Friday, 29 December 2017

Desert buildings completed

Some time back, I picked up some 28mm desert buildings as noted in a previous post. 

I wanted to get them finished before the end of the year so they could be added to my total in the TFL Painting Challenge, but had been holding off photographing them till the PVA in the well dried clear, and the palm trees arrived..    well. Finally!

These were 'Supreme Littleness' buildings from Michael, treated with a grout, then dry-brushed with household emulsions. I am very pleased with how they have turned out. Not quite the works of art that Michael has on the site, but plenty good enough for me.

The two- storey house has a particularly nice balcony, and lots of nice details. 

You can see the PVA in the well hasn't cured yet.. but it will.. it will..  the palm tree is a very cheap plastic one from China, I think they were from Gentoys and worked out at literally pennies each in three or so sizes. I got plenty to add interest to other buildings, wells, oasis, or similar.

After building the previous two, I liked the models so much, I purchased the bases from Supreme Littleness, and the basic one storey house.

I have some buildings on order from Warbases, but I would love it if Supreme Littleness expanded its range as well.

PSC 15mm T55 - Quick Review and Painting

Some time back, I saw that Plastic Soldier Company were advertising pre release pricing on company boxes of 15mm Cold War Soviet infantry.

I already have a Danish Cold War (c 1985) force, which is largely outclassed by most modern forces of the period, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to put together a cheap opposition force, representing a second line Soviet battlegroup, so that the poor Danish Centurions and M41 were not outclassed completely by Soviet T64 and WarPac T72. The plastic PSC T55 would be ideal.

Just a day before Christmas, a package came through the door containing the PSC Soviet Infantry and the PSC T55 plastic models. Excellent!

As is the case with all the PSC products I have purchased in the past, there is a simple instruction sheet, showing assembly in the form of an exploded diagram, and on the reverse, a colour coded sprue diagram which is matched to the various options to assemble the basic early Soviet model T55, the T55a, Polish, East German and Czech variations, and the modernised T55AM2.

I am no huge expert on Soviet hardware, but I would check carefully against published images to make sure you are selecting the appropriate turret hatches and snorkel arrangement. I found the colour coding to be unclear in a couple of places, and the colour variation not sufficient for me to be able to definitively decide whether I was looking at a pink or lilac component, or differentiate properly between a dark yellow and a palled orange.

If I was colour blind, I would have struggled to differentiate between parts. Bit of a black mark for PSC. The colour thing is a neat idea, but numbering them as a backup would make it more user friendly.

There were other downsides to the kit, that were unusual for PSC. I found it difficult to get the very nicely detailed one piece track assemblies to lock into place without strong clamps, as the peg and slot don't have a great fit, and this becomes a big issue if you are building the AM2 model, as the side skirts have a groove designed to allow the tracks to sit in. If the running gear isn't properly aligned, you will be in for a lot of cursing trying to get the skirts to sit in place.

Secondly, it wasn't easy to determine from the instructions, exactly where the left hand turret box and the smoke dischargers were supposed to sit. Again, photographs recommended. 

Finally, the hull top to bottom hull alignment is one to take care with, it is a butt join along the edges and while the rear sits into a recessed section, the front is free floating, and it's not hard to get it out of a straight alignment as there are no teeth or pegs to lock it in place.

Alright..  minor nuisances dealt with, I was delighted with the results. I built 4 out of the 5 as the AM versions, leaving one as a much older Soviet T55 so I had it for possible African conflicts.

Painting was a black undercoat beneath, a grey one on top, using my standard spray enamel cans from the local hardware place. Following that I pulled out the cheap airbrush, and gave a light undercoat of a much lightened Vallejo ModelAir Olive Green. Adding more white, I went back over three times to give some light and shade (modulation).

The effect is subtle, but otherwise - washes and highlighting would do a similar job. It was then a case of adding base colours for tyres, tracks and machine gun, and giving the gun a quick wash with GW Nuln Oil. Once that was done, I grabbed some old Battlefront decals and some Decal softener, keeping it very simple. I thought about extensive weathering, but these would be basically new vehicles, recently refurbished to AM standards, and it's the first days of a war, so not much time to get everything worn and rusty.

A spray of gloss varnish to seal everything, added lamps and headlights in dark blue, with Bavarian blue and white highlights, matt varnish to get a sort of 'Satin' finish, and dabbed some gloss varnish on the lenses.

Overall you could build these 5 from start to finish in a day no problem. So the finished product, good enough for wargames I reckon!


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Doings, mainly in the Desert

Over the last little while I have accumulated a few bits and pieces to go with existing armies. I also finally bit the bullet a while back, and did what I have been tempted to do for ages, purchase the Perry Miniatures plastic Desert Rats and Afrika Korps 28mm minis. Of course, a bunch of other stuff was then required.

Perry's assembled
Ok, so phase 1 was assembly, phase 2, glue them all onto 2p pieces, and add sand/rocks. Then undercoat black. At this stage I have just hit them with the airbrush for a basecoat, then gone back and added a highlight from the top with the airbush.

Incidentally, I have been having real issues with the airbrush spattering, clogging etc. To the point where it was a real pain to use. I disassembled it again, and then decided to visually check and use the nozzle and tip marked 0.5mm with the 0.3mm needle.

Hey presto.. it worked perfectly. It seems like some plonker at the 'Happy Airbrush Assembly Plant no 9' had mislabeled the components, and I was using a non-matched needle and nozzle.   I am a much happier air-brusher now.  Next step, will assembly line paint the base flesh tone on these guys.

Supreme Littleness designs desert buildings with a coating of Evostik grout.
The other stuff?

A shout for Michael at Supreme Littleness designs. I worked the Bring & Buy at Kirriemuir, and sold quite a few of his pieces. I also picked up some for myself, and added the single storey one via post. Lovely stuff. These have progressed a bit from this pic, and now only need detail picked out, and some tufts added.

One careful owner
So I have a few vehicles now, but was missing the iconic kubelwagen. As usual I put in a couple of ebay bids. This was th eresult. An immaculate 'Victoria' model, and a clapped out Schuco one, which I attacked with a hacksaw, milliput, and paint. Guess which is my favourite? These are a bit overscale for the Perrys, but it won't be terribly noticeable unless someone puts an actual 1/56 model down beside them.

Say it with markers
The Patrol phase means markers, so a few new sets, also from Supreme Littleness. Unfortunately, I went mad with varnish, and ended up with an interesting finish.. ah well..  I call it a patina.

1/100 Tanks
The nephew was showing off some Zvezda kit, so I threw these together for amusement. I rather like them. I must look out for their Panther. I will NOT do WW2 in 15mm.. I will not..

The getting it together box
I also decided I needed to try and finish up a few things before New Year, and there have been various vehicles hanging round for a while. I also took advantage of some sales to add a Crusader and R75 Motorcycle combo (Rubicon), Churchill & Stuart (Italeri), a diecast Sdkfz 231 8 rad AC, the Warbases Rolls Royce Armoured Car, and a Blitzkrieg Miniatures PzIII in resin/metal. It's a nice kit, but I am still not sure about resin.

Most of the rest of these just need some detail painting and weathering to call done. So there is a good chance of knocking these off very quickly.

And I am still waiting for the palm tress from China..   oasis needs some dates...

Warfare 2017 - One-Day..

Well, after the excitement of Targe, I took the Sasanians to Warfare in Reading, and enjoyed a terrific day out with them, winning my first two games against Peter Kershaw's Parthians. (another stunning army, although the lighting didn't do it justice), then Ray Briggs also very attractive Marian Romans.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to play the second day. Which saved me money - as my purchases were limited to just the Dux Britanniarum rules and cards. I had intended to do some serious shopping on Day 2, but found myself doing the drive home instead.

Anyway, here are some pics:

Game 1 - The Sasanians charge forward, with the Daylami (in red) pressing hard.

And getting into it.. a column of cataphracts under Shapur is coming up in support.

The other wing. I am hoping my elephants clean him up rapidly to allow the Asavaran to exploit.

The view from over the hill. Some of those Parthian LH are actually disguised cataphracts. Oops

Swapping casualties, the Persian right is doing ok.
Peter's disguised cataphracts did a lot of damage, but ultimately, historical verisimilitude prevailed and the Sasanians ground the Parthians under their hooves. Or more historically, absorbed the great Parthian clans into the new Eran.

Game 2. Deploying vs the Marians
I must confess, I had th ebest run of dice ever in this game. I seemed to roll nothing less than a 5 or a 6 in combat, and very soon had picked off the warband facing my elephants as Ray hadn't had time to bring his Psiloi up till I was in combat. The elephant corps swept up handfuls of warband, although my Asavaran struggled horribly against his legionaries. Eventually though I managed to break through in a couple of places, and roll up his lines.

A respectable 37 points from 2 games. And great opponents, as always. I do feel sorry for Ray, as it felt like every single time I had bemoaned past combat dice was redressed in a single game.