Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Finished PHQ Teams

Hey All!

Two posts today? I really gotta get a life...

Finished up the Platoon HQ teams today. Had a few issuses with color contrasts so adjusted some of my suggested Russian colors on the Ritterkrieg website.

I plan on painting up a batch of the BF Winter Russians to mix in with these next (maybe 1 per stand of 4). to give a September/October feel to them.

Added some orange to the mahogany to get the reddish color of the PPSH. Still don't know what the hell the Officer on the left is wearing...

Look for a review of the FiB UK troops tomorrow!


FiB Russian Mortars and MGs Review

Next up from FiB are 15mm Russians R-INF02 and R-INF03 Mortar and Maxim teams. These appear to late-war platoons (short collared uniforms). Each blister has four weapons and twelve crew.

- Again, this is a quality product. Well packaged and crisp detail as well as minimal flash.
- White metal is of very high quality. Very strong.
- The single-piece cast weapons are of very good detail, accuracy and quality, better than most.  In fact, these are the best 82mm Russian mortars I have seen yet. They even have the wheels molded into the base. Maxim MG model is also good.
- Great posed prone MG crew! Ammo belts and figures are all very well cast. There is no "He's laying down so we will skip his face detail" bullshit.
- Face and hand detail is very good. Better than average from other companies for other weapon teams.
- Uniform detail is accurate and very well sculpted.
- Again these mix well with most BF figures.

- Aside from one figure per team, all of the weapon teams are exactly alike. Not really any different from most other companies out there but...
- Again, most head sizes on figures with caps are much too large.
- Again, helmets look more like UK paras than USSR. Too rounded and no ear-protection bow on the bottom. Strangely enough, they have modeled the outside rivet detail - while a nice gesture, it is completely out of scale for 15mm. Chin straps are also out of scale. IMHO, these are better left off to be painted in.
- There are some issues with the Maxim MG cast. The barrel jacket groves are only visible on half the model; top and left side. This is a small issue in an otherwise excellent one-piece cast.

BOTTOM LINE: 36/40. Highly Recommended!

Accuracy 9/10 - Great overall detail. Poor helmets bring down a 10/10.
Variety: 9/10 - A few excellent poses but repeats bring down a 10/10.
Quality: 9/10 - Strong metal, good packaging, good casting. MG detail issue brings down a 10/10.
Scale: 9/10 - Mix well with BF. Large heads on some figures brings down a 10/10.


Monday, November 29, 2010

FiB Russian Infantry Review

Well today was the day - my Forged in Battle (FiB) fellows showed up!

Russians R-INF01 Infantry  Platoon.

Up for review first are the 15mm Russians R-INF01 Infantry  Platoon. This appears to be a late-war platoon (short collared uniforms, late model rifles). Included are 40 figures in 17 different poses, some with only one of each, others with four.  There is a good mix of helmets and caps and a single officer figure. There are thirty-one riflemen, four PPSH SMG and four DP-27 LMGs.

- First impression is that this is a quality product. Well packaged and crisp detail as well as minimal flash.
- White metal is of very high quality. Very strong.
- There is a good variety of poses. Some are quite good.
- Face and hand detail is good. In some cases excellent.
- Uniform detail is accurate and well sculpted.
- Mix well with most BF figures.
- Price of product and shipping are reasonable from England to Canada.

- Many figures doing the same thing (looking to the right for some reason, while advancing - who farted? )
- Rifle modeled appears to be the late M44 Mosin-Nagant with folding bayonet and the M38. There are no M1891/30 which was the most common model. Rifles all seem a bit too short but this could be from the model represented.
- Most head sizes on figures with caps are much too large. These may need to be replaced...
- Hand size is another issue. We are all used to the paws that BF models on their figures so these will seem tiny in comparison. While they are actually more accurate in size, the fact that the head size is still large on some, it makes hands on the capped figures look like skeletons. May not be as bad with a head transplant...
- Helmets look more like UK paras than USSR. Too rounded and no ear-protection bow on the bottom. Strangely enough, they have modeled the outside rivet detail - while a nice gesture, it is completely out of scale for 15mm. Chin straps are also out of scale. IMHO, these are better left off to be painted in.
- Knapsacks on some figures are a wee bit small.

BOTTOM LINE: 33/40. Recommended!

Accuracy 8/10 - Good overall detail. Helmets and lack of rifle detail bring down a 10/10.
Variety: 8/10 - A few excellent poses. A few duds and repeat poses bring it down a 10/10.
Quality: 9/10 - Strong metal, good packaging, good casting. Base size a bit small.
Scale: 8/10 - Mix well with BF. Large heads, small hands on some figures.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Vallejo Painting tips.

Hey All!

Pictured above are 8 figures in various states of completion that I will be using for Platoon HQ teams. As I worked on the next batch of Russians, I realized that I seem to be thinning the Vallejo line quite a bit when doing shadow and shading. I tend to use them at a very watery level but this allows for a subtle transition not possible with most other acrylics. Just be sure and unload your brush on a rag (touch it on a rag to remove much of the paint) before attempting detail work on faces and such or it will run everywhere!

I have a spare figure of the fellow in the middle and may customize him to look like the fellow in the post prior (Alexey Yeremenko ). I will add a set of binos and change the head to a yelling one as well as changing the open hand to a fist.

Added a pistol strap to the 3rd figure from a thin band cut from a thin metal galvanized sheet. 
I had a bit of trouble finding a reference photo for the 5th figure from the left. Originally, I was painting him up as a Captain or Major (he is listed as a Commisar on the BF website). I could not find any pictures of the jacket he is wearing (with sheepskin collar). There are longer ones in photos I have but those have sheepfur cuffs too. I think that it maybe simply a peasent coat or non-military one. Any ideas? 

Anyway, I have been updating the Vallejo paint reference on the Ritterkrieg site as I find more accurate colors for the Russians - stay tuned...
Update: You can click on the 'Recommended Colors' link on the right sidebar to access my current color choices. 


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mixing Paint

Hey All.

A short post tonight about Vallejo paints and few trials and errors I found in trying to find a suitable thing to add to the bottles to assist in mixing those buggers up properly. First off, Vallejo really needs to be shaken well before using as there are many pigments in the bottles and they settle out pretty quickly.

So I tried brass beads I found in a fishing shop. They oxidize into a black sludge and this tainted the color of most paints. Removed these. Tried chrome ball bearings. They began to rust after a few weeks - and would you belive that Vallejo paints are magnetic?!? Found that out when trying to remove the bearings with a neodyne magnet. Big mistake! Paint crawled out of the bottle and attached itself to the mag like it was alive!

Finally got all the bearings out...lost a fair bit of paint...The latest thing are Hermatite beads. They seem perfect, various sizes (9mm will fit into Vallejo bottles), quite heavy, and they don't seem to oxidize - rust or otherwise. I put a few into a bottle of water and they haven't changed in 2 days. Not too sure if they will change in the actuall paint but I will let you know! Stay tuned...

Painted up a few Russians figures for Platoon HQs. I switched to Yellow Green 881 from Khaki Grey 880 and really like this color! (above) Its quite a bit greener. Shade by adding black and highlight by adding white. Looks pretty close to color pics I have seen.

BTW, the left figure in the picture above is one of the better I have seen by BF. Its a great pose, based I believe, on the photo at left. It even has the strap from the tokerov pistol modelled on the other side of the figure.

This iconic WWII picture is of Junior political officer, Alexey Yeremenko leading an attack  by the 220th Regiment, 4th Rifle Division, July 1942.

He died seconds after this picture was taken...

I finally recieved a letter back from Battlefront. I have posted my letter and the reply. Take from it what you will...

Hello Battlefront.

I am sure that you do not hear enough about when you get it right regarding miniatures and I am probably guilty of that. You do a very good job on the whole with accuracy and sculpting and I have been buying up many of your boxed sets and blisters over the last 4 years. I also realize that there will be the occasional figure that is miscast or is indeed a real dud. No problem if the rest are within a certain quality range. In the past, your company has been exceptional at replacing any miscast parts for me and I have continued to support you financially as well as positive reviews on my site as well as my postings.

That said, after waiting patiently for the re-issue of the Early War line, it was with great disappointment that I inspected your latest figures. The German and UK Infantry seem to be a real step backward. My excitement of receiving over 200 dollars worth of figures turned to dismay and then to anger as I felt that I have truly been ripped off. I started by looking at the German figures. There were some OK figures but overall, they had the look of a rush job. Strange poses, flash is heavy, faces miscast and Rifles look like walking sticks, or are too short.  The web gear on the Germans is not even correct. Those that have suspenders are wearing crossed suspenders in the back - not the 'Y' type and no strap for the gas mask. Torsos are thin to the point of flat, high boots are REALLY high (totally out of scale).

Then I opened the British…Bayonets look like flash; SMLE Rifles are too short, too thin and not detailed at all. Poses are boring, and bizarre (so many figures waving), scale is out, flash atrocious, finger prints on the castings of some figures, I could go on and on...

These figures, for the most part, would require too much work to be brought to a so-so level. Heads need to be replaced; hands re-carved and heavy flash (the kind that erases detail) would need to be removed. What’s left is still a poor figure.

My question to you is this:

Is this the direction that BF is taking? I cannot continue to support your company if this is where you are going. I do hope that in future you will be bringing the quality back to where it has been in the past.



Troy Ritter

Hi Troy,

Thanks for the email and I appreciate the honest comments.

It has been interesting to see what people think of the new EW ranges as
they were not sculpted by Evan Allen (who has sculpted the majority of
figures in the past). To be completely honest these ranges seem to have
really polarised our customers into two camps - one that loves them, and
one that has similar feedback to yourself. From our perspective this is
both wonderful and terrible as we sincerely want our customers to enjoy
painting and assembling the models as much as putting them on the table
and playing with them.

To address your question, you will be happy to know we have already
taken steps to improve the quality issues you have outlined (for example
Evan has just completed a new range of heads that will serve as our
masters and retain more detail through the multiple casting processes
that a figure is subjected to) and I am confident that you will see an
improvement in the future. Obviously this will take time to filter
through, but I am confident you will be as blown away by what is being
worked on for the next book, just like we were.

If you have any other comments or concerns please don't hesitate to drop
me an email.

Chris Townley

Monday, November 15, 2010


Hey All!

Added a Battlefront patriotic slogan to the T-26. Had to cut the decal into 2 to get it to fit right. Seems a bit large but currently, I don't have any smaller ones. Dom's Decals at:

has a wide array of great decals for various scales. I have some although currently, they do not have any Russian slogans, I highly recommend their products. I may try and find a white gel pen to try and do up my own. Stay tuned...

Should be seeing the FiB minis any day now...maybe today! Just looking at the pictures, I am thinking the German helmet sculpt is a bit too much like a WWI-era helmet, too high and too wide a brim. Should be an easy fix but we will see...

I will be trying out a new matt acrylic varnish from Vallejo to seal and protect the T-26. Brutally expensive at 20 buck for a 400ml spraycan, it had better work well! I will be comparing it to a similar acrylic product from a company called PLAID that is half the price but comes out more like a gloss. Vallejo's spray looks to be less toxic than Dullcote - no CFC's, toluene, xyleme and labeled non-toxic (only warning label is Flammable, probably due to the aerosol gas) which is a big plus! I will let y'all know if it fits the bill...


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tiny Terror

Hey All.

Started to paint the BF T-26 while waiting for the basecoat to dry on the next bunch of Soviets and couldn't put it down! Pretty much completed the painting, just need to seal, decal and dulcote.

Great little tank, not too much to paint on it but the detail is good for such a small mini.

Tried out a custom mix for the base color. Its a bit involved but I think the result is worth the mixing. All Vallejo:

2 x drops Russian Green 894
4 x Drops Golden Olive 857
1 x Drop White 951
A teeny weeny bit of Flat Red 957

The red is needed as the green is too green on its own to replicate the color shown in reference modern photos of the T-26 from museums.

Wet and dry mud splatters added after a great tip from fellow painter on the FOW forum, Tanner. I have always liked the 1/35 scale mud shown on models and tried to replicate it here with static grass and PVA glue/sand. I painted using some cheap craft paints.

BTW, chain is an made from an earing donated by my daughter. Had just the right scale chain on it and managed to convince her I needed it!

I also got a great little package from a great company In Calgary, Alberta

Sentry Box

My new online hobby shop. Great pricing for Canadian hobbiests and quick as hell shipping!

I ordered a few new paints and a couple FOW 15mm goodies, namely an Elephant and a blister of Soviets in Greatcoats (after seeing how cool they looked painted up on the FOW forum by a fellow painter here: http://www.flamesofwar.com/Default.aspx?tabid=126&aff=10&aft=520841&afv=topic&afnp=727181

The Soviets are done in the early sculpt style and are excellent quality. I plan on adding a few to the Soviets I'm working to replicate the rag-tag Russians fighting in Stalingrad in the Fall. Should add some interest to the poses and break up the similarity.

Time is running out for those of you wanting to get in the EW sculpts on eBay. Currently going for a buck each (all they are really worth!) Would work pretty well for anyone who is more of a gamer than a painter.

and here:



Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Day to Reflect...

Hello All.

As today is Remembrance Day in Canada, I thought it might be a good thing to post up an entry dedicated to my Grandfather, Clarence Pearson Dunphy. Initially, I believe, he was in a militia unit but then enlisted in the Canadian Army December 16th 1940 and was assigned to the 14th A.A. Battery in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As he enlisted as General Service (GS), he was sent overseas in July 18th 1944 to the U.K. and then was landed in Northwest Europe (France) November 18th 1944.

Upon arrival in Europe, he was re-assigned as a 2nd on the Bren, 'A' Company, Queens Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada (Rgt), 6th Infantry Brigade of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division and fought in Holland and Germany. He was wounded February 5th 1945 when the jeep he was travelling in hit a mine or unexploded demolition charge (his explanation) during an attack. He spent the next month recovering in hospital before being returned to duty in March. He was then returned to Canada in April before being discharged in May 16th 1945.

He was the recipient of:

The 1939-45 Star awarded for six months service on active operations between Sep39 and May 1945.

The France and Germany Star for service in France/Holland /Germany between June 1944-March 1945.

The Defence Medal for service in the U.K. 1939-1945.

Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (CVSM) with Bar for volunteering for overseas serice and serving at least 60 days outside Canada.

The War Medal 39-45 awarded for 28 days between September 1939 and September 1945.

It was difficult to get him to talk of the war but he did open up on a few occasions. One sad story he told was of was a young replacement that came into the lines in the middle of the night. Taking up a position in the same slit trench as my Grampa, he was killed by a sniper in the morning when he put his head up and asked "So where are the Germans?"

He mostly kept it light. He used to joke that a shrapnel wound on the back of his neck was where a German soldier shot him for messing around with his girlfriend!

Pictured above before going overseas...

Picture upon arrival back in Canada. The strain and aging of combat is plainly etched in his face.

Grampa was as much a father figure to me as a Grandfather and always made time for me. He passed away February 2002 and will always be missed...


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Projects A-plenty!

Hey All.

Finished up basing the GHQ/FO for the German Kompanie. Tried out a bit of Silflour 'Buffalo Grass' (Late Summer color) and let me tell you, this stuff is awesome! Its so real looking that it looks like a weed sprouted out of your base! Very expensive though...

Not too sure if it clashes with the crappy static grass I have been using. I may base up the Russians with Silflour alone. Stay tuned...

 I still have a few support teams to base up (2 x MG34's, 1 x Motar and 3 x ATRs) but want to keep up the momentum I now have with the Russians so they will have to wait 'till I get bored of painting Khaki!

Finished up the crew of the PaK 36 and really like how they turned out! I subbed in a fellow from the German HMG blister to hold a 3.7cm round as the loader provided was hefting a 7.5cm shell for what looked like the leIG18! Made the shell from a pin and placed it in a hole drilled in his hand.

 Added a shovel to the trail leg (as per photos) and new handles from wire. I may tone down the rust a bit once based.

Tried basing the gun toward the short end of the base as per the website photos but there really isn't the room to properly place the crew around the gun. It looked a bit weird to have the commander behind everyone pointing for no one to see.

I really do not like too much on the base. Not a fan of mini-diorama based infantry, lugging tons of terrain with them into houses, down roads, through the tulips...I plan on only adding a few cases and live/spent rounds surrounding the gun. I would really like a few stray rifles to base but can't bring myself to hack up perfectly good figures. I currently have the EW Germans out there on eBay so they are out unless they don't sell...hmmm...might be the best use for them.

Primed up the Russian Platoon HQs and a T-26S. Added a tow chain, a scratchbuilt toolbox and spare wheel and screened the air intake. As per photos of the real thing, these were commonly seen. Should be painting up these tomorrow...

Anyone know of any 15mm weapons manufactures out there??



Friday, November 5, 2010

Russian Company Thus Far...

Hey All.

Finished up the first platoon of the Russians. Just love these guys! Easy to paint and accurate! Should get a few more done this weekend. Also working on a PaK 37 and crew - should have a few pics up soon. Based up the German FO and GHQ and will paint and flock this weekend.

I am probably going to flog the new EW Germans and Brits to anyone wanting them. Too much work to get to where I want them. I just cannot believe how F-ed in the A these are.

The equipment for the Germans isn't even close to accurate. There are so many mistakes, its almost as if the sculptor has no knowledge of the subject (probably didn't - can you say outsourced?). Those that are wearing suspenders have 'X' type crossed in the front and back (they should be Y shaped). As well huge gas mask cans are attached to the soldiers belt??! and have no strap. Bread bags have a small flap at top and no attachment tags, seemingly attached on the back to the belt (it should have a large flap with 3 attachment points, Battlefront has modeled these quite well in the past so what gives?!) Water bottles are depicted with a cap and no strap. Most boots are hip-waiter-sized!

The poses show no knowledge of human anatomy. The MG-34 gunners are gripping the weapon all wrong. There are figures firing while on tiptoes. The 50mm mortar crew has his ass so far in the air, it looks like he is expecting an enema! Kar-98 rifles are OK, probably the best of the items presented but the SMLE .303 is a joke. Details are terrible!

Anyone interested, email me with an offer. I don't want much, but cash or trades welcome! There are quite a few soldiers, a FOW platoon of each with MG and Mortar support. If no ones interested, they go on eBay next week...

As an aside, I ordered a platoon each of Germans, LW & EW Brits and Russians with MG/Mortar support from Forged in Battle. I will let you know the quality when they show up...

Happy Painting!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Finishing Up

Hey All.

Sent a letter to Battlefront regarding their latest infantry. I will refrain from posting it here for now. I am hoping I get a response. If not, it may be the last of their new Infantry I buy.

Finished the last of the 5 Panzer IVf1s from the 24th Panzer. Also completed the Forward observer team and the GHQ for the Grenadier Kompanie. Really happy how they turned out. I really like these early figures and hope that BF can get back to where they once were headed...

I had to re-darken some of the shadows on the tanks after the flatcoat as it greyed out the details (done after the picture was taken).

Added a few scratchbuilt items to the teams (radio, headphones, grenades and MP40). I was going to base the GHQ on a large base but thought it would look strange and be hard to fit into terrain.

Grenades were simple - brass wire inserted into wire insulation with a crazy glue built-up end cap screw.
Maps were printed after reducing the hell out of WWII German 1942-era maps of Stalingrad (no frickin kidding!).

Radio was a lot of work and looks good at gaming distance...love the scrub on the Funkers helmet! Actually painted on the lightning bolt to the left arm on these two! Terrain was a crop test piece...too much work and time...I think I will go with carpet...Groundwork still wet as I wanted to post before bed...