24 January 2013

The Dangers of Ice

Life is a funny bugger, you avoid the obvious dangers and the innocent ones bite you real bad.

Since the snows came down and turned our little road into a 6 inch deep no go zone and  froze into solid ice I nor many of my neighbours have been out in our cars. So on Wednesday was rather surprised to see a large lorry trying to get down our crescent spinning all the way as it went. It turns out that the bed my wife ordered was being delivered. At least I would have something to do for the next few hours as I have watched all the stored tv I had recorded  over the last few weeks.
So instructions say 2 hours to build, like I am going to believe that statement, I have had flat packs before and it needs an army to build anything in the time scales they give. The good part, everything was there and I could start assembly. Halfway through things got a bit difficult and I ripped a muscle in my forearm making the rest of the job a bit painful to complete. It just got worse from there on in the end result the job took 4 hours to complete, I finished with a massive lump out of my shin as I got a washer stuck under my shoe and pelted like an ice skater across the laminate floor into a bedside cabinet. To add insult to injury I have aggravated my already damaged knee whilst trying to straddle the slats as I fixed them down and am struggling to walk. The final problem saw the removal of skin from knuckles, hey ho just a reminder of why I avoid DIY.

The morale of this story Ice can be less of a problem than your own incompetence :)

21 January 2013

Painting challenge - post 16 - Connor's Shermans

Currently I am ranked 7th in the challenge on 673 points as I work toward my par of 1000 points.
I finished Connor's Guards Armoured company in the wee hours of Sunday morning and submitted them to Curt for the challenge points to be added. I was rather pleased that the additional work added another 30 points giving me 120 points for the units.
Connor is very happy with his tanks and only too ready to be fighting his older brothers Tigers when they are  completed. Currently he's is trying to read Hells Highway with some Dad assistance so he can understand his tank force and its history. Moments like this are great for me as I get to impart my limited knowledge onto the next generation and share some quality time with my boys.

The whole force:

HQ and 3 combat platoons at the ready. I have left some room for expansion as the force can be enlarge with an additional sherman for the HQ and 1 more combat platoon.
Front and rear view of the HQ - comprising of 3 Sherman V's
1st platoon : 2 x Sherman V's and 2 x Fireflys
close upon the stowage etc for 1st platoon
2nd platoon : 2 x Sherman V's and 2 x Fireflys
close up of stowage for the 2nd platoon
3rd platoon : 2 x Sherman V's and 2 x Fireflys
Close up of the 3rd platoon

19 January 2013

Painting challenge - post 15

I am rather pleased, due to the snow I decided to take a day off yesterday and got a good 6 hours work on the guards armour.
Out came the milliput and a full scale sculpting session began. It was time for me to add the stowage, camo nets, sandbags, canvases and hessian strips. This was the option I had thought about skipping as they are in essence going to be the playthings for my youngest Son, Connor. However I think the final result will be worth the extra hours required in sculpting and painting.
As you can see definitely a work in progress, the white blobs are camo nets, made from very fine gauze dressings soaked in PVA. The hessian strips around the turrets and flanks are sculpted from milliput.

A few spare wheels and track pieces from the original sprues and everything is taking shape nicely. Today has seen Further progress and currently I just have four tanks left on which I need to paint up the stowage and camo and I can finally make another submission to Curt.

17 January 2013

Painting Challenge - post 14

Today I thought it was about time I had an update on my challenge progress. Well I have started the slippery descent towards the bottom of the leader board, perhaps a little earlier than expected but I only have my self to blame for some of that.

I chose to take more care with the tanks than I had originally intended. I had planned to try the base coat, quick highlight then dip before matt varnish method to quickly rack up more points, especially as I now only have 1 to 2 hours painting each day, but it just ain't my style.
So my workbench currently looks like this:
The Napoleonics and Vikings are still there, they have hardly progressed but are moving forward. The tanks are going well and I almost have the Guards armour painted, with 6 left to paint and just waiting on delivery of the decals. I have 3 of my Desert force completed and 3 more on the go out of shot on a higher shelf. Two tigers have also been completed, So all in slow but steady progress.
The desert armour on the left has yet to go beyond base coat, those on the right are awaiting decals and final base work. Thats it for the update hopefully I will have a productive weekend and finally get a good submission off to Curt.

15 January 2013

Tiger troubles - Resolved

As you know I had a slight problem with a recent purchase of  Plastic Soldier Company Tigers.

What happened next restored my faith in customer service completely and has completely exceeded my expectations.

I cant praise this company enough on my initial disappointment last Thursday when opening the boxes, I sent an email to query the missing parts. Very promptly at 9.10 am the next day I received an email asking for my address for replacements to be dispatched, ( I had assumed this would be the missing turrets).
This morning the postman knocked early, I had been expecting the replacement parts for my tigers in the form of new turrets. What I had not expected was three brand new boxes of Tigers. Now this is what I definitely call going above and beyond when it comes to customer service.

This has given me a nice surprise and as I effectively have some freebies, I want to do something positive with these so will paint them up, one box will be painted and sold with all the profits donated to charity. I can add some Tunisian Tigers to my DAK force with another.  The last box I will be doing something special with but more on that later.

13 January 2013

painting challenge - post 13

Painting time has been restricted as I have had to play man servant for the last two days as the wife has done her back completely and cant move very well at all. Although I don't think she will be rushing to have me cook a Sunday lunch again any time soon.

I have managed to get all the Sherman's built both for Connor's guards company and my own mid war Desert force, as well as getting them all primed.
I decided to try a new approach to my painting and have used a spray primer for both projects. I have tested out the Army painter primers using Army green for Connor's and Desert yellow for mine. I am not completely satisfied with the finish on the models, despite following the instructions to the letter, they have ended up with a rough finish resembling orange peel. However for the speed that both have been primed I am happy.

I was intending to do a basic paint job with Connors force but cant bring my self to do it. Its not my style and  I don't want to encourage them that shortcuts are the best way to go when painting. Connor did try to paint a model but told mum that he wanted them painted by me properly as it was very hard to do. So I will be giving them the full treatment I normally give everything I do.

Above is the test model for Connors Sherman's, Base coated in army green, then given a black wash all over, wet-brushed with Vallejo Russian uniform and lined with Vallejo green grey. These will all be based, have the appropriate markings etc before completion.

Above is the test model for my Desert Sherman's, I have opted for a nice camo scheme that I have seen in many Images. The whole model was base coated in desert sand, then wet brushed with Vallejo Iraqi sand. The dark areas were painted freehand with Vallejo black, then highlighted with Vallejo German Grey. The light half was then lined with Vallejo Buff, the dark areas lined with Vallejo German Field Grey.

11 January 2013

Painting challenge - post 12

I entered the challenge as a way to keep me focussed on projects I wanted to complete. Obviously the tanks were not in my mind when I listed my par. However my par was based on me starting with a lot of units knowing I had a long holiday in which to paint and get me to halfway on my score and then slow progress to hit my target score of 1000 points. I never set out with any intention of winning my only wish was to get a top ten finish although that will be very hard to obtain.

So where does all this leave me so far, I have made a little progress with the commissioned foundry Vikings. The British colonials have not progressed and the Perry Napoleonic Swiss also stay untouched. I have not been able to construct the 14 tigers due to a manufacturing issue which I hope too have resolved, I am waiting on the postman after an email exchange.

I have managed to build Connors 9 Sherman V (M4A4) and 6 VC's (Firefly's) so far. Not bad for about 8 hours work there are a lot of parts to each one and the instructions for these are not that clear as the build instructions illustrated are for the firefly and not the standard A4 variant but I gets easier once you have built a few but the poly cement fumes have left me a touch high :)
I will be adding stowage, and possibly some camo netting, hessian strips and canvas rolls, however I am mindful these are for the youngest of my two boys so that might not be wise. Additionally it will add time to the build also slow down the painting a touch.
You may already notice green patches on the turrets this is liquid green stuff that I have used to block the hole for the .50cal mount. The list I am using only allows 1 x .50cal per platoon and 2 in the HQ this is too represent the British dislike of the weapon.
The next job will be the assembly of my British Heavy armoured company for Africa another 15 Shermans this time the Sherman III (M4A2), unless the postman delivers Tiger Parts tomorrow.

10 January 2013

Tiger troubles

Ok so occasionally things are wrong in this world, but why always do they happen to me!!!!

Firstly tonight on the trip to Kelly's the car decides to play up and will now have to go into the garage to be fixed as there is a major engine fault.

The bigger disaster was once I got there I was keen to start assembly of my late war tiger force for Callum.
Spot the problem in the next picture.
Yes I need the blue part with the red + sign for the turret hatches, now it wouldn't be a real problem if 1 sprue had them missing but I opened the first box and all are missing and guess what the same thing on the other two boxes, so now I have 12 tigers that I can only build as an early war version at present.

I have emailed plastic soldier company, and will contact by telephone tomorrow to resolve this, but I thought I would warn my readers if they are thinking of buying any that there may be a batch issue, with so many of my boxes being affected. I will of course update you on how the problem is resolved.

So in a change of plans I will now start with Connor's Shermans.

All tanked up

The large quantity of tanks have arrived, and tonight its our fortnightly hobby session this time being held at Kelly's due to my workshop being too damn cold at this time of year. So I shall be making a start on construction tonight. My aim is to get all the vehicles for Callum and Connor built, before I start my own. Tonight I will be aiming to get 14 Tigers built ready for me to undercoat tomorrow. I know I only need 6 to start Callums army but I want to paint them all in one session so they are similar in colour.

I am aware 3 boxes of Tiger only contains 12 in total but I have two left over from my box purchased to do my DAK panzer's. The M4A2's (Sherman III) are for my Africa British heavy armoured company. The M4A4's (Sherman V and VC's) are for Connors Guards armour.

I am looking forward to doing these, a pleasant change from Dark Age and Napoleonic, and should make two little boys very happy once completed.

9 January 2013

painting challenge - post 11

Erm, yes the painting challenge. Well the challenge at the moment is finding time to paint. The boys went back to school yesterday and I went off to help my good friend Kelly for a large chunk of the day rectify a small problem in his kitchen.
Having had the misfortune when doing some work in the bathroom above put his foot through the ceiling when he fell in a hole he had in the floor. So I spent the day taking the old ceiling down and preparing it ready for a new one.
Yesterday was Callum's 7th birthday so I was firmly on Dad duty last night, I have to thank Charlie the long suffering partner of my good Chum Kev at the cabin, who organised the cake with a colleague of hers. I have never and I mean never seen so much detail on a cake and was literally blown away buy the finished product.
This work of art was created from a picture and the smile when he saw it was worth everything, he is mad keen on the Virgin express train that he sees regularly so this was a highly appropriate cake for him.

Today has been spent putting Kelly's new ceiling on and dry lining it, tomorrow he will be able to finish it, and earn some brownie points for himself.

So where does that leave the workbench, well very little has progressed as you can see from the picture below.
I do hope that tomorrow will see me make some in roads on the pile, or if I am lucky a delivery of tanks.

Two little boys had too many toys

Well my plans for the weekend to get the Vikings and colonials off the workbench failed completely

Any way back to the point of this particular post.

My sons are growing and have been introduced to wargaming on occasion through 2012 courtesy of Kelly coming round and the pair of us playing a few games with them. Though neither currently accept defeat easily I do hope they grow out of this trait. I intend to continue their indoctrination through 2013. Both like Tanks and frequently browse through my DAK box and tell me they want some tanks of their own to play with.

So in a swerve on the painting calendar for 2013, I have decided to paint them both a Late war force each. Fortunately both want to be opposing generals Callum (7) wants to be Germans, and Connor (5) British. This will also be useful for me as I will be able to add two new forces for my gaming use at the club.

I have been reading the Villers Bocage book again as Wittman's wild ride is a scenario that has always appealed to me and a makes a good starting point for Callum, I will build him a full tiger company of a HQ and 3 zugs  but as an initial starting point  his force will be just 6 tigers on the table until I expand the other lads force. Connor will be getting a guards armoured brigade making full use of Sherman V's and VC's his starting force will be 15 tanks, the points are almost equal at this level. Both forces as they learn to play, can be expanded to include the other options and bigger games.

This will give me an opportunity to spend some extra time with the boys too as they can help me build all the kits I'm going to need, I will however paint the tanks for them because they could be any colour under the rainbow and possibly all of them on one vehicle if Connor gets a brush in his hands.

I will now be placing a rather large order of plastic soldier box sets, as they are by far the best value for money and quality. Also it gives me a good excuse to order my British desert tank force at the same time. I have added these items to the project list (I'm doing well using this to keep me focused).

The only downside will be the 42 tanks that I will be left to paint, though they will at least provide some points for the challenge.

8 January 2013

torsos and limbs

My next small tutorial sees the rest of the bodies flesh.

The colours are exactly the same as the face paint tutorial I posted earlier. So to save some time I have omitted images for step one which is to use the base flesh colour on all exposed areas.

Stage Two using the first highlight colour define the muscles, these are normally clear to pick out on good sculpts, on bad ones just use your own body as a rough guide. I have worked the entire body for this step.

Just ensure you leave some of the base flesh to define the muscle groups if you make an error take a small brush when the paint has dried and re apply a line of base colour.

The next stage is to take the 2nd highlight colour and again paint the areas previously defined leaving an area of the previous two colours exposed. the three images above show the upper torso the two below the lower torso.

Next up the final stage which uses the final highlight colour and just defines the edge of the muscles.

The last thing I do is define the hands by using the final highlight colour on the knuckles and finger joints.
I will explain hands as these are treated a little different, with the 1st highlight I do the back of the hand and down each finger being careful to leave the base colour between the fingers. The next highlight is worked on the centre of the fingers themselves and not on the knuckles or joints, thus the final highlight as mentioned above has a bit of extra definition.
That completes my guide to flesh, If any one has any questions or would like a guide to anything else I do (stripey trews etc) please ask in the comments section and I will see what I can do.

Face painting

Painters often have many different ways of doing the same things and flesh is one such area. I thought I would take this opportunity to show how I do my flesh work for 28mm figures.
 I use 4 colours for flesh work no inks, dips, magic washes or voodoo charms. They are all from the Vallejo game color range. Dark fleshtone (base), Tan flesh (1st highlight) Dwarf skin (2nd highlight) Elf skintone (final highlight).

Stage one very simply base coat all the flesh ensuring the primer is covered, this will provide all the shadow the face requires.
Step two pick out the main areas of the face, leaving a little of the base colour around the eyes, nose and mouth. You will see I have painted the eyes on this model (life can be too short to worry about these) but if you want me to paint them there are many resources available via an internet search.

Sorry for the blurred image. The third stage is to highlight the brow if the figure has one, nose, top of the cheeks and chin. again leaving an edge of the previous colour.
The final stage is a very small amount of the final colour applied as two small dots either side of the nose and then very finely down the centre of the nose. Two small patches at the top of the cheeks, and the highestpoint of the chin.
The finished face side on and frontally, yes i did paint the teeth too!!
Finally if you dont paint the eyes it wont be a problem. They will look fine from the average gaming distance.
I hope some of you find this interesting, maybe you can share your own tips.

7 January 2013

Painting Challenge - post 10 Ronin #1

My latest submission to Curt for the challenge was my own take on a Samurai.

I went a little extravagant with the basing on this, but felt that the challenge submission deserved to be a little special, and a chance to showcase some of my limited talents. All my research showed the armour to be very shiny due to the lacquer used in the finishing so I chose to leave this as gloss varnish. The composition of the finished figure came from an image I found on google that really gave me some inspiration for the base. This is the first part of my challenge entry fee as Curt has emailed a wish for me to paint another figure he is sending to me. Details to follow in another post.

5 January 2013

painting challenge - post 9

I have been away from the workbench for the most of the last few days.

Yesterday Kev at the cabin gave me a Samurai for me to paint up for the challenge entry. Here's a sneek preview of the base in progress.

The Napoleonics have made very little progress and I have only done a bit of flesh work on the Vikings, the colonials also remain as pictured two days ago. I will however be making a big effort from now till Tuesday to get the Vikings and Colonials completed.

3 January 2013

painting challenge - post 8

Well Ronin 1 has been busy since the 20th of December and late last night reached the dizzy heights of 1st place in the challenge, sure to be a short lived position as I will be back at work next week. The return to work will give me to a maximum of 2 or 3 hours painting of an evening and therefore will slow me down greatly.

For those that are interested I have decided to join google + and would be happy for you to join me as I take my first steps into the world of social networking other than through this blog solely.

My next battalion of Napoleonic Infantry are on the table now 36 Perry plastics along the back and centre, these will become the 1st/4th Swiss Infantry, I have plenty of painting information for these and as usual with this period a lot of it conflicting, in those situation I always go with what I like the look of best. After all unless everyone agrees on a certain uniform detail you cant get it 100% correct.
On the extreme left you can just make out the start of a 1/144th scale Hurricane this will be the 1st of my Desert forces for the Allies. next to that is another group of 8 Vikings and over on the far right another group of 8 British colonial infantry.
I have decided on this occasion not to re post the pictures submitted to Curt for the latest entry into the challenge. I will be posting pictures of these separately once the entire projects are complete as they are both smaller projects.

2 January 2013

painting challenge - post 7 "les Canaris"

Another good day at the paint station yesterday and again today. Here's the state of play at 3pm this afternoon after another bout of insomnia saw me back out of bed in the wee hours and at the brushes again. Production will drop off after this week as I head back to work.
Almost have 2 units for my Zulu war version of Muskets and Tomahawks completed 12 Empress miniatures, and am well on the way to getting the first 10 Foundry Vikings of my small commission completed.

Yesterday saw the submission of my take on the Swiss Neuchatel battalion circa 1812 to Curt as part of the painting challenge putting me currently in 2nd place.. This is a full battalion of 36 Perry plastics in 28mm. I still have the 6 skirmishers to do but intend to do them after the next unit is completed and work on both sets at the same time.

I took my time with these as they are for my personal collection. I also had firmly in my mind that they were a favourite unit of that well known blogger Ray from Dont throw a 1 fame or infamy, so I really didn't want to be screwing these up or I could be subject to ridicule after his post on my blog when I acquired the plastics in November. I had been itching to get these painted but had to wait until 20th December to start them or they wouldn't qualify for the challenge.

I have now made another submission to Curt, as I managed to complete today's work on schedule.

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