If you’re playing a wargame, you need soldiers. And if you’re planning on gaming Doctor Who in miniature as a ‘traditional’ wargame, rather than a narrative miniature adventure, you will also need two opposing forces with which to battle.
Now, whilst it will be fun to pit the Daleks against the Cybermen, which is what Warlord Games have planned for the first release of their Doctor Who: Into the Time Vortex miniature game, sometimes you want to field a human force. And in Doctor Who, that means UNIT.
UNIT was first introduced into the Whoniverse in the 1968 Second Doctor adventure The Invasion, in which the Cybermen were attempting to invade Earth. At this time, UNIT stood for United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, and was described as an “independent intelligence group” whose remit was to investigate the odd and the unexplained and defend Earth against threats of this nature.
The heyday of the UNIT was during the Third Doctor’s tenure, as he had been banished to Earth and found himself working extensively with this group.
UNIT was re-introduced after the 2005 re-launch in the Ninth Doctor episode Aliens of London. However, UNIT now stood for Unified Intelligence Taskforce, as the real UN decided that it didn’t want a fictional organisation in a popular TV show to be associated with it. Since its introduction way back in 1968 right up to the 2016 Christmas special, UNIT has sported a variety of different uniforms, so the first thing you have to decide if you want to field a unit of UNIT is which version of UNIT you want to field.
To assist with this, I have found a rather interesting and useful blog called UNIT Uniforms, which details every variation of the uniforms worn by this organisation from its inception right up to the modern-day, with lots of useful images for painters.
However, to break it down, there are effectively three different styles of uniform – the classic ear uniform, the re-introduced ‘paramilitary’ look and the most recent ‘anti-terrorist’ look.
For the classic era uniform, your best bet for suitable figures is either our old friends Black Tree Design, who have the ‘official’ 28mm UNIT miniatures or Crooked Dice, whose ‘Army’ miniatures were inspired by UNIT.
For the ‘paramilitary’ look as sported by UNIT in the 2008 Tenth Doctor adventure The Sontaran Stratagem, i.e. all-black uniforms with red berets, Crooked Dice’s X-Commandoes fit the bill.
For the most recent ‘anti-terrorist’ look, I would suggest Moonraker Miniatures Future Skirmish Troopers.
Now, as I had some of the last suggested figures and required some UNIT troops for my first planned Doctor Who AAR, I set about painting them in the correct colours.
However, as I originally bought these back when they were sold by Grenadier Miniatures, they have been painted and re-painted several times over the years as I changed my mind what I was planning on using them for. So, when it came to painting them up as UNIT troops, they were so caked in paint, that any attempts to add more paint was just going to obscure the detail. Therefore, to use them for this purpose (or anything else for that matter) would require stripping off the existing paint, which is a job I detest.
But I needed some UNIT troops, so I had to either strip these figures or buy some more. However, in true Jez style, I went for secret option number 3 – use something else. “But Jez”, I hear you cry, “You’re primarily a sci-fi/horror/fantasy gamer, rather than a historical gamer, so what could you possibly have that could be drafted as proxy UNIT troops?”
How about these?
HeroScape comes up trumps once more, with the Airborne Elite. Based on my research, the uniforms and weaponry can pass as classic era UNIT, although they aren’t wearing berets. I could have cut off their helmets and sculpted berets on them, but the figures have very noticeable chinstraps, so I decided to just paint the helmets in the standard UNIT beret colour of beige instead.
So, having referred to the website above, I chose the colour scheme that fitted best with what I wanted my UNIT troops to look like and block-painted them:
So, uniforms in GW Goblin Green, webbing and pouches in GW Salamander Green, helmets is Revell Beige and rifles in Docrafts Chocolate Brown. I then gave the uniforms a wash of Salamander green, painted the boots Marine Dark Blue followed by Black Ink, used Chainmail on the metal parts of the rifles and a few obvious pouch buttons, then gave the brown parts of the rifles a coat of Brown Ink.
Faces and hands were Docrafts Flesh with a wash of GW Dwarf Flesh, and the chinstraps were just painted in with Black Ink. I then decided to try my hand at giving them UNIT insignia, which just consisted of a Black Circle with a White circle dotted in on their left sleeve and a white circle dotted in on the front of each troopers helmet. There would be absolutely no way of painting in a tiny globe with the UNIT lettering around the outside, so I left it as is. From playing distance, it will look fine and that’s what counts.
And this is what they look like now:
And just to prove that they do look different from what they originally looked like, here’s a comparison shot with one of the original figures.
I’m pretty pleased with them and best of all, they didn’t cost me anything! Result!
And finally, because I had to do something whilst I was waiting for my UNIT troops to dry, I’ve also finished off The Master. Here he is with his TARDIS:
I’m particularly pleased I managed to get his hair and beard right.
Right, that’s all for this week, but as I now have enough fully painted figures for my first Doctor Who AAR, using Way of the Crow naturally, hopefully next week will see the first instalment of a planned four-part Doctor Who miniature adventure. Expect thrills! Spills! Classic-era baddies! And a time-and-space spanning adventure that should prove that the Way of the Crow rules can be used for ANY type of tabletop miniature game!
Excited? You should be…