DAK Painting Guide

Here’s a step-by-step guide on the painting of my Afrika Korps models. It’s pretty straightforward; this approach allows me to get gaming as soon as possible with some colours on my models – and then upgrade the models using a few phases.

I’ll kick off by showing a progress strip of photos, then go through these steps in order: basing, base colours, then finishing touches.

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ONE: BASING

  • Wood putty, slate
  • Sand, PVA glue
  • Agrellan Earth (Citadel Technical Paint)

Two steps in basing. The first being to use wood filler to blend the model’s base into the base you’re mounting it on. I add some slate at this point because I can blend it into better.

Wood putty was applied using a plastic DAS tool, which was picked up in an art store. After loading the wood filler onto the base I use a dab of water on the end of the DAS tool to help smooth it. Because the DAS tool is plastic it is flexible and so is perfect for the role.

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The second step is to add some sand, through which I have added some larger bits for more variety. An area on most of my bases was left without sand, to which I then applied some Agrellan Earth (Citadel’s excellent texture paint).

Once this has dried overnight I seal it using a watered down PVA glue (add water until it’s a milky consistency) which basically bulletproofs the base and means the sand doesn’t come off.

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TWO: BASE COLOURS

  • Dunkelgelb (The Plastic Soldier Company’s Army Sprays: WWII Armour)
  • 70.879 Green Brown, 70.887 Brown Violet, and 70.977 Desert Yellow (Vallejo’s Model Colour range)
  • Rhinox Hide, Abaddon Black, Boltgun Metal, Tallarn Flesh (Citadel)

Again, two steps here. Firstly I applied an undercoat of dunkelgelb from The Plastic Soldier Company’s Army Sprays range. As you can see above I kept a brown theme while building so that I could kid myself that it was okay to play test games with unpainted models; with the addition of dunkelgelb I could see these guys tramping through the desert… even if my opponents couldn’t.

One nice even coat did it. Loved the spray and would certainly recommend it.

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Second stage was to get the base colours onto the model. I chose Africa Korps over 8th Army because of the wider variety in uniform colours due to sun bleaching. That said, I kept a tight palette to retain some coherency across the force. My primary colours were taken from the Vallejo Model Colour range and were Green Brown, Brown Violet, and Desert Yellow. As the latter was used for my support weapons and armour this tied them to the infantry.

The only rules I used when applying these three colours were that (1) I would use less of the ‘new uniform’ Brown Violet through the force, and (2) All helmets and most of the caps would use Desert Yellow.

This go the force ready for the gaming table in short order and when applying the 3-foot rule gave satisfaction as a ‘fully painted’ force. I was happy enough with this start on the army.

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THREE: FINISHING TOUCHES

  • 70.879 Green Brown, 70.887 Brown Violet, and 70.977 Desert Yellow (Vallejo’s Model Colour range)
  • Rhinox Hide, Abaddon Black, White Scar, Karak Stone, Boltgun Metal, Tallarn Flesh (Citadel)
  • Agrax Earthshade, Nuln Oil, Ogryn Flesh, Gryphonne Sepia (Citadel)
  • Bushes / Clump foliage (Woodland Scenics)

Getting a wash over the models will give contrast and immediately make your base colours look better. My preferred method is to apply washes and shades by hand so that I am not reliant upon a single tone to do all the work.

The main wash here is a generous application of Agrax Earthshade (was Devlan Mud) across all cloth, and weapons and equipment. The skin received the Ogryn Flesh, Gryphonne Sepia was applied to all metal painted with Desert Yellow, finally any metals received a coat of Nuln Oil.

Finally, the base received a drybrush of Karak Stone all over, except any previously applied patches of Agrellan Earth which received a wash of Gryphonne Sepia. (NOTE: I am thinking to go back and apply a wash of Agrax Earthshade as I am not entirely happy with the lack of contrast.) The base is finished off with a rim colour of Abaddon Black.

Again at this stage the models look good on the tabletop, although personnaly I would prefer to advance the basing as below.

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Highlights were then applied. Skin took a layer of Dwarf Flesh, then a second layer of Elf Flesh with a dab of Dwarf Flesh in it (ratio approximately 3:1). Everything else had one highlight applied, but because I previously used a wash and the highlight was slightly watered down it can give the impression of a lot more work!

The trick here was to add Karak Stone to every base colour to create the highlight colours (this was a 1:1 ratio) and of course to leave the shade and some of the base layers showing. Using Karak Stone as my mix-in for all colours (1) ties all the colours together, and (2) keeps the colours drab. If I was painting more vibrant models I may use a Bleached Bone as my mix-in colour; I avoid using White Scar as a mix-in as I do not like the artificial wash-out of the base colour that happens using white.

The rocks on the base received a drybrush of Karak Stone + White Scar – one of the few times I’ll use white as a mix-in colour!

At this point the models are looking super-good for gaming, but again I would add the final base stage, below. The base of the model can lift any paint job!

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Details are something that makes a model stand out. For me this falls into two categories: faces and iconography.

We’re predisposed to looking at faces, so practice painting eyes! This predisposition is also why I applied two highlight layers to the face rather than one.

Finally I added iconography, such as epaulettes, buttons, and such-like. Looking at these photos I can see that I missed the red dot in the middle of the cap badge and the collar bars. I’ll get these done and re-edit this post later…

Some bush foliage was added to the base to complete the desert scrub look I was aiming for. The green gives something else to an otherwise bleached out base and I feel this lifts the models which are pretty brown themselves!

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I hope you found something of use in this. Why not leave a note in the comments.

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DAK: Painted, Based, and … Oh-so-almost-there

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As discussed on Home Guard Radio, my 750 point list hasn’t changed since I swapped out the Medium Mortar Team for the Anti-tank Rifle Team. That was three months ago and so the list has been getting a fair try out since then, with a fair share of victories – some more worthy than others. It’s quite a defensive set-up with a counter-strike ability which makes certain scenarios a little tougher for me when I have to play aggressively, such as Envelopment or Demolition. At the moment they look a bit small, but I will be adding an LMG Team to each squad for my 1,000 point list, so I will end up with 9 men per squad which is pretty beefy.

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The basic Reinforced Platoon of Lieutenant and two Infantry Squads are complete, the centrepiece of the army – the PIII Ausf G – has the basic colours shaded and highlights applied, but is awaiting minor weathering and of course the all-important iconography! I have several sheets of transfers on order, but the turret has so much detail I reckon I’ll have to do the numbers by hand. Oh well, I’ll sharpen the brushes!

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These remaining models are certainly ready to grace the battlefield, but I know that there is still some work to do on them. Some of them need hair and the black needs highlighted. Oh, they also need some rank insignia, but I’m researching that at the moment, so it shouldn’t be long before that happens. I very much recommend Painting War issue 1, by WxW, in this regard as it’s full of tips for painting many elements of the German Infantry of World War II, including the ranks and insignia.

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Before and After

A quick follow-on to the previous post about Bolt Action. I have applied shade and highlight layers and some to one of the squads as a trial. The base has also received a highlight. The photo on the right shows a base-layered model next to one that has has shade and highlight layers applied.

Work In Progress
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Additional to this I have also been working on Nick’s 101st Airborne. Below is an example squad before unit markings (the basing will be completed by Nick). Again, the photo on the right shows a base-layered model next to one that has has shade and highlight layers applied.

Work In Progress
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The Bolt Actions

What with one thing or another we have been playing a lot of Bolt Action recently. Driven by our enthusiasm for this fun game we’ve also been podcasting to go along with it. Home Guard Radio (Ep.1 + Ep.2) is unleashed on the world and is hosted by 6s2Hit.

Bolt Action (Warlord Games) is an historically flavoured rule-set. It’s a tea & curry kind of game being that it is rules light, simple, and given the unit activation mechanism you have park your serious side for the duration. I have found that my favourite tactics can still be applied and this makes me happy.

In terms of painting & modelling I have decided to go with the Afrika Korps (Perry Miniatures) with tanks by Blitzkreig Miniatures because (1) I am a huge fan of the Perry twins’ work, and (2) It allowed me to do mixed colours on each model due to the nature of their uniforms and the effects of sun bleaching. To get them onto the table I have applied base colours to all the models. Further work will be the usual application of a shade and one or two highlights, then unit markings.

The following comes to 750 points on the nose. I used the online list builder for Bolt Action by EasyArmy.com to generate a pdf for game play.

Work in Progress
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The minimum two squads and HQ for the Reinforced Platoon. These are fielded as Veterans in the game.

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A third squad and the two MMG Teams made legal by using the Rommel’s Defeat list; also Veterans. You will notice that I have been having fun with the basing so far. The models went onto the base and gaps disguised with liberal application of wood putty (picked it up in a tube from a local DIY centre), add some slate for rocks, sand, and leave the occasional space for application of Games Workshop’s Agrellan Earth technical paint. (This cracks when drying!).

I undercoated the models with a liberal coat of German Dunkelgelb (Plastic Soldier Company) which gave me a great starting point.

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An Anti-tank rifle team, 37mm PAK 36, and PIII Ausf G; all Regular.

The game has a counter-draw mechanic to activate units. The effect is that you can never be sure when your next unit will activate: real fog-of-war stuff. Caroline’s Classics makes embroidered dice bags and, through her partner Nick (a regular gaming buddy of ours, if you’ve read previous posts), has supplied some of us with terrific pieces of work. Here’s the surprise they presented me with:

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Game On!

Andy

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LotR Scenario 6: The Grey Pilgrim and the Black Riders

And we’re back to The Lord of the Rings. On Wednesday I pulled together my fully painted – but not yet weathered – Weathertop for Scenario 6: The Grey Pilgrim and the Black Riders: Tom, Digby, Callum and I playing Gandalf at various points, and Ian choosing to rock the Ringwraiths.

This scenario sees Gandalf fending off The Nine while he awaits the arrival of Aragorn and the Hobbits at Amon Sul. He has to kill (or knock out of the playing area) four of the fell servants of the Dark Lord. This seems like quite a task until you read the buffs that he receives in the Special Rules and that only two of the Nazgul start the game on-board, with others entering play on a roll of a 5+.

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Guess who can’t roll 5’s… I spent the entire game with Tom hoping to lose my models so that I’d receive the automatic reinforcement. Choosing The Witch King for his Your Staff Is Broken ability I planned to (1) get rid of Gandalf’s free Will point every turn, and (2) deplete his Will pool while doing so. Guess what Your Staff Is Broken is cast on? Yup, also a 5+. All I did was burn my own Will pool! Four Ringwraiths on: all four handily despatched by the Grey Rider.

This was pretty much the same against Digby and Callum. Finally I played Gandalf against Ian’s Ringwraiths and that was a much tighter game with Gandalf being taken down to only 1 Wound remaining – I knew that the breaking-of-the-staff gambit was a good idea!

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Final result: Good 4-0 Evil. This is a terrific ten-minute scenario with fast play and a lot of laughs. Gandalf’s Special Rules buffs really help turn him into a total monster in the game. It was impressive to see the challenges that multiple Ringwraiths could present to the Good player and so that for play as a one-off game I would suggest either modifying the reinforcement roll to a 4+ or guaranteeing a Ringwraith every 2 turns to make it tougher for Gandalf. It is just fine as it is for the campaign as Gandalf takes a couple of knocks, but should survive.

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What Ate My Time?

What the … where did March go? Beltane preparation and the remainder of my time being bled by Games Workshop Edinburgh’s Battle of the Brush competition. March’s challenge was a specific model: the Chaos Lord. Have a look at their Facebook Page for January & February’s models.

Here’s my punt at the model. Quick conversion and white armour, because I wanted the challenge. Looking at it i’m thinking more freehand on the thigh-plates would have been a good idea… Voting is on Saturday 6th April on their Facebook Page. Just sayin’.

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Gaming-wise I got in a 1,250-point Warhammer game against new guy at [elg], David. Vampire Counts against Empire and what did I learn in the three turns we played? Don’t support a combat with Skeletons as they’re simply free Combat Resolution. I lost my Wraiths against Inner Circle Knights that way; without that ‘support’ I reckon they would have ground it out. After the Ogre game last month i’m leaning towards playing a ‘come to me’ army, but as i’m currently running an old-school army should I start to include the new stuff from the book: Crypt Horrors, Terrorgheist, and so on. I have some Bat Swarms and Spirit Hosts to add first and then We’ll see.

And what about The Lord of the Rings? We managed to get it together enough to play Scenario 5: Fog on the Barrow Downs: Nick, Jason and I taking it in turns to see if we can rescue the Hobbits from the ancient horrors. In typical style the first play-through got us used to the Special Rules (and there are a lot of them in this scenario), with Nick and Jason adding their spin with using the Gamer Approach as mentioned in the last article. This time saw Nick deliberately make the Hobbits Aware of the Barrow Wights so that they could call Tom Bombadil as soon as possible.

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And you know what? It worked a treat! Tom came bounding onto the table and started making it really difficult for the Wights. However, this was balanced well by the free Will the Wights could use when standing around the Barrows. Resultt? Hobbits lose two of their number to the sacrificial blades of the Barrow Wights.

Next up and Jason played in a similar manner to Nick, but avoided getting stuck around a barrow and took the fight to the hill at the centre of the board. This worked well for him, but not as well as his terribly above average dice. They were on fire and he consistently made rolls of ‘6’ when the Hobbits were rolling on their natural Magic resistance to avoid paralysis. Crazy times! The first pic below shows the heroic stand on the hill; when Goldberry arrived it was very much Game Over for the Barrow Wights.

Final game and I decided to make a break for it. You know what? Hobbits simply cannot outrun anything and they were caught in good time by the Wights. Despite a rather early appearance from Tom Bombadil there wasn’t much he could do as I was already 2/3 of the way across the table and that was just too far for his incredible help. The last photo below shows the Hobbits making a break for it. The purple beads show paralysed models, so as you can see I was trying to get two Hobbits off-board before the other two were sacrificed, with Tom angling to save one of those. You know what? That was a terrible idea.

Final result: Good 2-1 Evil. Nick’s Pippin died a second time, but made it through; my Merry bought the farm, then sold it again, so he can play next time. Good fun was had and now for the painting of Weathertop…

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More Games and Painting

More gaming has happened over the past fortnight as well as a bunch of painting. That’s the collective noun, right: ‘a bunch of painting’?

So what happened? Another 1k game of Warhammer Fantasy and multiple games of The Lord of the Rings as we ran into Scenario 4: Buckleberry Ferry. Painting-wise I completed my Necromancer and polished off another 30 zombies. Photos would be nice, so i’ll see what I can do in a couple of days time. (In a blog world I suppose I could say: look above this post…)

Warhammer up first again and this time I was playing Alan’s Ogres. After giving me a bit of a start with the models he had arrayed on the table, he removed some to take it down to 1,000 points. Phew. I was pretty much crushed despite keeping the 4 Leadbelchers and 2 Mournfangs out the battle using only 5 Wolves and 3 Wraiths. My points advantage in the centre was burned by bad placement of the counter-charging cavalry (missing a sweet flank by about 2mm) and my speed-bump zombie horde not being far enough in front of my two skeleton blocks. Lessons?

  • Zombie hordes look great if they’re hordes, not simply 20 models that are 10 wide. That said, they’re probably better fielded 5-wide and as deep as The Abyss
  • Pay attention to placing counter-charging units
  • The Vampire should kill Rank & File Ogres instead of taking Wounds off the Tyrant: reducing return attacks by 3 and a Stomp makes far more sense

More thinking is required.

Onwards to Scenario 4: Buckleberry Ferry and we managed to play through this four times last night. The first play-throughs were Stuart and I, then Nick and I; Jason and Tim were at their respective work and Tom had a couple of pre-arranged games of Warmachine.

Stuart thought laterally and sent Frodo into the corner, aiming to swim the Brandywine. It was pretty inspired until I was able to shake the Sentry rule, get a brace of Ringwraiths over to the corner and… well, we decided that a Transfixed swimmer would sink like a brick: The Ring returned to the fish’s belly! Game 2 saw the first of the Narrative vs. Gamer approach to the scenario. Let me give you an example:

Narrative Approach: “Master Frodo, we must race to the Ferry: it’s our only hope for safety.”
Gamer Approach: “Wait Sam, there are four of us and only one of them in range. Take him to the kerb, boys!”

Photos: (1) Merry is used as a Will-sink, engaging the rearmost Nazgul and allowing Sam, Frodo and Pippin to race to the trees – and the Ferry. (2) now through the trees, Frodo has a quick scare when a Ringwraith steps from behind the rocks and attacks.

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(3) However, a lone Ringwraith stands little chance against swarming Hobbits. Will was leaking quickly and he was quickly banished. Frodo and his friends spent a nice afternoon sitting by the river, toasting their gaming skills.

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Massive appreciation to Nick who has managed to get Pippin killed in both Scenario 3 and Scenario 4, yet recover his Wound and Fate points in the post-game recovery. Good times for a Hobbit who evidently does all his own stunts.

Final result was Good 3 – 1 Evil and the Ringwraiths work well on foot.

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