I pledged yesterday that today I would start painting water on the sheet styrene, caulk and Heki & Woodland Scenics’ terrain materials river sections come what may. Well, I fulfilled my pledge.

Beginning here – – undercoated sections, I started meeting my pledge by shaking up the two pots of paint I would need for today’s work, those pots being Orkhide Shade and Knarloc Green. I had already decided to start by painting on the deepest water, which for now was going to be pure Orkhide Shade. I commenced and made sure to make sure the deepest parts followed the logical flow of water. For straight sections, I ran mostly directly down the middle. For curved sections, the deepest water had to flow into and hard against the outer riverbank: .                                                                         Those trips fishing for trout at Bright and around Country Victoria were really useful in assisting me to visualise rivers and streams and where the water goes, how it scours into the ground and how it reacts to barriers. I translated all this easily with the #3 Francheville brush I was using. All I had to do was control the brushstrokes.

It didn’t take long to finish , although I did make a small error on the smaller of the ford sections. That was corrected with Kayak Brown.

I then allowed an hour for the Orkhide Shade to dry. It was a cool day here – even so, it dried fairly quickly.

Now I was at the most difficult stage – mixing the two colours. It involves painting on some watered down of the original colour, painting on the next green you wish to use beside it (in this case, Knarloc Green), then mixing the two using a third brush. Nikolas Lloyd’s painting technique is: “The river itself I painted with mid green near the edges, where the water is slow and green stuff may grow; then had a band of pale brown and pale green for the shallows; then in the centre, more mid green, lots of dark green, and streaks of very dark brown, to represent the deeper faster moving water. All of these colours I painted on quickly, with watery paint, and I was happy to see them mingle while still wet.”. I aim for a variation of this – I want the wet paints to mix but in a streaky and uneven fashion. I want them to naturally mix and create an equal mix inbetween them so that the end result is the first darker colour (pure Orkhide Shade), then a ‘band’ of the two colours blended together with streaks of both on both sides, then the second colour (pure Knarloc Green).

This took some time and patience. Even with time, patience, inspiring music and a big mug of tea, I still made mistakes. Here I am, a few sections done and happy with my work:  then a section or two bucked the trend and just wouldn’t behave  . This one in particular  is going to require some serious alterations when it’s dry.

They were nearly all done by dinner and the remainder were quick to do after a good feed.

It had taken an hour longer than I’d intended, but this stage of making the river sections was finished . I looked over the dry and nearly dry sections – they had overall turned out pretty well, as you can see here  and here  . Some need some extra paint like this one and you’ve already seen one particular miscreant who needs some intensive correction. However, the corrective & extra work stage shouldn’t take as much time as this stage has. Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow – we’ll see what the ANZAC Day public holiday brings.

Just before Christmas 2009 I sat down with the remaining large pieces of my sheet styrene supply and my trusty Olfa cutter and cut and shaped all the pieces I wanted to use in making my first wargaming river. I talked and showed you about it here. I then put that project aside while I busied myself with Revell Panthers and some other things. Having completed the Panthers on Thursday night (photos tomorrow) I was free again to tackle the river. I checked the weather report and it said we are in for 7 days of sun and a temperature of 29 degrees each day…in other words,  perfect conditions and I would be foolish to do something else and waste such an opportunity, especially as we are now in Autumn. I took the box that the river sections were in and prepared my work area. Here’s how my work are looked:

What you can see in that photo: caulk gun, Fuller’s Caulk in Colours, leftover sticks from Magnum icecreams, the aforementioned river sections cut from sheet styrene, two plastic jars filled with different grades of Woodland Scenics’ Talus, Woodland Scenics’ Modelling grass and lastly real pieces of sticks and twigs that I have collected. At this point I was ready to continue my learning and practicing of Nikolas Lloyd’s modelling tips, this lesson being in making rivers.

First, I squeezed the caulk onto the river section: . When you do this, the caulk will pull along a little as you squeeze it onto the section – meaning that if you commenced flush with the edge, it will get no longer be so at the end of application as it will have pulled off the edge in the direction you are squeezing and you’ll have to go back and add a little bit so that it is flush again. This became very annoying very quickly so I would commence squeezing over the edge of the river section and then lay it onto the section and along. This solved the need to go back. I may need to cut off the excess hanging off the edge, but that’s fine – you have to do this at the other end of the section anyway! So I wasted a little bit of caulk, but the amount is negligible and an ‘equal’ or ‘balanced’ section of river was made each time as a result.

Second, you need to flatten and shape the caulk. I did this using the wooden sticks from Magnum icecreams – they became my trowels. As you can see from the photo, the caulk comes out as a rounded tube shape and will stay like that unless you shape it. I’ve begun to flatten the sides down so they look like natural river banks or levee banks on the outer side of the river section. Something that you didn’t see in the first photo was a roll of paper towelling. This was necessary to wipe excess caulk from my wooden icecream stick-trowel.

This shaping and smoothing takes up the vast majority of the time spent on the project as a whole. You don’t want the banks to look unnatural and you also don’t want ‘holes’ or ‘pockets’ being exposed in the caulk bank as you shape it. I went back and corrected areas many times. I’ll give you a warning now…this part of making rivers is not easily completed! Don’t start, thinking that you’ll have it done in an hour! More about this later.

Here I’ve finished shaping and smooting: . Nikolas Lloyd then brushed caulk along the length of each section in order to create ripples and other detail effects on the river’s surface. I opted not to do this with caulk but will do it later with PVA glue, where I can use a brush that won’t end up clogged with caulk. I also don’t want the same amount of water surface detail that he does.

I added extra details to selected sections, just as Mr Lloyd did. Here I’ve added modelling grasses and talus to a section: . The grasses were cut in half to get a better size (in the packet they are about 4 inches long) and then securely and firmly stuck them into the wet caulk. I would then check their free-standing position and adjust any clumps that were not more or less vertical. This sometimes required pulling them back upwards a millimetre or two. I’ve also stuck some talus here, to represent where stones and pebbles are visible after erosion.

I needed some river crossing areas. I chose to make fords. Here’s one: . I’ve tried to represent where the river widens a little and is a little shallower, hence the muddy wheel tracks and wheel ruts showing where everyone else has succesfully forded the river. I’m happy with this and especially the effects I got in shaping the caulk, but paint will really help in conveying water depth and so on and complete the picture in my (and hopefully anyone else’s) mind’s eye.

At the end of the session, all river sections were completed: as was a swampy section of river, a seperate free-standing swamp or bog and a lake!

I commenced at 3pm and finished at 7.30pm. I had a couple of five minute breaks, sure, but ultimately all this took four and a half hours. Most of that was spent shaping the caulk. Doing things like the talus and the grasses took very little time overall – probably 90% or more was spent in all the shaping, smoothing and adjusting of the caulk. A warning then to all of you – make sure you have a whole afternoon or a good few hours if you want to do this yourself! Also remember this – Mr Lloyd added all that extra caulk and shaped it to create water ripples and riffles – if I had also done that, maybe I would have needed another 2-3 hours?

Anyway, this caulk needs a full seven days to be fully cured – so it can sit on the spare table and enjoy this weeks’ Autumn warmth.

Panthers tomorrow.

My apologies to Eily Beadell and Nell Tollerton!

I started by making a stream/small river, about 45m wide in scale (including banks). A bigger river will be a later project, maybe next summer.

For today, I first took stock of what sheet styrene I had left, which was just going to be enough: . You can see the trusty Olfa cutter there – one of the greatest wargaming terrain/wargaming scenery-making tools you can own.

Next, I had to make two sets of measurements. First, I had to make sure that the lengths I was cutting would fit comfortably in their intended receptacle and then second I had to make sure the river was the right width. These were done by 1) measuring cut lengths against the box that will hold them and 2) using a based infantry team for width. An infantry team is on a 40mm base, which is 40m on the wargaming table. If they cross at a ford, where they can Walk (not Wade), they should be able to get over in one turn. Both of those measurements are being made here: . Ah yes, the A3 Reflex copy paper box. I’d be very inconvenienced without them! They hold my hills, my trees, my buildings, my roads and very soon, my rivers.

Where possible, I used offcuts and previously-cut pieces as templates or “cookie-cutters” to speed up cutting: In that photo, I’m about to use an off-cut from the perfect straight edge to do the cutting for the other bank of the river piece, which is then snapped off as a complete piece. Then that completed whole piece can be laid on the sheet styrene, cut around and snapped off as a second seperate but complete piece! Etc., etc.

As well as straight pieces of different lengths, I made a narrow man-made ford section, a natural ford section, a Y-intersection, curving sections and ‘wobbly’ sections as well as a section that opens into a small swamp or bog before becoming a stream/river again: . Those two at the bottom – the left is meant to be a separate swamp or bog, the right will become a large pond or small/medium lake.

Last, check once again they fit in your receptacle: .

That’s it for today. Tomorrow I’ll get another tube of caulk.

Battlefield Accessories is a local wargames terrain/wargames scenery manufacturer producing mostly for the 1/72 & 1/76 scales.

Having already made up ‘BA14 Ruined Building Pack Size 3’ last year, I picked up ‘BA16 Ruined Building: Spare Wall Pack’ this year at our Open Day this year, for which the contents are 4 x4″ & 4 x 2.5″ Walls.

Since I still have so much 1mm sheet styrene lying around, it would supply the bases/floors for two of these buildings. I also decided one would be undamaged and one damaged.

The logs piled against the walls are real trigs that I found during walks around the neighbourhood, that are already dried out. Providing one uses a fine, sharp saw, they become very suitable 1/72 scale logs.

The moss effect almost entirely covering one wall on each building is ultrafine leftover flock that I originally purchased to represent duckweed on ponds. I’m now using it for modelling moss growing on walls.

The other green effect, looking like veins or cracks but fluffy is an attempt to model vines or creepers growing up and spreading their branches out along the wall. I’m fairly pleased with the final result.

The burnt effect is model railroad coal and some 50% Black Ink spattered beyond it to show where flame spread but didn’t consume the wood.

Now that these are finished, it really is time to get cracking with some Nikolas Lloyd caulk waterways!

Still 4 weeks of Spring left, but today is the second day of over 30 degrees…in fact, looking at the MelbinYewni real time temperature graph, today got to just over 34! This means it’s time to think about doing lots of wargames terrain / wargames scenery, as there will be the heat to cure and dry everything thoroughly and promptly.

I’ve made a start: the three telegraph posts from an old ESCI Diorama Accessories set have been assembled, based and given some lumpy earth around their bases…ready now for painting.

I finished off a platoon of PaK 36 anti-tank guns with crews, plus that ICM Krupp truck, so that they wouldn’t bother me and so that “Operation Barbarossa” next year will be a reality. The PaK 36s are from Fujimi, the crews are the one worthwhile figure from the Fujimi set the gun comes in, a chap from the  Revell  Fallschirmjägers and one of the two ESCI / Italeri Sd. Kfz. 251/1 crew. Photos: PaK 36 teams & truck PaK 36 gun & truck .

Some more comments about the ICM Krupp L2H143 Kfz 70 kit…it turns out pretty well and looks great painted. I opted to have the MG 34 on a pintle mount in the rear tray option, to fit in with the Kubelwagen Type 82 which also had pintle-mounted MG34. I don’t like the decals that ICM provided for this kit, though. There is too much excess clear decal surrounding the rear number plate, and even drybrushing with Kommando Khaki as a coat of dust didn’t help…in fact it made it worse and drew attention to the excess. There was also far too much excess on the front number plate – which is meant to wrap around a front bumper bar which is probably only a milimetre wide. Stupid! It wrapped but wouldn’t glue. I know some modellers add a special glue under any decal they apply, but I don’t have that glue and don’t think it should be necessary. The front number plate decal’s glue didn’t hold and so the whole thing popped off during drybrushing. A shame. Sorry ICM, sorry Roden, but I’m not having much luck with your decals.

Now, Fujimi’s product is meant to be 1/76 scale, but it isn’t. Let me clarify…the house probably is, but the figures and PaK gun supplied with it are definitely 1/72 scale or even larger…possibly even 1/70 scale! Anyway, only one figure from that product is worth using with the anti-tank gun because the others are even worsely sculpted and moulded than the figures Hasegawa provide with their WWII AFVs. Hence why each PaK 36 base I’ve done has figures from other manufacturers to make up the two-man crews that Panzerfaust: Armored Fist requires.

Lastly – a couple of Battlefield Accessories wall sections (enough to make two simple houses) have been assembled and are being painted, along with a Faller German, Austrian or Swiss log cabin that I bought at a model railroad shop.

Oh, and there’s a Wespe and that other Kubelwagen still in Tankoberg…but I’m feeling the time is nigh to make a caulk creek / stream following the laws laid down by Nikolas Lloyd.

 

 

Stuck in a rut

January 19, 2009

A lack of “Kayak” brown semi-sheen acrylic housepaint saw all work on the caulk roads grind to a standstill. I had judged that my veteran sample pot of “Kayak” brown (lasted me ten years, did that trustworthy pot!) didn’t have enough to complete a proper first undercoat, so I stopped work until I had more. ‘Having more’ took until the weekend just gone (thanks, Haymes Paint Right in Nunawading) – longer than I’d intended.

Yesterday I was able to complete the first complete undercoat and I had judged correctly that I would’ve run out if I just relied on the dregs in the sample pot, so I was relieved about that. With tomorrow being just as hot as today, tomorrow evening looks ripe for applying another complete layer in one go and having it dry quickly.

Next, a brown ink wash will be applied, to bring out the depth in the ruts and pot-holes in the road. The ruts and pot-holes look much better with a coat of paint over them…thye looked a bit odd just in the plain caulk.

After that, the plan is to do a heavy drybrush of this “Kayak” brown mixed equally with Vermin Brown, as I use Vermin Brown spattered on vehicles to represent mud. (Note to self – buy some more Vermin Brown tomorrow, or there will be delays again). Lastly, a final drybrush of pure Vermin Brown to bring out highlighting.

Some green flock will be glued along the sides, a coat of Dullcote to protect each piece, and done!

***

First comment about that MAC Horch AA vehicle…thanks for the brass fine etched parts, but why not also proved brass etched wire panels for the collapsible sides?

Following on from the previous post, once you’ve cut up your sheet styrene or whatever you will use for a base to put the caulk on, then prepare your work area and get everything ready.

step-1 Step 1:  I’ve prepared my work space. I’ve got the caulk and caulk gun ready, plus a lid to screw onto the caulk gun in between applications to stop the caulk drying in the tube.  I’ve also got ready a wooden ice cream stick to smear and smooth the caulk, plus a bamboo skewer as another tool, to make impressions in the caulk of things like tyre tracks (I tried yesterday using wheels left over from model kits, but the caulk adhered to them, resulting in the opposite of the desired effect!). My tools are resting on a plastic tub (needed for scraping unwanted caulk into).

step-2 Step 2: apply the caulk to the section of road. For Leningrad roads during “Operation Barbarossa”, you want a convex shape.

step-3 Step 3a: using the wooden ice cream stick (or whatever you use to spread and smear the caulk with), spread the caulk widthways.

step-4 Step 3b: make sure you spread it equally onto both sides.

step-5 Step 4: now smear and spread lengthways. This is where you’ll want to spend a good amount of time, making sure application is fairly even and still maintaining a convex shape. Your technique in spreading and smearing will improve with practice, too. Remember, everything is travelling lengthways along roads, so you can even begin to add detail like pot-holes, wash-outs and tyre tracks now if you wish.

step-6 Step 5: really work on any details you want to have. If you click on the thumbnail and open up the photo here, you’ll see a pair of tyre tracks that have swerved from one lane to another and have left deep ruts in the road. When it comes to the painting and flocking stage, I’ll be using inks in washes to really help bring that bit of detailing out.

end-of-steps Step 6: when you’ve finished, make sure you have a warm room so the caulk can begin curing/hardening/drying as soon as possible. The summer sun in this photo was keeping this room at a nice warm temperature (once I closed up the windows – watch out for fumes!) at the conclusion of today’s efforts.

You’ll note in Step 6 that you can see crossroads and T-intersections. I’ve put tyre tracks going through and also turning on these! Have variety in your pieces, though…you won’t want all your pieces to look like a whole Army or Division just went over them. Only three pieces ended up with pot-holes. I didn’t do any wash-outs…

Now to leave these for a week to fully harden.

So begins one of my summer terrain projects – making up lots of Russian roads for the Eastern Front.

This is following the techniques publicised by Mr Nikolas Lloyd, for whom I have great respect.

First of all, gather what’s needed: starting-tools

Sheet styrene; an Olfa cutting blade; measuring tape (not shown); caulk and caulk gun; some sprues of extra truck wheels, to inprint “realistic” tyre tracks in the surface.

Second, begin cutting the lengths and then the widths with the cutting blade: getting-road-widths-right-using-a-jagdpanther

I’ve used a Jagdpanther to get the widths correct. The roads around Leningrad during Operation Barbarossa seemed to be about 1.5 Tiger tanks wide, so making these roads about 1.5 Jagdpanthers wide should be fine.

Third, make sure what you want will fit in the carrying boxes – this is something you can easily forget about as it’s easy to get carried away while cutting/carving/shaping… can-it-fit

I’ve ensured the maximum length still has at least 1cm clearance for the smallest size box I use for carrying/storing terrain (pictured on left, with those unfinished Tigers living in them). I’ve also done three different length…while fixing up and shaping the sides later, I made a fourth length. Not everything will fit on the table.

I also made two different crossroads, two different t-intersections and two different curves/bends.

Now I need lots of caulk, so it’s time to put this aside for a day or two.

So here they are:

finished-jagdpanthers-11 –> the Commander’s vehicle is on the left…

finished-jagdpanthers-21 –> being the other three.

finished-jagdpanthers-31 –> Detail of #811, the commanding vehicle.

finished-jagdpanthers-41 –> The whole platoon.

The mud (Vermin Brown) was splattered fairly liberally on three of the four, and I took efforts to make sure it also went on the lower bits of any nearby lichen.

The photos don’t do justice to the decals, which turned out far better on this project than when I applied them to the UniModels Marder III’s that I did.

A visiting friend on Sunday afternoon was also surprised that these were 1/76, given that next to them were the Revell 1/72 Tigers that are still unfinished and in his eyes, the Jagdpanthers fitted the scale of the Tigers. So I’m very happy with this kit – quick to build (just wish the tracks weren’t vinyl one piece items!), good detail that is enhanced by a bit of modeller’s love (and careful use of leftovers) and careful brushwork. Can’t wait for them to get on the table and start reversing the Allied advance!

***

My thanks to all of you for reading and commenting. I’m going to briefly indulge is off-topic banter for a moment, but before you stop reading, the next two months will involve finishing those Tigers, starting those Horchs and doing a lot of scenery (since it’ll be good and hot and the caulk should dry more quickly).

OK, stop reading now if you want.
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My thoughts go out to those whom are working to bring peace and end wars and also to those whom are helping the unfortunate. Peace on Earth, war (only) on the (wargaming) table.

Of ponds and Panzers

October 12, 2008

The caulk-and-styrene pond is half-complete. It was undercoated with that household acrylic (“Kayak”) that you’ve heard about so many times, and then flocked with both coarse flock (to represent weeds) from Heki and fine Green Blend flock (for grass) from Woodland Scenics. You can see the result here:

Now I’ve started painting in the water depths, following Nikolas Lloyd’s advice and recalling my successes and failures when I have followed his advice with previous pieces of water terrain. Using Citadel’s Dark Angels Green, Goblin Green, Snot Green and some water, so far the result is satisfactory. I’ll wait until it properly dries before I pass final judgement.

The sides and bottoms of the Tiger hulls have nearly had all basic painting completed. Then on will go the mudguards and I can work on the upper hulls and turrets and hopefully can have a platoon of Tigers ready for gaming in November. There are some renovations at the Mitcham venue of NWA that is somewhat affecting gaming there, so I’ve set myself a reasonable rather than ambitious deadline.

***

The current world financial situation has caused our Aussie Dollar to fall way, way back against the British Pound and the US Dollar in the last three weeks. Good thing that I ordered and received a few boxes of two certain model kits that is sure to flesh out this German force I’m building up…more in another post, soon.