I have been trying to finish up my remaining piles of British Infantry and all the support weapons and other bits and pieces. Unfortunately I keep getting tempted by more AB figures and bought another squad of British just because I like them. So I think as many other figure painters find, it is one step forward with reducing stocks, and two steps backwards as more figures and kits are added to the collection…..
Anyway here is a fancy looking AB figures commander smoking a pipe, with some observation teams. Also a commander from Stonewall figures and two radio men. I added an aerial to the one with a radio backpack. The flamethrower team and support man with an SMG are from AB figures again. I am going to make a flame attachment to show them firing. Probably out of wire and some kind of painted sponge and flock I think. Will have to think about that. One day I will complete my British Battalion and actually get a game going. My friend Jim at Combat HQ has released his version 2 rules of Combat HQ so I want to try and get a game in and write up a battle report/review.
More lockdown production, this time a Sherman Hybrid with a 17pdr gun that I thought was a Firefly, but isn’t. Well it’s gun is a Firefly 17 pdr gun but the actual tank is a regular Sherman. Another forum had to point it out to me. I was a bit surprised as I bought the kit to fit into my Firefly additions but I soon realized the hull is shorter than the PSC Fireflies I was building at the same time!
The kit is great. I really like Unimodel kits. More detail, some cool photo etch to mess around with and drop on the floor, and plenty of decals. The spares from this one I used on my PSC Fireflies (see previous post). All turrets can be modelled open so I included an AB commander in the turret hatch and decapitated two other plastic dudes for the hull hatches. Just their little scones sticking out catching a glimpse of what big cats were up ahead. The link and length tracks and bogey wheels are excellent. Even a bit of photo etch on the bogies. They are definitely more challenging than other kits and well worth it if you are looking for something more involved. I find buying direct from the Ukraine is far better value than any other hobby store.
Painted in olive drab with a dark wash is all you need to do. I do not bother with chips and scratches on dark green vehicles. Maybe i should try it. Next up I have three Esci Churchills ready to go, perhaps they will be more beaten up than this Sherman.
Finally finished the other two Fireflies in from a box of three I bought a while ago. The Plastic Soldier Company models are very simple kits, easy to build, but have a nice level of detail, and are good and solid. I do like them for knocking out a few quick tanks, like Armourfast but better on the detail side. They also respond well to some tarting up with a few bells and whistles. These two have aerials added, AB figures crew men, a bit of value gear stowage, and plenty of random decals stolen from other kits.
Olive drab spray can, gloss varnish and decals, dark wash, matt varnish and plenty of European earth and sand powders on top. Easy formula for my British Army vehicles.
Lockdown has definitely increased my hobby output. I would highly recommend PSC kits if you want to build a good looking force nice and quickly. Much easier than fiddling with link and length tracks or dreaded Esci vinyl ones. You can smash out a few troops of tanks in quick time. I have not tried the figures from PSC as I am firmly entrenched with my favourite metal ranges, and will never go back to plastic.
A quick update, or even a super quick update – ha ha ha, on some card model kits I cranked out recently. I love these Superquick kits. Unchanged designs since way back when and they are still so much fun to build. If you want some fast options to build a little town these will do the job. Hard to make the roofs removable so i did not even try. I placed them onto MDF bases for extra strength. I also added a lot of foamboard supports inside the houses and church to maintain its shape. Much better than the suggested bits of card that the instructions suggest. To try and make the shops look a bit more like 1940s France I added some new French signs. That should fool everyone. Also painting all the exposed card edges a dark shade and adding some dirt and dust makes all the difference. Oh and I nearly forgot I replaced all the chimney pots with some nice new metal ones. Chimney pots on buildings are a bit like eyebrows on faces. They are much more important than you think, and its only when you remove them you realise their importance!
The shops will look great in my town square and the small church also handy for when I do not want to use my massive home made church.
To finish off the base I used Metcalfe Models card pavers. These come in sheets and you just have to glue them onto your base. They look much better than the supplied bases. You can see in the last photo my use of the pavers with some other buildings too. I think this is a better option than carving pavements and definitely much quicker.
IBG Models make great little kits of all sorts of vehicles, especially some lesser known ones. This Otter Light Reconnaissance vehicle is one of those. Everyone knows about Humbers and Daimler armoured cars, but this little guy is a treat. IBG kits are always a real pleasure to make and this one is no exception. I loved it. To begin with its a fine looking little armoured car. The casting is super clear and everything fits together perfectly. The kit comes with some excellent PE parts for mudguards and a cool plank for getting out of a bogging situation (not sure what that is called!).
So building this car was a lot of fun. The interior is also fully detailed so you can leave a side door open and have a look in. If i build another one I will do that with maybe a crew man stepping out. You get a choice of decals to use, so I went with a Canadian unit which would be relevant for Normandy. I liked the white star mainly.
Olive drab paint work plus a bit of a dark wash, followed by some earth and sand pigments. I added my own aerial as usual just to finish it off. I can never recommend IBG model kits highly enough. I have a Bedford QLT ready in the queue for my next build.
I think like everyone out there this isolation thing is providing us all with extra hours to dedicate to painting and building. Always a silver lining. Although I am happy to continue in isolation paintbrush and glue in hand. My wife and dog provide me with all the human interaction and companionship I need to live a content life.
Anyway more British infantry finished. A mixture of three figures from AB, two rifles and a bren gunner defending in great poses. Then five advancing troopers from SHQ, and another kneeling bren gunner from CP models. Finally at the back is a another rifleman from Capitan (i think sold by Stonewall figures), who i left at the back as they are poorer quality figures. Better to leave him in the blurry background. If you are looking at Stonewall Figures their Combat 20mm ranges are cool, but I didn’t like the Capitan range. Sculpting was not so flash.
All i have left to do on my British company is some support weapons (HMGs and light mortars), flamethrowers and a bunch of officers and observers. Oh and a sniper. Oh and one more squad, the only plastics I will have being an excellent piece of work from Zvezda.
This isolation business is really doing wonders for my output. I have almost got through painting all my British infantry who will make up a full company of men. This is another squad from the fantastic AB Figures range. British infantry walking, running, carrying a fuel can, patrolling, and armed with rifles, a couple of SMGs and a bren. The difference with this squad is that they are wearing camouflage smocks. This made a great change from the usual uniforms I have been painting. Looking on the AB Figures web site I used their painted example as a guide. So the camo smocks were a dark yellow base with patches of red brown and bright green, a bit like a German tank. Pants were painted the usual British army khaki. It all still took me ages to do but luckily I have plenty of time these days. After looking at some amazing painting of AB Figures faces in this tiny scale I am trying to do a bit more with the faces. Trying to do a base coat, a wash, then two lots of highlights. It seems to work better. It just takes longer………..
These guys are still waiting for their bases to be finished with flock and tufts. I have another squad also completed so I will get all the bases done together and post the two finished squads.
Another two old Esci kits I bought on eBay for not very much. They were both pretty old kits and I managed to buy two of the 250/9’s and one 250/3. As usual with Esci kits of this age the little tracks were wonderful vinyl that would not bend, but rather snap into little pieces at the slightest hint of movement. So the first step was to find replacement tracks as none of my lessons for Esci vinyl tracks I have previously learned could be applied here. Luckily on eBay again I found a ready supply of rubber track for this little armoured car, so I picked up four sets for only $10 or so. Its amazing what you can find these days. If you need it, you can almost always find it, and have it delivered to your door. Very lucky in the current climate.
So onto the kits themselves! I cannot say that I enjoyed making either of these little vehicles. The plastic is old and brittle and did not take plastic cement at all well. They are not complicated but so bits didn’t fit well and didn’t glue well. The wheels especially were very tricky to get square. Even super glue did not really cope with the plastic. So I would recommend avoiding these particular old Esci kits if I were you. There must be plenty more versions these days that are a million times better!
Once I had managed to build them I added some aerials and a bit of stowage here and there and painted them in a two tone camo scheme. The original decals were long gone so I used replacements. They came up OK after all the painting and basing, but there was a sigh of relief when I finished them. You get what you pay for sometimes…….
I needed another bridge. I have two home made country bridges but really wanted an old rusty looking girder bridge. Down the road I want to add a railway line onto my table top so a girder bridge would be perfect for that. Dapol make a very cheap range of plastic terrain aimed more at railway modellers. Their buildings are too small for 1/72 scale wargaming, in my opinion, but this bridge is perfect. It is 32cm long and wide enough to take a medium tank (Sherman etc). It makes it easy on creating a rule for what weight it can withstand. If the tank is too wide for the bridge then it is too heavy for the bridge.
I think I bought this direct from Dapol at their web site Dapol Girder Bridge
It is a simple model, with three main bits, two sides and a bottom. Plus some struts to link the tops. There is some decent detail showing lots of rivets. I had a lot of fun painting this up. A solid undercoat of matt black, then a spray of red brown. Then i attacked it with buckets of track rust and light rust weathering powders. Using a really wrecked brush i stippled more black back on top, plus a wash of brown on top of that. I think I even went again with more rusty powder. I wanted a really old rusty effect so spent some time adding more and more. The colour and texture came out quite nicely and even looks like peeling paint in some places.
I also made some quite steep roads for each end so I can place my bridge over a river. I used polystyrene on MDF bases coated with plaster for good strong and light results.
Here you can see a cautious advance from a Dingo Scout Car backed up by a half track and a Humber armoured car.
Ooh so as working from home continues, working on model kits also continues at a feverish pace, if you will excuse the term in the current pandemic. I bought this Revell King Tiger from eBay for not much as it was missing a box and decals. No box means cheaper postage anyway I guess too. Win win.
This is a great kit. So much in a tank kit boils down to their treatment of tracks. This monster of a tank has excellent link and length tracks. They are nice big track links to begin with, but very easy to put together. I always start with multiples of two and around the sprocket wheel. The running gear and tracks you can make as two units before attaching them both, left and right, to the lower hull. Wheels are individual but are easy to get nice and straight. You can model the hatches open or closed which is always nice when you want to put in a couple of AB figures tank crew like me.
A few tow cables for the sides look good. There is also some spare track to put on the turret, but they don’t include hooks. So I added some of my own just by gluing small squares of plastic card where the hook would stick out. I left the spare tracks off until I had painted the turret so the rusty effects would not interfere.
For painting I loosely followed the plans in an excellent book i have called “How To Paint 1:72 Military Vehicles – The Weathering Special”. They actually use the Tiger II for one chapter so I went through the majority of the techniques in the book. Another guide to painting that I can really recommend.
I chopped off some of the side guards for battle damage, like they had in the book, and copied best I could the colour schemes. Lots of chips, dirt, mud and grime using various sponges, powders and other products. AB tank commanders to finish him off. Great little kit and great fun to spend a bit longer on the paint job and all the weathering effects.