Tuesday, 24 July 2018

The Start of my a BEF

I got some early WWII British and decided to start making a British Epeditionalry Force (BEF) for the 1940/41 period. When it comes to WWII I'm quite fond of the earlier and mid period. The reason is that equipment isn't as good as it became later n the war. Armour need to get pretty close to each other to have any real effect and anti-tank weapons are pretty crappy. I like that.

I've been looking for early British infantry and I feel that I'm going to have a hard time finding them. Zvesda make some but they only make small boxes. I have their British Engineer squad and it's very nice. I might just have to use the later day infantry that I already have. If I can get a couple of Boys AT rifles they should work. I can also include some of the vehicles I already have like universal carriers, 15 cwt trucks, etc.

Anyway, here's the start of my BEF. Not much but it's a start.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

A Desert Mat

Here's something I've wanted to make for a while. I did make a smaller desert mat a couple of years back but it was only 3' 3'. Besides that, I gave it away a while ago. This time, inspired by a blog I saw where a bloke made a Pacific Island mat, I decided to use the same approach.
I bought the recommended sheet of light brown 50/50 wool/polyester blend ~ 2m x 1.4m (enough for a 6' x 4' table with some overhang. This stuff is usually quite expensive but I was lucky in that it was 50% off. So I got a nice big sheet for $34.00.

I also bought a large tube of sand acrylic paint and a couple of big cheap brushes. Everything else I needed I already had.

I already had a couple of tubes of coloured caluk (brown and sand). I emptied them out into a big bowl and added plenty of water and mixed it all into a watery mud about the consistency of thick gravy. I then smeared it onto the mat and worked it in with a large plastic paint scraper and left it to dry. It made some interesting patterns.

I then got out a large 4" brush and semi-dry brushed some yellow ocher.

And then I suddenly remembered to take photos.

I tried to make the ocher uneven to make sure the dark brown showed through.

I was pretty happy with the result and the texture that came through due to the fibers in the fabric.

I then gave the whole thing a light sprinkle of sand. I wasn't expecting it to stick but I wanted it to join in on the next application of paint. Then I let the ocher dry.

Then I did some heavy brushing of the acrylic sand with a 3" brush. It did pick up the sprinkled sand and helped with the overall texture.

And that's it. It's still drying as I type (probably dry by now) and I'm pretty happy with the result. The poly/wool blend is really strong and super flexible. I was expecting the sloppy mud caulk to seep through but none of it did which got me to thinking that I might use the other side to do another green mat.

Now I need some desert scatter terrain!

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.