Beginning to build my forces

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    Hi all,

    I have now acquired all that I need to my bolt action gaming, I am still new to this game as I am mainly a Napoleonic wargamer.

    I am appealing to those veterans out there who paint figures and vehicles, is it best to build them completely and then prime and paint them or is it better to paint each part before construction?

    The reason I am looking for this advice is that I have so many figures and vehicles to build (i haven’t even started on them yet) I just want to know the best way to build and paint.


    The answer to this is…its personal taste there is no one answer!

    Now what I mean by that is its how & why people paint.

    Some people (ie me) assemble the models to play with, then painting is done by base colour then a dip or wash over a long period of time..some units getting painted sooner because they ‘perform better’ in games others might languash for years :p

    For other people they want every bit of the model well painted so will paint then assemble so they can get to all the parts of the model.


    Thanks, Nat,

    The reason basically for my question was that it’s been many years since I build a model kit and I have never build anything from warlord games so I was wondering if there was a best practice with the Warlord and or Rubicon kits?

    I didn’t want to build a tank or assemble a figure and realize too late that I should have painted different parts before I put it all together.

    Thanks again.


    depending on the model, if unsure blue-tac them together and then see if you could paint them fitted.

    Another approach is to do the body are head with the arms seperate. But with how the russians are I think you can get away with assembling the body, head and arms leaving the guns loose so you can take them out and paint separately


    I assemble vehicles first and then paint them. The crew get assembled and painted last.

    I airbrush vehicles so no problem getting to those hard to get places.


    Thanks, guys,

    I will hopefully start model building next week, I have a huge amount of vehicles for both my US and German armoured battalions plus vehicles for my US armoured infantry Company and German Panzergrenadier company.

    Last count I have 71 Vehicles for my US forces and around 95 vehicles for my German forces and then its the infantry figures after that which I have not bothered to count…lol


    Wow, that’s quite a horde of vehicles!

    For infantry, I prime them once assembled and then paint them. I go one unit/vehicle at a time, otherwise I tend to be overwhelmed with the mass of units to do and quit the project.

    But since you do Napoleonics, I guess your discipline in painting is better than mine!



    I have finally put together both A US Medium Tank Company and a Panzer IV Company (Minus the Company Command) for Bolt Action.




    I only paint separate pieces if they are going to end up enclosed  such  as inside a truck cabin; the sort of places that you can’t jab a brush in later.

    Otherwise if you paint separate bits you are making extra work for yourself and so many surfaces end up not being visible anyway, something hard to judge until you make it.

    More importantly, if you treat each piece individually any shading runs the risk of looking piecemeal (i.e. model-like) rather than some unified whole (i.e. attempted realism).



    Same: shading or any form of colouration won’t look right if you paint, say, an arm and chest seperately. it will look like 2 separate parts that have been joined together, something like mismatched wood grain, if that makes sense. So far I’ve not had any WW2 figures that I couldn’t reach all the parts. If the face or some part is obscured by a larger weapon, then good, just saves you painting a face that will never be seen.

    Curiously with plastic figures I’ve found primer achieves nothing at all. If anything it’s a negative thing as it might obscure details.I have actually launched figures across a table by accident and nothing, not a chip, crack, nothing.  I’ve played with some for 6 months now, not a blemish,  and I’ve never even varnished them! Yet I also learned 35 years ago ,when I started, that primer was the way to go. And washing with soap. I’ve found “grease” on some other brands (notably Fireforge, good figs though), but Warlord/Perry are doing somewhere right. Not needed.

    Metals are a different thing altogether and scratch easily unless undercoated. Varnishing and undercoat is needed.









    …is it best to build them completely and then prime and paint them or is it better to paint each part before construction?

    It really comes down to personal preference and style of painting you like. Since you had mentioned you are mainly a Napoleonic wargamer, what do you when painting those figures? You might prefer a different paint style when painting WW2 figures, but from my experience, WW2 figures are easier and quicker to paint than Napoleonic figures.

    As for vehicles, well, they don’t have these in Napoleonic wargaming unless you count cannon and wagons. For WW2 vehicles, you might find it more useful to build the whole model, but some of the bigger parts (Schürzen, whole track sections, turrets, and so on) are probably best left unglued until you get to the painting stage. You can build the whole thing and paint it, and many people do just that, but to get paint behind tracks and/or Schürzen, it might be easier if they were not glued on just yet.

    One note though, when you finally do glue the parts (plastic or metal), be sure to remove most (or all) of the paint from the actual areas you will apply the glue.

    A comment about your two pictures – You show 15 Panzer IVs tanks and 17 Sherman tanks. Very nice, but for Bolt Action, you do not need nearly that many. Even if playing Bolt Action’s Tank War you do not need that many tanks, but do not get rid of them! You can always use them for other games, or maybe some special Bolt Action scenario.

    For straight up Bolt Action, you only need at best 0 -2 tanks, and for most 1,000 point games, just one or no tanks. However, it all depends on how you and your friends play the game. For example, you don’t have to play a set point game. There are all sorts of ways to play Bolt Action. Don’t over look the fact that you can even play a specific predetermined scenario. Here anything goes really, and I have seen scenarios with no tanks while other scenarios have up to three or more tanks. It all depends. Historically speaking, at an infantry skirmish level, tanks should be uncommon, but everyone likes having them.

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