Tuesday 7 October 2014

Level Up

So, you're browsing various gaming and painting blogs online. The odd AAR, someone's shiny new project they will probably never complete ...and you sympathise, looking over to your pile of uncompleted "stuff" that seems to grow by itself. There are even a few really good painting posts, the type which make you think "that doesn't look so hard, I need to try that" or even "I can do better".

Many hours later and after much blood, toil, tears and spilled paint, you are finally done. It is the *best* thing you have ever painted. Definitely. Must be. OK, so maybe the guy with the moustache needs a few extra highlights, you fudged his left eye a bit and (as you will soon be informed after posting pictures online) the *correct* wafferfarbe colour for the 874th Herman-Goering-Panzer-Sturm-Pioneer Abteilung was, in fact, "Parakeet Green" (with the correct German term and RAL number helpfully supplied)...but apart from all that, it's perfect.

And yet, someone has already posted something better. Damnit, how do they do it? You closely scrutinise every picture, committing to memory the shade and placement of every shadow, every highlight.

Sod it. Back to work you go, trying this, trying that. Buying several of these new-fangled (and usually made by a talented Spaniard) magical-modelling-voodo-in-a-bottle-mixtures that are sure to help. Help create something else, something new, your defining work: a masterpiece surely?

The point? Lots of ramblings mostly.

A lot of guys trying to improve their painting think this is some sort of competition...yeah, not so much, unless you want to make it one. You see the emails I get with the usual ''I wish I could paint like you', etc., etc....well, you can. Honest. Just try sometime, that's the important bit. The rest, as they say, is just practice. There is zero 'talent' or any other such nonsense, at least on my part. What I do is technique, not art: art is to create something from nothing. See various blogs and sites like CMON for proper painters, real artists. I just apply techniques. You can learn to do the same with similar results. Really.

Part of the learning is actually messing things up, making mistakes and learning from them. Duh. Just keep on keeping on, you'll get somewhere you are satisfied with eventually: that's the important bit. So below, a couple of my brother's 8-Rads:

Not bad? Mostly his work, colour choice, but he got bored so I finished them off: a bit of weathering, the crewman and tools, etc. These were his first airbrushed vehicles. The whole "panel highlighting" thing did not come out too well, but then I was probably pushing it trying to teach that in the first lesson. So, if you know someone who can already paint somewhat, ask them teach you a bit if you can, as shaving some time off the learning curve is always worthwhile.

To add to that: not everyone enjoys painting. I do, but he generally does not though he has his moments. That's fine. Some people seem to think there's some sort of "pressure" to paint well, that you must and must enjoy it. There really isn't. So, a pair of 8-Rads done, another unit completed: he learnt quite a bit, I learnt a bit about teaching someone where I assume certain things that are common sense...aren't. The models look good, better than 95% of stuff you'll see here locally, that's enough.

At the end of the day, whatever you do and no matter how well you do it, this is still just painting toy soldiers, isn't it?


Monday 29 September 2014

Volksgrenadier HQ

HQ teams and a few extra Panzerschreck teams. Because you can never have enough Panzerschrecks...


Sunday 21 September 2014

German 8cm Mortars

Some German Mortars of the 8cm variety, figures by Battlefront.


Thursday 5 June 2014

PSC Churchill AVsRE

Mk. III AVsRE (Armoured Vehicles, Royal Engineers) Churchills. Models by the Plastic Soldier Company, from the new-ish Churchill box; the commander is a spare BF plastic from the Open Fire Sherman kit.

Lovely kits, great options to build different variants, etc. I don't think I will be buying any other Churchills again: save for the Mk VII/Crocodiles and the Mk I & I CS, PSC has the main variants covered exceedingly well in just a single box. Hopefully they do a Mk VIII & Crocodile box in the future, I'd buy 'em in a second.

The level of detail and crispness on these modles is superb, and without the massive weight that comes with metal and/or resin miniatures, and without the casting issues as well. I am a huge fan. Being plastic, a bit of cutting serves to remove unwanted sections of the mudguards and track guards, and there are several pieces of extra track available for use in the North-West European campaign.

Magnetised turrets FTW
I cut down the turret stubs and used a pair of rare earth magnets on each for the turrets; I just prefer magnetised turrets these days. One magnet was glued to the cut-down turret stub, the other was built into the hull with two pieces of plastic card. A bit of work, but a much better option than the normal build in my opinion. I'll detail the process later when I do the rest of the models.

The decals are markings for 9th RTR on the hull, not one of the Assault Brigades/79th Armoured Div. By using the Mk III turrets for the AVsRE, I can model a 6-pounder, 75mm or 95mm on the other turret supplied (the rounded cast-turret for the MK IV). Since the AVsRE won't be used too often, I can simply pop off the Petard turrets and replace them with another type, thus saving the need for another model.

A few quick comparison shots with a BF Churchill below.

I have eight more vehicles to do, probably in the famous "tiger stripe" camo on Mk III Churchills used by the 145th Royal Armoured Corp in Tunisia. A quite attractive scheme and one I've always wanted to paint. The more standard overall SCC2 Brown used by other units is also a contender.

Then there is also King Force at El Alamein; more Churchills with a unique scheme. And then there's the Canadians at Dieppe. And more Churchills in Italy. And Normandy/North-West Europe. So many options, I may need several more boxes...


Monday 2 June 2014

Churchill Troop

A Churchill Tank Troop, marked for 'B' Squadron, 9th Royal Tank Regiment in Normandy. Battlefront models. Decals a mix of BF and Doms.

Getting there with the green I think...


Thursday 29 May 2014

Liebster Award

So, blog award season again, and it appears I have been nominated by two other blogs: Troy from Krieg's Corner and Christopher from Bunker Hill. Both, you will note, excellent blogs with some fantastic content. Cheers gents!

So, using a somewhat reduced version:
1. Copy and paste the Award on your blog, remembering to link back to the blogger who has given it to you.
2. Pass on the Award to your top 5 blogs with less than 200 followers by leaving a comment on one of their posts to notify them that they have won the Award and listing them on your own blog.
3. Sit back and bask in the warm fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing you have made someone's day!
4. There is, of course, no obligation to pass this onto anyone else, but it´s nice if you take the time to do so.

Some Nominees 

For interesting blogs you should check out: I've chosen a few that might be a bit less well-known rather than repeat nominations and a few that I simply enjoy following.

Broke Low - The original 6-Day War Flames of War and some good AARs (Volksgrenadiers FTW)
Fez-man's Hobby Gazette -  Again more great AARs and recounts of his UK FoW Competitions.
Wargaming with Silver Whistle - Loads of good stuff, lovely terrain.
Dux Homunculorum - Battlegroup in 15mm and more besides.
15mmArt - Great painting, don't miss the StuKa tutorial, etc.

(From Troy)

Eleven Questions for Nominees:

1. Who is your current hero?
Hero? In this day and age? 

Let's say Nigel Farage for now, though we'll see how that one turns out...

2. If you could change one thing about the wargaming hobby, what would it be?
Less bitching about things other people play that we disagree with.

3. What is best in life?
I think Ghengis Khan covered this...

4. Do you read Battle Reports and what makes them inviting to read?
Yes: how and why other people play games is always interesting to read. Picking up new ideas for painting or terrain, etc. is an added bonus.

5. FOW or Squad Leader?
Flames of War for the moment: I like finishing my games! And I can find opponents which tends to help...

6. What miniatures are you most proud of having painted?
None really; each becomes a learning experience for the next, and hopefully an imporvement.

7. How do you deal with burnout?
Keep grinding, you get through it eventually. The block to painting is mostly mental, I just try to keep painting something, anything.

8. Whats better; Gaming at home or at Cons?
Home: no conventions here, but I always prefer a relaxed, informal game.

9. Which Front do you prefer to game; East or West?
West Front for the most part, though as I read more of the Eastern Front it has its own uniqueness and attractions.

10. If you could only buy from one miniature company from now on, which one would it be?
Battlefront I guess, as their range is the most comprehensive. However, other companies have some excellent offerings, so thankfully I don't have to stick to one!

11. Could you limit your gaming and collecting to one period and one size? If so, what?
Yes, 15mm WWII it mostly is; though not for lack of interest in other areas/periods and scales.

Now, off with you lot and go paint something. 


German Grenadiers

More German infantry bits.


Monday 5 May 2014

Winter Scheme Panther G

Panther G. Based on the classic pictures of those from 25. Panzergreadier Division during Operation Norwind. Not much to say; I went with an "inspired by" look rather than exact replica, new-ish white-wash, etc. Knocked out in a couple of days for a winter game so, while not agonizing too much on how they came out, the end result was not bad for the time put in. Pictures of the real thing show quite a few styles being used, nice for artistic license.

Battlefront models: the plastics tracks are nice, though the details do not extend to the underside of the tracks which I though was odd: a bit of a wasted plastic mold really. The plastic parts are light years ahead of the usual metal dog's breakfast, but then you already knew that. Plastic gun barrels significantly better than metal. Battlefront should really consider doing a plastic set with just gun barrels (and/or mantlets) of various weapons.


Monday 24 March 2014

King Tigers

King Tigers, painted as part of the 505. Schwere Panzer Abteilung with the famous "Charging Knight" symbol on the turret. Models by Battlefront, decals by Doms and BF, the Charging Knight by Sentinel Miniatures: I cut away the zimmerit with a blade to place the Knight badge better, as was done for the real image in real life I believe.

The models lack a certain coherency as they were done bit-by-bit over nearly three years...first clean style, then sort of made up as I went along. I was never particularly interested in them. The original inspiration was (loosely) this King Tiger on missing-lynx.com, though mine turned out quite differently and a bit too yellow for my liking.

Some individual shots.



This one came with a quite badly damaged turret rear: my repair attempts were rather lacking, so I covered the efforts with a tarp of sorts. Tried to do a zeltbahn but that was not so successful...should have got a replacement turret in hindsight.


Suffice to say I got quite a few details wrong, but every German armoured vehicle is another learning experience for me.


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