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...