Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Starting Desert Rats - Three colour tests

Recently a friendof mine was pondering about some plans for Egyptian / Middle Eastern terrain. How useful it is for most periods betwenn the Crusades and Modern Warfare and what interesting games we could play with Bolt Action, the upcoming Black Ops ruleset, SAGA or even Song of Drums and Shakos for Napoleonic skirmishes.

So guess what... That gave me the final push towards the plastic Desert Rats by Alan and Michael Perry. The box comes with 38 figures which should more or less be enough for a Bolt Action platoon. Of course the twins made a couple of very nice metal sets in addition but for the beginning I wanted to keep things small. (frequent readers might guess that this intent has probably a rather short lifespan...)

Anyway the figures have the usual high quality of Perry miniatures. The anatomic composition is wonderful and the poses look vivid and natural. Some of the faces could have been worked out deeper but that's my usual problem with Perry plastics. They leave a lot of artistic freedom to the painter which makes it very difficult for a me to outline the facial features. All other details are worked out very well and present themselves crisp and clean.
As usual the casting quality is very good. As far as I know the Desert Rats are cast by Renedra who proves again to be a top notch company for plastic molding. Assembling the boys is rather easy. The leaflet gives vital information for the right combination of arms they seem to fit on more or less every body. The only tricky part are the helmets which have to be cut from the sprue very carefully to leave the brim undamaged.

For the start I assembled three laboratory rats to test different colour combinations. Once more I consulted skilled and helpful Mark Hargreaves whose blog 'Over open Sights' should be well known by most of you. On this very blog I saw a couple of Desert Rats in his usual splendid style and wanted to lean my humble work against his splendid pieces of art. As usual this kind fellow gave me some precious advice and I adhere to most of them:
So I used Vallejo 'Desert Yellow' as base colour for the trousers, 'German Camouflage Beige' for the webbing and 'Iraqui Sand' for the helmets. With the shirts I experimented a bit. After I read that the uniform pieces bleached out rather unevenly and that some British troops temporarily used petrol to clean their stuff I thought this could be a good chance to break the uniformity of the Desert Rats. Thus I painted the three shirts in three different shades of greyish beige colours: 'Iraqui Sand', 'Stone Grey' and 'Beige'.
Currently I'm not sure which colour to employ most. Unfortunately until now I didn't get a chance to examine some original pieces of WW2 desert uniform. My last visit of the Imperial War Museum is ages back and I don't remember the correct shape of the pieces there. But judging from my personal taste I tend to 'Iraqui Sand'. It gives a subtle shift of colours without breaking the greyish sand colour scheme.
What do you think? Which colour is most appropriate?

In case that you want to have a look at other interpretations of those Desert Rats and visit either Mark's blog (linked above) or go to Raffa 'Archiduque's gallery. He's presenting some really great figures there.

29 comments:

  1. I think the Beige looks the best, good work on all three though

    Ian

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  2. Cool!!! A interesting start of a new project! It seems you have the same start of your WW2 project like me with the Perry DAK. :-) - testing different colorshemes...

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    1. Thanks Alex!
      Testing colours is important for since I don't have any kind of natural sense of colours. ;-)

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  3. Great work on them! Varying the shade of shirts etc. is a great idea and should really make the whole force a lot more interesting to look at. Personally I like the Iraqui Sand version best. Seems to provide the best contrast with all the other colours.

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    1. Thanks Samuli.
      Probably I'll choose a main colour to paint most shirts and splash in some others here and there.

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  4. The Beige and Iraqi Sand both look good. For a third colour, to provide some extra variety, you could try Middlestone.

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    1. Thanks for the feedback and the hint to 'Middlestone'.

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  5. For my personal choice it would be Iraqui Sand, followed by Beige. That said, I don't dislike the third colour, perhaps one or two to add variety. Whilst I know the link below is a lot earlier, conflict wise, the variety of the uniforms rather adds to the piece, in my humble opinion. http://anzacdiorama.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/first-pics-of-massive-gallipoli-diorama.html

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    1. Many thanks for your kind feedback.

      Things like the Gallipoli diorama came to my mind when I experimented with the different shades. It gives the men a kind of battle worn look that they aren't completely identical.

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  6. Great looking Desert Rats, Monty. It's nice how projects evolve into other ones too. BTW, thanks for the link to Mark's fine blog (and painting) - I was remiss to not have joined it earlier.

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    1. Many thanks, Dean.
      As for the link: Your welcome. Honour to whom honour is due. Mark's advice was really priceless for my start thus it's only fair to mention him and his blog. Once more... :-)

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  7. Very nice miniatures Stefan and I think the Beige looks the most appropriate.

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    1. Many thanks, Carl.
      Most probably I'll use all three colours.

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  8. Iraqui Sand gets my vote, although all the prototypes look good. I'll be starting my North Africa stuff in the near future, and Mark has already sent me his painting guides for the Italians and DAK. Quite interested in how your Brits turn out which will give me a handy reference for when I get around to them myself. :-)

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    1. Mark is an incredibly kind and helpful chap indeed!
      In case that you need further information about my Rats, don't hesitate to drop me an email.

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  9. Very nice work and I prefer the Beige or Iraqui Sand.

    Christopher

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  10. Very nice work on all accounts, but +1 for Iraqui Sand

    I'm about to start my foray into North Africa too, but in 15mm.
    I'm very excited about the Battlegroup Tobruk rules due out at Salute next year!

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    1. Thanks a lot Paul. Battlegroup Tobruk sounds interesting...

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  11. Iraqi Sand gets my vote, then beige, then the grey, but hey? What the hell do I know?!?!

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    1. Many thanks, Ray.
      No idea, what you know... ;-)

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  12. Good start on an interesting project! I'd go with all three colours, with the majority in Iraqi Sand.

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    1. Many thanks Jonas. I tend to Iraqui Sand as well.

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  13. Looking forward to follow your progress on this topic. I'm quite tempted to give it a go myself but with other miniatures. Your first test figuresalready look promising. +1 for beige.

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    1. Many thanks, Nick.
      I'll do my very best further on.

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  14. I am firmly in the Iraqi Sand camp as well. It has the right weathered look.

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    1. Many thanks, Sander. It's a large camp with Iraqui Sand now.
      :-)

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  15. Many thanks for your helpful feedback, mates!

    As most of you suggested I'll head for Iraqui Sand as main colour but mix in some Beige, Middlestone and Stonegrey shirts as well.

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