26 November 2017

1/72 US 105mm Field Howitzer Conversion


A few years back I saw an article on Paul's excellent Plastic Warriors Website on using a cut-down Airfix 88mm Flak to make a 105mm US howitzer

http://plasticwarriors.blogspot.com.es/2010/06/m2-m101-105mm-howitzer.html

I needed a couple of these for my WWII US forces and inspired by Paul's original idea, I decided to put a couple of old Airfix 88s I had in the stash to good use.


The barrel of the 88 has been cut down and the shield comes partially from an old Airfix 6 pounder AT gun and the rest was made using some cut-down clear plastic sheeting.

The axle and wheels are from a trailer that comes as an accessory with a die-cast Altaya M16 Half-Track. The trail legs are flat plastic cocktail sticks.


Yep, it's a crude "representation" and it would probably raise a lot of eyebrows at an IPMS meeting, but I think once it's painted and on the table it maybe won't look too out of place.

I'll try and get this painted up and will post a couple of shots soon.






18 September 2017

Battle of the Bulge - Keep Moving


Since the last post, things have kept on moving - not as fast as I would have liked, but at a fair pace.

The HaT M4A3 76mm tanks after having been base-painted, washed/highlighted, and mud-weathered, were given a couple of white stars on the turrets courtesy of the decals spares box - the Armourfast tanks unfortunately come with no decals.


They are also very sparse, no tools or any other kind of stowage, and the hatches are moulded shut, but in spite of looking very bare they are fine for gaming and are now ready for table 




The old Hasegawa M5 High Speed Tractor and 155mm Long Tom that were dug out of the old stash have now been repainted and are also ready for action.

As with the Shermans, after repainting the M5 also received a good dose of mud on the tracks.


Below the finished tractor and Long Tom, the Armourfast Shermans and a GPA Amphibious 1/4 Ton 4x4 Truck that was also on the painting table. 


I stuck a figure in there wearing a thick overcoat - he's from the Revell US Ardennes Infantry set.



While I was at it, I took a shot of that now finished 1/4 ton amphibious "Seep". It's from the Academy "WW II Ground Vehicle Set -6". I trimmed down and added a few figures to fit in there.


So a fair amount of progress, and more to come.

And to finish off, a taster of what's on the table at the moment.


We've got die-cast self-propelled artillery, a Fujimi M30 Cargo Carrier, and trucks of various makes and from various sources - all of which will be repainted and might be finished shortly.


So come back soon, as time permitting there should be another update with work in progress.


24 August 2017

New project - Battle of the Bulge

I had been meaning to start this project for a few years and finally, after much procrastination, I made a start.

We plan to get a campaign going and we have a fair supply of suitable German stuff already built and painted, but the US forces were unfortunately sadly lacking.

But, I do however have a large amount of WW2 US vehicles and tanks that I've accumulated over the years.

The problem is that the stash is made up of lots of unmade kits, various diecasts that need repainting, and a fair amount of old stuff & wrecks that need work to bring them up to standard.

First off some Shermans


The two Shermans on the left were already built and painted, I just want to "muddy" them up a little.

The top left-hand M4A1 76 is quite old, made many years ago and is an Esci M4A1 with a Matchbox (Revell) Sherman turret.

The other Sherman below was built and painted by a friend (Eli from La Rana Bucanera Website) who kindly donated the vehicle (and some others too that I'll show in a future post). I believe it's a Dragon kit

The two partially painted Shermans on the right are Armourfast M4A3 76mm. Very simple snap-together models, but nice and sturdy.

I also dug out these two old veterans from the stash which are in need a bit of care and attention and will both be getting a new paintjob  - a Hasegawa M5 Tractor and 155mm Long Tom.




We plan to game the campaign, using the Warlord Bolt-Action ruleset, and the their Battle of the Bulge Campaign book which I recently bought.




So, work in progress pictures will follow with the next updates shortly.

28 June 2017

8th Army Uniform - 1/72 Scale Painting Guide


There was a time when I thought my Airfix sand-coloured plastic figures really looked the business with the exposed parts of the skin painted with good old Humbrol Matt Flesh - and of course to a 10 year-old kid they did.


And that kid still lives in my head, and even though various decades have passed since then, and even if I spend maybe a little more time painting my figures nowadays, I do still try and keep things as simple as possible,



Drybrush & Wash Technique

The figures below were all painted using a simple technique that brings out the detail well and allows you to finish off a large number of figures in a relatively short time.




I'll cover the preparation, basing and undercoating in a separate post in more detail, but the painting technique itself is straightforward and simple as follows.

  • Paint a large batch of figures in the base uniform colour. 
  • Once dry, give them a very heavy drybrush of a much lighter colour to highlight the raised uniform areas, straps, buckles, rucksacks, etc. 
  • Block paint flesh areas and weapons.
  • Finally finish off the whole batch with a wash to bring out the details. 


Acrylic Paints / Colours / Wash

Acrylic paints are the best for this job and I generally use colours from the Vallejo range.

For the 8th Army figures I've used the following.
  • Vallejo Khaki - base uniform colour
  • Vallejo Iraqui Sand - heavy drybrush.

There are various products on the market sold exclusively as "washes" or "dips", but I've found that - at least for me - the best option is to use a good quality artists' acrylic Raw Umber diluted with water to a consistency of milk. In this example I've used the following
  • Van Gogh Acrylic Raw Umber

You just need to squeeze out a half-thumbnail sized blob into a bottle top or similar recipient, mix in water to get the right consistency, and paint a generous dose onto each figure.

The wash will settle into the folds and crevices of the figures and once it has dried you'll see a very pleasing and subtle highlight and shadow effect.


Further Detailing



The 8th army uniform can range from sun-bleached sandy white to the darker hues of khaki brown and even green. This all depends on the issue of uniform, the amount of time exposed to the sun and elements, etc., so you might want your figures to have more variation.

You can use the same technique but paint in more detail before the final wash, and play around with variations on the straps, pouches, rucksacks, helmets, etc., using lighter browns, sand, other shades of khaki, greys, and so on.

Another option is to also try with different washes using deeper shades and / or consistencies of artists' acrylics.

If you want to certain figures to stand out, such as as officers or special units, or even whole squads, once the wash has dried you can further detail the figures by touching up certain areas, dark-line, highlight, etc., etc





Colour Guide

The illustration below is a guide based on Vallejo colours for painting 20mm British & Commonwealth WW2 8th Army figures.


One final note : Boots

The British wore black boots but if you've ever walked around, even for a very short time, in dry dusty terrain you'll already know that whatever colour your boots might have originally been, they will soon become the exact same colour of that same terrain,

For this reason I prefer to leave the boots in a dusty shade to try and match the flocked base.


There are plenty of options for painting the 8th Army and many of us have various preferences for colours and techniques so please feel free to add any comments.

20 June 2017

Airfix WW1 French Infantry In Khaki


Airfix / HaT Industrie WW1 French Infantry painted in khaki to represent WW2 troops.


The set itself (not these actual figures though) was one of the first sets of 20mm figures I had as a kid at primary school - and that was a long time ago now.

I always thought that the guy with the carrier pigeon looked like he was holding a half-eaten sandwich that he'd just taken out of his hamper.




The figures have a lot of useful poses, it's a pity about the rifles as they are very flimsy and thin without any real detail, but they still have a place for me on the wargame table.

15 June 2017

Dragon Rampant Game in 1/72 scale


Got together with some wargaming buddies a short time ago, Alex, Carlos and Rob, and we got in a game of Osprey's "Dragon Rampant".

It's the first time I've played these rules, but I had the guidance of the other guys who'd gamed the system before, so with their help it was fairly easy to get to grips with the core basics of the rules once we got going.

A game needs a certain amount of planning to get the balance of opposing units right and to prepare the army sheets. On this occasion the "baddies" got hammered fairly quickly so it looked like we needed to fine tune the lists and/or the scenario.

But it was a good first experience and it's always enjoyable getting together for a game and getting some minis on the table regardless.

Some pictures from the game below



Marauding bands of green/skinned orcs and goblins advance on the village



Light infantry move out to meet the enemy 



Meanwhile, trolls enter the village



Light cavalry, accompanied by a sorceress rush out to meet the invaders







And finally, our "Hero" on his shining white stallion rides into the fray



And proceeds to decimate the green-skinned devils



11 June 2017

Lockheed AC-130 Hercules Gunship - Toys for wargaming

My imaginary near-future "Seven Star Nation" has just received a valuable asset in the form of a Lockheed Hercules Gunship



Ok, so it's a toy, ..... but it's a huge, strong, and very sturdy toy, AND it scales out really well with my 1-72 scale forces.



I saw it advertised on "Wallapop" a couple of weeks ago and the guy who was selling it lived near me so I sent him a message and when I got this off him I was really really pleased to find that it wasn't some cheapo flimsy toy.

I don't know who the manufacturer is but according to the guy who sold it to me, it's about 15 years old, maybe even a little more. At first I though it might be from the Micro-Machines range, but I couldn't find any pictures of it online.

It comes with two 1/72 scale pre-painted crew figures, who look very similar in style to micro-machines figures.





It has a cargo bay door that opens and closes too, and the 20mm figures and vehicles here just how well it scales out.



All in all a great addition to the Seven Star Nation's forces.

28 May 2017

Doug Iovinelli - Pz.Sfl. II in 1/72 scale.

I was sent this article by Doug Iovinelli, a friend and smallscale enthusiast who's recently been experimenting with 1/72 scale 3D printing.

Doug's contribution below :

***************************************************************

I recently bought some 3D printed pieces of unusual subjects from Shapeways.

The first item is the Pz.Sfl. II in 1/72 scale.



The subject is a rare conversion used by the Afrika Korps. (From Wikipedia): Two prototypes were completed in 1941 and they were organized into a platoon for troop trials with Panzerjäger-Abteilung ("Anti-Tank Battalion") 605 of the Afrika Korps. Sent for trials to North Afrika, neither survived the experience.






The subject is interesting and the photographs provide an opportunity to add a lesser known vehicle to our wargames.







Next update, to paint the item and share the detail. It will need to be washed and dried with water as there is a little bit of residual powder from the printing process that will “cake” up the paint if it is not removed.

The link to the designer and the item: https://www.shapeways.com/product/K3TC6NQ6B/

30 March 2017

Modern / Post-Apoc ; Police - SWAT - Paramilitary - 1/72 - Finished


These new recruits have just graduated off the Police Academy painting table (see previous post here) and are ready for action in a forthcoming modern / dystopian future / post-apocalyptic wargame.











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