Friday, December 14, 2012

Pin Markers and 28mm Early-War WWII Fallshirmjägers


A mix of impact hits and an explosion marker.

I've had a few games of 'Bolt Action' now and I was wondering of how I could better reflect the status of multiple 'pins' on a unit than what we've been doing. We had been exclusively using small steel wool explosion markers (what we call 'crumps' - Thanks KevinH!) to denote pins. These look great as singles, or for artillery strikes and heavy direct-fire hits, but always seemed a little overkill when used in groups since I reason that most incoming fire would be small arms and not necessarily explosive in nature. 

This looks good...
...but this seems a bit over-the-top for indicating pinned status.
Anyway, with this in the back of my mind I was rummaging through my markers the other night during a game and I came across some 'splash' markers that I had made up year's ago for naval gaming. I thought, 'Hey, with a little change of colour these things would look similar to the bullet impacts that you see in the movies'. 

Naval 'splash' markers for tracking hits.

Here are some movie still from Saving Private Ryan. Note the impact hits of the sniper's shots. This is what I'm wanting to mimic.


The making of these markers are a fairly simple affair involving a bit of plasticard, a few different lengths of #4 flat-head screws (I used 3/8", 1/2" and 3/4") and 'resin sand' acrylic gel artist medium. 


I cut thin rectangular bases from the plasticard approximately 10mm wide and of varying lengths, depending on how many impact strikes I want to place. I then glue the flat-head screws to the bases in a slightly staggered formation to give it a more natural look. I sometimes place a variety of screw lengths to mix it up or do groupings of the same size.


I then coat the screws with the 'resin sand' gel. This works quite well as the gel adheres nicely to the ridges of the screws. I often apply a second touch-up of the gel to build-up irregularities, simulating the dust and debris kicked out from the bullet strike.


After the gel has cured (which only takes a few hours) I then prime the bases black and drybrush them up from a brown base tone. I try to use a base tone that is similar to the majority of my skirmish bases so they better blend in. 


The 'impact strikes' are drybrushed from the brown base-tone right up to a bright white so they stand out on the game surface. You can do a fairly large batch of these in a night, probably enough to cover your needs.


I'll probably use a mix of 'crumps' and impact hits in future games (like the first image in this post). The crumps will signify multiple hits (perhaps 5?) and the impact markers will be for singles.

The figures you see here are 28mm Fallshirmjägers from Wargames Foundry's WWII range. These were sculpted by the Perry twins in the late 90s and I still think they are some of the nicest WWII figures in production. I painted their uniforms in early-war colours and did up the groundwork to reflect the arid terrain on Crete (I reasoned that it will also work for the later Italian campaigns).


A very chunky MG34 which I oddly quite like the look of.
I wanted to make the officer a complete rock-star hero so I painted a shedload of awards and decorations on his tunic. He's a basically a walking Christmas Tree with blonde hair, blue eyes and an attitude. (In fact if you look close you can see he has the pale yellow 'Kreta' campaign ribbon on his left sleeve even before he dropped on the island - High Command was obviously anticipating great things from him...)

The Dude Abides...
A FJ squad advancing under heavy fire.
Next I'm returning to an old small-scale project...


45 comments:

  1. Great idea, consider it stolen whe I next need something similar!

    Really like your Germans too, particularly your well-honoured 'Dude'! It's nice to have these little characters, I have a characterful Britusb Airborne officer known as 'The Major'.

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    1. Thanks Phil! I'm happy you find the marker idea useful - steal away!

      Perhaps you should spell it 'The Mayjaa'? I think I need to add a 'Herr' or 'Ze' in front of 'Dude' for this guy...

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  2. Yes, I love markers as you know. They look great Curt!

    When I finish my late war FJ's I was going to collect the Foundry for early war FJ. Great job on some great figures!

    Christopher

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    1. Thanks Christopher. Does Operation Squad use pins/suppression markers? I've ordered a copy so I'm quite looking forward to giving them a go.

      I look forward to seeing your Fallshirmjagers. I still have a few more to do (flamethrower, radio operator, etc.) then I think I want to paint some average, dog-face Heer infantry.

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    2. Yes it does have pin markers and I use stones for that. As to suppression that's included in being pinned as regards to the rules.

      It will be awhile before I do the early FJ's as I still have few more Late war FJ's to do first.

      Enjoy Operation Squad!:-)

      Christopher

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  3. great idea the bolt action rule are on my desk ATM and have plans for forces next year I can see a few of these markers being made now Cheers
    Peace James

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  4. Love the sniper markers, a very clever idea Curt! Love the Officer and his colourful uniform!

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  5. Thanks a bunch Ray! I often like the early period uniforms as they were usually more fashionably cut and more varied than the mass of camouflage in the later years.

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  6. They were veterans and full of elan then, read a book about a fallschirmjager officer right up until the end of the war and the initial elation and spiral of discontent towards the end of the war, beautiful work Curt!

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    1. Thanks Fran. Very interesting comment. I remember reading Cornelius Ryan's 'The Last Battle' (Battle for Berlin) and it mentioning that the Fallshirmjager units being practically worthless by the end of the war. Certainly a long fall from their heady days of Eben Emael, Crete and Monte Cassino.

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  7. Great markers, minis, and write up Curt. Haven't taken the plunge into Bolt Action, but I'll definitely remember this idea if I do.

    Thanks,
    Jason

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  8. Very nice work.

    As a bit of an aside, who made the Graf Spee, what scale is she, and what rules do you use?

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    1. Thanks! The Graf Spee is a 1:2400 casting from GHQ. We use 'General Quarters III' for WWII and 'General Quarters: Fleet Action Immanent' for Great War.

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    2. Wow, that's VERY detailed and well painted for a 1:2400. I have some of the 1:1800 Axis and Allies models, and she looked closer to them, or even a 1:1200! Excellent work!

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    3. The castings are so good that I really can't take much credit, but thank you.

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  9. Oh great! I like the way your markers turned out. Thanks for the how to, think I'll steal the idea at some point in the future!
    The miniatures look gorgeous.

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    1. Thanks! Please give it a whirl and see what you think. BTW I really like your DUST models/figures.

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  10. A very good idea, Curt. I like a lot your German figures, and agree with you: the small Foundry range has some of the best WWII models in 28mm there are in the market.

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    1. Cheers Juan. Yes, that small Foundry range is great. I'm very much looking forward to the Perry's new Western Desert/Med range as that is the campaigns we'll be concentrating on first.

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  11. Great idea Curt, thanks for sharing

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    1. Pilfer away Mike - I hope you find them useful.

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  13. I was looking for some cheap ideas for pin makers, consider them borrowed! Great idea!

    The FJ look top shelf there! Love the decorations on the officer!

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    1. Thanks a bunch styx! AND congratulations on the 2nd Place on the Brush Off!! Brilliant work there, bravo. I totally missed the boat on that one. I'll have to keep an eye open for next year...

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  14. Curt

    The markers look good and even better up close. You'll have to show me the label on ghe sand gel so I can pick some up at Michaels (or the Uni Art supply store if they have it).

    As for the Dude, you can call him ze Dude or Herr Dude but just don't call him Mr. Lebowski!
    Cheers
    PD

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    1. Thanks Peter, the product info for the gel is:

      Liquitex 'Resin Sand' Texture Gel Artist Acrylic #6608

      I use it pretty much for all my basing. 'Tis awesome goop.

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  15. Those are very effective,

    Ian

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  16. You, Sir are a genius! They look wonderful Sir.

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    1. Thank you Michael. You and my mother are an honoured minority who think so. One convert at a time, I say...

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  17. Lovely stuff dude. Those paras look outstanding.

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    1. Thanks Greg! I hope to have you roll out with them sometime in the future.

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  18. Great idea for pin markers, simple but so effective. I'm definitely 'borrowing' that for my own use.

    Regards,
    Matt

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    1. Thanks! (I really like your terrain work btw.)

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  19. FJ look cool Curt! Great idea with the impact markers. Only thing I would do different I guess is to put them on small round bases and place them iregular as opposed to next to each other?
    And put me up for 500 points, I have 3 weeks holiday soon :-)

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    1. Thanks Michael! Round bases would look good as well. I did the lines to mimic the 'strafing run' effect of impact hits you often see in the movies.

      You are down for 500 points! I look forward to seeing the figures stream from your hobby desk soon!

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    2. BTW, I stayed away from those cool Samurai until now but since you are forcing me to the Perry site, any suggestions for a skirmish ruleset? I have trouble ordering just one pack :-)

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    3. Sorry to be the instrument of further acquisitions and projects. Actually, I'm not sorry at all. :P

      I'm thinking of using an old boardgame ruleset called 'Samurai Blades' (published in the mid 80s by Eurogames). It transfers nicely to miniatures and I have fond memories of great, fast-paced games using it (and it has rules for winning the game by writing a particularly good death-haiku).

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