Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Steady as she goes

This update is really more of a 'Work in Progress' piece than anything else. As i've mentioned previously, i've entered the 2011 project build over on The Guild forums, my particular project being centered around the Sword beach D-Day landings. The first task is due to be completed by 28th Feb. This is pretty convenient for me, as uni starts back on the 28th as well! Can't wait to get back into studying, and am especially looking forward to the 'French Revolution and Napoleon' subject, even if i do have to travel to Newcastle for it. :)

But back to painting and terrain modeling. My first task consists of two terrain boards, a building, a platoon of Germans and a subsection of Free French commandos, plus a few odds and ends. Well, with just over a week to go it's all looking pretty good, quite surprisingly. I've completed the excellent resin boulangerie model from lasermodellbau which Laur got me for my Birthday, as well as a 2cm flak and a couple of gorgeous AB miniatures command figures to use as my big men. Pics of these completed are below. I tried a new technique with the splinter camo, based on Piers' beaut tute over on the guild. I think it looks great, a lot more effective when viewing from a distance as well. I'll definitely be using this technique for the rest of my Jerries.

For the boulangerie, i spent the better part of a day on google images, right-clicking and saving as many 40s era french posters, family photos, newspapers and magazines as i could find. After a bit of rescaling and printing them out, i think they add a little something to the model. A great dolls house site provided the wonderfully terrible 30s/40s wallpaper. I'm quite happy with the result. The models themselves are great, and went together with only minimal fussing and sanding. I've got another two, the boucherie and a two storey house which will be going into the terrain board representing Ouistreham, along with a bunch of scratch built ruins. Now i just need to get my hands on some Frontline damaged furniture to provide the finishing touches.
Next on the list were the two command figures. I tried out a different, grey-er field grey recipe on the figure in the peaked cap. I'm happy with the result, and the next german section is also going to be this colour. I'm planning on mixing them in with the greener guys to give a nice mix. The sculpting on the AB stuff is simply superb, so lifelike. These two guys are Hauptmann Leo Mabhoffer, commander of the Riva-Bella strongpoint, and Leutnant Michael von Recke, a fictional commander who i'll probably end up using for a 21st Panzer force. I've also taken to painting the Big Man's name on the back of the base, just so they stand out a little more. While the Plastic Soldier figures will do for the rank-and-file, Some AB command figures along with some heavy weapons etc from Kellys Heroes should help add that je ne sais quoi to the force. I've also added some comparison pics showing both the PSC and the AB figures side by side. Aside from the superiority of the AB sculpts, any differences in scale or style are virtually indiscernible.

When painting was out of the questiond due to the heat wave, i decided to knuckle down and get some work done towards the project anyhow. IABSM and TW&T both use cards to activate units. I found a great template on the Toofatlardies yahoo group, and using this have built up almost a full deck. Below with the pictures i've got two pages out of the 10 i've completed. Oh, and i thought i might mention something which probably seems quite obvious, but as i had a couple of enquiries thought i'd best. If you click on the images you will be linked to lot larger, higher resolution version. All the better for seeing clavii, right. :)

I was terribly saddened to hear the news about the passing of Dave Hollins of Britannia fame just after the new year. In my dealings with Dave he was always a perfect gent, and he will be sorely missed. My final completed item is the superb little Britannia 2cm Flak 38, which will top the Casino strong-point. The Britannia figures were, as always, a joy to paint. I wasn't too sure about the colour of the waffenfarbe shoulder tab piping. I ended up going with red for artillery, figuring that army flak troops fall under this category. Besides, it sets them apart from the white of the infantry.

Now on to the terrain boards. I've finished the bunkers, covered them in polyfilla and scored in the shuttering marks before it was completely dry. Some ladders made from staples were also added. The trenches were lines with scored balsa, the steps were balsa too, and almost drove me insane. Still, i'm really happy with the results and can't wait to get some paint on them. I've also added some faux-fur grass, which was trimmed with a pair of hair clippers. I built up some mounds of earth on the terrain using bits of Styrofoam which i the covered with polyfilla. I also made a sloping beach on the second terrain board, and am going to add some obstacles made from bamboo skewers and toothpicks, plus eventually some dragons teeth obstacles which i'll made from blue foam.

The latest progress on this is covering all the earth or sand areas with watered down white glue and covering the lot with sand. Next step is painting, then it's done! I originally wanted to get the interiors done by the deadline, at least of the casino, but i'm not really liking my chances. Some of you may notice on the WIP pics below a landing craft. This is the Britannia LCI(S), or Landing Craft Infantry (Small), the landing craft used by Lovat's commandos on D-Day. This one was a nice surprise, a belated christmas pressie from Laur's brother and his girlfriend. I think it'll look great! Now i need to get some LCAs, just to add to the scene. :)
Anyhow, i'd best get back to it. All going well, i'll be able to post an update with the competed terrain, the 10.5cm gun and crew and a few more infantry by the 28th.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Respite from the heat means more Late Romans!

Well, after a week of record high temperatures, it's finally cooled off. The last week has not only put a hold on my painting with temps around the 40c mark, but has also killed off a large part of our veggie patch, and with the nights only marginally cooler than the days, I've been missing more than a little sleep. Enough whingeing though, a mere heatwave is nothing compared to the floods and cyclones being suffered by Queensland. The cool southerly turned up at about 3 this afternoon, and with it i put my head down and finished my latest lot of commission work, two units of 28mm Late Romans.

The commission is to build up a Roman force for the Augustus-to-be Julian's army at the battle of Strasbourg (or Argentoratum if you're so inclined) in 357CE. I've already completed the first of four planned legions, the Primani as well as a unit of archers representing the Sagitarii Gallicani Iuniores. This latest batch consists of another heavy legion, the Fortenses, and a light infantry/skirmisher unit, the Exculatores Britanniciani. The Exculatores are the light order blokes pictured above to the right. More pics from various angles, along with pictures of the Fortenses are below.

All the figures are from Black Tree Designs, really nice dynamic figures which are a pleasure to paint. The shield patterns are hand painted representations of designs for these units found in the Notita Dignitatum. I added some dried blood (stippled on GW Dark Flesh), some cuts and tears, and a final coat of Devlan Mud tied the shield pattern together. I've painted the bases for this commission using a very muted, muddy colour scheme, which to my eye is in keeping with the area around the Rhine near Strasbourg. Next up on the commission front are a couple of units of Auxilia, the Batavi and Regii, as well as some more archers.

I'm now planning on getting stuck into my 20mm WWII project, as i've got a load of work to do to meet my Feb 28th deadline for my 2011 Project build over on the Guild forums. In the next few weeks, i've got the following to complete:

1 x Two Storey lasermodellbau building
1 x Riva Bella Casino 2'x2' terrain board
1 x Beach front 2'x2' terrain board
1 x 8 man Commando assault team
2 x 8 man German grenadier squads
1 x 2cm Flak 38 AA-Gun and 3 crew
1 x 10.5cm field gun and 3 crew
2 x German command figures (or Big Men)

So, pics of these will be coming up soon!