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Bolt Action Part Duex

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks, but I’ve made some headway on my little test squad of American troops:


Basecoated and test washes applied.

Here they are basecoated and washed. For the washes I tried 5 different ones to see how I liked them, but I can say that I don’t think that how I did the zenithal highlighting had a lot of impact here. I’m going to end up priming another figure straight black and see how he comes out as a control, however,  it’s not like rattle canning the additional colors took a lot of time, so I’m not really out of anything either.


For the colors on these guys, I went with Army Painter Army Green for the coats and Puttees, Vallejo Model Color (VMC) English Uniform Brown for the paints, VMC Iraqui Sand for the pack, VMC Pastel Green for the webbing and Leather Brown for the boots.

Now, a few of these colors I’ve gotten from the web, and others were kind of ‘eyeball to memory” trying to figure out colors from re-enactor’s gears and the such from Google Image results. I’m not happy with packs (too light) and the pants (just not close).

With that in mind, I decided to order some books from my local  library dealing with uniforms and see if I could come up with some more accurate colors. I’m not done yet, but one book that’s just jam packed with pictures is Windrow and Hawkins’: The World War II GI, US Army Uniforms 1941-45 ( I’ll probably do a blog post on just the uniform stuff I learn from there.

After I was done basecoating, I attacked them with a variety of washes, including some I made from Les Burley’s wash recipe ( I made his Soft and Heavy Body Black along with a Sepia Wash. I also used Vallejo Sepia Wash.  For the Burley Sepia wash, I tried a couple of different ink concentrations: 40 and 50 drops of the FW ink.


L-R: Vallejo Sepia, 40 Drops Burley Sepia, Soft Body Black, 50 Drops Burley Sepia and “Mix”


The Vallejo Sepia Wash worked, and would probably be fine for this, but I felt like playing around. The 40 Drop concentration of Burley Sepia wash was really light. A couple of applications would probably work OK as well. However, my goal is speed, so I I’ll probably skip this. I really liked how the Soft Body Black flowed and acted, but it was too harsh of a color. Next was a 50 drop concentration of Burley’s Sepia and this was pretty good. This maybe the way I go. The last one was a bit of a mix that I, uh forgot to write down like an idiot. Of course, I like this one a lot. I think this was the fifty-drop Sepia concentration, with some black ink mixed in. I *think* I figured it would be the fifty-drop sepia with 5 or 10 drops of black ink.

So, I need to find a better color for the packs, the pants and nail down my wash. And then I’ll be able to start.

But I am getting there, and learning quite a bit as I do so, which I consider a win.

Till next time!


Bolt Action and Trying New Things

I, like many wargamers, am a big history buff, and I have a deep interest in the Second World War. So, when I saw Warlord’s Bolt Action at GenCon 2011 (or maybe it was ’12) I was immediately fascinated.  While I had obviously seen Flames of War, the small scale (15mm)  didn’t really do much for me (I already do micro-armor and BattleTech in 6mm), where as the comparatively large size of BA’s 28mm pulled at me. Much like the modeling opportunities presented by Warhammer 40K (also allegedly 28mm), I felt I could really have some fun modeling these guys.

Alas, the timing wasn’t right and it wasn’t to February that I finally took the plunge and picked up some minis to play Bolt Action. Like most of my purchases, I bought a US army force used off a friend. The infantry is a mix of Warlord plastics and Black Tree Design metals backed by a collection of Warlord resin vehicles and metal support units.

While the Black Tree sculpts look nice, proportionally they just don’t jive with the Warlord plastics. I’ll probably sell those off and use to the money towards fleshing out my force.

Anyways, as I have about a million different projects going, I’ve decided that I’m going to “speed” through these guys. I’ll never be a Golden Demon painter and I think I need to accept a certain amount of compromise on these guys to get them to the table in a reasonable amount of time. And, even when I do spend a lot of time on a model, I still find myself missing something or screwing something up. So I’ll spend my time on character models and paint up the rank-and-file to (what I hope is) a good table top standard.

To achieve this, I’m going to be trying out a couple new-to-me techniques. Including using Zenithal highlighting and ‘dips’ (though I’ll brush it on).

So to begin, I picked five random GIs, cleaned them up, based them with some sand and hot glued them to a strip of cardboard.

I then rattle-canned them Colorplace flat black all over and let them dry. The next day, I hit them with grey primer, holding the can parallel  to the mini’s torso and applied thin, quick coats.


Grey mid-coat applied. You can kind of seen the black in the shadows.


I followed this up with white, holding the can directly over the mini’s head and again, spraying in quick, thin coats.

You can see the built in highlights contrasted to the black basecoat. The question is, will this show through the coats of paint to follow?

To be continued…

Some Updates

So as I’m dealing with a bum ankle, I might as well post some pictures and what not of what I’ve been up too.


Project: Valkdetta

Valkdetta is getting along. Engines and center hump-thingy are on, as well at the one boom. The other boom was a bit trickier—I had to clearance the engine to make sure it fit. That’s all settled now, so this weekend should see her getting close to completion. Just in time for the new Death From the Skies book to hit, even though it apparently doesn’t have anything about the Vendetta—or any of the FW fliers.


Here is my Vindicare assassin. I’m trying to follow the tutorial in “White Dwarf” as closely as I can. It’s my fist time painting anything in that style, so… I don’t hate it yet, but those edge highlights are a bit thick in my opinion.



This is my ‘bits’ priest. I picked up a bag of WFB Empire bits at Adepticon for $4 and made this guy. I added boots to him, and cut the spikes of his mace. He still looked more Chaos then not though, so I added an Aquila emblem from the Imperial Tank Sprue. I like him much better now. The autogun was made from a spare lasrifle, plastic tubing and some greenstuff.


For the Somewhat Better Good!

I’ve been working on my Tau infantry at work during my lunches (cleaning them up and such) and decided I might as well throw paint on them. These are all second hand, and let’s face it, the old sculpts weren’t so great to begin with. These will be fluffed as a backwater garrison that suddenly got reinforced with some front line units. That’ll explain the old metal stealth suits I have as well as the old Crisis suits.

More Valhallans

Part one HERE

So I got my Mad Robot Ushanka and Kurgan heads in the other day and immediately glued them to some Shock Troops.
The Kurgan helmet head (basically a Soviet SSH-40-ish helmet) fit perfectly. The Ushanka… did not. Due to the Shock Troop’s high collar, the bottom of the Ushanka hits it and makes the head stick up quite a bit. I made a greenstuff “neck” to prop it up, but I think what I’ll probably do is position the head and cut the collar down so the head fits right. But maybe not. I’m still mulling it over.


With Green stuff neck



Side-by-side with the Kurgan head. The Ushanka head is actually taller as I left more of his built in base under the feet. But I’m not sure if I see a notable enough difference.


Anyways, I’ll try cutting ones collar down and sticking a Ushanka down on that and seeing how I like it.



Single Magnet Magnetizing

So while I was looking over my box of Scions, I noticed that the “Tempestor” (basically the squad sergeant) has quite a few arm options—options that begged to be magnetized.

Now I’ve magnetized a couple of Leman Russes, but doing something as small as a figure is a totally different ball game. I have a sample set of magnets that do have some reallllly tiny ones in them,so I was ok on the front. However, while I was looking of the model, I began asking myself why everybody always uses two magnets? While I know it probably makes the joint fairly strong, it seemed overkill—especially for something like an arm (however, please correct me if I’m over looking something). Plus there is that whole polarity thing, which has caught me once before.

So, I decided to do some SCIENCE! and see if there was a way I could get away with just using one magnet for the joint.

Idea 1: Metallic Epoxy

OK, so this wasn’t a completely honest effort—more curiosity than anything.

So, uh, ferro-epoxy?

So, uh, ferro-epoxy?

First thing first, WEAR GLOVES with this stuff (I know I always should, but, you know…). Anyways, this stuff STINKS. And the smell doesn’t come off for quite sometime.
Otherwise, this stuff is an epoxy putty, but it’s already kinda pre-mixed. You just cut a chunk off and work it till its all one (stinky) uniform color.

After it hardened I was absolutely floored that it actually had some (incredibly small) magnetic properties. My little rare earth magnet tugged ever so gently towards the lump of cured epoxy, and stayed put when I set the magnet on it. Now, it’s not going to hold anything on, or anything like that, it’s a verrrrrrrrrry weak bond and wont do anything for us. But, like I said, I was surprised there was actually enough metal content in the putty to do anything at all.

Look Ma, no hands!

Look Ma, no hands!

Idea 2: Nail Head

I found a pack of small nails that had a really small diameter head that was also quite thin. I was looking for tiny washers when I came across them. Turns out they were way smaller than any washer the store had, so I picked them up.

Nailed it!

Nailed it!

The head is about 3mm in diameter and half a mm thick.
I was an idiot on the initial try and placed the the entire nail on the arm, thinking it would be easier to cut the head off after the glue had dried.


Because it’s still a nail and kind of hard, when I used my wire cutters to cut the stem off, it broke the nail loose. Also, unless you have better wire cutters then I do (or find a softer nail) you’re probably going to leave a bit of a nub on the head, but that’s ok! I just drilled ever so slightly into the limb we’re magnitizing and basically pinned the nail head onto the arm. I think that will actually help the nail head stay on. I’m sure you could file the stem nub off if you so desire.

And because the nail head is so thin, you really don’t have to counter sink it into the limb if you don’t want to, which can save a fair amount of work.

So how did it work? Perfectly. I was able to pick the Scion up with the arm and even after flicking my wrist a bit, everything stayed stuck together.



Idea 3: Magnetic Sheet

Don't tell my wife I "borrowed" this. Please?

Don’t tell my wife I “borrowed” this. Please?

This stuff actually worked better than I thought it would. I just cut a small bit out and superglued it to the powerfirst arm, and it stuck. Now, I couldn’t pick the mini up with that arm, but I don’t see it just falling off in a game either.

Thumbs up!

Thumbs up!


The Ferro-Epoxy is not going to do anything for you except stink up your hands, avoid this unless you need a super weak bond that can’t do anything.
On the other hand, the nail head is perfect, not a lot of prep work, no polarity to worry about messing up and it was dirt cheap—like a $1.50 for a couple or dozen. It was also more than strong enough.
Finally the magnetic sheet worked ok, as the arm stayed put, but really didn’t like to be handled. On the plus side, polarity wasn’t an issue, so that’s helpful (and maybe kind of weird—much like ICP, I’m not sure how magnets work). I could maybe see it being useful if you had a weird shape to magnetize, cutting the sheet would be pretty easy to match a shape and it’s fairly thin, so you wouldn’t need to counter sink it.

I’m sure someone(s) have already posted something like this, but I couldn’t find it, though there was no easy way to search—everything came back with two magnets, which is why I’m calling this single magnet magnetizing.

Project: Destroyer Tank Hunter

OK. So I have been kind of hobbying—not as much as I would like, but things are moving along. I did get an opportunity to do some paid writing, so I jumped on it, and it has taken up a fair amount of time as of late, but I’m ready to get back to some gluing.

One project that I don’t think I’ve ever posted here is, ironically enough, the first one I started for 40K. Scratch building a Destroyer Tank Hunter. I just really liked how it looked and its fluff. I really dig Soviet casement style assault guns, so this was right up my alley


Is that a big ol’ laser cannon on your glacis, or are you just happy to see me?

Anyways, I started this thing like eighteen months ago, and work on it (like everything) in fits and spurts.

Before buying anything, I downloaded scores of pictures and searched for anything I could on the ‘net. I discovered that the model used a Chimera top plate for the hull top, but, for the life of me, I couldn’t find anything that worked for the gun mount. So I decided to build my own out of styrene (it has only recently come to my attention that one of the various Baneblade options has something that would work pretty well). I went with something evoking that of an SU-122, and what my limited abilities are capable of.

Ok, not really like that at all...

Ok, not really like that at all…

Well, it works, anyways...

Well, it works, anyways…

I also deceided at this point that I want the tank to be able to also act as a Thunderer, which is a Destroyer that’s had its complicated laser cannon replaced with a Demolisher cannon. So I went with the obvious route and did a short length of thick tubing in which the longer, narrower laser cannon barrel would slip into. While the short tubing lacks the…we’ll call it presence, of the actual demolisher cannon, the inner diameter of the tube is almost exactly the same as the Demolisher, so it’s good enough for me.
However, This is wehre I discovered that my casement was slightly crooked. Not really noticable on its own, But it became very noticeable with the long laser cannon barrel.
Not willing to tear apart the casement, I sanded the gun mount and got it fairly close to plum.

The Thunder from Down Under.

The Thunder from Down Under.


No, I'm not over compensating.

No, I’m not over compensating.

I also tried magnetizing the barrel so it would stick in better. Instead, I screwed up the polarity and made a nifty shooting gun barrel. Check your polarity kids!

Succulently phrased Insane clown posse.

Succulently phrased Insane clown posse.

So now I just have to add the outer track housing, the treads and figure out what I’m going to do for exhaust. Oh, and paint. So, really it’s practically finished…


sept scu

This months topic for the Sprue Cutters Union is: “Scale”

Scale has always been one of those picky subjects for me. When I was but a wee lad, my toys all had to be close to the same scale. I remember vividly having one of those giant dirtbike toys that didn’t match anything else in my toybox and I hated it. HATED. IT.

Anyways, as my hobbying has ebbed and flowed I’ve fluctuated on what I thought of the various scales. As a kid I would build anything, the only requirements were that it struck my fancy and I could afford it.

As I got back into hobbying 5-ish years ago, I kind of started settling.  1/72 for my models and as the only wargame I played was BattleTech, 6 mm (1/285) for it.

As the past few years I’ve seen that evolve a bit.

On the model front I’m mostly going to stick with 1/72—between time and room availability, the scale works for me. Plus, as my friend Edward points out, it’s nice to see everything compared to each other. I particularly look forward to getting my Babylon 5 StarFury done and placed next to some contemporary planes.  However, I’m looking to get into 1/35th (or 48th) for Armor. Partly due to my experiences with 40K (see below) but also because a lot of the Armour subjects I find interesting, are going to be tiny. And I really want to build a 1/35th Tasca M4A3E8. Like a lot.

Wargaming has seen me evolve quite a bit, comparatively. BattleTech will always be my first wargaming love, but as my skills have gotten (marginally) better, I’ve wanted to try some new tricks that really don’t translate well to 6mm. Heck, BattleTech minis may not even be 6mm anymore, and while many of them a really well detailed, consistency of scale is something that Iron Wind Metals has been all over the bored with.  Which, like the dirtbike above, drives me insane.

I also picked up quite a bit of 6mm GHQ and CinC Soviet minis for a Cold War-Hot! game. The tanks and such are scale consistent (at least within their respective brands) and are insanely detailed, but are tiny and kind of tedious to work on.

Almost two years ago now, I bit the bullet and finally picked up some Imperial Guard miniatures for 40K and haven’t looked back. The tanks and apcs are the perfect size to really show off some advanced techniques (oil washes, chipping, scratch building, etc). The Cadian infantry minis are a different story, but I think I’m getting the hang of painting ‘people’. As most know 40K is what Games Workshop calls: ‘heroic 28mm’, which basically means what ever they want it to be. The scale…weirdness is most noticeable in ranges such as the Cadian and Catachan infantry with over sized hands and weapons way too large for any normal human to carry. That’s also not really mentioning the fact that while supposedly the same scale, Space Marine miniatures, which are supposed to be 7+ feet tall and 500 pound genetically modified humans, are hardly any taller than than a Cadian infantryman miniature.

The tanks are hardly any better in regards to a true scale, the Leman Russ is somewhere about 1/42 using the in-universe size, and the Chimera looks like it would be a sardine can of death if more than half it’s advertised carry capacity actually showed up. But for me, 40K looks OK with 1/48 scale real tanks so that’s where I go if i’m looking for something different.

What about you, what kind of scales do you like?