Long Range Desert Group Recreators

Long Range Desert Group Today is Anzac day in New Zealand which is when we reflect on the actions and costs to New Zealanders in the various conflicts our country has been involved in over the years.

On this theme, John Campbell on TV3 last night mentioned ‘Expedition Saharan Saunter 2009’ which is a group of Long Range Desert Group re-creators:

“We are planning an Expedition to follow the footsteps (or wheel ruts) of the brave men of the LRDG and cover some of the routes and battlefields in the western desert. This will be a dynamic site updated regularly to keep all informed of our exciting project.”

Sounds like a hell of a challenge to me and I’ll be interested to see how they get on next year!

FOW: German Zeltbahn Objective

German Zeltbahn Objective It’s been a little quiet around here lately, mainly because I appear to be suffering another bout of ‘modeling malaise’ so really haven’t felt that inspired to paint, despite the fact this is the last month of the three month challenge! I have made something for my DAK force recently. This custom Zeltbahn Objective – although of course it’s unpainted.

German Zeltbahn Objective This little diorama that is intended to show a couple of unfortunate motorbike pioneers that have found themselves behind enemy lines – Flames of War objectives are typically placed on the enemy side of the table.

It’s assembled from a mix of ‘bitz box’ pieces. The BMW + sidecar are from Battlefront, although I’ve sculpted a couple of cushions in the sidecar as this space is usually filed with a passenger. The figures are Peter Pig Germans in ‘relaxed’ poses, drinking from enamel mugs. One of them carries the MG34 for the sidecar. The open Zeltbahn tent is a two part resin cast of my original sculpts. The open side is held up by 1mm plastic rod. I intend to put these three Zeltbahn up for sale soon at $6us a pack of the three variants I’ve mentioned earlier.

Painting the objective will be interesting as Zeltbahn were printed in a disruptive and splinter camo which will probably be hard to replicate in 15mm! I’ll most likely just try and get a good faded look to the tent as this objective will be used for my DAK force.

Comments welcome as always, particularly if you’ve got any suggestions for getting over a modeling slump…

FOW: Three Month Painting Challenge III

Painted Panzer Turrets We’re approaching the end of the first month of the informal Flames of War painting challenge amongst my gaming buddies and visitors to this site. I haven’t completed a single unit yet, but I have painted and varnished a total of two Panzer IIIj (late) and three Panzer IV turrets. I need these turrets for the HQ and first Combat platoons of my DAK armored force.

This first shot shows the Panzer IV turrets, with the commander getting the long barreled IV F2. My DAK force represents units from the 15 Panzer division in North Africa, hence the single digit turret designations. I believe these digits are supposed to be a solid red too, but these were the only decals I had to hand.

Painted Panzer Turrets Here’s the HQ IIIj late turrets. You can see the weathering effect I applied to these tanks has been softened by the subsequent ink washing and drybrushing to give a reasonably convincing effect in 15mm scale. Now I just have to paint up a couple of tank bodies before the end of this month to have completed the first unit for the three month challenge.

Incidentally the photos on this post were taken after reading Hyun’s excellent mini photography tutorial on Wee Toy Soldiers. I’m not saying they’re superb photos by any means (the figures are too dark), but I think his tutorial has definitely improved my mini photography skills. Certainly worth checking out.

Tutorial: Weathering Vehicles with Marmite

Tutorial: Weathering with Marmite After I posted a work-in-progress shot of my partially painted Flames of War DAK Panzers several people expressed an interest in the weathering technique I was using. This brief tutorial will take you through the process. Please be aware I can’t claim to have invented the technique myself, I’ve just been applying it to my 28mm and 15mm war gaming models since reading about it in Issue #6 of Model Military International, and I can confirm it works just as well in smaller scales as it does in 1:35th.

Base Coat your Model

For this tutorial we’ll be applying the base weathering coat to a Flames of War 15mm German ‘Famo’ 18-ton half track. This first photo shows you the model after it’s been base coated a with Tamiya German Gray spray can and left to thoroughly dry. You can also see the other supplies I’ll be using: a Tamiya Dark Yellow spray can, a fresh pot of delicious Marmite, an application tool and an old toothbrush. As our European or American visitors may have some difficulty finding Marmite, they may wish to experiment with other foodstuffs. The Marmite is really just used as a cheap masking medium that can be dabbed onto a model easily, isn’t too greasy or sticky and dissolves in warm water. Let us know what else works! It’s also worth noting that this technique requires you apply the top coat of paint as a spray, so you’ll either have to find a spray can of your chosen colour or own an airbrush.

Continue reading Tutorial: Weathering Vehicles with Marmite

FOW: 15mm Zeltbahn Tent Variants

15mm Zeltbahn masters I sculpted the first one of these 15mm Zeltbahn tent masters way back in late 2005 and they’ve been kicking around my garage since then. Although I’m supposed to be painting Panzers I felt like doing a little sculpting so finished off two variants of the original tent this week.

One of the variants open on the other side, and the other is sculpted in two parts to represent an open sided tent. The idea is to cut a couple of thin pieces of 0.8mm wires and use them as poles to support the open side. I’ve placed the masters down next to a base of Flames of War German Panzergrenadiers.

I plan to mold these over the weekend and then try a few resin casts and build up a custom objective for my DAK Germans. Right, now these are out of the way it’s back to painting!

FOW: Three Month Painting Challenge II

DAK Panzers I continue to make slow progress on the Panzers for the three month painting challenge – distracted somewhat by a recent PC gaming purchase.

Here’s all the Panzers and new Tiger for my DAK force spray painted using a simple weathering technique. It’s a little hard to see in this night-time photo, but they’ve all been based Tamiya German Gray, spattered with Marmite (using a ripped up makeup sponge purloined from my wife’s bedside table) and then sprayed over with Tamiya Dark Yellow. Once the top coat was dry the tanks were soaked in hot, soapy water and then scrubbed down with an old toothbrush. The Marmite disolves, lifting the top coat away to reveal the German Gray underneath. The effect is probably most obvious on the hulking great Tunisian Tiger 1E by looking at the turret top and 88 barrel for example. A couple of people over in the Flames of War forum expressed interest in the technique so I’ll try getting a photo tutorial together shortly.

For the challenge I only need to paint five of the Panzers but thought I might as well hit all the tanks with the technique at once to save some spray paint. I’ve also block painted and weathered the turrets of those five Panzers I need, although still have the turned out crew to paint and have a couple of the tank bodies ink washed too. I’ll post some more progress once I have some tanks completely painted. Of course I need to finish at least two this month to meet the challenge, but I’m fairly confident that’s achievable!

FOW: Magnetised Tunisian Tiger

Magnetised Tunisian Tiger For no particular reason I fancied picking up a Tiger 1E for my soon to be painted mid-war DAK force, unfortunately Vagabond in Auckland city (up the road from my place of work) had all the Tiger 1E’s in stock except the Tunisian model.

Fortunately one member of our gaming group has so many Flames of Wars figures, vehicles and entire armies that he’s usually pretty good to hit up for spare stuff. So I traded one of my 1930’s facades and a few resin Zeltbahn for one slightly used Tunisian Tiger 1E from the “Shop of Daniel”.

After stripping it with methylated spirits I took it apart and then pinned the tracks and barrel back on. I stuffed the housing ring a little getting the barrel off, but nothing a touch of green stuff won’t fix. The Tiger was apparently painted using Vallejo and I was surprised how easily it stripped off in meths. Typically I paint everything with Tamiya or Games Workshop acrylics and have always had to leave stripping pieces in overnight to soften these paint jobs. Not so with Vallejo, because after dumping the Tiger in, the paint almost immediately softened and could be rubbed off with a finger tip. A point worth remembering for the future I suppose.

Magnetised Tunisian Tiger As the Tiger has such a large nose-heavy turret I also broke out some rare earth magnets and dropped a couple into the turret and body and damned if they don’t work a treat! The turret isn’t at all floppy after magnetising and traverses very nicely and smoothly. I’m now considering using the rest of my rare earth magnets to do the same to my remaining Panzers and possibly my painted NZ Shermans and Stuarts. It takes a little more effort to do, and make very sure you glue the magnets in the right way, but damaged and lost turrets should be a thing of the past if I do all my tanks this way.

Update: Since writing this post I spent another hour going through all my other Panzers magnetising the turrets. Things went surprisingly quickly despite some annoying stuff ups along the way. Note: make sure you get ALL the magnets in ALL the turrets glued in place with the same polarity!

FOW: Ready For Three Month Painting Challenge?

Continuing from the earlier Flames of War Painting Challenge post…

The painting challenge starts tomorrow on the 1st of Feb, so here’s my ‘before’ photo. I’ve changed my choice of platoon to paint a little from the last post, mainly because I didn’t want to paint five Panzer IIIj lates all at the same time. The photo shows the three platoons I’ll be painting for my mid-war DAK Armored Coy:

  • HQ – Two IIIj lates in the foreground along with the massive recovery half-track. The stowage is glued to a piece of 1mm plasti-card cut to fit into the back tray. I’ve done this so I can paint all the barrels etc. and then just glue them into the painted vehicle.
  • Combat – The other three Panzers IV Ausf F1’s and an F2. Heh, I’ve laid them out kinda funny too I notice.

  • Div Support – Flak 88’s naturally. Although I’m tossing up swapping them out for a Tiger IE. Two emplaced 88’s and a command base + the transports. If anything gets dropped from my challenge it’ll be those three transports since I haven’t assembled nor primed the flak 88 gun carriages.

I’m hoping to get all five tanks and maybe those transports mostly finished in the first month using a production line, a couple of Tamiya spray cans (German Grey + Dark Yellow) and a technique similar to the one I used to paint my 28mm Opel Blitz and Sdkfz 222 Armored car.

I’ve also started a thread over on the official Flames of War forums about this informal challenge, which seems to have generated a mild interest there too. Hopefully we’ll see some people posting images of nicely painted models in a month or so!

FOW: Three Month Painting Challenge

Flames of War Painting Challenge My regular gaming group has got back into Flames of War in the last couple of months, so it’s time to paint some of our outstanding 15mm forces.

To motivate ourselves we’re putting a friendly painting challenge together: Each person has three months to paint the following:

  • Three platoons – preferably an HQ, Combat platoon and Support Platoon, but any three outstanding unpainted platoons will do.
  • Or

  • 750 points of figures, or vehicles or platoons.

The idea is to paint the core of a new army, and three platoons or 750pts is half of a 1500pt army! If you’re painting three platoons that also means you can aim to finish one each month of the challenge.

To give people some prep-time for assembling and basing their figures prior to starting the challenge we’re starting the challenge on the first of February. I’m also posting the challenge up here on the blog as an open invitation to any Flames of War gamers visiting to join the challenge.

One thing we will need from anybody that does want to join in is documentary evidence in the form of digital photos. We really only need two photos – one of your unpainted forces at the start, and one of the painted forces at the end! But I’m always keen to see in-progress photos myself.

Personally I need to get some paint on my assembled and mostly primed DAK Armored Company, that’s what you see in the photo above. I’ll be painting the following three platoons:

  1. HQ: Two IIIj Late Panzers.
  2. Combat: Three IIIj Late Panzers.
  3. Support: Divisional Heavy AA Gun Platoon (88’s!). Unlimbered only although I should get their transports painted too.

I’m considering throwing in a few prizes to motivate people if they’re interested. I was thinking either one of our 15mm straight trench kits, or a 15mm 1930’s building facade. Would that help people complete the challenge?

So who’s in?!

FOW: The Art of War Book

FOW: Art of War Book I’ve seen FOW: Art of War book a couple of times since last year in various hobby stores I frequent around Auckland. However I’ve only just recently picked up a copy myself after reading Tankred’s review on his Unfinished Armies blog.

I have to agree with his review, this is a great little glossy book and fine value for money at $21nz locally. Personally I didn’t find the hobby tips contained within to include any great revelations but they certainly cover all the bases. What I did enjoy was seeing other modeler’s figures and vehicles so nicely displayed. The modeler’s featured were wisely chosen too, covering a range of different painting styles and armies.

In particular I enjoyed seeing Antti Heiskanen’s collection as my method of painting FOW figures is somewhat similar to his, although Antti’s style is much more extreme in terms of shading. I’m quite tempted to bust out a few spare bases of NZer infantry and try out his suggestions regarding painting and highlighting.

Also if you’re relatively new to Flames of War, or thinking of picking it up then I’d definitely recommend grabbing a copy of this book because it’s packed full of useful information regarding preparing and painting 15mm WWII figures.

As an aside I’m a little out of touch regarding Flames of War at the moment because frankly I can’t stand their new web site. Both forums and the web store seem to have become a lot harder to navigate!