Monday, 14 January 2013

T34/85 Medium tank, Warlord Games

"Arguably the best tank of World War II, the T34/85 with its new turret and upgraded weaponry added to the sloped armour, saw extensive action during World War II and long afterwards. This iconic Soviet tank performed well in Korean and Vietnam wars as well as the battles in the Middle-East and even the Bosnian war of the 1980's."
Well that's what it says on the box anyway. It was definitely the best medium Soviet tank of the war. This 28mm WWII Soviet medium tank is available from Warlord Games (currently £20) with which I plan to use to smash my mate Ade's forces into smithereens when we play Bolt Action games (this is a vain attempt at psychological warfare as Ade is a far better player than me).

The main body and turret of the tank are resin with the tracks, barrel and commander/hatch in metal. The kit comes with various different commander figure options including just the hatch which can be modelled closed which is a nice touch but the scale of games I intend to play are limited to only one tank by the Bolt Action rules.

I had a couple of issues with the model itself, but nothing I couldn't fix. Fortunately the metal tracks are designed with handed locating pins which ensures that you can't fix the tracks on backwards. Unfortunately with this particular model the resin body appears to have warped slightly which meant I had to carve away some of the resin body to make the tracks fit. This still left a gap which ran the length of the tracks but I used greenstuff to fill the gap and to act as a glue as the contact wasn't good enough for the superglue to work properly.

The hole in the turret for the barrel was also slightly too large so I used some more greenstuff to fix this in place.

The tank was completely painted with Russian Green (Vallejo 894) then given various washes of green, brown and black ink. A highlight was then also applied. The slogan was painted on freehand.

I could have left the model in the factory fresh state but it was at this point I went to work on it with weathering powders. In this case I used MIG weathering products (there's also new sets available from Humbrol). I had bought these years ago, put them into a drawer and promptly forget all about them so this is the first time I've ever actually used these products in anger. So far I've been impressed by the results.

If you've never used these before they are really simple to apply. Put a small amount of the powder into a suitable dish/plastic container, add a little thinners or white spirit/turps and then brush the mix on to the model. Then leave to dry. It really is as simple as that.

For this I was testing the following MIG pigments:
Rubbel(sic) Dust P234
Industrial City Dirt P039
Brick Dust P023
Standard Rust P025

The white spirit evaporates leaving the powder in place. If you don't like it you can either wipe it away using a cotton bud (cotton swabs/Q-tips for our American cousins) dipped in white spirit/turps or you can just rub it off. However there is a chance you'll remove the base paint but it's easy to touch up with original colour. Building up various layers helps with the overall look. Once you get more confident you can even flick the mixture onto the model to give even more realistic results.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

2013 Preview

I'd like to wish my followers and visitors to this blog a belated very happy new year.
I had considered writing a review of 2012 but I don't think there's much point in repeating myself when you can simply skim through the year's posts. I did somehow manage to publish 67 posts which is a personal best for me. 

I don't intend to buy many, if any, figures (famous last words) during 2013 after I had a mini splash out towards the end of 2012. Painting wise I don't intend to set myself any definite targets after I experienced a major case of 'painters block' towards to the end of the year. However I do fully intend to concentrate on the following projects (some of which I may even finish):

WWII Soviets - Bolt Action
I aim to field my Soviet forces for Bolt Action as soon as possible so I can actually play a game! I did manage to visit Ade with his brother Jon just after Christmas a play a few games. I'm even considering giving these figures a relatively basic paint job as my normal method is very time consuming. There are currently over a hundred figures in this particular mini-pile but I don't need that many to play the game with. I'm sure I have more than enough figures, heavy weapons (and a tank!) to field a 1000 point army i.e. more than I'll ever need. I reckon there is a very good chance I can finish this particular project within a couple of months.

Medieval Stuff
I hope to finally complete the Great Round Tower that I started back in September (note the 'hope' bit). Recently, when I was struggling to see how I could make any progress, I was tempted to wear it as a hat and stroll around town pretending to be Abraham Lincoln or Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Realising this would probably result in me being detained in a padded cell for the foreseeable future I've opted instead to try and finish it. Either that or I'll boot it into the nearby park and give the local squirrels a new folly they can call home. 

I'm hoping to complete a lot more medieval figures, concentrating on representing genuine characters from throughout Edward I's life and times as this will give me plenty of choice from the Second Barons War, Welsh & Scottish Wars and even the Eighth/Ninth Crusade. These can all be covered with similar figures (ranges from Fireforge, Crusader etc.) if you're not overly fussy with the historical detailing on the miniatures as the period saw the gradual introduction of plate armour.

I purchased a great big Zvezda model from Mr. Models in Bearwood, Birmingham. These chaps normally attend local model and wargame shows like WMMS but it's worth popping into their shop if you get chance. Imagine the old TV show 'Open All Hours' that sells models literally from floor to ceiling but also buckets and mops. Adding to the mix the family that run it was constantly making funny (and highly sarcastic) comments to, and about, each other, probably as far removed from the 'love bombing retail experience' that you get when you visit a certain chain of high street wargaming stores as it is possible. The model itself is the largest model I've ever bought and is something I'm looking forward to making.

I also have a eight part posting ready to go on Sir John de Sutton VI, Lord Dudley, a fascinating character from the Wars of the Roses period. The only snag is that I still haven't painted any appropriate figures yet!

I plan to paint up a few other figures in different sizes from my normal 28mm (shock, horror). All I'm going to say is that there are some great big figures and an awful lot of tiny figures waiting in the queue.

As I'm sure is the case with many other modellers/wargamers I have dozens of ideas and little side projects ideas floating about in my head regarding terrain, figure modifications and various plastic model kits. One thing which hopefully I'll be able to do is post a few tutorial videos (any suggestions or requests will be considered) via Ade's site where you'll be able to listen to my dulcet Black Country tones. You may even see me on a few of Ade's Bolt Action battle reports (no doubt losing badly). Don't say I didn't warn you!