Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces 1941

Sometimes it is not how long a project takes to complete, but how long it takes to get started. I crafted my WW II USMC/USA 1941 troops way back in January 2017. The idea was to create a small force – one infantry platoon in defense and two platoons in attack – so I could play a test game of Peter Pig's Poor Bloody Infantry (PBI) and see if I liked it.

I love the last line of that blog post:
Next up, the special figures of the USMC and the start of the Japanese SNLF platoon.
Yeah, that was almost two years ago that I was going to start my SNLF project. Like I said, what matters is how long it takes to start a project because making and painting your own figures is quick and simple. Once you start, that is.

The picture above shows the parts that I used.
  1. This is a small, strange bead that I found at the local store that was cheap. I imagined that the 'band' in the center could serve as a separator between the upper and lower body, but in this build it did not matter, unless I wanted to paint it as webbing. (I did not, as this is a minimalist build.)
  2. This is a classic 'button' or 'mushroom' head plug. Makes for a great head with a helmet. This was used for all riflemen and LMG crew.
  3. This is a round head plug. This was used as the head for the standard bearer, who is bareheaded.
  4. This is a flat head plug. This was used for the head of the officer. Flipping it upside-down it looks like the jungle cap with apron covering the back of the neck.
  5. This is a simple mini-dowel. I use these for the rifles, LMG, sword, and staff for the standard. I prefer these over toothpicks because of the standard diameter.
  6. These are 3cm wooden bases for the troops.

You can see the build is really simple for the riflemen. Glue the button head plug on top of the bead for the body and add a 1/2" piece of dowel for the rifle. I use dimensional paint to create the arms and hands.

As you can see – or maybe not, as it is a little dark – the color scheme is very simple. The helmets are a light green (I have seen all kinds of colors for this) and a medium jungle green for the trousers and jacket. Although it might seem silly at this scale (12mm to the eyes, but chunkier) I always try and get the weapons correct. The Japanese Arisaka Type 99 rifle had a metal bolt mechanism and barrel, but the area between the bolt and the end of the barrel was covered in wood.

The Type 99 Light Machine Gun was also made with the dowel, but was 3/4" long and uses a lot more dimensional paint to represent the gun stock, bipod, muzzle, and carrying handle. I do not have the distinctive magazine sticking out of the top. The next platoon I build with have the gunners in the prone position, so that detail will be present. The build for the figure itself is the same as for the rifleman.

The standard bearer uses the round head plug for the head, but the same bead for the body. The flag is from http://www.warflag.com and is simply glued on to the dowel.

The officer uses the flat head plug, flipped upside-down, for the head. A small piece of dowel, shaved flatter, is used for his katana, and the pistol is simply formed from dimensional paint.

Here is the whole platoon, six rifle stands, three LMG stands, and one command stand. I need to make some casualty markers, and of course another whole platoon. Hopefully this time it won't take me another year to start!


  1. Awesome! Love the little guys! Great idea about the officer's head and head covering, works perfectly. You've really got the use of the dimensional paint to create arms on these guys down to a science. Not sure if you've done it, but I sort of did it in my head, how much each of these stands actually cost you to make (not much at all!).

    A guy in my gaming club used to run a PBI campaign (WWII Europe) and it was a lot of fun. In my view, it is definitely a "rules light" game, but it gives more of a historical feel than, say, Flames of War although it is not quite as detailed and perhaps not quite as "fun" as Flames of War. I also like the Men of Company B rules Peter Pig puts out for Vietnam, and AK-47 for any modern "third world" type game you want to do. Uses the same base sizes and figure distribution as PBI. The games always look nice on the table top. Not too big, enough stuff on the table, but doable in terms of one person doing all the terrain and both sides of the battle.

  2. Replies
    1. Yeah, yeah. :) I have been thinking about that. I suspect I will do something like the Wyloch's Armory post in January 2017. Use a shaped wood block for the main hull, a smaller one for the turret, then a bunch of bits and bobs for the details.




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