Sunday, January 22, 2012

Meet my army: Part VI - SS-Panther Platoon

I finally managed to finish the SS-Panther platoon I was working on recently. It was also a platoon that I experimented on with the couple of new techniques.
First of all, I used an airbrush to paint the camo for the first time. Unfortunately, I had problems with leaking air, but somehow I managed to paint what I needed. Second technique was filtering. It is a technique quite similar to washing, but you have to dilute the paint little bit more (I used oil paints and turpentine) and use nearly dry brush, which is the main difference from wash (where you apply dots of paint). It gives really nice effects. You can apply many layers and observe how colors change. I started with a mixture of brown and black and than applied couple of layers of light ochre. Finally, I tested a new technique for foliage camouflage.

You can find couple of photos below and the full gallery here.

I plan to use the panthers together with the SS-Panzer Pioniers I'm currently working on. We will see how they work together. 
However, I had a chance recently to test the panthers against Kondziu and his new Soviets from the Red Bear book. I prepared a Panzergrenadier Kampfgruppe form 5th SS division "Wiking" from the Grey Wolf book. It was really sad to see how ten T-34/85 and three SU100 chased my trained panthers here and there... sad...really sad.

Hans is a good commander, he navigates well in the unknown terrain

Ups... Hans had a wrong uniform, now it is correct...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Realistic foliage camouflage revisited

Today, I would like to go back to the topic on which I was already writing once - foliage camouflage. Last time I was talking about two ways of making this kind of camouflage. The first one was a simple camouflage made from clump foliage, the second one was more advanced. I used a tiny wire and leaves produced by Noch. The latter approach was definitely more realistic than the first one, but it was quite consuming and I was not fully satisfied with how the branches looked like.

Well, I try to continuously improve my modeling and painting techniques, so I decided to go back to the topic. I have to give a credit to the member of the FOW forum under the nick "Zoolander" who published a great tutorial on painting 15mm Panzer IVs. The idea I present here comes from his post on the Battlefront's forum.

The solution is a little bit more expensive than the one with a TV cable wire I presented before, but it is definitely easier to apply and effect is marvelous.

Step 1. Gather materials

This time you have to buy a Noch 23100 set. It contains a natural foliage - yes they look like real, dry plants (and they are real in fact). A mega-pack I bought costed me around 15 EUR. I have to mentioned that I used only a single piece of "bush" from the pack to produce a bunch of ready to use branches. In addition, you will have to buy leaves. I had two kinds of them. The first one was the pack of dark green leaves produced by Noch that I used last time. I mixed them with the Heki 3398 lighter colored leaves. I am really pleased with the color I obtained.

Step 2. Prepare branches

The second step is very simple, just tear apart small branches from the "bush branches".

Step 3. Glue the leaves

Now, cover each of branches in glue and then put it into the leaves - so simple :)

Step 4. Leave for while to dry

Finally, leave it for a single night alone, so the glue dries. That is all :) Below you can see the number of ready to use branches I obtained from a single piece of "bush" from the Noch's set.

The final effect...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

How to make a 15mm bucket

I've never thought that I will write tutorial about buckets ;) Well, there is always the first time...
Right now I am working on the platoon of three Panthers. As always I like to make a little research before I start to paint to get some inspiration. One thing that made me curious when I was looking at photos of Panthers was a small bucket that was placed in the rear part of the tank. Actually, I've seen it many times in photos of different tank models. I still have no idea what it was used for - I only suspect that it could be used by a crew to refuel a tank. Nevertheless, I decided to add a bucket to one of the tanks.
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license

OK, but how to make such a tiny bucket... I had one in the Battlefront's "half-track stowage" blister. Unfortunately, it was strictly connected to couple of other things that made it useless in this context. So I decided to make one on my own.

I started with an idea of modeling it with green stuff. Needless to say it turned out that I'm not a gifted sculptor... It looked more like a piece of amateur pottery than a real bucket. So I started to obsessively look for anything that could be used for that purpose. After couple of days I found it - so simple - my old paintbrush!

It is extremely easy. Find a small brush, cut the tip. Then, take a piece of thin wire (mine is from TV cable) and use it as a handle. Here you are. Another benefit you can renew your brush :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

PSC SdKfz 251/1D Arrived!

Couple days ago a long awaited (since October) box of SdKfz 251/1D arrived to my kingdom. These were produced by the Plastic Soldier Company (PSC). Actually, PSC released couple of interesting sets of 15mm models that could be a serious alternative to Battlefront miniatures. They are competitive not only if the price is considered but also when one thinks about the quality of casting.

From the beginning I will have to admit that I love the SdKfz 251 models provided by Battlefront. They are really nice. I have seven of them right now. Unfortunately, each half-track costs the same amount of money as a regular tank. This is the main issue if you ask people why they are not collecting mechanized infantry companies. You have to have more than ten of them, and what is the biggest drawback is that in many cases you won't even place them on table (yes they are transports, they count to causalities...).

And here is the spot which PSC found they market target. They are producing models that are used in large numbers by players. They started from realeasing T-34s, Panzer IVs, and infantry sets (Russian and German late-war infantry), and quite quickly started to introduce new models: SdKfz 251/1s C and D, StuGs, Shermans, Panzer IIIs.

Today I will only bring you one photo of the set - mainly to show you that the models seem to be perfectly accurate in comparison with Battle Front if size is considered. They are even historically more accurate than Battlefront's - they have boxes inside which are characteristic for the model 251/1D. In addition, you will get lots of stowage with them, which you can use to enhance your other models (e.g., I will add spare tires to my SdKfz 231s).

Unfortunately, they will have to wait in painting queue to get assembled. I will share photos as soon as they are ready.

Comparison between Battlefront's (the one assembled) and PSC's SdKfz 251/1D