Thursday, August 4, 2016

I miss the rains down in Africa...

20mm Liberation Miniatures modern Africa figures. The minis themselves were from their Falklands War line, painted to go with my Africa collection
 A storm has been building in my gaming world. The longstanding supremacy of the French & Indian War on my hobby time is looking to be replaced. Oh, I will continue to promote and run my Song of Drums and Tomahawks rules and games at conventions -- at least for the rest of this year. After that, one of my coauthors will be making the thunder at conventions.

So, what will I be doing? I'm going back about 10 years and digging out my 20mm modern Africa figures and games. I've been building to that in my reading, lately. I've read a few books on 20th century Africa, and at Historicon, I discovered a new series of publications called Africa @ War. They are carried by Casemate Publishers here in the United States. I have a contact there who sends me occasional new releases to review, so I emailed her and she sent me one of them: Rhodesian Fire Force: 1966-80. It was a great read, and definitely got me interested again in gaming the small scale, low intensity conflicts that accompanied Africa's struggle towards (and since) independence.

Of course, if I'm interested in something, it likely means I'm painting it. I grabbed a batch of 10 unpainted 20mm Liberation Miniatures that have been sitting for years in my drawers of unused lead. I had a good time painting them. I remembered 20mm figures go much faster than 28mm ones (especially, highly-detailed, tattooed Native Americans!). I was very pleased how quickly I was able to get them done. I liked how they turned out, too.
Another batch of 20mm modern African soldiers out on patrol in the jungle. Note the non-matching variety of equipment colors on the figures
African flesh tends to be much darker than African-American flesh here in the U.S. So, I used a very Dark Brown as a base coat, and hit the highlights lightly with Howard Hues Camo Brown to give the facial features some definition. I painted the uniform shirts and pants a base coat of a dark olive drab craft paint that I own called English Yew Green. I dry brushed them with a light olive drab craft paint called Timberline Green.

My philosophy on painting equipment for the ragtag forces of 20th century Africa is that there was likely a lot of non-standardization. So, I don't paint everything the same color -- as if it were some U.S. recruit walking out of Basic Training with his newly-issued kit. My favorite of these color variations are the huge backpacks on the first group at the top of the page. I painted them a very light gray-green craft paint called Stonewedge Green. Then I did a couple washes of Timberline Green over it until I was satisfied. All in all, I'm very pleased with how they turned out.

Expecd more Africa stuff soon...!

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