Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Visiting Wales...

No modelling getting done just now as I'm on holibags in Wales. Some interesting visits to the welsh regiments museum and Cardiff castle.

Some pics will no doubt follow!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Battlefront (Flames of War) Customer Service

In the past, where I have had problems with sellers, postage and the likes I have mentioned it.

On Friday night I had an issue with having two left hand side tracks in one of my Sherman I packs. I emailed Battlefronts customer services, thinking that in a few weeks/months I might get a replacement part.

On Monday, I got an email telling me the part was being dispatched.

And today, it arrived - the correct part, mailed first class.

So yeah, first class service from these guys. I'm really impressed.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Forged in Battle British 40mm Bofors

Having had a chance to start putting together some of my recent purchases, I thought I would take some pics and make some comments about the Forged in Battle 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns I bought.

These guns come 2 to a pack and include crew. The packs do not include any form of base, so if your buying these for Flames of War you will also need some large bases for them. The guns come in 4 main parts. The cruciform platform base, the gun platform with crew moulded on, the gun barrel (on a small sprue with the gunners heads) and a the detached wheels.

From what I understand, this is a substantially different setup from the FoW models. That's fine, but the moulded gun platform means the angle of the gun cannot be changed. The crew on the FoW model are not moulded on (so can be painted separately) and the gun shield is also a separate part.

One of the things I dislike about the model is the lack of sights for the gun.

To rectify this, I have added my own.

Not perfect by any manner of means, but they add something that I felt was missing.

The other big letdown for me was the crew models. Besides the two on the platform, the guns came with a selection of figures (actually more than you require for a FoW gun crew.

So, pointing guy - ok. Ammo guy - ok. But the rest? I don't even know what the two guys at the ends are doing. The guy covering his ears has a older style type of webbing, and the pose is just... random. The crew of these guns aren't pictured standing about covering ears, they are passing ammo, spotting targets, etc. These three really let the model down. Wheres the guys with binocs, or the range finder? I would accept kneeling opening a crate or something - but unlike the FoW model there are no crates or other add ons in the pack.

Some close up shots of the two random poses (apologies for lack of clarity). I have actually used some of the gunner figures from the airlanding 6 pdr pack I mistakenly bought.

So, all in all - cheaper than FoW/Battlefront but missing the bases and without any command team (which also comes as part of the FoW packs). Easier to put together but not as characterful and without the flexibility. Also, most of the crew models poses are rubbish. Scale wise the models sit well with FoW figures.

Friday, 14 June 2013


After many nights of cutting and scraping, filing and chopping... I managed to get the majority of my recent purchases to the next stage!

And I am reminded how even the simplest of tasks can turn out to be something you can easily muck up. Last night I got my tray full of models -

Filled the bathroom sink with warm soapy water, and got scrubbing with my sons old toothbrush.

The most important factor here, which cannot be emphasised often enough, is that you should make sure the plug is in whenever 15mm models are near the sink. Last night however, the issue turned out to be far more slippery.

I used my normal hand soap mixed in the water, and all was fine till tonight. Assembly began tonight and I immediately noticed something about the supposedly clean models. They were all covered in a white residue.


I left the models to drip dry and as a result the drying water has left soap residue on the figures. Easy to fix, but a silly mistake that cost me the one thing we modellers have least of - time.

The process of building models tonight also took time, mainly due to long moments of confusion. One of the packs of Sherman I's I picked up from Wayland Games contained two left hand track sponsons rather than a left and a right. I've fired an email off to FoW's customer service team, so hopefully this gets resolved soon.

Oh, and something I noticed about Wayland Games - on ordering the postage price is listed as a set amount. However, on paying the postage price is suddenly bumped up from £1.70 to £3 ('Airmail' apparently) and you cannot change it down. A rather nasty trick from these guys (alongside them listing items they do not have in stock, advanced orders they don't list as not being advanced and special 'free postage' deals that don't include certain items they don't mention in the deal).

Unfortunately, they seem to have the biggest range of FoW models thats easily obtainable in the UK.

Error number 2 that was spotted last night - the pack of 6 pdr guns I picked up to finish off my A/T platoon were the incorrect ones. I picked up the Airlanding guns (BR512) rather than the standard ones (BR511). The crews have ended up being mixed in with the Flames of Battle 40mm bofors crews to add some variety (review to follow on those). The guns will just be spare parts as I have now ordered the correct versions.

That's it for now, just continuing to try not to glue myself to anything and putting together what I have got. I have to say I LOVE the Sherman I's - but that might just be my emotional attachment speaking!

Monday, 10 June 2013

15mm wish list

So doing a little bit of surfing tonight, prior to working cleaning up some models. Sherman I's and recce unit arrived today.

I thought I would compile a wee list of the stuff I would like in 15mm that's not out there. I can see why it's not, given that it's more modelling than gaming side... but they would still be cool.

So, in no particular order:

- 15mm British dispatch rider. Just cos I think it would be a nice model and because it would look great in dioramas.

- 15mm British MP's. Maybe directing traffic,giving directions, etc.

- 15mm conversion kits for the AVRE Churchills. I know Skytrex do complete models and spare fascines, but it would be nice to have conversion kits for the various AVRE models. Things like the Fascine for the standard Petard armed Churchill could be removable (maybe a little project for me).

- 15mm Universal Carrier crews and stowage. I've done stowage myself and tried to be creative with the crews, but it would be nice to see some variation in the crew figures. I've built up quite a collection of spare .50 cals, but models manning these guns, UC mounted PIATs, etc.

- 15mm ambulance jeeps - again, nice model, cool for dioramas.

- A decent 15mm British engineer unit in good poses.

- Digging in infantry. I've always been tempted by the various models that are 'dug in' - during the NWE campaign when allied infantry weren't advancing or sleeping, they were digging. Getting below ground was the key to survival so it would be nice to see some digging models (again, for dioramas and such).

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Small rant!

Spending some time today trying to prep models for priming.

One of the things I'm not happy about is the scale of the chain that comes with the Battlefront Sherman Flails. So I've been looking about online to try and find something more suitable.

And I keep running accross something that bugs me about our hobby. Why the hell do retailers selling gaming equipment, supplies and even models think that they will sell stuff when their website has no bloody pictures of the stuff they are selling?

This hobby is at least 75% visual - from the buying of mini's to knowing what your putting on them. Why would anyone think a modeller would buy something when they have no idea what it looks like!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Slow progress....

Not quite a 'I've done nothing' blog entry but I am waiting on a lot of stuff coming in the mail, and want to get it all together before progressing.

Today I received another Sherman Vc Firefly (resin model from Battlefront, bought via ebay). I cleaned this up a bit, taking off flash and excess resin removal. I did need to trim some metal, mainly along the inside of the tracks needed cutting to make sure it would fit in the grooves on the resin hull. It just needs a wash in some warm soapy water then I can put it together. This will be the Firefly in my 2nd Sherman troop... I took the plunge and ordered 3 Sherman I's so as to have a unit with the correct model of Shermans. I could have bought plastic Shermans cheaper but not Sherman I's... this is a big personal thing for me. As I mentioned previously the Sherman I was the tank my grandfather drove.

Yesterday I tried out the Vallejo Matt varnish spray I bought at Wappinshaw on the gun crew, passengers, De-frocked Priests and 17 pdrs. It went on nice and quick and did the job. A LOT less messy than doing the same job by hand. Next step will be decals for the vehicles and basing for the guns. I'll probably leave the basing till I am ready to do the 6 pdrs I bought as well. Decals for the De-frocked Priests should be easy - just WD numbers, some allied recognition stars and maybe artillery unit markings... they were not part of the 79th Division at this point so no markings for Hobarts Funnies. Although I would not put it past me to look up what units the Priests came from before conversion and mark them up as those.

One of the reasons for holding off on painting the rest is I ordered a new airbrush. Good friends of mine very kindly bought me a starter pack for my 30th last year. It consisted of a air pump with a oxygen tank and two airbrushes. Unfortunately being a total noob when it comes to airbrushes I made a bit of a mess of them. I've read some stuff online since then and I think I have figured out where I was going wrong, but I decided to start again - but part of that is making a fresh start with a (hopefully working) airbrush.

So yeah, lots in the works!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Problems with shiny decals

My second attempt at this blog, as my phones blogger app swallowed the first attempt!

If you've read back over my blog, you'll know I am a big fan of decals on my 15mm mini's. As much as painting and the various painting techniques have been something I've worked on during this project, I've also developed my technical modelling skills.

One issue I have had when using decals is one such technical issue. Some of my models have a 'shiny' area around the decal I have applied, and despite many coats of matt varnish it just will not go away.

Here's an example.

Having done a little research to try and find a cure for this, I came across the actual cause.

It seems that when applying a decal to a painted surface, the paint makes the surface of the model grainy on a microscopic level. When the decal is applied onto this, it creates microscopic air bubbles. These bubbles reflect light, causing something called 'silvering'.

It seems that the way to avoid this is to make sure you put a layer of varnish down before the decal. The varnish provides a microscopically smoother surface which prevents the air bubbles forming. There are also some decal solutions that I am going to pick up (Vallejo make some called Decal Fix and Decal Medium). The Decal Medium prevents air bubbles forming, but I think I will also be making sure I do no more highlighting after the matt varnish!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Forged in Battle Universal Carrier comparison with Battlefront model

Having picked up a bunch of the Forged in Battle 15mm Universal Carriers for my Flames of War army, I thought I would post some pictures of the FoB models side by side with the FoW Battlefront model. I happen to have picked the mortar carrier from my collection, but it's exactly the same size as the base line model.

Battlefront miniature (FoW) on the left, Forge in Battle (FoB) on the right. Again, the camera makes the painted model look very very dark.

Closeup of the two.

Detail on the FoB model from this angle is impressive. Here you can see that it is slightly higher than the FoW model. Both are moulded onto the base.

Rear view.

Other side view.

Side by side the FoB model is ever so slightly longer.

Again, side by side the FoW model is slightly wider. This pic better shows it as not being painted black!

Crew models - these are actually really nice and pretty well detailed. I'm not sure what to do with the top set of models - I assume they are to sit beside the drivers at the front and man their Brens.

Rear view of the crew models.
There you go. Both models are around the same size, and on the table when painted I am not sure you could spot the difference unless you knew. The FoB models base seems a little thicker, and that might be why they seem to stand a little bit taller than the FoW one.

Wappinshaw purchases

Yesterday I spent a very pleasant day with Paul, Davey and Dave at Wappinshaw in Glasgow. I didn't take any pics at the event, but it seemed busy. I was surprised that it was a lot smaller than Carronade in Falkirk (perhaps I should have been more surprised at the size of Carronade?).

Some fantastic looking games being played - I kept finding myself watching the Full Thrust participation game. Paul even volunteered me for the charge of the Light Brigade game, but I managed to escape!

I had hoped that there would be something like the same number of traders there and I was a little let down by that. However, I still managed to spend money!

First up, hobby equipment.

So some flock type stuff for a terrain project I have in my head, some decals that are a slightly better size for my 144 RAC tank Turrets than the ones I have, some invasion stripe decals for my Typhoon (yeah yeah, I should paint them - not very good at straight lines!).

The grass tufts are the same as the Army Painter ones, and about 3 times more in a pack for the same price. The chap on the stall was explaining that these are from the same factory Army Painter buy theirs from, but they cut it up and resell it...

The spray can is Matt Varnish, since I have quite a few vehicles I will have to be varnishing. I thought I would give the spray a try. Some sand (again, terrain ideas!), some magic stuff that activates superglue and some acrylic resin for my bases! The two little hidden paints are a Barbarian Flesh and a Matt Black.

The bag in the middle is a large mixed bag of FoW bases I got for £4 from the bring and buy. A mix of all 3 base sizes, so handy to have as backups (and for my M5 halftracks).

Model wise I had a little bit of a splurge. Unfortunately there was very little at the bring and buy that interested me.

So here are the Churchill AVRE tanks and Sherman Flail tanks that along with the De-frocked priests make up my breaching group. 

2 x 6 pdr A/T guns and 2 x Loyd Carriers to finish off my infantry anti tank platoon. 

A bit of a gamble for me these ones. I really like the 40mm Bofors anti aircraft gun both as a model and as a weapon. During Operating Totalise these guns, loaded with green tracer ammo, were set on a fixed bearing and set to fire at regular intervals. These bursts of tracer helped direct the attacking columns and keep them moving in the correct direction. So a bit of an iconic unit to have in the army. That, and AA support! These models are from Forged in Battle whom I have never bought from before. The infantry might need a little bit of converting as they need some camo on their helmets, so that might be something I try and do.

The Universal Carriers on the right hand side are representative. Something the British Army used in huge numbers, and a useful unit for the FoW army. Both the infantry company and the recon platoon used these, so I bought 3 packs of 4 models each. Combined with the 40mm guns, this meant I paid for 4 packs and got the 5th free.

A wee pack of 3 ton trucks (15 cwt) that will help out in the future! I'm thinking these might be needed if I expand my artillery units out.

Sooooo... Yeah. I also picked up some of the new plastic Space Marine Terminators that Paul talked me into getting. Another project I have been thinking about. Someone being daft with pricing prevented me from getting some new Full Thrust mini's at the bring and buy, else they would have had a sale. But ho hum! The money got spent on the wee man today :)