Sunday 29 March 2020

Second Corona Project: WWII Pacific Pre-War Carrier Fleet

Next up on the "Painting Tray" are some old naval friends from WWII (see below, Navwar 1/3000 USN commissioned pre-war CVs): 

The hulls as painted in Airfix Grey Primer and the bases covered by a thin layer of cheap DIY flexible filler(see below, the painted "hull" one to the left is CV1 USS Langley in her converted [again] to a seaplane carrier):

Next came the painting of the sea bases, something I had done before so a search of my blog manually revealed nothing - but a Google search of my blog found this link:

Something about automated AI indexed being far better over large complex data sets than manual tagging methinks! Thankfully I even had the original Anita Acrylic paints in the loft. The magic formula being: (50:50) - Midnight Blue/Navy Blue with Jungle Green, which I erroneously  interpreted as a 'blue mix' or a 'green mix' - we'll see how it goes (see below, "end state one", everything dark blue or dark green blue; I also touched up the grey primer again as some waves had inadvertently splashed over the sides):

Fast Forward - This is the desired end point, but again I have forgotten exactly "how" I achieved it and my note to self does not really seem to cover to get to this effect (see below, the USS Washington and the USS South Dakota - the sea is also varnished Satin if my memory serves me correctly);

Moving on .. next .. experimenting with a "wash".

Update: It seemed to be a Gloss followed my Matte varnish!

Friday 27 March 2020

The First Corona Project Completed: An Italian Western Desert Task Force

Next comes the armour (see below, there may be fifty shades of grey but I am using three grades of sand on top of one layer of primer that gets washed in "Vallejo Brown Wash"):

I took one vehicle (M11/39) through to completion to get a feel of what to do (see below, kinda got it, taking Green Ochre (914), mixing it with Buff (976) and finally highlighting in pure Buff):

The tracks were initially painted in Flat Brown (984) and the highlighted in Gun Metal, flowed by a Black Wash and further Gun Metal highlight (see below, primed and ready for action):

From another angle coming at you (see below, the 47mm gun is the hull is anachronistic, the Italians only ever bothered equipping two battalions in the Western Desert with them, but a tank is still a tank when the other side does not have one):

The finished one alongside the other painted in the base coat Green Ochre (914) on the 40mm bases (see below, the Italian armoured column is taking shape):

The 10mm Western Desert Italian Project (see below, Infantry done, supports painted and half based, armour just started painting):

Pause for thought .. mu eldest wanted some help painting a D&D figure (Iron Golem) so while he was learning the secrets of "bronze armour" - I also experimented with Citadel Texture pain and under-painted bases (see red-orange-yellow). The idea being you paint over the bright colours in thick back texture paint goo. The goo dries, cracks and the colours of hell seep through the cracks. It can be extremely dramatic and very effective. Part way through this process I thought - they would be quite good as Chain of Command "shock markers (see below, the acolyte in training and are those "shock markers" I see?): 

An aerial shot of the painting table (see below, 28mm WWII British Infantry sprues on the top left, 28mm GW Fantasy bottom left, 10mm Pendrakon WWII Italians in the middle):

A close-up of the WIP 10mm Italians (see below, I am having second thoughts on how "light" the sand is on the finished infantry bases):

The Italians from another angle (see below, in the background you can see the bottom half of a Steve Young San Fran QB "Action Figure" - although it has to be said I am more of a Joe Montana fan):

An artistic shot of the Painting Table and a hint at my bookshelf (see below, a lot of Vallejo Paints [and unopened can of Carlsberg Export] - including duplicates - see previous post for details):

Another look at those bases (see below, they definitely look like "shock markers" to me): 

The Italian armoured column gets a Green Ochre and Buff 50:50 mix (see below, I can see the effect coming on nicely):

Buff highlight and I think we are there. Other bits, exhausts Flat Brown with Red Leather Highlight. Spades and MGs, black with Gun Metal highlight, tyres black with a mixed a dark grey highlight (see below, based on PVA dunked in sand and grit, soaked with an Anita's Acrylic Coffee Brown diluted wash):

Now came a a depressing moment when I took yet another look at the infantry basing and finally accepted that they were too light (see below, I preferred the look of the infantry supports and armour): 

The horrible answer was to Brown Wash the bases and start from the mid-tone up again (see below, once I had done one base I knew it was the right thing to do, that way they were all based the same too - which as a collection works better IMHO):

Finally painted awaiting a matte varnish (see below, after all the effort I put into these I decided I was not going to skimp on a varnish to make the wargaming figures more "wearable" or protect from hand-to-hand contact or is that clumsy handling combat?):

The Italian Infantry package (see below, note the alternative use of a chocolate box - which needs a bit of strengthening and interior divisions, so they don't all end up in a heap in transport):

The "Final Showcase I" (see below, head-on a furious sight of Italian armour and infantry in rapid advance):

The "Final Showcase II" (see below, side-on - a nice target for artillery):

The Italian Army is now in search of the British Western Desert Force (WDF) under General Richard O'Connor.

More importantly in the context of current world events - this is my first (perhaps of many) Corona Virus Lock-Down [UK] Projects.

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Painting Italian 10mm Supports: ATG, HMG and Mortar

The bare silver supports based on 40mm and 30mm wooden discs (see below, ATG - Mortar - HMG):

The crews mounted on coffee stirrer strips (see below, those are quite hard to come by just now, gulp):

Primed with Airfix Acrylic Primer and washed in Vallejo Brown Dipping Wash (see below, this is following the standard infantry painting pattern):

The uniforms are done (see below, Vallejo Desert Yellow with Vallejo Buff mixed in for the highlights):

Supports are painted (see below, Vallejo Desert Yellow)

The crews follow the standard Italia Infantry painting scheme (see below, I am not sure how accurate but the HMGs went from black, to gunmetal, to washed black to dull down, to fine highlights of gunmetal):

The supports are ready for their base texturing (see below, the Italian Infantry seem to be well endowed with supports - the large figure in the background is a D&D Clay Golem monster that he was painting at the same time):

Next: Basing the supports and moving onto the Italian AFVs

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Free eBooks from Osprey .. Bless 'Em

"Wargamers Assemble" (and read)!

A fellow wargamer passed on the news that Osprey is giving free eBooks during the lock-down:

Musings from the sublime to the ridiculous and then .. Vallejo Paint Pots

We live in truly extraordinary times and without meaning to sound trite (considering the immense loss of life already endured in the world and so much more to come), I hope for one that "something" good can come from the Corona Virus Pandemic. I may be proved wrong, I have seen the best and worst (including silliest) of actions from people but I hope we can all come to a better sense of understanding with our relationship with nature and what we truly value in life. The ease at which something so small as a virus can effect the very fabric of everything we took simply "for granted" as a "given" in our daily lives is humbling in a very, very frightening way. The fragility of the system (hit by The Black Swan event ... OK, I agree scientists said that a Pandemic "would occur" but the caveat was always "probably not in my lifetime") maybe is only be apparent afterwards, despite what the prophets and naysayers say, but the living through it is my "lifetime defining experience" .. it is true to say I am discovering so many home truths about myself (and my family) on a daily basis, none more so disturbing than the fact that I "forget what Vallejo paints I have bought". With extra time on my hands I "spring cleaned" the family grocery cupboard to find we had so many multiple packs of things we had on the go. From pasta, rice, sugar, flour and spices, all with multiples of half to a quarter packs full, were abound. I gave a lecture befitting of Caesar on the perils of waste in the current climate to my children and wife, then settled back to my hobby area to find (again with more time than I knew what to do with on my hands - "How about the cleaning and the washing up?" said the wife) I had acquired a lot of clutter and unearthed some tubs of Vallejo paints. To my ashamed horror it appears that the genetic trait of "having several things open of the same thing at the same time" was probably from my side of the DNA, or nature versus nurture debate (see below, a green tub, a brown tub, a sand tub and a grey tub - and these were only the Model Colour range - containing multiples):

Argh, "hoist with my own petard" as Shakespeare put it in Hamlet ;)

Saturday 21 March 2020

Western Desert Italians 10mm Basing

From the coffee stirrers to the 40mm wooden bases (see below, as previously mentioned I had picked the circular bits of wood up from the The Works and annoyingly since that time I have not seen them in the shop again):

The bases get a matte undercoat of Anita's Acrylic Coffee Brown (see below, at this point the magic of basing seems to be almost detracting from the paint job):

The (literal) sand-box (or rather box of sand) and watered-down PVA craft glue stage. The PVA is watered down to improve its spread-ability and the sand-box is there for an unsophisticated "dunking and shake around" (see below, a nice passable effect - note, sometimes several PVA applications and dunks were needed, it was left to dry overnight): 

Then a watered down solution of Anita's Acrylic Coffee Brown (almost a wash) was applied to the base and soaked up by the sand (see below, again left to dry overnight or at least for a few hours, letting the base solidify for the wet/dry brushing stage):

A bit of experimentation was required. I didn't want to waste the more expensive Vallejo paints n the basing (call me a snob but I reserve then for plastic and metal work) so a little bit of mixing was required as I brought out a range of Anita Acrylics 'yellows' (see below, the basic sand colour was achieved by mixing Golden Yellow with Lemon Yellow in a 40:60 percentage):

Lightening the base layer up with highlights ... experimenting with increasing dosages of Anita Acrylics Lemon Yellow and Antique White (see below, a mixture of "wet brushing", "dabbing" to a pretty much dry brush"):

Examining the result ... from the reverse angle (see below, passing inspection to my eyes):

Does it work though ... (see below, I think so, and after all it is 10mm to be viewed from at least four foot away):

The three settled production stages ... undercoat (shade) brown .. yellow/white (base) mix and highlight bleached yellow (see below, the progression to the end): 

A final dry brush of white ... that is using Anita Acrylics Antique White (see below, applied sparingly where "less is more"):

The final product (see below, a very bright bleached white for the Western Desert, a nice parched feel to it for those going "Up The Blue" - battalion or company [depending on the rules you use] Italian Western Desert Infantry Force):

With the basic Infantry done, it is time to move onto the support weapons (MG, Mtr, ATG) and vehicles (tanks, AC and lorry).

Thursday 19 March 2020

Comfort Not Panic Buying

There may have been panic and fights in the Toilet Roll Aisle but thankfully in the dessert section of Morrisons (and for fairness'' sake .. I have to point out, there are other supermarkets) it was business as usual (see below, almost a scene from National Geographic, the Neanderthal hunter brought home a fresh cream sponge cake instead of the usual wild antelope):

And morale was much improved.

Keep Safe Folks

PS: Wash your hands!

Friday 13 March 2020

WW2 Western Desert Italians: 10mm

A Note to Self: This is how I painted these (so I can remember how I did it when I get another set or want to paint Italians in a different scale)

The Italian Western Desert Party Pack (Blitzkreg Commander - alt high I don't have that particular set of rules we have plenty more that can just be as useful)  of 10mm wonder from Pendrakon Miniatures, which I am proud to say is a local 'Smoggie' firm near Middlesbrough, UK (see below, a mixture of roughly some 40 infantry with MG supports (3), mortars (3) and anti-tank guns (2); plus a mixture of Italian light armour - to be fair they didn't have anything really heavy metal to speak of - an armoured car AB/41, 3 x M13/40 and 2 x M11/39, plus a random truck, which I suppose the CO can travel around in): 

Separating out the infantry into sections of thee (see below, that way I can get a ten plus  bases to make platoon or  squad/section bases for most WWII Battalion-Company OrBats):

"Ubiquitous" general purpose coffee stirrers [one thousand and one other uses thereof] are used to based the files and washed miniatures (see below, a good strong [but relatively cheap] drop of superglue attaches said figures to the coffee stirrers, strong enough to hold them in place through the following painting process):

The infantry are "en masse" primed with Airfix Acrylic (01) Grey Primer - my favourite priming tipple, now back in circulation (see below, painted on not sprayed - you get to know the figures better that way):

Vallejo Brown wash is liberally inserted into all their nooks and crannies (see below, that overall yucky brown which accentuates shadows and is a lovely surface to paint on with the paint adhering beautifully):

Vallejo Game Colour Dark Flesh (see below, faces, hands and the off sunburned pair of legs in Italian football shorts):

An undercoat of Khaki (Vallejo Model Colour 70.988) for all the material parts of the Italian kit, a base colour (see below, this just lightened the grey/brown washed area to paint the true colours on later):

Helmets come next, Vallejo Model Colour 70.914 - Ochre Green (see below, there must be fifty shades of sand to match their fifty shades of grey in the Vallejo paint ranges):

The soldiers long socks (puttees - which are just like long rolls of bandages) are next with Vallejo Model Colour 70.888 Olive Grey (see below, a little green which comes as a bit of light relief):

Getting their the base-coats are now pretty much their apart from the shoes and rifles (see below, an Italian officer "becoming the part"):

I am adopting the "factory style" production line, trying to be a "ruthless finisher" of projects (see below - keeping pesky 28mm models that need assembling to one side out of sight, just for now at least):

This is the point where I start to believe it's working, the Vallejo Model Desert Yellow 70.977 takes hold on the tunics and pants (see below, I see them now as "sons of the desert"):

Khaki (70.988) is (re)applied on the canvas bags, water bottles and webbing, in addition to the famous Italian desert jacket so beloved by their officers, the Sahariana Jacket (see below, the Italian equivalent of the "the Rommel look"):

Vallejo Game Colour of Beasty Brown on the rifle stocks (see below, a small and quick detail):

Next comes the shoes and belts, Vallejo Model 70.894 Flat Brown (see below, small changes but creeping towards a finished product):

Flat Black on the rifle barrels, Vallejo Model Colour 70. and the face and hands [and some knees] gets the flesh highlight Vallejo Game Colour Dwarf Flesh (below, the model has now been covered all over since the Vallejo Brown Wash stage - the flesh highlight bringing them "to life"):

A little closer inspection on the WIP (see below, it has been a bit of a trek to get to this point and it is tempting to base "as-is" but a few extra highlights is well worth it):

Highlight on the tunic, mixing Desert Yellow (70.977) with Buff (70.976) on the upper edges (see below, it lightens the figures up nicely):

Highlighting the puttees with Olive Grey (70.888) mixed with Khaki (70.988) to sparkle the socks (see below, just a tiny dab you hardly notice):

Highlight the rifle with Gun Metal to give a light shine on the edges (see below, it breaks the black up nicely):

Highlight the shoes and belts with Red Leather (70.818) for a highlight spot effect (see below, the shoes get a dab and the belt a fine traced line, less is more here):

Highlight the canvas with Khaki (70.988) and Stone Grey (70.884) aka the bags and fancy commander jackets (see below, coming together nicely):

Highlight the Rifle Stock with Snakebite Leather (see below, to be fair the before and after shot looked the same to me so you could easily skip this step):

Highlight the helmet Green Ochre (70.914) mixed with Buff (70.976) to give a nice reflective contrast (see below, the figures are technically complete):

A quick check that nothing has been missed (see below, there is always something that is missed on the first pass):

The gallery tour: A Commander in cool Sahariana Jacket (see below, obviously looking at something far off on the horizon, perhaps an approaching Rommel in his 250 half-track or a 8th Army Matilda):

The Commander with some infantry (see below, they seem pretty animated chaps):

A strip of infantry, not many infantry poses [four I think] but they mix well (see below, all told I painted thirty seven for my battalion/company/platoon [delete as applicable] force):

Varnish: Using Humbrol Matte Coat as my varnish of choice, as in what was close to hand and seems to work nicely despite being twenty years old [surely not?] - safe to say that I don't varnish as a matter of course, perhaps it is the smell that puts me off (see below, the overall effect is to dull down, conceal any chalkiness of the paints and homogenise the feel of the figure):

My Italian "paint" part of the the Job has been done (see below, I am quite proud of them):

Next Stage: Basing them in the "sands of the desert" as "sons of the desert".