Thursday, March 21, 2019

Deutsche Afrika Korps Opel Blitz AA Truck

Hot on the heels of yesterday's post, here's my (mostly) scratchbuilt Opel Blitz with 20mm Flak truck. The idea grew out of a few different sources I found in books where troops had stripped down a regular Blitz truck by removing the cab roof, bed sides, and often the windshield and doors. I couldn't find much information on why this was done, but my hunch is that the crew wanted a vehicle with wide-open fields of fire that they could move about quickly.

The base was an old, miscast Opel Blitz chassis from Warlord Games I chopped down and then rebuilt. The front license plate, notek light, running boards, rear of the cab, driver's seat, dashboard, and gear shifts are all plasticard. I added a steering wheel from an Sdkfz 250 kit spare, the headlamps from a 1/35 scale Lee kit, and the tires are from a Rubicon Opel Blitz kit that I had used for my Berlin barricades. The truckbed was taken from an old O gauge plastic train car floor, cut down to size. I really like the texture on this and it was much easier to paint and weather than a basswood or balsa floor would have been. I then added bracing and struts to the underside, as well as a small stowage box, from plasticard. The 20mm Flak and crew are from Warlord Games' 20mm DAK blister pack. 

Painting was very similar to the Panzer IIIs I posted yesterday. I primed the truck and 20mm in Panzer Grey, applied hairspray, and then basecoated everything in a 75/25 mix of Tamiya Desert Yellow and Yellow-Green. After chipping, I did some detail painting, most notably the "ambulance parts", as I wanted to instill the idea that the crew had cannibalized other Opels that had broken down to keep theirs running. To get a weathered appearance on the wood bed, I basecoated in a mid-tone Gray ("Pewter" I believe), then used a Biege, mid-tone Brown, and Red-Brown mixed with Vallejo Glaze Medium and did a kind of heavy wash, focusing on one or two boards at a time, applying the colors unevenly. Once that was dry, I drybrushed some Vallejo Ghost Grey and a very small amount of White perpendicularly to make the texture "pop".

The crew are painted in Vallejo Sand Biege and Olive Green uniforms, with a light wash of GW Agrax Earthshade and Camoshade. I wanted the crew to have a slightly sun-burnt appearance, so I basecoated their skin in Vallejo Old Rose, highlighting by mixing in successive concentrations of Vallejo Basic Skintone, with the final highlight in Basic Skintone only, and then washing with diluted GW Skintone.

After decals were applied and it was given a clear coat, I weathered using oils, mostly a pin wash of Raw Umber and some oil rendering with White and Yellow Ochre on the upper surfaces to make them appear sun-bleached. I then glued on the Flak gun, crew, and stowage and did a final weathering with dry pigments.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Deutsche Afrika Korps Panzer III Ausf. J Platoon

Well folks, after a long hiatus involving replaying Metal Gear Solid 5 (I know!), I'm back with an update - this time a full THREE Panzer III Js for my DAK army at Adepticon 2019 Bolt Action Doubles tournament. These are all Warlord Games' 1/56 scale Panzer III, with Perry DAK tank commander figures, and various stowage (mostly 1/48 Tamiya). The WG Panzer III isn't the best model (I very much prefer their resin Panzer III), but I got these for 50% off in their holiday sale, so I'm not complaining over much. I did have to do a lot of work on the turret by making it slightly taller, shortening the insanely long gun barrels (as well as cutting and flipping the vent cover 180 degrees on the Early model) and fixing the MG barrels, as well as adding the stowage racks. These were, however, relatively easy to assemble and it looks like Warlord is finally adding some track sag to their hard plastic tracks.

All of these are primed in Krylon Red Primer, with the exception of the short-barreled Early model, which I primed in Panzer Grey. I then applied hairspray and did a basecoat in Tamiya 75/25 Desert Yellow and Yellow-Green and went on to chipping and then detail painting. With these I tried a new technique for painting the tracks. First, I primed in Krylon Grey Primer and used AK Interactive's enamel-based Track Wash. Once that was thoroughly dry, I drybrushed some Vallejo Oily Steel over everything, sealed it, and applied a pin wash of Yellow Ochre oil. I finished by adding some dry pigment. Fast and easy and relatively effective.

After decals and clearcoating, I began weathering in oils. As I've never done desert vehicles before, I tried taking a slightly different approach to oil rendering, neglecting most of the "rain streaking" I usually like. I started by applying an overall pin wash of Raw Umber. After that, any flat surface I thought would be exposed to sunlight for extended periods, I toned down with some Soft White and Yellow Ochre, blending this into the panels. On the Late J model with the two-tone camouflage, as the chipping process toned the Vallejo Olive Green patches, I went back and actually brought the color back UP by applying Green oil to the center of each patch and blending outward. This helps to give the camouflage a little more "oomph" while also toning the edges down into the surrounding yellow.

Final weathering was done with dry pigments and splashes of various colors on the engine deck to represent oil and fluid staining. I then added all the stowage and the commander figures I've found that it's much, much easier to leave stowage items off during painting, as this helps achieve a more realistically weathered appearance. The "fascine" is just some dried branches from my yard and was taken from a picture. I'm honestly not positive it was a fascine (as it seems to small to cross an anti-tank ditch) or if it was just dry wood the crew carried around the arid desert for campfires.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Commission Work: Soviet Tankovy Company (Part Two)

To go along with the Tankovy Company I completed in 2016, the client approached me and asked if I would add a platoon of Lend-Lease Lees and two platoons of KV-1s.

KV-1 base color is Testors Acryl Russian Armor Green (first time using this color and I love it!) with VMC Green Ochre stripes; detail washes with P3 Armor Wash and GW Green. Tracks are my usual Pavement Grey, washed with Testors Acryl Rust, then drybrushed with GW Boltgun Metal. Gunmetal parts are Pavement Grey, washed with P3 Armor wash, then highlighted Slate Grey. Tank crew wear my custom Telo Mimetico Blue, washed with GW Blue Ink; fleshtones in VMC Flat Flesh, washed with GW Ogryn Flesh.

Lees are basecoated in Tamiya Olive Drab, highlighted in a 50/50 mix of Tamiya Olive Drab & Olive Green, and edge highlighted with Tamiya Olive Green with a little White added, then the entire vehicle is washed with Vallejo Olive Green Wash. The Leess were kind of a bear to paint, simply because they had part rubber, part steel tracks. All rubber (including tires) is Pavement washed with P3 Armor Wash

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Product Review: Meng "World War Toons" Tigers

In an effort to do something a little different, I picked up two of Meng's new line of "World War Toons" tanks - the Tiger I and King Tiger. These super-deformed tanks are based on vehicles from the video game of the same name, and are part of a full line of popular WW2-era tanks. There's no scale listed but they range from nominally 1/35 to 1/48 scale and would work well for conversions for alternative history or science fiction gaming. Prices are extremely low, ranging between $9-$15, depending on the model. I believe I spent about $25 for both of the Tigers.

Plastic quality is very good considering the price, though there was a lot of mold release agent on the sprues when I opened the boxes but this was easily cured by a bath in warm dishsoap water. Sprues are organized well being generally divided by part type. Each model includes a great full-color instructions booklet, a few nice decals, rubberized tracks, and poly caps. The poly caps are useful in the Tiger I if you want free spinning wheels/tracks but, oddly, the King Tiger's roadwheels need to be snapped/glued in (even though the kit contains polycaps), preventing wheel spin.

Assembly is straightforward, though often requires a careful review of the pictures to ensure parts (especially tools) are placed in the right holes. There are some minor fit issues - mostly in the Tiger I - that requires some filling and sanding. Unfortunately, as all the stowage and tools have corresponding holes in hull, there isn't an option to not include them. Though this isn't technically a "snap fit" model, there are a lot of part that snap into place with little or no glue. In fact, in the pictures below, the hull of the King Tiger isn't joined because I want to be able to paint and weather the lower hull and, due to the snap pin assembly, it would be impossible to take apart once together.

Both models went together fairly quickly, being finished in a few sittings over the course of an evening. The Tiger I presented a bit more fit issues, especially the rear hull plate which had large gaps along either side of the hull itself. It wasn't a big deal, just annoying. All in all, these are great models for the price, very approachable for the younger or casual modeler and perfect for conversion fodder for gamers.

The Tiger I is a bit larger and taller than the King Tiger and would be very suitable for 40K in an Ork army.

  • Very unique models
  • Easy to assemble, with lots of pseudo-"snap fit" parts - perfect for younger modelers
  • Great bases for conversion
  • Extremely cheap price point
  • Some fit issues, especially in the Tiger I
  • Tools and stowage must be included
  • Not a lot of crisp details
  • Rubberized treads are difficult to paint and weather

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

On The Prowl - SS 'Wiking' Tiger I

This is the last of the 1/56 scale AFVs in my paint queue - a stripped and repainted Italeri Tiger I. This kit is mostly out-of-the-box, except that I added an AA machine-gun mount, MG42, and a metal tank commander from Warlord. The MG mount itself is just a piece of 24ga wire, bent back upon itself, then bent horizontally at the front and back, and superglued in place. The tank commander's torso is actually an Italian crew with a German headswap. I used the Italian torso because I wanted to model the crewman wearing SS camouflage coveralls in the Plane Tree scheme.

Painting the tank itself was mostly an exercise in just trying new techniques - zenithal highlights, hairspray chipping, a bit heavier oil rendering than I normally do, and some camouflage netting. It is primed in Krylon Red Oxide, then just giving zenithal highlights with an airbrush with VMC Old Rose, after which it was sealed and hairspray was applied. The basecoat is Tamiya 50/50 Dark Yellow and Yellow Green, with wide diagonal bands of Tamiya Red Brown. Details are picked out in VMC paints.

The tracks are done differently than I normally do them. I primed them in Krylon Flat Grey Primer, then washed them directly with some cheap Burnt Umber thinned down with Vallejo Glaze Medium. I then drybrushed them in VMC Oily Steel and washed them again with Vallejo European Dirt. While I like the dusty effect of this method, I don't think it's dark enough and I'll be trying an AK Interactive Enamel track wash next time.

The netting is simply medical gauze, unrolled and misted with Rustoleum Camouflage Olive. Once dry, these were cut to size and dunked in a 50/50 mix of water and white glue and laid on the tank. To give the appearance of "weight" to the netting, I dipped an old brush in the mix and used that to manipulate the gauze into place, pushing it down and around contortions. It's a nice effect and adds some visual interest to a rather bland tank.