Thursday, December 30, 2010

SU-85 (1:72)

My really cool wife gave me a great Christmas gift of a set of two Armourfast Soviet SU-85 self propelled anti tank guns in 1:72 (20mm) scale. As soon as we were back home I tore into the package to start construction on the first of the tanks. In my excitement, I misplaced one of the exhaust ports. So that I could still build both tanks, I tried my hand at simple green-stuff mold, using a spare GW square base.

The first of the two tanks was to be painted in the  standard green of Russian armor. I painted it in a lighter shade than a factory fresh tank, showing some field wear. Preferring a slight asymmetry on my armor models, I removed the left fender and only attached 3 of the four external fuel tanks. 

As I like on plain green paint schemes, I was able to show wear and weathering across the otherwise uniform surface. Rust, oil, and rain streaks cross the green expanse on the side of the turret-box.

Only complaint is the lack of detail on the tracks. I'll have to go back and add mud or something to make the model a little more believable. Also have not yet decided on unit markings. Those will be added later, as I figure out what to do with the tracks.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Another addition to my German LW Panzer or Panzergrenadier force, allow me to present my StuG IV. Basically the same tank as teh StuG IIIG, but built onto the chassis of the larger panzer IV. In game terms, the vehicles have identical stats.
The Battlefront model for the Stug IV has zimmerit as well as schurzen, though i opted to leave the skirts off, as so many of my StuGs are one-piece models without the option.

Monday, December 20, 2010

StuG III G with Riders

As I peruse the Flames of War rulebooks and army list books, I find myself drawn to the models of the Stug III with the Begleit riders on the back. While I am not intending to run an Ostfront StuG list, I love the look of the model with tank riders on it. I experimented with some extra figures that came in my Festungkompanie box, and have come to some results i am pleased with.

The overall scheme of the vehicle is plain dunkelgelb. This is mainly so that the figures do not blend into the ubiquitous 3–tone camouflage. I use some of the same paint colors for my splinter pattern as i do for the tanks, and they would be too difficult to see on the model. Also, it turns out that using a variety of kneeling poses from the grenadier platoons makes a pleasing group of tank riders.

The model I used for the StuG is one of the Open Fire set tanks i acquires in quantity, and while I was painting it, the rear upper schurzen piece chipped off, as it was a bit thin and brittle. I was able to glue it back in place, and to hold it and hide it, I made a camouflage net out of green stuff, seen below.

 Though I am more than satisfied with the results of this project, I don't think I will do that many more StuGs with riders, as I like using this as a command tank. The riders do a great job of differentiating it from the rest of its platoon.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hummel Battery, part 2

For the second vehicle in my sturmartillerie gun section, I opted to go with a flat dunkelgelb paint scheme. I will be painting all the vehicles individually to  reflect individual choices with field-applied paint.... ok, so maybe I just get a little squirrely painting the same thing over and over.
On the second vehicle, I went for the on-the-move look, with the barrel of the gun locked in place. Note that seen clearly here, I prefer not to paint my tracks metallic. Most images (and even actual vehicles) that i've seen show tracks either covered in earth or lightly to heavily rusted. Moreover, at this scale, metallic paint stands out a bit too much for my taste, and distracts from rather than adds to a paint scheme, adding focal points where i don't want them.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

StuG Platoon

Seeking to build a more armored option for my German force, I acquired a box of StuG III Gs originally from the "Open Fire" starter Set. Not quite as  customizable as the individual blister packed StuGs, they still make a fine squad all painted up. My only real complaint on these particular tanks is that as they are basically single piece resins, the side skirts can be brittle, and the majority of my vehicles have corners missing from at least one segment of schurzen.
StuG III G Platoon
I again opted for variety rather than uniformity in the platoon, so the tanks all have individual camouflage patterns.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hummel Battery part 1

One of the things i like best about the tiny Flames of War models is the opportunity to work on a variety of exotic armored vehicles without having to purchase expensive large scale kits. Before I found this model range, I would have to devote quite a bit of money for each kit. Now I am free to sample the myriad AFV designs of the Second World War.

Continuing on with my LW German army, I've decided to provide artillery support through the use of sturmartillerie, in particular the Hummel. These large SPGs have always been a favorite of mine, and the open crew compartment gives some fun modelling challenges.

The first of my battery is painted up in typical 3 color camouflage, and I chose this one to be firing, with its gun lock folded down onto the forward hull.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Opel Blitz

I pained up an Opel Blitz cargo/transport truck as a tester model. Wanted to see if I liked them, and if I would continue on to mount my growing force of infantry in them. Admittedly, the models are unnecessary for actual gameplay on the table as Panzergrenadiers, but for flavor and for the fun of a good truck model I was compelled to paint one.

Another reason to go with the truck was to test out a new painting technique. Flames of War's offical website had a tutorial on how to paint good window glass, showing vague reflections of horizon and sky instead of just doing black. The rest of the paint job was done as the Pz.III.

Just needs a fedora-clad hero dragging behind it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Panzer III M: airbrushing without the airbrush

A lucky score at a used miniatures bin at my FLGS leaves me in possession of a Panzer III. While not in my planned army list, I could not resist the opportunity. The model came primed black, with the side skirts attached. I've removed some, partially for the "on campaign" look, and partially done to add some interest to the model. After doing some research, I've settled on a paint scheme based on a vehicle at the great battle of Kursk.

I have to be honest. I have airbrush envy. The convention in nearly all modeling guides, magazines, and online galleries is that panzer camouflage is best applied with an airbrush. Since I own no such device, it has been a goal of mine to replicate the tool's effects in the intricate and blended pattern. Starting a few years ago with my Warhammer 40k army, I've been working on the pre shading techniques normally applied via airbrush. Using very thinned paint, I am able to apply a very thin wash in gradual layers, blending the edges. I begin at the centre of a panel, and work toward the edge. I leave the edges dark. Starting with a dark brown base, I highlighted toward a dark yellow blended of Khaki and Khaki Grey.

The green stripes of the pattern were applied over the finished dunkelgelb tank, using a similar series of extremely thinned layers. The base was mixed with the final highlight color of the khaki, and worked toward a darker and more opaque green. 

By limiting the pallet to a simpler 2 color camo, I was able to keep brown tones as accents applied as weathering, both dirt and rust. These give a great contrast to the overall greenish vehicle.

I am pleased with the results. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Flames of War II: the Reckoning

Despite initial setbacks and frustrations, there is something uniquely fun about the new scale of figure. When I saw a great deal on a Festungkompanie, I immediately snatched it up to expand my new German force.

THe box came with more than 3 platoons of Grenadiers in Late War configuration with camo smocks, helmet covers, and MG42s for each section. The sculpt allows for use as Grenadiers, Panzergrenadiers, (or  more elite and less scrupulous units...) I painted mine in Heer uniforms, using the Splinter Pattern for the smocks and helmet covers.

After playing my first game, I decided to line the bottoms of my squad bases using felt squares cut to size. This allows them to stand in place even on the slopes of hills. To help keep track of platoons on the table and in storage, I've added small roman numerals to the backs of the bases to denote which platoon they belong to.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sparks of War: a first taste of Flames of War

Though I initially had no intent to start another game system, I had always eyeballed the Flames of War tank blisters at my FLGS's. Many moons ago in college, i had picked up a single Tiger 1E tank (if you're going to paint only one tank, it might as well be the Tiger), and played around with paint jobs, but never got it to my satisfaction.

Recently, my friend and former employer was digging his way out from beneath his lead mountain, and asked if I'd be interested in painting up his German midwar Grenadier platoon. Of course I could not resist the opportunity to try a new figure range, so i gleefully accepted.

As my first attempt at a new and much smaller scale, going from my usual 28mm and 25mm figures down to the tiny 15mm men, I found myself feeling furstrated and ham handed. Though I had nearly 8 years under my belt painting the larger sizes, I was reduced to roughly the same amount of control that I had as a beginner in the hobby. My brush felt big and my strokes were heavy. I believe i finished my first stand of infantry as much by force as i did by finesse.

As is visible in the photo, I'm also learning about photographing the new scale.
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