Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas All!

Hey All!

Just a small post to wish everyone a great Christmas or whatever you may celebrate this season.

I finished up the ATR teams and am just finishing up the 45mm AT gun...
Used a grey (German Grey 995) instead of black to paint the ATRs and highlighted with gun metal. I think I will go a tad lighter next time - say Dark Bluegrey 867. A few painters work I have seen use light grey for metal (WPB and Crac des Chevaliers) and I like the look but don't want to go too light.

Had to make a few late-production corrections, specifically recarving the capped gunners face (huge flash) and the helmeted SMG figure right hand. It was an enormous paw with these really long fingers that just looked mutated even when painted.

Pretty happy with the way these turned out especially the helmeted team. Their faces really came together well but when I originally posed up and glued them down, you couldn't even see either one! I broke them free and reposed to show more of the face.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Panzer IIIG Decalled and finished.

Hey All.

Finished up the Panzer IIIG with some decals and a bit more grass, dust and mud.

I also did a final extremely light coat with a  dusty color on the tops of panels and upper surfaces as well at the running gear with the airbrush. Try not to overdo this as it will hide all your hard work!!

After adding more grass, I drybrushed it a tan color to make it stand out more. I like this grass / mud effect and will be using it on most new tracked projects.

 I finished up the decals with a few stains and mud to blend them in. I suppose I should have decalled first - weathered second. Turned out ok but next time - stick to the 'Plan'!

Next up, the Soviet support weapons!



Thursday, December 8, 2011

Panzer III Weathered

Hey All!

Added some chipping and mud (to cover a few of the issues with the wheels) and I think I am ready for decals...

I tried not to overdo the mud effects. Its easy to try to make it look too realistic and end up covering all your earlier work.

Uploaded a small youtube video, not sure about the focus but here it is...



Panzer III First Look.

Hey All!

Slapped a coat of paint on the PzIII and the ATG yesterday and have started the weathering process.
The 45mm ATG is really a great mini. Detail is above average and it paints up well. My only issue is the spoked wire wheels but this would be a tough one to model. I base coated it in Vallejo 72067 (game color) and highlighted by adding 857 golden olive and a bit of white.

I changed up companies when base-coating the Panzer. I used Tamiya Acrylic XF-63 German Grey (lighted with white) as I have found that it has much better 'stick' than Vallejo. For general painting and detail/shadow/highlight work, I find Tamiya has too short a work time and so use Vallejo for pretty much everything else. 

I think I have the scale issues worked out with the tow cable; I use a smaller gauge wire for the cable and use a larger gauge for the loops.

While painting the Panzer, I sometimes have to leave well enough alone as I tends to overpaint things. One issue I have with Vallejo paints is that they tend to change both color and intensity once dry so you have to compensate for this by test painting swatches and using brighter colors. I usually paint and re-paint highlight and shadows until I am happy with the look but I could eliminate a lot of this if I just take the plunge and lighten the crap out of the color to begin with!

I like the way that the turret bulge turned out. It is my first attempt to use epoxy to scratchbuild and it worked slick! I went a bit over the top with the rust but I was thinking that the Panzer IIIG would have sat out most of the winter 1940-41 until the Soviet invasion so ...meh!  As this is an early war Panzer III in Russia, I wanted to keep the the kit minimalistic but I decided to add a few more items. I scratchbuilt a pail out of aluminum rod and wire and also a ammo box.

There is SO much room for improvement with the running gear on BF panzers! I really tried to paint both the details and highlights but due to the rough modelling of the wheels, you can only do so much...there is really no symmetry. Some wheels have 6 others 7 holes, unevenly spaced. I am still pretty bummed out by the running gear but overall and happy with the look so far. I will be adding mud to the running gear to cover the imperfections.



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My thats a Long barrel...

Hey All.

I thought I would take a quick snap of the latest minis before I begin to paint them.

The ATR crews are earlier Battlefront (BF) casts and are typically large and reasonably detailed. The gunners are posed in a crouch instead of a prone position I am guessing as they wouldn't fit on a small base otherwise. They come with a pile of rocks which has the bipod molded on so if you are not using them, you have to make your own. I fashioned these with wire and choose a brick wall and scratch built some ammo cases to prop the loonngg barrel on. I added a carrying handle that is missing from the cast from brass wire and added a wooden handle by covering in two coats of PVA glue.

The BF Panzer IIIJ took a fair bit of working (or re-working...) to bring it to an acceptable level. This is really unacceptable for a premium priced kit. I paid $54.95 plus tax for this 5-tank box (GBX02) but it is not available on the BF website anymore. I must be old school because this just seems to be TOO much!

It says on the BF site:... "We are removing from sale the listed boxes to make room for new versions or their updated replacement." I hope they are reworking the PzIIIJ but as I look over the the 'new' 3-tank PzIIIG offering (GBX47), it looks identical to the 'old' PzIIIG...

The cupola was VERY poorly cast (as are all the others in the box) and had to be re-worked. The tracks and wheels were badly miscast typical of Battlefronts Panzer III and IVs. I spent way too much time cutting, carving and re-scribing the tracks. The end result is that I will still have to add some mud and soil to cover the imperfections. The trackguards needed a fair bit of sanding as did the tank body itself due to bumps and casting dust. The spare wheel molded on had to be removed as it was so bad it was unrepairable. I replaced it with spares in the blister but still had to re-work these.

Panzer IIIJ I will be using is to represent an early G from 1941 without the turret storage so I had to add the cupola bulge to the back of the turret. I used 2-part epoxy and cast some helmets from the left over epoxy with a press-mold I had made earlier with epoxy. I also added a tow cable, tool box, headlight, screened air intakes, (to cover the poor casting) MG34 hull MG, and handles missing from the wire cutters on the trackguards. It would be nice to have these details put into the original cast.

When it comes to poor kits, the PzIII is certainly up there, but is typical of most of the BF vehicle kits I have seen/built so far. While I have seen a few Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) plastic vehicles, I have yet to finish one. One thing that stands out on the PSC is the crisp detail and better scale. While the crisp detail is appreciated (squares are square, circles are round) the scale looks smaller compared to BF and others. Maybe this is because I am used to the overscaling but I find that if I look at the BF and PSC the BF seem to have character that is lacking in the PSC offerings. I guess its like an old raggy pair of jeans...

I will be painting up a PSC T34 (thanks Tanner!) alongside the Panzer III to see if they look better painted. One companies vehicles I have not seen in the flesh, are Forged in Battle (FiB). While I have a fair bit of their infantry, I do not have any FiB vehicles. From the website, they do look good!

Whew! Thats enough bitching (for now).



Monday, December 5, 2011

On to the Russkies...

Hey All!

With the 6th Army Germans done, its time to paint someone for them to fight! I plan on attending and hosting a game at the Salute 2012 in Vancouver in April so I am endevouring to complete enough units and terrain to play out the introductory scenario from my rulebook 'Schwere Kompanie' in 15mm.

 I will be painting up a Panzer IIIG that I am currently re-working to a early version without turret rear storage box as well as a Russian GHQ, ATR and 45mm Model 32 anti-tank gun and crew.
I based up a platoon of four squads and posed them with the other Russians I have done.
I added some distractions to the Squads to break up the monotony. I really don't want the army to be lugging around wall and trees but I think that the odd item doesn't look too out of place on the battlefield.
Bricks are cut from sponge and painted a couple different brick colors.

Sign is reduced from a pic and wire is made from bug screen and wire twisted up with drill and glued.
Should have a few pics of the Panzer G and ATG up soon...



Wednesday, November 30, 2011

6th Army Grenadiers

Hey All!

Finally finished re-basing my Grenadiers with the new style and finished the heavy weapon teams. Really happy with the new basing, it was a real issue with the old ones, I was happy with the figures but the basing really picked my ass. I just couldn't leave them alone!

Above is a 8cm Granatwerfer 34 team with a converted loader and a few scratchbuilt rounds and cases. As there really isn't a good 41-42 mortar loader figure in a standard uniform as of yet from BF, I decided to make my own. I used a HG figure with short boots/gaiters and a long tunic.  I cut the jacket down to resemble a '41 style tunic and added pockets.

The fence is based on photos of WWII-era Russian fences in and around Stalingrad. I made a single mortar round out of epoxy and cast extras with heated plastic sprue. I completed two mortar and four sMG teams as well as a three Panzerbüchse teams.

I added a few extra goodies to the teams such as spent shells, ammo boxes and the like.



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pictures From Europe 2010

Hey All!

A few pictures from my trip to Europe from 2010. As these are from the front end picture from the blog, this post will be added to as the pictures drop off the home page...

FlaK 8.8cm...
FlaK 88




7.5cm PaK 40 rusting away near Omaha beach.

Abbaye d'ardenne

The massive Abbaye d'ardenne seen through a shellhole in the wall surrounding the monastary.

Moon over Paris...

British 'flimsy' in the woods near German positions, Carpiquet battlefield.

 Bunker overlooking Omaha 

Jagpanther at the Royal Museum, London.

Cromwell from Bovington, England.

Dieppe, France at sunset.

Canadian graveyard, Dieppe, France. As the Germans buried the Canadians after the raid, soldiers are buried head to head as opposed to head to toe. As they were buried with full military honors, after the war the Commonwealth war graves commission chose to leave them as they were.

Omaha Beach.

Church at William the Conqueror's castle near Caen. Bullet holes compliments of WWII...

 Cutest damn Jerrycan, almost bought it in Brussels!

German Sd.Kfz 251 Ausf C at Bovington, England. Smaller than I expected it to be...
Getting creative...