Something Different

I’ve been trying to get back into painting and I felt like trying something different to get back into the swing of things.  A while back someone kindly gave me some British Napoleonic miniatures to paint. I’ve had different phases of being interested in the Napoleonic era. I first came into contact with Napoleonics through a gentleman who handmade his figures out of modelling clay. He would then craft whole battlescenes and take some really impressive pictures using exploding firecrackers!

In the past, I have read article of people being very particular and critical with the colours use on painted Napoleonic figures. This initially made me somewhat cautious to even try painting them. However, this phenomenon isn’t limited exclusively to this era of painting and I know the community as a whole is good natured, enthusiastic and encouraging. I’ve decided that I would like to try dabble into painting these figures to get the creative juices flowing. Plus i’ve been wanting to get some more content out for a while. Seeing other people’s sites and blogs has been really encouraging me to set aside time to paint. Beside, it’s an opportunity for me dive deeper into a period and understand the history around it. Maybe someday I’ll even get around to painting some Roman and Samurai figures that have been catching my eye.

My overall knowledge of the period is very limited and so i’m slowly learning by watching documentaries and researching online. This also means that my painting references are also based to the things that I can easily search online and use simple cross referencing for validation. The gentleman who gave me the figures has also been really helpful answering all my questions like: “what is this thing on the mini? what colour is that thing supposed to be?”.

It’s a 28mm figure from Essex Miniatures like this one:

Image taken from the Essex Miniatures website

It’s a larger scale than i’m used to (28mm over 15mm) which has some up and down sides to it. It also feels strange to paint a miniature with so many bright colours on it. I’ve been painting too many WW2 miniatures, I have to mix it up. Looking at the original picture I can already see that i’ve done the shoulders wrong. I’m still learning the formations and the differences between all the uniforms and colours.

I’ve chosen to paint him in the colours of the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot. At this stage it is base coated with a face.

Seeing these photos I’ve noticed a few things already:-

  • the crooked left eye.
  • the previously mentioned shoulder issue (pads?). I’ve since learnt that the figure is a grenadier (?).
  • the tip of the bayonet scabbard is missing the brass colour.
  • the back photo is from a later stage and so the red is different.

The figure has been moulded with some really nice detail and is a great base to work from. I recall having very little clean up work before putting on the undercoat. Planning out the finish, I’ve decided that I will try to minimise how much I will dirty him up. I do like the clean look, but it probably isn’t as “authentic” for a “battle” look. I’m not even sure whether that is a thing for this period.

I have somewhat enjoyed finding more details about the equipment and uniforms. It really can be a daunting task learning all the finer points of a new period. I’ve been trying slowly step my way through it. I’ve found interesting documentaries of the period really help to stimulate the painting process. Of course this has lead me to jump right in and buy more miniatures before i’ve even finished this figure. I’ll do a juggling act and prepare the new miniatures while finishing this one. I promise, I will finish this one – he has been fun to paint.

I apologise in advance if i’ve butchered the colours of your favourite regiment, but feel free to point it all out. Let me know what you think and  pass me your invaluable painting references and links to cool Napoleonic documentaries/movies to watch.

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A New Year, A New Version

This may be some seriously old news to some, however Battlefront have announced a new version 4 of Flames of War to be released in March 2017. This has caused quite a stir in the Flames of War Forums with it somewhat dividing the Flames community. Many feel that, with the information that has been provided, the game is becoming too simplified. More reminiscent of Battlefront’s Team Yankee ruleset which has seen some popularity. While others feel that it’s about time that there was some streamlining of some of the more contentious rules. The information being released is a combination of “slow release” on the WWPD Site and podcast, some “leaked” material online as well as hints and minor responses on the Battlefront forum and website.

Where I stand on the matter is quite neutral; I would like to see the lists and rules primarily to determine how I paint and base squads and platoons. What I would hope to see is that the new version is eventually announced as being a success (when it has been fully released) and that it stimulates the community into playing more Flames of War. I think that overall it has been a good game and I love seeing it being played and enjoyed. What I don’t want to see, which has been hinted at, is that some of the quirkier equipment is removed and they disappear from the tables. I feel that some of this equipment brings a lot of flavour and character to the armies involved.

On the painting and modelling front I have been continuing to work away on the StuGs and Stukas (sounds like a boardgame). I got diverted to another secret project that I had thought about and designed a while back. It took up a fair bit of research time as it was dabbling in areas that I have had minimal understanding and knowledge. What I am creating is this new system for [CENSORED] … and the result has been somewhat of a success. I will post this project soon once I have completely finished.

The StuGs are looking great, however I keep pulling more and more of them out of the cupboards as I find them. The new plastic StuGs are fantastic and have great details and are excellent to put together with minimal effort. The old open fire StuGs – not so much. While I am writing this I just remembered that I have another older boxset of StuGs. I will never get them finished at this rate!

With the Stukas I was initially only working on one as I had original boxset of three. Then I found out that in this new version of Flames of War they may be bringing back multiple planes in a single bombing run. With the amount of “fix” up work that I had to do for just one plane I had to postpone this work until the information about planes in the new ruleset is confirmed. “Convenient excuse” some would say, I say you’ll see what I mean when you see the work that i’ve put into just one Stuka.

So as usual, I have too little time, too many projects and not many pictures to show. However I do thank you for your indulgence and I promise that I will have some images to post for next time.

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Gone Bush

Apologies, it’s been a long while since my last post. One thing that has continued in the absence is the growing mountain of miniatures accumulating on the unpainted pile. I have been getting random inspirations to attempt one project or another, however not much paint has left the tip of the brush, nor the point of the needle.

The point of this post is to reassure you, and myself, that I am still here and looking to produce more work. The following are some ideas that I’ve had kicking around that I want to work on.

I have a full Necromantic/Undead blood bowl team that I accumulated from various manufacturers. I am really excited to get to work on this effort, however the main thing that has been dampening my enthusiasm is that fact that I had to do a lot of cleaning up/sculpting for the miniatures. They are great figures, however some of the casting isn’t the cleanest and I’m too picky to not fix them up. Things like recreating fur and sculpting new jawlines has slowed me somewhat. I’m too critical of mistakes – especially my own and so it has taken some time to even get a single figure in the position to get some paint on it.

I have a thought about a technique that I would like to try developing to create, what I would consider, effective looking mesh Schurzen. I have a large number of Panzer IV Js sitting on the production line awaiting their side skirts. This is going to take a fair amount of effort but in my mind I see it working and looking fantastic.

I have also looked into a technique to create templates for “good enough” looking disc camouflage. Which at the 1/100 scale is quite daunting to downright insane. This one I have been looking at keeping up my sleeve for when I finally get round to working on my Panther G’s. I feel like if I can pull off the effect that I want to achieve, I will be ecstatic. The realistic expectations are that the likelihood of this outcome is somewhere in the order of 25% – 30%.

I have built a number of plastic Stug III Gs from BattleFront. I am lead to believe that these are from the “newer” moulds. Wow, they are absolutely fantastic to put together, easy to clean up and a good fit. I highly recommend getting them as they also look great. As you can build up multiple variants with the boxy gun mantlet, saukopf gun mantlet and the 105mm gun, I have magnetised the hull and used metal wire at the gun attachment point. It took a bit of work and drilling but it means that I can field all four gun variants. What is also provided are the two variants of hull for the early and late StuG, however I haven’t decided on the best use for these yet. A painter on the Flames of War forum (WarPainter – I think) used these as dug in StuGs which I think he did a fantastic job with. I may consider doing something similar. There are some things that would only disturb certain individuals such as myself so they can be safely ignored.

  • The schurzen brackets have no detail and are a flat wall. I need to cut them off and drill them out or replace with plasticard brackets (haven’t decided yet)
  • There are pin ejection points on the detail for the bracket and spare track link that you put on the rear top hull superstructure. Had to do some putty work and resculpting.
  • The schurzen itself is way too thick, which is great for sturdiness and game handling though. It is also moulded to the schurzen bracket railing, which in itself is too thick. Will have to look at doing a replacement Schurzen railing and plate system using plasticard.
  • The rear superstructure has some necessary join marks from where you attach the bottom hull to the top superstructure. This can be filled in with modelling putty and made to be a smooth join.
  • The top machine gun included is terrible, it looks wrong and it’s ready to break at a moments notice. I will be looking to replace with spare MG34s that I know I have somewhere!

I have also done some additional modifications, however I won’t reveal these until the models are completed because it could turn out looking terrible and tacky. The model are built, however they are missing the schurzen “fixes” as well as the addition of the extras that I plan to put on them. Like extra weapons, helmets, canvas and mandatory buckets. If you want to see some awesome examples of these StuGs you need to go here:-Ritterkrieg’s Blog  I can’t say enough good things about all the details that he has put into his StuGs. Needless to say if any of mine turn out half as good as his i’ll be happy.

 

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An Axe to Grind

I’ve chopped a fair amount of wood in my youth as I lived in the country. It was fun to pay tribute to this as well as having it fit nicely into the context of my basing scheme. My original plans for this base was to have the soldiers filtering through a farmer’s house and yard. I was going to have one side of the base being the side of his hut, lined with stacked chopped wood, with the other side containing the chopping block and debris. After viewing other people’s work where they have the basing being an entire building scene, broken up among the squads, I decided that I wouldn’t be able to make my idea work. I felt that it would be out of context to have a single base being part of a building and would look half-finished. Also, with the way that I have done this base, I leave it partially up to the imagination for the setting. It could be a generic yard (which is what is intended) or it could be a clearing where a woodcutter is gathering wood, etc.

The axe was made out of greenstuff and was fairly easy to do. I rolled out a thin column of greenstuff which I then flattened out to make the handle. The axe head was made by flattening down one end of a rectangle of greenstuff. These were left to cure and then cut appropriately. The wood is done by cutting a dowel of balsa wood to length and then quartering it vertically. I then scored it with a scalpel to give it the rough texture.

I really enjoyed making this base, it came together nicely. I also like the poses of the machine gunner team. Let me know what you think.

Thanks for viewing

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CanCon 2014 – Part 2

While at CanCon I was pleasant surprised to find that there was a large area dedicated to remote control vehicles, mostly tanks. I met up with a member of Panzergruppe South and had a brief chat about the display. He said that it had a lot of support this year, with people from interstate bringing in their pieces for display. I was very impressed with the outstanding quality and detail of the AFVs and their paintwork. The “rolling” demos were entertaining and made me consider acquiring a Tiger in the distant future.

Also here a video of these beasts in action

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CanCon 2014 – Part I

CanCon is a convention dedicated to hobby gaming. It encompasses many different formats and genres, including Wargaming, Boardgaming, Card games and much more. It is also host to many tournaments which include Flames of War, Magic the Gathering, Warhammer 40k. Amongst it all are a number of demonstration games and historical scenarios/re-fights. Intermingled with the action are a number of retail stalls to whet your hobby appetite as well as to empty your wallet. Overall it’s three large buildings bustling with entertainment that I highly recommend to attend.

As has become customary for me, I went to take snapshots of the Flames of War and modelling goodness to be had at this event. It’s also an opportunity for me to restock painting and other modelling paraphernalia. I also keep an eye out for any boardgames and bargains at the auction held on the final day.

Here is some of the Flames of War eye candy that was on display. A big thank you goes out to all who let me takes photos of their excellent miniatures and boards.

This year I went with a mindset that I would restrict my purchases to essentials and bargains too good to pass up. I managed to stick to this goal and bought some static grass clumps, varnish and some boardgames – D-Day Dice being the standout. The auction was quite interesting – I was close to winning a Kings of War force, an American and Soviet force for Dust Warfare, and Steve Jackson’s Ogre – all for very reasonable prices. However I managed to pull out when the prices went past the margins I set myself. Instead I won an assortment of Hell Dorado figures. Not my usual scene, however the positive is that I have something different to paint to practice and experiment on.

A stand out for me on this long weekend was that I had the pleasure of meeting Phil Yates from Battlefront. I spectated a game where he took a Russian armoured force against a mixed German Armour and Pioneer force – part of a larger Kursk re-fight. Afterwards he ran me through the details of the battles and the history. A knowledgeable and interesting character who was pleasant to be around.

As always, I had a great time. Recharged the hobby interest and spurred more effort to get these 88s that I’ve been painting finished. Maybe next year I’ll look at doing more participating than photography – if I get can get an army finished!

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ScaleACT 2013

I caught wind of a Scale Modelling Convention happening in my region and I was eager to attend. This event is hosted by the ACT Scale Modellers’ Society whose focus is on scale modelling with their major aim being the promotion of the hobby and improving the modelling standards of it’s members. This convention hosts a number of modelling competitions in a large range of scales and categories in addition to vendor stalls, modelling displays,  as well as a swap and sell section.

Upon arrival I was greeted by friendly modellers and a large hall full of tables with loads of modelling eye candy. There was a number of amazing pieces; aircraft of all varieties and time periods, AFVs galore, ships of all sizes as well as some well put together dioramas. I took the time to study the finishes and the techniques involved in each. Mentally I was trying to work out the best method to replicate these to the smaller scale of 1/100. The weathering effects were outstanding and really made a lot of these pieces feel “in the moment”.

Unfortunately, I managed to forget to charge the camera’s battery and so  was only able to take a few shots before it shutdown. I was really kicking myself for neglecting to check this before arriving. The photos I did manage to take were of an Afrika Korp display that was set up in a side area as well as some remote control tanks courtesy of Panzergruppe South. However I here is a link to just some of the models that were on display.

The Swap and Sell was a little disappointing; there was a limited selection for 1/100 scale and these were, in my opinion, a bit overpriced. On a positive note there was a lot of modelling reference material and I managed to purchase a couple of books on Luftwaffe Aircraft as well as a Panzer Art book. The vendor stalls were great, very helpful with an excellent range of products. Picked up some mud products that really caught my eye, lots of Tamiya tape and was almost tempted to buy a bust of Joachim Peiper.

I didn’t enter in any models for this year, due to the short notice, but I am excited for next years competition. I am deciding on a worthy project to enter, I will have to get some feedback closer to the time. I hope that you enjoy the pictures, sorry that there isn’t more of them!

 

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A Little Stumped

Continuing on with the theme these Grenadiers are cautiously emerging from the woods. The poses are fairly relaxed with the squad leader letting them know to keep on their toes.

The tree stump is a piece of balsa dowel scored and painted to show the age and rot. The sapling is a piece of Sea Foam coated in leaves. I really like the Sea Foam product, a bit fragile but has a great look and feel to it.

Nothing much more to add other than I am happy about the way these turned out. Let me know what you think or if you have any questions just leave a comment. Thanks for viewing

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Tying Up Loose Ends

I had started painting Battlefront miniatures by working on a German Grenadier platoon, of which I have completed a few bases (see earlier posts). Midway through I changed tack and decided to paint a fresh batch of figures in a Panzergrenadier Platoon. I had decided to do this because my painting style was in a state of flux and I didn’t want the Grenadiers to look too varied and mismatched. After completing a few more painting projects I had decided that my style had settled enough to go about finishing what I had started.

I still remembered what theme that I was going for with the original Grenadier platoon, however I modified it somewhat. I was going for a verge of the forest/woods feel, like the platoon was emerging out into some open terrain. I decided to tone down the amount of woodland debris and scenery that I had originally envisioned in the bases. I didn’t want too much clutter and activity to overwhelm the eye. I want to strike a good balance in a scene to compliment the figures that are portrayed within it.

For this base I played around with some wood effects while trying to not be too excessive in the use of scenery. The rotten log is simply cut from a dowel of balsa wood and carved for texture. I have found that there are so many wonderful scenery products that I want to use them all on every base. As you can see I have restrained myself from using the flowers for easy colour and contrast (I think that they look so good). However I have managed to sneak some handmade mushrooms in there to stay true to the bases that I have previously painted in this platoon. I was also playing around with making bushes and how to make them look complex rather than just a blob of sponge. Not entirely happy with it, but I want to continue to experiment with how to achieve the right effect.

I am very happy with the way the rest of this Grenadier platoon turned out and I’ll be posting the rest in the weeks to come. I hope that you enjoy viewing; feel free to comment and provide feedback.

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The Lay of the Land

Ever since I started painting flames of war figures I have always wanted to create terrain for the figures to fight over. I have since been following and reading many blogs and articles that detail how to create terrain, which have giving me many great ideas. However it wasn’t until I stumbled upon a certain website, The Terrain Studio, that my interest in terrain changed from just a curiosity to something that I had to pursue. This gentleman’s (Shawn Morris) work is outstanding I have been following all of his projects since his early forays in this field. He is meticulous, not only does he demonstrate his fantastic terrain, but he also goes into detail about how it is made, along with his design ideas. In addition to his blog he makes videos which he posts on YouTube, these are easily found through a search for “Terrain Studio”. He has been an inspiration for me to undertake a large terrain project; a semi-modular table top battlefield.

So I begun by visualising the sort the battlefield that I wanted to represent as well as what elements would key to the design. The ideas that I had were based around visual impact, setting, and theatre. In the end I decided that I wanted to represent the outskirts of a town on the Eastern front. This I chose because of the forces that I am modelling as well as it would enable me to model elements of both urban and rural environments. The other factor was that I really like the visual impacts of buildings. These adds a three-dimensional aspect to the battlefield strategically as well as visually. With the concept being decided, I went about researching the look that I wanted to create, while maintaining a level of authenticity.

Having looked through numerous reference books containing wartime photos I was quite surprised to find how modern the look of the buildings and locations on the Eastern front during WWII was. This being quite contrary to my naive conceptualisation that most of the buildings were straw ceiling huts and log cabins serviced by muddy roads. I don’t know where I got this view of the “Russian” landscape from but it struck me at how incorrect my assumptions were. I’m not at all suggesting that there weren’t villages or locations that match this description but I was amazed at the level of infrastructure that there was. To be sure I acquired more reference books which only confirmed what I had found. So putting my ignorance aside I decided to include more of these modern elements into the project. These included cobblestone roads, telegraph and power poles, and more appropriate looking buildings.

My personal preference, for the way I model, is to have everything that I need before I even start work. I am a completist to the point of obsession. I must have all of the right tools and the right materials to work with (This explains why I have cupboards full of miniatures that covers almost the entire catalogue of every German force that I could ever wish to field). If I don’t it will just nag at me in the back of my head “this would be X times easier if I had Y tool and I didn’t make do with using the Z tool”. This led me to scour the web for tools, buildings and scenery that would fit the look that I wanted to create. This task being complete I started to work in a sort of reverse order. How would I go about storing and safely transporting the battlefield after I had finished? I already knew the dimensions of the ‘cells’ that I was going to use and so I devised a simple solution utilising custom cut foam which I was able to arrange for a local company to make (which raised a few eyebrows!). Once this problem was solved, I went and had the MDF cells cut to size. Finally I arranged for a friend, with a good grasp on artistic design, to assist in laying out all of the pieces and drawing the arrangement onto the MDF cells. And so here is the initial design concept:

This is by no means how the final battlefield is going to be laid out, but it is definitely a fairly good representation. It’s missing lots of little elements and features that I am going to place for aesthetics, like hedges and some stone walls. There are a few elements that I have taken some liberties with. The church is most certainly not Eastern European in nature, however it looks so fantastic that I can’t pass up the opportunity to use it. My cover story for it being here is that this location is set near the border of Latvia and Lithuania and that Teutonic knights had brought along with them their Catholic influence to this settlement. Another potential issue is with the railroad being so curved, this may get straightened out in the final plan but I think that the curves look great and add interest. Another item which may change the final layout is I recently discovered that a company sells a tile system that is lighter and better designed for projects like these, rather than my crude MDF cells. On the positive side this gives me another opportunity to go over the design and add or remove features. I have my eye on a certain building being released early next year.

This is a major and ongoing project as my modelling time is limited, however I look forward to seeing this grow and take shape. I hope to share some progress with you in the near future. Let me know what you think of the design and what I should adjust.

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