Tuesday, 28 July 2015

6MMRPC: Finished! Sherman V ARV Mark I

Despite the disaster with the Army Painter spray on matt varnish on Saturday I managed to salvage the ARV. Although it's not finished to the standard I'd like - I've had enough of working on it for now. If anyone has any suggestions of how to smooth out the areas that have been left rough from my attempts to save the model from the cloudy varnish...

This is a very busy model. I did aim to get the look of a a vehicle that's been used and abused a lot. It does need some withering, but I'll come back to that! (I almost promise!)

This was another model that I spent a long time on. My first attempts at converting this 'Open Fire' plastic Sherman M4A4 started back in March 2014 (!!!!).

Alongside finishing this model, I also took some pictures of the 3 M4A4's and Sherman Firefly I swapped with Des (check out his blog here). In exchange I got 3 Sherman I's and a Sherman Firefly Ic - which I'm really really chuffed with. These were some of the first models I painted and were done in a different style than I paint now. At the time I was trying to paint as accurately as possible, and there are minimal highlights.

So these models have all gone on to another gamer and I have no doubt they will be well used. Des has always been very kind in his feedback on my work and I'm glad they are somewhere that they will be appreciated! I have to say I do like the camo netting and it's something I might use again. I also haven't made my own green stuff stowage for a while.

That's all folks! Looking forward to the Edinburgh show on Saturday.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

6MMRPC: Finished - D7 Angledozer and Humber Scout Cars

Home again this weekend and today has been spent finish off the models I was working on last week. This should have been a quick hit for me, but while spraying the varnish on all 4 mini's at once, the varnish on the ARV clouded.

I have no idea why. I was spraying all 4 mini's at the same time and the other 3 were fine.

Anyway, in my rush to prevent too much damage I probably caused more. I ended up running the model under the tap before resorting to trying to scrape the worst of the white gunk off - which took off the paint and decals underneath the rear hull section. To say I was annoyed would be an understatement. I searching online to see if there was anything I could do other than repaint the whole model and found someone saying that the cloudiness could be removed by painted on varnish from a bottle.

I tried that, and it did clear most of the issues. I had done a lot of damage before getting to that point though, so ended up repainting sections anyway. As such, that model wasn't finished today.

I also spent some time preparing some A4 craft boxes with magnetic sheeting to act as extra storage for my models. Two boxes done and they work pretty well. This included adding the steel paper to the underside of the models I have recently finished so that they can be stored away.

Today also involved a quick visit to the Carluke and Law Wargames club, where I swapped 3 Sherman V's and a Firefly (the first ones I painted) for 3 Sherman I's and a Hybrid Firefly (all brand new in in box). So Challenge wise I am now less some painted models and up some unpainted ones...

Anyway, onto todays finished models. D7 Angledozer:

Humber Scout Cars:

And the WiP ARV:

Box (Boxes, I used velcro to make sure they stack) - with all my FoW stuff painted so far in the challenge.

And I made a start on the next batch - a Troop of Sherman I's with a Sherman Firefly (one on the right hasn't had any highlights applied to the hull yet):

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

6MMRPC: Auxiliary vehicles WiP

With so much time spent away from home at the moment I'm trying to pick units I can get finished in a weekend or two. This weekend I decided to go with some of the 'other' Flames of War/Battlegroup Overlord vehicles I had sitting on the shelf. 

These took the form of my Breaching Group's D7 Angledozer and my Armoured Squadron's Sherman ARV mk.1 and Humber Scout Cars (for my 144RAC liaison unit). These vehicles had all already been painted and varnished, so I just had to apply highlights, decals, crew, aerials, weathering, matt varnish and bases.

I managed to get highlights and decals done as well as making a start on the bases. Crew were finished previously and just need adding. I've still to do some weathering, add aerials and final varnish. The bases only need some tufts and flowers, and a tidy up round the edges.

So, the D7:

This is a Skytrex model, purchased only a few weeks before Battlefront (BF) released their version... It's a nice model, scales well with my BF figures and looks very beefy. I mentioned why I wanted one of these here - but struggled with the markings. I can find no mention of who that brave Dozer belonged to unit wise, so in the end went with a Dozer from 149th Assault Park Squadron Royal Engineers - one of the Brigade assets of 1st Assualt Brigade Royal Engineers. Which in turn was part of 79th Armoured Division. Mainly I used these decals as my other Breaching Group tanks are all 'Funnies' of 79th Armoured Division.
I suspect though, on that dark night, the Dozer was from one of the Highland Divisions Field Park Squadrons R.E.
Next up, my conversion of a spare M4A4 Sherman (Sherman V) into a Sherman V Armoured Recovery Vehicle Mark I. The BF model is actually of a very very late type of ARV that only really was issued to Armoured Divisions in 1945 (the Mark II version). So I decided to build my own Mark I version.
Then we have two Humber Scout Cars. I bought these as the Armoured Regiments of Independent Armoured Brigades (like 33 Armoured Brigade) were supported by a number of these vehicles. These were used as runabouts for senior officers and for liaison work between Squadrons and other units. I liked the idea of including these for Battlegroup games, but also like the idea of including them if/when I ever do my own army list for 144 Royal Armoured Corps. Again these are Skytrex models... And again bought just before BF released their own version. C'est la Guerre!
The decals for these guys and for the ARV still have to be corrected to show the 174 AoS markings of 144RAC. These are mainly Doms Decals, although the tac markings on the Humbers and the 33 Armoured Brigade symbols are from another manufacturer. Dom's Decals also came through for me with more Allied Stars, HD badges, Infantry Division support AoS markings (I was running short following the 4.2" unit) and 2nd Canadian Corps badges (for my 17 Pounder SP battery). I used the allied stars to finish the last 4.2" Mortar Loyd Carrier - although these also still need weathering and crew!
The Humbers still need crew, aerials and possibly Bren MG's on pintle mounts. The Sherman ARV just need aerials and the D7 just needs its single crew member. All need Matt varnish. The bases I left drying pending next weekend...
In other news my copy of Frostgrave arrived as did my new pack of Italian Campaign 4.2" Mortars with the different crew sculpts. I've had an Auster AOP model in my eBay basket for days now but I'm waiting on finishing something before I take the plunge. I'm also trading my first platoon of Shermans (which were the incorrect Sherman V version rather than my beloved Sherman I's) for packs of unpainted Sherman I's.
The madness never ceases!


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Painting Supplies: Acrylic Thinner

A few months ago I had been disappointed with the finish on some of my models. I felt, specifically, that this was due to issues I was having with paint consistency. My Vallejo paints just seemed too thick and using water just wasn't working. As a result I felt my vehicles had very rough looking surfaces and my infantry figures looked very 'heavy'.


I had just been using water to thin my Vallejo acrylics and it just didn't seem to work. The paint either ended up far to runny/wash like or it just didn't seem to coat the model properly. I had a few people offer suggestions and did a bit of hunting about on my own.


The original discussion can be found here.


Eventually I settled on this:

Which I picked up online from SnMstuff for £4.95 (plus postage) and have been using for the last few weeks. I have to say I'm really really happy with this compared to just using water. The paint goes to a good consistency with just a drop added. It thins the paint but doesn't turn it into a wash and still coats well. I'm much happier thinning my paint down now and I feel that I'm seeing much smoother and less bitty finishes.
I did buy a Vallejo branded thinner (Model Colour 524 - Thinner), but it turned out to be some sort of medium and is a milky white substance. I've not tried it. I also bought brush shampoo and restorer, which I've yet to use.
I've not used my airbrush for a while but I'd be willing to try this thinner with a low PSI setting on my compressor (I think that the PSI may have been the reason I was having so many issues previously). I'll let you know if/when I try that out!

Birthday and Yorkshire Air Museum

Yesterday was my birthday which meant I had a small haul of gifts - including 2 packs of Quad transports for my other battery of 25-pdrs, a copy of Fury on DVD, a notice that a copy of Frostgrave and pack of enchanter wizards has been ordered for me and a copy of the new Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett book 'Long Utopia'. I also got a voucher for Amazon which I have a few ideas on what to spend on. Plus some cash!


This is on top of getting to go see The Proclaimers live back in June. A proper spoilt me!


On top of all that, since it was my birthday I got to decide what we did for the day. As we were still down in North East England I asked if we could go to the Yorksire Air Museum. My better half A being such a good sport agreed, so off we trekked.


The museum was pretty impressive, spread over several buildings on the site of an old WW2 Bomber Command operational base. The control tower still stands, as do several of the huts and at least one hanger. Several aircraft are either sitting outside or in some of the hangers. I took a range of pics...

In addition to the various aircraft there was also a section on the main RAF Squadron operational from the base, 77 Squadron flying Stirlings (hence the Stirling in the Hanger). There was also a section for the two Free French Heavy Bomber squadrons that also used the airfield. A section for 609 Squadron (Spits then Typhoons) with lots of cool pictures of the Tiffies in action, including parts of one;
There was a section dedicated to the RAF Regiment, to the Air Gunners of the RAF, to various RAF airfield vehicles and one tank:
As well as some WW1 era aircraft, WW2 air weapons, the bomber war - which had this interesting display:
As well as some very nice models;
All in all a great day out. I had a look at some of the prints in the shop but decided against getting one. I've still to get a frame for my Welsh Sunderland one. For £8 for entry it was good value for money and I think A found it interesting as well. The Bomber war isn't something that's widely talked about. She was shocked that a squadron flying 20 aircraft could lose 86 aircraft through the course of the war - with over 800 aircrew deaths. The two French squadrons lost 50% of their crews while on operations from the base. A huge waste of the best and brightest for what I'm more and more coming to believe was a lot of wasted effort for 4 and a half years of the war...
Still, well worth a visit to this museum if your in the area.