Saturday, January 26, 2013

Minor update to the T16

Hey folks, progress has been slow just the last little while, as I had some indecision regarding materials. In the end, I decided to do this with plasticard for the sake of durability.

I've seen three primary types of track guards: The first is this one above, with a solid band along the back with the big drop front, which was done in two separate pieces of my thinnest plasticard, bent to glue in place. The front section is glued to the top track guard, while the second is bent further and glued to the underside of the tracks.

This is the second type I've seen, which has the same front end, but a different, two-piece guard along the back. To exaggerate the look (and the fact that these pieces get all bent out of shape) I used two pieces to fill it in.

Also, in these two images, you can see that I've added what few rivets there are on these. I'm using liquid green stuff, which when just dabbed on the surface will bubble. It can take two or three coats, but I find it easier in 15mm than trying to use rod or similar. I've heard superglue will serve the same purpose. I've also started to add stowage (most visible here is the pair of spare T16 wheels, and an extra wheel for a 6pdr.)

I hope to cast the final bits of crew on Monday, and finish the assembly on Wednesday or Thursday, when the resin dries.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

T16 update photos

I know there's been a delay, but I've been doing a lot of minor things on various projects of late. I have half-painted US Paras, a half-painted High Elf Mage, half-painted High Elf horsemen, and a now-basecoated Ork Bomma. Also, this!

I have applied the camo nets, and started adding crew. I'd cast enough for all but one carrier, but I wanted to get them in so I can start adding stowage. In two cases, I've taken slight liberties with uniforms to add a radio man from a tank commander and another with a pair of binoculars and awesome mustache. Also you can see in the pictures, I've started adding more front-deck stowage in the form of two flimsies, as well as tail lights and racked guns. The guns are pretty crude, but they'll be covered with crew forearms and stowage in most cases, so I'm not too concerned.

The other thing that's been eating up my time lately is this!

I'm currently making moulds of a final truck cabin, another truck body, and all the stowage I could amass from the Open Fire kit, to really pile the stowage on the T16s and the tanks.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Canadian Welding Truck

So about a year ago, my then-girlfriend and I were in Ottawa, and spent quite a lot of time in the National War Museum. One of the odd and wonderful vehicles in their vehicle park was a welding truck based on a CMP 15cwt.

(I know these images aren't cleanly seamed, but Photoshop went and got rid of the good version of photomerge and replaced it with a more streamlined and bad one.)
As you can see, it's a fairly straightforward cab, with a funky back-end. I decided I wanted to make one as a detailed objective marker, and set about doing my usual thing.

First, I procured the multi-part 15cwts from BF, and set about with a jeweler's saw to remove the vertical parts of the back end. I cut down first, to divide by chunks, and then across.
Once this was done, the remnants were shaved a bit more, and sanded flatter.

I laminated together plasticard, curved the top, and then added the grooves along the side. First I measured the width of the vents (and rough length) and placed pencil marks. Then, gently with a craft knife, I pushed in at an angle to bump the plasticard up to look like air vents. Doing this repeatedly along the sides gave the look of the proper vents.

The back-end was also cut into in a diamond-pattern to add the rear vent, and I glued two thin lines of plasticard along the side as what I believe is a rain-guard. This was all glued into place on the back of the truck.

Next I started adding the various pieces of stowage, as well as the wheel wells. The top of the welder needed a bit of puttying to ensure the colour was smooth.

(At the same time) I added similar stowage, as well as an extra pressure vessel, and a custom-cast spare wheel, put in a custom-made wheel well. I think the original was the smaller tires, but I used what I had access to. Some more stowage bins (including under the bed) and it was time to start dealing with wiring and the canvas frame.

For the first two tarp wires, I used paperclips. These are much thicker than to-scale, but I wanted to ensure that it would survive being packed away and used. Also new here, I've added the coiled welding cables, as well as one un-spooled, being frantically spooled by one of the crew (formerly a crew from a Sexton.) To fill out the objective base, I have a leftover stowage bin from a Sherman V, loaded with stuff, and I took some leftover pieces of photo-etched brass, and cut them to size to act as the collapsible table often found with the welding truck. I figure that being on the table at the time of the attack, these guys aren't so much 'careful packing' as 'Stow it! We gotta move!"

Here's the full objective just before painting: you can see I've added some extra plates to be welded on the table, and the thinner modeling wire has now been added to the truck itself. I have attempted to imitate as accurately as I can, except for one thing that ended up as a later project: This is a type-11 cab, the National War Museum example is a Type-13 cab.

Here's the finished, painted welding truck. I've decorated it like a welding truck for the Canadian 4th Armoured Division, but left off any regimental markings, so I can still use it when I make my Infantry Company as well. The colour in the right-half images are more accurate. I chose not to muddy up the wheels too much, since I figure with it not being a combat vehicle, they would have more time to avoid taking the messier routes. Also new on here is the windscreen: I prefer to use blister plastic to the provided windscreen pieces, so I can do a proper 'glass' windscreen. Simply cut the piece to the right size, and then paint multiple thick layers of paint (of the desired colour) on it to add a three-dimensional look.

For my second Canadian objective, I'm probably going to attempt to recreate a scene from Hogan's Heroes. I'm waiting on Morris 15cwts, and then I'll do a blog-post about that!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Malifaux Thunder

I have become enraptured by the idea of Malifaux. The world is fascinating, and then when I saw The Thunder faction, I was absolutely sold. The models are beautifully sculpted, and fascinating.

The bases are all slottabases, but the models don't have slots. This makes it basically necessary to do fanciness, and so of course I wanted to do them up properly.

The more 'refined' a model, the more refined the base. The Desperate Mercenary (sadly out of focus) is on a mix of rough stone and old planking. The first of the Oiran is delicately stepping off a wooden level on to a piece of stone in the midst of either random dirt, small stones, or an ungroomed zen garden.

The other two Oiran, essentially Geisha, are on a set of Tatami mats (right) and the other central on a thin wooden bridge (as a kind of: "to pass, you must defeat me" notion)

The three Torakage (peasant-looking ninja) are on, respectively, stonework with Japanese kanji inscribed, and two others on a typical road or sewer style base. There's a distinct line of thin sidewalk, and some 'road'.

Finally, the two characters from the starter box. First is Ototo, a big Oni-like character. I disliked how far off the base he sits, so I I modified the plough shape, pushed his mace off the base a bit, and added some tiles pushed up and out by the force. Misaki herself is on a base that's distinctly a zen garden, made from my thumbprint. To help with the whorl caps, I put small pieces of gravel as stones, and the single foot touching the ground rests upon one of these, as though she too is delicately attempting to avoid touching 'base ground'.

I'm now researching colours and proper patterns, so I can paint them up as beautifully as I can. I intend to use proper colour patterns, and markings. I am frustrated in this search by so much misinformation about ninja, and such insane detail and variety in Kimono pattern. I'm going to make Yamaziko and Misaki Orange (royal colours in Japan), the Torakage faded blues and greys (typical peasant garb), and something for the Oiran that looks appropriately Geisha. Ototo himself... I'm not certain. Yellow for divine? Red for blood and aggression? I'll figure it out perhaps when I see the rest.

Making Camo Nets

When 6pdrs were limbered, it seems they were almost always given nose caps and nets or blankets of some description over the breech. I wanted to test out a method of covering them based on my work making decorative bases for my Malifaux figures (which will feature perhaps in tomorrow's blog.)

I found a method that seems to work fairly well, and gives an accurate-enough looking camo net.

Stage 1:
First, mix up an amount of epoxy putty and stretch it as much as possible into a roughly rectangular shape. The more rectangular you get it, the better, but with what we'll be doing, it shouldn't matter too terribly. You'll notice I've moistened the board beneath the putty. I didn't find this to work 100%, so I'll have to figure out another means of preventing the putty from adhering to the cutting board.

Stage 2:
 Next, I use the smooth part of a craft knife to make certain it's good and flat, and also to spread it out. The thinner the net, the better when it gets applied.

Stage 3:
Next, use the part of the craft knife that has the nice diamond-patterning on it to thoroughly groove the surface of the putty. You will want to make these as deep as possible, because any and all handling is going to degrade the sharpness. It's also important to note that with the shape of most holders, if you try to roll successively further along the length of the blade, you'll end up obscuring earlier detail as the smoother part of the holder rolls over previously grooved surface.

Stage 4:
the next couple of stages are pretty much repeat as necessary. The orphaned blade now gets used to cut the shape of net needed based on coverage. Because the net is going to get all bent out of shape, you'll notice I'm not terribly concerned by the lack of a crisp edge at the bottom, but I have initially tried to avoid the parts that are more curved.

Stage 5:
Now, use either the orphaned blade, or in my case a sculpting tool, to carefully remove the net. It's going to warp some during this, so try to minimize it by going in gentle sweeps along the length of the net. Make sure the sculpting tool (as should any tool using Epoxy Putty) is moist.

Stage 6:
At last we've reached the fun part. Gently lay the net over whatever surface you want to apply it to, and using a pointed tool, push it into place. The advantage of using a tool with a point (dental pick, sharp sculpting tool, blade) is that you can poke in the gaps, and retain the look of the camo net. Anything broad and flat or rounded can end up 'cutting' an odd line in the net.

 Stage 7:
The edges of any piece should now be worried with a blade or sharper sculpting tool, to look frayed or edged in hessian strip. If this step is skipped, the sides will look oddly un-textured, and the effect may be ruined. It also helps to thin down the edges to give the entire piece the perception of being only the thickness of real camo netting.

I have also used the camo net on the deployed guns, but only around the barrels. For the limbered guns, both the gun barrel, and the breech area get coverings. (Historically, I claim camouflage and travel cleanliness respectively. Honestly? I didn't want to have to sculpt detailed breeches on the guns!)

And here's the full battery of 6 unlimbered, and limbered guns, all with their camo nets.

 As a bonus feature
Here's what a Firefly VC looks like with this camo net concept applied. This was the first attempt, and you can see what happens if you use a rounded tool to push the net into place (over the front hull where the machine gun was removed.)

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Sonderkommand Dora Build

Time for another backstep. This summer past I finished off a Raiding Aces force for Sonderkommand Dora.

I was basing them off kind of what we know of SD, and tweaking it to include what the LRDG became. I figure a parallel force from the opposite army would end up following a similar evolution.

To that end, I gathered a bunch of Steyr 1500s, some Horch Kfz. 15s, a pair of captured British trucks, and a heck of a lot of Kubelwagens, and got to work.

There is a CMP 15cwt truck you'll see there that is based on a specific photograph showing a captured one with a Flak gun mounted in it.

The Raiding Ace himself is front-right; a highly converted version of Jock Campbell's truck.

Now historically, they had two Kfz. 222 scout cars, but they proved to be ill-equipped to run around the desert. Nevertheless, this was right when Zvezda released its 222 models, and I had to have some. I do like that most kits come without stowage moulded on, because it means I can vary it up from vehicle to vehicle, and add variety to an otherwise same-y force.

The 222s proved so ill-adapted to the desert that one broke down beyond fixing. Not ones to waste, the Germans pulled the entire gun mounting out of it, stuck it on the back of a Steyr 1500, and drove around in that instead. Here I depart from history a bit, because my assumption is that this idea was so well liked, they decided to do it with other broken down 222s, but still requisition another proper 222 to replace the busted one. To that end, I crafted two Horch trucks with 222-like mounts on the back. (They're also magnetized, so I can still use the Kfz. 15s as such.)

Finally, the Kubelwagens and trucks themselves were loaded with stowage. I put sacks, rolls, Jerry cans, waterbottles, lengths of rope and cable, extra spare tires, one radio truck, and even some winter coats. All this was meant to give the vehicles an appropriate feel of being a motorized lifeline in the desert.

(They all of course got tons of guns as well!)

So then it came to (re)painting. Everything except the pre-painted ones got hit with an all-over black spray, while the rest got a hand painted undercoat of black. Next I painted them like I do most of the rest of my desert troops, to make them look nice and dusty. For contrast against all the dusty-coloured browns, I kept the tyres fairly strongly black. The markings were minimal, as both sides' raiding forces loved to pretend to be from the other army to sneak behind lines. (This is except the 222s, which will be seeing double-use in my main force as well. I also figure they're fairly distinct no matter what markings are on their sides!)

(Top to Bottom: A CMP 15cwt with modified Type-11 cab, and Flak38; next is the entire force nose-on; thereafter is the entire force broken down by platoon; The modified Horch trucks; The pair of painted 222s; The pair of heavily-filled Steyr trucks; finally, the buggy brigade of my various Kubelwagens. The one leading the way is the 2iC with a gunshield.)

Thursday, January 03, 2013

6pdrs Limbered to T16s at last!

I have gotten a bunch of work done on the T16s, and photographed them!

 Here's the back plates cut to size, and the backs of the T16s edged to put them in place. I have seen restored T16s without the back plate, but I think it's an omission rather than something actually done at the time.

After the lower plates were glued in, I then drilled out a slot for the magnets. These are my big (for models) 1/8th inch cylinders. They're good and strong, and actually let me get away with using just paperclip to hold the guns in place! This is much easier than trying to drill out a hole for a magnet on a pair of recoil struts.

Speaking of the guns:
Here's what they look like attached to the base, but separate from the T16s. The back end of the T16 would be more detailed if they were ever on the field without their guns. The paperclip is buried between the rails and up against the scoops, which are just thin bits of leftover plasticard. You can also see in this the travel bag that went over the muzzle. The wheels in this picture are the earlier ones I cut; as soon as I saw the way they looked, I switched to cutting them much closer together, so the notches look more like a field tyre than an off-road jeep.

Here's what the gun looks like attached to the T16. You can see that with it attached, it'd be nearly impossible to tell if there was indeed a trailer hitch or not, and in fact adding one would probably make the magnets not stick properly. As it is, lightly dragging the T16 forward brings the gun along with, which is exactly the strength I want: Strong enough to stay together, loose enough to separate for ease of travel and tight corners.

On this one you can see the tighter cut wheels (in the back left, for example) and all 6 in place! Behind them are models from the Open Fire set, some Oiran, and some High Elves. (because one project at a time is for the weak!) Now I just need to add camo netting to the guns for them to be done, and for the carriers: it's rifles; clutter stowage (including ammo); crew; small bits of oddity; painting; more oddity (I'm hoping to do pinup pics in one or two) and done! (Well, then I paint the actual platoon of 6pdrs...)