Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Another Teddy Bear Fur Experiment

Having tried a test doing a Teddy bear fur mat I decided to go all out and try something more ambitious. And I'm not really very happy with my results.

Because I can't get larger sheets of fur with a shorter pile, I had to revert to a couple of smaller pieces and hope to be able to link them together. My plan worked to some extent but not to a level that I'm completely happy with.

I initially decided on two pieces at 130 x 80cm (just over 4' by about 2.6' ). So enough to cover a 120 x 160cm area (so... 4' by 5.2').
That was the plan and it's not so bad, considering what it is. They're not exactly the same size but I took that into account with the extra 10cm which will overhang the table.

Then I decided to add a third section. The idea being that this third section would fit in such a way that I'd be able to get several configurations with the same pieces. This part didn't work out quite as well as I hoped.
Part of the reason is that I miscalculated some of the measurements so the roads & tracks don't always match in some areas and I also mismatched the colours between the first (left) and last (right) mats. The third mat was also supposed to be able to be added to the bottom of the first two but it doesn't. I'm not sure what I did wrong in that department. I was up to my armpits in shaved fur & paint pots (and I was doing one piece at a time with the others drying on trestles).

So there you go. All up the three mats together make up a 120 x 240cm area (4' x 8').

It sort of works but I'm not 100% happy. A single piece of material would work better. Maybe I should make a fourth piece to fit on the bottom of mats 1 & 2.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Waltzing Matilda II's and Other Stuff

I've been busy. Making terrain and painting models. It never seems to end.

This time it's some Matilda II tanks and a little Vickers tankette for my fledgling British 8th Army. I got these models from Early War Miniatures and whilst they look nice, I really did not enjoy painting them. As you see them this is their second paint job. The first didn't take.

These models are resin cast and they had too much release agent (maybe this is due to the models being quite detailed). As a result the first paint job started rubbing off just from handling them. I initially used my regular Vallejo primer and it didn't want to work. So, another soapy wash and I used a spray auto-primer. This seems to have worked.

Having to do the Caunter camo a second time didn't endear me to these models. The first time around I used a light grey-green but for the second effort I decided to go with the traditional (although supposedly wrong) light blue.

I also used Plastic Soldier decals. I bought the 7th Armoured Div set and they are shite.
1: They are too big. Not 1/72, 20mm.
2: They tear apart very easily. Same problem with the German ones too.
I won't get any more of these in the future.

I painted the red & white identification stripe things.
The crew are AB.

And I also did a 40mm AA gun. This is a Zvezda kit. A very nice model but it's very clean and perfect. It's hard to make it look like it's seen some action. The Loyd carrier is one of two PSC models that I got in a swap.
But not only that...

A bunch of German stuff. A troop of PSC Panzer IVH's. Very nice models. Easy to make and they pained up nicely. I actually finished these a few days back and they were in my last post of the terrain mat.
And last, but not least: A Pz IV F1 to give some heavy firepower to my DAK and a panzer grenadier command vehicle with a 37mm. This half track is one of the diecast Sd.Kfz 250 radio cars that I scuffed up and posted earlier in the year. But I decided to add the gun and give it a proper dirty desert paint job.
(I just noticed I haven't painted the tank's tracks. Oops!)

Monday, 9 July 2018

A Fur Mat Test

I've seen a plenty of faux-fur mats (some in the flesh and many online) and I've been wanting to make one for quite some time. I bought a huge piece of fur a few months back but the logistics of making such a big thing without prior experience scared me off once I had the huge piece on material in my possession.

In the end I gave it to my wife and decided to re-think this project and bought a smaller 1m x 80cm piece to do a test.

So, I laid the piece out, got the hair clippers out and started shaving. I had no idea what I was going to do , but I'm reading about the Normandy Invasion at the moment, and and decided mid-shave to make a crossroad with some fields.

I shaved some areas evenly and some areas unevenly. Some short and some longer. For the roads I shave the fur right down to the material. I then decided to add some drainage ditches to one of the roads. Between periods of shaving I also combed the piece to remove excess fur.

I have some bottles of artist's acrylic that I picked up very cheap for this project and got some brushes ready. First off I decided to apply the paint as per a video I watched. In this video the guy applied the paint direct to the fur and then spread it around with a brush and a comb. I did this and I didn't like it. After a lot of brushing and combing I finally managed to spread the paint but it was difficult.

I then chose another area and applied paint by stippling it with a 2" brush and brushing it in with a 4" brush. So I stippled and brushed and combed. This worked better for me and I did the rest in this fashion.
The large green area on the right was my first attempt.

For the roads I used some chocolate emulsion paint that I had sitting around and highlighted it with some light grey emulsion. I thought I might need to add sand to create a rough surface but the weave of the heavy cloth and some tiny areas of remaining fur provided enough surface to give a nice effect.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with it and I'm confident enough to tackle a larger 6'x4' piece. Actually, I'll make it a bit larger in order to accommodate hills placed underneath.

Monday, 2 July 2018

I'm Still Making WWII Stuff

Yes I am. And this time around I've made some new vehicles for my late war British recce and some more roads - This time tarmac roads!

A Dingo Scout Car and two White M3 Scout Cars. These models are resin from Early War Miniatures and they're very nice (but a little pricey when ordering from Australia). I also got a troop of Matilda II's and a little Vickers Light Tank which I haven't finished yet. I'm sure I'll be getting more from EWM.

I also made these roads using the same method as I used to make my dirt roads. The main difference is that I used a charcoal coloured caulk with built in grit that's used for repairing mortar. It was a bit more pricey but it produced a very nice road surface. However, I was a bit impatient and I didn't wait for the caulk to cure 100% so the gaffa tape (duct tape) trick didn't work as well as it did previously.

Lesson learned!

And there's the roads with the vehicles on it.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Tanks, Terrain & Other Things

I've been pretty busy making various things over the past week or so. So where do I start?

Buildings: I ordered some colour printed card houses by Plastcraft. 4 buildings for about $45.00. Not bad.

However, when I say "card" they are really printed on that acrylic, foam-card stuff. Not foamcore... Sort of a plastic board stuff. They were reasonably cheap and, although they have some very noticeable joins and edges, they were quite quick to make and look half decent. I guess I can always patch up the edges and whatever but at this stage I'm happy with them.

The only thing that was annoying about them was that there were no instructions in the box. This was quite daunting when I first opened the box but after making one house the quantity of pieces was less and construction became progressively easier.

For what I paid, they look okay.
 Some 20mm figures for comparison.

I also made a card church (real card this time). This is HO scale from a model railway company and it's not bad but it wasn't easy to make. It's a very solid little model considering that it's made of cardboard. Some time in the future I think I'll mount it onto a base with walls and a little grave yard for effect.


Roads: I made some dirt roads. I've been wanting to make some of these for a while but I couldn't find a suitable material that I was happy with. But a couple of days ago I found a small roll of non-slip rubber mat for $4.00 at ALDI and I thought it might work.

I cut it into 3"x 12"strips and added a coat of dark brown caulk. I waited for it to cure overnight and then found that the mat material had curled. I remembered a video I saw on You Tube where a guy used gaffa-tape on the underside to counteract this curling and so I applied some gaffa-tape. And it worked!
 (Note: gaffa-tape is what Americans call duct tape.)

I then gave the pieces a drybrush of some sand colour and then used my home made flock to do the edges.

So, all up it took me around 4 hours of work at a cost of about $15.00 to make 14' of flexible dirt roads with a couple of junctions and bends. They're only marginally realistic but they look effective and they'll be adorning my wargaming tables for years to come.

AND... Today I visited ALDI gagain and picked up another roll of the non-slip mat and a tube of darkgrey sandy textured caulk and I'm going to make some tarmac roads next.


Tanks... I finished some more tanks. I made these little guys a couple of weeks back and they've been waiting for some paint.

A carrier section. The carrier on the right is metal and was gifted to me by a friend when I bought a Cromwell from him. It will be the platoon command vehicle when I finish the final section.
These are Pz 38t's from Pegasus models. I was a bit suspicious of this kit (one box, 2 models) but I was really surprised at how easy they were to make and how good they look. I'm hoping to get another box this weekend.

And also... I made some blinds for I Ain't Been Shot Mum. These are used for hidden movement and I think they could be usable for other games. I used Photoshop to make them because I didn't like any of the generic ones available for download. As you can see they are alphabetized from A to L with a pair of blank ones in each set. If I can work out how to share pdf files on this blog I'll put them up for download.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

British Armour WWII

I picked up a bunch of AB 1944/45 British infantry last week and decided to work on this era of WWII for a while. I also picked up a bunch of models at the Model Expo a couple of weeks back. I do have a bit of stuff for this period - some infantry, halftracks, carriers and a few tanks.

I also bought the pdf of the Too Fat Lardies game: I Ain't Been Shot Mum. It looks good as it has a lot of simple rules for some regular WWII battlefield concerns that are not covered by the Battlegroup rules.

Anyway, I decided to paint up the infantry as well as a few tanks. There's nothing outstanding here, just basic stuff. The models are from a mix of manufacturers.

Thes Achilles tank destroyers are from Armourfast. They are cheap and nasty but they look okay. The only problem is that they have zero detail inside the turret so I added some AB crew to, at least, fill up the space. I also added some stowage (the rolled up tarps I did with green stuff).
 You can see the total lack of detail here.
These Cromwell IV's are all Airfix. An easy model to build and it looks the part. I added the optional hedge cutter to two of them. Add the Firefly below and I have a viable Armoured troop.
The Firefly is actually diecast. I've had it for a while and I don't recall where I got it from. I looks nice and it's put together well.

I also picked up these German field cars from the Model Expo. These are dodgy resin recasts. But they were going cheap and they saved me a bunch of time because they were already primed. I just had to base them and add paint. One for Africa and one for Europe.

That's all for now.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Napoleonic Demo Game

My friend Robin and I put on a Napoleonic demo game at the Melbourne Model Expo today. This is a three day event held every year at the Sandown Racecourse outside Melbourne. Other members of our club put on games on Saturday & Sunday, and Monday (today) was our turn.

Here's some photo's:

What's this? A secret liaison behind the farmhouse...