Operation FLASH — DCH Infantry

Now that I’ve got a lot of the miscellany out of the way, I decided to paint the men of the eponymous Duchess Camilla’s Horse. I wanted figures that could be used for both modern and SF (so, modern, really) and I wanted them to be Canadian. Naturally, no one makes Canadians, so I picked up some Rebel Minis US infantry and decided to paint them in CADPAT Arid, so they would be reasonably close to modern Canadians.

I’ve had good experiences with Rebel before, specifically my generic insurgent force. In fact, those were purchased at the same time.

This time, however, it was a little different. All of the Rebel US infantry had excessive flash. Most of it wasn’t as bad as could be, and looked like this:

It's not flash, it's streamers for rhythmic gymnastics.

I realize the picture is blurry, but I was using one hand and the lighting is suboptimal

That flash is relatively easy to remove with some flush cutting nippers or a knife. What isn’t quite so good is that it’s so thick, it’s actually hard to tell where the figure ends and the flash begins.

That’s one of the good ones.

Worse is this:

Maybe he's just short, that's why he has to stand on a large metal base.

There was fairly extensive pitting of the figure (which paint can cover up, so that’s not too bad). The legs, however, are an amorphous blob, and I had to carve the boots of out metal. It’s impossible to tell where the pants end and where the flash begins, and the flash doesn’t seem to get thinner ever.

What’s even worse is the base. It’s like they stopped caring after the feet. The entire base is made up of a block of flash about 7.5mm thick. Cutting this off was an exercise in frustration. I had to use a razor saw, then file and finally sand the base to get it even close to what it should be.

Here’s another typical example:

Typical.

The base is not quite so bad this time. It’s still more than bad enough, though, and cutting through 5cm of metal gets old fast when you’ve got 42 figures to work through. The sides of the mould didn’t quite match, and the flash between the legs was outrageous. Even with a really fine needle file it was a horrendous task to clean them.

There’s also one very odd figure in the bunch (the one with the grenade launcher). Compared to all the others, it’s very two dimensional, weedy, and Nazi-like. It’s like it was thrown in as an afterthought.

Once they were all cleaned up (and they were never really cleaned up to my satisfaction), they painted up reasonably well.

Reasonably painted Canadians, on neutral coloured bases.

If you’re interested in the painting process, it went something like this.

  • After being primed white, the figures were undercoated (airbrushed) in the lightest of the camo colours (tan)
  • The other two colours (burnt sienna, ochre)  were applied over top, blotchily, using a bad brush. Everyone has at least one of these
  • Most importantly, add some more camo in the base colour over top of the burnt sienna and ochre. This makes the camo look far more realistic, because then it doesn’t look like they went out housepainting for a day.
  • Highlight the colours in the usual fashion
  • Wash with a mixture of sepia ink, Future floor polish and water.

I considered painting some of the troops in CADPAT TW (Woodland) as they intially were deployed in those colours (and many vests were in those colours, too), but to save my sanity went for one colour scheme.

I painted the weapons to match the reference photos I found of Canadian troops in Afghanistan. I slightly exaggerated the greenish tinge on the plastic parts so that they would be more visible and interesting.

I also wanted the bases to be a different colour than my other figures, so that they could be more easily differentiated when they were on the board. I thought I’d go for a neutral grey edge, which is nice and unobtrusive. It turns out, this is exactly the colour of the (unpainted) Battlefront base for the sniper teams, so they look like they’re unpainted on the edge, except they’re not.

Note the slight exaggeration of the green on the plastic parts of the rifle. Actually, you can barely see it anyway.

The problem with painting miniatures in camouflage is that if you do it right (like actual camo), your figure looks like an amorphous blob as it merges with itself and the rest of the table. I tried to strike a balance in the highlighting so that you could still see some detail, but the suggestion of camo was still there.

I suspect it could have looked just as good with 1/2 the effort if I had just painted them in one colour.
To make matters worse, when I was priming the figures outside, somehow they got bumped and they flew into the garden. I had to try and find them all, which took over half an hour. A couple of days later, I counted again, and one was missing. I looked for hours to find the little bastard, to no avail. Eventually, I emptied out all of the drawers in my workspace, and somehow it had fallen behind me, into a drawer, and then migrated to the back corner of the drawer. That figure is now specially marked on its base, so that I can put it into the line of fire early and often.

For the amount of effort I put in, it wasn’t worth the effort. My hands were sore from hours of sawing and filing, and I went through a stack of blades. I probably need a new set of needle files. By the time I started painting them, I was already thoroughly sick of looking at them. Unless Rebel announces that they’ve made new moulds or hired a quality control person, give these a miss.

One Comment

  • LOL

    Very astute observation on the camo; do it right and you violate the fundamentals of miniature painting.

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