Monday, June 29, 2015

Merkava Diorama - Part 3

Hi everyone,

A short one this week since I am off for a pre-summer holiday.  Since I work in the hospitality industry, summer is off limits as far as holidays are concerned.

Well, I have continued with the Merkava diorama, but due to my tight schedule I ended up taking shitty pictures.  So I apologize in advance.

The first picture shows the tank undercoated - first with black, then with white on top.  The picture, as I have mentioned above is not very clear, since they were taken near sunlight - but I did not notice at the time
The next step was the basic colour - in this case IDF Sand.  The parts in white were already much lighter than those which were black.  This technique offers a good first colour gradient.
The next several steps were the highlights and shading, also done with an airbrush, as well as a lot of masking.  The effects are not very clear in the picture below due to the over-saturation from the daylight.
I stopped there with the tank, as the next several steps will be done with my trusty paint brush.  Since I still had the airbrush out I did some work on the base.

After putting the scene together, I filled in the gaps with putty and a fine gavel & sand solution mixed with PVA glue to blend the parts together.  At this stage, I did not fix in the smaller building, as it would have caused difficulties in airbrushing later on.  I had left the thing to dry overnight.
The next step was to prime it in black and add some basic colours to the scene. Unfortunately the camera moved without me noticing.  I was in such a hurry that I did not even bother to check the picture!!  Sorry about this, but by the time I found out, this stage had gone!
The last step before getting into the scene with the paint brush, was to add some detailing and shades with the airbrush. My first step was to paint up the rubble.  Then I masked off the rubble areas and airbrushed in the road.  The next step was adding masks in order to paint in the zebra crossing and road line. This was definitely the fun part.

When the lines were done, I added highlights to the road.  After which, I blended the road and rubble areas together with several layers of dusting - everything done by airbrush for now.
The last step was to work on the tall building.  Living in a Mediterranean island, I know how taxing the sun can be on buildings, so I wanted a blanched look.  Hence the several layers o highlights.  I will tone this done with some washes later on.

That is all for this week.  Next week I want to show some more of my 10mm High Elf Army I have finished painting up.

Until then farewell and good health.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

10mm Elf Army- Elites and Monsters

Hi everyone,

I decided to take a quick break from the Merkava diorama, this week to show my latest additions to my 10mm High Elf army.  I mentioned some posts ago that this was to be the year of armies - and I have sidetracked somewhat.

Nonetheless, I have still done work on them, even though on the side.  So today I want to take the time to talk about the 10mm Sword Master of Hoeth unit, my hero on an eagle and some dragons.

First up are the Sword Masters. I have to admit they take the 1st place for me in this post. I gave them a blue look in order to differentiate them from the Phoenix Guard that are in red and the common spear units.  I also gave their armour several washes of Tamiya clear blue.
Instead of just four stands, I opted for six this time. I wanted the option of creating different unit sizes depending on the size of game or scenario.
Next up is the High Elf hero on a giant eagle.  As you can see I have updated its base to a 4 inch radius. I do this in order to be able to play with my models in various game systems - including Kings of War, Hordes of the Things and my own personal game - Dying Wyvern.

The last project for this army I have been working on are the dragons. The models are from the D&D plastic pre-painted model range.  They are called purple and deep dragons, I thing they are perfect for mighty drakes in 10mm scale.

The only thing I have done for now, is put them on bases with some putty work to give them the impression that they are on cliffs.  I think I will paint them in shades of blue and purple.  Overall I think that these colours suit a dragon used by the elves.
As you can see, the 4inch square bases fit the dragons well and they can easily be placed into a unit formation.

That is all for this week.  Until we meet again - farewell and good health.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Merkava Diorama - Part 2

Hi everyone,

Today I want to continue discussing another product I bought for this diorama- the scene.

As I mentioned last week I bought a middle eastern scene set from A Czech company called Black Dog at a sale a sale price from Hannants.

The set is really nice and detailed, but it does have several problems that I will discuss briefly.
The set comes in 4 parts - a base, 2 buildings and a pair of shatters.  They are all well sculpted, but they do need a lot of cleaning.
The highlight of the set has to be the buildings, especially the larger one.  They are simply gorgeous.  Full of detail, character and bullet holes! The separate shutters fit into the larger building.

A view from behind shows that they are not a solid piece and can be used by the creative modeller from the opposite side.
The problems I have is with the base.  The detail is lovely and the buildings do fit in well with only minor tweaking, but the base itself is slightly warped and uneven.
There is also a problem with the casting, as one side is thicker than the other.  As I am placing the base into a frame, I can cover this up, but it would not suit someone just displaying it.  In that case, it would have to be sanded down.
The picture below shows how uneven the base really is.  I asked a friend to make me a frame base and he had to widen the frame.  This way I can fit the base much easier and then just fill in around the base with putty.
The last photos show how the set goes together. You have to admit, it does make a handsome picture.  I sincerely doubt if I could have made something this good, and at this scale, on my own.

So the verdict is that overall, and despite the few problems, this set is well worth the few quid spent on it. I will certainly be looking into Black Dog products in the future, and I highly recommend bookmarking their site.  I can't wait to paint it up.

Well that is it for now.  Next week I will post up some of the painting work.  So until then;

Farewell and good health,


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Merkava Diorama - Part 1

Hi everyone,

Today's post deals with a new project that I have started.  This is a new diorama at the 1/72 scale of one of my favourite tanks - the Merkava.  I have not built a tank in a while now.  My last tank was the WW2 King Tiger, also at the 1/72 scale entitled Germans at Rest.

Since I do not feel confident enough to build the larger scales, I opted for another go at this cheaper scale to hone my skills.  On the plus side, I have always wanted to build this tank, so I decided to get stuck in.

I wanted this project to be light and easy going, and I certainly did not want to get bogged down by the scenery and model modification.  At this scale these things can be very challenging and that is not the purpose of this exercise.

After shopping around, I found a nice middle eastern diorama kit from a company called Black Dog that I found on sale on Hannants, as well as some well designed resin IDF soldiers ready to be painted up. I will post more on these in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, I go stuck in to building the tank.  It goes together quite well and the instructions are very straightforward except for a few things like gun placement on the turrent.  That could have been a bit clearer.

As for the fit, it was OK, but I still had a few problems that needed putty and sanding.  One drawback to the kit is the lack of certain details that I felt needed to be added.

A typical example are the exhausts.  These are basically holes in the side.  The designers must have thought that at this scale they would go unnoticed, but I found this oversight glaring annoying. 
I fixed this very easily by adding some plastic tubing, and the whole thing just looked all the better for it.
I also added some clamps to the extra tracks, and sanded down the mud flap protectors.  The flaps were very thick and unseemly, but after a bit of TLC, things fell into place.
The true work was in the turret.  This is the equivalence of a face on a model - it is the focus of attention for the viewer, so I decided to give it more attention. 

Once again I added extra details like clamps, pronounced welding marks, antennas and a whole lot of extras - I might have gone a bit overboard with this, but it was fun to do!

Well, the tank is finished and ready for painting.  Before I start though, I wanted to get some posts in with the other products I bought. So until then:

Farewell and good health,


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Review: Wolf Heulend by Masq-Mini

Hi everyone,

Today I bring you another review about a type of miniature that is close to my heart - Thunder Wolves.

This post shows off the Giant Howling Wolf from Masq-Mini.  I bought this miniature from Battlefield Berlin, and I have to say I do not regret it.  It costs 22 euros excluding p&p which is an extra expense. So if you are going to buy it, then make sure you make a good sized order to reduce the cost per item for postage.

The miniature came in the box you see in the picture below.  The parts were in a plastic bag, but there was no protective foam - which was disappointing.  Otherwise the box is quite nice.
The model in itself comes in 6 pieces.  The parts are crisp and need a minimal amount of cleaning.  There is no base and no instructions like the GW Thunder Wolf box set, but with the simplicity of this kit, you would have to be a moron not to be able to put it together.
The pose of this howling wolf model is fantastic and full of drama.  I easily envision this mini as a squad leader's mount, a Wolf Lord's ride or as a showcase piece.
The only drawback is that it s a bit thin compared to the bulk from the side view.  Unfortunately this is hard to correct due to the way the saddle is designed and cast.  If I decide to use this as a showcase piece I will definitely try to thicken it a bit.
Another defect, which I found rather odd was the gap in the fit.  This is not a problem for a seasoned modeller and only needs some good use of putty to correct, but coming from a company like Masq-Mini is once again disappointing.

The detail, though, is fine and well sculpted.  It has a more naturalistic feel to it, which is not surprising for a hand sculpted model.  This might contrast negatively with the GW Thunder wolves which have a more stylistic, blocked-out look to them.  So if you want this model in your army - then go for a character model.

Overall, the Masq-Mini giant wolf is larger than the GW version.  It's extra bulk makes it stand out from the pack.  An excellent wolf model for an alpha contender!
The last picture shows a comparison with a Space Wolf model from my collection.  As you can see the model fits in well with the character and the mythos.
After giving it some thought, I have to recommend this model.  If you are looking for a challenging project for a character leader or a diorama piece, this model kit has it all.

If on the other hand you are interested in building a squad, then I would think twice.  The set from GW is more affordable and has more build options. The Masq-Mini giant wolves can only be assembled in one way.  If you don't like a pose - you're stuck with it just the same.

That is all for May, until next month; farewell and god health.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Eaglemoss Wolverine: Part 5 - FINISHED!

Hi everyone,

I have finally finished my Wolverine model from the Eaglemoss Marvel  miniature figurine range.  This project was dragged out a bit too long, but in my defense, I did stumble on several hurdles along the way that muted my enthusiasm for this job.  In the end though, I did manage to finish it and that is what really counts.

The scope of this project was to hone up my painting skills.  Before the 54mm Conan the Barbarian  model I painted up several posts ago, I had not painted a show case figure in a long time.  Painting this Wolverine helped to stir me back on the right tracks.

At 8 sterling, it was also very cheap for a 70mm figure which usually cost over 30 sterling.  In fact, I have bought several of the line, including the Beast and the She Hulk which I will present in the future.

Enough of the small talk.  It is time for the picture.  I hope you like it.

The last photo is one that displays the mighty berserker as he was before and after he was repainted.I think the picture sheds some light on the scope of improvement you can achieve with these figures.  If you are one of those 'purists' who think that you should not even open the box, let alone repaint it - well you can always buy two and keep one in the original form!  From where I stand, I rather go for a good look than a perfectly preserved specimen.
So, another project under the belt.  Next week it is another review.  I have seen that one of my most popular posts is the Basicks Great Wolf, so I have decided to give the public another!

Until then farewell and good health.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dystopian Wars - Basing PT.3 Arctic Water

Hi everyone,

Back again with the last installment of this article run on basing for Dystopian War flyers. Today I want to talk about a quick and easy way to make arctic water effects.

In the spirit of the other posts, I wanted to find an inexpensive way to build an arctic basic.  After a lot of brainstorming and experimentation, I found a way to do it in a convincing manner.

The first thing you need in any arctic sea is icebergs.  An economic way of achieving this, in scale, is to tear out some pieces of sponge and soak them in diluted PVA glue and stick them to your bases. 

Once dry, the sponge hardens and you can continue to add several layers of Vallejo's Water Effects.  This will help to smooth out the texture of the sponge into a more icy structure.  When you are happy with the texture - paint the iceberg white.  This will help bring out any defects and you will see if you need to work more on it. 

When dry, the next step is to add floating ice.  This is the simpler part of the project.  All you need to do is cut out some pieces of plasti-card, or an old credit card (sanded down), or plastic calling cards (you know - the posh ones) and glue them to the base.  Make sure you have several smaller parts floating around.
Before you start to paint everything, make sure to mask the upright stands, and then paint the whole thing white.  I prefer to use an airbrush for this, but brush work will do fine as well.  Just remember that it is better to paint several thin layers than one thick layer.

The next painting step is the water.  This is done in the exact same fashion as the first post, but just remember arctic water which is ice ridden can tend to be brighter, so do you research and paint accordingly.

The last step is to give a bit of body to the ice plates.  I did this by mixing Vallejo's Water Effects with some snow product and adding several layers to the ice-plates, letting each application dry before adding the next.  Any brand of artificial snow will do, but the fine it is the better.  I also gave the icebergs and the water a coating or two of the Vallejo Water Effects to give just it that wet look. 

A small tip - if you are feeling adventurous, you can try adding some clear blue paint in minute quantities to the Vallejo Water Effects in order to create blue ice or simply a bluish reflection.  Always do some tests first before applying to your bases first.
A quick snapshot shows what the bases look like with some fliers attached to them.  As you can see, although the ice effects are small, they are properly scaled to the air-ships.  I am sure you will agree, arctic sea really suits the COA.
The last picture is a group shot of all the bases put together.  It gives the air-fleet a completely new look and helps to bring out that army individuality we all strive for.  My only critique at this point is to either make all the bases just water and explosions or all arctic.  I mixed them up solely for the purposes of this article.
Well that is a wrap for this article run.  I hope you enjoyed them, and hopefully learned something useful you can adopt for your own use. Next week I will be posting up my finished Wolverine model.

Until then farewell and good health.



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