Beginner

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Chris68
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Beginner

Post by Chris68 »

Hi all

I would like to paint up British and American forces for CofC but I am very new to this and don't know where to start. I've played IABSM but used pieces of card to represent infantry and armour - and that's the only wargame I've played on my own. By played on my own, I mean read the rules on my own, and built up both armies (as I say, out of pieces of card). I think I'd like to move on to metal figures and paint.

I'm thinking 15mm but could go to 20mm on my 6' x 4' table. I'm not after general army lists per se, but for someone to tell me "Ok buy 'this' 'this' and 'this'." I'd like to start small; perhaps a dozen figures per side, and maybe a tank or two or something similar so I can get used to the rules. I have various counters (some official CofC) so I only need to the models and the paints. Which is another thing, I'm not even sure which colour paints to buy.

Any advice is much appreciated.

Thanks all in advance.
Diolch yn Fawr,
Chris

Peter Gilder: "I'm open for surrenders between 9 and 7."

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Seret
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Re: Beginner

Post by Seret »

OK, there's a lot going on in your post, but I'll try and help out a bit.

Scale
15mm and 20mm are both good choices, there's no wrong answer here, especially since you're starting from scratch.

However, you mention that you've been playing solo. I don't know your exact circumstances, but I'd strongly recommend trying to find some players near you. Quite apart from the enjoyment and social aspect of playing another human, existing players can be an invaluable source of advice and inspiration, and might even lend you some troops/terrain to give you a leg up. So yes, while us folk online are able to help you, finding some local players will help you a lot more.

Why have I put this under the "scale" heading? Well, because there's no point collecting 15mm if everybody you might potentially play against already has 28mm, and tables full of scenery that scale. Collect whatever scale is poular near you, you'll get more games that way.

Shopping lists
CoC is actually really easy to collect for. Grab the army list for your chosen period/nation. Buy and paint the whole core platoon. After that you can start looking at the support lists. The first things you want to get off those are all the basic infantry support weapons: an extra section, SFMG, mortar observer, an AT gun and/or manpack AT weapon, maybe an infantry gun if one is available, sniper, medic, flamethrower. If you want to get into vehicles get a tank, an assault gun and a light recce vehicle. Some units might also have access to halftracks.

one way to focus your choices might be to aim to play one of the Pint Sized Campaigns. They have reduced support lists that only include the stuff the actual historical unit had access to, and you'll be able to play a whole string of games from that smaller shopping list.

Paint

The Farnworth Guides are a great place to start for colours and camo patterns: https://www.artizandesigns.com/painting-guides.php.

The re-enactor sites are also a great source of high-res colour pics of the equipment. Don't get too hung up on exact colour matches. Most armies in WW2 sourced their gear from dozens or hundreds of manufacturers, who all produced stuff in slightly different colours, and then once in the field gear got dirty, faded, etc. Plus on smaller scales you want to slightly change the colours to get more contrast anyway. The colours you use also depend a lot on your painting technique. Wargamers will argue until the cows come home about the "right" colour for things, but the truth is near enough is good enough.

Munin
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Re: Beginner

Post by Munin »

OK, let's break this down into steps:

The first thing you'll need to settle on is a scale. Ask any 10 wargamers, "What's the best scale for CoC" and you'll get 12 answers. It really is a matter of personal taste. CoC is relatively scale-agnostic, but at 15mm you're playing at the scale where the figure and ground scales exactly match. Played on a 6'x4' board, it gives the "feel" of the "empty battlefield" a little bit better than 20mm or 28mm, which will feel a little bit more cramped. A lot of folks like 20mm because they're cheap and largely ubiquitous (as the virtually identical 1/72 is a very common and popular modeling scale). I like 28mm because the figures are fun to paint and look really nice on the table. It's also easy to distinguish what kind of weapon individual troopers have at that scale.

One thing to keep in mind here is that unlike IABSM, in CoC casualties to a given unit (e.g. an infantry squad or MMG team or whatever) are tracked per-man, which by extension means that troopers tend to be individually based. This isn't a necessity and you could certainly use multi-base units (a la Flames of War), but you'd then need markers to track both Shock and casualties, which I think would get a little bit un-tidy on the table. There's no reason you couldn't individually base 15mm figs (and lots of folks do), but I wouldn't want to do that for a really teeny scale like 6mm. FWIW, individual basing works (and looks!) great at anything 20mm or larger.

Second, once you've picked a scale, you'll need miniatures! At this stage, at many scales you're faced with another choice: metal minis, or multi-part plastics. At smaller scales, most of your options are going to be metal minis and resin vehicles. This isn't an issue, it just has certain repercussions for conversions (weapon swaps, head swaps, etc). For larger scales, plastic miniatures start to become more readily available. As mentioned previously, 20mm (1/72) is a common modeling scale, so there are loads of plastic kits out there. Once you get up to 28mm, the world is your oyster. For many different nations or troop types, you'll have options in both metal (from manufacturers like Empress, Crusader, Artizan, Perry, and Black Tree) and plastic (predominantly from Warlord, though Perry has a few too).

If cost is a factor, figures at smaller scales tend to be cheaper, and plastics tend to be cheaper than metal or resin. As a point of comparison, the 28mm Perry 8th Army Desert Rats box (which contains enough minis to make a full British platoon - including Boys rifle and 2" mortar team) is very reasonably priced at 20 pounds (like $28).

Third, once you have your minis, you'll ideally want to paint them. This is a topic that has spawned entire forums, but I'll try to give you the basics:

First, give your minis a brief wash in soapy water - this helps get off any mold-release left over from the manufacturing process. This isn't usually a big deal, but I have occasionally had issues (usually with resin minis).

Second, assemble the minis (if they need assembly) using an appropriate glue - model cement for plastics and cyanoacrylate glue (super-glue) for metals and resins. I like to base my minis on steel fender washers such that I can stick them on magnetic trays for transport, but this isn't strictly necessary.

Next, prime them using your primer of choice; I am a low-cost Rustoleum man, myself - grey automotive spray primer out of a rattle-can. Easy, cheap, effective.

Next, paint. I really like the Vallejo family of paints, as they have a really nice "military palette" of colors. For Brits and Americans, you're looking at colors like US Field Drab, US Dark Green, German Camo Beige, Khaki, and Iraqi Sand. Flat Earth is good for leather bits like helmet straps, Mahogany Brown is good for gun stocks, and you'll want some Black and some sort of dark metallic for any metal bits (gun barrels and any other metal bits you want to pick out). Flat Flesh is good for skin, especially when hit with a simple wash. Oh, yeah, for WW2 minis, I am very much of the "base coat + wash" method, meaning I paint things in un-blended single base colors, then hit the entire model with a wash to give it nice shading and dirtying effects. As such, investing in some Army Painter Strong Tone (or MinWax Polyshades Antique Walnut Gloss, if you're a cheapskate like me, it's essentially identical) or Citadel Agrax Earthshade is like buying talent in a bottle.

Finally, once your minis are painted, you'll want to give them a protective coating; there is nothing better than Testors Dull-Cote.

I came to WW2 minis games after playing sci-fi/fantasy games, and I found that the relatively limited color palette (and absence of skulls and/or gems on every exposed bit of surface) made WW2 minis alarmingly easy to paint. Even with just limited painting time in the evenings, I was easily cranking out a squad (or more) a month.

Hopefully this helps, and welcome to Chain of Command!

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MLB
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Re: Beginner

Post by MLB »

All good advice above.

In terms of painting you might find a guide like this from Wargames Illustrated helpful, there are some very useful tips here https://www.wargamesillustrated.net/sho ... ed-paints/

You might want to also check this post on my blog, which you may have already seen http://thetacticalpainter.blogspot.com/ ... guide.html

Keep asking questions, there are plenty here who are happy to help.
The Tactical Painter https://thetacticalpainter.blogspot.com
Painting little soldiers for tactical battles on the table top

Rich H
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Re: Beginner

Post by Rich H »

We like 15mm as it's cheap. £15 will see you with a full platoon. It's not as pretty as 20 or 28mm but there is loads of choice and did I mention it's cheap?!? :D

We plan in 28mm too.

Chris68
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Re: Beginner

Post by Chris68 »

Hi all

Thanks for all the great advice. I can now get down to the serious business of shopping!
Diolch yn Fawr,
Chris

Peter Gilder: "I'm open for surrenders between 9 and 7."

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Tom Ballou
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Re: Beginner

Post by Tom Ballou »

If you go the route of 15/20mm I really recommend using basing like John Bond. With distinct bases for leaders and support, it will massively reduce the headache of finding your leaders in the masses. This applies to 25mm as well, but not as required.

I like the idea of troopies on rounds, JLs on squares and SL on hexes. At a glance you know what your dealing with. Also LMGs on 2 man stands. This makes it easy to count dice, as you quickly spot your LMG teams. MMGs I think should also be based 2 or 3 figs per base as they look much nicer.

Specialist like FO and Snipers, are nice to have vignettes, again easy to pick out and obviously not a standard figure. I have my sniper and a spotter tucked behind a log and a fallen tree.
--Tom

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Peter
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Re: Beginner

Post by Peter »

Sound advice, Tom. I don't think anyone has mentioned The Plastic Soldier Company's (PSC) figures. You do get enough for a company, but they are IMHO good enough, and if you want a few more troops, you'll have them available. You'll probably also want a heavy weapons pack. I base mine on UK pennies for added weight, and as they are mostly steel, they are magnetic. A few vehicles and you're good to go.

Chris68
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Re: Beginner

Post by Chris68 »

So, I literally look at the army list in CofC and pick from there? Sorry I don't have my book to hand right now
Diolch yn Fawr,
Chris

Peter Gilder: "I'm open for surrenders between 9 and 7."

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Seret
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Re: Beginner

Post by Seret »

The lists in the rule book are for the European theatre '44, Chris. Most also work for '45.

Coverage for other theatres and time periods isn't complete, but there are official lists for a fair amount. See here: https://tinyhordes.com/updated-chain-o ... e-ratings/

If early war western front is your thing get the new 1940 handbook, it's got more lists than you can shake a stick at.

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