Tuesday, April 24, 2012

More WWII Reference Photos

I'm finally getting around to posting more of the photos taken at the Americans in Wartime Museum open house.  This event takes place in Northern Virginia each summer.  People from all around the country bring their WWII vehicles, equipment, and uniforms.  It's a wealth of information for the modeler, and historical miniatures player.

Enjoy the photos.  If you can contribute to or correct the photo captions, feel free to add a comment.

German Motorcycle - BMW R75

German Grenades

Sd Kfz 251 (I think this is the Czech version - post WWII)

Soviet PT-76 (Post WWII)

Russian Tank  Model T-34/85

USA Paratrooper Jump Uniform and Gear

USA Sherman M4A1

Camouflaged German Hetzer

German Fallschirmjager Drop Canister

Figure Painting - Nail Board

Thought I'd share my method for holding figures while painting.  I use a nail board, which is simply a block of wood with holes drilled in it to hold nails.  In my case, I'm using a piece of scrap 2 by 4.  I experimented with the hole diameter until I was happy the nails could easily slide in and out but couldn't lean from vertical very far.

Nail board holding 15 mm figures while in process
Another advantage of using a nail board... I'm able to group the figures that will be based together (in this case, on Flames of War bases).  While painting, if I see something I don't like grouped together, I simply move the nails around to find a more suitable mix of figures. 

I use nails that are 3 and 3/4 inches long.  This size fits my hands and painting style best, as I'm able to rest the point of the nail in my palm (gently, of course) and then my brush is at the perfect height for painting the figure.  

The figures are held by a small ball of "Blue Stik."  This is reusable many times, even after primer and paint has gotten on it.  In the photo below, you can see the clump of Blue Stik between the nail head and figure.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Barbed Wire Prototype

Here are some photos of the prototype for barbed wire obstacles.  These are designed to meet the standard size for Flames of War - 8" X 2" base.  The base is made from vinyl floor tile cut to size.

Since these are just concepts, there is no paint on them or basing/flocking material.  Comments and suggestions are welcome.

I started with "Floral Wire" purchased at Michael's Arts and Crafts and a 3/8" wooden dowel.

Floral Wire and Dowel

I made two versions.  First, I doubled the wire and twisted the two strands of wire around itself to give the barbed wire some thickness and texture.  Twisting the two pieces together took time and, of course uses twice as much wire.  Using the 3/8" wooden dowel, I wound the wire tightly around the dowel.

Two strands of wire twisted together and wound around dowel.

At 15 mm scale, I don't know if it's worth going through the extra step shown above and using twice as much wire.  

My second attempt used a single strand of wire; this single strand was wound around the same 3/8" dowel.  

The results using a single strand can be seen below.  This section is mounted to the base, and I've added a couple different versions of posts - the "X" type and straight posts.  

Single wire strand with fence post prototype

Another view of the prototype

Feedback is welcome.

I'll be working up some more complete prototypes shortly and will post photos. After the barbed wire, I plan to do minefields and tank barriers (dragon teeth).

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fallshirmjager Squad

I finished up the last squad of 15 mm Battlefront Fallshirmjager for my FoW platoon.  These were primed gray, painted with Vallejo acrylics, gloss coated using GW's brush on gloss varnish, "washed" with black magic wash overall with brown applied to face and hands, and then sprayed with Testors Dullcoat.

I'm fairly happy with the results, and I'm sure they'll look better once they are grouped into teams and based properly.  A couple photos for your comments...

Muddy Shermans

UPDATE: If you happen to be in Northern Virginia, USA... these painted and weathered tanks are for sale at Huzzah Hobbies www.huzzahhobbies.com/  in Ashburn, VA.  (Price is less than the cost of buying new and unpainted.)

I've been experimenting with weathering techniques and wanted to share the following.  These are Battlefront resin Sherman's that originally came in the 2nd edition starter set.

These were primed gray and painted a base coat of Vallejo 887 Brown Violet.  Tracks and wheels were base coated black, and there is a variety of colors on the crates and tarps.  These were painted quickly to what I consider a "wargame standard."  Next, I applied GW gloss varnish and a black magic wash.  Once I was satisfied, I began to weather the tanks to look like they've spent days in the bocage.

For this weathering experiment, I used pastels (ground to a powder) mixed with Vallejo matte varnish.  I use a file to turn the pastels into powder, and a case for bead crafts from Michaels works great for storing the the various colors.

I mixed a few varieties of browns with the matte varnish in a FoW blister and applied the "mud" using a disposable acid brush.  There is also some very dark gray mixed for exhaust dirt on the engine cover.

After the weathering was applied, I sprayed them with Testors Dullcoat.

Below are a few photos of the results.  I think they still need some work, and the black from the engine exhaust is a little overwhelming.  But, at 15 mm scale, I think these would look okay on the game table.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Priming with Gesso

There's been quite a bit of chatter on the painting boards about using Gesso for priming miniatures.  One of the concerns I've heard, and even had myself, was how much the Gesso was going to obscure the details of a given miniature.

My experience has finally gotten me past the feeling that I've ruined a figure or vehicle by glopping on the Gesso, and I've provided some photos to show how the Gesso shrinks to re-reveal all the details of the model beneath.

I use Liquitex Gray Gesso and a fairly large brush, even when priming 15 mm scale.  I've dedicated a single, cheap artist brush for the Gesso, as I'm not sure if it would contaminate or otherwise harm one of my regular painting brushes.

Liquitex Gesso, cheap artist brush, and two Battlefront Panzerjager IV

I chose the Battlefront Panzerjager IV as a Gesso priming demo, because it has plenty of detail, including scuplted Zimmerit.  Added to the one tank hunter are a few extras (crate, tarp, and jerry can) from Command Decision; the other has two crew members looking through the hatches.

Battlefront Panzerjager IV ready to prime
Next, I coated the models with a thick coat of Gesso.  You don't have to be very careful with this step, but you should watch to make sure the Gesso doesn't form a "web" of material in narrow gaps.  As can be seen in the photos, much of the detail has been thickly coated and obscured.  The next two photos were taken within minutes of applying the Gesso.

These next two photos were taken approximately three hours after the Gesso was applied.  The material has already shrunk to fit the model underneath, and you can once again see the detail.  The transformation can best be seen with the crate on top and the tools on the engine cover.

I'll continue to wait at least 24 hours before painting.

As an additional reference, I've added a photo of some 15 mm Battlefront Fallshirmjager Panzershreck figures that were primed with Gesso a few days ago.  All the detail of the original sculpt is there.