Saturday, 29 October 2016

Grot Kannonz - A Long Dormant Project.

As a moving gift to myself, I purchased a really nice glass cabinet from Ikea with the intention of displaying some of my favourite models in my new flat. The process of moving into a smallish flat also prompted me to sort through all my models and re-organise them into convenient storage containers etc... Both of these processes have inspired me to rediscover my long forgotten Ork army and have reminded me of some of my project intentions before I fell out of love with 40K.

One such project was these five Kromlech Kannonz that I've finally gotten around to painting. I'd bought them years ago as part of a deal and intended to convert them ever so slightly so that they didn't all look the same. I used various parts from the Killa Kanz and Mega Nobz boxes to alter the gun barrels and I also produced new gun shields from plasti-card for some to add variety. Then I got really bored of 40K and so they remained dormant in the bottom of a tool kit for years until a couple of weeks ago when I finally found them again.

I painted all five guns at once, which was time consuming and tedious at times. However, I am really pleased with the end results, especially after the rust dust and patina details were added. I'm currently working on the crews for the gunz, which I'll mount to the gun bases themselves (two to a gun, rather than leave them on separate bases). At a later date, I'll paint 10 more Grots up for the unit to max out their crew but for now I'm happy with the minimum. After all, I have other Ork projects to continue and finish.

As always, let me know what you think. Your criticism is always welcome.    

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Big Mek Sprokit and some shooty Shoota Boyz

Hello dear readers and good evening. I felt too much time had passed since my last offering on this blog. I now find myself in the curious position of teaching 3 year-olds, which comes with its many challenges and rewards. Unfortunately, one common challenge is finding any time to indulge in my favourite hobby of painting and gaming. Fortunately, however, I have found a local club and have sourced myself a generous ride so hopefully I shall be back in the gaming saddle after an all too long absence.

Having said that, I have found at least a little time since my last post to paint some Shoota Boyz and an old Big Mek.

First up is Big Mek Sprokit, a metal model equipped with a kustom force-field. I have always loved this model and in battle it is a very useful unit. I used to use him up front in a battle wagon, providing killa kans and trucks with the save. However, under the new rules (yuck!), I'll be fielding him at the back with my five grot kannonz. Regardless, he's a brilliant model and I'm very pleased with the re-paint job.

I replaced the original base with a fresh new one since the original was covered in very course ballast and badly placed wreckage. I then updated all the colours to match my most current Ork models, lightening the skin tone and adding more Goff checks. Finally, I brightened up the generally drab Goff scheme with brass patina and rust weathering powder. I really think these little flashes of colour make my Goff Orks pop.

Let me know what you think of him in the comments below. I'm always trying to improve my techniques.

Next up is the beginnings of another 30 strong Shoota Boyz mob. I picked up an old boz of plastic/metal hybrid Stikk Bommaz from the bring-and-buy sale at the Birmingham Games Expo this year for £6!! This prompted me to get building another mob and to use some of the Armorcast muzzle flash effects I bought years ago! I really, really like the effect and I'll be distributing flashes amongst my other finished mobs at a roughly 50/50 proportion. I'll take time, but it's worth it I think. Otherwise, I painted these boyz in exactly the same way as before. Five down, 25 more to go!

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Painboy...Pain in the arse more like!

Well, well, well. After a few years of dedicating all my painting and modelling time to historical miniatures, I finally plucked up the interest to dig out a few unfinished Ork models. First out of the box was this painboy model, which was the only figure I really liked from the Ork codex release. I love the giant metal hand and cheeky grin on this model and it also stands in rather nicely as a replacement for the Mad Dok!

However, 3 weeks later the bloody thing is finally finished! I appreciate that my painting skills and techniques have developed over the past 2 years and that my time has been extremely limited recently but still, 3 weeks on a single model! The detail on him is astonishing, which meant that every time I dipped my paintbrush I'd find something new that I'd missed. Pile on top of that the number of tubes, vials and other glass/fluid features and you've got a complicated, time consuming paint job!

Regardless, I'm thrilled with the results and I'm only sorry my photography skills are inadequate to showcase the paint job. Maybe there'll be a little more 40k on the way! We'll have to see.

P.S. I'm not playing the stupid game, just to be clear!

Saturday, 28 May 2016

M4A3 Sherman (76mm). 'Down Necker'

Hi all, my crusade to renovate the tanks in my case has continued this week with a Warlord Games 76mm Sherman with wooden armour. Before I began, she was a tad boring. No pin-up, only one weathering powder application and no grass tufts meant she stood out amongst my other vehicles. Therefore, I decided to bring her back up to scratch. First, I tidied up all the dents and scratches that had occurred through use in the case. Then, I applied several alcohol based washes of weathering powders to the various areas of the tank. Next, I applied the 'Down Necker' decal to the space I'd left free the first time around. I also brushed on a few layers of weathering powders dry. I was sceptical that this would work at first but I am now pleased with the results. Finally, I added two colours of grass tufts to the base. I'm hoping to add additional stowage to this vehicle when the Rubicon stowage set is released!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

M26 Pershing. Bessy gets a makeover

I've continued to root through my army case for vehicles that need a little touch up and a little repair. Consequently, I came across my M26 Pershing, a model I bought at the beginning of my journey into Boltaction.

I bought the model at the Derby Games Convention because friends of mine wanted to take advantage of the 10% off for 3 models deal! I came away with a Pershing and my friends picked up a Tiger II and an IS-2.

Unfortunately, the M26 is way too expensive for regular games of Boltaction and so it's seen very little use. It is a cool tank though, so I might try and write a list to incorporate it.

Anyway, I took it out of the case and gave it some TLC over the weekend. It was a bit chipped in places and the weathering wasn't quite up to scratch. The base was also quite large so I trimmed that down. I like tanks on bases but they can sometimes get in the way so the smaller the better.  

So there we have it, another tank refreshed and back in service. Let's see what I can find next...

Sunday, 8 May 2016

M36B1 Jackson. It's finally painted!

So it seems that I've a couple of tanks sitting on my painting table for what feels like an age! Fortunately, this Jackson is the last (before I build the 2 tanks I still have in boxes!) and I'm mightily relieved to finally have it gone.

Sadly, it's unlikely to see much table time on account of it's crazy points cost but I'm sure it will make at least a few appearances in tank wars games. We shall see.
 I really like crew models in the turrets of tanks but these guys took forever to paint! They add life to the vehicle but I'd be lying if I claimed to enjoy painting them.
This vehicle does of course join the ranks of my fictional tank unit, the Warbirds. Unfortunately, she doesn't yet have a name or a pin-up. That's a job for another day I think.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Dutchess! M4A3E2 Sherman Jumbo

It feels like I've had this Sherman Jumbo model from Blitzkrieg Miniatures on my painting desk for an age! For one reason or another, I have not been able to muster enough energy to finish it off. Well, as my teacher training enters its last leg, I found some time and incentive to finish it off for good. So let me introduce the newest addition to the Warbirds tank company, Dutchess!

 She's been painted in the usual way, using Vallejo Model colours and Forgeworld weathering powders. 
 No pin-up model on this one but her name is emblazoned loud and proud on the side.  
 The cast of the modal was unfortunately slightly damaged on the sides as you can see above. Rather than correct the defect, I decided to leave it as war damage. After all, anyone familiar with the Jumbo in World of Tanks knows that shells can ping off this machine all day long.  
 I also included a Warlord Games tank commander in the turret for good measure.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

M20 Scout Car: Rubicon kits continue to impress me!

The thing that's interesting to me about collecting a historical force is that I personally have not lost any motivation to continue expanding my collection for a single army (or Nation in this respect). When I was in full swing of collecting 40k miniatures, I would plan an army and then progressively buy and paint the units that I'd planned for. Then I'd play around with it a bit until it worked for me and that's how the army would stay, usually for a year or so, before I sold it and started again with another new idea.

Conversely, I've now been playing Bolt Action for around two years and I'm still not bored of collecting units for my US army. It doesn't even seem to matter if they're good units in the game or not (although I do still enjoy the competition of building competitive armies in competitive environments). Even so-called boring units like riflemen keep getting painted. My US force is growing and growing all the time and it doesn't seem to be showing any signs of stopping. It'll be interesting to me to see when the momentum runs out but that's enough of my musings for now, I have an M20 scout car to show you.

The kit is from Rubicon, one of my favourite 1/56 scale vehicle producers, and as usual the kit was a joy to build.  The details are very nice and there are a few options to choose from such as the inclusion of a mine rack or a storage compartment. One particularly pleasing detail was the flattening on the tires, which helps basing the model and also demonstrates the weight of the vehicle.

The only issue with Rubicon kits is the lack of crew figures, which in fairness is an issue they are working hard to remedy. Until then, I've used a Warlord Games US tank crew gunner to operate the .50 cal and a Westwind half-track crewman to sit inside the vehicle interior. I also added some Allied stowage from Warlord Games to the exterior to make the armoured car look a bit more lived in.

Finally, a continued use for the awful Westwind half-track crew figures!

The model was painted using my usual combination of Vallejo Model Color paints and Forgeworld weathering powders. I have the base still to finish but otherwise, the model is complete. Hopefully an 80pt HMG with recce proves useful in the game!  

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Upgrading to a 'big boy' mortar: 4.2" chemical mortar

Goodness me it must be Christmas as I'm actually following up on my promises! Yesterday I said that I would be building and painting a US 4.2" heavy mortar from scratch and then sharing the results with you. Well, as expected, that's exactly what I did and it's exactly what I'll do.

First, here's the mortar before paint. I built it from some random bits I have left from a 1:35 scale Abrams tank kit and plasticard. It was a little bit fiddly to put together but wasn't altogether complicated.

This image of a real heavy mortar is what I used to base most of the details on. It's 'more or less' accurate and I think it's fine for table-top standard. There seems to be some variety in the construction of these mortars from looking at different pictures so the little differences shouldn't be too bad. 

Here it is with some crew models. I've used crew from other guns that I had. They fit in fine except for the bazooka loader, who's bomb is far too small for the mortar. See the historical picture above for reference to shell sizes. Perhaps I'll scratch up a new loader if I have time. 

 I thought it would be of some use to compare the sizes of the small, medium and heavy mortars. I'm a little concerned that my heavy mortar is too big. Having said that, I don't think it's 'silly' too big, especially when looking at the reference photo above. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Rangers lead the way! Pt 2.

Last week I finally finished the Rangers, hooray! In fairness they were not that much of a struggle to paint and I'm very happy with the final result. I used Blacktree Designs US GI packs and painted them in Vallejo model colours. The final touches were made using Company B 5th Ranger decals and Gamer's Grass tufts.

All that's left for my Nationals army is the 4.2'' heavy mortar, which I scratch built today. I'll be painting it tonight and hopefully showing it off tomorrow. Fortunately, I've painted up plenty of crew for other guns so I don't need to make any new ones. Phew!
The complete squad comprises: 1x BAR, 2x SMG and a Sgt. with SMG

I really like the beard/stubble effect on these Rangers. I'll spend some time this week going over some men from other squads to include some facial hair!

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Motorised Artillery: the M8 Scott

Unfortunately, progress has been slow on the remaining 4 Rangers due to a heavy week in work so I don't have an update on them today.

Instead, I was able to find some time to apply the final touches to my Rubicon M8 Scott. I sourced the crew from the Westwind half-track crew set. Originally, I was pretty annoyed when I received the Westwind crew because they are absolutely tiny in comparison with all my other 28mm miniatures so I wasn't able to use them on my own half-track. However, they do make good open-topped crew figures for Rubicon tanks as their diminutive size allows them to squeeze in nicely. Phew, finally a use for them!

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Rangers lead the way. Pt 1

I've decided to make more of an effort to make regular updates. The plan, as it stands, is to try and update with something every Sunday. So let's see what I have today.

In my ongoing struggle to get a Student Nationals BA list ready, I have focused my attention on getting the Rangers painted. I picked the models up from Black Tree Designs during their most recent mega sale. Personally I like the figures but many have accused them of looking apish and disproportioned. Those people certainly aren't wrong but I'm ok with that. They remind me a lot of 90's era GW so its an art style I'm very familiar with.

I painted them up exactly like my other rifle men and used Company B 5th Rangers decals. I chose the 5th Rangers so that they can support my 1st Inf. Div. in battles. Historically, the units fought alongside in many battles, including Omaha beach.

Company B decals