Saturday 31 May 2014

PSC 15mm PzIV-f2 — finished

Here's that 15mm (1:100) plastic PzIV-f2 from my last post, all finished and ready to go.

I found some old transfers in a drawer — I have no idea how appropriate they are for a Panzer IV, but they'll do me. I'm not really very anal about that sort of thing.

I thought I might have gone a bit overboard with the dust, but on reflection I think it's not too bad. I didn't want to do too much more weathering than that; I'm less and less enamoured of models that look as though they belong in the scrapyard rather than the battlefield, though I've done one or two like that in the past.

This is about as dilapidated as I'd want to go — and this Sherman is definitely due for some work back at the REME workshops. (This is another 15mm model, though from Battlefront's Flames of War range).

Friday 30 May 2014

PSC 15mm PzIV-f2

Just for a change of pace from teensy-tiny aeroplanes, I thought I'd give some WWII German 3-colour AFV camouflage a go.

This is a Plastic Soldier Company 15mm PzKfw IV-f2.

These are excellent little kits for wargaming purposes. They come five to a box, go together quickly and easily, and they're robust enough to take a fair amount of punishment as long as they don't actually get jumped on or thrown across the room in frustration at lousy dice-rolling. The only problem with them is that they don't come with any transfers, so I'll either have to paint markings by hand (groan) or buy some transfers separately.

This has just had a quick airbrushing, dry-brush and wash so far. It could probably go on to the table as it is, but I'll gussy it up a bit more before I call it finished.

Friday 23 May 2014

1/300 scale Hannover CL-IIIa

This WW1 German lozenge pattern camouflage is a good reason to stick to early-war aircraft. It's kind of a pain to paint in any scale, though you can get away with a lot on a model this small.

These things were originally designed as escort aircraft, but ended up being used primarily in a ground-attack role. It was, in many ways, the German equivalent of the RFC's Bristol Fighter, though neither as fast nor manoeuvrable.

British pilots, if my "Biggles" books can be trusted, called them Hanneroverannas.

The model is from Heroics & Ros.

Tuesday 20 May 2014

The Tao of Struts Has No Beginning, No End

 This is how I go about adding the struts and undercarriage to these little aeroplanes.

I use 24 gauge copper wire, which is soft enough to bend easily, but stiff enough to give the model a bit of strength without looking too much as though all the struts are made of logs. I straighten the pieces of wire by rolling them against my cutting mat with a fine file, which also leaves the surface of the wire with a rough tooth that seems to be helpful in gluing and painting.

The wing struts pass right through the lower wing. This is a 1/300 scale Heroics & Ros model (a Hannover CL-IIIa) and the wing is already pierced for the white metal struts that come with the model — other manufacturers require a bit of drilling to be done.

To begin with, I apply a small pool of superglue to the underside of the upper wing, and just rest the strut in place until that has gone off enough to keep the piece of wire in position. Then I fill the holes around the struts through the lower wing with more superglue, and add a little more around the top ends against the upper wing to create an encapsulating boot for maximum support.

I started out using liquid superglue because of its very quick set time, but I found that it tended to leave a crystalline cruft around the joint when it cured. For that reason I now favour superglue gel, which cures cleaner, though its slower cure time means I have to take things a bit more deliberately.

Once the glue has cured thoroughly, I snip the wire off close to the wing surface and then file the proud remains down flush. The soft copper files quite easily.

The undercarriage is bent up out of a single piece of wire, as you can see here, and then an axle is glued in place inside the 'elbow' of the assembly. The wheels are just card, cut with an appropriately sized punch. Once they're set, the superfluous outer lengths of axle will be snipped off close.

This process, once complete, adds a considerable degree of strength to the white metal models. I wouldn't go flinging them about or standing on them, but they will bear a reasonable amount of handling without disintegrating.

Monday 19 May 2014

WW1 aeroplanes — 1/288 scale masters

Many years ago (1989-90, if memory serves) I made some little 1:288 scale WW1 aeroplanes with a view to moulding them in silicone rubber and casting them in acrylic resin. I never did get around to the moulding or casting, but the masters still exist.

With the advent of high-resolution 3d printing, this sort of model-making is just about obsolete I suppose.

Sunday 18 May 2014

1/300 Sopwith Pups

Yet more teensy-tiny aeroplanes, this time a couple of Sopwith Pups to provide some opposition to the Albatros D-II I finished a few days ago.

They appear to be heading for an imminent collision. How unfortunate.

According to the pilots of the time, the Pup was a delight to fly. Not being a flier myself, I don't know if that would still be true in comparison with more modern aircraft, or if it was just in comparison with the aeroplanes of the day.

Saturday 10 May 2014

Albatros D-II, finished

Yet another tiny aeroplane to add to my ever-increasing fleet. I'm pretty happy with the way this one has turned out, though my painting hands are getting ever more shaky, and my painting eyes ever more blurry — I just can't get by without some sort of magnification these days.

I notice, now that I've taken photos of the thing, that I forgot to paint in the seam of the rudder. Well, it will just have to get along without it now.

Here it is in action, about to make a beam attack on a SPAD 7. They make a pretty good match — the Albatros is more manoeuvrable and has two guns, but the SPAD is faster and can take more punishment (assuming the pilot isn't hit).

The hex-map is A0 in size — that's about a metre by 0.8 metre. I made myself in CorelDraw and had printed at Warehouse Stationery on heavy paper (160gsm) for about $27. Those are 50mm hexes.

Friday 9 May 2014

Albatros WIP

Next up on the list of Tiny Aeroplanes I Am Compelled To Make is an Albatros D-II. This is a pretty straightforward build, because the fuselage of all the Albatros fighter variants stayed pretty much the same. That means that I could scavenge a Heroics & Ros Albatros D-Va, flatten off the fuselage sides a bit and reshape the fin, and add a couple of new wings.

The engine needs a thing-I-don't-know-the-name-of added to it, and a pair of "ear" radiators on the fuselage sides. Both of those should be trivially easy.

One thing I've discovered through this project: my new laser printer, while capable of printing in glorious technicolor, is entirely unable to print on even light card. That means that I've had to do a spot of lamination to make the wings strong enough. Even so, they're a bit more delicate than my usual gaming models, and I might have to paint them with epoxy or something.

Saturday 3 May 2014

BE2c number 2 finished

I'm a lot happier with the way this one turned out than the first. Practice makes perfect, I suppose.

This will be the last BE2 (for a while); I doubt that I'll be needing more than two.

Pity really, I was just starting to get the hang of it.

1:300 BE2c — let's try that again

I'm having another go at building a 1:300 scale BE2c.

It was the inter-plane struts that I was mostly dissatisfied with on the last version, and on this one I've gone with a different construction method. I think it's turned out a lot better than the first.

This time, instead of creating complete loops of wire for each pair of struts and gluing them to the wing surface, I've done each pair as a U, bent at the appropriate angle to achieve the rake I want. I've pierced the lower wing and pushed the struts through it from the bottom, and glued them in place from underneath. It's created a much neater visual appearance from above (which is where it will be viewed from on the wargames table).

This does mean that the glue surface against the upper wing is much smaller; each pair of struts is only glued at the points. However, the construction is reinforced by the centre struts, and I think that it will be plenty strong enough for the sort of handling it will be likely to receive. In any case, I'm thinking that I might paint PVA over the lower surface of the top wing, and down the struts to encapsulate them, which will make the whole thing sturdier.

I tried colouring the epoxy I used to cast the fuselage with pigment ground from a pastel. I don't know if it's related or not, but this one has a lot more bubbles to be filled than the first one did.