Thursday, August 21, 2014

15mm North Africa Terrain

I was lucky enough to find the awesome, sadly out of production, Crescent Root Studios "Adobe" buildings on Evilbay a few weeks back. I really liked this series - they had an awesome texture to the "stucco" finish and the cracks really show well when sponge painted. To match the CR buildings, I repainted the FOW Small Desert Buildings I already had to match.

Unfortunately, that still wasn't a very big village, so I scratchbuilt a few burnt and shelled buildings from 2mm MDF. After assembling I added the uncovered brick texture using my Dremel cutter tool and used layers of plaster and gesso for the "stuccoed" portions. While they aren't perfect, they match well with the other buildings from afar.

While using Google to search for paint colors, I came across some inspirational pics - a few showing cactus "hedges" in Libya and Tunisia and another showing the Air Raid sign just outside Tobruk. For the hedges, I used popsicle sticks for the base, some large gravel for boulders (and to add weight), and Pegasus Hobbies Small Cactus set. The Air Raid sign was made from basswood.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Product Review: Tamiya 1/100 Me262 & Me163 kit

Since I'm looking to do a small expansion of my FOW German forces into the Ardennes offensive, I needed to find a nice model for the Me262 "Sturmvogel". I personally dislike Battlefront's underscale planes - they're noticeably smaller and run contrary to the "forced perspective" argument many of their supporters claim. The awesome Armaments in Miniature doesn't produce a 15mm version, so with some searching I found Tamiya's Me262A & Me163B combo kit. I paid less than $13 for the kit shipped from Evilbay.

Unboxed, the set is very simple and straightforward. Contents include 1 sprue for the Me163B, 2 sprues for the Me262A, a clear canopy sprue, 3 ball bearing "weights", a nicely sealed decal set, and instructions/painting guide.

Assembly is quick and easy - I assembled both planes in one sitting, while watching a movie with my wife. There are a couple sticking points though that do require careful attention. The Me163 wings (and the Me262 rear stabilizers) utilize a mortise and tenon joint - after cementing, you MUST look at each plane from the front elevation to be sure the wings dry at the correct angles (90° from the fuselage). For the Me262, be sure to dry fit the cockpit before gluing - it sits higher than what the instructions lead you to believe. Also, there will be gaps between the Me262 wing assembly and the lower fuselage and raised edges between the wing assembly and fuselage sides that will require filling and sanding (see pic below). Not terribly hard but annoying on a kit that's otherwise easy to assemble.

Take care when sanding certain gaps so as not to destroy raised panel lines or detailing. The Me262 model in this kit represents the the A-1 Schwalbe ("Swallow") version, which served as both a fighter and fighter-bomber, and retains its nose-mounted dorsal 20 & 30mm cannons. If you're a real stickler for historical accuracy, converting the model to the A-2 Sturmvogel version is as simple as filling in the dorsal nose cannons, as these were eliminated to save weight for the dedicated ventral bomb racks.

Here you'll see a size comparison with some BF German Grenadiers and an AIM 15mm Stuka. As you see, dimensions are nearly spot-on. For example, the Me262 had a wingspan of 41.5ft, just a hair under 5" in 1:100 scale and this kit has a 5" wingspan. In the pic above, I've mounted the Me262 pilot on the end of a sprue for painting and it's the same size as the BF Germans.

To mount planes for flight, I use the older 50mm GW clear flying bases. I use 2 of the longest pegs joined end-to-end with clear plasticard tubing and just drill a hole in the bottom of the fuselage of the aircraft for mounting. The Me163 is perfectly sized to be an awesome objective (the wingspan is only 5mm longer than a large FOW base) for either Axis or Allied forces.


-Super-easy, quick build
-Two great plane models for less than the price of one resin plane
-Perfectly sized 15mm pilots
-Nicely detailed exterior
-Me262 can be used as either Schwalbe or Sturmvogel models


-Lack of cockpit detail
-Prominent gap/raised edge between wing assembly and fuselage requires filling
-Raised panel lines on engines requires careful sanding

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Canyon Diablo: Citizens and Wanderers

Well they won't win any awards but this was a quick week-long project I painted recently. It's my busy season at work right now, so free time is short and sporadic but it's relaxing to get some minis painted in between the craziness. Most of these minis are from the awesome line of Knuckleduster Miniatures (a relatively local company that was at Adepticon this year). I particularly like the not-Annie Oakley and soiled dove female figs - very unique poses. The anachronistic figure here is the Plains Indian with buffalo headdress, but I've had this awesome mini for ages just sitting around in my mini drawer and decided to paint him up. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

15mm French Country Chateau

Here's another cheap "Christmas Village" building repainted and converted for use in 15mm. This was initially a Victorian-style House from the 1995 Santa's Best Collection. Like the others, this is a solid resin cast building, so there's no interior and much of the foliage is cast on.....but you can't beat the price - $6 at the local Goodwill store. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Inquisitor & Sister Hospitalier

My first painted 40K minis in several years, these two have been sitting partially primed in my painting box for almost a year before I got around to finishing them. I always really liked these sculpts and had actually painted up the Sister Hospitalier a few years back but I didn't really like the paintjob. My favorite part of these are the heavily shaded ermine robes - a technique I used before with Rackham's Kelian Durak mini.

With the direction GW is going, these probably will never see a game of 40K but may get some use in Inquisimunda.