Monday, February 20, 2017

Reaper Mimic "The Luggage"

I had actually bought this miniature several years ago after reading Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic, which features a sentient chest known as "The Luggage". (If you haven't read the book, it's quite good). In pursuit of something quick and fun to paint to enter in this year's Crystal Brush, I pulled it out and painted it in between doing other projects for Adepticon.

The wood is basecoated in Territorial Biege with just a hint of Pewter Grey added for weathering (it's almost impossible to see after the wash, unfortunately), then highlighted with successive layers of Reaper Amber Gold and Reaper Golden Blonde; then washed with GW Flesh Wash (which provides a more reddish tone than brown wash, accentuating the highlights). The "metal" parts are basecoated Pavement, with highlights of Pewter Grey, and edge highlighting of Pewter Grey, Granite Grey, and just a little Pure White.

The fleshy parts were tricky - I wanted to give the appearance that these were growing out of the wooden parts. As such, I basecoated them as I did the wood, gave them a wash of Vallejo Grey (to accentuate shadows without the harshness of a black wash), and then began steadily blending in Tentacle Pink until the furthest parts were pure pink and then I blended in some Cool Blue at the very tip of each appendage. The mouth was done in the same way, but to give it more depth I gave it a wash of GW Blood Red wash. The teeth were also done in the same way, but they "grow" from Biege to 50/50 Biege/Tentacle Pink to Pure White. The eyes are VGC Scarlet Red with some highlights of 50/50 Scarlet Red and pure Orange, with a wash of GW Blood Red wash.

The saliva strands are stretched clear plastic sprue, cut to length and superglued inside the mouth, then given a liberal coating of Vallejo Gloss Varnish.

The base was a resin one I had in my bitz box - not sure of the manufacturer. Mud is Brown Umber and the skulls are blended layers of Biege and Pure White. Disgusting!

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Fall of Berlin: Mule Limber & Panzerstellung

So I'm currently about 95% finished with my Fall of Berlin army for Adepticon Doubles. Today I've completed a Mule Team Limber for my 8.8cm FlaK36. Button counters among you will probably realize that this is nowhere near enough mules to haul and heavy gun like that but I didn't feel like basing and painting 8+ mules and frankly, didn't want to spend the money. The limber (and mules) is from Askari and is based off of older late 19th to WW1 vintage 10.5cm limbers. It's actually a very nice little kit, easy to put together and the rear doors can be modeled open to show the shell racks inside. The backstory is this old limber was pulled out of a depot somewhere and hitched up to some old, haggard mules with horses being in short supply. The driver is simply a plastic Warlord USMC slightly converted to sitting posture.

I also bought a 3-pack of Warlord's plastic Panzer IV with the intention of converting them into a Pz IV J, Jagdpanzer IV/70 (A), and a LWS II. As I only needed the chassis for the LWS II, I decided to mount the body and turret on MDF and surround it with debris to make a Panzerstellung. These were simply Panzer IV that were driven into deep holes and backfilled with debris to form a makeshift AT bunker. This saved on manpower (since the vehicle only needed a "commander" and gunner) and fuel, both of which were in short supply. Though this piece won't be in my Doubles list, it makes a nice piece of terrain or an objective.

If you're interested in keeping up with new projects, I've been updating the Facebook page lately with work on the Bastogne board commission I'm currently working on. Why not like and follow us? Just click the link in the sidebar!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Fall of Berlin: Volkssturm Units

Wow! Well, I'm back with some more completed units for my Adepticon Doubles army and a story. You see, I didn't plan on painting these up this soon, as I actually took on a commission just after New Year's. However, as I was right in the middle of cutting to do a headswap on the NSDAP officer pictured below, I slipped with the Xacto and cut the knuckle on my left hand! Thankfully, the blade was brand new and extremely sharp, so the cut was clean and actually took several minutes to start bleeding. However, it was long (about 1.5") and quite deep (I could see bone!) so my amazing wife immediately drove me to urgent care where I spent several hours getting looked at, stitched up, and given a tetanus shot.

Now, this is the first time I've ever had a cut needing medical attention in 25-odd years of modeling and it was because I wasn't practicing shop safety. So, let this be a lesson - always cut on a cutting matt and always use the minimum amount of cutting force necessary.
So, being bandaged up, I focused on some light painting work and this is the result. As with the last Fall of Berlin post, I won't be detailing every single technique and specific paint I used here because there are just so many. However, if you are interested or want to know how I painting something specifically, please feel free to leave a comment and ask and I will do my best to remember.

First off are the the Feldgendarmes. They were standard German uniforms with the deep green lapels and shoulder bands of the Gendarmerie. These are Warlord miniatures and will likely be intermixed with my Volkssturm in infantry squads.


Next up are the Last Levy "officers" - an Stg44-wielding Priest (Footsore VBCW conversion), a Luftwaffe Officer (Great Escape Games), and a NSDAP "Officer" (Footsore VBCW conversion). The Priest is very much an anachronism - the clergy was excluded from Volk conscription - but I felt it was oddly appropriate to have a "man of the cloth" defending Deutschland from the godless Communists. The NSDAP officer is a Footsore BUF officer, with Footsore Anglican League headswap (this is where I cut myself!), and his Bergmann SMG converted to a VG-1 SMG. And if you enlarge the pic and look very closely, you can see the title of the book he's holding (painted to resemble a "first edition")...

Next off are two Hitler Youth (both Warlord Last Levy). I'm usually loathe to use child soldiers, even in a game, but I had them and they are VERY nice miniatures. Not to get too political but, as I grow older, I tend to not worry so much about controversial issues and I feel that, if we are to get a fuller understanding of history, that it doesn't help to whitewash or ignore the truly vile parts of warfare. If anything, these pieces should stand testament to the truly desperate and deplorable actions of the failing Third Reich.

This Volkssturm medic has been sitting in my bitz box for probably 8-10 years. Astute readers will see that it's actually a GW 40K mini. I swapped the head for a Great Escape winter German and gave him a pistol from the Reaper 20th Century Weapons pack. He wears German uniform pants and a Pea Dot camouflage smock.

Next up is the Volkssturm Tank Hunter team. The Bund Deutsche M├Ądel (Warlord Last Levy) is wearing a captured stock uniform consisting of Norwegian M40 helmet and WW1-era French overcoat. The Panzerschrek-armed Volk (Great Escape Games with Footsore headswap) wears a French Adrian helmet, Heer overcoat, and Spring Palmenmuster camo smock.

The Volkssturm MMG Team consists of three gunners (all Footsore VBCW) armed with an old MG08 MG mounted on a homemade tripod.

Volkssturm Squad One consists of 12 figures (a mix of Warlord & Footsore) all wearing a mix of civilian dress, uniforms, and camouflage dress. Both tan helmets are, again, captured stock of Norwegian M40. The dark gray helmet with white crest is painted to resemble an M34 fire dept. helmet. One Hitlerjugend is wearing rather baggy Spring Oak Leaf camo pants, while the firebomber is wearing Liebermuster pants, and the last Hitlerjugend is wearing a complete Spring Rauchtarnmuster suit. They are armed with a mix of K98 and foreign captured rifles. The NCO is wearing a full Liebermuster camo suit, a repainted Luftschutz helmet, and carries an an Italian Beretta M38.

Volkssturm Squad Two consists of 12 figures (a mix of Warlord & Footsore) all wearing a mix of civilian dress and uniforms. I wanted to try to stay away from camouflage in this group. They are armed with a mix of K98 and foreign captured rifles.

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Fall of Berlin: 8.8cm FlaK36

I'm happy to announce my latest army build for Adepticon Bolt Action Doubles - a Volkssturm army during the Fall of Berlin, 1945. This model is the excellent Empress Miniatures 8.8cm FlaK36 with "Militia" crew from their Spanish Civil War range. It's a beautiful model, well priced, and suited for both SCW and WW2 gaming. The majority of the crew are Empress (with the addition of greenstuff armbands), but I also included a Warlord Luftwaffe spotter and Bund Deutsche Madel assistant from Warlord's "Last Levy" boxed set to meet the requisite number of models required for Bolt Action.

The gun itself in Testors Acryl Schwarzgrau (with rain "streaking"/highlighting in 75% Schwarzgrau/25% pure White). I opted for a Dazzle camouflage scheme for the gun shield in Testors Acryl Lichtgrun. The kill rings are in pure White, tires in Pavement washed with Secret Weapon Soft Body Black Wash.

Each of the crew is painted slightly differently and to list every and all paint and techniques I used would take up most of the space on this post. I will say that, as this is meant to be a Luftwaffe gun, I wanted each figure to have either blue and/or gray in their outfit to carry a color scheme through the disparate parts and unify them. Even the gunner, who was meant to stand out, has a very light blue shirt on!

The bases are all scratchbuilt, mimicking the same urban rubble aesthetic I did with my Hungarian army so that the two forces could be intermixed. I should also note that I will be using the Kriegsmarine units I painted several months back in this army as well. More to come....

Thursday, January 5, 2017

1/48 Dieselpunk German & Hungarian Mechs

These two mechs started life as DUST walkers I bought on clearance for use with Konflikt '47 and other Weird War 2 games. They were initially two different walkers - the Ludwig and Lothar - but, by swapping one arm on each, I was able to make them similar models. The base models, while having an excellent aesthetic, are very rough and needed a LOT of clean-up of flash, mold lines, and misaligned parts. There is some poseability in the joints and I was able to get the Hungarian model to look like it was "stalking" something among urban ruins, while the German model has more of a resting, ready to spring into action feel. Both models have the originally MG-mounted IR sight removed and placed unto the AT gun arm. I also swapped out the barrel of the Hungarian MG to make it look more like a Schwarloze and made a new perforated muzzle brake for the AT gun, similar to the one mounted on the Zrinyi assault gun.

The Hungarian model is painted in Testors Acryl Green Drab overall, with drybrush "rain streaks" in a subtly lighter shade. The base is built and painted exactly like my other based Hungarian units. Bare metal is Testors Acryl Steel, gunmetal is Pavement washed with P3 Armor Wash, and IR sights are done in VGC Scarlet Red.

I did a much heavier oil wash weathering overall than what I normally do, as I wanted to make both models seem like they have seen heavy combat, without a chance for much refit. Decals are a mixture of Mad Bob, GW, and I-94.

The German model's only difference is the commander figure, part of JTFM's German Panzer Crew. Mounting him required chopping off the cupola, removing the hatch, gluing a small washer to the underside, gluing the commander to the washer, and then regluing the whole thing back down.

It is painted with a basecoat of VMC Middlestone (a darker toned Dunkelgelb than the Testors I normally use - again to add to the heavily weathered appearance), with soft edged camouflage of VMC German Camo Dark Green and Testors Acryl Rotbraun. Commander is VMC Flat Flesh, washed with Secret Weapon Flesh. His cap is VMC German Uniform, highlighted with 50% German Uniform/50% White, washed with GW Green Wash. Winter smock is basecoated Granite Grey, with successive highlights coming up to pure White. Bare metal is Testors Acryl Steel, gunmetal is Pavement washed with P3 Armor Wash, and IR sights are done in VGC Scarlet Red.

Again, I did a much heavier oil wash weathering overall than what I normally do, as I wanted to make both models seem like they have seen heavy combat, without a chance for much refit. Decals are a mixture of GW and some very old Revell.