Saturday, September 18, 2010

New Mainforce VC, the 2nd platoon...

After a busy summer, meaning too much "real life" to allow much quality painting time, I finally got to my workbench to crank out more MainForce VC to bedevil my friend Ken's tabletop US Marines.

My painting situation is unique, I use my breaks at work to paint... leaving me 15 minutes a pop, 1/2 hour daily to work on my figs.  Not easy, but it helps to refine a painter's organization.  Take only what you need, get started quickly, pack up quickly.  The real challenge is not what and how to paint, but where to find the best light.

What I've done is prepped the figs by pose, and started with the first half  (20 figs or so) and painted them up.  It took about a week, but I think the results are decent enough.  Here we have the command group figs, some squad leaders, and a few riflemen.

My first platoon, in keeping with conventional stereotypes, were black-pajama based, and I've since learned that this was generally not the case.  Most MfVC personnel came more and more from PAVN troops as the war progressed, I wanted to reflect those uniform trends more accurately.

I wanted to "uniform" the figs mostly in the green field uniform, but with a smattering of the older issue khaki PAVN uniforms, and some black PJ's.  (I guess you can't defy convention completely) 

I've recently stepped away from using metalllics for gunmetal, opting instead for grays.  I thing the contrast works better, and isn't quite so gaudy.  I'll save the metallics for the bayonets when I eventually get back to ACW figures and gaming.

I guess the "cartoony" style of painting is becoming all the rage, and I must admit that at the 15mm level it works well... at a distance.  I do love the look from the table, but close up the results are less impressive in my opinon.  What I've decided upon is a less intense "cartoon" style, drybrushing the uniforms, and using higher contrast methods on the skin, weapons, & equipment. 

I gotta redo the face on this Platoon Leader fig... but here you can see the drybrushed uniform style.

Another example with the green fatigue shirt, black slouch hat and pants.  To highlight the black, I've taken to the inspiration of DC comics. I remember as a boy that the Batman always had his cape based black and highlighted in a dark blue. I've used that inspiration and am using a very dark sea gray as the highlight color for the black pajama uniform areas.

Here we see the higher contrast "cartoon" style with the face and weapon.

Imagine "impressionist" art style as presented on a 15mm canvas.  One really only needs to give the impression of figure detail at a normal gaming distance.  From a 3-foot range the high-contrast method can be striking, close in... not so much.  For some reason the words "circus clown" comes to mind.

Here we have a squad/cell leader.  After being a slow convert, I favor this new style for 15mm gaming figures.  The "cartoon" method, I feel, is most effective on figures (not vehicles & such) and yields the greatest amount of depth and visual contrast for the scale at "standard" viewing distances.  That being said, for larger scales, 25mm plus, I doubt that this method would be as effective.  I have my eye on 28mm modern US infantry from Empress Minis... perhaps I'll have to put this theory to the test.

So there you have it, the first batch of the 2nd Platoon.  My intent is to finish the figures and then mass-base in a rice paddy environment.