Tuesday, November 26, 2019

PZJR Abt.243 Stug III G - Next Level

So, this represents pretty much a month of steady work, maybe 12 hours painting on the one model.

This is a distillation of all the new techniques I've been trying, but in particular the methods that tip this model over the edge are oils and enamels based.  The hull benefits from the use of a black enamel pinwash, and rust and stain filters across the board.  The build up of dirt and mud includes powders, pastes and enamel wet-textures.  Finally the tree branches are real twigs with dyed foam, saturated in PVA and latterly drybrushed, attached.

Overall, I think this really reaches to the standards I was hoping for.  Though I'm sure I can refine it too.  This model looks suitable for a trip out on a rainy weekend somewhere in western Europe.

Points to improve in the future; exhaust smoke staining, further thinning of mudguards, breaking up of Schurtzen, fading of the camouflage colours, stowage...  So yes, still a few things to try!

Finally, for those who can't get a sense of scale, and don't know what 20mm really implies, here a WIP Imperial Assault 32mm miniature for scale!

The model itself is the Plastic Soldier Company Stug III, and whilst simplified, is incredibly well detailed for what is only about a 12 part kit.  I have two more to work on.  It should be noted that not only were the Schurtzen kept separately until the end of the painting process, the lower hull and track assembly was not attached to the hull until the tracks were painted.  This made working on the model much easier, the base was also completed prior to attaching the model, in reverse of my usual practice.


Wednesday, November 20, 2019

On Brushes....


I have a lot of brushes:

The loosely packed pouch on the left is the everyday brushes.  The good stuff if you will.  Though not all of them are by any technical definition, great instruments.  Indeed my favoured collection includes a selection of old Humbrol Reds as you can see.  These were super cheap horsehair or similar, but one thing I've learnt over the years is that for longevity, natural brushes win out every time.

Indeed, whilst I have quite a range of synthetic brushes, they seldom last for precision work as long as one wants.  If you are working long sessions with the brush, they will suffer more than a natural equivalent, and cleaning seems to only deteriorate them further.  My workaday brushes of choice at the moment are Royal and Langnickel sables; available in the UK very cheaply from the range in a £3 pack of 5:

It's hard to argue with such value; two fine sized brushes and three larger ones for basecoating and varnishes/glazes.  This way the Artists sables I do own (and the sythetics), which often cost above £5 each can be saved for the precision work they really excel at.

Also hiding in the other two pouches are cheap brushes from IKEA, some super-soft makeup brushes, and any number of other outlets.  Once a brush is past it for frontline duty, it gets retired to the dry-brushing pile, or serves to do terrain, apply glue or clean away dust and dirt.

After all, waste not want not, eh?

Which are your favourites, and why...


Sunday, November 17, 2019

New levels of Detail - German Heavy Support


So as an interlude from the vehicles for my new 'Leveled Up' German army, I produced a few support weapons.  Mortars, light artillery and the infamous Pak40 anti-tank gun.

So, every technique on these was used on the previous models, except one.  Here I've tried experimenting with Oils for the first time.  In the realms of serious modelling, using oil paints for subtle effects is a well used advanced technique, allowing as they do a long working time and an ability for subtle effects to be expressed.

These consequently served as a training module, as there were only some small areas to trial the effect.

Without labouring it when I'm learning, it is the application of small spots of brown/black oil paint, and then before those dry, blending them out into stains and filters with white spirit or other suitable thinners.  The resultant effects give a warmer, more complex tone to a model, as well as replicating various wear and tear.

I had no problem working this method over acrylic paint by the way, the thinners having no impact on the previous paint, but this was of course after the paint had been given well over a day to dry and cure.

The bases are  fairly standard, but the dusty marks that show up in the pictures are the result of the weathering powders being applied late in the process; not recommended!  The logs came straight from the yard, and the leaf litter here is simply Tea leaves, I need to experiment more with this, but hey ho.  It looks okay in real life.

With some of the support units prepared, it of course also means I've done some more of the human elements for the force.  Next I need to work on some of the actual infantry, and perhaps a decent tank to back up all the French dregs; and see where these new painting approaches can get me to.

Until next time...


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Clementia Rules the Waves...


Spurred by their successes on land, the Gebrovians sailed a small fleet around Caltabrian Straights to raid the shipping lines between the mainland and Little Clementia.  This journey even upon itself was at some risk of raising the attention of the Bellephron Empire, but the fleet of four vessels passed through without incident, and began several weeks of raiding along the Clementian coast.  Other than wrecking several fishing vessels, the fleet also captured a Clementian mail schooner, and a Tarsan merchantman.

Of course the Clementians could not let such a transgression lie, when both their own shipping and that of friendly nations was at threat, something must be done.  And so they sent their flagship, the good ship 'Venus' and three escorts to meet the enemy wherever they could.

By October 1720 the Gebrovians had reached the limit of their own supplies, and a long journey home ahead, they sought to turn for home.  It was only a few days into this return leg that the Clementians intercepted them; at the Cape of Pferdekof.

the Hostoi leeads the way 
The Gebrovian flagship, the Aleste Doi Cheznavoy, heavy with booty, made its' way south alongside the Corvette Jnaravikchi and two schooners of the Illuvmaa class, the Hostoi and the Zsatavoi.  coming into a small archipelago of islands off the Pferdekopf Cape, the vessels progress was slowed as they sought safe passage.  It was at this point the flotilla of Clementian ships found their quarry.

The Clementian Frigate 'Venus' and Corvette 'Telesto' approached from the East, whilst the Schooners, Europa and Acaste came from the Southwest.
Early in the engagement the wind was with the Gebrovians, and their schooners were easily able to anticipate and outmaneuver the Clementians.  But raking fire came to naught, given the sturdy build of their ships with Clementian Iron Oak.

No luck here 
Conversely, when the Venus found itself abeam of the Jnaravikchi, its' deadly fusilade obliterated the fighting capability of the vessel; which was left floundering for the rest of the engagement.

Leaving it to idle , the Venus and its' escorts turned on the Aleste savaging it with fire from both sides.  The Aleste weathered the storm and did its' best to return in kind, but the Clementians ships had more guns and more good fortune.
The Aleste limped away, whilst the wind took its escorts north to rescue the Jnaravikchi, and to capture the unfortunate Telesto, which never really joined the fight, due to a mast breaking when caught in irons.  The Telesto surrendered after a mauling assault.  Even at sea the Gebrovians are better in hand to hand combat than at range with gunnery!

The Aleste ultimately lost all momentum and was surrounded by the Clementians, to save souls, she struck her colours and accepted here fate. and with that, the light failing, the engagement ended.

Each fleet had arrived with four vessels, and left with four, but the exchange was undeniably in the Clementian favour, departing with two Frigates and two Schooners, for the loss of one Corvette.  The Clementian commander sailed home with his held held high, and some prized captives as well as a large ship and its booty.  As for the Gebrovians, their badly mauled remnant fleet, took the modest trophies it had left to it and returned with their tails between their legs.


This was the first naval game to grace our campaign, and for my sins - and apparently out of some misjudgement of our national abilities - I chose to play this based on having won the previous engagement.  We used the Warhammer Historical 'Trafalgar' rules, as what I had available, but they did a good job with a small game like this; as to the 'miniatures', for the time being my collection of Pirates of the the Spanish Main cards provided the ideal contingency force.  

The mechanics of running a fleet for the game are homebrewed and incredibly simple, but indicate that damaged or captured ships will require down time to repair.  In our cases, neither side will have a full fleet again until the new year!  But at that stage the Clementians will have something of an advantage, having traded a Corvette for a Frigate.


Monday, November 11, 2019

11.11 - Remembrance....


Decoration Day

Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
On this Field of the Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
Nor sentry's shot alarms!

Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon's sudden roar,
Or the drum's redoubling beat.

But in this camp of Death
No sound your slumber breaks;
Here is no fevered breath,
No wound that bleeds and aches.

All is repose and peace,
Untrampled lies the sod;
The shouts of battle cease,
It is the Truce of God!

Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
Your rest from danger free.

Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Sunday, November 03, 2019

Renedra Feudal Hovels....

Packaging and on the sprue
I picked up a couple of these, direct from Renedra, for a very reasonable price over the summer; and gave them a very quick paint job.  These are 28mm scaled, seven-part kits; I opted for the Wattle and Daub versions, but there are also plain wattle and stone versions in the range.

They need a little bit of a firm hand, some clamps weights or elastic bands will aid with bonding the parts together, but otherwise assembly is very simple and the resultant model is sturdy and attractive.  They are also a decent size, around a 2.5x4 inch footprint each, which readily matches my old Gripping Beast resin buildings.  They are advertised as outhouses, but they are plausibly sized for small family huts, or workshops; and won't look out of place as part of a farm or village.

I based them first and then gave them a straightforward paint job,mostly of dry-brushing, to match my renovated medieval models.  This took only a couple of hours all told.

Finished, the detail comes up easily.
The effect is really pleasing.  Depending how, you model and paint them these would work for anywhere from the late iron age (in regions like Ireland and Scandinavia where the Round House was not favoured) to the middle ages.  As well of course as being a nice option for generic fantasy games.

In conclusion, for £4-5 each you can't really go wrong, and unless you are really averse to kit assembly these are much better quality and durability than resin or MDF models; though I would advise basing them on something sturdy.

Still, a solid B+