First Squad, Move Out!

German Grenadiers

This was my first platoon base completed for the Grenadier force that I am creating. I have been slowly working out my camera as I have very little photography experience. I have been doing a crash course to work out the basic physics of photography, however mostly it is via trial and error. These photos were taken on two different lenses, one macro lens, to produce different effects. I must say that the ability of the macro lens to capture every little detail has shocked me into creating better finishes on my minis which you will see in my later work.

My Ideas for effects:-

Before I started working on my own pieces I viewed many examples from other modellers and I found that I enjoyed the pieces that had extra details on the bases. It tells a mini story of the setting for the troops. Not that these things are important when you are playing a game where you are standing back a metre. However some bases really caught my eye and stood out as being incredibly well thought out and executed. On a quick side note I do not particularly like the platoon bases that, when pushed together and touching, would form a larger diorama. So I attempted to carve a middle road and that is where my concept of the rotten log scene arose. The troops are, for a brief moment, gaining concealment and cover before the continuing the push. The fungus on the log was my first idea, I had seen beautiful nature photos of woods a long time ago and the fungus screamed out to me ‘rotten log’. The faerie ring of toadstools came to me from childhood; where I grew up there were giant toadstools just like these. Innocent and beautiful to look at, deadly to ingest.

What worked:-

I am going to say that the toadstools and the fungus worked better than I expected. They were crafted out of modelling putty and then painted and put on the piece. I am extremely happy with the way these turned out and as you will see when they make a reappearance many times in other pieces.

The rotten log turned out exactly the way I had pictured it in my mind. It was made from a dowel of balsa wood that I had carved into with a scalpel. The mould, the fungus, and the decay all interact together nicely.

My technique for painting the German national shield has improved.

What didn’t:-

I use an air drying clay called ‘Das’ (appropriate) to model the detail for the bases. This I use to hide the bases of the figures and create landforms. For some reason I had to leave the clay overnight on the base and then work on it the next evening and of course the clay had dried. So I wetted the clay and began working on it and sculpted further details. The next day when it had dried again the clay had shrunk and lifted off the base and had warped in places, arrrgghh. This meant that I had to strip the base and start with fresh clay.

With hindsight I was finding that I was not really liking the way that the grass was looking on the finished piece. The GW scorched grass that I was using looked ok to model the grasslands of the steppes, colour wise. Most certainly not accurate however I liked the colour interactions overall. It is just the way that it was falling randomly, and mostly lying flat. This came to bug me and so I have corrected it in later pieces (which I will go over in the future).

Conclusion:-

This is still one of my favourite pieces. The execution of the base occurred almost exactly the way I had envisioned it. I feel that, although the base tells a story, it doesn’t dominate the figures that are portrayed within it. I had begun researching the details better and applying the knowledge in uniform markings, ranks, and other extras.

Looking back on these figures there is a part of me that feels an overwhelming need to apply the techniques and skills I have further refined to correct various aspects of them. At times I have let this beast take hold and gone back and ‘fixed’ various figures. This is the first time that I said ‘No’ and have left it.

Comments, criticisms and feedback are most welcome.

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2 Responses to First Squad, Move Out!

  1. Weebl says:

    that fungus is just insane, toadstools, fungi, moss… you must spend as much time handcrafting the scenery as you do painting the men? Do you work lol?
    again another awesome arrangement of the squad – looks like they’re using the log for cover!

    • minutiaeofwar says:

      lol, it does take a long time and a touch of fanaticism to do it. From my long observations of other peoples fantastic work I realised that the base plays a key role in setting the tone for soldiers. Also I do work, that’s why it takes so long to complete 🙂 Thank you for your comments, come back for future posts and work.

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