Saturday, April 3, 2021

1/56 scale Italeri/Warlord FlammHetzer

Continuing with the recent cavalcade of AFVs, this is the completed Italeri/WG 1/56 scale FlammHetzer. To date, this was the most rewarding tanks I've assembled from Warlord. The detailing is very accurate (with the exception of the driver's vision slit being a little too big) and the subject matter is really unique. My only gripe was that, normally, small portions of the hull need to be cut away to insert the pins for the side skirts - a process that's laborious and can easily lead to a mistake. To make mine more realistic, each section apart and I cut the pins off the back of each bracket. While this does make the skirts more fragile, it looks better overall.

Since this will be paired with the Rubicon Sdkfz 250 on the gaming table, I went with a similar color scheme of hard-edged Tamiya Buff/Yellow-Green, Red Brown, and Flat Green. Since I didn't have access to my hairspray at the time, I did all the chipping and worn paint effects with a brush. Washes and filters were done with oil paints and mud spatter effects were done with acrylics. 

This is also somewhat of a departure from my normal builds in that I refused to put virtually any stowage on. I really just wanted the vehicle itself to be the main focus. 


Friday, April 2, 2021

1/56 scale Warlord T-34 ChtZ

Despite being only 6 years old, this kit certainly shows its age and how far the 1/56 scale model range has developed in that time. It's not very detailed, there's a lot of molded-on parts, and its incredibly basic. To simulate the ChtZ stamped turret, I removed the incorrect secondary periscope, added grab bars, textured the surface to simulate rough steel, added pistol ports, and added hinges to the rear engine bay hatch (in addition to scribing the hatch correctly).

Due to the pandemic, it was hard to find good rattle can primer for awhile, so I used an incredibly old can of Testors semi-gloss to prime this. Not thinking it through, when I used hairspray for chipping effects and then used my usual pressure for removing the paint, it came off in large sections - especially on the top of the turret and front track guard! I thought it was ruined but then I realized I could use dry blending and oil filters to lessen the difference in tone. As such, this tank has a lot more tonal transitions than most of my other work and very much resembles panel shading (which I am normally a strong opponent of). 

I am still on the fence whether or not I'll sell this, but for now, it's grown on me....


Thursday, April 1, 2021

1/56 scale Warlord FlakHetzer

I'm still trying to adapt to my new lighting setup, so here's the first test photos featuring the completed Italeri/Warlord 1/56 scale Hetzer mit 2cm flak. Not having much material to go on, I opted for a hard-edged three color camouflage scheme. Unlike many of my previous builds, all the chipping is done with a brush. I wanted the flak gun to look like it had just rolled off the assembly line to be thrown inside the chassis with no painting at the factory, so I painted it a red oxide primer color. The netting is medical gauze, unrolled and lightly misted with green spray paint, before being wetted down with PVA glue and water.


Sunday, February 7, 2021

Artizan Hungarian/German PaK gun team

Another project that's been sitting in my paint queue for over a year was this Artizan PaK gun and crew. I bought this years ago from Ebay and the gun came damaged and lacking the lower front shield, so it sat in my bitz box until I got bored and put it together. My Hungarian army is lacking an anti-tank gun, and I often proxy my Brigade Games Gebirgsjager was Hungarian border troops, so I just decided to throw this in too.

The gun is painted and weathered using my usual technique however, because it sat in my paint queue half-completed for so long, it was impossible to remove the hairspray for shipping and I instead opted to do the chipping by hand. While it's a nice effect, it's too time consuming to do for anything larger. Once that was done, I gave it a yellow/light umber oil filter, a white oil wash, and then dry blended more white to build up the whitewash effect.

The crew are somewhat different than the techniques I used with the Gebirgsjager. To simulate shadows on the overwhites, I primed in white and then picked out areas of shadow using Vallejo Air USAAF Light Grey and then adding more highlights by mixing in more Vallejo Cold White. The Air formulation is thinner than regular MC, which is a detriment if you need more opaque coverage, but good if your base color is lighter than the later coats. I also wanted to give their faces a more life-like, cold appearance and, thanks to the advice of a friend, did a lot of washes with purples and greys, rather than my normal light brown flesh wash. I also picked out the starkest highlights in Vallejo Basic Skintone, which is a more pinkish-white tone, and added a very subtle glaze of Vallejo Salmon Pink to noses and lips. The final effect produces a nice cool skintone nipped by cold weather and I might go back and overpaint my Gebirgsjager's faces using the same techniques....


Saturday, February 6, 2021

Italeri 1/56 "Last Stand" King Tiger

So, I acquired this Italeri King Tiger as a tournament prize ages ago, promptly built it.....and then it sat in my paint queue for over a year. To be honest, I wasn't really sure what direction to go with this, as I already had a resin "Henschel" King Tiger in my inventory, which is big and terrifying, and two seemed like overkill. This is also slightly undersized for the scale (the Panther I posted yesterday is actually slightly taller and beefier in general), the details aren't really correct in some places, and the molded-on zimmerit is.......lacking, or entirely absent in certain areas where it should be (the mantlet and turret rear stand out). I scribed some quick (and not very good) zimmerit lines and then sanded and cut into many areas of the zimmerit to make it appear that the paste was flaking off.

Finally, I decided to hell with it and threw together this "last stand" King Tiger. Since the model itself is a little anachronistic, I made the backstory that this was pulled from a depot somewhere in the final days of the Third Reich and given a quick painting of insignia. As usual, I primed in red oxide, put down a coat of hairspray for chipping, and then airbrushing Tamiya 50/50 Yellow-Green and Dark Yellow. I then did the chipping in the non-coated areas and, to simulate wear on the zimmerit, lined the edges and areas of heavy use by using the basecoat color with some white mixed in. As I mentioned, I wanted this to look like someone had handpainted on the insignia with a brush, so that's what I did - no decals here! I added streaks and rings on the upper hull to simulate where a paintcan was laid. 

After finishing detail and track painting, I sealed the model and then gave it an overall dark brown oil filter. Normally, I use a yellow/light umber filter on dunkelgelb vehicles, but I really want this to look dirty, so it is noticeably darker than most of my German AFVs. Once dry, I then added successive darker washes to the zimmerit towards the bottom to simulate dirt and mud buildup in the crevices, as well as dry blending light umber and brown oils in the deck surfaces. I washed the tracks with AK Track Wash, hit the lower hull and track areas with Vallejo European Mud, and then loaded an old toothbrush with Vallejo European Splash Mud, Vallejo Medium Olive, and Secret Weapon Caked Dirt and flicked it to create the splatter effect. Rusty mufflers were done using Vallejo Rust Texture, overpainted with successive oil filters of red, orange, and finally yellow - this creates an oxidized texture without the use of dry pigments. Finally, I painted all the viewports and the headlight and gave them a gloss coat. 

 In closing, is this entirely historically accurate! Definitely not! But it was something fun and a good base to test out some new techniques.