I’ve been really busy supervising Trainee Funker, but I do get the occasional moment to look at my hobbies too. I’m pleased to report that, with the glorious sunny & warm Spring weather yesterday (and with Trainee Funker using his free time to nap), I finished the UM Models/UniModels SU-85s I’ve been working on for some time.

Here they are, with the one I completed some months ago on the left side facing right, and the other four I completed yesterday in the middle and on the right side, facing left:  . Detail of the company commander’s vehicle:  . Details of the muddiest vehicle – but it gets far muddier on the Eastern Front:  . A few of the vehicles on a different angle:  . An aerial view:  – it helps bring out the detail courtesy of the PE/photoetched brass grill on the back of each vehicle. Here’s the company commander’s tank again:  just to show the proper colour that I used (Citadel’s Catachan Green) – and again to show the side in the shade:  .

I’m glad they are finished. I especially found the roadwheels troublesome, both during assembly and painting. Having real rubber may be authentic, but it’s only authentic if no accidents happen to them like glue drips on them or paint splashes on them. If those happen, it’s all wasted, because then you have to paint the whole black rubber tyre black to cover up your mistakes.

I still like UM kits – I think they are pretty detailed and they do cover some creations no-one else covers. But any future purchases by me will exclude kits involving real rubber tyres wherever possible.

I did the camouflage schemes for the UM BA-6M (БА–6M) and BA-9 (БА-9).

Here they are with a base coat of Kommando Khaki and primary camouflage pattern of Catachan Green:

Here they are with the secondary camouflage scheme of black (done here with Chaos Black): .

I reckon that’s a pretty fair go at recreating the camouflage on the “BA-6 from the Separate Recon Battalion /1st Tank Division/1st Mechcorps, The North-western Front, Krasnogvardeysk (Gatchina) region, August 1941″ .

Back in September I showed you some small resin haystacks I’d bought and painted up. I discussed how I had painted them and what I was trying to achieve with colour and effects when I painted them. I also asked about what it means when a resin item is still ‘sticky’ to the touch, as one of them was still ‘sticky’ even after being painted and varnished.

Talking to a valued acquaintance on Friday night at Nunawading Wargames Association provided the best answer – the resin used for that particular item was at or past it’s effective ‘use-by’ date, and so had not hardened or cured properly – the chemicals in it when mixed with the hardener won’t react completely – so they will never stop being ‘sticky’ – just chuck the item out. He spoke with plenty of authority as he has cast in resin for well over 25 years. He’d cast me some wonderful large haystacks, taller than tanks, which I’d painted up – and I’d found the bottom of one was a tad sticky. It was a good opportunity to speak directly to a manufacturer whom couldn’t be evasive – so I provide the answer here for all of you to utilise as well. Photos? Here they are for you to see (with the camera flash on): .

I’d spent some weeks trying to decide how to do the final, light drybrushed layer, to get the lightest, outermost strands of hay that should be sun-bleached to look exactly as all the balesof straw I could see in my mind’s eye. At first I thought I’d just drybrush with Bleached Bone, but when I tried it, it looked a bit odd – a bit too much greenish-grey. So I tried a mix of Desert Yellow and Skull White…and it was perfect. It was exact. Not too white, still with a touch of yellowy-brown. Golden. It’s what you can see, on layers of Desert Yellow. In order for you to see what they look like without the camera flash, here are two more photographs – the colours are less distinct: . As far as I’m concerned, these haystacks are perfect. I’m very proud of them.

I have a photo somewhere of haystacks in the Ukraine just before the war…they were two storeys tall, huge things, so I’m ruling that these haystacks do block LOS for ‘Panzerfaust: Armoured Fist’.

 

Dragon SdKfz 251- detailing

December 9, 2011

My progress on the 251s has been very slow…to some degree I’ve actually been avoiding them. Painting over some errors seemed to be bigger in my mind than it actually was. You see, I’d used my version of the Doug Chaltry Technique on the tracks, and then painted the hull afterwards. The Desert Yellow splattered or dripped onto the tracks as I applied it very liberally and inaccurately. Fixing my mistakes using Boltgun Metal had become as big a job as painting the rubber on the roadwheels, which is a job requiring some time and skill.

When I actually got going, it only took 15 minutes to paint over any Desert Yellow splashes with Boltgun Metal…I thought it would take at least 45 minutes, maybe an hour.

This means that I am now up to the second last stage of painting, fixing any other mistakes and finalising details – making the pioneer tools look good; inking around hatches; correcting paint around wheel hubs, etc. The last stage is weathering and mud.

 

 

I completed some resin haystacks on the weekend:

The colour is sort of OK, but I think I should have left more Desert Yellow visible…I had hoped the yellowness would be more prominent…but as a first attempt these aren’t too bad, in essence the colours are OK.

They are too small to be “active” pieces of terrain. You can see that they don’t block any LOS for the 20mm troops in the photos above. I even put them against some 15mm troops I have and they only just block LOS at 15mm…so I’m going to put them with my 15mm (non-WWII stuff) as “beauty” terrain (or eye-candy, if you wish) as they aren’t really blocking LOS there either, AND they are appropriate to the army, theatre and period I play in 15mm.

I had a problem with two of the four haystacks. As I said, these are cast as single pieces in resin. I washed these in warm-to-hot water with some dishwashing liquid and then rinsed them thoroughly in warm-to-hot water. They were then air-dried for a few days. All four felt normal to the touch at the end of that time.

I undercoated them using my spraycan of Chaos Black spraypaint (made by Citadel) which is widely used for undercoating miniatures. When I went to move them off their spraypainting cardboard box and back into my hobby room, two of them were sticky to the touch and two were dry to the touch. I thought this was odd, but have learned the hard way that this can happen with rubber terrain pieces – there is a chemical in the spraycan that makes the rubber permanently “sticky” to the touch.

I coated all four with normal Chaos Black (which is liquid acrylic) – and the same two stayed sticky to the touch. No paint comes off, but you get slightly stuck to the piece. I went ahead and fully painted all four, then sealed them with Dullcote. The same two were still just as sticky as before and I guess now always will be.

All I can tell about them is that the colour of the resin for the two sticky ones is different to the colour of the resin for the two “dry” or normal ones.

What has happened here and what should I do (or not do) next time? (Please note: These are not resin items I made myself). Any thoughts or ideas?

I had been wondering what to do with the walls for this house. They were already white; two good coats of Skull White over a spraypainted undercoat of Chaos Black. The question was, how to represent weathering on those walls? How to show the effects of rain, dust, wind and whitewash deterioration?

I thought that what I’d do would be to ink the walls with a brown ink and, if everything looked OK, then drybrush some more Skull White on, give it a final light drybrush of Kommando Khaki and call it quits. Having looked at my homemade ink charts (the relevant ones for this post being available for you to view here), I decided to select Gryphonne Sepia. I gave the house as even a coating as possible, and just a single coating.

When I came to it 24 hours later, it looked like this: – with the camera flash on, like this: . I’d stuffed it. The house was too brown. I stood up and swore. I’d need to do a lot of drybrushing with Skull White to get the slight patchy weathered effect I could see in my mind’s eye.

So, since then I’ve been very carefully applying 2 more coats of Skull White to cover up my mistake. It seems the better way to weather this house would be just to drybrush some Kommando Khaki on to the double layer of Skull White and leave it. No inking at all.

The next post will be about the finished product.

Last week I was able to work on the MiniArt ‘Eastern European village house’ a bit more – specifically, I could work on the roof, which was going to need a number of drybrushing coatings plus some stronger (wetter?) brushing too, in order to produce a satisfactory “thatched” appearance. The thatching is only lightly moulded, meaning that too much paint will end up with the roof surface becoming almost flat and detail being lost, unlike the roofs of the Russian houses by Pegasus Hobbies.

Having undercoated the roof with Chaos Black, I had already thoroughly drybrushed the roof with Scorched Brown two weeks ago. The first thing to do when I sat down last week was to weather that Scorched Brown coat, so I then drybrushed on a good coat of Kommando Khaki. The roof looked like this once it was dry:   . The detail is holding up well, you can still see plenty of black so the three dimensional feeling is still there; there is “depth” to it.

Then what I wanted to do was have some sections in a different colour to represent where re-thatching has taken place and the wind has exposed some of the thatching. I used Desert Yellow for this, and the roof looked like this when I put it down to dry: .

Then I wanted to drybrush it again with Kommando Khaki to reduce the clashing of the colours. This took a bit more time and I had to do it in sections to make sure the colour was evenly applied. When done, it looked like this: . Not too bad. If I wanted to, I could very lightly drybrush the idges with some grey. For now I’ll leave it and wait to see how the rest of the project turns out.

 

Entrenching my troops

August 16, 2011

At some time in the last 18 months, I bought some fortifications from Battlefield Accessories. The particular ones I bought have three sides and are made of dug earth reinforced by wood and topped by sandbags. You can see the four I bought and have finished painting and flocking here: . I thought they would be good for indicating which of my guns were dug-in or entrenched and which are not. Here they are with my PaK 40s: .

They are well cast from resin, are single pieces with minimal bubbles or flashing to deal with. I wash mine in warm-to-hot water with dishwashing liquid in it. I then undercoat them (when dry) with Citadel spraycan Chaos Black and they take Citadel Paints well.  Hopefully I’ll be using them in a game against Peter soon.

I was only able to give the tree bases the first of their two coats of Kayak Brown paint before today. Today was glorious Spring-like weather – 18 degrees and very sunny – so I wanted to spray the liquid glue onto the lichen and the armatures to ensure as much adhesion of the two as possible and reinforce the lichen for handling and normal gaming wear & tear.

The first step was to set up a small table and gather everything together: . At this point I’ll clarify something from my previous post…I’m not using PVA glue that I have watered down myself, I’m using Woodland Scenics’ pre-watered down glue which they sell under the name “Scenic Cement”. I’ve been using it before I started this blog and have always been happy with it.

Second step: fill 500ml garden sprayer/mister with glue. Holding sprayer in your good hand, pick up tree in your other hand and hold it upside down. Give it two good sprays from at least 4 different angles: . The third step is to then right the tree (just turn your wrist back to it’s normal position) and give at least one spray from at least 4 different angles and a spray from above too: .

Last step is to place them somewhere sunny to dry: . Done!

Now, I did not attach the trees to broad-enough bases (I just stuck them onto film cannisters) so whilst they were sunning, any puff of wind would just bowl them over and elicit loud toilet words from me (not good when the neighbour’s pre-school kids are playing in the garden next door!). So, I would recommend not following in my footsteps but instead stick them onto someting broader…I normally would use plastic single-serve yoghurt containers, they never tip over.

I like to give any PVA glue at least 24 hours to dry (watered down or not, placed in the sun or not) so the earliest I can put that second coat of Kayak Brown paint onto the bases will be tomorrow night.

***

Due to following the wrong instructions, I drilled some holes into the Panzer III turrets and hulls that I did not have to (since I’m not attaching any schürzen). When I realised my mistake, I filled them with Tamiya’s light grey modelling putty. I then decided to respray the black undercoat rather than hope my water-based paints would adhere to it without any priming, so out came the Citadel spraycan of Chaos Black: . Great! Now the dark grey camouflage paint can be painted on.

I made that painting shield by cutting up old boxes. It’s quite useful for stopping spraypaint going everywhere…that being said, I still do my spraypainting outside, away from the house (here, I’ve set it up in the doorway of the shed).

 

Whilst racing against the clock to complete my kits for Truck Month, I did finish off painting all the small details on the engine shed.

Last night I applied a good, thick coat of Badab Black (one of Citadel’s current range of pre-mixed inks) to bring out the shadows, bring out the details and also to represent accumulated coal dust and soot from the steam locomotives. As the shed had doors, I could only do one side of the doors last night, so this morning before going to work I did the other side. Provided everything’s fine when I get home, I can work on painting on a coat of dust tonight and then it’ll be finished by Sunday morning and ready for Dullcoting on sunday afternoon (when the weather and conditions are meant to be excellent for spraycan work).

I’ve got to ask though, what do they put in that Badab Black? It has an off-putting odour…had to close the doors to the Hobby Room to stop the smell wafting too far!