Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Queue Jumping GI's -They made me do it Sarge!

Well I just had to do it. I so was beefed up to the hilt with plastic American Infantry figures and painting guides galore. If I didn't have a go I'd burst. A fast forward to the results of my first GI figure painting experimentation session being:

But how did I get there (and what about those metal Moria Goblins)?

The final  nail in the coffin of restraint and dignity was the 'impulse buy' of (ha ha, he laughs but unbeknownst to him, deep down in his sub-conscious his hobby mind had been planning this purchase for a long, long while ) the Flames of War packaged Vallejo"US Paint Set". This was despite not owning the prerequisite "Quarter Master Set" - I figured there were plenty of near matches available from my GW, Tamiya, Humbrol Acrylics (this latter one is a really old set, but I see they are back out on the market, as advertised on the Valiant web-site) and the very reasonably priced, aka cheap and lots of it, Anita's Acrylics. Yes, great just what I needed another dilemma, yet another confusingly complicated paint system. I didn't realize there quite so many different shades and colours (or should I say interpretations) of Khaki across the paint manufacturers :(

In the back of my mind I was also conscious of Arquinsiel's previous comment regarding Vallejo colours not quite matching the guide 100% so I wanted a firm test of what they could do before inevitably buying wholesale into it. Nevertheless the Valiant US GI's were squarely fixed in my sights and I was 'as curious as a cat' to see if Al's comment on their size viz other painted figures (which I knew would be smaller) would made me run screaming away. Those interested may note an old painted Revell US Ardennes infantryman sitting atop the Yellow Tamiya paint pot in the background of the first picture, double-click in for details.(Also note while in the hobby shop I also picked up - no I couldn't stop myself,  a new set of Italeri US Infantry. The lure of "new toolings" proudly marketed on the front of the box quickly claimed another victim. Not so their repackaged old Esci ones, despite the their noticeably harder plastic than I remember as a kid, I managed to put them back on the shelf). Don't forget I also possess a stash (150+) of unpainted late war Revell American (Ardennes) Infantry which means the US paint set won't run out of subject matter any time soon.

Enough of the preamble, what did I do? First of all I washed them in detergent like a good boy, then cutting them carefully off the sprue convinced me that I did not need the dreaded PVA coat, the plastic is really solid. Which is an A+ benefit in my eyes. Yes, they do look large next to other manufacturers1/72 scale infantry (again you'll see a Revell chap in  the first picture), but not enough to put the likes of me off. However I would only battalion Valiant kit together with like Valiant kit, but I see that as a fine way of distinguishing between OoB units on tabletop. I guess I am shameless as I am happy with these giants fighting beside midgets.

The undercoat was Choas Black from GW and this gave a very good seal to the figure. (Note Fraximus and Paul both recommend Halford's car paint primer so I will have to check this out, but I am in experimental mode and just used what was at hand). I do like GW Chaos black as it always feels to me more of a thin plastic skin than just a flaky surface covering, but this is expensive when you consider it is basically an undercoat that is immediately hidden. A deep intake of breath and turn to the Vallejo paints and Flames of War, Valient and Italeri painting charts. Nothing quite like getting conflicting advice, plus the artistic impressions gleaned from my Uniforms of World War II book! Meanwhile ... the Vallejo paint went on lovely :)

True the Vallejo paints needed a real good shake before I got the true colour, but the end result was good, in that for the first time I really was happy with the way the US infantry looked. I have to say I am now a very big fan of Valiant infantry, big figures or no.They paint as easy as Games Workshop starter plastics and I think that is a huge compliment.Experimentation to follow is how to highlight and shade, but for now I am happy.

Note: Any comments/tips on photographing 1/72 infantry figures appreciated, as I find it a complete pain :(

PS : Just don't mention the Goblins (on the painting tray) as I can see they are upset. I 'will' (eventually) finish that HoTT army :(


Arquinsiel said...

These look like they're coming out really well. The miniatures themselves seem to be *much* higher detail than anything else I've seen at 20mil scale. I'll have to go shake the hell out of my Vallejo paints just to see if I can get any use out of them at all now.

Using my parent's crappy camera I do the following things to take pictures of acceptable quality:

1: lay down a white sheet of paper against something sturdy in some place well lit. It should curve nicely and have a vertical and horizontal section.

2: turn on macro.

3: remember sniper breathing waffle.

4: brace camera.

5: take 50 pictures, keep best one.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Americans need some fine tuning regarding their trimmings (flag patch on their shoulders etc)