campaign '29, Let's Go' will look very tempting.

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