Collecting Forces for use with Vietnam Crossfire - The first US Infantry Platoon

Page Title - Vietnam Crossfire
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Collecting Forces for Crossfire -the first US Infantry Platoon


US Infantry Platoon

The US Infantry Platoon only took me a couple of sessions to actually paint. Working on a total of some 32 figures I broke these down into two manageable groups; two rifle squads and the medic as one group (17 figures) and the third rifle squad, platoon command group and HMG squad as the other group (15 figures). Adopting a 'production line' method of painting these figures resulted in them being completed in only a few hours over the course of a couple of evenings. The most time consuming part of this was repainting the flesh areas prior to applying a flesh tone wash.

On the other hand, preparing, painting and finishing the bases took me considerably longer. Initially I had planned on leaving the bases painted a plain green but reconsidered this after looking once again at Barrie Lovell's own figures which are considerable enhanced by making each individual base a small vignette.

Figures:

Each figure was painted separately before attaching it to a base. I undercoated all the figures with a black primer spray (GW Chaos Black) and then dry-brushed them quite heavily using Colour Party US Olive Drab.

US Fireteam with Olive Drab Basecoat applied

Base Coated Figures

I then applied a highlight to the base coat consisting of a mix of Olive Drab and GW Bubonic Brown a light sand/ochre colour.

I then further highlighted the accoutrements and the helmets by mixing a little more light sand/ochre colour (GW Bubonic Brown) into the Olive Drab. A final, even lighter highlight, was applied to the crowns of the helmets.

US Fireteam with highlighted accoutrements

Accoutrements and Helmets Highlighted

On those figures which were going to be Caucasian, I repainted all exposed flesh areas with a watered coat of white (GW Skull White) and when this was thoroughly dried I applied a light brown wash (GW Flesh Wash). This helps to pick out all the detail (a remarkable amount for such small figures!) and gives quite clear areas of shade and light. In some cases, like with the Platoon Command Group, I further highlighted the flesh areas using a 'homebrew' colour mix of light brown (GW Snakebite Leather), flesh (GW Bronzed Flesh) and white.

Flesh areas repainted white prior to applying a flesh wash

Figure with flesh wash applied to skin areas

Flesh Areas repainted White Flesh Wash Applied

On those figures that were going to be Black, I repainted the flesh areas black (GW Chaos Black) and then highlighted this using a direct coat of dark brown (GW Bestial Brown) followed by a watered coat of light brown (GW Snakebite Leather).

I did not paint the boots of the figures, leaving them for the most part as black, since they are covered later in the process when the 'grass' is added to the base.

Weapons were then all repainted black taking care not to overpaint the hands of the figures. All ammo belts and helmet accoutrements were also painted black at this stage.

Using a metallic silver (GW Bolt Gun Metal) I delicately dry-brushed those areas of the weapons that are metal. On the M-16's, which were primarily black plastic, this is the barrel and the firing mechanism/magazine. In order not to have the metallic areas too 'shiny' I then applied a lightly watered black wash (GW Armour Wash) to tone down the brightness of the metal.

In order to pick out the bullets on the various belts of M-60 ammo, I gently brushed over the surface of the belts using a brass metallic paint (GW Brazen Brass). Again, since the bullets are modelled in relief on the belts, this results in being able to pick out the individual linkage.

M-60 ammo belt highlighted

Ammo Belt Highlighted

Helmet accoutrements were painted off-white, or a light olive drab, to represent things like field dressings, insect repellent and weapons oil/cleaning fluid bottles. I always make sure that these accoutrements are 'black-lined' so as to emphasise their relief and make them stand away from the helmet to which they are attached.

Finally, the platoon commander's map was picked out in white and I added an antenna to the RTO, which I made from a bristle taken from a broom head, painted black.

Fireteam

Platoon command group

Finished Fireteam Stand Finished Platoon Command Stand

The platoon of nine stands, or bases, took me only a few hours in total spread over several evenings but could be done in less time if it was not necessary to continually wait for various stages in the process to dry before moving on to the next stage.


The Finished Platoon

Finished Platoon

The Finished Platoon (L to R): Platoon HQ, Squads 1 to 3, Medic and HMG Squad

 

Platoon maneuvering towards tree line

The Platoon maneuvering into Dense Forest

 

Command Group, Medic and platoon HMG stand

Close-Up of Command Group, Medic and HMG

 

Platoon in skirmish line

Platoon in Skirmish Line

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All figures are from my own personal collection, painted and photographed by Mike R 2000


 

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