Monday, April 30, 2012

PzIVH Platoon

Finished up the 1st Platoon of my PzIVH's for the 5th SS Wiking Division.   The PzIVH is one of my favorite models and Battlefront did a great job with this boxset.  You have a couple of different hull and turret casts and they give additional stowage to add variety.  I didn't include the extra stowage on these tanks....but most likely will on my 2nd platoon and HQs element currently on the table.

1st Platoon:

Der Alt Mensch (Platoon Leader):

1st Section Leader:

1st Section Wingman:

2nd Section Leader:

2nd Section Wingman:

I based the tanks so I could easily distinguish platoons on the field...hope to get up to 3 platoons of these bad boys at one time.  The bases with unit markings makes it easier to not make mistakes when figuring which tank is in which platoon.

The flocking on the bases are my 4 step flock jobs that I described in an earlier post...Soil layer, Turf layer, grass layer and Silfor Tufts.

The number decals are homemade.  I used the Testors Inkjet "clear" decals.  The crosses are from the decal set in the box set. 

The crushed wire is from Army Builder.  Great barbed wire.  You get a lot for a a few bucks.  Just wrap the wire around a paintbrush handle to get the shape and ....BAAAM!!!!  you have instant concertina wire.

The paint scheme is again based on TomWise's great site (TomWise's Site ).  I airbrushed the base Dunkelgelb (Testors Dunkelgelb cut with Thinner about 3:1 paint to Thinner).  The Vallejo Reflective Green Spiderweb pattern was hand painted as I did with the Halftracks.  Still haven't got the knack of doing fine lines with my airbrush yet... but I am getting there. Painted the tracks and the little bits per TomWise.

TomWise also has a VERY good tip about saving the plastic sprues the Schuerzen come on and gutting a piece to size and place it between the bottom part of the Schuerzen and the track.  This strengthens the model and will prevent the Schuerzen breaking off the hanger or worse....breaking the hanger off the tank.

Finished the detail with a mix of Europe Dust and Dried Mud MIG Pigments.  Also added some battle damage to the schuerzen...intent was to simulate AT rifle or MG fire damage.  All I did was heat a needle till it glowed red and then poked little holes in the plastic.  Black Magic wash and pigments helped bring them to life.

I will be breaking alot of these techniques down in future stayed tuned

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Joy of Painting (Miniatures) --- Paint Plans

In the Organization episode (HERE) we discussed the use of a paint plan.  At the request of a user, I have placed the Paint Plans I have so far up on the net at in a PDF.  The link should take you there where you can download the PDF.  Let me know if you have any problems downloading the files.

Brit Paras

Brit Para Jeeps

Desert Italian Infantry

Desert Italian Vehicles

EW Polish Infantry

LW German SS Wiking Infantry

LW US Glider Infantry (Normandy)

LW US Para (Brown - Normandy)

LW US Para (Green - Market Garden)

These are HEAVILY based on the Battlefront suggestions in each of their army source books.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

SonBae's Joy of Painting (Miniatures)--- Preparation

Not REALLY one of the official steps, but something that needs to be done nonetheless.

The first part of Prepare is to clean your models.  If you have plastic or resin figures you need to wash the parts with warm, soapy water to remove any protective coating from the molding process that could remain on the model. If you don't, the primer might not stick to the model and you would have defeated the purpose of a priming.  If you have metal figures/parts I recommend washing them too. They use protective coating for the metals molds too and it should come off before you paint. To be honest though, I don't do this ALL the time, but do try to do it MOST of the time.  If I have figure that has a lot of white dust on assured I wash that sucker.
The second part of "Prepare" is to remove all the mold and flash lines. These are those little pieces of plastic/resin/metal that hang off the model...usually in the bends and angle of the model.  They are caused during the molding process from where the 2 halves of the mold come together.  A sharp knife a "Needle" file are your best friends here and make short work of these buggers.  Be careful when filing resin as the dust is hazardous if breathed in.
The third part of "Prepare" is to make sure the bases are flat and the figure can stand on its own.  You want to do all this before start to paint.  This way the figure will stand up straight and tall (or at least flat) when you mount it for painting.
The last step of "Prepare" is to mount the figure for painting (Some of you need to get your minds OUT of the gutter...I'm just sayin is all).  You don't want to hold the figure/model in your bare hands while you paint.  The oils from your skin can get on the model and either remove paint that's not fully dry or get on dry paint and make the next layer not adhere "just" right.  If you are painting individual figures you can stick them on nails (what I do); on paint jar tops; on Popsicle sticks; etc...All these methods keep your fingers OFF the model.  If you are painting a team on the stand you can hold the stand and keep your fingers off the models...but you have one more step in that case.  You need to also apply your 1st step of the basing process.  Here you need to apply your Spackle/pumice/glued sand/etc... on the base so you don't have to apply it later.  Getting the 1st level of ground applied now allows you to not have to do it after all the figures are painted and risk getting some on your paint job (something that happens at least once with every team when I paint them individually and mount them to the base at the end).

The next installment will talk about the actual process I use and then we will get into the techniques.  This allows me to have time to actually make the videos I HOPE to be able to post showing these different steps.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Joy of Painting (Minatures) --- Organization

The 5 Ps rule rocks --- Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

While not the most fun aspect of painting, proper planning can make the entire process much more enjoyable...faster...and produce a kick butt paint job.

What am I talking about here...well I break down proper planning into 6 "pretty" much sequential steps:

1. Research
2. Resource Planning
3. Painting Plan Sheet
4. Test Model
5.  How to Eat an Elephant (or Carrot & Stick Management)
6. Workspace organization

1.  Research.  What unit are you trying replicate?  Did they have a unique paint scheme?  What type of terrain did the fight in?  Research can be so detailed that you are figuring out exact unit markings and insignia or very general...that is up to you.  If you know before what you want the model to look like the whole painting process will go much smoother.  You basically establishing the map you want to follow to your destination.

2.  Resource Planning.  This step centers on determining what you will need to complete your models. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a painting session and discovering that you don't have the color you need to get the job done. So, based on the research you did in step one, you figure out the colors you need to do the models, the weathering effects you will do and the materials needed for that and any markings you will apply.  Next, you compare your wish list to what you have on hand and make a substitute or buy decision... "is Dark Green what I need or can I use German camo Dark Green and get the same effect?"

The key is to get what you need and have it on hand before you start...or at least have it on hand before you need it.  Do this for each step of the SonBae's Joy of Painting (Miniatures)  Painting Process...Priming...Basecoat...Shading...Hi-liting...Sealing...Detailing...Weathering...Re-Sealing...Basing.)

3. Plan Sheet.  Now that you have figured what you will paint, the scheme and theme....and the materials you will need, you need to put all that into some sort of order of how you will conduct each step.  The idea is to get into a rhythm and a pattern.  This way you wont forget something and avoid the  "What color was I going to paint that <INSERT ITEM HERE>?" question.

I focus my Plan Sheets on the Basecoat...Shading...Hi-liting steps of the overall process.  The other steps of the process are general only a few steps deep and after a while become second nature.  The Basecoat...Shading...Hi-liting steps however can get pretty deep and you need to have a map/guide to help you along.

Now, what am I talking here?.... here is a guide I am using now my Brit Paras

The intent of the guide is to layout the colors you will need and only use that color one time if possible.  This helps you conserve time and your only have to put out just enough paint to get that step done.  Without a guide you could very easily put out 2-3 times more than you need and that wasted paint adds up quickly when you paint a lot of figures.

4. Test Model.  Now take an extra figure if you have one (or an index card if you don't) and go through your Plan Sheet.  This step does 2 things...first it lets you get you used to the techniques you will use when you paint "for real."  Second it lets you tweak your plan sheet for efficiency...moving steps around to get a smoother work flow.  For more complicated models you REALLY need to do this.  I practiced the SS camo schemes on 2 test figures and several index cards before I was comfortable with it.  If you are lucky, that test figure could turn out perfect and you could use it in your force..that is secondary though.  The intent is to experiment and get used to what you will be doing when you paint for real.

5. How to Eat an Elephant (or Carrot & Stick Management).  How DO you eat an elephant?  Answer......One bite at a time.

For me I can not base an entire army up and start to paint.  I lose my motivation about half way through.  What I do is take small bites out of the project.  I tend to do a platoon at a time all the way from priming to painting to basing.  This allows me to stay consistent with the unit and have all the teams in the unit completed at the same time.  The reward is seeing the unit D-O-N-E...done.

I said I do a platoon at a time.  I do this in one of two ways.  If the unit has a lot of Brit Paras or SS with camo...I will stick each figure on a 10 penny nail with a piece of Blue-Tac. I then group these by teams and paint 2 teams at a time....roughly 8-10 figures as a batch.  When I have finished painting those I glue them to their base as a team and set them aside until the entire platoon is done and then I complete the basing for the platoon.

If the platoon doesn't require a lot of detail...Italians or Polish Infantry...I will base the figures as a unit, do my ground basing (apply pumice/Spackle to all the stands, and paint the ground on all the stands) and then paint the figures in a batch of 2 stands at a time...keeping at 8-10 figures at a time.  This method also allows you to still play games with the unit while they are being painted.

Your mileage may vary for how many figures you can do as a batch, the key is finding that and sticking to it.

Now, if you paint figures on the nails to paint them individually how do you play games while the unit is being painted you might ask...I have 2 answers...first is you don't play games with them until the unit is painted.  Now, if you cant wait till the unit is done, you still have the bases and you can either write down on the top of the base what the unit is or you could stick a representative figure on the base to show what it is.  Neither would be be good for a tournament, but for practice games either way works fine.
6. Workspace organization.  Lastly...if your work area is organized to support you Paint Plan Sheet everything flows smoothly.  Here I set the paints I will use the order I will use the center of my table.  This way I don't have to scramble around searching through all my paints to find that one shade of green I need.  It is all right there.  If you were successful in your Plan Sheet and only have to use each color one time, you just go right down the row of colors.  Even if you have to revisit a color; you know right where it is.

Here I have the colors I will need right, my mixing palette and water and paper towel all  in front of me
Sean Morris (TheTerrainGuy) recently had a post (TheTerrainGuy) taking about some Commercial Organizers.  These are some high speed pieces of kit.  

I hope this helps...not so much on ACTUAL painting, but this can go a long to making that painting easier and more enjoyable.  Future installments will get into actual techniques.

Also, I am ALWAYS learning and look forward to hearing your let me know if you do something different. 

Have fun and Happy Painting.

Monday, April 16, 2012

5th SS Gepanzerte PanzerGrenadier Dismounts 1st Plt

What a weekend!  Played 4 games of Tank Aces (3 each Fearless Trained 5th SS Panthers @ 490 pts)...finished up my 1st PzIVH platoon and my dismounts for the 1st Platoon Gepanzerte Panzer Grens (version 2 after the varnishing fiasco).  But today I will show off the Panzer Grens.

The whole platoon (Dismounted):

The Platoon Leader:

1st Squad:

2nd Squad:

 3rd Squad:

Some closeups:

I discussed in an earlier post how I went about painting these guys.  I followed TomWise's camo schemes pretty much to the letter ( .  His method is quick, easy and gives a great result.  For the rest of the model I used the typical Battlefront basecoat, shadow (wash), and hilight method...more on that in an upcoming tutorial!