Saturday 29 May 2010

Ultimate Colour Conversion Chart: Paints

Seeing as I never manage to stick to one particular range of paints this may come in handy!

Colour Converter: Paints

Spotted first by:
Eastern Funker

Friday 28 May 2010

Something for the weekend: Tank Stories

Tank Stories Audio


Tank Stories Audio
Also more interesting stuff at:
The Tank Musuem

I particularly liked the "Three Tigers in Twelve Minutes"
Including Whittman? 

Thursday 27 May 2010

Novel Creating/Painting Snow Tip

From the Blog: Wargaming Stuff
Novel Creating/Painting Snow Formula

Or a direct link to article;
Making snow for modelling
The question is, can I ever get it to work?
Only time will tell

It looks messy :)

Wednesday 26 May 2010

North African Campaign: 8th Army RTR Crusader Squadron

Digging around in the old "model box" I came across a vintage (made some eleven or twelve years ago) squadron of Hasagawa 6pdr armed Crusader III's in North African colours.

They are obviously looking for some DAK or Italians which is a pity because I have not painted many to date, concentrating my early/mid war Germans on France and Russia.

Nevertheless they are an exciting bunch as they are also useful for Tunisia with its eclectic collection of old British and new American kit. Those with fine eyesight may even see decals on the mud-flaps. Wonders will never cease!

As you can see from below I went for "the desert has been rather rough on me look."

This three tank squadron is part of a two squadron formation (I always had the aim of making it to a full three squadron regiment at some point). The currently "part-painted" other squadron being earlier Airfix Crusader I's armed with a 2pdr pop-gun and wacky lewis gun turret at the front. The third squadron was then intended/planned to be comprised of Airfix Crusader II's (just mounting the 2pdrs losing the silly lewis turret) but alas Airfix seem to have discontinued their Crusader kits for the time being.

Methinks unless Airfix releases the Crusader again this regiment will never be finished as intended. Never mind Monty! My get out clause is that around El Alemain all sorts of tanks were thrown together into tank regiments. They seemed to be one light squadron of Crusaders (mixed types) and two "heavies" of Grant/Sherman mixed groups, So I just need to paint up more of the latter.

The "Iron Fist" (see my bookshelf) has a good chapter on the Supercharge operation in the El Alemain battle.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

"A" Squadron RTR 20mm Command Decision

Stepping back from 1945 to 1944 to the OoB of a British Armoured Division, Tank Regiment, Squadron we get the famous three Shermans (Airfix) and a Firefly (Matchbox/Revel).

Again no decals (yet), but work on a second ("B") squadron is ongoing. I will have to work a little special camouflage on the Firefly as the tankers cunningly painted the underside end of the 17pdr barrel light sky blue as an optical trick to shortened the look of the gun, taken from the recent Revel box art. The idea being to make the Firefly slightly less conspicuous to German eyes.  

Also as work in progress in the RTR Regiment Command "odds and sods" vehicles. This is more of an interesting fix to what I actually have rather than one-to-one match with historical OoB kit, more of this later. I fancy an Arnhem XXX Corp scenario is fermenting in my fertile mind.

Monday 24 May 2010

Painting WWII late war European Allied (British) Armour 1944/45

Note to Self: Back of the fag packet painting instructions, used for Comets.

Undercoat Black:
Body: Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black

Tracks: Games Workshop Chaos Black over plastic track, only because it was vinyl plastic.
Note: Also did this after finishing tank body work.

Prime body in Khaki Drab Tamiya XF-51
Rough and ready wet-brush approach, as I don't mind in particular if I leave a fair amount of black around shadow points, likewise it I over paint any section I can recover in next step (Oily Black Wash)
(Note: I always assumed that Olive Drab was the standard Allied Camouflage, this seems to be the US preference and perhaps a shortcoming of the old Airfix paint system)

Oily Black Wash, my magical secret:
Using a fairly/very watered down Anita's Acrylic Metallic Black wash to go round all the parts I think need darkened emphasis, which seemed to be most of the tanks. The great thing about this step is that you know you are going to partially paint over most of it again. The stuff you don't cover are definite highlight areas. But the wash seems to do the work for you :)

Highlights (couple of iterations here):
Tamiya Khaki Drab (XF-51) plus a little Tamiya Yellow (XF-3) brings the highlight up
However if you see/feel it going too yelllow add Tamiya White (XF-2) to bring it back down, i.e. paler.
I also threw in a bit of XF-60 Dark Yellow as way of experimentation
The final highlights had a certain paleness, particularly catching the angular turret corners of the Comet. 
Note: You can stop there as a legitimate 1944/45 camouflage pattern.

Black Camouflage Pattern
1944/45 disruptive block pattern
Back to a watered down XF-1 and a controlled slosh on.
Getting the surface black but not pitch black
My reference here is D-Day to Berlin by Terrence Wise
I do shade this black (XF-1) with a touch of White (XF-2) and/or Games Workshop Codex Grey

Note: I always gave the corners/edges a highlight of the lighter Khaki Drill [see above] coming through (trumping) the black, don't know why but visually it worked for me. I also tried for a messy look rather than a parade ground look.

Tank Tracks
Final highlight of Games Workshop Bolt Gun Metal, perhaps with a touch of black thrown in
Wet/Dry brush lightly done

Brush Tip: I used a big brush (says he coming from just painting 1/3000 Navwar IJN capitol ships), a fairly cheap and cheerful one too, a Revell size 3, although it has been worn "into shape" over successive 20mm German tank painting projects.

All the above to help my fading memory and perhaps be assistance to Comet painters in the southern hemisphere ;)

Saturday 22 May 2010

The Comets are Coming

As proof that my miniature collection is not 100% German, I present the last British cruiser tank of the Second World War (discounting the Centurion's appearance barely beyond the prototype stage) the "Comet" packing a welcome punch with its shortened 17 pounder for the British tankers..

In technical references the gun was noted as a 77mm calibre weapon even though it was actually only 75mm. The ammunition was special and non-interchangeable with standard 75mm so they had to make it different for warehouse/logistics purposes. (Stalin did a similar this for his rocket weapons, the "Stalin Organ" was initially 150mm but designated as 152mm to avoid the wrong types of artillery rounds being delivered to troops at the front.)

Never really fought in large tank versus tank actions and by the time Korea can round the Centurion had made its mark.

I have decided that I am running one tank short for a Command Decision representation of a 1945 British tank squadron. The 1944/45 orbat stood at three Shermans or Cromwells plus a Sherman Firefly hence I will get myself another Comet to keep the numbers/punch up to a strength of four.

Hope you like them NZ Al/Paul, I have gone for a disruptive green and black camouflage pattern which the British Army was experimenting with in late 1944/45. No decals as yet, (which should not really come as a complete surprise), I am debating whether to use the Scottish or English regiment.

Friday 21 May 2010

Sneak peak at a Comet

Just for NZ Al/Paul if you are still surfing just now ;)

It will get some company in tomorrow's post. I did say they came along in formations rather than attachments like Sherman Fireflies!

Painting Tray Equipment Upgrade

As  important as the models, paints, brushes, glue, flock and reference books. Somewhere to put your brew:

Dig For Victory mug courtesy of the Past Times shop. I think there are a couple other mugs with war-time slogans to look out for too.

Another possible (luxury) upgrade would be a 1940's chocolate biscuit holder, though I'm not sure what one of those would look like? Probably digestives or rich tea biscuits were the austerity order of the day.

Thursday 20 May 2010

A not quite finished Franz Ferdinand

Or in other words a dirty great big German Elephant SP gun from WWII. Pity the music fan that via Google that picks up this posting instead, street-cred immediately lost.

Almost classed as a prototype odd-bod, but for the ever resourceful "waste-not want-not" WW2 German armament industry coming up with a novel use for the some ninety chaises already built for the failed Porshe Tiger I contract bid.

I cannot make my mind up for the final camouflage scheme, so it shall have to stay indefinitely that grubby shade of Panzer Yellow.

Strictly speaking the Kursk combatants seemed to have had an Eastern Front red-brown disruptive line-pattern spread over them. However the above model has a front MG which means it is a post-Kursk modification that served in both Russia and Italy. The latter theatre begs a three tone camouflage pattern, but seeing how I have been painting so much of that as of late I will give it a rain-check before committing myself!

Patience Al the Comets are coming ;)

Wednesday 19 May 2010


As WWII AFV's go they don't come bigger than this (with one notable "Maus" exception). An old Esci kit that dates back to the early 1990's when I first picked it up.

Looking to the right:

Looking to the left:

The heavy German armour part of my "unmade or  not quite finished" section of my 20mm collection is coming to a close.

Yes I do have allied (East and West) armour too :)

Tuesday 18 May 2010

The SturmTiger

A lovely little model kit from Dragon. It fitted together like a dream, the casement shell is actually metal not plastic, as were a few of its fittings. Beautifully precision made, but not cheap. Dragon will sell you an already painted version in their die-cast series.

Front: A splendid view of the 35cm (Modified KM depth charge) Rocker dispenser. Rate of Fire is not an issue, it was sufficient just one of these things "went off". Heavily armoured to be able to trundle into position and survive to get off its first shot (and probably last one needed). A very direct fire weapon. 

The Side: Notice the reloading hatch in the top of the casement and crane/winch required to manhandle the next round into the SturmTiger.

The Back: The site you probably want to see if you are interested in knocking one of these things out!

When exactly you would use it on the wargame table is another question entirely. It was a post-Stalingrad reaction to urban fighting. I believe units could have fought in Warsaw (1944), but most seemed to have surrendered to advancing US troop in 1945 on the Ruhr. Quite what the US troops made of the beast is another matter.

Painting Guide: 15mm Macedonians

Something to emulate or aspire to, a Xyston master class:

Prodromoi Cavalry Scouts
Greek Generals for Macedonian
Thebian Hoplite
Macedonian Companion Cavalry
Alexander the Great
More Macedonian Companion Cavalry
Macedonion Hyaspists
How to Pain Macedoinans
Commission starting point

Respect to the painter :)

I hope I can just follow in his footsteps!

Alternative WW2 Painting Scheme from the Web

20mm Gamer's way of doing things

I think I will stick to my guns to finish of the Platoon 20 metals (WWII British Infantry) I have started, however for that packet of plastic Revell WWII infantry a fast paint experiment may well be called for :)

Painting tip from the Web

"Vallejo Black Glaze as a good way of shading 6mm figures"

Meeples and Miniatures blog

Further practical investigation required
But I'll have to get some 6mm figures first ;) 

Monday 17 May 2010

More Airfix Tiger I (completed refurbishment) shots

They just seemed so photogenic so I kept snapping.

Two Tigers far away:

One opened-up with tank commander further away:

Another one of the tank commander opened-up coming closer:

And closer:

The other Tiger close-up:

Airfix Tiger fashion show now over (honest)! Yeah, those pesky decals still to do. In the interest of fairness I should now concentrate on making and painting a couple of Airfix Shermans ;)

Sunday 16 May 2010

The Painting Tray Update: Invasion of the German Heavy Tanks

Confession: It was not just a couple of Tigers that queue jumped the British Comets, if you look carefully you can see two JagdTigers, a SturmTiger as well as a finished Royal Tiger I used as a painting guide.

All I can say in my defence is simply that the urge took me :)

Saturday 15 May 2010

Airfix Tiger I refurbishment: Part Four "Then there was two"

One Tiger refurbishment down and so just one to go. Aiming at the target point of duplicating this below, but with a tank commander to boot:

The second Tiger I turret reconstruction was green for go. Here it is taking the basic shape and base coat colour:

Now appearing as the finished product on the left, finished to the same three tone (more stone than base yellow) Camo pattern, and crewman/commander has even been given a lick of paint too.

The only thing outstanding (but not critical IHMO) is to weather and redden the German tank tracks, which I will do across the board on the German armour in a mass production fashion. Oh, yes, of course my Achilles heel, the obligatory German decals to come :)

PS: Hmmm, A pregnant question hanging in the air is, do I return to the "Brown" and "Green" Tigers to add in another stripe of alternating colour (green and brown respectively) to make the batch be of "the same unit". I am tempted, but putting it off for a rainier day than today!

Friday 14 May 2010

Airfix Tiger I refurbishment: Part Three

I have a problem with the basic Dark Sand Yellow look of mid-war German armour. I just don't think it is interesting enough. I like to fiddle with my painting and add different shades of paint to give a weather beaten effect. 

Hence I followed my Panzer Jagd IV, Tiger I and Royal Tiger (Tiger II) examples. I chose a late-war three part scheme. However I made it slightly more "blocky" than "stripy".

If truth be told the yellow has migrated to more of a pale stone whiter shade, which fits with a late 1944 Ardennes feel to it, but is not something I plan to universally adopt.

Which is fine by me. It breaks up the outline nicely and I don't have to work in the busy "ambush scheme" (may be at a later date).

The tracks were in a mixed up state, paint everywhere. Here I fell back on a recent trick I learn from the Airfix Chieftain that crossed my painting table. Games Workshop Chaos Black, particularly when it goes slightly chunky in the pot, seals the shiny silver Airfix track plastic really well. While the black was out I took the opportunity to blacken the gun barrel/exhausts and highlight with a shade of grey.

Next step is to consult my Flames of War (Art of War) painting tips for German tank tracks. They seem to think there should be a reddish tinge/undertone to them, but I am much happier with my Airfix Tiger I now.

Time to catch up with the second Airfix Tiger I.

Thursday 13 May 2010

Airfix Tiger I refurbishment: Part Two

Moving onto a basic Dark Yellow overcoat (XF-60 dark Yellow):

Now comparing with Old Airfix:

(New Airfix) Against the Fujimi as Comparison

(Old Airfix) Against the Fujimi as Comparison

I think it's an improvement on the original shape :)

Next a new Camo Pattern to make it pretty ...

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Airfix Tiger I refurbishment: Part One

A funny thing happened to me from the Painting Table to the Model Box ...

I had just under-coated the so-called German Wonder Tanks (from Pegasus) Matt Black and had put them to one side (eyeing up the Boulton Paul defiant and Hawker Hurricane) when I thought I should really put the tanks "back in the box" (so I or small child didn't break them)!

Pandora's box of unfinished models was opened and I spied my old pair of Airfix Tigers. Hmm. The comparison (Fujimi v Airfix):

Now this annoys me, all because of the missing back stowage bins (you know the story of the Airfix designers basing their model from a reconstructed Tiger, done in haste without the ubiquitous stowage bins in place, so they never made it to the final Airfix model ). Just think of all those generations of misguided teenage Airfix modellers getting confused with their AFV recognition charts ;)

I had made these two Tigers yonks ago but they were never used as they looked a bit silly next to their Fujimi and Hasagawa cousins (with back bins). Taking inspiration from a certain Tim Marshall's web-site and his Tiger Turret conversion I decided to take the plunge and have a go myself, it looked simple enough.

The basic conversion, a new back:

Starting with glueing two small bits of squarish plasti-card sticking out from the rear turret (using the Fujimi turret as a guide), a third longer piece was bent and rolled over joining the back of the two. Getting it sufficiently curved was rather tricky, so I settled for glueing piece three in place and then sticking a forth bit of rolled/bent plasti-card over it to get the extra curve needed, Finally I carved a rough curve to fit the Tiger turret from a very thin bit of plast-icard and put that over the bin framework. This irregular shape was carved back to conform to turret/bin shape.   

A little extra detail (Two Back Flaps added):

Two small squares of plastic were added as bin flaps and a small square hole was drilled into the middle of the back stowage area (as per the Fujimi model).

A spot of Panzer Yellow (Tamiya XF-60 Dark Yellow): It looks rough in close-up, but it's good enough from a distance and there is a bit of camo and weathering to follow :)

The refurbishment continues ...

Wednesday 5 May 2010

The Painting Tray as of May 2010

Putting aside the petty events of a UK General Election, doubtless the world (or maybe again perhaps not) will be relieved to know that sufficient clear space has been finally found for the Painting Tray 2010 to manifest itself.

The intense interest in 1/3000 and 1/1200 ship painting was partly fuelled by a restricted space issue, partly by a "Naval" whim of mine. I need to up-scale before I lose my eyesight.

Now for a bit of 20mm and 1/72 kit making action:
  • Airfix: Hurricane Mk.I
  • Airfix: Boulton Paul Defiant
  • Airfix: Chieftain Tank
  • Matchbox: Comets (x3)
  • Pegasus Hobbies: WWII German Wonder Tanks (Schwerer Kliener)

The planes are quite far on and viewed as an easy (though slow) painting exercise. The Matchbox Comets as inspired by Al's  Blog, the "Cold War" Chieftain (to be done in Urban Camouflage) is inspired by the Modern British Civil War Blog. The Pegasus Hobby tanks were just easy builds that satisfied a "plastic kit construction" craving I had. That is not yet over and I am scouring my boxes for easy kits to make :)

Trying to make/get themselves noticed:
  • Xyston 15mm Thracians
  • Xyston 15mm Macedonians (inspired as per the excellent 15mm Paint Shack blog)
  • Hat Pz III G (x2)
In reserve (on hold/rested):
  • 20mm HOTT Moria Goblin Army
  • 1/1200 Revell MiniShip Series
  • 1/3000 Navwar WWII Ships