Sunday, 28 December 2014

1/56 WWII US M4A3 Sherman

Analog Painting Challenge - 1/56 WWII US M4A3 Sherman (18 Points)

Another post from the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge! This time around, I decided those US Airborne figures needed some Armoured support!

I've painted an M4A3 Sherman, in 1/56 scale - by Warlord Games, from their Bolt Action line. I'd bought three of these kits from a Canadian seller, who was getting out of 28mm figures, and concentrating on 1/72 scale products. It wasn't until the Challenge, that I'd sat down to look at the kits. Turns out, two of the kits have casting/missing bits problems I have to contact Warlord about, but they're very good about putting these sorts of problems right, so I have no worries about that.

I still used the portable photo booth for these pics, but I took out the fluorescent "twirly" bulbs, and put in good, old incandescent bulbs! Switched my camera back to the previous settings, and those pics look much better. I still need more "fill" light from the front, but learning the ways of the photo booth takes some time too...

The model was pretty straight-forward to assemble. I put most of the components together, and then, being as it's a resin kit, gave it a scrub with dish soap (washing up liquid, for

our friends across the pond!), and left the elements to dry overnight.

Unlike most people's complaints about resin models, the "track" pieces on this kit were straight enough, that I had no problems with assembly. There's a good number of "fiddly bits" though! The Headlight assemblies on the front of the tank almost drove me to have a "Roman Shield Decal" moment, a la Curt! I soldiered on though, and finally got all the little bits sorted (my big, old "meat hook" fingers don't work so well with "fiddly bits" any more...)

I drilled out the Antenna mount, and used a bristle from a cheap, Dollar Store (Pound Store?) nylon paint brush. They work really well! --and one 3" brush will give you virtually a lifetime of antennas and radio aerials! I've used them previously, on my Flames of War Canadians, and they look great! Just a dab of superglue and you're done - they're nice and bendy, so no need to worry about breaking like stretched sprue, and no impaling your hands like with metal wire antennas.

I did have one rather significant problem with these kits though. I think Warlord has since changed the policy, but these kits did not come with any decals! (Arg!) Fortunately, I was able to do a "work-around!" I printed out some 8mm and 9mm Stars at work (I do Graphic Arts, so this was easy enough to whip up). When I got home, I put clear tape on the front and back of the Star images (for strength and stability), and proceeded to cut out the insides of the images and make my own stencils!

I don't think I'm going to do this for the other kits, but it did turn out OK. I had to go in with a thin brush, and clean up the lines a bit just to "neat" things up. I don't know if this counts for "Extra Credit" or not Curt - what do you think? --an extra 5 pts maybe? Your call, of course. (Curt was nice enough to give me 3 extra points for the stencil work!)

And just to close off my post, a "scale" shot with the Airborne Bazooka team from my last post. In this shot, the figures don't look too bad against a 1/56 scale tank. Personally though, I think I'd rather 1/48 scale was the more "de facto" size for use with 28mm models. These 1/56 scale models do look just a little small compared to the figures. The Sherman here, almost looks like some odd, "Stuart" variant next to this Airborne team!

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Analog Painting Challenge - 28mm WWII US Paratroopers (30 Points)

Once again, I'm participating in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

The Challenge isn't a "challenge" in the normal sense, that is, you aren't really competing against the other participants.  Rather, you're competing against yourself.  You set a points total you want to aim for over the course of the Challenge, and then try and paint enough models to reach your total!

This entry is worth 30 points in the Challenge scoring (5 pts per 28mm figure).
I picked up a portable "photo booth" last year.  Unfortunately, it came with the new "twirly" bulbs, and they've made my pics look pretty crap - even with some Photoshop tweaking.  I'm a bit sad about this...  I think I will go back to my old method of snapping pics.  I've still got regular bulbs, so I might try swapping out the "twirly" bulbs for regulars in the booth...

So - my first post (outside of the Fortnight "Theme" post the other day), will be for some Bolt Action/Warlord "US Airborne" models, in 28mm.  I painted five Riflemen in the last Challenge, and I'm determined to get more of these guys done this time!  Here are a couple of "Officer" types, a Bazooka team, and an LMG team (Light Machine Gun, for the uninitiated)..

(please excuse the shoddy pics - I will endevour to do better next time.  Those pics from last year's Challenge look SO much nicer...)

Here are the Officer figures.  The first has a pistol and Carbine rifle, the second has an M1 Garand rifle.  He also has a pair of binoculars, so could double as a Forward Observer, I guess.

This is the Bazooka team.  The Bazooka seemed a bit tiny to me, but Curt who runs the Analogue Hobbies page, and the Challenge, pointed out some examples of WWII Bazookas, that show this sculpt is about the right size after all.

And lastly, the Light Machine Gun team - moving to a better firing position.

You'll be seeing more of these figures over the coming weeks.  I picked up the "Lt. Winters" special edition figure Warlord produced a few months back, plus I've also got two Airborne jeeps, a Mortar team, and a Pack Howitzer team, as well as a few more Riflemen.  I love Paul Hicks sculpting - looking forward to doing more of these great figures!

After painting the first few in the last Challenge, I've gotten over my 'hang-up' of trying to paint these guys!  So I look forward to continuing the efforts.  The same could probably be said about all the British Airborne figures I have - but those damn Denison smocks really DO give me a mental block!

Thanks for looking!

Analogue Painting Challenge - Theme Round #1 - COLD

40mm Sash & Saber "Retreat from Moscow" Napoleonic French

Another Analogue Painting Challenge is underway!  For the "Cold" theme (and my first post of the Challenge), I went with a couple of 40mm, Sash & Saber "Retreat from Moscow" figures.
These are (I think?), my first Napoleonic figures (unless you count "War of 1812" figures...), as well as my first 40mm figures!  They are painted largely with Vallejo Game Air paints (that's right, the Airbrush paints!). I recently started to try learning to do more Airbrush work, and I found the Game Air paints work quite nicely with bristle brush painting as well.  They're fairly thin, straight from the bottle, so require almost no additional thinning.

I did the common "black & white halftone" undercoat with the airbrush, then started in with traditional brush painting. (ps: not sure how well the "halftone" undercoat works with brushed on acrylics, but at least it gives a decent starting point, and gives brighter highlights than just a straight, Black undercoat.  The "halftone" undercoat probably works much better with Oil paints).  The bases are laser-cut MDF, courtesy of Byron from SG2 Creations, one of the Sponsors of the Challenge (Thanks, Byron!).

I used Liquitex "Resin Sand" texture gel to build up the bases, and once all the painting was done, I spread thinned white glue over the texture gel and covered with Baking Soda.  That's right - no need for fancy, expensive "Snow" basing material, just plain old Baking Soda.  Cover the bases LIBERALLY in the Baking Soda, don't just sprinkle it on - the white glue will suck down LOTS of the Baking Soda, and give nice, natural "mounds" like real snow.  I think it looks quite good!  I did some WWII "Winter War" Finns with the Baking Soda basing treatment as well, and they look pretty sharp (if I do say so myself).  I might include a few pics of those in a later post, as I'm working on some of those for the Challenge also.

Here's a shot with the ubiquitous Space Marine, to give a rough idea of size/scale.  For 40mm figures, they don't quite seem "all that" next to the Space Marine, but then, the French are hunched over against the cold, blowing winds of the Russian winter!
One final shot to show the backs of these figures.  I must say, considering the size of these figures, the detail and sculpting seem a bit "primitive" - considering what is available for 28mm figures, you'd think 40mm figures would be super-detailed!  Oh well, I'm not a sculptor, so I can't complain too loudly.  I know Curt has some of the Perry "Retreat from Moscow" figures, and they are, no doubt, much nicer sculpts.
(I snapped these pics on my iPad.  They didn't turn out so great...  Back to the little digital camera I've used in the past, I think...)

I picked up a couple of dozen of these figures from the Estate sale of a friend who passed away in 2013 - more French, some Russian infantry, Russian peasants, and some "dead" figures.  I think I will try and get more done from this range, and maybe try a skirmish game at some point.  I may need to order some of the Wolves and mounted Cossacks too!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Well...  I finally did it.

I went and started a blog to display my miniature painting.  It seemed better than my old web site, as there's far less coding involved!

The winding, winter road picture seemed very appropriate - both for where I live, and how my painting goes!

This will be an interesting project - I hope you enjoy the ride!