“Setting The Scene” by Pat Smith

I was lucky enough to order a copy of Pat Smith’s awesome book “Setting The Scene” before Christmas and it turned up on my doorstep recently. What a happy way to start the New Year!

Now I have always been a big fan of Pat’s amazing 28mm modelling on his Wargaming With A Silver Whistle blog and this new production just continues on Pat’s excellent work. I am not a 28mm modeller and was not planning to do any Winter games or scenes right now, but none of that matters. There are so many good ideas and tips and inspirational photos this book is not to be missed if you are a keen wargamer and modeller who likes to build stuff. This is relevant to whatever scale or period you are interested in, but I guess even more so if you are cemented in World War Two like me.

Pat covers many aspects of terrain building from creating a mat, making trees, rivers, bridges and also tips on painting vehicles and figures. So much eye candy and amazing photos of his stunning results I cannot help but keep flicking through the pages. If you are looking for some inspiration and a standard of terrain to aspire to then I suggest you sign up for the reprint which I am guessing will get a run. Drop Pat a note on his blog and get your copy!

Setting The Scene

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Walls Walls Walls

After building my Loic Neveu terrain bits and pieces I found I still had some of his low country walls. So striking with my hot iron I quickly glued them all down to a piece of 3mm MDF to make a rough two field kind of configuration. Then a layer of PVA and fine sand, plus some rougher sand nearer the ends of the walls.

I wanted some random scrubland so used a few different types of grass, flock and tufts to cover the field areas. The walls were undercoated black and then highlighted. In retrospect I should have used more browns for the stonework as it came out a bit too black and white. I may change it. These are quite small walls and I realise I should have put a 20mm soldier in here to give you an idea of scale. But these will definitely get some usage in my next games.

 

More AB Figures British Infantry

I finished up another squad of AB Figures British Infantry this week. I am slowly replacing all my plastic figures with metal ones. The AB ranges are just the best. Not much else to say! There are enough different packs to make up plenty of squads without repeating the same guy twice. The detail is so clear on these figures it makes them a real pleasure to paint. I find that just blocking in the colours and then doing some highlighting is good enough. I did buy a proper set of British Army Uniform colours, shadow, base and highlight, which has helped a lot. Trying to mix a British khaki is really tricky so i stopped trying to do it!

These guys are all based on Australian 10 cent coins which are not only useless for anything else but perfect size for individual bases. If you don’t own any AB Figures in your collection you really need to change that. I pick up all mine from Eureka Miniatures in Melbourne, they have such a great range of World War Two figures, its tempting to keep loading up. Next up i need to paint three PIAT teams to try and finish my British company. Check out my pictures below, i am still struggling to take half decent photos with my phone. Lighting seems to be difficult with small figures.

 

Fences and Rubble Piles

Happy Christmas and New Year everyone! I finished off a couple of terrain bits in between stuffing my face with Christmas goodies. No models in my stocking or models in stockings for that matter. But still expecting some more goodies to show up from various model shops across the globe independent of Father Christmas’s delivery schedule!

Anyway i had some rubble piles and cars from Loic Neveu in France that i had left aside for ages and decided to paint them up. They came out very nicely and fit next to my ruined buildings for extra effect. I have a couple more to finish. I had bought a manor house from Loic too but it is more like 15mm scale and it didn’t fit in with my buildings. If anyone wants the building i bought for 15mm games drop me a note and i will send it to you or at least show you a picture first.

Also there is some fencing i bought from Hovels in the UK. Super cheap at 75p a section and they came out really nicely. At that price i really cant be bothered to make my own which will be no better. Based on MDF and flocked etc. It does make me feel lazy but sometimes buying terrain is just a nice, speedy alternative!

Esci White M3 Scout Car in 1/72 Scale

One of my favourite, if not top of the charts, World War Two vehicles is the White Scout Car. So my quest to find one in plastic kit form in 1/72 scale was an important one. In the whole world there is not one company now that makes this vehicle in plastic kit form. Esci, now Italeri, no longer make this kit, even though i think they do still have pictures of it on their web site. So my quest turned to the internet as usual. Thank you eBay for the seller of this old kit for only about five pounds. I would have paid more for sure as it really seemed to be the only available kit in the known world. So i was a happy chappy when this turned up on my doorstep. I think this kit must have been years old judging by the box, but inside everything was still sealed in its plastic bag. Only the decals were unusable, but that didn’t matter as they were French and Russian anyway.

My Scout Car was going to be Allied/British. The kit build was great, a pleasure to make, all parts fitted nicely and i had no issues. The only thing wrong with this model was the rear axle sits too far forward resulting in the wheels not being central within the wheel arches. This annoyed me enough that i had to cut the rear axle and suspension off the chassis and move it maybe half a millimetre to align the wheels centrally. That was the only problem i found. The kits comes with two machine guns on the back, a 0.50 and 0.30 calibre, one on each side, and some stowage. I added a bit more from my supplies and also added a British driver from AB figures. The decals came from spares. I always base my wheeled vehicles, no one likes a broken axle. The finished scout car was given the usual olive drab treatment with a dark brown wash, highlights, and then some weathering powders. I might add some other crew or commander at some point, we shall see.

I do have a couple of metal and resin versions of the M3, which i may make as a comparison. And the chances of finding another plastic M3 kit are about as good as England winning a game in the Ashes……….

British Centaur AA tank from Britannia Miniatures

My own self written rules of engagement are that I have to stick to making plastic models of any vehicles for my WW2 armies. However, if there is some unusual vehicle required for a unit that is not available in a plastic kit form, I do have an allowance (Clause 8c) that allows me to buy resin or metal vehicles. I guess this would stretch to die cast as well, although I have not found a need for that yet. To be honest I just like making model kits as opposed to having the vehicle already constructed (or in only 3 pieces).

So on this occasion I needed an Anti Aircraft tank or the Centaur AA. I think its based on a Cromwell chassis but with twin AA guns in the turret. This one comes from Britannia Miniatures in the UK, you can buy from https://www.grubbytanks.com

Andy at Grubby has a huge range of troops and vehicles, including a lot in the “hard to find in plastic model kits” bracket that I am after. I also picked up a Sherman ARV recovery vehicle who will be built soon enough, and a Dorchester HQ truck which looks like fun. This Centaur comes in only a few parts, with a hull, turret, two sets of tracks and wheels, AA guns and hull MG. So armed with some superglue it doesn’t take long to put together. I did take a little while cleaning up the resin hull (the tracks and guns are metal), and next time I will spend a little longer doing clean up. The detail is good and it actually made a nice change to be painting quickly rather than building for hours first. I did add an aerial and one bit of stowage (a box) plus I used various decals. Paint job was a simple olive drab, like always, plus a dark brown wash and plenty of dusty powders for rust and dirt. Worth checking out Britannia for their massive range of stuff, I am sure I will go back for more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarissa Precision Ruined Houses

In my mission to speed up my village building and supplement my very slow scratch building process, i could not resist buying some more MDF kits. This time from Sarissa at http://www.sarissa-precision.com

I have seen lots of pictures and reviews of the Sarissa French Chateau in 20mm and 28mm scale and I was unable to resist the lure of  purchase. So I figured I better make it worthwhile by buying a couple of their 20mm ruined houses at the same time. The Chateau build is for another time, as I decided to get cracking on the ruins first. The kits come flat packed in two sheets of 3mm MDF with a further sheet of window and door fittings in card. At less than $15 Australian a pop they are pretty good value. The best thing is Sarissa does the postage from the UK to Australia at two pounds fifty which is amazing. Definitely makes me want to buy more!

The parts pop out of their sheets easily and consist of a floor or two, walls and roof sections. The roof sections have a triangular support that gives the structure some strength. So all you need is some PVA glue and bobs your uncle. Once you have the structure made you can add the windows and shutters, door frames and doors. You do need to think ahead about what you are going to paint before you finish building as it might be tricky to paint some bits after full construction.

Now i really like these kits but did need to add some of my own bits and pieces just to get them up to speed. Firstly its very obvious where the MDF corners are, so i used my gyprock plaster to give my buildings a texture, before i added the details. This covered up the joins and created a more interesting surface. I also could not quite understand the chimney construction, maybe i did it wrong, so i also had to add some MDF to line everything up. The chimney pots i cut off and replaced with some excellent metal ones i had bought from a model shop, which i think was a good improvement. I also added my own cardboard roof tiles onto the roof remains which give more texture to the roof than the original flat MDF. I also added textured bricks carved into the plaster along the bottom of the walls and also bits of rubble and debris inside the damaged walls. It was a lot of fun to customize these little buildings, but i think they would come out nicely whether you choose to do this or not.

Painting took me a while and i just used basic acrylics. I added a couple of French signs to the sides and then added some black and brown chalk dust to the damaged bits to give the finished result a burnt out look. I am looking forward to building the Chateau now after these two. If  you need some quick and easy buildings with a lot of scope to customize then go and check out Sarissa. You can see below how well they fit in with one of my home made buildings – the blue two storey house with a big blown in the middle of it…..