Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My (Belated) Five Year Anniversary

It recently came to my attention that my blog celebrated its five year anniversary in early May. I'm not really sure why I even started this blog other than I had seen other miniature wargaming-focused blogs and thought it would be best to emulate them. Plus, I really enjoy writing. In my younger years, I wrote a lot. I focused on English and literature in high school and loved creative writing. I wrote short stories and one-act plays and even kept a journal for a while. Combining my old hobby with my new hobby seemed like a no brainer. In reality, I probably had no business starting something like this back then; my painting was nowhere near the level of quality that warranted having a blog dedicated to it. Yet, for some reason I trudged on, occasionally writing or posting a picture for the remainder of 2012.

I lost interest towards the end of that year in both this blog and the hobby in general. It mainly had to do with the amount of stress from my job, which I quit in May 2013 to start the job I currently have. I slowly started painting again and by early 2014, I was writing again. 2014 was also the year I decided to start taking commissions and when I broke into legit scale modeling after learning about the Fine Molds Star Wars kits. For most of 2014 and 2015, I was pretty focused on the hobby and the blog. I wrote 99 posts in those two years, which was the most I've put out in that span of time. I slowed down a little in 2016 (seriously, what a shitty year that was) but I have picked up the pace again this year and have almost matched my writing output of the previous year by July.

Now where does this lead? That's a good question and one that I think is worth asking. Make no mistake about it: even with my 600+ followers on Facebook, I'm a nobody in the scale modeling community. I pretty okay with, especially given the vitriol that can stem from something as silly as this hobby. The amount of trolling and outright asshole behavior that goes on in some of these Facebook groups and forums is ridiculous considering this hobby is essentially playing with plastic toys. I don't think I have a particularly unique viewpoint, but I'd like to start writing about more than just what I'm doing and how. There are some subjects that I feel are worth talking a bit more about and there are a whole host of modeling-related topics that should be talked about more than they are. (Seriously, what is up with the obsession over Nazi German stuff?)

Regardless, I'm looking forward to what the next five years has in story for the hobby and my blog. I hope that both my writing and my modeling grows and matures in the years to come like it has over that last half decade. As always, thanks for your time and support!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

WIP: Takom Mk. I Female (1/35 scale)

As anyone who follows my work knows, I'm quite keen on Great War subjects, having already built a Medium Mark A Whippet and a Krupp 21cm Mörser 10. With those under my belt, I felt that it was time to move on to the family of vehicles that spawned the modern tank: the British Mark I. 

In the autumn of 1915, at behest of the Landships Committee, Little Willie, the first prototype of what would become known as "tanks" was built. There are varying stories as to why these lumbering beasts were called "tanks," but it most likely appears to stem from a code name used to deceive the Germans and it ended up sticking. Soon after, in December of 1915, the prototype of the Mark I, Mother, was completed and the first order for 75 "male" tanks armed 6 pounder guns and 75 "female" tanks armed with .303 Vickers machine gun were placed in late-February, early-April of 1916. The distinctive rhomboid shape was designed to help the vehicle cross the ubiquitous trenches that characterized the fight on the Western Front. The armor was relatively thin, ranging from 6 to 12mm, but it was enough to keep out rifle and machine gun fire. The Mark I made its combat debut at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette in September 1916 (as part of the larger Somme Offensive).
Though the kit parts can build up a pretty decent representation of a Vickers machine gun, I thought the addition of some aftermarket brass parts would be nice touch. After a quick search, I found that Aber makes a nice set that has the four Vickers and one Hotchkiss machine guns. I'm not entirely sure the extra effort is worth it, especially for the cooling jacket armor, but the fine details on the muzzle are a huge upgrade compared to the rather chunky kit muzzles.
The main hull, made up of various plates, goes together quite nice using the inside of the track frame as a jig to ensure proper alignment of the parts. Probably the biggest fault with the kit lies in this area: the cab is grossly inaccurate. Mark I cabs should extended the full width of the hull to the track frames; the shortened cab was used on the later Mark IV and Mark V tanks to accommodate the use of wider 26" tracks instead of the 20" tracks of the earlier models. The saving grace is that there aren't that many people overly familiar with these vehicles means that it's something that will unnoticed for the most part. The track frames are mirror images of each other and go together well enough, but the number of rollers can make it a little difficult to assemble. As far as the rollers go, I did no clean up on them because once sandwiched between the outer and inner pieces and the tracks added, they're impossible to see. To be honest, it's probably perfectly fine to leave them out altogether so long as their axles are added (these stick out of little holes along the bottom of the vehicle).
With the hull and track frames completed, I started on the characteristic steering tail. These were a feature found only on the Mark I tanks and were used as a kind of a rudder to help steer the tank in large radius turns. It was quickly found that these were completely unnecessary and were removed from later vehicles. It goes together without much fuss and the large wheels have poly caps so they can be removed for painting.

With a majority of the vehicle completed, the only things left to build are the weapon sponsons and the anti-grenade screen for the top of the tank. I probably won't use the screen because this tank will be painted as D11 "Die Hard," which was damaged just outside of Flers on September 16, 1916. The first Mark I tanks were part of D Company and C Company of the Machine Gun Corps and only tanks of C Company were outfitted with screens.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

WIP: Flames of War Desert Rats



7th Armoured Division, The Desert Rats
My friend and I started playing the Tanks! skirmish game not too long ago. It's a fun, loose, and fast game involving tank-on-tank combat that plays very similar to the X-Wing Miniatures game by Fantasy Flight Games. We've been enjoying playing the game and painting the miniatures, but we were both longing for something with a little more strategic depth, so we made the decision to jump into Flames of War.

For the uninitiated, Flames of War is a World War II miniature wargame in 15mm scale produced by Battlefront Miniatures of New Zealand. The game is broken down into three periods of the Second World War: Early War (1939-1941), Mid War (1942-1943), and Late War (1944-1945) the first edition of the game was released 2002 with the most recent version, the 4th Edition, was released in March of this year. With that new edition came a renewed focus on the North African Campaign and the first two army books released feature the British 7th Armoured Division (Desert Rats) and the Deutsches Afrikakorps (DAK). I picked up the British book and my friend picked up the German book and we quickly set to collecting the models needed.

In support of my Desert Rats, I have some artillery and anti-tank guns. I have four QF 25-pounders and two QF 17/25-pounders (the long barreled ones). These are painted in a Tamiya approximation of BS 61 Light Stone, a color used in the North African Campaign from 1940 until 1943. These models need a wash and weathering before being mounted to their bases. I have more guns to add, notably the 6-pounder anti-tank guns that will be fielded with my motor platoon.
The British made extensive use of American-made M3 Lee/Grant tanks in North Africa. Despite their ungainly appearance, the 75 mm Gun M2 mounted in an archaic hull sponson was a welcomed upgrade in firepower for Commonwealth forces, supplying them with both potent anti-tank fire and much-need high explosive shells to better engage infantry and soft targets, and one that the Germans were not prepared for. The Grant-pattern turret also housed a 37 mm Gun M5 as a secondary weapon. These models are painted in a simple disruptive camouflage scheme using olive green and an Tamiya approximation of desert pink.
Giving my Desert Rats much-appreciated recce is number of neat little Universal Carriers. Often called Bren Gun Carriers, these small tracked vehicles served in a number of roles in Commonwealth forces throughout the war (hence the name). These are painted with an overall coat of desert pink and will given a wash in some weathering.
Rounding out my forces is a troop of Crusader tanks. These tanks served as the backbone of the Commonwealth armored forces in the North African Campaign. Powered by a Nuffield Liberty engine, these lightly armed and armored tanks were remarkably fast for their time, something their German rivals envied. This troop is a mix of the Crusader IIIs armed with 6-pounder guns and Crusader IIs armed with 2-pounder guns. I have bunch of these left to paint as well since they will serve as the basis of my Desert Rats force.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Showcase: Protectorate Starfighter


Protectorate Starfighter in Philadelphia Eagles livery for the X-Wing Miniatures game. Completed in Mr Paint lacquers; Tamiya & Vallejo acrylics; and Mig Productions enamels.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Showcase: Bossk & BT-1



Bossk and BT-1 from the tabletop game Imperial Assault by Fantasy Flight Games. Painted with Tamiya and Vallejo acrylics; Alclad lacquers, and Mig Productions enamels.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Showcase: Battlefront Miniatures Tiger I Ausf.E (15mm)





Battlefront Miniatures Tiger I Ausf.E in 15mm scale for Flames of War and Tanks! skirmish game. Painted with Tamiya and Vallejo acrylics, Mig enamels, and Mig pigments.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Showcase: TANKS Soviet Platoon (15mm)

I recently started playing the TANKS skirmish game by Gale Force 9 and Battlefront, the same companies that put out Flames of War, a 15mm scale World War II tabletop game. TANKS is a face-paced and light skirmish game played on a 3'x3' table with a couple pieces of terrain. The starter kit comes with two M4 Shermans and one Panther plus extra cards for the other factions, so you can use models you might already have. There are three factions to choose from: American, British, Soviet, and German. I started off with the Soviets and built a small force using a mix of the GF9 models and some 1/100 scale Zvezda models. I have an IS-2, three T-34/85s, an M10 tank destroyer, an SU-100, tank destroyer, and an ISU-152 assault gun. These were all painted with Tamiya acrylics and weathered with Mig enamels and pigments.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Showcase: ISU-152 (1/100 scale)




Soviet ISU-152 in 1/100 scale for the TANKS tabletop skirmish game. Completed in Tamiya acrylics, Mig enamels, and Mig pigments.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

WIP: Blue Leader X-wing (Bandai 1/72)

Screenshot from Rogue One, © Lucasfilm Ltd.
A friend of mine (who has already bought numerous pieces from me) asked me to build him General Antoc Merrick's Blue One X-wing from Rogue One. Since he was an awesome character with a killer mustache, I immediately accepted! After the break, I'll dive into my progress on the build.

Monday, May 1, 2017

2017 IPMS NoVA Model Classic

I attended my first IPMS show, the IPMS NoVA Model Classic, this past weekend and had a fantastic time. I brought with me seven models to be entered in four categories: Krupp 21cm Mörser 10 (1/35), Medium Mark A Whippet (1/35), Slave I (1/144), Jek Porkins' Red Six X-wing (1/72), Gold Two Y-wing (1/144), Darth Vader's TIE/x1 Advanced (1/72), and R2-KT (1/12). These seven models were part of a record 622 models entered in this years contest and I'm happy to say that I placed in all four categories that I entered!

The Results:


  • Slave I: 2nd place in Science fiction, all scales
  • Medium Mark A Whippet: 3rd place in WWII & earlier AFV, 1/35 scale
  • Krupp 21cm Morser: 2nd place in Artillery, all eras, 1/35 scale
  • R2-KT: 1st place in Figures, science fiction, all scales



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Showcase: Bandai U-wing (1/144 scale)

Bandai 1/144 scale U-wing. Finished in Tamiya and Vallejo acrylics; Mig enamels; and 502 Abteilung oils.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Showcase: Krupp 21cm Mörser 10 (Takom 1:35)

Krupp 21cm Mörser 10 in 1:35 scale from Takom. Finished with Ammo of Mig and Vallejo acrylics; MIG and AK Interactive enamels, 502 Abteilung oils, and MIG and Vallejo pigments. This model represents a German piece captured by Canadian soldiers of the 27th Battalion (City of Winnipeg) during the legendary Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917. Full walk around after the break.

Monday, March 6, 2017

WIP: Takom Krupp 21cm Mörser 10 (1/35 scale), Part 2

Following a coat of Alclad gloss, I applied the awesome graffiti decals on the gun shield and barrel. The decals are extremely matte but seemed to go down better than the ones on the Whippet. I had to cut the "WPG" part of red lettering on the barrel off and apply it separately to make it fit properly. There is also a little curled piece on that part of the decal that I think is from my cutting it; I've tried to force it down with some MicroSol but haven't been successful. I'll most likely attempt to slice it off with a sharp scalpel blade. The carrier film is pretty obvious, but after they dry I'll seal them in with some gloss varnish followed by some matte varnish to hopefully make the carrier film disappear.
While the decals dries, I set to work adding some dirt and grime with 502 Abteilung oil paints. I used a couple of different browns to vary the finish, adding anywhere that gunk and dirt would likely buildup. I don't usually do this with oils as I much prefer using enamels, but I thought it would be a good way to practice a skill that I feel needs improvement.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

WIP: Takom Krupp 21cm Mörser 10 (1/35 scale)


Fresh off the heels of my Whippet build, I decided to stick with the First World War theme and build this interesting little kit from Takom. The kit gives you two options for construction: the short-barreled 1910 model and it's replacement, the long-barreled 1916 model. I opted for the 1910 model because the painting guide shows a piece captured by Canadian soldiers of the 27th Battalion (City of Winnipeg) during the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917. After the break, we'll dive into everything this kit has to offer.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Showcase: Bandai A-wing (1/72 scale)

Bandai 1/72 scale RZ-1 A-wing; finished in Tamiya & Vallejo acrylics, MIG enamels, and Tamiya pigments.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Showcase: Medium Mark A "Whippet"

Takom 1/35 scale Medium Mark A Whippet. Finished in Vallejo & Tamiya acrylics; MIG enamels; Abteilung 502 oils; and MIG, Secret Weapon Miniatures, and Vallejo pigments.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

WIP: Takom Medium Mk.A "Whippet" (1/35 scale), Part 3

Picking up where we left off on the last post, I move on to more identification painting and then weathering on the Whippet.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

WIP: Takom Medium Mk.A "Whippet" (1/35 scale), Part 2

With most of the construction covered in the last post, I'll now move on to the finishing details of the build and the beginning of the painting.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

WIP: Bandai 1/72 A-wing, Part 2

With the enamel wash with some matte varnish, I can begin the next stage of weathering. First up is some chipping using Vallejo Model Air Blue RLM65 (71.008), which I am doing by hand with a paintbrush instead of a sponge. Using a brush allows me to make finer chips and gives me more control over placement. The downside is that it is far more time consuming, however, I feel the end result is definitely worth it.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

WIP: Takom Medium Mk.A "Whippet" (1/35 scale)

Even though I am primarily a science fiction modeler, I have a serious soft spot for World War I armor. That's where this kit comes it. In the last few years, a couple of model companies have been putting out some wonderful First World War kits and I've had my eye on a few of them. On a whim, I decided to pick on this fantastic offering from Takom. The Medium Mk.A "Whippet" was Britain's first medium tank, intended to compliment the slower heavy tanks. With a crew of three and armed with four .303 Hotchkiss Mark I machine guns, this tank had a top speed of a blistering 8 mph, making nearly three times as fast as its heavy tank cousins. First entering service in 1918, they proved effective at covering the fighting withdraw of British infantry division during Germany's Spring Offensive in the tail-end of the war. After the war, they continued to serve the British Army until 1930, seeing action in Ireland during the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921) and as part of the British Expedition in support of the Whites during the Russian Civil War.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

WIP: Bandai 1/72 A-wing

To go with my recent R2-D2 and BB-8, my client also asked for a 1/72 scale A-wing. After talking over the paint job, we decided to go with the blue and white color scheme seen on the original Ralph McQuarrie concept art.
The base color is a custom mix of Tamiya Flat White (XF-2), Neutral Grey (XF-53), and Deck Tan (XF-55) over a German Grey (XF-63) preshade. I was hesitant to use the panel line preshade technique because it isn't the most realistic, but since this is an imaginary ship I decided to go ahead and do it. After the base color was down, I went around and picked some panels out and sprayed them with various Tamiya and Mr Color grays, similar to the studio model.
The blue areas were primed with white, preshaded with NATO Black (XF-69) and then given a coat of Flat Blue (XF-8) and Flat White (XF-2) mixed 6:1. I painted a few panels with some different blues for a little variation. All of the pure white areas (the triangle, the tops of the vertical stabilizers, and the rear of the cockpit) were painted with Flat White (XF-2) and the red stripes were painted with a mix of Flat Red (XF-7) and Hull Red (XF-9).
After a coat of Alclad Gloss Klear Kote, I added all of the kit-supplied decals. These little decals are pretty nice and add a little bit of detail to the model. Bandai decals are a little on the thick side but respond well to MicroSol and MicroSet.
The decals were sealed in with another coat of Gloss Klear Kote and some washes were added to add some depth to the panel lines. I used MIG Neutral Wash for the white/grey areas and MIG Dark Wash for the the blue areas. This also brought out the fantastic rivet detail that is present on all of the panels; the end effect is really quite nice.

After the wash dries, everything will be sealed in with a matte varnish and I'll move on to more weathering!