Catching Up A Bit!

Having got two jeeps finished for my Netherlands East Indies (KNIL) forces, I thought I should maybe get some figures painted to go with them! Fortunately I already had some extra KNIL infantry cleaned up, primed and based, so that cut the work down a bit.

In the past I’ve used a black wash on my KNIL figures but I’ve finally come to the conclusion that the shallow detail on a lot of 20mm figures doesn’t lend them to shading particularly well with washes (well, there is also the fact that I’m incompetent, but I’m playing that down). Consequently I reverted to my usual painting method of a dark shade coat followed by a lighter layer. The figures are a mixture of SHQ and Early War Miniatures. The SHQ figures are actually Dutch metropolitan army troops (i.e. stationed in the Netherlands itself) and slightly inaccurate as far as representing KNIL troops go, but I thought I’d used them anyway (they wear tunics with standing collars, whereas KNIL troops wore stand-and-fall collars and the light machine gun is a Lewis gun when it should be a Madsen). The EWM figures correctly represent KNIL troops.

I painted six infantry figures to represent dismounted jeep crews – the jeeps were used by KNIL cavalry squadrons in conjunction with M3 scout cars and Alvis Straussler armoured cars. In addition to the jeep crews I also painted a two-figure artillery observation team and they can be seen on the right of the picture above. The jeeps can carry four men, but I had two previously painted figures to make up the numbers so I haven’t included them here.

While I was on with the KNIL figures I also painted a two-man Japanese HQ unit (shown above and below).

As with the cyclists I painted recently (and the Dutch) I resorted back to a single-shade-and-layer painting method. The officer is a plastic Caesar Miniatures figure and the bugler is one of the venerable Airfix Japanese figures. I can use these as either a higher level Japanese HQ or as a command element for a recce battalion fielded alongside my standard infantry battalion.

And I’m not the only one in the house that’s been busy! My wife’s discovered “soft pots” and the first one she’s made is shown below (it’s the coloured plant pot at the bottom centre of the picture)!

From what I’m led to believe, these are made by filling a stocking with compost, slapping a plant in it, wrapping coloured stuff round it and then turning the stocking back on itself and tying it off (I’ve maybe simplified that a bit)! I’m way too clumsy to make this work, but I reckon she’s done a pretty neat job with this! Now if she could just scale them down a bit I could maybe get her to make me some jungle to go with my KNIL and Japanese forces!


  1. Great work on all your figures and vehicles John, I think your painting method for this scale is perfect, and layering gives a better result than washes.
    Your wife’s soft pot looks very effective, and as you say maybe she can make you some jungles if she scales down

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Dave, I really appreciate that! πŸ™‚ To be honest, if I reduce the number of shade colours on a figure, and am only using a single layer (which seems fine for 20mm figures), I can’t really paint them any quicker so I’m happy with that!
      I’ll tell my wife you like the soft pot – she’s actually enjoying making them and got another one done while I was writing this blog post up!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I think the figures look excellent John and with shading and highlighting as well done as that you certainly didn’t need to use a wash. They make a great accompaniment to the jeeps too. I do like your wife’s pot stand but at the risk of upsetting her I can’t help but feel that, along with the other bits and bobs on shelf, they are taking up display space for your own fine work! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 7 people

    • Thanks Dave, much appreciated! πŸ™‚ Perhaps surprisingly, I don’t have any of my wargames stuff on display, since I’m not really sure that years of exposure to sunlight won’t cause it to fade. So my wife has plenty of choice of where to put plants, ornaments etc. so no-one gets upset!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. The KNIL all look great and I always love seeing your terrain in the scenic pictures too. Truthfully, I don’t use washes almost at all except for dirt on bases and on terrain. Washes are often difficult to control and a little unpredictable with how they dry and so I think your idea of layering is the way to go. Its gives you more control and tends to look less harsh as well. Washing is faster but that is the usual tradeoff with things. Also, if you figure out how to get your wife to make terrain (even if it is unwittingly), do be sure and share your secret with the rest of us πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Lovely bit of 20mm painting I’ve always washed my stuff but I do think yours look way better than mine, so I think you were right with the way to go! I agree soft detail does suit washes.

    I like your wife’s “pot”, and lucky man who has a wife who wears stockings!

    Though I might now have an idea of what your going to find in your stocking on Christmas day….a plant!!

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks Roger! πŸ™‚ I appreciate your kind compliment, but I don’t think my figures look better than yours (why do you think I don’t take close-up pics)! And I think my wife only wears stockings these days when she’s robbing banks! πŸ˜‰
      I’ve told her she’s not getting any of my stockings ’cause I need them for making camouflage nets!

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Great cars. Even those I already saw before.
    Imperialrebelork is right with his assessment, that the Japanese HQ is great, I also found myself drawn to them.
    The pod is also really interesting, yet I would be affraid, that it could be leaking.
    That said, as also someone else already said, great scenery-pieces to compliment your minis.
    As always I love how you do your bases. From the dutch contingent the mg-gunner strikes me as the most eye-catching.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Anthony! πŸ™‚ I probably should have mentioned that the Japanese Kurogane field car is a Shapeways printed model that I painted not too long ago.
      My wife always puts the plants/pots on either small saucers or discarded clear plastic lids to make sure water doesn’t leak out where it’s not wanted but it’s all a bit too technical for me!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Nice post John. I too like seeing these somewhat rare figures painted in your style (which is to me like hearing Pete Townshend on a guitar – instantly recognizable and great). I first thought that you wrote that your wife had discovered pot! And I thought the lockdown had caused even more issues – but maybe she’s just growing it in a pot? Anyways, lovely worl on the KNIL and the Japanese!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Great work John, I particularly like the Japanese figures,really well painted.
    The plant in stocking pot your good wife has done is an interesting idea, good to see you have a bit of competition when it comes to creativeness Ha Ha! and yep they would be great if she could scale them down for you to use!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The miniatures look good and I particularly like the webbing and such with your layering method. Your wife’s making a nice looking plant pot using a spare stocking is a good idea too. Much more festive than just one of those plastic or plain ceramic pots.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I like your painting style and I agree with your conclusion about washes on 20mm figures. I’m experimenting at the moment and think perhaps shading washes may be better on vehicle detail for me. Good job. Keep it coming.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Great choice of subject, and one that’s close to my heart to boot. I’ve always thought of the SHQ cloggies as being some of the brand’s best sculpts, and have a load of them to paint up in that utterly unique greyish-bluish-greenish dye of theirs (in a decade’s time, that is!). Though I’m afraid I’m too much of an anorak to be fielding them in the Indies!

    I much prefer blockpainting, though I’d argue that the efficacy of washes depend as much on the colour of your uniform scheme (anything sand-ish or khaki-ish constituting the most optimal base) as they do on the figure’s sculpts (the more personal gear or clothing folds, the better). Though when I say washes, I am actually referring to the Army Painter dips, which are capable of stellar results when worked correctly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Veroo! πŸ™‚ I’ve enjoyed doing my KNIL force and only have a tank left to do now (another Marmon Herrington). I’d agree with you about sand or khaki being most suitable for washes, but I still manage to produce a crap finish on those colours!


    • No doubt that’s because they’re about 25 years old now! I think if I did them now I’d cut wavy, chamfered edges on them to make them look a bit more natural, but back in the 90s I was a square or rectangular bases kinda guy!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s