Seamus, the Weekend General, here with an objective discussion on... well... objectives!
One thing that is often underrated in games of Bolt Action is objective markers. Of the 12 missions in the main rulebook, 5 missions call for objective markers of some sort, in quantity from 1 to 5 in a game. In my nearly four years of Bolt Action I've seen dice used as objective markers, I've seen colored beads used (some crafty ones with an Allied star or Balkenkreuz, too), I've seen flags, I've seen printed objective markers such as those made by Historique, poker chips, and many other variations. The ones that really stick in my mind, though, are ones that fit in with the table and especially those that are themed for the army. It's a great way to add character to your objective games and get your army "into" the table. One of the big events in Chicagoland, Operation Sting, actually goes so far as to require each person have a themed objective marker for one particular mission. How well the marker matches the theme of your army is factored into your overall points for the tournament as well. One year I did the equipment containers from Foundry Miniatures for my Fallschirmjager. This year, I did up this little number for my Commandos... a British officer with a map and some tea. The table was hand made from plasticard and for a first attempt at 28mm furniture wasn't bad, though I know I can do better.
Recently, I was turned on to some generic objective markers being made by a local business called Mercenary Miniatures. I knew these guys from their commission paint work in the past, and have even been lucky enough to roll dice with them at various points. They had brought early prototypes of the objective markers to a game and I was pretty impressed, so pressed them for a set to check out myself. They showed up in the mail a few days later and with kid-at-Christmas interest I set in.
Right off the bat, I noticed that the resin they used was different than what I'm used to with tanks. It's a bright white resin, and very smooth in the flat areas. At first I was somewhat concerned that it would be brittle but even dropping one and trying to break another they held up well. There are a few air bubbles here and there, but nothing that couldn't be fixed with just a little Green Stuff after I had given them the standard bath in warm, soapy water.
A quick prime with some Krylon black, and I was ready to paint. I have to say, they painted up pretty quickly and easily! I waffled on whether to do the tarps in Splittermuster, or perhaps Plane Tree, but in the end I opted for a more generic green color, as may be found in most armies. This, for me, makes the objective markers a little more universal so that they don't look out of place with any of my armies (a real boon, given the glacial pace at which I complete projects). If you're only using them for one army, doing an army-specific pattern such as a nation's unique camouflage would go that extra little bit to really set them off.
I'm on the fence about whether or not to add some tufts of grass to the base, but I figured all the feet trampling around the supply cache would get rid of any grass so I'm not sure. Maybe some static grass? We'll see how I feel as I get them on the table a few times.
All in all, though, I am pretty happy with the results. These objectives run for only $10 US each, or the set for $25 US. That's not bad at all, and for me it's worth the price of admission for something a little more scenic in my Bolt Action games requiring objectives. I suppose that means this was a subjective discussion, then.
Edit: I've since heard from the guys at Mercenary Miniatures. They had sent me prototypes, and for production runs will be using a more standard resin as you can see in this pic. I'll definitely be picking up some of these as well, both to compare and because it'll be nice to have a few more for games that might need them.
Seamus, often going by the nom de guerre “Weekend General,” is a long-time wargamer and sometime contributor to various podcasts and online forums, based in Chicago. Occasionally dabbling in other miniatures games, it is Bolt Action that really captures his interest.