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.

One thing that has affected my painting in the time that I was absent was that I entered in some of my newer work into a local painting competition. The ideology for the painting competition had changed from rating people against each other in each category, to rating each piece for its own merits. I thought that this can only be a good thing as going up against fantasy models with their amazing paint schemes can be  difficult when you have a specific dull colour palette to work from. Rankings were Gold, Silver, Bronze, and thanks for coming. These being based on the techniques used and execution of the piece. I submitted a gun platoon for consideration as it was something that I had completed most recently and seemed most appropriate. So of course, I received a massive ego check when I got a “thanks for coming”. The only feedback that I had received was that I didn’t have enough shadow contrast on the outside of the front tyre guard of the Sdkfz 8 that was part of the platoon. That I should have been working from a base of black through to the actual colour of the vehicle. It dawned on me then that this was being assessed from a fantasy painting point of view and that I had been foolish to believe that my work would be assessed otherwise. This has impacted me and painting in that I already doubt the quality of work and finishes for the work I have produced. Hearing it from someone else is a real gut check and made me irrationally and stupidly stay away from painting. Stupidly in that the whole idea for painting for me was to be an outlet and not a source of stress. It has made me think about why I paint the way I paint. I want to do as good a job has possible of making the figures look they “fit” in some sort of realistic context in a specific space at a specific point in time. They will never ever look real but I would like the figures and equipment look like they should fit in the world that has been created for them. This world includes the environmental and lighting conditions specified for the piece. Hence lighting effects like colour modulation and shading and weathering effects like mud, dust and streaking. If I don’t shadow and highlight from black to white then it means that I didn’t consider the lighting for vehicle to be hitting it such a manner as to cause this effect. The material and paint of the vehicle was not glossy enough to produce the extreme highlight and the angle of the light was such that the panel join was not in complete darkness. The dusty roads of the eastern front have made it accumulate on the vehicle on certain parts and activities of the crew have created various wear points. This is not me making the vehicle realistic, this is me making an evaluation about what has happened to the vehicle, setting it in a world at a point in time and applying the resultant impacts. Fantasy at it’s finest.

It’s taken me a while to get back on the horse, but now I know why I ride it and why I don’t ride it side-saddle.

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