Monday 1 April 2013

Dipped Bolt Action Americans

One of my regular wargaming chums and I have branched out into a new period/scale. I've always been a 20mm WW2 man myself but we decided that a small side project using the Warlord Assault on Normandy starter set would be a fun diversion. We managed to get a really good deal from Warlord (thanks Doug!) and I've ended up with the Americans and the farmhouse.
The plan is to keep this small and manageable with a couple of squads and very little in the way of AFV's to clog up a 4x4 table loaded with scenery. I figure the 20 plastic blokes I've got plus a HMG, mortar and metal command will be doable.
As it's supposed to be a quick and dirty side project I decided I'd dip the models. I've dabbled with dip on some Confederate infantry and also on an ECW musketeer and it seems the most likely way I'll get the project finished before my butterfly mind skips off to another period or range.
With the long weekend beckoning and the offspring growing up and being less demanding I decided to crank out five models nice and fast in gaps over the weekend.

There now follows a step by step guide.
I first assembled the models. As they're supposed to be basic squads they all got rifles apart from one with a BAR. The next five will get an NCO.
Then I glued sand to the base and stuck them to the painting stick:

They were then undercoated with Plastikote Matt Chocolate Brown spray:

I then added some basic colours (all GW, now OOP!)
Jacket and gaiters Kommando Khaki
Helmet Catachan Green (with a light Camo Green drybrush over the nets)
Trousers Calthan Brown
Flesh Tallarn Flesh
Wood Bestial and Vomit Brown
Webbing Rotting Flesh
Shirt Deneb Stone
Base Graveyard Earth
Metal Boltgun Metal
I concentrated on getting it nice and neat and left some undercoat showing at the joins where possible. Several colours needed two coats.

From here it was time to add the despicable dip. I brushed on my version of the dip which is Wilkinsons own brand Walnut wood stain. Cheap and water soluble, so I diluted it a little as I applied it.
After drying for around six hours I got the following shiny results:

The magic fix for all this shinyness is matt varnish, so I dug out the Army Painter spray and risked the very chilly climactic conditions to get to this stage:

From there I drybrushed the bases with graveyard earth and Kommando Khaki before drybrusging some of the larger rocks with various greys. Then I added a bunch of static grass. Hey presto five fully painted US infantry:

Overall I'm satisfied with the results. I'm resisting the urge to go back and add some highlights (especially to the faces). The pictures still make them look a bit shiny in places but that's more to do with the lighting than how they really look. They look a bit rough and ready (and, quite frankly, dipped) but this is supposed to be a quick bit of fun and they look sufficiently US to me and they were pretty bloody quick to do.

If you want a really good Step-by-Step guide to dipping 28mm WW2 models I'd recommend getting a copy of the current Wargames Soldiers and Strategy magazine (issue 65) wherein my chum James Morris shows how to get really great results in (he claims, and I have no reason to doubt him) about 15 mins per model. Mine took longer and don't look as nice but I reckon I'm in with a fighting chance of getting 20 done before the end of the Easter hols.


  1. They look great! I really like your DIY dip.. Very effective.

  2. Nicely done Tom. The only suggestion I'd make is to make your gunmetal a lot darker by adding some black to to the Boltgun Metal as the barrels would have been 'Parkerized'

  3. Very nice work Sir! I bought the Normandy set a week ago and now , having seen your guys, I can't wait to get into them!!

  4. I find the extra highlight step adds a lot, especially with the faces.