I see this on the shelves of a hobby retailer in the city last Monday. $22 was the asking price. I was going to buy one, but I felt that it was too Western European and so not much good to me at the moment.

It’s very straightforward…glue the four walls together, glue the corner brickwork on to cover the seams where the walls get glued together, glue the roof together then do the little detail bits and pieces. Apart from waiting for glue to dry, should be very quick.

Here’s Armourfast’s own description – tells you even about the colour of the plastics used, for painting consideration!

 

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If you don’t know about the TV version of The Wombles books, educate yourself on YouTube here.

I’ve been doing a bit of Wombling lately…

someone at work had bought an Eee Slate and threw out the box and packaging: Wombling 1 . The cardboard packaging was of no value to me, but wait…: Wombling 2 – could that be a useful plastic tray? Let’s have a look: Wombling 3 – why yes, it is! A nice size for a lap, with a nice, sturdy carry rim: Wombling 4 and good depth too, probably an inch deep: Wombling 5 . Great! This will be useful for sorting out bits and pieces when assembling individual 1:72 scale figures, or for sorting out vehicular stowage and other small odds & ends. I might even use it to catch the pieces of flashing when cleaning sprues with a scalpel. So, useless plastic to one is a handy hobby tray to another.

Next up: Christmas present packaging. Two presents came with transparent plastic lids:  Wombling 6 . The first one is a perfect, flat sheet – I’ll cut off the 90 degree angle sides and discard them (they are too small and I can’t be bothered keeping every last scrap of everything): Wombling 7 . I have used pieces like this to make wargaming rivers in the past (for a smaller scale of wargaming, different period and different rule set). They turn out really well, too! The second one has some shaping moulded into it, so it’s not a single perfect sheet: Wombling 8 . With the shaping bits removed, there’s plenty left to use for windshields, aircraft canopies, building windows, etc.

So, some rubbish that might end up as landfill will be given a second life on the wargames table. As Paul from Plastic Warriors would say, “Model on!!!”

 

I’ve completed the major stages of assembly of UniModel’s 1/72 scale SU-85 (or, if you are Russian, 333 UM 1/72 Самоходная артиллерийская установка СУ-85):   . It’s a well-detailed kit, but I think there must be better ways to actually assemble the kit than the way they suggest on the instruction sheet. Since this is the first of a company of 5 that I’m assembling, I’ll assemble the other 4 in a different way. The reason for wanting to do it differently is that, having followed their instructions, part fit of the superstructure to the hull was poor – out came the nail files and there was a lot of filing in order to get part fit, let alone accurate part fit. Not good. I’m reminded of some of the grizzles with assembly I had with the Marder III (h)’s of theirs that I did 4-5 years ago. So, we’ll see how the rest of them go. This one isn’t too bad, but it certainly isn’t going to be the company commander’s vehicle.

Also, I completed the Pegasus Hobbies 1/72 scale Russian Log house – Two storey (Large Karilian region izba) that I won as part of a number of job lots on eBay three years back. Mine looks like this from the front:  and like this at the rear: . It’s to scale, as you can see here, with 1/72 troops (ESCI/Italeri, in this instance):   . It’s meant to be a two-storey building, but there is no “first floor” provided, so I made one with leftover sheet styrene:  so I can have snipers upstairs if I want:  and the first floor sections easily lift out and away for when the door finally gets broken in and close-quarters combat (CQC) occurs:  . As you can see, it is a very big building. Great for diorama or scale modellers, but I think that for wargaming, it occupies too much of the tabletap. I don’t mind a factory or somesuch taking up big slabs of the tabletop, but I’m not so sure a large farmhouse (Russian: изба́) should share that right.

So, now I have a good collection of buildings by Pegasus and MiniArt for the Russian side of the Eastern Front (Ostfront):  – that should be enough for a few years.

***

My Dragon 251/10’s are coming along a bit more slowly at the moment, as you have to paint the interiors before you can fully assemble the bodies:  .

 

Winter is clawing at the windows nowadays – our second morning under 5 degrees Celsius two mornings ago – and so I’ve finished with making large terrain pieces until warmer weather returns.

You’ll recall that I was working on some more  “commercial-style” wargaming hills. Last weekend I was able to photograph them and move them inside, and clean up the table in the shed for more ‘house and garden’-type activities.

So, here are the two hills I made – one large and in two sections, the other much smaller (and it can go on the large one to make a two-level hill):     . Because these hills have flat tops, I’ll be able to put some based trees on them. It looks a little bit funny to only have beautifully sloping hills that have no trees on them…but if you want hills to be durable and easily stored with other hills in one box, then my opinion is that you can’t make hills with trees stuck on them.

I have three criticisms of my work: 1) I probably brushed off too much loose flock that was left behind after the glue dried. I could’ve left some on when I sprayed the hills with Scenic Cement to seal them. There are some patches where you can see the brown undercoat a little too easily. Oh well. 2) I touched these hills before the glue under the flock had even had a chance to harden,so one on of the two hill halves, you can just see a thumbprint. Oh well. 3) I used too much of the Heki green scatter material. Originally I said I’d use none, and really strive for a very “commercial”, modular appearance. Then as I was undercoating them I decided I’d better use some of the Heki scatter material to represent weeds, as I have done that one so many figure bases, other scenery pieces and some of the other hills. If I don’t, they’ll stand out from my other pieces too much. In practice, I applied too much. Oh well.

So, no big terrain items now for quite a while.

 

I was a bit keen with the sand-paper, so some bubbles came free completely. Otherwise, the edges rounded nicely with the sand-papering: .

Putting two layers of paint on will help fill up the tiny holes a bit…when I cover them with Aquadhere, that will get rid of all the small holes and tiny grooves completely. Finished product this weekend, if this freaky Autumn warm spell can hold until then…

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’ve already done 333 posts…one third of a thousand. I didn’t think back at the start that I would need so much time to complete enough German forces to have a good slog against Peter – well, I was wrong. At the rate I’m going, I’ll need another 300 posts at least…

Anyway, let’s keep making better hills!

Assemble all terrain ingredients you think will be useful: . I’ve got my Woodland Scenics Green Blend flock, my SeeNiks Earth Blend flock, some Woodland Scenics fine Talus, some Heki coarse flock and Selleys Aquadhere glue. No, none of these companies are sponsoring me.

Apply the glue completely and thickly: . A thick application of glue will fill up any small holes and crevices, leaving a smoother appearance.

If you’re going to apply talus, now’s the time, before applying any flock: . Remember, grass grows up,  around and sometimes nearly covers rocks…not the other way around (unless a volcano just went off).

If you need to apply any sort of coarse turf or small clumpy foliage, you are now at the appropriate stage to do so: – I use this strongly-coloured green coarse turf stuff from Heki to represent big-leafed weeds. Green Blend flock is fine, but it’s still a fairly uniform product. Break it up with some of this kind of stuff.

Thickly apply your flock: – you too can let a chance ray of sunlight into your garden shed if you want…this was by and large a grey morning, so all my other photos don’t feature it. Once applied, I manually pat the stuff down hard so I know that it’s gone into the glue. I pat the whole hill over and I pat it with some strength to the action. Then I apply more flock over the top of what’s there because inveitably you’ll see some glue visible somewhere after patting.

Now you can leave it for 24 hours(or longer if the humidity’s high) to dry.

Want to do hills where some bare soil is showing? OK, apply glue and then your Earth Blend flock: – I placed some Talus around its edge to show the effects of erosion. Remember, erosion usually only affects one side of a hill, so don’t go silly with your Earth Blend flock. I decided with this project to leave the Woodland Scenics Earth Blend out – I wanted to try the less uniform and slightly more gritty SeeNiks Earth Blend. It goes on OK and looks good at this stage.

I like to put some lush vgetation (thick weeds) on the opposite side of the hill, to show that the other side to the Earth Blend is sheltered from the wind: .

Then on goes the Green Blend flock, thickly applied, patted down and then reapplied where necessary: – you’ll see that I’ve even applied it almost covering the Earth Blend flock too. I don’t want the erosion to be too bare.

Now wait for it to dry.

***

Back inside the house, the next project is waiting to be started. It’s a pair of infantry guns: . I bought them over a year ago – it’s time to get these Caesar Miniatures sIG 33 guns built, painted, based and gaming.

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…

 

 

 

 

 

After having posted last month about considering buying some pre-made, painted model railway terrain from Hornby, I have been doing some research about their suitability for Eastern Front wargaming. I wanted to try to see if those kinds of stone walls/stone fences are found in the region…or were found in the region at the time.

I employed Google’s image search and tried a number of different search terms in a number of different combinations. I used English words, which I knew would severely restrict the numbers of results I found even before . I did find two photos – one here and one here – but they are both from a museum of Ukrainian folk architecture. Nothing else that I was satisfied with. I had tried a number of different country names – Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany – so I felt I’d been fair.

Once I changed the location search term to to “Britain”, up popped many photos, so stone fences seem to be fairly commonplace in England, Scotland and Ireland but not so much in Eastern Europe.
I won’t buy these stone fences now – I’d rather buy and paint up another set of wooden fences (which you see in some of my AAR/game report photos).

Still, it was worth doing the research.

 

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’.