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Diary Of an Army Part IV [Sep. 17th, 2006|01:11 pm]
Flames of War

[Current Location |Home (on dialup)]
[Current Mood |artistic]
[Current Music |Tanita Tikaram]

Monday 28th August

Almost completed the second twelve this morning - everything but the metals and the varnish to go - If I wasn't so fearful of a poor result and having to do all the previous figures I'd look at some highlighting of the base uniform colour (Edit: I went back and did some of the existing figures, and I'm satisfied with the overall look merging seamlessly within a platoon). I experimented with using Luftwaffe Camo Green for the bedrolls and helmets to get an increased contrast as I find it difficult to separate the base helmet colour (WWII Russian Uniform) from the khaki I use for the webbing and netting/hessian strips.

    Ten Lessons Learned:
  1. Paint helmets completely in base colour, let the drybrushing do the work of blacklining.
  2. Check that undercoat isn't too thinned down, redo if necessary - it's worth getting it right to begin with.
  3. Don't sweat some casting flaws, most of the time they can be fixed simply by judicious painting and even ignored if they're not likely to picked up by anyone except the most anal observers (and those are the types I don't let touch my figures anyway - usually I've never seen any examples of their work and they're usually slobs with greasy fingers and BO issues.
  4. Varnishing with Humbrol MattCote really tones down the harsher contrasts nicely and does a little bit of blending it seems as well.
  5. Twelve (12) figures is about right for detail work - any more and my hands and legs get cramped from sitting in the one position for that length of time. Sixteen (16) to twenty-four (24) is okay when doing base colour work but only occasionally.
  6. Keep the hordes of unpainted stuff out of sight and therefore out of mind - the more progress you can see in front of you the more you end up painting and completing.
  7. Schedules help a lot, they really do. Getting into a routine of undercoating last thing at night, then basecoating the following morning usually results in the figures being done by the end of the day just in time to watch Boston Legal, ER or The Sopranos (yeah I watch those three series, about all I watch on broadcast TV these days).
  8. Paint when you have not only the physical energy, but also the mental energy - I suffer from depression so I often find I'm just not able to paint sometimes. IAs soon as painting becomes a stressful activity, it's time to walk away from the painting area. Always have a drinks break/walk around/ sit back in a comfortable chair between colours - you'l return to the painting table with not only renewed enthusiasm and energy but your attention to detail and accuracy will be much the better for the break.
  9. Check the figures a couple of days after varnishing them and gluing them to the bare bases - you can do any last minute corrections, consistency touchups at this point, then do the actual groundwork basing safe in the knowledge you've done the best you could. This is one reason to leave the basing for a while after varnishing as well.
  10. Base the figures en masse in a production line. Don't base one lot one day and wait a week before basing the rest. You'll never get the consistent look that really sets off an army. If you've ever tried to duplicate an existing basing scheme from scratch, you know it's actually far easier and faster to start over the whole lot in a new scheme.
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Diary Of An Army Part III [Sep. 17th, 2006|01:02 pm]
Flames of War

[Current Location |Home (on dialup)]
[Current Mood |artistic]
[Current Music |Tanita Tikaram]

Sunday 27th August

Painted another twelve (12) late war Brits today, very pleased with the results, even managing to basecoat another bunch of twelve as well, so while I'm still incredibly slow compared to others, I am at least getting better and faster and improtantly getting things finished in order. Even if I only do one colour per night for twenty-four (24) figures that's still a fair amount of completed figures by the end of a Sunday evening.

    Lessons Learned:
  1. A decent coverage of undercoat makes all the difference using my technique: it's why I'll never bother with spray undercoats - the time spent getting the nooks and crannies missed the first time around is time wasted imo.
  2. Always concentrate on completing each colour the first time around, it's far more time efficient in the long run plus it means you develop self-confidence in your ability and with that comes speed coupled with the accuracy required.
  3. Always have the colours ready from the get go, lined up in the order you'll use them. This is second nature to most people but believe me, I'm finally getting the hang of organising my painting area before picking up a brush.
  4. Flesh in 15mm really isn't as daunting as I remember, of course I like the standard flesh colour of vallejo far more than my previous choices (Humbrol Flesh was the colour of nightmares).
  5. Following on from the last, Vallejo are so much more enjoyable to use than any other range of paints I've tried in the past - Humbrol enamels and acrylics, Model Master enamels and acrylics, Ral Partha Acrylics, Armory Acrylics, GW in their various iterations, Color Drop system...I've just had almost no problems with them outside of the occasional opacity issues with yellows and greens - but that's down to a technical error or omission of proper technique steps on my part than a failing of the paint itself.

I'm almost at the stage now where basing will become a necessity - which means a fair chunk of work rebasing Evan's originals to the standrd FOW bases - That's how long ago the LW stuff was released - pre the standard bases. By moving to 4 figures per base rather than the usual 5 figures, I can add an extra platoon and get the look of 1944-era Brits with their lack of trained infantry. I like the look of the old LW Brit figures, they've got that je ne sais quoi look of the 1st gen Fallschirmjäger which I really do like. From what I understand Evan is hoping to make the new sculpts mimic the style as much as possible, just as he did with the new US Para sculpts which are superb. I do wish I could still get some more lying down Bren gunners as I'm still not that fussed on the advancing pose I have at the moment, same goes for the PIAT gunners which I need a few more so I can convert my Rifle platoon to Motor Battalion troops.
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Diary of an Army Part II [Sep. 16th, 2006|06:50 pm]
Flames of War

[Current Mood |artistic]

Saturday 26th August

Late start today but spent what time I could tidying up the Churchills although my pickiness is a cause of some slowing down as I try for that very fine-lined blacklining effect I really enjoy. Unfortunately it's quite hard to do this with these churchills as they are pretty heavily covered in enamel and then washed with sepia inks which has meant a fair amount of work to get the effect toned down and consistent. I still haven't decided on markings and there's still a lot to do before varnishing them although I'd be happy enough to field them on the tabletop as is - they do fit in nicely with the Quads and Sextons - just have to get those pesky infantry done.

The Sextons:

Front On Sexton
13 RHA, A Troop

Some pics of the infantry and Quads I've already done:

The original LW Brits
Evan's on the right, new ones on the left
Infantry and sexton
The First batch of Quads
Quad Close Up
Quad Close Up 2
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Diary of a Late War British Army Part 1 [Aug. 23rd, 2006|07:30 pm]
Flames of War

[Current Location |At the Painting Desk]
[Current Mood |artistic]
[Current Music |Matt Bianco - Half a Minute]

The last week has been remarkably productive on the painting front as I've been able to really have a go at refurbishing some old models and figures I've had sitting around for a while waiting for the right time. With th realease of 2nd Edition and the upcoming late war focus, I've taken some brits out of storage.

Originally the late war brits were a real mix: twelve Cromwells, three Fireflies and a full platoon of infantry courtesy of Evan Allen; a troop of four M10C Achilles and a pair of Daimler Armoured cars from Ian Galley; a full troop of four 25 pdrs and Quads with attached observer and CO, four Churchill mark IVs, four Sexton SP25pdrs and assorted British softskin vehicles from Richard of Army Builder Flames of War file fame; and my collection of early all metal Bren carriers (most of which will end up as wrecks/part of terrain pieces) plus some OOP blister packs of Late War Brits that I picked up from a gaming store recently. The blister packs include a 3" Mortar platoon (2nd Ed makes mortars much more useful on the table), a full four Vickers MMG platoon (something again that 2nd edition really makes worth fielding), and another full rifle platoon.

I started off by painting the Vickers platoon. I hadn't painted infantry for ages, so I was more than a little hesitant, especially as I needed to match the style of the rifle platoon that Evan had already painted. It took two days for me to paint 15 figures and four MGs to a level I was happy with, particularly as they are almost indistinguishable from Evan's originals.

I needed a change after painting infantry so I returned to looking at vehicles. The towed 25pdrs were basedd and painted to a satisfactory quality for gaming purposes and if I wanted to do any touching up, it'd be a long and involved process. Instead I selected four Quad Tractors that really needed some refurbishment: they were painted significantly differently to my Cromwells and Fireflies, plus they needed some work on detailing.

Originally painted in Humbrol enamels, the panel lines and some of the definition were hidden or no longer survuived the rigours of handling. I chose to freehand or redo the panel lines and shadows with Vallejo black 950 and then blocked in the late war British Khaki Drab carefully using Vallejo Russian Uniform Green 924, which is the best match for Humbrol 159/Khaki drab I've found (it takes clear direct sunlight to tell the difference in shade). I also went over the stowage and general accessories with subtler shades of tans and greys. I put the main effort on painting the solid windows on the Quads using Lumpy's technique from the Battlefront Website (Link to come later) and I was pleasantly surprised with the results. I know I can and will do better with more practice but I also do realise that I need to buy some quality brushes before I attempt such fine work again at least if I want to achieve better more consistent results. I'll add pics later on, once I've managed to upload them.

Once I was generally satisfied with the look of the Quads (I've not weathered them yet as I think I'll be basing them when I do all my basing in one go to maintain a consistent theme) I put them aside and looked at something with guns to paint. The Cromwells, Fireflies and Ian G's Achilles were all consistently themed and stylistically matched anyway, so there was no point in adding a second troop just yet. I almost went for the Churchills, but I hadn't done enough research as yet and I was still thinking more along the lines of fielding a Cromwell based army rather than an Infantry based force.

So I chose the four Sextons. These are some of the earlier late war models, predating the release of Flames of War by at least a year and it shows. They're still very nice looking models but they did require some work before they would fit in with my other models. Again the original paintwork was done in enamel, but it was chalky and mismatched in places plus had been badly handled over time. The usla clean up with freehand blacklining and blocking colour ensued, but I left the crew as they were for now...they'll do the job at a pinch and the main vehicles look much better - complete with Unit and Divisional markings for the 13th RHA of the 11th Armoured Division. Again I'll probably base up the Sextons to hide the flaws that no paintjob can totally disguise (I hate trackwork) and they'll suit a bit more dioramic treatment.

The next units on the schedule are the Churchills and the remaining Infantry (rifle and 3" mortar platoon) - they're likely to take me the next two weeks at least given my distaste for painting infantry.

Not My Russians [Jun. 5th, 2006|12:54 am]
Flames of War

I've taken on the challenge to paint a friend's Flames of War russian army.

Mind you, just the vehicles, I'm not that stupid as to do the infantry as well.

7 T-34, 11 Shermans (he believes in lend lease), 4 SU-85, 2 SuU-122, 5 T-70, 4 KV-1e, 6 45mm AT guns, 4 76mm and 4 122mm artillery pieces.

I thought he was going to buy then bring them to me in dribs and drabs, not all at once.

Originally I was going to do them for cost of materials but now because of the numbers involved I've gotten a microarmour German army and when I finish, a FOW box set of vehicles of my choice as well as the materials used.

Oh well another army to use, fix, paint and store.

I hope I haven't bitten off...
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Flames of War- 2nd Edition Rulebook [Jun. 1st, 2006|10:09 am]
Flames of War

Battlefront will be releasing a 2nd edition rulebook for Flames of War this August. But if you already have the 1st edition rulebook they are offering a FREE 2nd edition mini-rulebook. All you have to do is notify your local retailer in June that you want to reserve a copy of the free rulebook. Then in July when the free copies are sent to stores you bring your 1st edition rulebook in and the store owner will stamp it and give you the 164 page FREE rulebook.

Mind you, it won't have everything in it that the 280 page Hardcover 2nd edition rulebook will, but it will have the COMPLETE 2nd edition rules that you need to play the game. How good of a deal is that??? Plus you'll have the rules for a whole month before the 2nd edition rulebook comes out. Gotta give props to Battlefront for treating their existing customers right!

So be sure to let your local retailer know so they can have enough in stock for when you come in.
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Hungarian - Finnish - Romanian [May. 24th, 2006|02:53 pm]
Flames of War

So is anyone thinking of picking up the Eastern Front Ally forces?

I've ordered the core of a Finnish Jalkavaki Company. I'm going pretty infantry heavy with it, 2 Jalkavaki Platoons, a Jaakari platoon, an MG platoon and a mortar platoon; so we'll see how it peforms. I did order the artillery battery but going with the 76K/02 76mm guns and not upgrading to the 10.5's. I'm going to add a couple of PaK 40's but I don't know where I'll go from there.

Just curious how many people are picking up these new forces.
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Fallschirmjager for Sale [Dec. 13th, 2005|05:13 pm]
Flames of War

OK, I need to finance the rest of my DAK force so I'm going to sell my FJ to do so. Most of these are new in the package unless otherwise noted. The retail value on these is $96 and I'm asking $72 firm for them which is 25% off retail.

FJ Company HQ (out of blister)
1 Fallschirmjager platoon (out of blister)
1 Fallschirmjager platoon
1 FJ Panzerschrecks blister
1 FJ Machine Gun Platoon (glued to popsicle sticks primered black)
1 FJ Mortar Platoon
1 10.5cm LG40 Recoiless Gun (2)
2 3.7cm PaK36 Gun (w/FJ crew)
1 Von Der Heydte

I really want to sell this all together. This works out to an Airborne Operations list of about 1,455 points, add another 3.7cm PaK36 gun to take it to 1,495.

Reply to me here if you're interested. Thanks!
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Big DAK attack [Dec. 10th, 2005|01:28 pm]
Flames of War

I'm building a DAK panzergrenadier force and here's what I have purchased so far:

Panzergrenadier boxed set with Company HQ, 2 Panzergrenadier platoons and transports
1 Panzergrenadier platoon blister to use as 3rd platoon or as scouts (including motorcycles and transports)
MG Platoon
Mortar Platoon
6 Panzer IIIJ's (I'm planning to eventually field a DAK panzerkompanie too)
1 Tiger IE & Panzer IIIM escort

What should I pick up next to round out my list? I don't plan to field the Tiger that often, but hey, you gotta have a Tiger. As far as the Panzer III's I'll probably only field 3 or 4 of the Panzer IIIJ's (late with the long gun as I'll be facing Shermans very regularly).

Should I get:
8.8cm Flak 38 platoon
5cm Pak 38 platoon
Light Infantry Gun platoon
Artillery Battery (with 10.5's or captured 25 lbrs or Lorrain Schleppers?)
Armored Car Patrol (Sd Kfz223 with 2 Sd Kfz231's(8-rads))

The two opponents I know I'll be facing somewhat regularly are a US force that can be fielded either as a Rifle company or a Tank company, and a Canadian (British) tank company with Shermans and as many 25lbrs as he can squeeze into the points limit. I know I'll be facing a couple of Soviet Strelkovy players from time to time and an Italian player who's army I haven't seen yet.

I want to field a fairly offensive force making sure my panzergrenadiers are well supported. Any advice you can share is welcome. Thanks!
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(no subject) [Jul. 14th, 2005|05:34 pm]
Flames of War
Just a shot of one of my early/mid war 88's

The aircraft recognition flag was simply a real one from the web reduced to 15mm scale and printed on a color printer.

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