Tuesday, December 29, 2015

And So it Begins...

Hey All!
The best to you and yours this season. As you may have noticed, its been a bit slow this year on the Corner. This is mostly due to some health issues at home but I am happy to say, things are looking positive! One thing that this experience has brought about is a focus on what it important in life and for me, that is miniatures!

I have begun to assemble some Soviet forces for a scenario I will be putting on in Vancouver in April. I am looking at East Front '41 Smolensk so I envision Panzer II/IIIs and BT/T-26s .  After opening up a boxed set of Battlefronts BT-5s, I noticed that there were no gun barrels for any of the tanks...well that won't do...I sick-ed the Customer Service department at Battlefront on it but I am still waiting...So instead I finished up a platoon of T-26S that have been hiding out on a corner of my desk since this post in 2011. T-26 
A Lot has changed since then as far as my painting style - I think the new method is less busy and more pleasing to the eye.  I spent a fair bit of time cleaning up the resin and tracks and re-made some of the rivet detail.  Also I added some scratchbuilt shovels, tarps and such.  Color is a little different but still acceptable.
I also have begun to put together some fleeing tank crew markers. The left figure is converted from a German crewman with a head swap and costume change. I used Vallejo Plastic putty and epoxy along with the trusty x-acto to effect the change.
Gun barrels were scratchbuilt as well. Made of brass, they should stand up to the rigors of gaming...



Sunday, November 22, 2015

No, it's not the StuGs...

Hey All.

Finished up one of the new Battlefront plastic T34s that I had started on an earlier post. Re-did the colors and weathering a bit.
There are no pigments added to this mini - instead a watery paint technique was used to add a 'dust in crevice' look.
Mud and grass added to the running gear and lower chassis.
 Really lightened the base-coat and subsequent weathering to enhance the look on the gaming table. Compared to my earlier work, I find this look much more pleasing.



Thursday, July 16, 2015

Splendid StuGs! Part I.

Hey All!

While on Summer va-ca, I dived into my second plastic project, the Battlefront StuG IIIG Platoon (GBX83) boxed set. This is another excellent product that builds up, right out of the box, into a great-looking mini. Other than some minor sink hole issues, most of my modifications are more to do with correcting some detail simplifications that were made to produce a more durable gaming piece.

The fit on these minis is very good except for one issue with the rear hull plate - it is a wee bit too wide.  Corrected on my first mini above when I followed the online guide here: Guide...I recommend gluing the top and bottom hull together first, then the rear hull plate then the tracks.  This allows a perfect fit for the front and back hull seams. This will create a small gap underneath the model on the right track that is hidden when it is right-side-up.  If you follow the Battlefront assembly guide, you will not be able to fit the rear hull plate without some shaving and it will also create a poor fit when adding the top hull.  
The Schurzen skirts and the hangers are of a late-war variety and the hangers are cast as solid pieces. They are quite durable and well thought out for gaming; with cast on supports under the plates to aid in them not breaking loose when ham-fisted gamers squeeze your babies just a little too hard! I hollowed them out for a more realistic appearance. Some rear ones were left as is and had helmets and other gear hung on to cover them. The plates themselves were cut apart and reinforced for gaming by adding additional supports underneath. I modified them to hang less uniform for a more realistic look.

The plastic MG34 included is a bit overly simplified and looks odd, more like a new-age pulse rifle with the over-sized holes cast in.

As well, it will not stand up to gaming. I replaced with metal MG42s from the spares box, dressed up with new flash suppressors, ammo and cocking handles.

There were a few sinkholes on the mini One minor one appearing on the rear of the cast-on rails...
...the other on the side of the side of the gun mantlet.

Mine were far worse than these. Although the mantlet is partially hidden when installed, I had to fill in the deep holes to correct the look. Otherwise, all detail is crisp, and flash and mold lines are minimal. I added four bolts to the front of the mantlet and drilled out the end of the barrel.

I've added a wealth of scratch-built items to these minis. Starting with the crew of the above vehicle. They were taken from the Panzer III boxed set with a few arms added and bodies reworked to fit into the crew hatches. This leads me up to one small issue with the hatches on the loaders side - you have to open it up yourself if you want to model a second crew member as it is cast closed.

I made up some bedrolls, screened the air intakes and added some tow cables.
I tried a few different gauge wires and methods but I was really unhappy with the finished look. I finally have settled on a method that I am happy with (above) They are easy to build, strong, and really look the part! I will be replacing the ones done already with these.
A few pails and starting handles were added as well.
When it comes to the MG gunshield, the normal position is flat with the hull. (above). When the gunners hatch was open, the forward hatch was used to support the shield and braced it with a special catch.  Without the hatch open, the shield was folded forward and the MG was stored.  I find that this looks a bit boring and figured that it would be conceivable that the MG could brace the shield too and could be placed to the right of the hatch in a somewhat ready to fire position. I have yet to see evidence of this in wartime photos though...the gunshield in the kit is robust and will have no problem surviving gamers. I used them as they were except the folded one above. I thinned and angled the sides and added some detail.

The spare rear road wheels were turned on my dremel to add the split missing between the rubber tires. This is a bit of a pain to get right and wish they were cast as two pieces. Plastic Soldier Company does a 2-piece wheel that is very good.
The StuH42 above and below had the skirts support rails removed entirely. This is a fair bit of work but does add some variation to your minis.
Stowage and rails were added to the rear deck. Crew helmets were made with a heated sprue mold I made with epoxy putty. Cutting off helmets from spare figures was getting too expensive!

Total time spent was about five sessions of about 4 hours each but they could be built in about 30 minutes each if not modified.

Stay tuned,



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Resin is Dead, Long Live the New Plastics!

Hey All!

Its a good time to be a 15mm Gamer! With the new Kids on the Block, namely, Plastic Soldier Company and Zvezda, putting out better and better (and cheaper) products, Battlefront has had to shake up its product line. Life is too short to spend HOURS cleaning up a pair of tracks to assemble a poorly cast and detailed miniature.  So much of the sculpting on resin is crooked and skewed or frail and prone to breakage.  

After assembling Battlefronts T34/76 - 85 all-plastic kit, I realize it is going to be damn near impossible to go back to the resin/metal kits...
Battlefronts All-Plastic boxed set, the SBX30 T34, is in a word, AWESOME! And the detail is borderline fantastic! Even 'straight-out-of-the-box', you will have in your mitts a damn good rendition of the T34/76C M42  or T34/85 M44.  

Things like tracks and boggies are complete as soon as you remove them from the sprue.  Detail is crisp, straight and accurate. Sure there is always room for improvement but this is a winner! 
I added grab irons to replace the simplified ones on the turret and hull and also have begun to replace the overly-simplified light.   I find the hard plastic is of a good quality, think more of a PVC than a polystyrene.  All parts are virtually flash free and fit is very good although you will have to sand the joint on the turret. Price is steep but cheaper than the resin-metal. 

I am a convert - for me its all plastic from now on.  Yes, I have a shit-ton of resin unbuilt so I will still be building them (or flogging on eBay) but my money is now only going to be spent on plastic vehicles.  I still think that metal soldiers are the way to go as the current plastic offerings from all companies are too brittle for small parts and gaming and some major detail is lost due to the plastic mold process but for tanks and trucks, plastic rules! 

As I said, its a good time to be a 15mm Gamer!



Saturday, April 18, 2015

Heads Down!

Hey All!

Just a few pics (ok...a lot) of the recently completed Heavy German Infantry Support teams.

The Battlefront 12cm Granatwerfer 42 from the GE711 blister looks too small when compared to most other BF offerings.  The detail is good though the tube itself is no thicker than the 8cm tube of the smaller mortar. The infantry supplied are mid to late and are not sculpted by Even Allen - instead they are done by Seth Nash. With me its a love/hate thing.  I find I love the detail Seth tries to model but I hate the scale change that results. The minis are a bit taller and the hands are even bigger than Evans.  Though the end result is probably closer to reality, they don't mix very well with Evans figures.

As I wanted to model a early German team, I was assembled mine from BF German artillery troops and a Soviet loader with a head transplant. I added shoulder boards and pleated pockets to complete the change.

The assistant loader was given a 12cm mortar round to replace the artillery shell he was holding.  The tube was basically rebuilt, using a Soviet baseplate and part of the brace.
The spare rounds, case and brick wall were scratchbuilt.
The sIG33 build is described in a previous post.
 I added some home-made grass tufts made with a home-made grass tuft maker that I made at home. Silflor makes them but they are very pricey (tufts and tuft maker).

You tube has the instructions on making your own tufts with an electric fly swatter (dollar store total cot for project was less than $5).

 I made some wicker cases with brass screen and some (oversized) rounds with plastic rod.
 The figures were again taken from the German Artillery troop blister.
 The netting is gauze soaked in white glue.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pioniers Part 2

Hey All!

Finished up a couple more Pionere Squads for the upcoming Trumpeter Salute 2015 con in Vancouver.

Colors as per the Recommended Colors in the sidebar.
 Mixed in a bunch of figures from various blisters.
Went with five figures to differenciate other squad types. Using a simple base styles that that includes a spot for demo charge beads to be placed on the base itself.

Some detail shots...