Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Painting Slimey Limeys: resources and inspiration

'Ow can we fight if we 'aven't any paint??
Above, 24pdr battery, forward observers, staff, command, all Battlefront 

50 British Motor Infantry by Battlefront, about 12 stands worth, or 4 platoons with my rules.

Finally getting movement on my British desert forces.  I primed and began painting these ages ago, then stopped when the bottom fell out of Flames of War locally. I'll probably need to dust them off, also! One inhibiting factor was that I bought two Ospery books to paint them, assuming they were as useful as the Italian books [which are very, very good I might add].  However, there was way too much history in them and not nearly enough about their uniforms, rank, medals, unit patches, etc. I finally broke down and bought the book with all that info since it is $17 retail and got it at Amazon for $9 total:

British Battle Insignia (2) 1939–45
Author: Mike Chappell

I find that 15mm is just big enough to put all the little badges and such on them. The little bits of color and rank definitely add a lot to the figures and when painted properly [which is to say very very brightly] catch the eye. 

British soldiers were supposed to remove all unit markings when in action, but esprit de corps won out and often the order was ignored. Eventually the Brits developed a system of colored markings like the WWI patches. So altho they may not have always worn them, they wore them enough to paint them on the little guys. So, am adding these to my paint queue for the holiday break, 

Along with prepping and cleaning more 40mm ECW and finishing shields and mounting 120 Saxon infantry!

This will give me four platoons of British infantry, two batteries of "Mortars", and allow me to have infantry v. infantry battles with the full gamut of One-Hour Wargames approved troops. Upon getting these done, I will need to finish the details on my Cruds, from decals to pennants to highlights.

Additional resources are the wonderful "Benghazi Handicap" by the equally wonderful Frank Chadwick [anything he does is worth checking into!].  This book is an amazing resource for British, Italian and German units in the Western Desert battles.  Everything from how to approach the terrain for the Command Decision rules, to many pages on how to paint up the figs, organize units and more. Especially useful are the Unit number sections.  Highly recommended for any enthusiast of the desert battles, whether or not you like Command Decision.

Also good, but much more limited in size and scope, is "British Eighth Army North Africa 1940-43" by Robin Adair. It has a few color plates and then lots of black and white pictures that are useful for getting ideas on basing, dioramas, etc. There's useful if limited information on the uniforms in this 32-page work, something like a small Osprey without as many color plates.  It's part of the Key Uniform Guides series, #3 if you want to check these titles out elsewhere.

Similar, but much much bigger is George Forty's "The Desert Rats at War".  A commemorative work of the long trek from Egypt to Berlin, there's almost 350 pages of pictures and story in this hardback volume, which is inspirational to peruse, also.  Plenty of pics of all the vehicles to give you ideas and inspiration on how yours might look. For any type of modeling - gaming or diorama - you should grab this if you can.

Also needed are a few buildings, which embarrassingly I've owned for ten years or so. Scott Washburn does great paper buildings from here: Paper Terrain
I have a nice selection from the Mediterranean Pack #1, including a super-cool church and monastary. The buildings come with a destroyed inner shell so when you blast the building to rubble, you slide off the outer shell. Pretty neat.

Accomplishing all this will give me nicely balanced forces for all 30 OHW scenarios, and will leave me with just a few terrain items to do for both the western desert and Tunisia. It's long overdue, but now that the rules are done I've more opportunities to play a quick game even at home by myself, which is motivating.

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