Thank you everyone for the recent comments and compliments on all of the command vignettes finished during the last several days. More are on the way! Several of you have asked, in the meantime, about certain things, like the gloss medium and bases, so I figured (Get it?) I'd respond here.
The varnish I am using right now is Liquitex (acrylic) Gloss Medium and Varnish, available from arts and crafts stores like Michael's and Dick Blick here in the United States. I believe Liquitex artists' products are available in other parts of the world too. Anyway, the gloss medium stays exactly where you put it since it is somewhat thicker than Future/Klear acrylic floor finish, which I have used since 2006.
The problem with Future/Klear is that the stuff runs everywhere. Rapid to apply, but very messy, and it seems to run off of higher areas on figures like shoulders, raised arms, the points of bayonets and swords, etc., which means that the paintwork on those areas is neither as well protected from handling, nor as glossy as on other parts of the figures. The Liquitex stuff, in contrast, while slower to apply, stays put and dries crystal clear in about 10 minutes. A second coat makes the figures even shinier and makes the colors even more vivid.
The bases are just heavy pieces of approximately 1/8" thick card that I purchased a sheet of from Dick Blick in January 2010 when I was on one of my occasional house-building kicks. It's not too different from the kind that is used as the backing for artists' sketch pads and tablets of graph paper, but slightly better in quality, firmer, and so less prone to warping than the cheaper stuff I used to save from used up writing and graph paper pads in my younger, poorer days. Anyway, I've chopped it into irregular shapes and then carefully rounded the corners with judicious trimming, using a sharp hobby knife. You can't beat it for ease of use. I have recently tried thin plywood and basswood for my bases, but I think I prefer the cardboard stuff.
With my vignettes, I've been attempting to capture a "look" similar to all of those great old vignettes by Doug Mason that used to grace the pages of Miniature Wargames, Wargames Illustrated, and the Wargames Holiday Centre brochures throughout the 1980s and into the early 90s.
The vignette work of Phil Olley, Jim Purky, Bill Gaskin, John Ray, and the Kingom of Wittenburg blog, more recently, has also had considerable influence on my own hobby dabblings. I'm not necessarily in the same league, of course, but their small "scenes" have certainly introduced me to a new dimension of the wargaming hobby and the presentation of painted 25-30mm military miniatures that seems worthy of emulation.
If nothing else, command and other kinds of vignettes help add atmosphere, period flavor, and even unique personality to one's collection and tabletop set-up. These small tableaus also compliment the various units of infantry, cavalry, and artillery that comprise our tiny armies regardless of their precise historic era. . . in much the same way that a well-chosen wool or silk pocket handkerchief with paisleys or pheasants on it can compliment the day's necktie. Yes, yes. . . I'm an unabashed dandy chap and proud of it! ;-)