Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Lead Painters League 8, Round 10

My round 10 entry, "East Africa Rifles Advance," surprised me with a solid victory. I won 297-170, which gave me a 6-4 and my first winning record ever in the Lead Painters League!
I was more stressed about what to do for this round than any of the others. It was a theme round, and the subject was one I really didn't have any miniatures for. World War I has never been a period I've been drawn to -- the battles are pretty much meat grinders and the tactics completely uninspired, for the most part. Historians often accuse generals of fighting a war with the previous wars' tactics -- ignoring the implications of advances in weaponry. WW I vies for being the grand pubba of this dubious distinction, what with charges of lines of troops against entrenched troops armed with machine guns. Pure slaughter...for a good Hollywood depiction of that, check out the early Mel Gibson film, Gallipoli.

Anyway, I suspected that when I purchased about 100 figures for my Pulp project a few years back that some of them might be able to masquerade as WW I troops from one of the outlying theaters. I dug through my unpainted lead and came up with three possibilities. I showed these to my Sunday night gaming group and they identified one as good candidates for volunteer allied troops in the East Africa campaign of WW I. Keith dug out his Osprey Men-at-Arms source book on the campaign. Leafing through it, we found a painting that was a dead ringer for the troops: East Africa Mounted Rifle civilian volunteers.

I had five of the miniatures in the pack, but figured the voters in the Lead Painters League would slam me for fielding five 28mm miniatures of all the same pose. At Cincycon this March, I'd picked up Blue Moon's "A Mummy Scenario" box for half price. This set is essentially the movie, "The Mummy Returns" in miniature. In addition to Rick, the box contained some of the American fortune hunters. I sorted through them and drafted both Rick and one of the Americans into my dismounted, mounted rifle troops.

I wanted to depict them as having a basic uniform with variations in color to reflect weathering of clothes or civilians providing their own "close enough" match to the regulation equipment. The painting in the Osprey book showed a faded, gray-blue shirt, floppy brimmed hat, and khaki pants. For the pants and hat, I used a range of shades from bleached linen to dark brown. The shirt took a bit more artistry. I began with a very light gray base coat. Once dry, I took a denim blue and watered it down more than 50/50. I did this as a wash for a couple figures. I added some more water, and washed a couple more. Then even more water, and washed the last two. This gave a range of faded blues that seemed natural to me, but also provided some nice variety. This is probably the one skill I picked up during this year's league that I feel best about: color washes.

I also use a color wash on my European flesh tone, now. I start with a basic, normal flesh base coat. Then I take Ceramcoat "Georgia Clay" and water it down more than 50/50. I apply this as a wash over the skin areas. I usually do this first to keep from having to worry about it seeping onto other areas of the figure. Then I finish the flesh off with a very light flesh tone dry brush.

The scene that I set up was a town assault, or advance more properly, as there were no enemy present. I used my resin buildings from my modern Africa games, along with some Acheson Creations sandbag emplacements and crates. I honestly thought I was going to slaughtered in the voting on this round. The same poses for 4 of the 6 figures, and not having a "big item" (tank, aircraft, trains, etc.) would cut down on the "Wow!" factor. I lucked out and was matched against what is normally one of the top painters in the league. His photograph was so dark that voters had a hard time seeing his details. In addition, he did not label it as a smaller scale -- I think his figures are at least 15mm in size, but could even be 10mm. So, I ended up winning fairly handily, which secured my first-ever, above .500 record.

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