Boot Camp: Miniatures Projects

The Sergeant is requisitioning this page to have a place to discuss the boot camp aspect of miniature gaming... creating your forces.  The majority of miniature gaming revolves around two or more adversaries, facing off against each other, with the primary aspect usually being some type of battle.  The adversaries might be soldiers, machines, beasts, crazed lemmings, or any combination thereof.  Your imagination's the limit (well, that and your wallet).   So with that... FALL IN YOU MAGGOTS, DRESS THOSE LINES!!!

BOOT CAMP, the place where soldiers are made and the weak weeded out, at least that's the way it was in the old days anyway.  I can remember almost every aspect of my basic training.  Up at 0500, train all day, with all the proverbial yelling by those seemingly intimidating drill sergeants, and finally bunk down at 2200 or 2300 (10 pm or 11pm for you civi's), get up and do it again, seven days a week, although Sundays were usually lighter than others, and often involved cleaning barracks, gear, weapons, etc., with PT and maybe some mild training thrown it for good measure.

Basic training was just that, you learned the 'basic' skills of soldiering, and would go on typically eight weeks later to your advanced individual training to learn your military occupational specialty (MOS), ie. infantryman, tanker, cook, artillery crewman, truck driver, etc.  No good army starts without creating the soldier, the most basic and individual fighting unit.  So it is with your miniatures fighting force.  We, the painters and creators, are the drill sergeants of our fighting forces.  We decide what we want, we put it together, designing, dressing, arming, and eventually creating our fighting force.  You have the ability to be as strict in your interpretation of uniforms as you want, sticking to historicly accurate colors and dress, or to stray off that path and create something completely unique and all your own.

I mention in my first post that one of my favorite eras was the war in the Pacific during WWII.  As such, I decided that I wanted to (eventually, yes It'll come) run a Pacific campaign, pitting our valient Marines againt the vaunted Imperial Japanese.  At our Basement Generals gaming group, we've played several WWII games using the Command Decision rules, although we've been conducting European theater skirmishes.  I'm also going to try a (probably) modified version of Two Hour Wargames 'Nuts' rules at some point, although I've already heard some grousing from some of the guys about some of the mechanics, namely the action/reaction/reaction/reaction play.  All that for another day though, as this page is mainly to talk about miniatures, and I'll create a different page to talk rules.  I'm not going to get much into prepping your mini's.  There are enough other sites that will teach beginners what they need to do to prep them for painting.  I'll mainly present my projects.

For my Marines, I decided to go with Warlord's Bolt Action line.  I bought a box set, as well as a second squad, and several extras and specialty units, ie. stretcher bearers, commo, bazooka.  Bolt Action had a decent assortment.  For my Jap's, I had several packs I'd previously purchased from the Battle Honors line.  In retrospect, had I not already had the Battle Honors packs, I think I'd have also gone with Bolt Action.  A bit more expensive maybe, but they look pretty nice.  The Battle Honors soldiers seem a bit smaller, more to the 25mm size than the 28mm of Bolt Action, but hey, we'll just say that the Japs were a bit smaller in stature here.  As for paints, I've mainly been using the Vallejo Model Color line.  I've read others who like Reaper just as well.  Prices were fairly comparable, more or less.

I've been painting on and off now on my Marines and Japs for over a year now, and unfortunately unlike most of my compadres, I find it hard to make time to sit myself down and get down to painting.  Distractions are too many to count, house, family, work, etc., or I'll plan to paint, then just work on terrain, or something.  Due to the sometimes long periods between painting, I found it was essential to write down what colors I'd used for this or that, too make sure I could reasonable duplicate what I'd done before.  It makes a nice reference too for future projects and what did or didn't work well. 

 One think I decided to do was to create three groups of the Marines.  I did this by using one of three different helmet designs: Green camoflage, tan camoflage, and solid.

The color for the WWII Marine fatigue was a Sea Foam green, or sage green. In pics, it looked pretty light and almost colorless.  Due to the heat of the tropics, temps could reach 115, which obviously caused people to sweat profusely, hense, it darkened the uniforms back up.  This is one of those personal interpretation times.  So I decided to make sure there was still color in the figs.  Khaki boots, tan yellow web gear, a fair amount of US Dark Green for gear.  There's still some touch up and other detail painting to do, but I think they're coming along ok.  I based with metal washer's (I'll explain in a minute) and covered with a art texture mixed with drop or two of brown, and dry brushed with sandy white.  Many of the islands were hard or crushed corral, but I wanted to give some appearance of sand and dirt.

As for the metal washer basing, I use a clear plastic shoebox for storage.  I lined it with single sided sticky magnetic tape.  When you put your washer based figs in, the magnetic tape keeps the figs from moving.  Even if it gets tilted.