Wednesday, 24 November 2010

I'm not dead!

Sadly RealLifeTM has prevented me doing much painting or the like, but hopefully I should get back on track soon.

I've just taken ownership of the first pieces of my new project: 1/300 Micro Armour.

Skytrex are the first to deliver with FV432 and Scorpions being received today.  Here's a sneak peak:
Scorpion Front (yep, that's a 1p coin its sitting on)
Scorpion Side

FV432 Front
FV432 Rear

I plan to get these cleaned up, based and spayed over the course of the weekend and then use one of the surplus FV432 as a test piece.  I'm planning to use BF/Army Painter 'British Armour' to base coat and then paint black/'German Grey' stripes on.  I'm sure that will evolve as I get dug in.

6mm isn't an entirely unfamiliar scale as I used to paint GW Epic scale models and even, in the latter stages, went as far as modelling on sand bag extra armour and camo nets as this Whirlwind (used as Hunters) battery demonstrates.

Also coming soon should be some Heroics and Ros Aircraft and Infantry and GHQ Chieftains.  This leaves a question that has yet to be resolved....

How does one paint DPM at 6mm?

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Back to Bases

The Artillery Battery project is finished!

I've spent the time since the last update doing a  few extra bits of weathering, basing and the final coats of varnish (literally only an hour or so before writing this).

Firstly, I decided to apply one last bit of weathering to the vehicles and the guns.  I gently dry brushed 'Iraqi Sand' onto the wheels and lower surfaces to represent dust that has been thrown up whilst travelling across dirt tracks.



I then dry brushed 'Iraqi Sand' onto the bases to add a layer of highlighting to the dirt and pick out the texture on the bases.  The dry brushing also tends to pick up the bits and lower legs of the infantry and adds to help shift the models from looking 'parade ground ready' to something more appropriate to a week long campaign in Holland!


The last paint to go on is a couple coats of Game Color 'Leather Brown' (not to be confused with Model Color 'Leather Brown') on the edges of the base.  This is is something I've done to my bases for years, originally using Citadel Colour 'Snakebite Leather' on 40K and Epic models!.  It's a fairly neutral brown that works on many different tabletops and helps set the model off.

I leave the models to dry overnight before proceeding with static grassing the bases.  I find Static Grass gives a good effect but is a pain to work with in some ways.  It tends to collect on a desk top and you can guarantee that a wayward strand will turn up on a model somewhere (the sharp eyed may have spotted a few strands that I didn't notice until after taking photos).  It's important that all paint is dry as it will stick to any wet surface and can give some odd looks as grass suddenly appears from the side of an infantryman's head!

First I apply PVA glue (using an old brush!) to about two thirds of the base.  I try and use this stage to hide any defects in the original polyfilling of the base (feet being submerged, cracks, voids, etc).
I then place the models in an old plastic container in a vain attempt to contain the static grass as I shake/pour it over the model.  I do a few models at a time just to quicken the whole damnable process.


I then remove each stand and give it a tap whilst its flipped over to get the excess grass off and get it standing on end.


Finally, the hot glue gun is turned to 'napalm' and Stilfor grass is stuck onto the base.  I've found that the best way of doing this is to leave the gun on its stand and just touch the tuft to the gun then quickly stick it to the base.
 I'm not  happy with the current brand I use as its a little garish.  I'm going to try the new(ish) Army Painter 'Highland Tufts' in the future.


The final stage is to give two good coats of matt varnish (I use Army Painter 'Antishine Matt' as its easier to get hold of than Testors Dullcote) and we're all done!

For those coming late to the party; here are the stage by stage posts for this project:

Here are some of the finished models:



Battery Commander


The Battery Commander is the only non-BF model in this platoon. I just thought the Peter Pig figure looked more suitable for a Battery Commander. Commanding rather than leaping into an assault!

Gun Troop Commander



75mm Pack Howitzer M1A1


15CWT Gun Towers




All in all, I'm quite happy with the end result.  There are still some areas for improvement in basing but I'm content with the new methodology for doing Maroon Berets and the smocks have come up very nice (as they should.  I've painted enough of them by now!)

So, what's the next project?

Well, I fancy doing something a little different and nothing quite says 'Different' like a brewed tigger!


See you next week.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Attention to Detail

Firstly, apologies for going a bit long between updates this week.  The new Bloodbowl League kicked off on Monday so I needed to get some stuff done for that.  It was worth it as I got a win in the first game of the season so off to a good start!  Tuesday saw me down the 'Call of Dice' club at The Victory pub for a game of Duck Duck Go with Matt, Smurf and Seb so I missed my opportunity then too!

Since last post I've been working on the fine detail.  This is the stuff that isn't really necessary but tends to give the model some character if you do bother with it.  For the Para Artillery this includes:

  • Para Wings on the Beret
  • Rank markings (NCO only)
  • Shell and Case markings
The 15CWT also have serial numbers and unit markings applied.

Lets look at the cap badges first.  The paratroop wings look like this:

Breaking the shape down its a triangle with a line down the middle.  That is more than adequate for the purposes of painting it at 15mm!  I painted this shape, first in very thinned down 'Black' then in 'Pale Grey Blue', just above the left eye on every figure with a beret.  Its important to get the paint thinned as it will flow better.  In a counter-intuitive way, its also better to NOT use a fine brush as it doesn't hold the paint well; nor let it flow.  You just tend to get a blob at the end of the bristles.  I use a GW Standard Brush as it holds the paint and allows it to flow down the tip.

At the same time I painted the NCO stripes on the arms.  This involved a similar process with 'German Camo Medium Brown' being laid down over 'Black' with 'Stone Grey' going on over the top.  I usually paint a single stripe rather than doing proper two/three stripes as doing the correct number of stripes tends to make for oversized markings.  Some painters can pull the brush control off for doing it so its worth doing a practice run and work out your own limitations.

This is the model after these two stages:

Next, I painted some markings on the shell and ammo boxes.  Armoured Acorn has some good resources on ammo used by the British Empire, including the lend lease supplies.  I looked at the entry for the 75mm round used by the Sherman and assumed that the M1A1 Pack Howitzer would be similar.  
First I painted the casing 'Brass' and the shell 'Black'.  The shell then got a base colour of 'German Grey' followed by a 'London Grey' highlight.  I then gave the shell and casing a quick 'Black Wash'.
Using thinned black paint I painted a black line on the casing (to denote its charge - no idea if its appropriate but it makes the casing interesting) and used thinned down yellow to paint some squiggly lines denoting text.  Finally I paint the fuze cap 'Gunmetal' with a small blob of 'Oily Steel' right at the tip.

Note the white squiggles and blocks on the box, taken from the reference sheet.  I also painted the rope handles 'Stone Grey'.  I did a similar thing on the 15CWT, but using the 17pdr Reference sheet for guidance.

Talking of the 15CWT, this also received some fine detail.  Each vehicle in a formation would have a few common markings:
1.  Bridge Weight markings (yellow circle with one or two black numbers, typically placed over one of the driving lights).  A Morris Truck would have 8/6 (laden and unladen categories).
2.  War Office number (T for Tanks, M for utility vehicles, H for Gun Towers).  These were painted white typically but seem to be sky blue on colour photos of airborne jeeps.
3.  Arm of Service Marking (The 17pdr Tower would be Royal Artillery (Red over Blue) with a serial of 47).
4.  Divisional Marking.  This is Bellerophon and Pegasus in sky blue on a maroon square

A quick post on the Battlefront forum gave me the information (cheers to R Mark Davies!) I was looking for.

First, the unit markings.  These are usually applied for and aft on the vehicle with a division symbol on the right (looking at the vehicle, front or back) and the Arm of Service marking on the left.    This was courtesy of the chaps on the Battlefront forum (always a handy place to ask a question as there will typically be someone with an answer!).

I painted the circle near the grill  'Yellow' and used thinned 'Black' paint (in fact, old GW Black Ink) to paint the number.

I painted a 'Flat Red' rectangle immediately above a 'Dark Blue' Rectangle to form a two-tone square.  Then, using thinned 'White' paint I painted the serial.

I then mixed the remaining 'Flat Red' and 'Dark Blue' together (adding blue to red in increasing amounts) until I had a satisfactory maroon colour. Using this, I painted a rectangle on the opposite mud guard.
Finally I thinned down some 'Azure' blue and painted a rough representation of the Bellerophon on Pegasus and the H No (a H followed by a few dashes to give the impression of numbers.

The end result looked like this:

Finally, I got some gloss varnish and painted the headgear and any exposed arms (particularly on any pointers and pistol wavers!)/magazines etc.  This gives some extra protection on any bits that will pick up damage in use.

This just leaves basing and varnishing and it's all done and on to the next pr!  Catch you next week.