Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Great War German Casualty Bases


You might remember that earlier this year I prepared a pair of British stretcher bearers and a handful of British casualties for use in our games of “Through the Mud and theBlood”.   It’s taken a while to do the same for the German forces, but in this post I’ve blogged the matching German casualty bases.


On each of the bases I tried to make a small impression to place a micro-dice into,  This serves to denote “shock” in the wargame, a feature which generally inhibits or restricts the actions of the unit suffering the “shock”.  We found in a lot of games that the micro-dice can get knocked over, hence the need for an impression in the base in which the micro-dice could be stored.  Kudos again to Curt from Analogue Hobbies for coming up with this fantastic idea.



You might also remember that I’d started out these bases with a grey undercoat.  While this was very easy to spray on, I found it was far from ideal for heavily terrained bases where you want to have degree of dark shadow to emphasise the varying contours of the base. 



I therefore repainted the bases in matt black before quickly painting the ground work in very muted colours.  Like all my bases for the Great War I opted for a mix of mid-brown mud and a slate grey, reflecting the key colours of many of the terrain boards on which we play.


The foliage on the bases was coarse hair floor-matting, cut into small shapes and glued down before undercoating black and then highlighting in a variety of browns and ochres.


I then picked out the scattered brick debris in Plaka Rot-Braun, with highlights of Plaka Ziegelrot and Plaka Orange.  I’ve mentioned it before, but the chalky thick Plaka paints are perfect for this kind of base modelling.  They also tend to be very reasonably priced.  I always get mine at the fantastic Cornellisons in Central London, although there are plenty of suppliers on-line.


The I tried something which was new for me.  I’ve been experimenting with MIG pigments for groundwork and vehicles on and off for a year.  I decided to try and go further with the casualty bases, picking out the rust highlights on the barbed wire supports and using the MIG Industrial City Dirt to try and give a real grimy, battlefield feel to the bases.  The pigment is easy to mix with either water or a water-based medium (I used Plaka Wasserbasis) if you want to run it like a wash over the base work.  I also tried to dry-brush the pigment into parts of the groundwork, giving a super-light spray with matt varnish after applying.  It was fun, but in the end I wasn’t really sure that it was worth the effort, or that it made any difference.  I would be very interested indeed if anyone’s had better, or simply any other, experience in using pigments for terrain or groundwork as I think there’s a lot of interesting effects which might be achieved in this area.



After finishing the bases, all the was left was to paint the casualty figures.  I’ve still got a couple of “walking wounded” to finish, but the others are done and varnished except for the final addition of some barbed wire around the wire supports.

I opted for German camouflage helmets on the casualty bases with the aim that these should fit with the Stosstruppen detachment which I’ve been painting at the same time.





Here’s the micro-dice holding casualty bases alongside some older German casualty bases, a number of which have barbed wire already added.




Hopefully I’ll be able to post the final couple of casualty bases before the end of the week, following which I’ve two projects for September.  

The first is to finish the Stosstruppen and Stellungsbattalion detachments which fit alongside and within Das Rattenloch.  I thought I would blog these as a step-by-step painting guide, similar to the British infantry I did last Winter.  

And second up will be a small Pictish warband, the figures for which I picked up at my local club last night.  So more of the Painted People for all you Dux Britanniarum fans very shortly.

Hope you can join me for all of that.  It’s going to be a busy September!

39 comments:

  1. Horribly, horribly beautiful work Sidney, sickeningly brilliant work....you are one of the best out there my friend!

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    1. Thanks Fran. I seriously doubt I am, but thanks all the same!

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  2. Beautiful work, as always. The floor-matting foliage is a great idea, and looks perfect!

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    1. Thanks Mr Saturday. The matting is "cheap as chips" as they say, and is very durable. It's a lot rougher than the very nice Silfor grass tufts you can buy, but using the two together can look very smart.

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  3. I keep repeating myself, but you are the best. An other excellent work

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    1. You've clearly been on the Roija, benito!! Adjust your spectacles, Sir. (But thanks all the same!)

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  4. Excellent. I´ll second what Fran has written....
    Will the dice be coloured to fit into the colour scheme? They don´t look too bad now but in the orangy brick colour or the grey they wouldn´t "disturb" the ambience as it were.
    Cheers
    paul

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    1. Paul, that's a super idea. I chose the red dice for no better reason than they reminded me of blood - which I thought was kind of appropriate for casualty bases. But I definitely like the idea of finding some orange or grey micro-dice at the next show I go to. Thanks again!

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  5. Tremendous work again Sidney, I will need to invest in a floor mat; I don't suppose Mrs Awdry will be too pleased if I start hacking into ours!

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    1. Thanks Michael. They're not expensive and yes, better than hacking your old one up! I used the sort which have a plastic/rubber backing on. Homebase also sell the same matting by the roll when I last looked (not that you need that much!)

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  6. Very imaginative stuff.

    Impressive work indeed.

    Darrell.

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    1. Thanks Darrell, you're very welcome. Thanks so much for dropping by.

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  7. Well they just look superb Sidney!!

    I'm a big fan of MIG pigments and have achieved very satisfactory results. It seems from what I have read(correct me if I'm wrong please) that you applied a matt varnish after using the MIG pigments which you do not do as a varnish can either partially or completely erase applied pigments. Instead, always varnish the pieces first then apply the pigments and use MIG pigment fixative and then you will get the full effect. Sometimes layering the pigments by repeating the step also enhances the effect. I hope this helps some.:-)

    Christopher


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    1. Christopher, thanks for the excellent and very helpful comment. That really does help. I'm going to give your method a go, as I wasn't convinced I was getting anywhere very fast with what I trying! I'll let you know how I get on! Thanks again.

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    2. Hi Sid,

      I've used MIG pigments on my WW2 15mm vehicles. The fixative recommended was white spirit. This is quite messy and looks positively awful at first and takes ages to evaporate. You need to 'drop' the white spirit onto the areas where the pigment has been put on rather than trying to brush it on. I'd recommend testing it first.

      Cheers, Kevin.

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    3. Kevin, thanks very much for this advice. I really appreciate you (and Chris) passing this on. Look out for more weathering from me coming very soon!

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  8. Great looking bases and brilliant use of color! I really like the dice idea.

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    1. Thanks Cory, I really appreciate the comment.

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  9. These look absolutely fabulous! Very nicely done!

    tim

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    1. Tim, thanks very much indeed. You're welcome!

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  10. Fantastic work Sidney. Really like the variety of the bases.

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    1. Thanks Rodger. I did try to break up the bases a bit, mainly to disguise the micro-dice!

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  11. Grand stuff Sid, I shall be using the dice idea for my Dux casualty bases, I have already adopted hexagonal bases for the leader figures. I had toyed with the idea of using pigments on vehicles but decided that the extra time needed and what little time I have for my own stuff that I would pass, agree that they do give some splendid effects though.

    Look forward to the next post as always.

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    1. Phil, thanks for the comment! As I mentioned above, I have been thinking of doing some more with the pigments, so look out for that coming soon.

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  12. Superb as always Sidney and another great addition to your collection. I think there is going to be a lot more of these dice holding casualty markers out there after seeing your work.

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    1. Thanks Pat! The dice-holding bases are pretty easy to do and they definitely help stop you wondering it is was a "3" for shock or wounds on the base, or a "5"!

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  13. Excellent work Sidney! Quick question, I like what you did with your British Infantry.
    Do you normally prime in black with aerosol or an airbrush?
    Cheers
    Jeremy

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    1. Thanks Jeremy! I'm a bit of a luddite when it comes to undercoating - I clean up the bare metal of the figure and (when I can remember) give them a quick wash in washing-up liquid water. After they've dried, I glue them to the base with epoxy resin (I hardly eve use superglue) and then do the basework. When the basework's dry, I paint the figure and the base in matt black Humbrol enamel paint (no.33). Why? Force of habit partly, but I like the way applying the enamel paint with a brush allows you to get into all the parts of the figure.

      I've tried using aerosol cans of black and grey for undercoating, but I've never really liked the results. The aerosol cans of black never seenm to dry very matt. The grey primer aerosol cans dry matt, but I've never really got on well with a grey primer. I end up painting the shadows black and I then wonder why I bothered with the grey primer.

      The matt black Humbrol is a compromise but works for me, being matt, durable, controlled and gives a great base of shadow for later colours. Many painters will say that you don't get the lustre of colours shining through with a black undercoat, and I do agree (partly). But for a subject like the Great War, or any other period where you are perhaps looking for gritty realism, bright colours are less likely to predominate.

      I hope that helps, but let me know if you need more details!

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    2. Thanks Sidney - you sound like my kind of modeller! I recently assembled a box of 28mm Bolt Action British infantry, and washed the first couple of sprues but then forgot about the rest!

      I think I may go down the matt black enamel route myself. I like your results, and your reasoning.
      Cheers,
      Jeremy


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  14. Great work,Sidney...excellent idea and nice use of color.

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    1. Thanks Captain! Much appreciated, and always great to welcome you back here, Sir!

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  15. Sidney,
    I love your stuff! Beautiful & inspiring! A couple of questions, are the generic casualty figures still available somewhere & if so, where can I get some? Second, where do you get all your extra equipment, rifles, helmets, grenades, backpacks, shovels and the like? I've been looking for these items for years! You do simply stunning stuff! Check out my board here:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/38320381@N06/sets/72157625266460398/
    Also the set named: WW1 Detail shots
    Thanks so much for taking the time to read & hopefully answer me!
    Peter Gaut
    petecam@verizon.net

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    1. Hi Peter

      Many thanks indeed for the kind words. They're much appreciated. But you should also know that before I'd even started on my Great War terrain boards I was deeply impressed and inspired by what I saw that you had done on your Flickr page. I particularly love your bunker with the vignette of the interrogation of the German prisoner by the British Officers - that's always been a favourite of mine!

      The generic casualties are from a chap called Steve on the Lead Adventure Forum. He goes by the name "Silent Invader" and is an absolutely first-class chap. Here's his post in which he describes the idea behind the generic casualty figure: http://www.lead-adventure.de/index.php?topic=10819.0 He very modestly mentioned to me that he thought the generic casualty moulds were on their last legs just before last Christmas. I respectfully disagree, and I think that there's plenty of life left in the generic casualty figures. If, like me, you really want them as a starting point for converting, they are perfect even with the very minor imperfections creeping in as the moulds slowly deteriorate.

      I was so taken with the idea of generic casualties that I mentioned to Steve about doing some more and even thought about doing something like this myself. At present, I don't really have the time, but its certainly something I'd like to have a go at in the years ahead.

      I took Steve's idea and tried to turn the 30 or so figures I bought from him into a range of different casualties. In the latest batch I've replaced the original heads as well as adding various bit and pieces like backpacks, weapons and webbing. Almost all the extras come from a company called The Assault Group (http://www.theassaultgroup.com/) and can be found in their WWII accessories range. They're expensive for what they are, but I don't begrudge TAG at all for their pricing - if they can make a little extra on selling the weapons, grenades, etc, then good luck to them. I added a lot of the webbing with green-stuff or grey-stuff myself, as well as come caps, bags and packs.

      A couple of people have asked me why I bothered with generic casualties when other casualties are available in 28mm for the Great War already. It's a very good question. I wanted to have a lot of casualties on the table in each of my games - regardless of whether one takes a traditionalist ('Lions led by Donkeys') or revisionist ('BEF Learning Curve') or any other view of the Great War, it was undoubtedly horrifying and casualties were beyond anything imaginable at that time. Having a table which was absent of casualties always seemed to me to be somehow incomplete. The most economical way of building casualty figures was Steve's generic method, which is why I got in touch with him in the first place. However, after the first few casualty figures I started to feel that, somehow, the casualty figures were at least as important as the live figures from a modelling and a personal point of view - hence the number and variety I have ended up with. I enjoyed the variety I could bring using generic figures with conversions more than just using the (terrific) casualty figures by Great War Miniatures.

      So, that's the generic casualty figures in a nutshell. I hope that was useful - all the best and thanks again for your comment and inspiration!

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    2. Well, I had no idea! That's very nice to know. Maybe that's why I like your stuff so much.(Sorry, had to say that!) I can't agree with you more about the dead on a WW1 battlefield. They are as important as the trenches, wire & shattered trees, IMHO. That's why I have skeletons & bodies laying about in all my games, to start with. I use others to show where the "game casualties" happen. Again, just to add to the overall look to the board. That's why I wanted the info on the generic guy. (Thanks for that! I'd seen TAG before. Might have to do that, they are expensive though...) As for making some figs yourself, I'm doing something right now, that when I'm done, you may have an interest in. I'll let you know more as soon as I can. Again, thanks for the info & the nice comments & I'm be talking at ya.
      Peter

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    3. "I'm be talking at ya."
      Of course, I mean, I'll be talking at ya.
      Thanks again,
      Peter

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  16. Replies
    1. Thank you very much indeed. Really glad you like it. I hope you like what's coming as it's very similar and builds on the Stosstruppen theme of the German casualty bases.

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  17. Only just saw this update mate, very inspiring stuff. the painting and composition is excellent (as ever) and superb work with the pigments. I find it difficult to achieve that subtlety.
    Ben

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    1. Thanks Ben. I find the pigments really tricky to use well, but I'm trying. I feel there's some great effects to be achieved in using them, but I'm just struggling to find them!

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