28 June 2017

8th Army Uniform - 1/72 Scale Painting Guide


There was a time when I thought my Airfix sand-coloured plastic figures really looked the business with the exposed parts of the skin painted with good old Humbrol Matt Flesh - and of course to a 10 year-old kid they did.


And that kid still lives in my head, and even though various decades have passed since then, and even if I spend maybe a little more time painting my figures nowadays, I do still try and keep things as simple as possible,



Drybrush & Wash Technique

The figures below were all painted using a simple technique that brings out the detail well and allows you to finish off a large number of figures in a relatively short time.




I'll cover the preparation, basing and undercoating in a separate post in more detail, but the painting technique itself is straightforward and simple as follows.

  • Paint a large batch of figures in the base uniform colour. 
  • Once dry, give them a very heavy drybrush of a much lighter colour to highlight the raised uniform areas, straps, buckles, rucksacks, etc. 
  • Block paint flesh areas and weapons.
  • Finally finish off the whole batch with a wash to bring out the details. 


Acrylic Paints / Colours / Wash

Acrylic paints are the best for this job and I generally use colours from the Vallejo range.

For the 8th Army figures I've used the following.
  • Vallejo Khaki - base uniform colour
  • Vallejo Iraqui Sand - heavy drybrush.

There are various products on the market sold exclusively as "washes" or "dips", but I've found that - at least for me - the best option is to use a good quality artists' acrylic Raw Umber diluted with water to a consistency of milk. In this example I've used the following
  • Van Gogh Acrylic Raw Umber

You just need to squeeze out a half-thumbnail sized blob into a bottle top or similar recipient, mix in water to get the right consistency, and paint a generous dose onto each figure.

The wash will settle into the folds and crevices of the figures and once it has dried you'll see a very pleasing and subtle highlight and shadow effect.


Further Detailing



The 8th army uniform can range from sun-bleached sandy white to the darker hues of khaki brown and even green. This all depends on the issue of uniform, the amount of time exposed to the sun and elements, etc., so you might want your figures to have more variation.

You can use the same technique but paint in more detail before the final wash, and play around with variations on the straps, pouches, rucksacks, helmets, etc., using lighter browns, sand, other shades of khaki, greys, and so on.

Another option is to also try with different washes using deeper shades and / or consistencies of artists' acrylics.

If you want to certain figures to stand out, such as as officers or special units, or even whole squads, once the wash has dried you can further detail the figures by touching up certain areas, dark-line, highlight, etc., etc





Colour Guide

The illustration below is a guide based on Vallejo colours for painting 20mm British & Commonwealth WW2 8th Army figures.


One final note : Boots

The British wore black boots but if you've ever walked around, even for a very short time, in dry dusty terrain you'll already know that whatever colour your boots might have originally been, they will soon become the exact same colour of that same terrain,

For this reason I prefer to leave the boots in a dusty shade to try and match the flocked base.


There are plenty of options for painting the 8th Army and many of us have various preferences for colours and techniques so please feel free to add any comments.

20 June 2017

Airfix WW1 French Infantry In Khaki


Airfix / HaT Industrie WW1 French Infantry painted in khaki to represent WW2 troops.


The set itself (not these actual figures though) was one of the first sets of 20mm figures I had as a kid at primary school - and that was a long time ago now.

I always thought that the guy with the carrier pigeon looked like he was holding a half-eaten sandwich that he'd just taken out of his hamper.




The figures have a lot of useful poses, it's a pity about the rifles as they are very flimsy and thin without any real detail, but they still have a place for me on the wargame table.

15 June 2017

Dragon Rampant Game in 1/72 scale


Got together with some wargaming buddies a short time ago, Alex, Carlos and Rob, and we got in a game of Osprey's "Dragon Rampant".

It's the first time I've played these rules, but I had the guidance of the other guys who'd gamed the system before, so with their help it was fairly easy to get to grips with the core basics of the rules once we got going.

A game needs a certain amount of planning to get the balance of opposing units right and to prepare the army sheets. On this occasion the "baddies" got hammered fairly quickly so it looked like we needed to fine tune the lists and/or the scenario.

But it was a good first experience and it's always enjoyable getting together for a game and getting some minis on the table regardless.

Some pictures from the game below



Marauding bands of green/skinned orcs and goblins advance on the village



Light infantry move out to meet the enemy 



Meanwhile, trolls enter the village



Light cavalry, accompanied by a sorceress rush out to meet the invaders







And finally, our "Hero" on his shining white stallion rides into the fray



And proceeds to decimate the green-skinned devils



11 June 2017

Lockheed AC-130 Hercules Gunship - Toys for wargaming

My imaginary near-future "Seven Star Nation" has just received a valuable asset in the form of a Lockheed Hercules Gunship



Ok, so it's a toy, ..... but it's a huge, strong, and very sturdy toy, AND it scales out really well with my 1-72 scale forces.



I saw it advertised on "Wallapop" a couple of weeks ago and the guy who was selling it lived near me so I sent him a message and when I got this off him I was really really pleased to find that it wasn't some cheapo flimsy toy.

I don't know who the manufacturer is but according to the guy who sold it to me, it's about 15 years old, maybe even a little more. At first I though it might be from the Micro-Machines range, but I couldn't find any pictures of it online.

It comes with two 1/72 scale pre-painted crew figures, who look very similar in style to micro-machines figures.





It has a cargo bay door that opens and closes too, and the 20mm figures and vehicles here just how well it scales out.



All in all a great addition to the Seven Star Nation's forces.