Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spray Paint Army

This weekend found me dealing with a few directives from the CinC Lead Gardens (my dear wife)...and found me juggling a couple of youngsters while she did a charity run for breast cancer...all the while trying to advance my gaming hobby just a bit. I had just caught up with the very interesting goings on at Bob Cordery's Wargames Miscellany blog where he has been pursuing a re-write and update of Joseph Morschauer's wargames rules. It also just so happens that I had dug up a batch of cheap plastic 1/72 figures that I found at the "dollar store" here in town a few years ago and the meeting of Morschauer and Cordery and my ongoing interest in things "Old School" inspired a shot at producing a set of quick armies for the 20th century era so I could try out Bob's rules with them.

I actually am the proud owner of an original copy...a classic found in a used book store years ago for a few dollars!

I based up a few battalions of figures using the cheap "generic" plastic toy soldiers from China and painted them in basic green and khaki and only painted the helmets to give them the "feel" of having been painted while retaining a basically abstract look. The figures are about 1/72 scale so they work fine. I also marked the company and battalion designations to add a bit of color to the bases. I have two generic "tanks" for the set and will try to head to the dollar store to see if I can score some more vehicles....The idea is to make a sort of generic interwar set of opposing armies using whatever I can get on the cheap and quickly paint up. I already have a 4x6 green carpet marked with 4" hexes so can give the rules a tryout as soon as I get a bit of time.

These are definitely "spray paint armies" in that I'm relying on a quick base color of either Khaki or Dark Green spray paint (Krylon Camouflage Khaki or Deep Forest Green (BTW the dark green is a close match to German Fieldgrau) and just painting the helmets to represent a roughly "Germanic" or "Russian" look and not be too discerning beyond that. The figures themselves are not bad but basically just WWII era toy soldiers. I added a few heavy weapons from a couple of Revell 1/72 sets for each side so I have infantry, MG, and mortar stands plus HQ and infantry AT stands to round it out. I used 40mm square bases from Gale Force 9 for the bulk of the forces and a few wood circles for the MGs and mortars. The HQs and AT stands are 20mm squares. The tanks are generic and if all goes well for this endeavor, I might try to add some old Rocco 1/72 vehicles and guns to round things out...or perhaps I can find a few more things at the dollar store! The point here is to generate a cheap "gameable" force quickly...I was able to sort, base, and paint both forces in one day...with time to spare for the kids and of course, ...reports to the CinC... ; )

I'm headed out tomorrow to further develop the set...with whatever I can find...always a great excuse to take the kids to the "Wal-Mart" toy department!


Ross Mac said...

Interesting little project (I'm a big fan of Morschauser). I did something similar a few years ago after being introduced to AK47, hauled out some old esci & airfix figs, added some $store tanks and armoured cars. I went one step farther though, sprayed the base colour, dabbed on flesh and either black or brown on weapons and a wash of burnt umber, took me a weekend to do, Looks like I may have overdone it though!

Amazing how a dab on the helmets fools the eye, with the Green army esp one hardly notices that the faces and equipment aren't painted.

I look forward to seeing how this goes.

littlejohn said...


Yes AK47 Rules are another good possibility for "generic" plastic figures.

(PS enjoying your blog but for some reason I'm not able to post comments...still working on it...)

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

I will be very interested to hear how your game goes.

The rules still need a bit of work, but I think that the basics work quite well. I hope to add aircraft sometime soon, but I am not sure when.

In the meantime, have fun!

All the best,


PS. The figures do look good as they are. It surprising how simply painted figures (with basic details picked out) have a 'mass effect' whereas highly detailed figures seem to look ... too much (and often very dark) when seen in large numbers on the tabletop.

littlejohn said...

Yes, it's a strange thing but I tried painting the bases green and the guns black but it made the figures look unfinished....but when I re-sprayed them...they looked ok with just the helmets and the heavy weapons painted...amazing how the eye can be fooled.

I'm a big fan of your approach to gridded games in general so I'm keen to give the rules a try and hopefully contribute some ideas.

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Snickering Corpses said...

I've been wishing to try AK47, but they're a bit expensive direct from Peter Pig, given conversion rates, and I can't find any copies of version 1 on Ebay or elsewhere.

I can only assume the rules are so good that no one ever wants to part with an old copy :D

littlejohn said...

Yes it would be nice if Peter Pig just offered a digital download, particularly for AK47 because they are just spiral bound and fairly crude production-wise....making them a good candidate for a cheap downloadable version...(not that crude is bad mind fact it's sort of fun that there are still "xerox" and free rulesets out there...speaks well to the inventiveness of our hobby!)