Saturday, 30 August 2014

A Pair of Albatrii, pt.2

I started these two bloody things over a fortnight ago, I thought it would be a quick job of building them. But boy, was I wrong. The complexity of the small parts proved to be a bit of nightmare and given their small scale it was tougher than I thought it would be. I was hoping to get both finished together, but the second one is still in this state:


I did, however, manage to pull myself together and finish one of them. This one represents an aircraft from Jasta 19 in 1918, flown by the succinctly named Oliver Freiherr von Beaulieu-Marconnay. He scored 25 victories and was the youngest recipient of the Pour-Le-Merite, but on his death bed at age 20. Oliver had been injured ten days previously from friendly fire on October 16 1918.





The verdict? Very nice kits for the highly skilled modeller, but being only moderate myself, I struggled with this. The top wing was a real pain to put on and I eventually left off a lot of the smaller photo-etched parts as they were just too fiddly! Plus I decided not to rig the crate as I had had enough of looking at the bloody thing. Maybe I'll revisit it in the future, but for now it's in the cabinet!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Stormtroopers Keep A Stormin'

Here is the finished last half of the batch of First World War German soldiers from Early War Miniatures. In total, sixteen more infantry plus an MG 08/15 on a sled. Assembled into two Gruppe this is what they look like:


On the right hand side in this Gruppe you will see the guy with a trench broom, the Bergmann MP18. I only got one of these figures as I thought the MP18 would be a pretty rare site. I will add more as the collection grows though.


And the other Gruppe, this has the usual mix of riflemen and bombers. Again, the poses in these figures are very dynamic and the detail is excellent. They have a real nice feel to them.


And the MG08/15, these were traditionally mounted on frames, but some came mounted on these sleds for ease of movement in the trenches. This is another nicely modelled set, I intend on getting some more of these.


In other news, I was in the Wargames Emporium in Sheffield over the bank holiday and picked up this second hand copy of Napoleon's Wars: The 100 Days. It has good reviews on Board Game Geek and seems to be a Napoleonic version of Memoir '44, which was another game I enjoyed playing. However it plays it was a bargain at only £20!


And finally, my company, Elmet Archaeological Services Ltd. have launched a crowdfunding project to fund an archaeological excavation of a back garden that has produced a lot of Roman pottery. If you are inclined to help us on the way, here is the PROJECT HOMEPAGE. Please have a look, even if you are only interested and share the link! Look at this lovely Roman pottery!!


Many thanks!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Let the Kaiserschlacht Begin!

Along with the plastic First World War Germans that I bought a while ago, I decided to bolster their number with some metal ones as well. Early War Miniatures have a good range and I like the look of their figures. Coupled with being relatively cheap they are a definite winner for me! The figures have a great range of poses and their rifles aren't bendy either! I ordered about thirty five of them and am painting them in batches. These are the first nine:


I then added a few more to the mix, including some laid on the ground firing, two trench raiders cutting wire and preparing a multiheaded grenade and a Mauser 1918 T-Gewehr Anti-Tank rifle team.


Here's the Mauser 1918 T-Gewehr, with a firer and spotter:


And the two trench raiders. 


I am now basing all my Through the Mud and the Blood figures individually since buying the movement trays from Sally 4th. Here is a typical gruppe together on a tray:


I am toying with the idea of going entirely over the metal in 20mm as these figures are so good compared to the plastic ones I already have. These are the first but by no means last, so I'll post more pictures of the others as they get finished. 

Today is the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Mons, the first major engagement by the British Expeditionary Force in the First World War. The defence of the of the Nimy bridge against German attacks also marks the awarding of the first two VCs of the war; Lt Dease and Pvt Godley.


*Spoiler* the BEF lose.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Movement of the People

In hindsight from the first game of Through the Mud and the Blood, I thought that my previous figure basing was not adequate for the game. Having two men based together led to confusion and also restricted what we could actually do with them during the game, like splitting down units. So, with this in mind, I set about basing the latest Germans that I bought from Early War Miniatures as individual figures mounted on one pence pieces. However, this presented the problem of moving the figures around on the table. It's laborious moving lots of individual figures, so I started looking around for movement trays and found that Sally 4th made several types in MDF, including ones that fitted one pence pieces perfectly. They were also in an irregular pattern, perfect for my needs and came with any number of precut holes. I settled on eight as this was the average size of a section in TtMatB, ordered some and they promptly arrived!

They came in two pieces, a flat base with the precut hole part. as they are laser cut MDF the lines are perfectly clean:


Using PVA glue the two sides were fixed together, I clamped them as well, jut for extra strength. The PVA only took a couple of hours to cure:


Trying them out with some EWM Germans, the bases perfectly fit the one pence pieces on the base of the figures and the full unit looks quite dashing!


Next up was to start to make them look like the bases of the figures that I have, this is easily done with the application of PVA and sand:


Once this was dry, I painted them in the same colours as the bases I have my figures on, German Camo Black Brown highlighted with Khaki. They were then spray varnished for durability.


I then added static grass and grass tufts to break up the shape of the bases:


And that was it, they were finished! Here is one full of some British Officers and NCOs to give you an idea of how they look in a game.


A great little product, very cheap and with twelve I have more than enough for most games of Through the Mud and Blood. MDF appears to be the saviour of wargaming at the moment, it's a good and tough material for basing and for buildings and with modern laser cutting can be very precise in detail and accuracy. Now all I have to do is rebase all my old figures on pennies...

Saturday, 16 August 2014

A Pair of Albatrii WIP pt. 1

There has been a couple of requests for the wallpaper designs that Ninjasaurus Rex created for the Stalingrad buildings that he and I recently made. Here is the .jpg of them. Right click on the picture click on 'view picture' and save it to your computer (this works for PCs, I'm not sure how Macs work...), then print out as many as you need. I found the best way to do this was to paste the picture into a word document and stretch it to fill the page, ignoring the printing warning about it being beyond the edge for printing. Print as many as you need and bob's your uncle!


Last Christmas I got a gift certificate for Amazon, I spent it on what I thought was a 1/48th Scale Albatros, by Eduard. It turns out it was duo set of models but were 1/72nd scale and when I asked for a return, the supplier (who I will not name as I don't want to give them any publicity) told me that I would have to pay the postage to return the models and they would only refund me the price of the models and not the original postage! So, I figured, I'll keep them, rather than pay postage twice for nothing. 

They have sat in the lead mountain for a while, until this week when I thought I'd sit down and make them. As with all Eduard models they are incredibly detailed, even at this small scale. The cockpits are full of photo etched parts:


I made the interiors and took some photos, just to prove to myself that I actually put all the tiny parts in there...


I stuck the fuselage halves together, added the bottom wings and tailplanes, then I turned my attention to the machine guns. These were also photo-etched, the barrels of the plastic ones had to be removed to be fitted with the metal parts. These were fiddly but not too bad in the end.


Then these were placed in their positions, unfortunately, I had cack-handedly put the engine blocks in slightly the wrong place and the guns sunk down a little too far into the fuselage. Oh well, under the top wing it shouldn't be too noticeable...


That is as far as I have got with these for now, I was hoping to have them finished by the weekend, but they have proved to be quite fiddly in their construction. Check back for further updates...

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Berlin Strasse WIP Pt. 4

Doesn't time fly when you're modelling a wrecked building? Welcome to part four of this seemingly never ending build. You can catch up with what I have done so far in PART ONE, PART TWO and PART THREE. Also check the inspiration for this at Ninjasaurus Rex's BLOG.

I turned my attention to the interior and the rubble on the bottom floor. I neatened up all the painting, using brick red for the rubble. I then washed the entire thing in Green Grey by Vallejo. This was dark enough for contrast but not too dark to be black. I also washed the walls with the same colour and left it all to dry.


I actually washed all the interior walls as well, but stupidly forgot to take photos! You'll have to take my word for it. Once the wash was dry on the rubble, I gave it a dry brush of some sandy yellow, I forget the exact Vallejo paint I used, but it doesn't really matter. This then gave the rubble a bit of contrast. However, this part is by no means finished, this was just the stuff I won't be able to get to once the walls are fixed in place. Watch this space...


Further weathering was needed for the walls, the wash looked OK, but I wanted a dusty appearance. This would be done with weathering powders. Rather than spend a small fortune on commercially produced ones, I followed Ninjasaurus' lead and made my own. It is literally a mix of tempera paint of the correct colour with Plaster of Paris. The plaster will lighten the tempera, so bare this in mind if you make your own. I used black pain and got a grey colour. I wanted grey anyway, as it's the right shade for dust.


Then, with a big soft brush the powder was dabbed onto the walls and allowed to fall off naturally. Here is the interior wall with the powder applied:


And the other walls, all done in the same way. You can't really see in the picture but the powder gives the walls a 3D appearance which can't be done with the wash alone. Ninjasaurus did tell me after all this that he didn't even wash the walls in his building and just applied the powder. I will try that with the next building I make.


Then to seal the powders in place I spray varnished the walls. Once this was dried I drybrushed all the details, like the wooden beams on the walls and the floor levels that I created with sand. Also added at this stage was a thin wash of brick red around the windows and top edge of the ruin. That was it for weathering the interior, so I glued the walls together and then stuck them to the base:


Then I re-painted the exterior walls, this was really just a case of neatening up the brickwork showing through the plaster and painting a few splashes of colour on the doorways and a few windows. I also painted one of the shop frontages green, to make it stand out from the rest and break up the face of the building. detail was also added in some of the decoration being painted, again, just to break up the façade. I painted the plasterwork in Iraqi Sand, just to prove to Ninjasaurus that I don't paint every building grey, which is a criticism he always levels at me...


Once this was all dry, I washed the walls in Green Grey again and left it to dry. This was just the right shade to dull down the bright paint.


Next up was to add a bit of detail, as two of the building frontages looked like shops/restaurants I decided to add some signage to them. A friend had already directed me to this BLOG, which is an excellent resource for World War Two posters and things, and imprtantly for this project also had some Russian restaurant signs. Look all the way down the comprehensive list until you see them. They are supposed to to be for 1/35th scale, but look fine when scaled to the correct size for positioning on my building:


Then it was into the final straights, I used the weathering powders on the outside of the building, here's the front and left side:


And the rear. I then gave the whole thing a liberal spray of matt varnish to fix in the powders and left it to dry.


After the varnish had dried, I started on the final rubble additions. This started with making a mix of the grey rubble I had made earlier (detailed in PART THREE of this build), along with a red rubble made using the same process, but using Burnt Vermilion tempera paint instead of black.


Using PVA glue painted into the corners of the interior and around the edge, the rubble mix sealed the gap between the building and the floor. Plus it gave an extra dimension to the rubble already in there.


The same process was continued along the outer edge of the building, again, the rubble sealed the quite obvious gap around the bottom of the walls. As the PVA was still setting, I sprinkled the finer bits of rubble over the mounds to fill in any gaps left by the larger lumps:


Nearly there now! Remember the broken floorboards I made all that time ago in PART ONE? Well, they finally got used! I glued them in to the bottom of the building. As this will be used for gaming with I laid them as flat as I could. I know it's not one hundred percent realistic, but it is more of an indication of rubble than anything else!


I then sprinkled some finer rubble mix over the top of the beams, to show further rubble collapse and it was finished!






To give you an idea of scale, here are some 15mm Peter Pig Fallschirmjäger in front of it:


It took about three weeks in total to complete, but not all of that time was spent on working on the model. Overall, I am pleased with how it turned out, especially the rubble and weathering processes. However, one thing I should have done is glue the walls into place before starting, that way I could have worked on covering the corner joins properly. Plus I won't put untreated rubble in the base like I did with this one, as some of the undercoat could be seen through it. Now I have a couple of tubs of ready made rubble things should be a lot faster! have three more of these buildings to make, so that knowledge will definitely come in handy with those ones! 

Today is also 100 years to the day that Lt Harvey -Kelly had the honour of being the first RFC pilot to land in France at Amiens. He beat his squadron commander (Major Burke) to the title by two minutes by flying across country rather than navigating by the rivers.


His was the first of about 60 aircraft that were attached to the BEF to fight Imperial Germany.
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