Thursday, September 12, 2019

Meng World War Toons King Tiger

A quick post for today - this is the completed Meng "World War Toons" King Tiger. I reviewed this tank (along with the Tiger I) back in January. For a kit that cost me less than $15, I'm abundantly pleased with it. For modelers, these are either good AFVs to learn on (for beginners) or a nice change of pace (for veterans). For gamers, unlike the previous Tiger I, this model scales relatively well with 28mm and would make an interesting tank for Weird WW2, Pulp, or Retro Sci-Fi games. With the exception of the tracks being an extremely tight fit, it was quick and fun to build and allowed me to try out some new weathering effects I hadn't done before. 

I primed this with Kylon Red Oxide primer, applied a coat of hairspray for chipping, then airbrushed on Tamiya paints. Since I wanted to try a different tone of Dunkelgelb to reflect some late war paints, I did a 25/75 mix of Tamiya Dark Yellow and Wooden Deck Tan, with soft-edged splotches of Tamiya Red Brown and Tamiya Flat Green with a small amount of Vallejo Model Air Pale Green. After chipping, I painted the gun barrels in Vallejo Dark Grey, as well as any tools/tow cables/tracks, and mufflers. I painted the visors in jeweled effects consisting of blended layers of Vallejo Dark Blue and Light Turquoise, then washed with Secret Weapon Cool Grey. To mimic any metallic tones (such as on the gun barrel and tools), I applied Vallejo Oily Steel with Vallejo Shading Medium added - this tones down the harshness of the metal and blends it into the surrounding paint.

The mufflers were a challenge. I attempted to add varying shades of red, orange, and yellow with a sponge to produce a mottled effect but I didn't like it. So, after applying decals and sealing everything, I started in with successive oil washes of Burnt Umber, Black, and Cool Grey. In the final wash, I added some Vallejo Rust dry pigment (I did this to the spare tracks as well). The oil washes blend in the underlying paint and the pigment gives it an ultra-flat finish, as well as adding texture. I then applied an oil filter over the entire tank and added in some different pin washes.

Being vinyl, the tracks we simply washed with multiple coats of Vallejo European Dirt and Light Rust washes, then drybrushed with Vallejo Oil Steel, then given on final wash. I kept the wheels and tracks off to the end and added some Vallejo Thick Mud and other mud effects but, once the wheels and upper hull were attached, you really can't see it. Oh well. To finish things off, I added some oil and gas spills to the engine deck and applied some gloss over the visors and headlight. 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Battletech Bandit Group

So, about 30 years ago, 8 year old me watched in awe as some of the older kids on my block played  two games that would go on to be the basis for my interest in wargaming - Dungeons & Dragons and Battletech. Tastes and the gaming industry always change so that, by the time I was a teenager myself, both were waning in popularity a bit and were eclipsed by the rising juggernaut of Games Workshop. But the interest was still there in the back of my mind, and I read the occasional Battletech novel or played the occasional Battletech video game (Mech Commander being my favorite). So, I was pleasantly surprised when the game was given a much-needed makeover and a fantastic second Kickstarter focusing on the Clan Invasion. I needed to get in on this.

So here I am, much older, with my first set of fully painted Battlemechs. I picked up these up on the cheap ($15 for a closeout Alpha Strike Pursuit Lance and $10 for a clearance Robotech box of Warhammers and Riflemen) and I just thought "get these on the table so you can learn the game before your Kickstarter pledge comes in!".....and here we are. To be honest, I've never painted Battletech minis before and haven't painted anything for myself in this scale (6mm) for several years now, so this was also a learning curve for me as well.

I primed these Mechs black, then used a zenithal priming of Red Oxide, applied a coat of hairspray for chipping effects, and then airbrushed a three-tone soft-edged camouflage scheme of Tamiya Red Brown, Olive Green, and Wooden Deck Tan. I then chipped it....which didn't really work. At this small scale, there aren't a lot of well-defined edges to run the brush over and, coupled with the Red Brown basecoat, the chipping doesn't really stand out. I then washed everything in diluted GW Agrax Earthshade.

As I wanted this unit to look like a group of rag-tag mercenaries or bandits, I overpainted some of the panels and gun barrels with Vallejo Oily Steel to represent arm that had been replaced but never repainted. I also did this to the ends of the PPC gun barrels on the Warhammers, working in successive shades of blue and purple to simulate the heat-tinting of metal. In my headcanon, these mechs are captured stock from some military unit or mothballed storage depot and the red shoulders represent the new owners covering up the old unit symbols and I painted these with Vallejo Flat Red, highlighted with a 50/50 mix of VMC Flat Red/Reaper Rach Red, and washed with some ancient GW Baal Red wash. The cockpit glass was just a spontaneous decision of trying to see if I could replicate jewel effects with a single color and multiple washes - the basecoat is an incredibly ancient bottle of craft Medium Yellow paint (so old, in fact that the brand - Illinois Bronze Paint - is no longer in business!), given multiple washes of GW Casandora Yellow to build up orange shading, then given the "glint" in Pure White. The infrared lights on the Warhammers were done in a similar way but given multiple washes of the GW Baal Red, then a final wash of Secret Weapon Red Black.

Decals were a mix of whatever I happened to have on hand that would fit. They all got some skulls because skulls are cool and then a few different designs to "personalize" each mech to its Mechwarrior. I then did all the basework and glued the Mechs down and this is the final result. For a force that went from bare plastic to fully-painted and table-ready in a month, I'm happy with the result. Is it my best work? No. Does it have to be? No. But it's the realization of a seed that was planted decades ago.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Afrika Korps Schutzen Trucks...on a budget!

To transport my squads of Afrika Korps troops around the Western Desert, I needed some trucks. Not wanting to shell out another $30+ on some 1/56 scale plastic kits for an army that was really done as a fun side project, I went looking for alternatives and stumbled on Matchbox's Models of Yesteryear. I liked the look of the WW1-era British Crossley Tenders and picked up two for $10. And I can already hear the rivet counters say in unison "Well, actually..." and they would be right - it's ahistorical to drop these 25 years on in the middle of Egypt or Libya, but my headcanon says they picked these up from some old British fuel dump somewhere and borrowed them, permanently. 

I disassembled and primed them in Krylon Red Oxide, then applied a layer of hairspray for chipping and airbrushed on a 50/50 mix of Tamiya Olive Drab and Medium Green. Once dry, I worked on chipping that paint, oversprayed it with Krylon Flat to maintain colorfastness, applied another layer of hairspray for chipping, then airbrushed on a 75/25 mix of Tamiya Dark Yellow and Yellow Green. Once chipped, this makes it appear that the truck was originally painted in British Drab and then oversprayed in Afrika Korps Sand Yellow after capture. Details were then painted, the trucks reassembled, and then decals were applied from the Rubicon Opel Blitz sheet. After sealing, the trucks were weathered in oils and dry pigments.

They look old fashioned and aren't perfect, but for $10, I'm not complaining. 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

1/56 Renault "Adventuring" Van

Back into the swing of things after a long break from modeling, here's my converted Renault "Adventuring" Van. It started as a Matchbox "Models of Yesteryear" diecast toy that I stripped down, primed, painted, and added stowage to use in Pulp, Back of Beyond, and World War 2 gaming, as both a vehicle and objective. In the past, I've used a lot of Lledo diecast which, while passable, aren't as nice and lack realistic tires.

I disassembled and then primed this model in Krylon Red Oxide, then used hairspray to create the chipping effect. The chassis is straight Tamiya Black and the body itself is Tamiya Light Blue. When chipped, the light tone blue and reddish-orange create a nice contrast (you see it a lot in movie posters lately). The large ying-yang symbol was from a 1/32 WW1 biplane kit and the rest of the decals are from various 1/56 Rubicon vehicle kits. The stowage itself is a mix of 1/48 Tamiya fuel canisters & stowage, beads, and basswood. I then reassembled and heavily weathered the model with oils and pigments. As the tires are soft plastic, I just gave them a heavy wash of watered-down Secret Weapon Basic Dirt to simulate road dust.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Meng World War Toons Tiger I

Way back in January I reviewed two of Meng's "World War Toon" Chibi tanks and I finally completed one of them. This was a fun kit to build and a nice change of pace from my usually serious work that simply sat half-complete on my workbench for most of this summer. If you want more info on the build itself, that is included with my review above.

To paint this model, I primed it using Krylon's Rust Red primer, applied a coat of hairspray, and then over-sprayed a basecoat mix of Tamiya 75% Dark Yellow/25% Yellow Green. Once dry, I applied some very light edge highlights using the mix above with a touch of pure white added and then began the chipping process. After chipping, I did detail painting as well as "jewel effects" on the periscopes/viewports using successive highlights of VMC Dark Blue, to VMC Light Turquoise, to pure white.

Unfortunately, the vinyl tracks were a completely new material for me to work with and I spent a lot of time researching what to use. In the end, I decided to go with multiple washes of diluted acrylic paints , mostly VMC German Grey, Tamiya Red Brown, and Testors Rust, and finally drybrushing with VMC Oily Steel (I love this color). As I wanted to make the tank somewhat realistic, I decided against using the kit decals and instead used decals from Topcolors 'Panzerwaffe 1941-43' book, based on a Leibstandarte Tiger at Kursk.

Once that was dry, I sealed the entire model and got down to some heavy weathering with oil washes and pigments. After that it was a simple matter of popping on the wheels and tracks and it was done. These are great model kits for their price and present a great opportunity for beginning modelers to learn how to assemble and paint a scale model without the worry of it being "wrong".