I’m now putting the finishing flourishes on my new late WW2 British force for Chain of Command. Well, I say British, but these guys are just as likely to be played as Polish or Kiwi infantry, although at the moment I’m mostly playing as the 49th (West Riding) Division as we play through Operation Martlet. The last thing I needed was a section in slit trenches:
Like my Germans I did last year my plan was to do five sections; the standard three in the core platoon, a spare one to use a support choice, and a dug in one. I’ve found it’s unusual to have more than one section and some support weapons dug in during a game.
I’ve done 11 men in four 2-man foxholes and 3 with only one man. That gives men enough flexibility to have a three-man Bren team, the section commander, and enough other guys to make a rifle team up to seven strong (as late war Kiwi sections were). The single guys are to allow casualty removal without needing tokens.
I’ve amended my technique slightly from when I did my dug in Germans. For a start, they’re on smaller bases. I went for 6x4cm this time and built them lower, as I felt the German foxholes were a bit big. They take up lots of storage space and lots of room on the table.
I started with a 6x4cm rectangle of cardboard and added a single layer of 5mm foamcore. I then cut each trench into the foamcore with a sharp blade and contoured the edges back with a serrated knife to give a gentle slope. The whole lot got slathered with gloop. I was going to use filler, but mine had tried up. Not to worry, I had a massive tub of black grout so slapped that on and it worked fine. It’s a lot harder than filler, hopefully the copious PVA I applied at the next step will prevent it from chipping.
The figures themselves are from the Warlord late war British plastic box, which is a hugely versatile kit. I assembled the arms and heads, then started matching them up to the foxholes. Once I was happy with how their arms and weapons matched up with the edge of the trench I cut the poor little fellas in half with a razor saw. I then stuck all the troops to some coffee stirrers for painting. I normally just handle my miniatures by the base for painting so I don’t have a big stick that I always glue things to when I paint them.
Painting these guys actually took about the same time as a normal miniature. All the detail is in the top half of most miniatures, I mean how long do you really spend painting boots?
The bases got slathered in neat PVA then dipped in sharp sand with lots of nice bits of rocks and general corruption. That got sprayed light brown, given a burnt sienna ink wash and a couple of drybrushes. I flocked with static grass using my new homemade
high voltage deathtrap, and made some revetting for the inside of the foxholes out of Hobby Material #1 (coffee stirrers). The Warlord infantry box has lots of nice gubbins like shovels and picks, plus I chucked in a few extra grenades, ammo boxes and the like as eye candy.
I’m pleased with how they turned out. The main problem with them is that most of them sit too high in their trenches, the real troops would be as low as possible, but when you use miniatures posed for standing upright the height of their weapons and hands limits how low into their holes you can get them. If somebody did custom miniatures for dug in Brits and Germans in 28mm like The Assault Group do for USMC and Japanese I’d snap them up. AB seem to do them in 20mm (Brits, US, Germans), but there’s a gap in the 28mm market there I reckon…