Sunday, August 21, 2016

Modern African 20mm Leaders

An officer of the UN Contingent from Ghana talking on a radio set. I think this figure began as a WW II American command set.
I am in the process of getting my modern Africa rules ready for publication by our company, First Command Wargames. One of the tweaks I am adding is a leader figure for each player's force. The only problem with that is I have not painted any figures up to specifically be leaders. There is one with sergeant stripes here and there, or ones waving their arms forward that players could use, sure. But I wanted ones that would stand out a bit more.
An officer from the Belgian-trained paratroop battalion of the Congo. Yet another figure I have no idea where it is from -- it was given to me in a pack of several figs by a friend who knew I was doing 20mm Moderns
I scoured my bags of unpainted 20mm modern miniatures and picked out 10 of them. Well, one was actually already painted -- a gift from a friend (but I planned to redo him anyway). I cleaned them up, primed them, and then designated which force they would be painted up to lead. Throughout the process of fielding my 20mm modern Africa figures, I have purposely utilized a variety of uniform styles so each player's faction would stand out on the tabletop. Some are more obvious -- like the United Nations troops in their blue helmets, white mercenaries in khaki, or the paratroopers in camouflage and red berets. Others are more subtle variations -- a couple different types of camo patterns, troops in olive drab, or khaki.
A mercenary commander from the same mystery pack. I called this one "Rambo" while I was painting it.
I wanted to ensure I had a figure that could be used for each grouping, so that would make painting this batch a lot like when I did the same with the RPG and LMG armed batch I did awhile back. Still, with organization, it shouldn't be too tedious. I tried to trick out the figures a bit more -- give them more flash on their uniform. Many had red epaulettes or even campaign ribbons on their chests. The militia ones were harder, so I gave one gold chains and another gray hair and beard (which I am going to have to go over again, as the black wash darkened up too much).
A militia commander, bedecked with gold chains, leads his boys through the streets
As a final touch, I made their bases raised a bit. I took wooden stars from the craft store and glued them onto the washers I used for my 20mm figures. I beveled the edges of the starts down with an X-acto knife to give a more sloped surface. The figures were glued to this raised area, which hopefully will look like a small mound the leader is standing on. Or even better, not be directly noticeable but just subtly make the figure stick out more.
Three officers in OD uniforms, the center one with campaign ribbons on his chest, direct their commands after dismounting from jeeps
I'd also recently painted a ruined resin building for terrain for this period. It belonged to my friend Keith and was cast in a white, sparkly material. I'm not sure where he got it, but it looks like a Dollar Tree or similar pickup. The scale is about right, and the building looks perfect for a gaming. So, I offered to paint it up so I'd have some more modern buildings to use in games. The front and back are significantly different, and the sides are essentially brick walls. I was really happy with how it turned out. So, it appears in all of the photographs on this page -- different sides, faces, or corners used for different officers. I also posed some of the already-painted rank and file from the squads the officers were meant to match alongside them.
A lieutenant leads his squad on a patrol through the streets. Note the raised bases to make him stick out more visually.
I like how they turned out, for the most part. Painting 20mm moderns is vastly different than 28mm Indians -- that's for sure! In my opinion, they are more akin to 15mm. You simply don't get as much detail to paint on them. Still, they go quickly! So, I'm sure I'll be scraping another batch together soon for the painting desk!
A good look at the resin building I recently finished off. Saluting out in front is an officer in dress uniform that I repainted as part of this batch of 10.

Another militia officers. I need to go over his gray hair more -- it was to subtle and had partly disappeared in my final black wash.

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