To recommence the narrative of making trees using the tree armatures, I was now up to sticking foliage into place on the armatures. I applied Hob-e-tac onto the branches and boughs, only going far enough along until a fork:  – if there was no fork, then I went down halfway:  . I then tried to remove excess glue by wiping it off with the same brush I was using to brush it on. I didn’t want it too thick as that would require a longer waiting time until the Hob-e-tac had reached the correct level of tackiness.

I had elected to wait ninety minutes for the right amount of Hob-e-tac tackiness before applying foliage, as previous experience had strongly demonstrated that the fifteen minute wait advised by Woodland Scenics is not long enough. While waiting, I prepared the foliage. I had both clump-foliage:  which I’ve worked with before, and also foliage clusters:  . The clump-foliage was ready for application, straight from the bag. The foliage clusters were not…in fact, when I took it out of it’s bag, it was a single, solid block. “Perfect for bocage!” I thought, but that was the Western Front, not the Eastern…

I began tearing off and breaking off clumps that were to become the leaves of my trees:  . It wasn’t too hard to get these pieces into position and have an armature looking good:  . I commenced by starting with the crown of the tree, where I’d put a sizeable torn-off piece of foliage cluster:  and then I would work down the armature vertically, one facing at a time:   . After about half an hour, I had eight good-looking treesusing both types of foliage:  and after an hour, only a tiny piece had fallen off:  . Things seemed to be boding well!

After 24 hours, it was time for a review. There had been some dropped foliage, mostly from a tree where I had used large foliage clusters to model the leaves:  . In retrospect, I had probably chosen a lazy way to make some of the trees, using such big torn-off pieces of cluster foliage. The weight of them was probably too heavy for the small amount of Hob-e-tac that had adhered to them. My thinking at the time had been that a big piece could cover 7-10 armature points and the tree could be finished in a couple of minutes…what I probably should have done was use smaller pieces that only covered 2-4 points (and the tree would take longer to complete). Even so, one tree modelled with clump-foliage had also lost some clumps:  . I decided to put these two “less-leaved” trees aside for later repairs, and press on with the six good ones:  . The next stage was to spray them with watered-down PVA glue (using the proprietory Woodland Scenics’ Scenic Cement, no less) to make doubly sure everything was glued on and holding tight. That was when everything began to turn bad.

As well as Truck Month and that shed, I did have some Sd Kfz 251/1s on the go. As of today, everything is completed and Dullcoted and getting stored in boxes whilst they await a chance to be played with in a game.

Time to show you photos of the lot. With flash and without.

Here’s the resin 8-rad Sd Kfz 231 that I got in those two big eBay wins last year:    . I think it’s 1/76 scale.

The Roden Opel Blitz – you’ll see I did include the perspex window panes:   .

Italeri’s 251/1 (I’ve had these sitting around for probably two and half years now – and I’m thinking a softskin troop carrier month may be in order sometime this year as I have some Dragon ones to do too):   .

Lastly, the Airfix engine shed. Both sheds have turned out a little differently (not withstanding the wooden end room being a different colour) but I like them both. Here it is:      .

Good to have all things off the tables and shelves and ready to be used.

The next things to be worked on are two Italeri StuG IIIGs and two Revell StuG IIIGs plus there will be new episodes of the continuing saga of Hob-e-tac, as I use it to make thirteen trees.

I’ve had some time inbetween various projects to continue experimenting with Hob-e-tac and the attachment of foliage clusters to tree armatures, withthe intetntion to perfect making customised trees (and use up all these tree armatures I won on E-Bay some time ago). I’ve mentioned using Hob-e-tac a number of times before, with this post, this post and lastly this post as the most important posts to date. I’ve taken it up again to experiment with some unwanted Woodland Scenics’ foliage clusters from a value pack to see if perhaps I was at fault, not the product.

I used a freshly-purchased bottle of glue and applied it liberally to the tree armature, branches and even trunk. I then put the armature aside for an hour to let the glue become tacky…this is longer than recommended on the bottle. I then applied the foliage clusters by first gently inserting and swirling/swishing the tree armature in a container filled the foliage clusters and then secondly by firmly pressing clusters into place with my fingers and the palm of my hand.

I then left the tree and monitored the success (or otherwise) over a week, making mental notes of what I found every 24 hours.

After the first 24 hours, one large cluster fell off when the tree armature was inverted and shaken to remove any loose and unstuck pieces.

At 48 hours, two more pieces had fallen off sometime in the intervening period before I was able to pick up, invert and shake the tree.

After 72 hours, another piece had fallen off.

At 96 hours a fifth and what was to become final piece had fallen off. Since then, the rest of the clusters have stayed in place and are not tacky as in a previous experiment.  Serious inversion and shaking has failed to dislodge any more pieces, even a few weeks later.

Applying the Hob-e-tac over all the armature, even right along the branches and into the trunk was a mistake, as the Hob-e-tac naturally flows downhill and gathers at the trunk, leaving unsightly blobby hardened glue lumps that would need to be painted over or require some surgery as they look out of place and ruin the tree, as you can see here if you look closely:  . One of the senior sales staff of Hearns Hobbies reminded me that deciduous trees rarely have the same density of leavers going from branch tips all the way back in and along to the trunk and along the trunk – so you should really only stick the foliage clusters on the extremities of the branches anyway! This is what I’m going to do next time, which will be a definite project, not experimentation. I’ll put Hob-e-tac on the extremities of the armature only, wait at least an hour, then apply foliage clusters. Then I should get good looking trees overall, where only minor re-glueing should be required…here’s another view of the experimental tree, showing how good it might look:  .

Back in the middle of February I brought to your attention Andy from Terragenesis’ assessment of Woodland Scenics’ scenery-making products. I mentioned that I would try his suggestion of attaching foliage clumps to tree armatures using superglue instead of Hob-e-tac.

On Sunday I found some time inbetween glueing individual track links onto the Hetzers to have a go at doing this with one of the many armatures I won on an Ebay auction back during Summer.

I used Zap-A-Gap Medium thickness as my superglue (it’s the only one I have, anyway). It’s not too viscuous, it’s like a liquid. I’ve used a rival brand’s Thick thickness superglue before, and it was more like a putty. I was using the same clump foliage as I’ve used before to make trees.

The Zap-a-gap flowed and ran too freely over the armatures which resulted in some on my fingers – I had to work quickly to stop my fingers sticking together. The fumes were very strong – not only was the smell almost overpowering but my eyes were temporarily ‘stung’ too. The foliage could move around quite freely for maybe a whole minute as the Zap-a-gap didn’t instantaneously ‘grip’ and bond the foliage clumps – because I didn’t want my fingers becoming permanently stuck to things due to the superglue, I didn’t make any real effort to pick up and hold fallen clumps in place until they adhered. With Hob-e-tac, you can hold in place – it’s a powerful glue but doesn’t stick skin to skin together in five seconds like superglue does.

24 hours later I inspected the final product (such as it was). Limb ends were exposed when they should be covered with foliage; foliage wasn’t so well placed; because I hadn’t been able to hold some clumps in place, many clumps were only stuck on by the tiniest amount of their surface – some  dangled like Christmas tree baubles! There was also white discolouration where the glue had run down the limb or trunk and had not had anything stuck to it.

My assessment of this was that it was not worth the effort. The fumes stopped me using the Hobby Room for anything else for the rest of the night; coverage of the clumps onto the armature were poorly placed and not too well adhered; the white discolouration would require me to repaint and drybrush which is an unreasonable use of my time.

Re-reading Andy’s article showed me that one part of this could be alleviated by using thick viscuous superglue (which is what he’d done) but my thoughts are that it’s still not worth the effort. I’d rather apply Hob-e-tac twice and then spray very thickly with watered-down PVA glue to get a permanent, tough bonded product that can be based and used fairly quickly, rather than having to add extra steps of painting the tree to cover up white discolourations and THEN basing it etc.

I’m glad I tried, though – I need to re-flock some small pine trees I have and had pencilled in superglue for it. I’ll do them with straight PVA or Hob-e-tac.

Hob-e-tac and Panthers

February 20, 2010

I’ve commenced my next Hob-e-tac experiments a little early – last saturday I started a non-WWII project that is being done concurrently to my Panther tanks (like that’s not ever happened before!) and today I was up to the glueing stage.

Today is very warm (33.8 degrees centigrade as I’m typing this) so it was perfect for glueing. I applied to Hob-e-tac thickly to felt (and gave it almost two coats) and then left if for an hour (instead of the recommended 15 minutes). After the hour I applied flock and static grass and pressed them firmly into the Hob-e-tac with the heel of my hand.  Tomorrow afternoon (I’m giving it 24 hours to cure, as has ben done previously) I’ll be able to see how well the terrain materials adhered and if the glue is still tacky.

***

The camouflage for the Panthers was completed last weekend – dark green disruption stripes over DunkelGelb.

Now it’s up to the fiddly detail, which is probably why I’ve been procrastinating with these kits lately. Spare track links have been done today as were towing cables. The tools shouldn’t be much of a problem and the extra stowed items (tarps, barrels, jerry cans, buckets) should be pretty simple.

What I need to get right is the shadowing I do around hatches and the forward MG ball mount. I use Citadel’s Black Ink watered down to only 25% and with a fine brush (10/0 or 20/0) just put a thin line around hatches and joins in the metal to provide depth through shadowing. Usually I make mistakes and the ink spreads too much and I have to go back and redo the colours underneath. I should really just bite the bullet and do it all tonight and let it dry overnight so I can continue with the other easier detail all tomorrow.

Well, if you wrote an e-mail to Italeri telling them what products of theirs you love and what future products you’d like them to make, then you’re one of over 1000 responses they’ve had! What’s more, the scale that got the highest number of responses was 1/72, which is the scale that I play in. I requested something a little bit unusual (but still WWII) and they said they did receive a number of unusual requests, so I’m hoping that they list my suggestions (and I hope other people asked for mine too). Just to add a sense of mystery to this blog entry, I’m not telling you what I wanted (but it had to do with Axis AFVs).

I wonder if they are then going to get us to vote or somesuch on the most popular suggestions? Keep an eye on their website and hopefully we’ll all find out very soon…

+++

During a quiet moment last week, I decided to look through some wargaming and modelling websites that I used to frequent very regularly until they entered periods of hiatus or extended lulls. Terragenesis was one of those, but it has picked up again in a big way.

One regular correspondent wrote a review about the starter kit made by Woodland Scenics which teaches you how to use their scenery products:  how to use plaster cloth, how to use flock, how to use spray-on glues and many other things.

I was struck by the section where he discusses Hob-e-tac. Last Winter I discussed my experience with Hob-e-tac. I’ve used it since then a few more times and felt that their instructions of use weren’t quite matching reality…or at least my reality. I was finding that I would apply the Hob-e-tac (which looked like PVA glue but smelt more strongly) and wait the recommended 15 minutes to let it get tacky, but it was still pretty runny and lots of it hadn’t become tacky in that time, even during very warm days. I wondered if I needed to wait more time before working with it – maybe an hour or so – but even when I did use it, I was usually giving it thirty minutes before working with it…. After waiting overnight I was finding that it was still tacky, and some of the trees I’ve made using it are still tacky today, even after being sprayed with watered-down glue and Dullcote! I thought by now that they would have cured completely, especially after 6 months and a hot Australian summer.

Andy’s discussion about making up the clump-foliage trees resonated strongly with all my Hob-e-tac experiences.

I want to be fair to Hob-e-tac and will experiment with it more this year. However, what Andy did (using superglue to attach foliage clumps to trees) will not be forgotten and may well be acted upon when I finally run out of Hob-e-tac.

I bought some of those armatures on E-bay and am expecting them any day, so you won’t have to wait too long!

BZ-35 Refueller

July 5, 2009

The weather is still rather unfavourable here,  so all that happened this weekend was getting some undercoating done. I managed to get the following coated:

which leaves just two Hasegawa Pumas to go.

In the meantime, I’ve turned my attention to trying new products as well as completing a couple of kits that have been sitting around undercoated and waiting for such a “rainy day” as this.

I tried out Hob-e-tac again, doing up two Tree Armatures as Birch trees in early Autumn.  As well as using Woodland Scenics products (like those just mentioned), I found a wonderful (coarse) turf by a different company, Scenic Express, called “Early Autumn blend”. It has what I consider the perfect blend of yellow, light orange, red and woody grey colours in it. Having just gone through Autumn here, I was able to watch and compare all the Birches here with the various modelling products by these two companies. This was definitely the closest thing to reality.

The Hob-e-tac became super-tacky right on cue and easily adhered to all the Early Autumn Blend, with almost none coming off after curing…I’ll never try doing that with PVA glue, I’ll stick (bad pun) with Hob-e-tac every time. I then used some Early Autumn Blend around the base of the tree, to represent fallen leaves. The final result is a little stronger yellow than reality, but I think it’s still more than suitable.

No other terrain – no hills work this weekend.

Now, those two kits that I undercoated a while ago…they are of a Soviet BZ-35 Refueller truck. I’d already assembled and painted one up two years ago – these were put aside because 1) the kit was fiddly to assemble, 2) I had no need for any more at that stage of wargaming, 3) I had other, more important and necessary kits to work on . Which particular kit am I referring to? PST’s 1:72 kit, #72021, “Fuel Truck BZ-35”.

The kit is fiddly because not all parts are supplied – you need to provide your own “metal kernals” (their words). I’ve been using brass wire to meet that requirement. Assembly has to be done in a number of stages, more than they indicate on the instruction sheet. However, the end product, after the fiddling is completed, is very nice.

The BZ-35 is built using the same components and chassis as the ZIS-6 truck.  For Soviet WW2 information, I head to Alex’s RKKA in World War II website, which I’ve found extremely useful since I took the plunge into WW2 wargaming four years ago. He has a section on Auxiliary Vehicles which includes a page with the BZ-35 on it (as well as others). There’s a nice colour picture there to help me with painting but I also get painting hints from here and here (with this latter one, scroll down past the political message/s so you can see the heading “Trucks, pickups, buses and special trucks” and start from there).

Assembly of the two kits is halfway complete. They’ll keep me going while I finish undercoating all the other stuff – I want to start all the other stuff simultaneously, rather than doing things in dribs and drabs.

Having searched fairly extensively using my librarian skills to find samples of the new Citadel pre-mixed Washes and failing frustratingly, I bought the three I thought I’d need and made my own colour card, thus: New Citadel pre-mixed washes

So, there they are – Devlan Mud, Ogryn Flesh and Gryphonne Sepia. They have been applied in differing layers of thickness – from left to right, one layer, then two, finally three.

My colour card for Citadel’s Chestnut Ink, Brown Ink & Flesh Ink (R.I.P.) : Old Citadel inks

Guess I’ll have to adapt to the new pre-mixed Washes…but those Inks were good because they were handy both at full strength and watered down! I can’t make those Washes full strength. Might be time to start looking elsewhere for Inks.

Have had a go using Hob-e-tac for some scenery projects (not for WWII, though). I used it in a warm room – followed the instructions to the letter by applying it and then waiting 15 minutes before applying what I wanted to stick down (coarse turf, in this instance). I didn’t use the brush included in the tube, it was far too broad for my project. I used an old fine-gauged paintbrush instead to spread it.

It became tacky exactly as outlined – very tacky! Warning – try not to let it get stuck onto your fingers, or you’ll be carrying little bits of terrain on them across projects. A good soaping and then scrubbing in hot water solved the problem. Today, 24 hours after application, I went back to those projects to prepare them for final sealing tomorrow…that stuff remind me a little of silicone sealant, you can easily carve or scrape away the excess but without disturbing the paint underneath! Nifty.

Tomorrow will be a big update. The destroyed T-34/85 terrain piece will be finished and I’ll also be moving on with those hills I started. I’ll be starting work on those kits I bought at the Swap & Sell earlier this month, too – it’s time to have some scouting/recon units as well as big tanks.