The reason I’ve been quiet lately is that I’ve been busy painting a late war British infantry platoon for Chain of Command. I was a little apprehensive to start off with, because I’ve only ever painted 15mm figures (excluding my Airfix soldier painting (if you’d call it that) in my childhood). But I’m pretty chuffed with the results.
Over the years I’ve built up quite a collection of figures from a variety of manufacturers, and I used a selection from pretty much all of them (OK, not my early 1960’s Airfix Infantry Combat Group, or my Matchbox British – but only because they were too small.). Caesar Miniatures figures have really good poses, but quite bendy rifles and excess plastic in inaccessible places. Italeri (ex Esci) figures are fairly lanky and are in quite stiff poses but have nice crisp detail and are easy to paint. Revell are the tallest of my figures, again they are very easy to paint, although their helmets don’t seem have the flare at the base so they look rather East German to me. Plastic Soldier Company figures are moulded in hard plastic, which makes them easy to clean up, and have just the right mix for an infantry platoon, excepting their support weapons, but some of them have a ‘man they couldn’t hang’ look to them, and their haversacks are too large (don’t forget to putty over the vertical dividing line on the pack). I also have a solitary HAT figure with a 3″ mortar round carrier, which resembles a large PIAT round carrier. I have since found (I know) my Revell PIAT ‘No. 2’ who I may paint when I do the support troops for the platoon.
None of my figures have any division or regiment badges on their sleeves. They seem to be common in photos of reenactors, and in photos taken at the start of the Normandy campaign, but later in the war they seem to be a rarity. I read somewhere that that was the regulation, but I suspect that with the number of replacements in the units, it was also an unfortunate practicality.
The basic colour for the figures is Vallejo English Uniform, with a dry brush of Khaki Grey because I thought it looked too dark. The webbing and most of the equipment is in a mix of Vallejo Olive Grey and Green Grey, representing Khaki Green 3 Blanco (this useful article says everything you need to know about the esoteric subject of Blanco). I chose the darker colour because the photos I was looking at for inspiration showed a fairly dark colour. The 6 Pounder crew, who currently will just have to shout “Bang!”, have Khaki Green Light webbing, using a mix of Yellow Green and Khaki. I read somewhere that Blanco colour was decided at regiment level, but I had to have some variety.
Here are a couple of my inspiration shots. Having read Ken Ford’s Assault Crossing, and having a distant Somerset heritage, I thought the Somerset Light Infantry from 43rd Wessex Division would be a good unit to base my troops on.
And here is my next painting project – unsurprisingly, some Germans. The first batch will almost all be in feldgrau, but I have some Caesar figures in zeltbahns and camo smocks that I will paint later.