Sunday, March 27, 2011

Schwere PanzerJagerKompanie Part IV - Detailing

In case you missed some:
Schwere PanzerJagerKompanie Part I - Intro
Schwere PanzerJagerKompanie Part II - Preperation
Schwere PanzerJagerKompanie Part III - Airbrushing

Well, I'm not sure how much I would call this detailing.  Not for the tanks anyway.  I basically paint everything that needs to be painted before a wash.

One thing that could possibly be the best thing to advance my painting besides the airbrush, is a wet palette.  I can't believe how many years I went without one of these.  It saves so much paint.  I always found, especially with brown and flesh colours that they dried up so fast.  Dried acrylic paint is amazingly hard to clean from a plastic palette.  The wet palette is just amazing.  Its super cheap for how much time and paint it saves.  I would suggest it to anyone.  Its basically a piece of paper over a wet sponge.  I can leave a spot of paint over night or even a few days, and still be able to use it.  I cannot stress enough for new painters (and experienced ones) to get a wet palette.

The artillery crew, I paint everything.  Belts, pouches, guns, everything.  Recently I've had a problem with what colours to paint this stuff.  Especially for the Germans.  I have 3 or 4 different guides for painting Germans and rarely do they say the same thing.  The helmets are a great example.  We've all seen WWII movies, and German helmets ALWAYS look dark grey.  BF's mid war guide says German grey, and BF's late war says German Camo Green or middlestone.  I've never seen a green German helmet except for DAK forces.  In doing some research it would seem that German helmets varied in colour as much as the soldiers themselves.  I found that no 2 helmets ever looked the same colour side by side.  So there is probably no right or wrong answer.

Another issue, is pouches.  Most guides say Green Grey.  Well this is insanely close to Field Grey, and hard to even tell apart using the 3 Foot rule.  But its all trial and error to find out what looks good and is still historical.

The last thing I do, once infantry detailing is done, is to go back over each guy.  Mistakes will be made.  Its usually flesh colour on the uniform base coat.  So, I just quickly check things over and cover up any mistakes.

Tanks I don't do any details.  I do a pretty heavy drybrush after the wash, and it ruins any details you might paint, like tool handles.  So there is no point.

What I do paint is the tracks and exhaust a rust colour.  And like with the RSO's I also paint the tarp.  Everything else is left until after the wash and highlight.

Then everything gets mounted (ha ha...I said mounted) back on the prescription bottles and ready for a layer of Gloss Varnish.

I'm thinking of doing a gloss varnish on the artillery crew.  I've never done this before a wash with infantry before.  But I'm hearing more and more the gloss varnish helps a wash flow...I'm still thinking about it.

And a little teaser to the BergePanther. Added a chain and pulley.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Enough Led to Build my Own Tank! Or Kill Superman!

Well I finish up the next stage of my Jagdpanthers thought it might be fun to show all the led that I have unpainted.  Yikes...why do I even ever buy more?  It was really funny hearing the WWPD guys talk about the exact same thing.

So, I made a list of all the armies I can build, and took pictures of all my unpainted led.

Its probably a good thing my wife loves me.  I do spend a lot of money on this stuff, but luckily most of it was paid for by selling A LOT of old hobbies.  I had a huge D&D miniatures collection, and I had close to 200 board games.  All gone to finance FoW.

That shelf in the first picture used to be jam packed with board games.  I didn't have enough room to fit them all.  Now nothing but FoW stuff. 

Needless to say I'm now exclusively Flames of War and World in Flames.
And as my friends tell you I don't ever do anything half assed. 

Talking to my new buddies in Saskatoon and Edmonton at the last tournament, a lot of them say "my 2 armies"  This always makes me laugh.  This made me make up list of all the armies I can build.  I'm sure there are some I'm missing because of cross overs.

MW - Swhere PanzerKompanie
MW - Mittlere Panzerkompanie
MW - PanzerKompanie
MW - PantherKompanie
MW - Gepanzerte PanzerGrenadier Kompanie (x2)
MW - PanzerGrenadierKompanie
MW - Gepanzerte PanzerPioneerKompanie
MW - PanzerPioneerKompanie
MW - GrenadierKompanie
MW - PionierKompanie
MW - Battaglion Fucilieri
MW - Battaglione Alpini
MW - Guards Heavy Tank (kv-1s, kv-85)
MW - Tankovy
MW - Mixed Tankovy (kv-1e, t-34)
MW - Motostrelkovy
MW - Strelkovy
MW - Opolcheniya

LW - Shtraf Battalion
LW - Guards Heavy Tank (is-2)
LW - Udarny Strelkovy
LW - Sturm Kompanie
LW - StuG Batterie
LW - MotoStrelkovy
LW - Guards Tankovy (t-34/85)
LW - Tankovy Battalion
LW - Sperrverband
LW - Ersatz PionierKompanie
LW - Schwere Kompanie (Tiger)
LW - Engineering Sapper Battalion
LW - SS Totenkopf
LW - Schwere Kompanie (konigstiger)

LW - Canadian 3rd Army (working on 4th)
LW - PanzerGrenadier Lehr Kompanie
LW - Panzer Lehr Kompanie (Panzer IV)
LW - Panzer Lehr Kompanie (Panther)
LW - PanzerPionier Lehr Kompanie
LW - Panzer Kompanie
LW - Grenadier Kompanie

To be honest, because there is no one here in Regina that plays, except Sylvain, and my friends do like to play it, i'm trying to collect every single Mid War and Late War army for the eastern front.  Then not only can I play the perfect Firestorm Campaign, I can build a mega campaign that spans most of the war.

Hopefully my boy will be old enough to play in a few years and he will enjoy the fruits of my obsession.

Unpainted Italians
Unpainted German Transports
Unpainted PanzerGrenadiers
A lot of unpainted Germans
Unpainted buildings
Unpainted Bunkers
Unpainted Soviets
Unpainted Canadians
More Italians...and more coming!
Panzer Lehr
Soviets on Deck!
And more Soviets
Even More Soviets
And yet more Soviets?
OH YES!....even more Soviets!
More Panzer Lehr, and other Germans
German Armour
3rd Canadian Army!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Schwere PanzerJagerKompanie Part III - Airbrushing

In case you missed some:
Schwere PanzerJagerKompanie Part I - Intro
Schwere PanzerJagerKompanie Part II - Preperation

And now its time to do the airbrushing.  I'll do all the airbrushing for the entire company.
I use 3 kinds of airbrushes.  I use a single action for all the priming and base coating of vehicles.  I use a double action 3.5mm suction for infantry.  And I use a double action 3.0mm gravity fed for camo patterns.  I do have a 2.0mm airbrush, but really haven't broken it out yet.  the 3.0mm seems to be good enough.   

For all the noobs out there.  If you can get gravity fed airbrushes do it.  I love these things.  They use way less paint, way less maintenance, and they just spray perfect every time.  The suction ones are always just so much work, and they seem to work different all the time.

The single action ones especially you have to be careful.  Maybe this is common knowledge, but I certainly didn't know.  I thought all these single action airbrushes were the same.  Apparently they aren't.  I bought 2 of them, 2 different brands, but seemingly exactly the same.  The packages certainly didn't mention anything different about something very important say...oh I don't know....the nozzle.

I was using these 2 single action airbrushes in conjunction so that I wouldn't have to spray, clean, spray, clean.  I thought I could spray 2 different colors and then clean both.  One of the airbrushes I could almost never get to work.  And if it did work, it went through paint like it was going out of style.  Then for some reason I happen to see the nozzles side by side.  Well HOLY SHIT.  Look at the size difference in the nozzle.  No wonder that stupid thing sucked.  No pun intended.  Needless to say I've stopped using that airbrush.

Anyway, on to the work.  Because I'm always trying to improve, I'm always trying new things.  So, who knows how this stuff will turn out.  First thing I did on this project was to prime the vehicles, using the single action airbrush.  This is a first for me, I primed them white.  Normally I'll prime black, or just do 2 base coats.  I wanted to see how it would work.  The problem being, if anyone actually reads this stuff, I mix Windex with my paint for airbrushing.  This turns your white paint blue.  So, I had to use thinner, which I find usually makes your paint too watery.  I used about a 3:1 mixture and it seemed to work pretty good.  Once that is done I will clean up the brush and let the nozzle sit in some Simple Green.

Moving on to the infantry, I use the 3.5mm to prime and base coat them.  I don't really prime them though, I just do 2 or 3 coats of base coat.  I pretty much exclusively use Tamiya in my airbrush, and I don't find colors are brighter or darker just because of the base coat color.  For Germany uniforms I use XF-22, RLM Grey.  I mix 3 parts paint with 2 parts Windex.

Lets see whats next?  Oh yes, I go back and clean the single action brush that has been sitting in the simple green.  Then I get ready to base coat the Tanks and RSO tractors.  I use XF-60, Dark Yellow for German late war vehicles.  Again I mix it about 3:2 with windex.  Oh ya I almost forgot to paint the Schurzen as well.

I once again I stick the single action nozzle in simple green and let it soak for a bit.

At this point I forgot about the antenna.  So I quickly drilled out the holes where the antenna will go.  I find if the hole isn't deep enough, the antenna will easily snap off if you accidentally touch it during game play.  So, I drill that hole nice and deep.  Ha ha...I said deep!  Inside joke for those that know me.

Tamiya paint dries very quickly so, I now take this opportunity to glue the Schurzen on.  I try to wear gloves when ever I'm going to be touching painted parts.  These jagdpanthers may have actually given me a revaluation with the panther shurzen.  I wonder if I've been putting them on upside down?  They have these tabs that look like you would glue them under the hull. The problem is on the jagdpanther they don't fit.  If you put them on the same as a regular panther they end up crooked.  the jagdpanther actually has this lip they fit on, but the only way they fit is if you cut these tabs off....or put them on upside down.  They fit great upside down and the tabs sit right on the track.  When I put my panther A's together, I may have to see if they fit that way as well.

While the glue dries, I will paint up my 10.5cm guns.  I'm using XF-63, German Grey for these.  Even though this is for late war I want these guns to be mid war.  This is an older gun set, so If I ever decide to paint a late war gun set, I'll get the newer molds.  I also had a KV-1e captured tank I wanted to paint.  I had done it in dark yellow, but upon doing more research most captured KV's were German Grey.

With the guns done, the schurzen should be dry, we can move on to adding the camouflage to the jagdpanthers and Noaks Panther.  For this I will use XF-58, Olive Green and XF-9 Hull Red.  Normally, like with my Konigstigers, I used XF-64 Red Brown, but I wanted to try this Hull Red.

I found some very good pictures of camo patterns for Jagdpanthers.  A lot of them for the time period had shown wheels painted in full colors.  So, thats how I did the jagdpanthers.  I kinda like it.  Normally I just do smaller lines.  I still did this on Noaks Panther.

I started with the green and did all 3 vehicles.  Then the hull red.  I know it doesn't really matter when it comes to camo patterns, but it does really seem harder then it looks.  It never turns out the way you plan.  At least not for me.  But, I do REALLY like the hull red color.  I'm going to have to do an ambush pattern with this as my base coat.

Now its on to details.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Schwere PanzerJagerKompanie Part II - Preperation

In case you missed Part I:
Schwere PanzerJagerKompanie Part I - Intro

OK here we go,  starting a new army from scratch.

Let me start off by saying, I really really hate some of you people in the Flames of War world.  Not because you are jerks, or ass wipes...can I say that on TV?  But because a lot of you say "This is what i did this afternoon".  I have no idea how you do that, because it takes me just an afternoon to get everything set up and ready to paint.  And the worst part is their stuff still looks great.

Anyway, first thing I do is get everything out of the box and make sure all the pieces are there.  If there are any resin pieces I clean them up by removing and extra sticky outy stuff,  especially around where tracks might go.  Then I wash all the resin.  I no longer use soap as some people suggest because it leaves a white film no matter how much you clean it.  You end up having to do it twice.  So, I just use a toothbrush and warm water.  I usually then let them dry upside down so all the water runs out of the little crevasses.  With this project I had to give all the artillery crew guys and quick rinse.  As I mentioned in Part I, because they were sitting so long they had dust on them and I needed to clean them up.

While the resin is drying, I will clean up all the metal pieces by removing flashing, or streighting and fixing anything that needs to be fixed.  Then once everything is ready I put the vehicle together.  The tracks are the most tricky part.  I like to put them together so that the tank doesn't wobble,  and doesn't look to crooked on the table.  99% of the time tracks don't ever fit perfectly.  Once the tracks are in place, I'll glue the bottom between the risn and tracks...again 99% of the time there is space between the tracks because they don't fit flush to the resin.  Usually takes over night to dry.

Once the tank is all put together its time to add rare earth magnets to the turrets.  I first use a small drill bit, the ones people use for hollowing out gun barrels.  This gives a starting point for the drill bit.  I find if you don't do this, your drill slides when you first start drilling and the hole never ends up center.  With the magnets I always color each end with a permanent red marker.  When placing the magnets this helps you keep the polarity right.  The colored red end will go into the hole.

Then I put a dab of glue in the hole, followed with a little bit of green stuff, followed by a bit more glue.  Then place the magnet, red marker in.  Then ever so gently push the magnet down until it is flush with the surface.  If you push it to deep, it may not work with the other magnet.  This is why I use the green stuff.  Just in case you drilled your hole to deep.

As with any infantry, I don't normally wash them, but I do go through every guy and remove any flash lines.  Especially with these 10.5cm guys. They were an older mold by BF and these usually have a lot of flaws in them.  The newer molds are much much better and take less work to prepare.  I also remove the edge of the base on most of my infantry.  This makes basing a little bit easier, when you are using foam putty.

Once they are cleaned up I glue them to golf tee's and stick them in some styrofoam.  This allows me to handle each guy with out touching them. But only use PVA glue,  You want to be able to remove them easily when you are done.  I do the same with the guns.  For tank stuff like schurzen, I'll glue them to toothpicks.  For this I use super glue.

Once everything is ready, I take some old prescription bottles, double sided carpet tape, and stick the vehicles to them.  This will allow me to airbrush them with out touching them.  The tape is strong enough to hold them, even if they are heavy.

Now everything is ready to be airbrushed.