Sunday, 8 October 2017

Progress Reports and Confessions

Maisey: 2017 was going to be year of finishing things. For the most part that has been true. Looking back at my to do list from the beginning of the year and this is what I have actually managed to get done.
  • Orge Scrap Launcher. DONE
  • Bolt Action German veteran Grenadiers. DONE
  • Frost Grave warband, board, and scenery. DONE
  • Tabletop world buildings. DONE
  • Charlie’s Storm Eagle. DONE
  • Desert board scenery. DONE
  • Industrial scenery. DONE
  • Thousand Sons. DONE + More

What is still left over from that list?

Vampire Counts - This was meant to be a tidy up and finishing thing. Sorting out all those little bits and bobs. I’ve not actually started anything here, in fact I totally failed and ended up buying some more models. In my defence, I picked them up off a friend and it was a time limited offer, so I jumped on it. Also, we’ve not actually been playing fantasy at all, so if something is going to get bumped down the priority list it’s going to be the thing that isn’t being played.

Empire. Ok, this one shouldn’t have been there in the first place. All the models I had for the army were painted and it was just my need to fill up the carry case. Also I HAVE NEVER USED THIS ARMY. So why it was on the list in the first place I don’t know, so I think we can discount this one. Honestly, since this one has never been used maybe it should go up for sale to make room/funds for something else?

Tyranids. These has been sold/donated to Em as she was far more interested than I was about doing some ‘nids. So that’s another one I don’t need to worry about.

Bolt Action DAK. Ah the Afrika Korp, I did start building them, then 40k 8th Ed came along and the priorities got changed around. So they are still there, but a lower priority.

Right, now here is the confessional bit. This is where I have utterly failed to stick to the plan, or at least have tricked and misdirected myself into believing that I can get new stuff ‘to finish a project’ when there is no need. THIS IS MY LIST OF SHAME
  • Dark Angels Interrogator Chaplain. When doing my Dark Angels overview I realised I never had a chaplain model, which is frankly a disgrace.
  • Necrons. These were part of the payment for the Tyranids. I had an idea for a cool purple and gold paint scheme for them. So these are now waiting for me to get that urge again. 
  • Space Hulk. Erm, yeah, I forgot that I had these. It really needs painting properly. Oops. So not new, just missed from the original list.
  • As mentioned above, some additional Vampire stuff. Vampires are my main fantasy army, so to me they will never truly be finished. I will always keep adding new units and bits to that massive pile of undead and never be complete.
  • Thousand Sons have now got a couple of Helbrutes (one finished, one awaiting paint) and a huge pile of cultists. This is mostly through gaming and the need for more that comes from gaming. I’ll come back to this in a moment.

I really shouldn’t be too down on myself. Looking back I’ve completed a load of little things, a new 40k army in 9 months, as well as A GAMING BOARD AND THREE TABLES WORTH OF SCENERY. So a significant chunk of stuff has been finished off. However, I’m one of these people who seem to hate themselves and have never done enough, or gotten things right. So sitting down and reflecting on what I have managed to complete to keep things in perspective. 2017 has been a good year for finishing things and there is still lots of year left for getting more ticked off the list.

As I mentioned above with the Thousand Sons and Vampires. When you are actively gaming with a collection you naturally end up thinking about what you were lacking in the last game, what you want more off, or just having it in the front of your mind that leads you to wanting the new things. With the Vampire, we’ve not been playing fantasy so they have gone completely unattended. Even with the occasional glance at the to do list and mentally telling myself that I should get on with them. Without the gaming there is no impetus to do it. The inverse is true with the Thousand Sons. I’ve been gaming with them, so the need to get new things for the project is somewhat overwhelming and using the little lie that I need a pair of helbrutes to get the project finished I’ve justified to myself the buying of new things. This has gone against the idea for this year, which I’ll apologise for. What I won’t apologise for is enjoying my hobby, and if having a blob of 30 cultists in with my Thousand Sons means I enjoy my hobby and my gaming more, then so be it. The getting things done plan came from a place where we didn’t have an aim or direction. The new edition of 40k has lit a fire under us and we’ve started gaming, putting together narrative campaigns, and generally enjoying our hobby again. So I don’t see the harm in changing the plan now that the situation has changed.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Captain's Log II

Charlie: back in June, we had the first episode of the Captain's Log, Jon's journal of his travels in the Scyrian Expanse. In this episode, the flotilla takes its first leap out into the Expanse... I'll hand you over to Jon without further ado.

The sub-sector map at the time of writing.


Captain's log, star date 3.151.999.M41

Journal Entry: 787

After some minor shifts in gravity during our stay in the warp, Azaryah has translated us back into real space, on the outskirts of a binary star system. Our first step into the unknown expanse of the Scyrian sub-sector.

Curiously, against statistical odds, our long range scans indicate signs of life dotted across multiple moons and planets. There are also mining opportunities available. Most are not in hospitable environments. However, there is a small moon orbiting a gas giant that has a livable environment and is rich with minerals. Another moon close-by harbours life.

The gas giant, B5, is about a day’s flight away.

Captain's log, star date 3.154.999.M41

Journal Entry: 788

A mining outpost is currently being set up on B5i.

The life we have found on B5iii consists of extremophiles in a high pressure environment.

There is a moon orbiting a different gas giant, closer to the secondary star: B4iv. It shows signs of life and has a breathable atmosphere. Perhaps more complex life will exist there?

I must confess, I am rather taken with the pace of this mission. It makes a pleasant change from fighting Ork and Chaos fleets! To discover new life and help expand the Imperium, rather than destroy in defense of it, makes for a welcome change.

I have instructed Westcliffe to have Squadron 17 remain in orbit around the mining facility while the rest of the fleet continues to explore the system.

Captain's Log: Star Date: 3.188.999.M41

Journal Entry: 789

It feels good to write again. The Intemperance is currently undergoing extensive repairs in the docks orbiting Kaprun.

I am not sure where to begin.

The life signs we had detected at B4iv were not simple organisms. As we approached the moon we began to see green landmass and large oceans, and in the planet’s umbra was an unmistakable site. The cobweb structure of night-lights; cities.

We also detected radio transmissions and signs of conflict.

I sent a broadcast on all frequencies, announcing our presence in the system, and sure enough a few minutes later I was speaking with a lost human civilisation in civil war.

The notion of interstellar travel was lost on them.

There were two sides to the conflict: the Anshan Republic, an anti-psyker government who controlled the moon, and the Commonwealth, a society of surviving psykers fighting for their lives. The Commonwealth fleet had already sustained heavy losses but were pressing their attack regardless; at the time we had no idea why.

Anshan Republic escorts; names unknown; capabilities unknown.

Our sensor operatives noted that the torpedoes being fired from the Anshan vessels were somehow tracking their targets. This was remarkable, although it did concern me that there may be some form of artificial intelligence at work.

Orvan, the captain of one of the Commonwealth vessels, also told me that the Republic’s concerns over psykers were unfounded as they had sophisticated collars that dampened latent ability. If this was true, it could save billions of lives across the Imperium!

My resolve was clear: we had to find a way to re-integrate these cultures back into the Imperium, and in doing so, acquire the technologies they held.

The problem: psykers are a part of our society. But they are also treated, rightly so, with extreme caution and often executed. Striking that balance has allowed our Empire to grow and defend humanity against xeno threats. But how to re-introduce these societies into the moderate centrism of the Imperium when they both place themselves at ideological extremes?

Anshan Republic cruisers; names unknown;
main weapons: broadside batteries of homing torpedoes.

In a string of difficult exchanges with both the Republic and the Commonwealth, we learned that the Commonwealth fleet was attempting the rescue of two hundred psykers scheduled by the Anshan Republic for execution. I thought if we could broker a ceasefire we might have some hope of securing peace, and then later securing trade agreements with both sides.

Anshan Republic flagship; name unknown; weapon systems include homing torpedoes
and gunboats 1.5 times the size of thunderhawk gunships.

I called Captain Humbolt of the Republic and attempted to communicate our position on this conflict, extolling the benefits of psykers in allowing us to travel between the stars, form a galactic empire, and communicate across vast distances. But the notion of us having psykers onboard our vessels disgusted Humbolt and she ended the transmission mid-way through my retort.

Dogmatism is not a trait known for its willingness to engage in open discourse.

Hassiq tried to salvage our position, having had more experience at diplomacy, but he didn’t get much further. In fact, he seemed displeased at me for having told the truth about us having psykers! Perhaps that was a little naive.

My father always wanted me to become a politician, perhaps even a planetary governor somewhere in the Gothic sector. It was not something I remotely wanted growing up. I joined the navy as a compromise. “Gain some credentials,” he said, “and see where you are in a few years.” It seems I was right not to have any intention of becoming a politician. I would not do well.

In any case, I handed diplomatic duties over to Hassiq, feeling more than a little deflated.

After Hassiq reiterated to the Republic my points about a twenty thousand year old galactic empire (albeit with more emphasis on the extermination of psykers) the Republic agreed to a temporary ceasefire with the Commonwealth on the understanding that we would take the two hundred untrained psykers onto the Zenith, and use our own traditional means of dealing with them.

In theory it was a good compromise, and it did at least bring the battle to a halt, but neither the Zenith nor the Intemperance had the facilities to subdue latent potential. We lied to stop the fighting, and a few hours later our lie resulted in a crowd of two hundred untrained psykers shuffling their way onto the cargo pads of the Zenith.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Battlefleet Achernar grows (a bit)

Charlie: Last week I revealed that  Necrons had cropped up in the Scyrian Expanse. To meet this new threat, Jon and Andy would need reinforcements, so I expanded the number of painted ships in Battlefleet Achernar from my effectively infinite supply of old BFG models. There is a particular joy in seeing a ship go from 'slap-happy brush fail' to 'ding!'

The expanded flotilla, with the  rogue trader cruiser Zenith in the rear.

I'm not claiming my BFG paint jobs are even in the same country as amazing, but good lord they're an improvement on their previous incarnations. I probably should've taken before and after pics... maybe next time?

Dem boosters.

As is customary in our campaign, every ship has its own background and captain. As some readers may recall, the players' ships even have fully fleshed-out bridge crew serving as the recurring background characters. This brings a bunch of faceless space ships to life, helping the story become more emotionally involving and/or stressful. I figure if a player doesn't care about a friendly NPC dying, I'm not doing a good enough job.

The Vigilant

The Vigilant

The Vigilant is an overlord-class battlecruiser, and serves as Battlefleet Achernar's flagship. It is normally stationed at Kaprun to safeguard the shipyards, but is deployed when Admiral Tryphosa leads the fleet against substantial threats. Given the rarity of its deployment, its crew are well-drilled but untested, as a full fleet deployment tends to happen only once in a generation. To mitigate this problem, Tryphosa has been known to treat the Vigilant as a "retirement home" for old sailors with combat experience, and seeds these knowledgeable types among the untested crew. The advantage for the veterans is that they effectively have a job that keeps them safe and docked around a comfortable colony with frequent shore leave.

The Vigilant's captain is Aldous Montague. He has mentored so many of Battlefleet Achernar's officers, including Admiral Tryphosa, that he is seen as a paternal figure. It is said that the ship's crew spend much of their extensive downtime trying to guess his age. Advanced in years and the subject of a great many romantic portrayals of navy life, the triple amputee is said to be both fearless and unkillable. Those who have actually met him say he now runs more on tired habit, and has only avoided retirement because he'd have no idea what to do with himself without the routine of life aboard a ship. In this regard, Montague is cut from much the same cloth as the other old sailors aboard the Vigilant.

The Seraph

This was originally one of the Dauntless models with torpedo tubes. It's been
converted to the lance version with a cut down nova cannon and some green stuff.

The Seraph is a dauntless-class light cruiser that has served Battlefleet Achernar since 993.M38. It was refitted with a prow-mounted lance in response to a surge in greenskin piracy in mid-M39. Her captain is Justyna Laerta, a famously blunt woman with little patience for courtly behaviour. She has captained the Seraph for five years now, and those who know her well say she has an excellent memory and an unrivaled attentiveness for those under her command. Her lack of diplomacy has stifled her career, and she is looked down on by more politically-minded officers who see her as someone with no social capital.

Squadron 25

I had to rush the lettering on these bases to get them ready for the game...
at some point I'll force myself to finish them off properly. Probably.

This squadron of firestorm-class frigates is led by Captain Nalani Makana aboard the Percheron. Makana's family used their wealth to propel her advancement through the ranks, and she is comparatively young for a squadron commander. She often comes off as cocksure and smug, though to the frustration of her rivals she is also a competent commander who benefits from an expensive education prior to her time at the Naval Academy. The other frigates in Squadron 25 are the Augeron, under Commander Salomon Bouchard, and the Andalusian under Commander Liselotte Prinsen.

Man, I love me some spaceships. Mercifully, this love can be indulged by two players who seem to keep coming back for more.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Tiny BFG Necron Fleet

Charlie: Some time ago, I secretly acquired and painted some Necrons for the BFG/RPG hybrid story I'm playing with Jon and Andy. Jon isn't very familiar with 40K lore, which means he gets to discover Necrons much like the rest of us did when they first started appearing in 40K: one horrifying detail at a time.

Andy, conversely, is extremely familiar with 40K lore, and thus when they discovered some seemingly inert metal pyramids in SCY-076, an uninhabited system in the Scyrian Expanse, his face expressed the dread of a man who knows what's coming.

Small yet potent, much like my first girlfriend

Andy and Jon are both new to the game of Battlefleet Gothic, and thus could not possibly have anticipated was just how ludicrous the Necrons are on the table. They're not unbeatable, but they're certainly not easy to deal with. Worse, they behave completely differently to every other faction Andy and Jon have encountered so far.

I'll spare you all the details of exactly what happened, since hopefully Jon will be writing more entries in his Captain's Log. Instead, I'll quickly run through the extremely lazy simple method I used to paint them.

Scythe class harvest ship

  1. Black primer. Natch.
  2. Drybrush a mid-silver over the whole model.
  3. Wash with straight green ink (no water/thinner).*
  4. Paint any gold areas with a light silver.
  5. Paint gold areas with a gold paint of your choice.
  6. Wash gold with thinned chestnut ink.
  7. Highlight gold with a 2:1 mix of gold and light silver.
  8. Paint engine outlets white.
  9. Paint engine outlets pale yellow.
  10. Highlight centre of engine outlets with a 1:1 mix of white and pale yellow.

*I technically used a 4:1 mix of green and blue ink, but whatever.

Shroud class light cruiser

Jackal class raiders

There you have it, quick and easy. As an aside, I also used this inked metal method on my tiny Dark Eldar warband, albeit with an even mix of blue and green ink:

Same method, different race.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Evil Sunz Biker Gang

Charlie: about eight years ago, I painted my first ork warbiker mob. Three bikerz seemed a bit restrained for an Evil Sunz army, so over the years I acquired more... aaaand then failed to paint them. Now I've scrubbed off another stain on my honour by painting the nine bikes I had assembled, and frankly, 12 bikers looks a lot more like a proper biker gang.

Get da motor runnin'
Head out on da highway
Lookin for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah zoggit, gon' make it appen
Take the world in a waaagh of deff
Fire all of my guns at once
An' explode into space

The majesty of fat batches
I painted all nine bikes in one big batch. Increasingly these days I'm finding one huge batch psychologically easier than painting a smaller number of models and then realising: I have to do the whole thing again. Multiple times. Better to stick a good podcast on and settle down for the long haul.

Kustomising yer ride
One of the limitations of the biker box is that a lot of the components are shiny yet distinctive, which makes for really obvious repeats in a bigger unit. This was a problem for me since I've tried, so far as is practical, to make every vehicle in my army unique.

The problem of repeat components can be mitigated by stripping them down to varying extents throughout the unit. Take this front cowling as an example:

I like smoke and lightning
'Eavy metal thunda
Racin' wiv da wind
An' da feelin dat I'm undaaa
Yeah zoggit, gon' make it appen
Take da world in a waaagh of deff
Fire all of my guns at once
An' explode into space

It's pretty quick to do, and helps give the impression that some of the ladz have acquired their rides more recently, and haven't had the time or the teef for extra kustomisation. I also sprinkled in a few heads and arms from different kits to further increase variety.

Like a troo nature's child
We was born, born to be wild
We can climb so high
I never wanna die

Different sorts'o'green
I experimented with having a variety of skin tones in the mob, just like I did for the genestealer cult and my imperial guardsmen. Honestly, though, I'm preferring the olive green with fleshy bits to the extent that I might just stick with that for future units, and while they'll look different to the orks already in the army, any army collected over a period of eight years is bound to have some issues like that. I don't want to paint new models with old techniques just to satisfy an OCD urge.
What's left?
I've got a few units of trukkboyz that need finishing, plus a few deffkoptas. The latter are currently my main way of attacking vehicles right now, so they're pretty vital. I'm also considering building a mob of tankbusters; I always struggled to deal with vehicles at range, and in the new rules it's even tougher! That said, no tankbusters until the new year. The Bunker's denizens agreed: this year, we must finish things we already own, and I am in no way likely to run out of things to do before January 2018. Or 2019 for that matter. Most of you can relate, I suspect, to having a chunky heap of unfinished gumf sitting in a dusty box.

Incentives for the waaagh!
To make sure I churn out the remaining orks, I've offered to run a GMd narrative campaign for Jeff and Tom's marine armies in December. That's three months from now. Very doable, but not so doable I can afford to rest on my laurels. If the three week cult project taught me anything, it's that I respond well to deadlines.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Dark Angels 3rd Company (ish)

Maisey: A little while ago Jeff posted about his beautiful and well thought out Blood Angels. Seeing that post made me glance lovingly at my Dark Angel shelf and I wondered if you guys would actually like to see them for once. I've spoken about my Dangels many times before but never really done a proper post about them.

Yes, I have a shelf of Dark Angels... and a bonus Knight

I wish I could go back into the mists of time to say how a young Maisey, inspired by some article was drawn into the cowled mysteries of the Dark Angels. I would also like to say that in his youth Maisey struggled to create the army as seen in his childish minds eye.

But I can't, because that would be a lie.

I didn't play 40k until I was in my 20's, so no childhood memories here. The initial attraction to the Dark Angels was with the 4th Edition codex release back in 2007 and the release of the Veterans kit with 5 robed marines. I saw the models and thought, 'They look cool, a whole army of robed marines would be badass'. That's about as deep as it went back then.

I can say that I did, back then make a completely cowled army. it wasn't a true Dark Angels army however, I was far too intimidated to paint that many bone white robes, so I made a successor chapter in a far quicker and easier scheme.

With the release of the 6th ed Codex in 2013 I decided to re-do the Dark Angels completely. I also decided to do them properly. With most of my armies until that point they had always felt like they had a functional paint job. Not a terrible paint job, but basic and speedy. So with this I really decided to try and up my game somewhat. I honestly think it's a good level of painting. It's not going to win awards, but I'm happy to say that I painted it. I did take the time to do as much free hand as I could. So all the squad, company, chapter, and other markings where free hand (unless there was molded details). The company standard also got a free hand paint job as well.

I got pretty good at those little square wings...
... and the curly numbers.
Not award winning but I did the best I could.

As with most of my projects I broke the army up into little themed chunks. So a squad, it's transport, and a support unit all geared towards one speciality. First up we have the characters, a Company Master and a pair of librarians. I decided that it made more sense in my head that a Deathwing Librarian would have the bone white armour of his brothers instead of the blue dictated by the Codex. I do have to confess I've never managed to get around to getting that chaplain model, you know the one, THAT interrogator chaplain model. In fact, I really should just order that one model, that wouldn't be breaking the 'no new stuff' rule for this year would it?

Large and in charge

Every playa needs a pimped ride and an entourage 

Next we have the quintessential Dark Angel combo of Scouts, Deathwing, and Ravenwing delivering a heavy assault punch.

The little ones sneak in and find them, the big one's come in a subdue them.

Then the speedy one's capture them and take them for a spa holiday. Honest!

If those don't work, then I can always send in the company veterans with their land raider to shoot everything.

Here in my car, I feel safest of all... 

Squad 2 are rolling around in their favourite Rhino and supported by a Predator with Autocannon and Heavy Bolters. This unit is intended to make any light infantry very sad with as many bolter rounds that I could (super) humanly fart out. The Rhino has a second storm bolter, the squad has a heavy bolter, but no specialist weapon, just to add another bolt gun. The Sergeant is also packing a boltgun. This unit tends to get taken out in pretty much every game as it makes for a nice solid core.

Dakka, dakka, and more dakka, cuz green onez are bestest... wait...

Squad 3 are packing all the plasma weapons you can technically carry, as well as a dreadnought rocking, you guessed it, another plasma cannon. This is probably the least used of the squads, mostly because I don't get to play against anything with heavy infantry very often. 

Also the sergeant forgot his helmet.  

Squad 4 are my tank hunters. The Sergeant brought along his power fist, and the specialist is hefting around a meltagun so I can roll a 1 to hit at the most critical moment. Also have the heavy sporting a lascannon as well as the razorback carrying a twin lascannon. The idea here was to combat squad the unit, have the longer range stuff stay back, with the dreadnought and provide cover fire, while the short ranged stuff dashes forwards in the razorback to do some damage up close and personal. 

Tank hunting across the universe. 

So there we have my Dark Angels. I've honestly not had the urge to add to them, I did intend to add a devastator and assault squad to get me up to half company strength but I've never quite managed to get back to the Dark Angel painting place with them. Gaming, sure these guys get a lot of table time. Maybe one day I will get the spark again and add a couple more squads. A devastator squad supported by a Whirlwind battery, or maybe a Vindicator and an Assault squad with THAT Interrogator Chaplain. Or I could do a few Primaris Marines as well...

Ok, maybe there is a little tingle to paint some more. 


Thursday, 17 August 2017

Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

So… I’m back.

"Its been a while. What the hell’s going on? We thought you'd died in a freak cheese grater accident?"

Well. I’ve had a couple of things eating into my hobby time of late.

I’ve been busy with this:
Project House: A hole in the air into which you pour effort and money.
And he hasn't helped much:

Also, I’ve been helping to make this:

And this:

Whilst trying to keep the workforce from getting the weird and horrific sort of industrial diseases that you've only read about in a Victorian medical almanac. 

" So, on the hobby front… What have you been doing for the last two years?"

Well, not much. I've been at an almost terminally low hobby ebb.

Until very recently, 40K was still suffering under a bloated, moronic rule-set and GW merrily derped the well-developed and compelling Warhammer universe out of existence and replaced it with ‘Adventures in magic land for 4 year olds'. See Here for details.

It didn’t help that until recently, most of my hobby stuff was packed up and in storage whilst our hovel house was being ripped apart and rebuilt.

I did manage to make this though:
Squeak, Squeak, Zzap Splat.
And this:
Er, it's a shed. Captions fail me.
During this time, and having very little interest in GW, I started reading about historical scale modelling. In fairness, my interest in this started about a decade ago when Imperial Armour Model Masterclass Vol. 1 came out, which was the first time I’d ever read about how to achieve realistic armour, damage and weathering effects on models and seen just how ‘true to life’ scale models could be made to look.
Available from all good Forgeworlds.
IAMMV1(as no-one calls it) was a real inspiration to me and based on that book I did my best to incorporate weathering and armour effects into my vehicle (Ork) painting with mixed results. See Here for mixed results.

I was always a bit hampered in these efforts by my lack of an airbrush – a tool vital for carrying out many of the techniques in the book. Fortunately, I now have one.

Whilst cyber stalking researching Phil Stutcinskas’ historical armour work on line, I came across another modeler referencing his work. This guy was Mike Rinaldi and is the author of the frankly excellent ‘Tank Art’ Series of books. I think these books are excellent for a couple of reasons: Firstly, they set out painting, damage and weathering techniques in a logical order and they explain why techniques work as well as how to do them. Finally, he is a phenomenally talented painter and his models look magnificent.

Mike Rinaldi's books are available Here. They can be tricky to track down if they're out of print.

And it might have ended there if I hadn't been scouting for stuff in a local Hobbycraft, when this caught my eye:
Schneller Pussycat, Töten! Töten!
I chose a Panther because
- It was there
- There's something about German WW2 tanks that just looks so... BrÜtal.

Fifteen pounds lighter and I walked away with a 1:35 Panther tank, to which I added a metal turned barrel, Friul model tracks and drive wheels and brass etch engine port covers. (I also bought some side skirts, but these turned out to be incompatible with the Tamiya Panther A kit – Always check before you buy kiddies.)

As usual, I haven’t taken enough step by step photos for this to be in any way ‘tutorial-esque’. But in a vague order this is what I did:

I Built It!

I built the thing (including the tracks*) with some glue. Whilst doing this, I used plastic glue to soften the plastic and a dental tool to better define the flame cut edges of slabs at armour joints.

I also thought that too much track makes for a dull tank, so I scratch built a little rack for transporting water on the side of the hull because of a dodgy radiator and a drinking problem**.

I sprayed colours at it!

I then sprayed the entire tank a red brown. This is to represent the factory applied primer (red lead***) that will poke through where the paint work is damaged. Over this, I applied a hair spray layer, a layer of base yellow another hair spray layer and the green camouflage pattern over the top. The reason for the hairspray is that it allows you to realistically chip the paint off the tank, making it look like wear and tear and battle damage. For more information about what and why the hairspray technique is, there is a tutorial Hea-Yaaaar!

With the picture below, I've tried to show the effect, and where green has been removed to show yellow and yellow removed to display the underlying red lead primer.

Chipping close up - a lesser known part of the Cotswolds. 

Once I’d finished chipping, I gave the whole thing a gloss spray coat with Vallejo gloss varnish. This helps to prevent any further (unwanted) chipping from occurring and gives a much better surface for both pin washes and oil paint rendering.

I Oil Paint Rendered it!

"You did what to it?"

Oil paint rendering is a process invented (or at least described) by Mike Rinaldi of blending oil paint over acrylic layers in order to modulate the look of the underlying colour.

This can portray faded paint, staining, dust, water run-off and the effects of heat. Most importantly, oil paint rendering adds definition to what might otherwise be flat, featureless areas of the model.

It’s something I’d been itching to try for a while as it can look amazing and can give real weight to a model. So I did

Whilst my results weren’t entirely what I’d hoped for – partly because some of the oil colours I picked weren’t quite right - I do think it helps to give the tank’s paint an exposed and faded look.

As an example, the image below shows the front deck plate (and glacis and side plates) that has been oil paint rendered against the engine deck plate that hasn’t.

The colours on the engine plate appear deeper and more vibrant, whereas the colours everywhere else appear faded, washed out and dustier – which is what the intention was.

The problem of showing subtle effects with shonky photography.
Further detail on oil paint rendering, written by someone far better at it than I am, can be found here: Oil Paint Rendering Explanation

I Made it Look Muddy!

I wanted to give the tank a proper ‘been churning through Kursk mud’ look, and that was going to involve a lot of weathering powder.

The muddiest areas of the tank would be the wheels and the hull sides, which would get caked in mud if carrying out much off road driving.

Boss, I done got the war tractur stuck. (Courtesy of Youtube) 

To achieve a spattered mud effect on the side suspension plates I brush applied a mixture of weathering powders of varying colours on the side and then fixed them in place with a mixture of AK pigment fixer and white spirit.

Caution. Pigment fixer is really persistent and sticky**** - don’t spill it.

Caution: sticky.
When using weathering powder, I think its important to use different shades so that you get a variation of tone: too much of one colour can make heavy mud effects look strangely monotone – like the tank’s been driving round a cement factory.

If you want mud... You got it. 

I wanted to emulate mud splash on the side plates in proximity to the tracks, and for this I mixed weathering powder with white spirit and pigment fixer to make a sticky goo, which I then loaded onto a brush and flicked onto certain parts of the rear of the tank.

Another caution, this is really, really not good at all for your brushes, so don’t do this with brand new W&N 7s.

Not a happy brush.
I’ll leave this here for now as this has already been a long and arduous post.

I’ll show the completed tank and talk about the project as a whole next week. but I'll leave this here as a sneak peak:

Until next time, auf wiedershen.

*If you can find a hobby related activity more tedious than cleaning up and assembling Friulmodel track links (192 of them), congratulations, you must be having an awful lack of fun.

*(* I made this bit up. I've no idea how realistic this scenario may have been, but I just wanted to stick water cans on the side instead of more spare track.

*** Still does, only now they use a non lead based paint called red oxide.

**** I live with a 2 year old - I am a connoisseur of sticky.