Ah, Pegasus Hobbies Russian farm houses…I won these on eBay three or more years back. Due to ever-shrinking shelf space, I decided last month to get them assembled and painted. Here they are after Dullcoting:  .

Here they are with figures and on a proper gaming board:  . Now I have a total of three of these kits…these two kits joining my existing one as well as my existing MiniArt “East European village house” (kit MA72016). I’m getting quite a nice little Eastern European village going!

Here’s the farm houses with some troops:

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A Soviet rifle squad moves along the outskirts of the same village:   – sighting trouble, they set up their LMG:  and as quickly as possible try to pin down their opponents with a hail of bullets:  . From inside one farmhouse, a cowering village resident yells from inside his house  about the enemy sniper:  – a heavy burst sends the sniper scurrying back to the rest of his unit:  and the Russian riflemen cut down any foolish enough that flee recklessly:  . The village has been taken back!

(If you enjoyed this picture story, you’ll enjoy Bunkermeister’s work. He just finished one based on Starship Troopers).

Final Sd.Kfz. 251/9

May 14, 2012

On saturday, I completed a Hasegawa Sd. Kfz. 251/9 that I was doing on the side:     . I know have two sections of two vehicles each, or one platoon of four vehicles. I actually only need two (a section of two vehicles) but at the time I did the first two I had a third, and did it up at the same time. I got this fourth back in January via a private sale and the price was fantastic, hence why I bought it.

(Plus, a platoon of fire support that can also transport some footsloggers…worth trying even if I sell the second section off later).

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Weather was pretty horrible for the rest of saturday and all yesterday, so I wasn’t able to Dullcote and photo some buildings I’m working on…

 

 

They are based and flocked.

They need some tiny fixes to where things didn’t go so well (or too well!) during the flocking process, and I also realised after they were flocked that I hadn’t put a coat of dust on them. Two sets of things to do before I can Dullcote and claim them as finished.

Here’s a sneak peek: – aiming to have them done by the end of next weekend.

 

Now it’s time to seal the hills. If these were troops or vehicles, I’d be sealing them (to protect the paintwork) with Testors Dullcote. I seal hills with Woodland Scenics spray-on/brush-on Scenic Cement as it glues the flock from the top side, meaning that at the end of the process it’s glued from below and above and will only come off under physical duress.

I prepare the spraying area. In the past, I put newspaper on the floor and walls of a corner of a room and sprayed. Now I’m doing it in the garden shed. I get my cardboard box shield and it’s removable cardboard floor: and place newspaper on the removable floor to absorb any overspray or runoff: then put the fllor into place and place the hills in position: . I use a cheap garden sprayer/mister with 500ml reservoir as they are available in hardware shops and supermarkets – either I pour the Scenic Cement into the reservoir (usually when the Scenic Cement bottle level is low) or put the sprayer mechanism directly onto the Scenic Cement bottle (when the level is high, as is here -a brand-new, unopened bottle).Spray from the front, the sides and very lightly from the top: then take out the cardboard floor, rotate it 180 degrees, put it in place and spray from the front. Then leave the hills to dry (I always wait 24 hours). Be sure to carefully wash out your sprayer/mister, otherwise the glue will harden and interfere with the mechanism. I rinse it out and spray clean water through it twice. Even so, glue will still ruin it in time (over a few years of annual use, so hence the need to buy cheap sprayers/misters.

Next day, have a look at your finished products! . I’m very happy with how the SeeNiks Earth Blend flock turned out – it looks like this: . I think it looks fantastic, far better than the Woodland Scenics Earth Blend which contrasts too much with green flock. This SeeNiks flock also is a bit grittier…there are cut fibres and large flakes of sawdust in there, that make it look more like broken ground that’s dry than the “polished mud” appearance of Woodland Scenics’ product.

Your hills are now complete. Remove all the posterboard pins from underneath and store your hills or get a game on with them. Here are some photos of the hills with my Tiger Is:    . Just a quick check that the hills are taller than the tanks, thus completely blocking LOS when everyone’s at ground level : – they sure are.

 

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?

This final experimental batch of trees made from armatures are done. Here they are, immediately after a good spraying with Dullcote to seal them: . Covering the bases with lots of glue to try to reduce the sharp and unnatural angles/contours of the film cannister lids did not quite work: but at least the coarse turf does soften those angles/contours a bit: . So, it seems to me that I’ve worked out the best techniques for preparing plastic tree armatures to become wargaming trees – simple PVA glue to affix lichen; a good spraying with watered-down PVA glue a couple of days later and then careful application of covering flock or turf is all that’s really required. Forget Hob-e-tac! Forget Clump Foliage! Trees made with those don’t survive regular handling and accidental knocking over. So, experiment and project complete.

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I bought some more Heki apple trees yesterday. I already have 6, but on the table they make a small orchard and I wanted to have either a big orchard or two small ones. I have also decided to refurbish the trees I have with very warped bases, so I’m going to do them all these trees in one big batch:  . However, I have finally finished all the fiddly gluing and preparatory painting for my Panzer IIIs and Krupp Boxers, so they will be getting full priority from now on: .

I wanted to make sure that the foliage would remain in place even when the tree was repeatedly handled – remember, these are trees for wargaming, not a static diorama…they are going to be picked up and put down repeatedly. Therefore, their construction needs to be much more sturdy than if they were being placed onto a model railway diorama where they would/should never get handled again.

I decided to give each tree a good spraying with Scenic Cement (Woodland Scenic’s own pre-mixed water-down PVA glue). I would hold the tree upside down, give the entire tree a good spraying and then put them aside to dry. By spraying them while they are upside down, I hoped the glue would run in and further anchor the foliage to it’s connecting points on the branches of the armatures where the Hob-e-tac was already holding it.

I sprayed them and then put them aside to dry, upside down (I did this outside in the garden shed, so that the glue dripping on the floor would be of no consequence):  (I’ve had to use some offcuts and tools to keep them in place). For a few minutes, everything seemed to be fine:  but then some clump-foliage detached itself, and a couple of pieces of foliage clusters did likewise:  so I had to hurriedly put all the trees on the table in thier normal position (right way up, base on the tabletop) and re-attach detached lumps of foliage where possible:  . I could feel the wetness of the foliage and some came loose when I touched it on a couple of armatures. All I could do was put all the trees aside and leave them for a few days to dry (since cold, wet weather had moved in, I gavethem longer than my usual 48 hours).

At first I thought a possible culprit was the cold, wet weather but deep in my heart I knew that was wrong, as I had made other trees a few years ago using the same techniques on wet days in the cold months in a heated room indoors and not had the same troubles (I had different troubles with them – the Hob-e-tac stayed tacky and it still is now, two years later, even though it had been sprayed with Scenic Cement and also Dullcote). There must be something that in the Scenic Cement that counteracts the Hob-e-tac, even though I’m not sure why that would be. I waited.

When I checked 48 hours later, the trees had all suffered. All had lost sizeable portions of thier foliage:      . To fix up their problems was going to use too much of my time; I thought I would have to go through the Hob-e-tac stage a second time and then a sprayed-on Scenic Cement stage a second time while praying that as little foliage as possible might fall off – and that my prayers may for nought, all to try to achieve a standard result (much less perfection!). The economics behind all this was beginning to speak up a bit more loudly, too. It’s true that I had won these as part of a job lot on eBay, but each armature was 50 cents and I had to buy foliage & the two different glues (in multiples to allow for wastage) seperately at retail cost. I had hoped that making these trees themselves would be straightforward, fun and rewarding thus compensating for the doillar value of my labour. Since they weren’t turning out to be straightforward, the economics of buying four pre-made trees for $20 at a model railway shop were starting to loudly assert themselves.

I decided to also ditch all these trees and start the whole process again, but with three major changes. The first was that I would use small pieces of foliage cluster as discussed in the previous post; the second was that I would not spray as heavily with the Scenic Cement and the third was that I would not invert the trees while spraying… these hopefully the Hob-e-tac would not be as affected, more foliage would stick and no repairs or reworking required.

I made three new trees. They looked great!  Smaller pieces of foliage cluster did reduce the weight load (at least visibly and when handling the tree) and also made their appearance a little more realistic than the first batch:   . The Hob-e-tac really held it well and only the tiniest (3-4 mm diametre) couple of pieces of foliage fell off while drying. I gave these trees at least 48 hours to fully dry/cure.

Yesterday, I gave them a coating of Scenic Cement whilst in their normal positions and trying to use less glue than last time. I immediately brought them inside after spraying to dry in my hobby room instead of leaving them in the shed. After 15 minutes, things were looking OK:  . After 30 minutes, foliage began to fall off, small pieces first:  and after ninety minutes larger ones had also begun to fall:  . As I write this, it’s 34 hours after the Scenic Cement went on and I want to give these three trees of experiment 2 a full 48 hours to fully dry. However, it’s not looking good for them and I think the remaining armatures that are as yet untouched will be done in a very primitive way that has been successful for me in the past – coat the branches in normal PVA (or what Woodland Scenics call Scenic Glue), stick on lichen, wait 48 hours and then seal everything with a spraying of Scenic Cement. The trees that I made in that fashion I’ve had for four years and haven’t needed any repairs since.

It’s disappointing to see all this hard work going to waste, but I’ve wanted to be fair to the processes and also experiment as much as possible. After all, if it had worked, I’d have some fantastic-looking trees, saved some money and had a fun and rewarding time doing so!

Tonight I have consulted my copy of Woodland Scenics’ Scenery Manual (revised 2001)  to see if I had, in fact, been doing something that I should not have (ie. spraying Scenic Cement on Hob-e-tac when they might advise that Hob-e-tac’d scenery should be left alone). In the middle of page 80, it recommends using Hob-e-tac to glue field grass onto the diorama. There are two sentences about standing backand critically assessing your effort and making any necessary changes, then it says to spray with Secenic Cement! It does not explicitly say to avoid areas where Hob-e-tac was used. The other two pages where Hob-e-tac is mentioned (pages 82 & 85) also say nothing about the incompatibility about these two products, so I don’t know why it thier processes aren’t working for me.

I’ll do one more post in the next couple of days about this and then finish with this set of techniques and these failed experiments.

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.

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!

Last week or on the weekend past I painted the wooden shed roof with Hawk Turquoise as per last time, but the shed walls got Regal Blue. This was in order to differentiate between the two for all players.

I haven’t been able to do anything else with it as it’s been really humid here all week and it’s going to continue into this weekend.

If tomorrow or sunday turn out to be drier, then all the ironwork/steelwork will get some red and I can get the gutters and drainpipes done, then commence the last fiddly bits of details like outside lamp fitting and noticeboards.

The basics will then be complete and I can move into weathering and protecting.

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My resin EBay Horchs or Steyrs plus that heavy truck were all finished on wednesday. I’m waiting for the humidity to go so that I can protect them with Dullcote and let you have a look at some photos.

251’s are coming along well.

Opel Blitz has has extra black applied to cover bare plastic that was exposed during assembly when cutting parts from sprues or filing to ensure good fit/remove excess.