Saturday, 30 January 2016

Painting a Sherman Calliope

Hello everyone, I thought that since it was such a nice bright day today that I'd take some photos of my Sherman Calliope. Using two in Company of Heroes 2 on my friend's base may also have helped focus the mind too! It's not yet quite finished. I'm going to try and freehand paint a pinup to the side and I need to mount it on a suitable base like all my other vehicles. That's why I've not applied any weathering powders to the tracks and turret. I think I'll also add some more fine detailing to the sandbags, they're still looking a bit flat colour-wise.

 I've added kill markings to the side to represent enemy vehicle kills.

 In honour of my reference material (see previous post), I've called her Annie. She also has the motto "Kiss kiss bang bang" applied to the 75mm barrel.

As you can see the tracks haven't been weathered fully yet.

 Here's a better close up of the storage locker I scratch built. Doesn't look too terrible.

 So far the wires in the rocket launcher have stayed assembled! I wonder how long it'll take before they all ping off with use!

That's it for now folks. The next update will likely feature the Calliope completed.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Building a Sherman Calliope for Boltaction

Hello dear readers, please accept my many apologise form my absence. I have been going through a great period of change over the last 6 months that has ultimately resulted in me moving to Birmingham, training as an Early Years teacher and receiving my PhD in evolutionary biology (yes you may address me as Dr Smurf!).

Sadly, all this has left very little time for anything let alone updating my humble hobby blog. I didn't want to let it die though, so I thought I would share my latest creation with you all in the hope that it would remind me to continue to support this blog in the future and indeed the hobby community as a whole (I do hope at least a few people have taken some inspiration from a few of my creations).

Right, so I have been playing mainly Boltaction over the last year or so and I have enjoyed it so much that I have even written a rules changes pack for 40k so that it plays a little more like Boltaction. I call it 'Bolter Action' and if you'd like to take a look at the rules and give them a try, please send me a message and I'll send them over to you. Boltaction is fresh, interesting and compelling thanks to its factual basis and order die mechanic. I love researching and learning about the men and women that fought in WW2 and I try my best to bring that knowledge and respect to the tabletop.

This does mean that almost all of my hobby time over the past year has been devoted to raising units for my beloved 1st Infantry Division, the big red one! Here is my latest addition, a Sherman Calliope, that I based off of pictures of 'Annabelle', which you can see in the image below.

She's being added to my fictitious 'War Birds' collection of tanks, which all bear female names and mottoes. Although this contradicts my earlier point about historical accuracy, it is a bit of fun and I think it reflects the fun that tank crews had when they named and painted their own vehicles. She's also been put together for my 2016 Student Nationals tournament list!

The build consisted of an M4A3 Sherman kit produced by Rubicon, a sandbag armour set produced by S&S models and a Calliope rocket launcher add on kit supplied by Warlord games.

I assembled the Sherman kit first, which being a Rubicon plastic kit was a joy to put together. Many bloggers and reviewers have recommended Rubicon kits for their level of detail and ease of assembly. I am not an exception and I would heartily encourage any and all to try Rublicon kits out for themselves!

Once the Sherman was assembled, I needed to add the sandbag armour. Being resin, I first scrubbed it in warm soapy water with a tooth brush followed by trimming of flash with a sharp Stanley knife. I then glued it onto the sides and front of the hull being careful not to break the .30cal machine gun. To add the front piece, you do need to remove some details from the front of the Sherman kit such as the stowage holds but this is easily done. Overall, the sandbag armour was easy to clean and assemble but I did have to do a lot of greenstuff work, including re-sculpts, to get it to look like a complete entity. This was a bit of a pain and in my opinion warrants a 'B' rating from S&S models instead of the 'A' rating it holds on their store. Regardless, the armour looked the part and was certainly cheap enough to use if you have the greenstuff skills to fix it. It's worth mentioning that you also get two pieces of sandbag armour for the turret but I didn't use them due to the rocket launcher getting in the way.

With the greenstuff on the hull drying, I then turned my attention to assembling the T37 rocket launcher onto the turret. The resin parts were scrubbed first and then cleaned up with a sharp knife. There were some minor defects, which needed some greenstuff attention but nothing major. Assembling the launcher and adding it to the turret was a simple enough process but I wanted to add some extra historical details so I hit the internet for reference materials and came across this forum post. Using Terry Barrett's build as a reference allowed me to wire up the launcher as best I could using florist's wire and add the radio antenna on the left hand side. This was a fiddly job and required some patience but I think the end result is quite impressive.

Finally, I wanted to add the rocket stowage box to the back, which meant scratch building one from plasticard. I'm not the best at using plasticard because I don't yet have all the precision tools that I need to make super straight lines and perfect right angled corners. Having said that, I did my best and got a reasonable result. I fully intend to add additional stowage to the top of the engine block in the future but I'm waiting for the Rubicon stowage pack to be released before I do that, which is why it's looking a bit empty at the moment.

So that's it for now. I'll be painting her over the next couple of weeks and I promise I'll upload the pictures when she's finished. For now, have fun!