Saturday 30 January 2016

Vickers Medium Mk.II (1:300 scale)

This is a pretty awful model from Scotia; far below their general standard, which is normally actually not too bad. It's passable as far as profile goes, but it lacks most of the detail of the running gear (I had to paint in the drive wheel from scratch) and it has an odd grain in places that suggest the master was carved out of balsa wood or something. There is serious pitting in several places, especially on the top of the turret.

All this means that my usual painting technique of base colour, dry-brush and ink-wash wouldn't work.Everything had to be painted in from scratch, and details like hatches had to be created from thin air since they didn't exist, or had the merest suggestion, on the model itself. The edges are so soft that highlights had to be painted in to make the model look anything like as boxy as the original vehicle.

Scotia micros are cheap compared with GHQ or C-in-C, but you pay for that and more with the extra work you have to do to finish them.
Note: I thought I'd put these up here before, but couldn't find them when I went looking. So, here they are (possibly again), properly tagged so they can be found again.

Steampunk Cyborg Gorilla

This is another Reaper miniature designed by Jason Wiebe — 80001: Ape-X ($US 3.99).

I think that a gorilla's skin would tend to be blacker than this, but that made it very monochromatic, so I browned it up a bit.

And here it is again, photographed from every angle, just in case you really need to know what it would look like from a rear three-quarter view.

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Fly Demon

Here's another critter. It's Reaper's 77259: Fly Demon by Kevin Williams ($US 2.79 as of this writing).

I wanted a metallic effect to the blue, which I got, but the end result isn't quite as successful as I would have liked. The miniature would benefit from having its wings replaced with much thinner acetate ones, but of course that would be a lot more fragile. It could also do with a bit more detail modelled into its limbs, to bring out the insectoid articulation a bit more.

All in all, not one of my better efforts, but it will just have to do now.

Monday 25 January 2016

It's time for some more monster-painting

It's been quite a while since I did any fantasy monster painting, so I pulled this guy out of my endless mountain of unpainted Bones miniatures. It's 77267: Kallaguk, Troll King by Jason Wiebe, and costs about four and a half yankeedolla.

Here he is with the trusty Sergeant Measureby, who tells us that sans-base, our troll king is about 50mm tall from toes to hump. He seems bigger compared to normal human figures though, being so massive.

So far I've just glued him to a big steel washer, done some zenithal shading/highlights with the airbrush, and slapped on a rough brown wash to show me where the detail is. I haven't decided yet what sort of colour scheme to use; I was originally considering crocodilian colours, but that might be a bit drab. I shall ponder some more before I get started properly.

I've started with some ink glazes and a bit of basic dry-brushing, and it seems to be coming together quite nicely.

Now it's just a question of getting stuck into the detail, especially about the face.

I've started giving him a bit of character, painting in the facial details. That's a mighty big tongue he's got there.

There only thing I'm not too fond of with these plastic Bones miniatures is the mould lines. They're a lot harder and more troublesome to get rid of than they are on metal figures. Still, in my view the benefits of the material far outweigh its disadvantages.

And we're done.

Lighting Test

I've put this here for my own reference. I've added a large reflector/diffuser to my lighting stage key light, and I wanted to take some test shots with it in place.

All photos were taken at ASA 100, f8, and with the camera set to auto-exposure. All lights are 24w. cool-white "daylight" fluorescents.

The camera is a Fuji FinePix S6500fd, now getting on for about ten years old.

  1. Ambient light only, approx 1.1 seconds.
  2. Key light only, approx. 1/12 seconds
  3. Key + left fill, approx. 1/20 seconds
  4. Key + left + right fill, approx. 1/30 seconds

Sunday 24 January 2016

More magnetic basing

One of the things I've come to appreciate about thick bases for micro-scale stuff, besides the fact that it makes handling the elements very much easier, is that the thickness of the base makes it possible to apply identification information to the rear. I print out the labels on my laser printer, and glue them to the base edge with superglue gel.

This magnetic strip is about 1.6mm thick, which is just enough to display 5.5pt text. My old eyes still need glasses to read it, but it's legible. I guess if I were to bevel the rear edge of the base, it would provide more height and thus allow larger text, but this size seems OK.

These figures are GHQ's individual Afrikakorps. Apart from the expense, I do like GHQ's infantry, except for one thing: they mould things like this tripod-mounted MG34  with a filler wall beneath the barrel. I realise that it makes casting in one piece very much easier and more reliable, but I'd rather get the models as two-piece castings for assembly, and not have the ugly wall between the base and the gun barrel..

Tuesday 12 January 2016

Magnetic bases for micro-scale infantry

The mortar team (on the right) are better camouflaged than I thought.
Figures are GHQ Afrika Korps individual infantry.
I like to glue tiny magnets under all my micro-scale vehicles to keep them secure on steel trays in storage and transit, and it has the dual benefit that I can quickly and easily attach them to steel bases, if basing is required.

I've struggled to find an easy way of doing the same for infantry though. I've tried mounting them on sheet metal bases and storing them on sheets of magnetic 'paper', and that does work, but metal bases that are thick enough to handle easily are too heavy to transport easily en masse.

A little while ago though, I picked up some self-adhesive magnetic strip. It's a fairly stiff, slightly soft material that cuts easily, but is firm enough to stay flat in the small pieces needed for basing micros.

The type I found is 12.5mm (½") wide, which is perfect for the basing system I use, and it's cheap too — I think this pack cost me about five bucks. Three metres of tape (one pack) will do me 150 3-5 man infantry bases, or 240 2-man teams. That's pretty good value for money.

I'm keeping my eye out for some wider stuff (20mm wide) for mounting artillery on.

I've just stuck the figures straight to the double-sided tape on one side of the magnetic strip and landscaped over the top of it — I don't know about the longevity of that solution, and it may be necessary to revisit them in the future, but for the moment it's quick and easy, and seems to be holding quite firmly.

Saturday 9 January 2016

Khaki Green #3

I thought, when I was painting the Matilda 1, that my mix of Khaki Green #3 was looking greener and less brown than it used to, and I thought that maybe the green in the mix was staining the other pigments.

However, now that I look at it again next to some older models, I see that that's not so; it's just that previously I'd always painted it with the Dark Green #4 disruptive pattern which makes it look browner by contrast.

Mike Starmer's Khaki Green #3 mix again:
  • 1 part 822 (German Camo Black Brown)
  • 1 part 888 (Olive Grey)
  • 7 parts 921 (English Uniform)
The A13 (left) and A9 (right) are old sculpts from Battlefront; they've both since been re-mastered and considerably improved. They're also now both available as considerably cheaper injection-moulded plastic kits from Zvezda and (I think) Warlord Games Plastic Soldier Company.

Wednesday 6 January 2016

Matilda 1 (1:100, Battlefront)

Battlefront sells their model of the Matilda 1 two to a blister, which suits me just fine. It is, as I've mentioned before, one of my favourite early WWII tanks, in spite of not being much good as a tank.

I strengthened the attachment of the skeletal floating running gear by pinning it through the return rollers. I left the pin-heads exposed, but they're not glaringly obvious. It's painted in Vallejo paints, using Mike Starmer's recipe for Khaki Green #3.

I bought some 1:100 scale Matildas from Peter Pig quite some time ago; here's one of them for comparison with the Battlefront offering.

Of the two, I much prefer the one from Battlefront. The detail is better, as is the silhouette of the tank; it requires less work to make presentable, and they end up costing roughly the same, so it's an easy choice to make.

Schneider CA1 (second version)

Here's the second Schneider from the box set I bought a while ago, painted in the outlined four-colour scheme that the French kept right through to WWII.

The first one can be seen here.