Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Hoplites

Before it went on hiatus, my ‘Greek myth’ project continued with a set of Victrix Hoplites. These are very nice multi-part figures. The poses are limited but the upside to this is that the individual miniatures work well as a unit. They come with cast-on bases but I put mine on larger round bases from Renedra:


Here are the first two batches, based with Das putty covered in sand. There are also Games Workshop minotaur and medusa figures, and a giant scorpion from Ral Partha (I think), which have all been sat in the loft for twenty-odd years. More about those in future posts!


And here they are, undercoated and ready to paint. My tip of the day is…


…don’t use grey spray primer. It was all I had at the time but it made life unnecessarily difficult. The primer kept showing through the base colours so I had to paint most of the miniatures twice to make the colours solid. It was especially tedious with white, which got three coats in places.


I was on the verge of abandoning the project altogether at this point:


Fortunately, adding some details and a few washes of paint improved them:


After a bit of research into what Hoplite shields were made of, I painted the reverse of the shields separately then glued them to the miniatures. I then painted the shield fronts white, ready to accept the decals. The decals are from Battle Flag’s ancients range and fit the shields perfectly. One great advantage of the shield designs is that the eye goes straight to them, diverting attention away from a so-so paint job.

Here are the finished miniatures:




For some reason the chap in the middle reminds me of Matthew Kelly during his stint on ‘Game for a Laugh’…

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Satyrs

My ‘Greek Myth’ project is on hiatus after an accident with an over-zealous tin of spray primer from Wilko, but I’ll post the pictures I took up to that point. Who knows, perhaps it will inspire me to continue eventually.

Foundry make some very nice satyrs that I think are true to the depictions on Greek pottery, but I discovered some of Citadel’s beastmen types on eBay (my knowledge of Games Workshop’s range gets hazy after 1990) and I was won over by their ‘Ray Harryhausen’ looks. Here they are, fresh off the courier’s van:


Unlike most of the stuff I get eBay, they were nicely painted already and it was a shame to butcher them. But the process of ‘de-Games-Workshopping’ had to be done.

First of all, I rebased them on to 25mm round bases. They don't look as cramped, and I want to use the miniatures for skirmishing rather than forming them into blocks. The shields had to go too.




I had an extra standard bearer from a different eBay purchase. I cut away the standard, drilled holes in the hands with a hand drill and inserted a spear from Gripping Beast’s nice range of acessories.


There was also some kind of club handing from the belt which looked far too primitive to me, so I cut it away and added some fur detail to the newly-exposed metal with a scribing tool.





BIGGEST BATTLE STANDARD EVA!!!


And I just wanted to see it this was possible…




I have no real use for the other standard bearer either but I’ve kept it intact for now. Here are the miniatures – undercoated with PlastiKote spray primer because I’m never using Wilko primer ever again!


I ended up with twenty-four miniatures so I split them into units of six and got to work on the first batch:




I filed down and rounded the stumps for the GW plastic shields to accommodate Gripping Beast’s 10mm Smooth Bucklers. I painted the reverse of the shields with Inscribe Raw Umber before glueing them to the miniatures. I wouldn’t have been able to get at them after glueing.


This shot is just to show the curvature of the shields:


I left the front of the shields white. The washes on the shields below were just an experiment that I painted over.


The shield designs are from Battle Flag’s lovely range of waterslide transfers. They were kind enough to produce a slightly smaller version of their Greek designs to fit the 10mm bucklers. They took account of the curvature of the shield and, with the aid of decal softener, the transfers fitted perfectly! I was very pleased with them, and they’re just what the miniatures needed to move them from fantasy to myth.


A bit more detail on the bases:


Then outside to varnish them:


I added a few Silflor grass tufts and some Woodland Scenics ballast. Here is the final group of satyrs, ready for the table:


You can skip this bit! For my benefit, when I paint the next batch in a thousand years’ time, these are the colours I used…

Base: Humbrol Dark Earth,

Skin: DecoArt Medium Flesh with Americana Flesh Tone highlights, or Americana Flesh Tone with Inscribe Porcelain flesh highlights.

Fur: Inscribe Burnt Sienna with FolkArt Buckskin Brown highlights

Horns: mostly Docrafts Antique Gold with Vallejo Ivory highlights, or a wash of FolkArt Berry Wine with a transition from Anitas Country Blue to Inscribe Raw Umber over the top. Note that as horn ages it gets darker as it grows away from the head.

Tongues: Inscribe English Rose

Spear tips are Vallejo Oily Steel. Shafts are DecoArt Tan

Cord around the spear head and the waists of the satyrs: Docrafts Antique Gold

Loincloths: various greens and turquoise colours. I’ll probably paint the next batch in different colours for unit identification without having to resort to banners and flags.

Severed heads: Americana Flesh Tone with a wash of one of the darker greens I used for the loincloths, then a few highlights with thinned Vallejo Ivory

Soviet infantry squad in Afghanistan

I bought a bunch of Cold War Soviets from old Glory years ago at Vapnartak. I originally intended to use them for the Afghan army but, when I changed my focus from the present-day situation in Afghanistan to the Soviet-Afghan war, I decided to use them as proper Soviet infantry.

They were ready to go – three miniatures to a base, undercoated and everything. However, since I based them in 2011, my home brew rules had changed so much I now wanted them two to a base. So, off their original bases they came. At least it meant there were fewer miniatures to paint.


For my benefit more than anybody else’s, the base colours were:

Uniforms: Vellejo Khaki
Helmets: Vellejo Russian Uniform WWII
Webbing: Vellejo Khaki Grey
Boots: Vellejo Basalt Grey (shaded with black paint thinned with Galleria’s Flow Improver)

I painted the bases with Vellejo Tan Earth then spray varnished the miniatures. 


After varnishing I glued sand to the bases then sealed them with thinned PVA glue. This is much faster than my old method of glueing sand to the bases then sealing, undercoating and painting the sand. ‘Why are you painting sand as sand, you cretin?’ I eventually said to myself.

The colours for the BMP-1 were Vellejo Russian Uniform WWII and Oily Steel. I then gave the miniature two washes of the ubiquitous Americana Dark Grey. I use so much of this stuff I have an entire bottle of it pre-thinned for washes.


The bases also received a wash of the Dark Grey. I very lightly drybrushed parts of the bases with Americana Fawn’ and DecoArt Amish Grey (which turned out to be unnecessary!) then weathered the BMP with more of the Fawn and Vellejo German Field Grey WWII, using a mixture of drybrushing and streaking. I added a lot of dust to the back of the miniature, based on a photograph I’d seen of a BMP covered in dusty footprints where the passengers had been riding.

When I put the whole lot together, the old-style base of the BMP looked a bit rubbish against the new bases:


A layer of sand later and the BMP looked much better. Now here comes the eye candy:


Miniatures 1, 3, 4 and 5 are Peter Pig; 2, 6, 7 and 8 are Old Glory. There are some odd poses in the Old Glory range but the miniatures look OK en masse.

The BMP-1 is Old Glory. It needed an fair amount of cleaning up to remove mould lines but the miniature has pleasingly straight edges. Eventually I’ll get around to converting it into the BMP1-D Afghan variant, but I just wanted to get this first batch of Soviets finished as quickly as possible. 

I’ll repeat the grumble I made way back in 2013 that many of the 15mm Soviet vehicles on the market have been around for a lonnnnng time. Won’t somebody release a set of ‘upgrade’ parts to update these miniatures for use in more recent scenarios?






And here’s the whole lot together:




Next up on the workbench: the first batch of Afghan mujahideen…

Friday, 20 April 2018

Desert hill, and a burned out T-55


WHADDUP? I’m back, bitches! I’ve been quietly working on a lot things but last year I was too busy to keep this blog up to date. Fortunately I took lots of photos so I have a backlog of stuff to put up here now.

I’m not one for butterflying from project to project but, while at Vapnartak with the humble Shogun Tora Kamakaze and General Francisco Deano I saw (and bought!) PSC’s new plastic T-55s. They reminded me how close I was to completing my ‘Afghanistan’ project in 2011. I was working on a present-day scenario but, seeing the world changing for the worse over the past decade, it began to feel somewhat ghoulish so I shelved it. However, since then I’ve ended up with a lot of Soviet kit for my ‘Chechen war’ project – more than I need – so I have decided to finish the project as the older Soviet–Afghan war.

This post is adapted from my old Flickr account way back in 2011. It’s a desert hill with a burned out T-55 tank, and one of my first attempts at terrain making after I got back into wargaming. There are a lot of things below that I’d do differently now.

Here we go…


I bought three different kinds of Woodland Scenics rock moulds. The casts are really detailed but they are a bugger to get out of the moulds. Once I had enough casts to work with, I glued them to a piece of polystyrene then glued the whole lot onto a cork base. I picked cork because I had some lying around within arm's reach, and I regretted it later…


I patched the gaps between the polystyrene and the various casts with ready-mixed plaster. When the filler had set I glued sand and various sizes of Woodland Scenics ballast and rocks to the hill. Where I had large gaps between the casts, I pushed a few rocks into the plaster to break up the surface.



I shaped the cork tile at this point. Up at the top, you can see an Old Glory 15mm Middle Eastern Irregular that I put there for scale.



I wanted this to be more than a generic hill so I added a T-55 tank from Peter Pig. I cut off the dead bodies, carved out a gap between the turret and the ground below it, and drilled a deeper hole into the turret hatch. This was the first time I had worked with resin and it was much easier than I expected.


I was an idiot to use cork for a base. It was too bendy and, when I picked up the hill, the gaps I had filled in between the casts cracked open. I decided to turn the hill into a terrain tile, so I stuck the whole thing on a vinyl floor tile. I’d also forgotten to leave room for the wrecked T-55 tank, so turning the hill into a full terrain tile gave me a place to put it. I added more sand and Woodland Scenics ballast and rocks. I undercoated the tank and put a wash of paint over the plaster.





At this point I put a wash of PVA glue thinned with water over the whole thing to seal the sand in place before I painted it.

Painting was straightforward, but I wanted to avoid the cliché of ‘desert yellow’. The base colour is Americana’s Fawn. I highlighted everything with various sand tones and light greys, then washed it with a couple of different browns and greys (the colour names escape me).

Tip of the day: if you're in the UK, some pound shops sell a set of nasty brushes with stiff white bristles that are probably intended for oil paints. The bristles are hard-wearing and I find them useful for drybrushing large areas.

I undercoated the T-55 with black and drybrushed it with various shades of brown and orange. I dithered for a while over whether to add some green paint to the rusting tank. I decided against it because the tank turned out quite well. At the time, I didn’t know how to do things like chipping effects so I didn’t want to ruin it. Besides, I still have two more T-55 wrecks in the loft to play with…

Since I finished it, I mounted the tile on a square of polystyrene, to match my other terrain tiles. the following pictures are a ‘walkaround’ of the finished terrain piece. The photos could be better but at the time I only had an iPhone 3 or 4 and I was still trying to figure out how to light and photograph miniatures.








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