Monday, April 24, 2017

Warlord Games Panther Ausf. A plastic kit Build Review

As part of the Wheels of Steel offer by Warlord Games, I got myself the plastic  Panther A, that I wanted for quite some time.

The tank comes in the standard paper box containing 2 grey sprues, one sheet instructions manual and a decal sheet. The decals sheet was missing in my box, but the good folks at Warlord sent me a replacement one

With this tank I've decided to build/paint it a bit differently and to keep the running gears and tracks separate until the final weathering stage. Thus I've skipped the first step and built pretty much everything else. More on this once I start painting and weathering the Panther

As I prefer my vehicles to look a bit battered, I've removed some of the side skirts - this required some sanding and filling due to the attachment system - you can see someone was thinking here, so the skirts should survive some rough wargaming. I have also cut down the front mud guards - these were missing quite often and I wanted the muddy tracks to be visible.

Side skirts attachment system - you need to remove these

Cutting down the mud guards

Once this was dealt with, I've glued together the lower and upper part of the hull - which was a mistake, because you need to glue in the front machine gun first - it's doable later on (as I did), but it's better to do it before gluing the hull together. However the machine gun is a bit too small for the hole, so in the end I've filled it with some green stuff and then pressed the MG into it.

MG hole filled with green stuff

Rest of the build should be pretty straightforward, however the manual isn't really helping here - you need to study the final pictures to understand where should these go to, so go slow here!

Enhanced instructions

Construction of the turret is over in few minutes, I've skipped the "don't glue this with that, so you can elevate the gun" and glued the gun solid. Also I've kept the commander's MG separate for now, so it doesn't get broken during painting.

And that's pretty much it, in the end an hour of pleasant modelling, all of the parts fit really well and the tank looks awesome - can't wait to paint it next. Much recommended!

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 in miniatures - what I've painted and what fun I had doing that

2016 was a pretty good year miniature wise - in total I've counted 95 fully painted finished miniatures  - not counting numerous WIP projects like those 30-ish Brits for Sharp Practice that will be on top of my painting queue for 2017.

My plan for 2017 is 150 fully painted minis and to reach this I'll be posting monthly summaries

Chain of Command 20mm

US Infantry in 20mm for Chain of Command

I have painted 40 20mm US Infantrymen for CoC - mainly Italeri plastics together with few of winter ones from Revell. I managed to get them done in less than 3 weeks which is a pretty nice time considering I took my time with them detail-wise and didn't rush anything, it was just a matter of discipline - painting 40 pairs of boots, 40 helmets, webbings - each of these might sound extremely tedious, but they weren't, but this approach allowed me to move quickly towards the common goal - fully painted army.

One of the 40 US Infantrymen in 20mm (1/72)

M-8 Greyhound - Italeri - absolutely lovely kit that went together really well and I've also really enjoyed the weathering side of it. This was the first time I've used the modulation paint set from Ammo, here I've learned the layers need at least 24 hours in between them AND you need to be careful how you apply the lighter colours. Nevertheless, M-8 turned really well and is a model I'm really proud of. Can't tell how long it took as there were weeks when I didn't touch it at all (I do absolutely hate decal application)

Fiat 621 - First to Fight - again a gorgeous little kit that I bought just because I wanted to buy myself something. Construction took me probably 2 hours, followed by quick airbrushing session - here I've properly tried to brighten up the blue colour and the result is IMHO pretty great. Various shades of Ammo and AK washes for the wooden part of the truck and it was all done.

Panzer IV wreck. I came across the Panzer IV sprue in our LGS discount bin and immediately knew I wanted to turn it into a wreck. In the end I've managed to turn it into two - blown out turret (usable as jump off point for CoC) and the hull - here I've scratchbuilt the 'interior' using plasticard and bits from a Coke can. Hairspray technique was used for the chipping.

Italeri Church was again a darling of a kit - few pieces that went together very well, however the painting was a bit tedious - basecoats were applied with some Montana spray cans (brown-geyish tone) followed by multiple layer of drybrushed greys, but in the end the church looks absolutely stunning.

I have also built 3 town houses for our CoC games - all inspired by the buildings typicall for the Battle of the Bulge area, these were all made from XXX - all in all a weekend worth of work, yet they are very significant aspect of our CoC tables. Same goes for a dozen or so hedges out of steel wire topped with model railroad foliage.

Modern 20mm

T-55 - Trumpeter in 'abandoned by Soviets, used by Afghan locals' camo - simple, yet nice kit from Trumpeter and again hairspray for the dozens of scratches and a decent amount of various pigments for the non-maintained look. Very happy with this one.

PT-76 from god-knows-what-Eastern-European-company - this kit was a pretty good short run, yet still far from the Lego style Trumpeter kits, specially the tracks were a challenge. I wanted to make sure these two tanks did not look the same, so I've used a bit different shade of yellow-green, went a bit wild with the scratches followed by only tiny amount of pigments - this one's been neglected, but it's still semi-operational.

'Not really finished, but I'm still really proud of them' - M1A2 SEP TUSK II by Tiger Model.
Stunning kit in 1/72. Can't wait to paint this sweetie.
LAV-25 - Ace Model. OK, this is a proper short run - very rough details, absolutely necessary to get a metal barrel, but in the end you get a wonderful vehicle. I've also gotten myself an baggage set from Black Dog for the proper 'gypsy wagon' look.

28mm Fantasy

Underground Temple - scratchbuilt from cork bark. This was a late night idea 'I want a dungeon-ish tile', after I've made couple of the flat tiles originally to be used for Frostgrave. These two tiles are designed to be used below the flat ones, so you can really get a proper underground action on the table.

It's also a wonderful photo background
Flint Stone Church - Gripping Beast. One piece resin church that was a bit of asshole to paint as I didn't really choose my greys well and had to repaint it once or twice to get an ok look. It's okay, but I'm not really happy with this one.

Female Cultists - Pulp Figures - gorgeous figures and also the first ones where I've tried the Nocturna flesh set - love them + a very useful set of figures - I might even use them for my 28mm WW2 Germans ;)

Heresy Miniatures Zombies - LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!! Go buy some minis from Heresy Miniatures as they are just lovely. I've really enjoyed painting these - Nocturna flesh set again and in the end, some of the zombies look REALLY awful (in a good way)

Zombie Troll - Mantic Games and Targ - Privateer Press - nice and funny minis that I've enjoyed painting.

Vampire Lord - Kickstarter and an Evil guy - Avatars of War

Troll - Copplestone Castings 

Frostgrave Adventurers (North Star) with female heads (Brother Vinnie) - although they do look OK, these were NOT fun to paint. I think the fabrics are sculpted in a weird way that does not really help with the painting.

Giant Rats - North Star and a piggy - Ristul

Innkeeper - Reaper, Lillie Poots - Statuesque, Scarecrow - unknown

Lil' warrior - Hasslefree

Female Cleric - Otherworld - This is my Mini of the Year.

Pulp Santa Claus - North Star

95th Rifles - Perry Plastics

British Light Infantry - Perry Plastics with Victrix metal heads