Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Normandie Terrain: Laser Cutters Are For Wusses

A really quick WIP post today since my family has been sick for about a week now and I'm still not 100%. Work continues on the Normandie terrain, specifically the other buildings. So far, I've finished building the stable and greenhouse (in the bottom pic) as outbuildings for the farmhouse and chateau (respectively).

I'm currently working on roof shingles for the petrol station (in the right background of each pic) and the schoolhouse (left background in the bottom pic). Besides the greenhouse (which was built using a clear acetate frame with basswood glued unto it), all of these were built using 3mm MDF cut using a table saw and dremel.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Normandie Terrain: Farmhouse, Bocage & Signposts

Well, despite my best intentions, I got sucked in to making a Normandie table, as I found myself sick as a dog over Labor Day weekend looking for something to occupy myself with. If I'm honest with myself, this project was greenlit in my mind when I purchased the Sarissa Chateau this summer. It's not that I have anything against the landscape or the pivotal battles fought there during 1944, it's just that I find the terrain rather ubiquitous in 28mm, so I'm setting out to do something a little different.

This board is set just behind Omaha beach in the Russy area, so I tried my best to get realistic place names and mileage on the signposts. I also did a lot of research into the units around the area and found that the 716. Infanterie Division (Static) was stationed there, so any extra signage refers to this division. The signs are made with MDF bases of various sizes and basswood strips.

And some inspiration photos!...

The farmhouse is a piece I got in trade via Facebook for some old Fallschirmjager. It's a tough resin kit that came with no base, no floors, and a different clay tile roof. I made a base and floors from 2mm MDF, a new shingle roof from an O Gauge train depot, and new chimney stacks from plasticard tubing. I also added a firewood pile, barrels, and fallen bricks; as well as painting the base to look like flagstones.

Ugh....bocage. Everywhere I read, modelers complain about having to model bocage and I always thought "how hard can it be?". Hard and tedious is the answer. To start, I cut half-round 1/2" trim into 6" and 12" sections, extending their bases with wide wood popsicle sticks. I then glued pebbles along the top of the trim - to simulate the fieldstone that makes up the core of each hedgerow - small tree trunks, and textured with spackle, sand, and talus. I also cut out sections of the trim to make small gates out of basswood strip. After painting, I added 2.5 bags of clump foliage and static grass to complete the overgrown look. While I'm satisfied with the result, in reality they should be more overgrown with foliage but I just couldn't justify the cost.

Next time, I'm unto outbuildings, roads, and some ruins...

Monday, August 22, 2016

Blitzkrieg Miniatures' M11/39 Tank

Another amazing AFV from Blitzkrieg Miniatures - the Italian M11/39 light tank. This model is spot-on as far as detail is concerned. I had to do very cleanup and some little additions (only adding the armored viewport on the right side and the tow hooks below the glacis plate). Details are sharp and crisp, with very little flash or excess resin. The MG turret hatch can be modeled open or closed and sits well in either position. I added a tank commander from the Warlord Italian Tank Crew pack.

As a departure from my normal single-color schemes for Italian tanks, I went with a hard-edged "dazzle" scheme of Testors Acryl Sandgelb (highlighted with VMC Dark Sand) and Testors Acryl Lichtgrun (highlighted with 50/50 Lichtgrun/White). I drybrushed the main colors in vertical strokes to mimic streaking from the weather. Rubber is Pavement washed with P3 Armor Wash and tracks are my usual Pavement, washed with Testors Acryl Rust, and drybrushed with GW Boltgun Metal. The mufflers are Dark Chocolate base with a wash of Testors Acryl Rust.

The tank commander is my custom "Telo Memetico" Blue, highlighted with Cool Blue, and washed with GW Asurmen Blue. Skintone is VMC Flat Flesh base, highlighted with VMC Basic Skintone, and then washed with GW Ogryn Flesh wash. Leather is VMC Red Leather base with VMC Orange Brown highlights, washed with Reaper Umber Shade.

The tank is weathered using pin dot oil weathering with some detail oil washes. Decals are Revell and GW. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Commission Work: 1/144 Il-2 Shturmovik

Following up with another commission piece for my previous work on the Flames of War Soviet Tankovy Company is this Battlefront 1/144 scale Il-2 Shturmovik. The client and I agreed on a scheme that would compliment the two-tone camouflage scheme of the tanks, while being suitably different. Oddly, as I was painting the underside of this model, the rear left stabilizer continually warped upward and I tried to solve this by both hot water immersion and clamping, which seemed to help a little. 

Upper surfaces are painted in a hard-edged two-tone camouflage of Burnt Umber and VMC German Camo Dark Green, with lower surfaces painted Reaper Ghost Grey. Bombs are Testors Acryl Green Drab, wingtips are Reaper High Density Candlelight Yellow and the nose is VGC Scarlet Red with a highlight of Flamenco Red. Windows are done via jewel effects of Admiral Blue, Cool Blue, and White flares. Panel lines are P3 Armor Wash and chipping is done using Testors Acryl Steel.

Decals are Battlefront.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Interwar/WW2 Kriegsmarine Infantry

For my first (non-vehicle) foray into German WW2 forces, I tried my hand at German Kriegsmarine. In addition to their naval operations, Kriegsmarine infantry units took part in land operations from Danzig, Narvik, the Channel Islands, to the final defense of Germany itself. This is the full line of Tsuba Miniatures' "Red Sailors" and they are absolutely beautiful miniatures, well worth the money. Though they are normally meant to portray the mutinous Reichsmarine units of the German Revolution following WW1, they are equally usable to portray interwar and WW2-era Kriegsmarine (as the uniform didn't change much with the transition). I also feel that their older weaponry (in particular the Mg08/15 LMG and Bergmann SMGs) is in keeping with the secondary status of the Navy within the Wehrmacht, especially after the abandonment of Plan Z to get them up to bar with the British Navy.

First, the plain nature of their uniforms is deceptive - navy blue is very difficult to paint properly. Highlights can often run "too blue" if mixed improperly and it's tough to achieve a proper balance between dark and medium blue hues. For these, I mixed a custom batch of paint consisting of Admiral Blue, Fenris Grey, and Pewter Grey. Highlights were done using successively lighter tones of Admiral Blue/Pewter Grey, and finally Admiral Blue/White. I then toned the transitions between highlights down with a wash of GW Asurman Blue and P3 Armor Wash. Collar tabs are Cool Blue and buttons (as well as sword hilts) are Reaper High Density Candlelight Yellow (an amazing paint!).

Enlisted men are denoted by their white caps and some men have white scarves. This was a base of Cool Grey; then washed with Secret Weapon Cool Grey wash, highlighted with Cool Grey, Reaper Ghost Grey, and finally pure White. I tried my damnedest to replicate the embroidered "Kriegsmarine" lettering on each cap brim with squiggles of Reaper High Density Candlelight Yellow.

The light mortar is scratchbuilt to resemble a Leichte Granatwerfer 36. It and the ammo boxes are VMC Violet Brown, highlighted with Reaper Worn Olive. Gunmetal is Pavement, with highlights of Pewter Grey and Cool Grey, then washed with P3 Armor Wash. Wood furniture is Brown Umber, woodgrain in Khaki, then washed with Reaper Umber Wash.

The awesome KM flag was done by my friend at Dzign House Graphics!