With Every Promise of an Unmitigated Disaster!

Today was interesting. I kicked off working on the miniatures for the Marco Polo Bridge game. I think it will be a great game. However, this morning things were in doubt.

First off, who in their right mind would start a major project and drop hundreds of dollars on figures knowing that no one makes the figures you need for the game? I have a powerful combination of stupidity and unmatched over-confidence. Thankfully, at least this time, it pushed me in the right direction. The Kuomintang 29th Army is an interesting beast. They were trained and equiped by the Germans though their organization reflected the realities of China in the 1930’s. 15 man all rifle squads were not uncommon. Though much of their kit was German, there are differences. The major one is that they don’t have boots. They have puttees.

My original plan was to use Finnish and German figures from several sources. Battle Honors, Bolt Action Miniatures and Artizen make up the majority of them. Then I was going to use thin strips of masking tape or dental floss to make the puttee. Sufice to say as soon as I tried that approach it was clear neither way was going to give acceptable results. In fact it was a total write off. This left me in a dilema. I had spent the day cleaning flash and mold lines and flattening bases for the figures. It struck me that maybe I could make the puttees right on the legs. A little flattening, some carving, what could go wrong? It was an idea that was pregnant with every promise of an unmitigated disaaster!

It worked!

I am really happy with how they came out. Sure, some figures did not look as good as others. some looked Fantastic. The best were the ones that started with a straight, high boot. The worst were the ones with flaring blousing over short boots. In those cases I used a sharp blade and dremel file to smooth them out. All in all, I am very pleased though with the results. I now have very acceptable troops!

The main trick is to make about 4-5 lines from the knee down to above the ankle. If there is a boot, make a line above the top of the boot. This helps hide the boot by disguising where it actually ends. Do what you can to smooth the leg and it will look good. Your X-Acto knife needs a heavy blade and needs to be as sharp as possible. You will inadvertently cut off some feet. I did. Just be sure to glue them back and carry on. Out of over 100 figures converted I cut off 3 feet. The figures are expected to live! I’ve glued them back together and I think they will be fine.

I want to thank my able assitant today who spent 5 hours helping me get this task done. Alison, our Media Relations person came over to see what this was all about and got pressganged into cleaning flash! It took about 5 hours.

All in all a good day. Here is the list of figures for the KMT side of the battle:

17 Officer Stands
5x fifteen man Rifle Squads (75 stands)
12x SMG Stands
4x Mortar Teams
10x LMG Teams
2x MMG Teams
1x HMG Teams
1x Irregular Guerilla Squads
2x Armored Cars (Army Group North Miniatures – beautiful! Pricey but I recommend them)

When I get some of the KMT painted I’ll provide photos.

Some interesting links!
http://mailer.fsu.edu/~akirk/tanks/china/Chi-PzKpfw1.jpg
http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~asiactr/sino-japanese/sinojpaper.pdf

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