Monday, 8 December 2008

Valiant 1/72 scale American GI boxed set for Days of Wonder's "Memoir'44"

For a long time I have been keen on the “Memoir’44” game from Days of Wonder based on the Command and Colours system by Richard Borg as first seen in Avalon Hills “Battle Cry”.Large mounted Maps and variable terrain allow you to recreate major battles of WWII in spectacular fashion with model soldiers, tanks and guns to represent the units under your command. The game models while attractive come moulded in a polythene plastic not really suitable for painting, as the paint will chip and flake, due to the flexible nature of the polythene.

This is where the excellent and affordable “hard Plastic” figures from Valiant come in. At approximately 9 GBP per box for around 65 model soldiers in 1/72 scale these are ideal replacements for the Days of Wonder miniatures supplied in the boxed game. Offering greater detail and a variety of poses, these, once painted enhance the overall visual gaming experience.

The equipment needed is pretty basic, a set of side clippers, modelling knife, file, glue, a set of paints and inks, a drill bit, and size 2 and 0 brushes.

As with all model kits you will need to clip the pieces from the sprue and clean any mould lines and spurs before assembling with polystyrene cement to complete the figure. Once you are satisfied with the overall appearance a quick dip in some warm soapy water to remove any residual release agents and its time to under coat. Games Workshops excellent Chaos Black spray undercoat is employed for this and once dry its time to paint.

The US paint set from Battlefront provides all the basic colours for the uniform and saves any messing about trying to get the correct shade. Having standard colours will speed up the painting process greatly and provide a nice uniform appearance across the models.

Starting with the trousers simply block in “Field Drab”, and as these are very quick drying and I normally paint in batches of 8 or so figures by the time the last model has his trousers on so to speak the first will be dry enough to allow you to continue.

It is best that you create your own routine, i.e. trousers, jacket, helmet, boots, webbing, face, hands, and weapon. This assures that you get a good rhythm going which will speed up the overall process considerably.

All the colours are simply blocked in, except for the face, it is extremely important that the colours are applied in a neat and even manner.

1. Field Drab trousers and shirt.

2. Khaki jacket

3. Brown Violet helmet

4. Red Leather boots

5. Green Grey webbing and gaiters

I paint the weapon with a mix of Games Workshop Snakebite Leather and Battlefronts Red Leather and the mix also goes on the hands and face. Note I do not paint the metallic at this stage as these are always done last so to ensure that there is no contamination of the base colours. There is nothing worse than individual metallic flakes sparkling from Brown Violet or British Khaki !

The face is painted in the traditional manner flesh over brown leaving just enough of the base coat to shadow the eyes nose and mouth.

You now need to set the figure aside for about half an hour to allow the paint to dry thoroughly before applying the wash. Games workshops new washes are an amazing product, allowing you to apply different coloured shading to each area in a controlled manner while working in a similar fashion to the ubiquitous dip method that is proving so popular these days. I use Gryphonne Sienna for the trousers and skin, Ogryn Flesh for boots and weapon,and a 60/40mix of Sienna and Thraka Green for the khaki and Green Grey. Once dry this process will leave you with a very tidy and tonally shaded model. Many people are happy to leave the figure at this stage, as it is reasonably effective. However with a little high lighting you can really breathe life into the figure and turn it from an adequate gaming piece to a little miniature work of art.

As the wash has done the shading for you it is a very simple task to pick out the highlights. Starting with the base colour simply pick out the folds and areas you want to highlight. Then adding white to the colour build up the highlight gradually until you are happy with the effect.

This is an effective method that with some practice should be within the capabilities of most modellers. However if you neither have the time, patience, skill or whatever, I can supply figures painted to exactly the same standard illustrated in this article for only £3.00 per figure. This includes the cost of the figure .

1 comment:

Niels R. said...

Thanks a lot for this guide. Love the info and advice!

Kind regards,
Niels R.