Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Finnish infantry v.2 - guinea pigs

Although I have chosen a set of figures to act as my 'test squad' I have now chosen an additional set of figures to act as guinea pigs, to try out painting strategies and shading techniques. I don't want to risk ruining my nice Pegasus figures trying out new things so I thought I'd sacrifice some of the Strelet's Finns instead.

A nice reference photo of Finnish infantry posing in front of a destroyed
Soviet BT-5 tank. This tank and the proliferation of Czech and Swedish style
helmets means this was probably taken in the early part of WW2.
I chose six of the better poses from the Strelet's pack - the only good poses really - and prepared them for painting. The first stage being, of course, the basing of the figures.

Extra note on prepping figures: I neglected to mention that as part of the preparation of the Strelet's figures that I had to do some cleaning up on each figure. Being the softer plastic type soldiers they have a fair bit of flash and seam lines, this needs to be removed. And being soft plastic you can't sand or file off the seams - which 'rags' up the plastic - but instead you have to shave the flash off with a scalpel or sharp craft knife blade. This is all a bit tedious and never very satisfactory and is another reason the Strelet's figures are not ideal.

I did a bit of Googling and I believe that for 1/72 wargame figures a base the size of a 1p (UK) coin is the most appropriate size. At this point wargamers usually warn that using actual 1p coins is illegal, but I think that is just because they like the idea of doing something that's perceived as being a bit 'bad'! :)

Anyway, the Bolt Action game is designed to be played with 28mm (1/56) scale figures and these, being larger, can be based on a 2p sized disk. But I am sticking with 1/72 - which I am told works just as well with the rules - but it's interesting to compare the differences in scales (I received a couple of complimentary 28mm Bolt Action figures when I bought the rule books)...

1/72 scale figures versus 28mm (1/56) scale figures. I think that the faces
of the larger 28mm soldiers are a lot more interesting and expressive. And
being bigger they must be a little easier to paint!
I can see why 28mm figures are probably used. Bolt Action is primarily a infantry squad based tactical game, so you can get away with larger figures without needing a huge game table. But also, I think the designers realised that the slightly larger figures gives players more latitude for creative painting options - the larger soldiers mean more expressive faces and that gives the game a whole lot more character.

Anyway, back to basing. I took my '1p sized disk' (lol) and stuck my little soldiers to it using Wilko's Super Glue. They are more or less fixed dead centre, but where weapons overhung the disk I did off-set the figure slightly, moving it back a bit so there was less of a overhang. It's a visual thing and a matter of what you think looks right.

Once the glue dried I then added texture by slapping on some quick dry Polyfilla with some added sand for texture. I also mixed in some AV Black Lava terrain texture material to turn the Polyfilla black.

AV's Black Lava is funny stuff, but it's name is very apt. It's a glossy black GLOOPY substance with a gritty texture and is ideal for laying down a sloppy muddy ground texture. It's acrylic based - I think - and washes off with tap water.

When my Polyfilla 'ground' dried I gave the bases and the edges of my '1p sized disk' another light coat of the AV Black Lava, just to add some extra grit to it. I know that the other way I could have done this would have been to simply coat the surface of the disk and the base of the figure with PVA and then sprinkle the glue with sand, and perhaps this would have resulted in a similarly gritty effect, but I'm experimenting.

OK, while I wait for this last base coat to dry I will decide what primer base colour to paint my based figures. As with vehicle model base coats there are arguments for either a white or a black primer colour, but I was swayed by the following painting tutorial so may go with white...

NEXT: Primer coat and main base colours. 

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