I decided during last year that the hills I made back in 2009 don’t really cut the mustard when used in a game. I had collected some polystyrene foam used for house insulation a few years ago…it’s about 3 inches thick, allowing for quite tall hills – my other polstyrene is less than an inch thick which doesn’t allow for hills that completely block LOS. I had done the initial shaping of the foam some time ago. I refined the two hills I’m going to make this summer during last week, by doing finer cuts and thin shaves of the foam until I had realistic hill shapes.

I’m doing it all in the shed, not the Hobby Room. First thing to do is put down some cardboard to stop any drips/mess going onto the table underneath:  and then some newspaper on top of it:  . Here are the hills as plain foam shapes: – one has a flat summit, the other a natural/curved summit. I wanted a flat summit for one so I could put at least one of my based trees on it (to further block LOS, but also because hills often do have trees growing on them!).

Open and stir the paint, making sure you’ve got some water to rinse out the brush with:  . Begin painting with your base/earth colour:  – I’m using Haymes’ ‘Kayak Brown’ as my earth colour. Cover until you only have the bit left where you are holding it: – as my polystyrene foam was rescued from a rubbish skip, I’m turning them over and putting a light coat on the bottom to cover some of the dirt they got on them when shoved into the skip: . When you’ve done all the hills you have, then stop and let them dry: . I’ll do the remaining white when they are dry (probably early tomorrow morning, we’ve been having hot days and warm nights lately).

Begin to think about what flock, talus, underbrush etc. you are going to glue on when all this painting is finished. I like to do two coats on the exposed surface of the hill, so these won’t be ready for any glue tomorrow or the day after…






Well, this time I think I’ve got things working correctly. I think this is the correct recipe for making trees using these armatures. The sprayed-on glue has really held the lichen in place on the armatures and toughened it so that it doesn’t give way when handled.

Last night I glued Coarse Turf onto the bases to represent the thicker grasses and weeds that occur underneath or close to trees. Here’s how the bases looked initially, with their two coats of Kayak Brown interior house paint on them: . I prepared all my ingredients: – an equal mix of light and dark green Coarse Turf; Selleys Aquadhere PVA glue; a plastic yoghurt tub with water in it for cleaning up. The PVA has been squirted into an upside-down red plastic juice bottle cap (I like using plastic bottle caps as reservoirs for glue & paint and also for holding water for preparing decals when there’s only one vehicle to decal) and I’m using a very poor quality brush to apply the glue.

The glue is thickly applied around where the cut-down film cannister lid meets the sheet styrene base (as I want to try to mask the unnatural angles there) becoming thinly applied at the edge of the base: . Then it’s time to pour on the Coarse Turf. I do this in two stages: first I pour on enough to provide a few milimetres’ depth of cover across as much of the base as I can, then I flatten it using the opposite end of the brush, or my finger, or a wooden ruler or whatever else I have at hand. By flattening it I’m ensuring some is stuck in the glue and the glue adheres. Then I pour a second coating on, again enough for a few milimetres’ depth and put the well-covered base down, finished…if there’s still any exposed glue, some of the second coating will adhere to it and in doing so it produces a contouring effect. I know much of the second coat won’t adhere, but at least complete coverage of the base is ensured. After putting it down, it looks like this: . Easy! Now it’s another minimum 24-hour wait for the glue to dry.

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).


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.

It was a big Sunday

June 29, 2009

The brewed-up T-34/85 wreck terrain piece is done! Here’s the base that it rests on: T3485 modular base

Here’s the inked, drybrushed and matt-varnish-sealed piece that you’ve all been waiting for: T3485 profile T3485 side

From the above, you’ve now had a good look at the home-made Rust blend that I made, combining Blood Red with Brazen Brass and the Brown Ink (R.I.P.). It doesn’t look so powerful here, because I’ve gone and applied two very heavy washes over it of the new Citadel pre-mixed Wash (or watered-down Inks, curse it), Ogryn Flesh. I should have just used one medium coat of Ogryn Flesh – you can see the Rust has become very brown from the washes. The Ogryn Flesh Wash has helped to take the shiny Bronze edge off the Brass particles, though…I’m tempted to keep this homemade Rust to use for mufflers and the like, where they recommend using a Rust – usually I’ve just used Boltgun Metal washed twice with Flesh Ink (R.I.P.). Have a look at the rear of the T-34/85: T3485 rear I think the rust on those mufflers has worked well.

I remember now where the idea for this terrain piece first came from – I was watching another wargame rules-set being played at NWA one night, where a good friend was learning to play. The objective for both sides was to reach a tank in the middle of the board (an ‘objective marker’). I have blended that idea with photo evidence from various ‘eyewitness’ books of the Eastern Front, where wrecked tanks were used as forward Artillery Observation Posts (because they were safe to be under when you were being shelled).

So, the terrain piece is done, as well as the two Revell Tiger I’s that were done as company command vehicles. Apart from having slightly different numbers on the side, an extra aerial added on the turret and MGs mounted for air defence, they aren’t any different to the four Tigers I’ve already got. This time they are perfect, since I knew what to watch for during construction. The one error I made (and was fixed) was discovered just as I was about to varnish them –  I realised I’d left the Balkenkreusz off both tanks. That set me back two hours.  The numbering advice I’ve used comes from here.

Hills! Yes, more terrain.

I was able to undercoat the two hills you’d seen me prepare previously. First, you need to get some pinboard tacks, ones that don’t go all the way in to the end: Before tacks

Begin to stick the tacks in, about an inch apart from each other and at least half an inch (or more if your hill has a gentle gradient) apart: mid tack I advocate using as many tacks as possible, as some always come out during undercoating or flocking: end tack

If your hills aren’t standing completely free of the surface they rest on, get better tacks and start again: resting

Now you can begin undercoating. I’m using good old Brown Kayak acrylic from Haymes, painting from the top of the hill downwards: begin undercoat You don’t have to apply it thickly, but you do want to completely cover everything: undercoat continued and it’s best to undercoat while holding them in one hand. When you’ve completely covered all the white, put it down and let dry for 24 hours: undercoated

Tonight (monday night) I applied on a second undercoat. This time I applied it quite thickly, but again, I made sure I covered everything – sometimes little air pockets are formed as you apply the first coat and they will be uncovered during the drying – get the brush bristles in there and paint them in well.

Sometime next weekend I’ll begin the flocking.

I also washed a number of sprues in detergent and very warm water, then air dried  them. I use an old coat-hanger, cut and reshaped, to hang them on: drying washed sprues

Next weekend (earlier if there’s a good, warm afternoon) I’ll undercoat them – then all these recon units can be commenced.

Ends of the roads

February 10, 2009

The roads are good to go…or be driven on…most importantly, ready for gaming. The colours have come up relatively well and using ‘Ardcoat for water or liquid effects has been suitable.

Here’s a first view, of the roads in action:


…and stupidly, I chose to use two vehicles without any mud on them! The schwimmwagen is far too clean (it was painted to represent having just come out of a water crossing) and the Sd. Kfz 11 was painted up with a heavy dust coat, as if it was mid-Summer! Oh well.

This next photo was to try to show the sparingly-used ‘Ardcoat to represent water and differentiate it from mud, which was such a feature of roads on the Eastern Front:


I mentioned that I had used Kayak Brown, then a mix of Kayak Brown with Vermin Brown, plain Kayak Brown and then ‘Ardcoat for water. This last shot is to show a section of muddy road without any ‘Ardcoat, so you can get an idea of the differences in colour.


The ‘Ardcoat was a cause for much nervous nail-biting on Thursday , Friday and Saturday. The ‘Ardcoat was not the newest – I think I had it for two years and what’s more, it was kept in a room that can get over 50 degrees centigrade on a hot day. It was applied well shaken, but towards the end of the pot, was getting stickier and toffee-like,  unlike its normal watery consistency.

The nail-biting commenced when I realised that the thickly-applied sections of ‘Ardcoat (where it was perhaps 2-3mm thick, filling puddles and pot holes) was still a bit milky in colour a good 24 hours after application. I went and bought more ‘Ardcoat and Chestnut Ink in case I had to re-do all of it, but decided to give it more time to cure/dry. 48 more hours (and Melbourne’s hottest day on record, 46.2 degrees) did the job – all the milkiness disappeared and I was left with crystal clear gloss.

So, even with older ‘Ardcoat that goes on a bit milky or cloudy, just give it plenty of curing/drying time – like the better part of a week.

On a related note, we’ve had the worst bushfires ever as a result of the incredible heatwave. Please give some money to:

Victorian Bushfire Appeal 2009

Road building

January 31, 2009

There’s nothing like a heatwave to slow my work right down. That being said, all the paintwork on the roads is done.

First I inked in all the ruts, puddles and potholes:




At this stage, I was still unsure that the final product was going to be worth the amount of effort that I was putting in to it. By the way, the ink mix was 50% Chestnut  Ink and 50% water.

With the Kayak Brown to represent dried mud / solid earth, it was time to represent the soaking wet mud and the somewhat dried mud. This was done by making a roughly 60%-40% blend of Vermin Brown and Kayak Brown for the somewhat dry and pure Vermin Brown for the soaking wet.

The soaking wet mud could only be lying in and around the lowest parts of each part of road – because water always settles in the lowest places. This is where remembering what happens in Nature is all-important…there’s nothing like going out and seeing something first to get it perfect in your mind before trying to model it! In the least, use a good search engine to look at plenty of images of what you want to model – and don’t forget to make notes of the minutiae.

So, here are photos of the completed paintwork:



I’m happy, but once it’s cool enough for me to work in the hobby room without breaking into a sweat in seconds, I’ll put some Green Blend flock on the edges for grass, Dullcote each piece and call them finished.

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?