Greek For A Change!

My recent organising efforts have had some effect, to the extent that I’ve now finished some figures for those conflicts/armies that I’d determined had been neglected over recent years. Some effort has also been expended in getting figures for these neglected armies ready for painting.

Some of the most neglected forces were my 20mm Balkan Wars armies so I thought I’d try and make some progress with them. My original plan was to add a couple of Serbian infantry battalions along with an HQ and a machine gun detachment, but that plan has (needless to say) been modified! I’ve recently bought one of the new Osprey Men-At-Arms books on armies in South Russia in 1919 and reading that made me think I could maybe kill two birds with one stone. Without going into the complicated story of the Entente/Allied powers in WW1 becoming embroiled in Russia (I find it quite difficult to keep track of) I decided to try and model some Greek troops, since I could use them for the earlier Balkan Wars as well as for operations in South Russia.

Now you can get hold of WW2 Greek troops in 20mm scale (or figures that will pass for them), but not Balkan Wars figures. In the end I opted for a compromise solution. Early War Miniatures make WW2 Greek Evzones, elite light infantry formations that wear a distinctive uniform (see here for more info). Although these figures are wearing Greek pattern steel helmets, EWM make a range of separate heads for figures and, although they don’t make heads with Evzone soft caps, they do make heads for WW2 Italian Blackshirts and in this scale those are close enough for me!

This meant I had to cut off the heads with the steel helmets, file a small flat on the coat collars, drill out the bodies and then superglue the new heads to my fingers the bodies (see picture below). Tricky, but manageable since I only needed to change a dozen figures.

After changing the heads it was just a case of basing and priming them – I’ve run out of 1p coins to use as bases so these figures got some slightly thicker MDF bases that I’d got and intended to use as game markers. Although the MDF bases work out more expensive than 1p a base I quite like them to work with and they seem more durable as far as resisting knocks and bumps on the edges go.

I decided to paint up one test figure before moving on to the rest. Most of the books I’ve got refer to the Greek uniform colour of the period as an olive khaki so I used Vallejo WW2 Russian Uniform as the closest I could find (see picture below showing the figure compared to . . . an olive! In real life the colours appear closer than in this photo)!

Although a lot of artwork shows the Evzones caps pulled forward on the head, some photographs show them pushed back, so the Blackshirt heads look about right. The picture below shows the Evzone, along with an Ottoman Turkish infantryman painted as a test figure at the same time (a plastic Hat figure) – the faces look a bit uneven in the large scale photo but look OK fine on the figure!

Since I’ve got a bit behind in preparing figures (and caught up with some of the neglected ones) I now need to prepare the rest of the Evzones and Ottoman infantry, so it might be a while before I post any more painted figures. I am at least trying to stick to finishing off those armies that don’t need much work or which have been neglected of late!

While I’ve been doing these my wife has asked for my advice on drybrushing! She’s recently come back to doing decoupage crafting, concentrating on applying napkin images over wooden craft shapes to brighten up the house (she does this for her self and keeps the items she makes). She’s painted the edges of the wood shapes and then mentioned that people drybrush around the edges onto the images to soften their appearance, so she asked me about how to do this. She’s got some small craft sponges on sticks so I said have a go with them rather than brushes. The two items below are her first attempts at this, drysponging (if that’s even a word) pale purple and blue around the edges and I think she’s done a pretty good job!

All I can say is that I’m not going to be a happy bunny if I come in from work one day to find some of my tank models drybrushed in purple or blue!


  1. Great utilisation of other figures to fill the roles that you were looking for John, your resourcefulness is always inspiring.
    The drybrushing your wife has done looks good, if she wants a lighter applicator, an old makeup brush is great for really soft drybrushing, and can give a very feathered look, just make sure the brush is really dry, like if you were doing dust on a tank.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks Dave! πŸ™‚ I’ve wanted to have a unit of Evzones for years so at least I’ve made a start – the test figure’s finished and the others are all based and primed. I’ve passed on your advice about the makeup brush and she’s going to give that a try.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. I love history lessons. Balkans is something I usually do not care an ounce about, but reading about it in that way is really nice. Thank you for the insight!

    Those are some really nice conversion and as always I cannot get enough of how nice your bases are.
    The face looks pretty good for 20mm I think and you have done a real good job on the unifrom too.

    I have to agree with you, those art-pieces are looking really good. Your wife did really well. Have they already found a place?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Anthony, glad you found it useful! πŸ™‚ I’m quite pleased with how the Evzone has turned out and am looking forward to making progress with the others. And thank you for your kind comment about my wife’s work. I really like what she’s done! She’s got a few small projects on the go, so everything seems to be moving around at the moment until it finds a spot it likes!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That head swap looks great John, wouldn’t be able to tell the model was modified if you hadn’t said anything about it! I also appreciate the reference photo of the olive, it’s helped me with my own painting! Currently doing up some US tanks, and the olive drab looked too brown to me, but turns out it’s just just about as olive as it can get! I think I’m too used to the much greener British painted US tanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Nicolas! πŸ™‚ Funnily enough I’m happy with the colour of US tanks but always struggle with British armour! For US vehicles I use Humbrol 155 Olive drab or Vallejo Brown Purple – despite its name, the latter is identical to the Humbrol colour and they both look right compared to colour illustrations I’ve seen and are a distinctly brown shade (US shades did change between the wars). According to some of the recent Osprey books on armour in Normandy in 1944 and Germany in 1945, Britain did introduce a shade equivalent to US olive drab to save repainting lend-lease vehicles but I’d not heard of this before reading it in these books. I’d always thought late war British vehicles were in a greenish khaki shade or bronze green (even US-supplied vehicles), so I’m still confused!

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  4. I love helping my wife with her crafts, especially when it’s something I can transfer from my hobby to hers. Her finished bits look great! And if you do find some purple or blue dry bushed tanks, you’ll just have to find a SciFi based game to set those tank into! LOL

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  5. Ah, I see you are a fellow fan of sticking bits of miniatures to your hands! We share the same hobby! πŸ˜€ Seriously, very nice work here – like IRO I salute anyone who does conversions in metal (it’s how I started out and its no easy task). Your wife has done some very nice work with the decoupage as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Wudugast! πŸ™‚ It was fiddly for someone like me with average sized hands/fingers but once I got started it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. I tried the first one by just filing the neck and collar flat and gluing the head in place, but that wasn’t easy, even with superglue gel. So the next one had the body drilled out, which I thought would be tricky but ti wasn’t that bad so the rest got done the same way. Pleased I did them because otherwise I just would not be able to get these figures. And thank you for the kind words about my wife’s work, I’ll let her know! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Pete! πŸ™‚ I wasn’t really sure how the head swaps might work, but I’m pleased I’ve done them! As far as helping out hobbywise, my wife seems to have her eye on more of my paints, Vallejo silver being her latest acquisition! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Great progress, John though it isn’t fair to tease us with a WWI historical write up and not follow through! πŸ˜‰ I think the color of drab looks great on the Greeks. You can’t go wrong with any shade of drab with WWI, I reckon! Your wife’s decoupage looks fantastic as well. Now she can put those drybrushing skills to work on a bit of terrain or perhaps even the edges of a tank! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Jeff! πŸ™‚ More Balkan Wars/WW1/Russian Civil War stuff will no doubt follow when I make some more progress. There does seem to be some variation in WW1 khaki although it’s difficult getting it right on a model 100 years later I think (British/American is brownish, French colonial troops similar but maybe lighter, Greeks greener and Russians more a green grey shade). As far as your last sentence is concerned, I might have been married over 30 years but if my wife wants to practice her drybrushing skills she can do it on HER scenery and HER tanks, thank you very much! πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Wonderful conversions John and I hope the olive found its way to a proper end. Great work on the heads – tough to do at 20mm indeed. You certainly had a great idea using the blackshirts’ heads. And your wife’s decoupage is beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Ha Ha !! I have seen many things used to show scale but an olive!! laughed! You may notice I’m a little behind but don’t mind that ,most people around here think that I am a bit slow! I have to say your wife’s decoupage items are terrific, and yes mate I have been using the sponge on mine and i did refer to it as dry sponging long before I heard of dry brushing !!

    Liked by 1 person

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