Monday, June 22, 2009

D-Day 65th Anniversary Display

A few weeks ago in honor of the 65th Anniversary of the D-Day landings, one of the librarians at Seminole Community College (near Orlando, FL), where I teach, asked if I would like to do a display case commemorating the event using my 15mm figures. Sure, I said. Then it hit me. I had all of one evening to prepare!

The display kind of came together on the spot in about an hour. I brought my Landmark buildings, homemade scenery, and 15mm Peter Pig German and US infantry figures. I forgot a grass cloth for the bottom of the case, but the fake wood seems to work just fine. I found some reproduction items in a D-Day book and placed them around an article from Armchair General, plus some photos the librarian printed out. He also did a brief write-up about the scene I was representing.

The combat scene in the corner is meant to evoke the US paratroopers attacking Carentan. Of course, the figures are infantry and not all the buildings are from Carentan, but who would know that other than a hardcore gamer? Artistic license, right?

The response to the display has been great. I designed it to catch people's eyes as they enter the library. They then start looking about the scene to find all the infantry assaulting the church. People have borrowed some books and have been impressed that we gamers actually paint the figures ourselves to use in games recreating such battles. Leads to some nice questions for the onlookers, such as "So, who would you rather be in this position? The defending Germans or the attacking Americans?"

I've never done a display case before. If you get the chance at your local school or library, you should try it. If I had time, I would have made some one-sheets about the miniatures and our hobby.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

British PRU Blue for ACW Union Trousers

Finding a good blue for Union trousers has been challenging. In the past I have tried using Reaper's True Blue as seen in my Iron Brigade photos. I also tried using Vallejo's Sky Blue, probably the most commonly used color for painting Union trousers. I painted a couple packs of 10mm and a dozen 15mm figures this way. I was not satisfied. The color is too light and bright. I was getting depressed.

Some fellows on TMP suggested using Howard Hues, which has a blue designed specifically for Union trousers. I have never used HH paints before. After researching HH, I heard mixed reviews about their paint. Since no one in metro-Orlando carries Howard Hues nor will special order paints, I would have to use mail order. Not really worth it because the stores selling Howard Hues really don't sell anything else I need at their prices. So my search for the ultimate Union blue went on.

A couple weeks ago I stopped by the local general hobby shop looking for some Pollyscale paints. Yes, I use more than craft paints! Being a model railroader since childhood, I remembered Pollyscale's Great Northern Big Sky Blue. Would it work for Union trousers? Nope. Didn't look right, even if less intense than Vallejo's sky blue.

Then I looked through Pollyscale's military colors and found British P.R.U. Blue, which if I recall is an airforce color. Looked good. Last week I bought a bottle and tried it out. Below is the result. I really like it. It looks like as close to Union trousers as I'll probably find. In room lighting, it looks a bit duller than in the photo, taken in direct Florida morning sunlight. The color comes closer to the jpg in the upper left. Also, I should have left a figure painted with Vallejo Sky Blue for comparison but forgot--the difference is dramatic. (Note: The Battle Honors figure below is not finished, which is why it looks so sloppy!)

Now that I finally have found a Union trouser blue I like, I can get cracking on my ACW projects again, but I'm thinking that I might need a darker Navy blue than Ceramcoat's Navy blue. Nah, I'll probably let that go. True Indigo would look too dark on a 15mm game table.

Give Pollyscale's British P.R.U. Blue a try. Let me know what you think.