Welcome!

After a long absence from the internet (apart from Facebook and Flickr) I decided to create a blog.

I plan on updating this blog with reviews, guides etc so it should be hopefully be useful to some people.

Links:

http://www.facebook.com/miniatures4u

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mminghella71

My first ever 120mm scale figure

For years, I have wanted to attempt a 120mm (1/16) scale figure. I finally saw one on Ebay that took my interest and bought it. It was an old Verlinden German Officer and had been started by someone a looooong time ago. I managed to clean it up, but disaster struck when I accidentally broke the barrel of his pistol. I tried Shapeways but the cost was prohibitive so I ended up back on Ebay. After much fruitless searching, I found a good deal on a mixed resin accessory pack; this had a few axis and allied bits and the pistol I wanted! I also managed to find a nice plaster base too.

Painting at a larger scale definitely took some getting used to. I did stick to using acrylics and tried to expand on the techniques I used for 28mm figures. Working at this scale meant that I was able to use more gradual shades in the highlights than I usually would but also I was able to highlight the camo too, as well as being able to focus on representing it as accurately as possible.

Overall, it was really enjoyable and just the right amount of challenge. I may find myself on Ebay again, looking for my next 120mm fix.

Painting an M18 Hellcat (Blitzkrieg Miniatures)

Preparation

  1. Remove any flash left from the mould
  2. Attach any stowage you want to add to the model
  3. Wash the model in warm soapy water (I use washing up liquid)
  4. Leave to air-dry

Undercoating

With resin vehicles, it is always a good idea to undercoat using a decent primer. For this, I use a cheap grey car primer in a can from Poundland followed by an acrylic primer.

  1. With the spray can, give the model 2 light coverings – be careful not to spray it too think as there will be several layers of paint applied throughout the painting process
  2. Using a dark green acrylic primer (I use Vallejo UK Bronze Green), try to give the entire model a decent coating to give the subsequent layers of acrylic paint something to adhere to and to build up the highlight/modulation colours
  3. Make sure that you give all of the undercoats enough time to dry properly between applications

Painting

The aim is to produce a model that looks as though it has been out and about and as a result, there is modulation across the whole of the green base colour.   I don’t try to modulate the colours across panels and from top-to-bottom, rather I try to represent areas of bleaching and wear where the colours will look different to other parts of the tank. To achieve this:

  1. I use Vallejo 71.017 Russia Green and 71.022 Camo green over the dark green undercoat to start to give the tank some modulation in the green colour
  2. To highlight this, I add some 71.045 US Light Green into the mix and spray over raised areas or areas where I think there may have been sun-bleaching or wear
  3. At this point, I always worry that I have gone too light but I try to remember that subsequent stages will darken the colour
  • To prepare for the oil wash (and to blend the colours together) I spray a gloss-coat mixed with some of the dark green undercoat; this mix uses a very small amount of undercoat so as not to overpower the base colours
  • Once the gloss coat is dry, I apply a thinned down mix of dark green and black oil paint across the whole model, paying particular attention to panel lines, grills etc
  • Once the oil wash is completely dry, I use cotton wool buds dampened in thinner to remove the excess oils from the model.  This has the effect of darkening the overall colour and picking out recesses.  You can see from the photographs that it really darkens the overall colour and helps to smooth any transitions between colours

Chipping

To add chipping and wear and tear, you can use a sponge and a dark grey colour.

  1. Take some sponge, ideally the stuff you get with figures to protect them, and dip it lightly into the paint
  2. Remove the excess and then apply it to the areas where you want to simulate the chipping

Decals

  1. Once the model is completely dry, add a thin coat of gloss varnish to the areas where the decals will be applied
  2. Once dry, add a small amount of Microset to the decal area
  3. Add the decals carefully and then brush over with more Microset
  4. Once the Microset has dried, add some Microsol to the decals as this will soften them and help them conform to irregular areas
  5. Once dry, you can add chipping and scratches over the decals to make them appear worn

Weathering/Streaking

There are lots of products on the market that can be used to weather and streak a model. I tend to use oil paints. To add streaks:

  1. Using some thinner, dampen a brush and use it to dampen the area you will be working on
  • Add small dots of the colours to the area
  • Using a different brush that is damp with thinner, drag down across the spots of oil paint to leave streaks
  • Repeat this over the entire model (it can take some time)
  • Repeat this process as often as you need to get the desired mount of streaks
  • Allow to fully dry before applying another coat of gloss varnish to seal everything

Pigments

This is the final stage in the process and is used to make a vehicle look dusty or muddy.

  1. Apply a matte varnish across the model to seal everything
  2. Select the pigments you want to use depending on the theatre of operations. In this case, I used lighter, dustier pigments to simulate a desert environment
  3. on areas such as tracks, I use a good quality PVA as a fixing agent; I apply it liberally over the area
  4. I then add the pigment using a large brush
  5. It is possible to layer the different coloured pigments so that you get an interesting mottled appearance to some areas
  6. Once the pigment is dry, you can spray over with some pigment fixer solution

Summary

As with most guides you read, this is my method for this specific model and you may find different methods that work just as well or suit you better.  Painting green armour doesn’t mean that you have to stuck to a boring and plain green colour, nor do you have to create a model with asses of colour modulation.  By experimenting, you can create a nice range of finished from a “fresh from the factory” look to a grizzled veteran that looks like it is ready for the knacker’s yard.

Painting a DAK Tiger 1 (Blitzkrieg Miniatures)

Preparation

  1. Remove any flash left from the mould
  2. Attach any stowage you want to add to the model
  3. Wash the model in warm soapy water (I use washing up liquid)
  4. Leave to air-dry

Undercoating

With resin vehicles, it is always a good idea to undercoat using a decent primer.  For this, I use a cheap grey car primer in a can from Poundland followed by an acrylic primer.  

  1. With the spray can, give the model 2 light coverings – be careful not to spray it too think as there will be several layers of paint applied throughout the painting process
  2. Using a grey acrylic primer, try to give the entire model a light coating to give the subsequent layers of acrylic paint something to adhere to
  3. Make sure that you give all of the undercoats enough time to dry properly between applications

Painting

The aim of the model is to show the grey original colour underneath the sand top colour, hinting that the Tiger has been out in the elements, chipping off the top coat of colour.  To achieve this:

  1. Use a German Grey colour over the entire model and then 2 successive layers that are slightly lighter on raised areas so as to give some variation to the base colour
  2. Once this has dried, spray some chipping fluid over the model.  This will help us to achieve the chipped and worn look.  Be careful with the amount of time you leave the chipping fluid before applying the next stages; the longer it is left, the more it dries and this makes the chipping more difficult to achieve.  On the upside, if you want the tank to appear newer, you can use this to your advantage. 
  3. This is a totally optional stage as you can add chips at a later stage
    For the main colour, I use Vallejo Model Air 026 US Flat Brown, 024 Khaki Brown and 009 Duck Egg Green.  I start with 026 as a base colour and then use 024 before mixing in increasing amounts of 009 for highlights and modulation

Chipping

To add chipping and wear and tear, you can use chipping fluid (step 2 above) and sponges.  It’s up to you whether you want a nice, shiny new tank or one that looks ready for the scrapyard.  You can combine chipping fluid and sponges to great effect.

With chipping fluid:

  1. Use a damp brush to wet the area where you want the chipping to appear
  2. With a stiff bristled brush, rub the area you dampened
  3. The top layers of paint should come off, revealing the base colour
  4. You can also use cocktail sticks to replicate scratches
  5. Let the model dry thoroughly before moving on

Warning: do not use too much pressure as you can take the paint off completely.  Also, if you wet the surface, be careful where you hold the model as you can send up removing a lot of paint with your fingers accidentally.

With sponges:

  1. Use a red oxide colour to represent deep scratches/chipping that have taken the paint off back to primed metal
  2. Take some sponge, ideally the stuff you get with figures to protect them, and dip it lightly into the paint
  3. Remove the excess and then apply it to the areas where you want to simulate the chipping
  4. Repeat this process with a dark grey colour to show chipping that has only removed the top colours

Washes

In order to add some depth to the overall colour and pick out details such as panel lines, you can apply an oil wash

  1. Cover the model with a gloss coat to protect the paint underneath
  2. Mix up a dilute oil wash using dark brown oil paint.  You are looking for a thin consistency
  3. Apply the wash over the model, paying close attention to panel lines and recesses
  4. Allow the wash to dry completely
  5. Using a cotton wool bud that is damp with oil thinner, go over areas of the model where you want to remove the dried wash
  6. You should see the base colours start to come through
  7. Swap out the cotton wool bud as required and keep going until you are happy with the finished result

Decals

  1. Once the model is completely dry, add a thin coat of gloss varnish to the areas where the decals will be applied
  2. Once dry, add a small amount of Microset to the decal area
  3. Add the decals carefully and then brush over with more Microset
  4. Once the Microset has dried, add some Microsol to the decals as this will soften them and help them conform to irregular areas
  5. Once dry, you can add chipping and scratches over the decals to make them appear worn

Weathering/Streaking

There are lots of products on the market that can be used to weather and streak a model.  I tend to use oil paints.  To add streaks:

  1. Using some thinner, dampen a brush and use it to dampen the area you will be working on
  2. Add small dots of the colours to the area
  • Using a different brush that is damp with thinner, drag down across the spots of oil paint to leave streaks
  • Repeat this over the entire model (it can take some time)
  • Repeat this process as often as you need to get the desired mount of streaks
  • Allow to fully dry before applying another coat of gloss varnish to seal everything

Pigments

This is the final stage in the process and is used to make a vehicle look dusty or muddy.

  1. Apply a matte varnish across the model to seal everything
  2. Select the pigments you want to use depending on the theatre of operations.  In this case, I used lighter, dustier pigments to simulate a desert environment
  3. On areas such as tracks, I use a good quality PVA as a fixing agent; I apply it liberally over the area
  4. I then add the pigment using a large brush
  5. It is possible to layer the different coloured pigments so that you get an interesting mottled appearance to some areas
  6. Once the pigment is dry, you can spray over with some pigment fixer solution

Summary

This is a long process with a lot of stages.  It takes a fair amount of time to paint vehicles using this method but it is possible to get a good quality end product my omitting the chipping fluid stages and even the streaking to some extent.  As with most guides you read, this is my method for this specific model and you may find different methods that work just as well or suit you better.

The finished Tiger 1

A Tale of 2 Mystery Boxes

I have edited my original post based on the 2nd OP Box I bought.

I’m always dubious about mystery boxes as I can’t help but wonder if it is an excuse to get rid of a load of old stock.  However, when I saw the Outpost WW2 Mystery Box, I thought I’d chance my arm.

Skip forward a week and my package arrives.  My first thought was “well that box is smaller than I thought”.  However, when I opened the box, I was pleasantly surprised.

So what did I get?

Item Average Price (Oct 2018)
Flames of War M3 Stuart Platoon £21
Flames of War Panzer II Platoon £27
Afrika Korps Dice £6.50
Flames of War British Armoured tokens £6.50
Blood Red Skies Lydia Litvyak £10
Blood Red Skies Yak-1 £17
Total £88

Given that I spent £24 in total, getting £88 worth of stuff is good.  I’m not massively impressed with the Blood Red Skies stuff but I’m looking forward to painting up the FoW models.  I have to say that I am quite happy with the outcome but it would have been nice to have received some Bolt Action stuff but you pays your money…

I wish I could be as positive about my 2nd box, but I can’t.  Getting straight to the pint, this box made me feel that my original reservations about buying mystery boxes were right.  This one felt cheap.  I know it’s a gamble, but this one was “meh”at best.

So what did I get?

 

Item Average Price (Oct 2018)
Farmer’s Guild: Guildball £31.50
Barbarian £5.50
Beyond the Gates of Antares dice game £12.75
No3 sable brush £4.45
2 miniature paints £6
Figure £3.50
Purple Dice £2.00
Total £65.70

If you’re looking to buy a mystery box, try one of these:

Painting Flames of War Tigers

I wanted to try something different with the camo this time and use a brush!  I always use an airbrush but thought that I would see the effect of using a brush after airbrushing the base colours.  It was an experience; one that tested my ability to get through the “ugly duckling” stages of painting camo.

Undercoating

My love affair with Vallejo paints continued unabated.  I used 73.605 Red primer, using the logic that if it was good enough for the full-size tanks, it was good enough for these models.  If I know I am going to use chipping fluid at a later stage, I might add some highlights and modulation but for this project, I didn’t bother because there was so much Zimmerit on the tanks.  This means that I won’t have a lot of bare metal showing through on the final models.

Base Colour

I started with 71.025 and then added increasing amount of 71.027 and 71.009.  I went for a very light finish as I knew that after adding filters and washes, the colour would darken a lot.

Camo Painting

I used Vallejo colours 70.984 Flat Earth and 70.894 Camo green.  I thinned these down a bit with water and painted each colour in turn, starting with green.  I painted the outline and then filled it in.

This was where the “ugly duckling” effect came into full play.  I was not happy at all with the brush painted camo but decided to plow on as all camo looks odd before filters, washes, detailing and weathering.

A filter was applied with the hope of toning down the camo and then I drybrushed with Khaki and then a lighter dusting of Deck Tan.  This was done to bring out the Zimmerit and also soften the camo.

The next step was to add 2 lots of sponge chipping; the first with the undercoat colour and the second with German Grey.  This was applied to make the tanks look as though they had been in the field for a while.

Extras

Decals, details and pigments make a lot of difference to the final product.  Once again, I found myself disappointed with the FoW decals.  They are too thick and sometimes break apart at the slightest touch.  They also “silver” far too easily for my liking, despite using all the tricks of the trade.

Summary

Would I choose to brush paint the camo again? Only if it was something I had to do, for example, some PZ IV patterns have very fine lines that would lend themselves well to brushwork.  I’m not unhappy with the final article; I’m actually quite proud of them. It’s just that I prefer the coverage from an airbrush and if I need a hard edge pattern, I can mask the areas.

tigers

Basing

The context to this post is that I have just finished the final couple of pieces for a winter Soviet force for Bolt Action, so I thought it was time to show how I create the bases.  It seems quite apt that I should be writing this when we’ve just had our first few flurries since arriving back in the UK.  It’s nothing like the winters we had in DC, but that’s a whole other story…

Initial Steps

The majority of my basing follows a fairly simple method:

  1. if basing infantry, glue them on (Gorilla Glue Superglue is my preference) and if using a team base, glue the bottom onto the base after cleaning up the edges (Sarissa bases FTW)
  2. with infantry, I use epoxy putty around the metal base on the figure.  This helps to smooth out the transition from the metal base to the wood/metal base but it also dried rock hard, so it adds some strength
  3. with team bases, I lay out the components to try to get the best positioning and then glue in any of the unused wooden bases with PVA
  4. the next step is to add the basing material.  I use a mix of sandpit sand and fine ballast.  I used to use kiln dried sand but that was very fine and I prefer the different size grains in the playpit/sandpit sand.  I give the bases a good coating of PVA glue and then dunk them in the mixture (Incidentally, not all PVA is created equal; I am currently using poundshop PVA and it is terrible.  My advice…don’t bother with cheap PVA)
  5. if working on a team base, make sure you remove any material from around the edges of the stands and the holes where the stands will fit it as it will cause you problems later on
  6. once the bases are dry, take a watered-down PVA mix and apply over the bases.  It should have a milky consistency and get sucked into the basing material through capillary action.  This serves to hold the whole thing together when dried and if you skip this. you will lose basing material during later drybrushing and general handling
  7.  now for the painting!  As a rule, I undercoat using Vallejo white undercoat through an airbrush.  Once dry, the bases get a good coverage of Vallejo Model Air Dark Earth.  At a 50-70 degree angle, I spray a light coat of Vallejo Model Air US Brown to start picking out some of the detail.  You don’t need too much, as there will be further coats of colours.
  8. next is the drybrushing (this is why you need the thinned down PVA glue in step 6; drybrushing can dislodge some of the ballast if you are not careful).  The first coat uses Vallejo Model Colour Iraqui Sand and then a lighter coat of Deck Tan
  9. At this point, the basic base is complete.  I usually edge my bases and the inside of the holes with Vallejo Model Colour Flat Brown

Winter Basing

When creating a winter base, I sometimes use broken twigs to represent logs and add some Gamer Grass tufts.  Before I add the snow, I will complete painting the models and then varnish to protect the bases and figures.  I don’t varnish the snow as it is made of liquid resin, so dries rock hard and I want to keep some shine.  My method is as follows:

  1. pour out some Vallejo Still Water and add some white paint to it to get a milky colour.  You can choose to add less or more at this stage, depending on if you want “wet” or “frozen” looking snow.  The Still Water dries glossy and transparent, so adding the white gives it some presence on the base
  2. add some scenic snow in to the mixture.  I use some cheap stuff I got from a toy store and the more expensive Gale Force 9 snow flock.  Again, the look and feel of the snow is up to you, but I mix until it is just lumpy, but still moves around
  3. apply the mixture using a wooden coffee stirrer or one of the Games Workshop Texture tools.  Don’t use a brush!  Unless you have no intention of using it again…
  4. use your own judgement as to how much and where to apply the snow
  5. once you are happy, sprinkle over some of the flock so that it rests on the surface.  As the mixture dries, this will adhere to the surface and give a nice effect up close
  6. It will dry to a solid finish and can be useful for helping stick models to the base

    You can buy the Gale Force 9 snow from The Outpost here: Snow link

     

Water Bases

I recently had the pleasure of continuing a British Para force and I noticed the supply canisters.  Immediately, I thought about doing a base where one had dropped partly into a river.  The method was a bit more challenging but the results were worth it:

  1. after the standard basing is complete, I painted some dark greens and greys where I wanted the river bed to be
  2. next, I took 2 pieces of sellotape and stuck them back to back with an overlap so that each face had a strip of stick and a strip of shiny.  I used this to go around the edge of the base with the shiny portion against where I would be adding the water.  The aim was to give a shiny surface that the Vallejo Still Water would not stick to as it dried.
  3. to add some pressure around the tape and the base, I added a strip of plastic.  Interestingly enough, for a Sarissa 60mm base, the top portion of a Pot Noodle is a perfect fit!
  4. once I checked for any obvious areas where it could leak, I slowly added some Vallejo Still Water
  5. after 30 minutes, I dropped some pieces of leaf scatter into the “water” to look like they were floating and then added a small amount of extra Still Water
  6. after a few hours, I removed the plastic and the sellotape before leaving it overnight to dry
  7. I did not varnish the water as I wanted it to keep its nice glossy sheen

     

    If you are looking to buy the Still Water effects, you can find it here:
    Vallejo Still Water – The Outpost

Rubicon Models 28mm Jeep Review

airborne jeepAs part of the British Airborne force I’m working on, I wanted to add a jeep.  Specifically, a twin Vickers variant.

Enter the Rubicon Models Jeep kit; I’ve been looking for an excuse to get this for quite some time!  First impression from the box art and contents is one of the usual quality feel you come to expect from Rubicon.

Opening the box reveals the instructions, decals and several plastic bags full of components for the kit.

The sheer amount of options is amazing and lets you choose from a “standard” US Army  version, SAS, Airborne and LRDG complete with 2 different crew options.  The detail is crisp and clear with minimal mould lines.

I do have a couple of minor gripes with the kit though.  First is that there are a couple of instructions that aren’t clear enough.  Particularly, the engine bay assembly joining the chassis; maybe it was just me being a bit thick though!  The other issue is with teh lack of clear placement for some of the components such as the spare wheel and jerry can.  I would have really liked some pegs or holes to attach these to so that I knew exactly where they should go.

As I wanted to do a front-facing twin Vickers variant, I would have been stuck doing the SAS version but for me, this had far too much extra armour plating to be a lightweight airborne variant.  This left me having to kitbash a front mounting for the twin Vickers.  Overall, I’m happy with the result.

With reference to the crew, they are a bit on the skinny side in comparison to other miniatures but I think that they work OK with the added Warlord plastic para helmets.  To finish the look of a proper airborne vehicle, I decided to add a lot of stowage.  I normally use the excellent Debris of War stowage but this time, I wanted to try out the Rubicon stowage kit.

I added to the Rubicon stowage with some plastic Warlord weapons in order to give the feel of “everything but the kitchen sink” being thrown into and onto the jeep.

I’m looking forward to painting this up to see just how much character I can get into this jeep.

Denison Camo Painting Guide

Ismock2 really enjoy painting camo, whether it be SS, Heer, USMC or (my favourite) Denison smocks.

If you search around on the internet, you’ll find a huge variation in colours of the smocks and this can be quite a challenge when wanting your force to look cohesive.  Personally, one of the things that attracts me to painting camo is that you get to try out different colours and techniques.

Enough rambling…on to the painting!

 

  1. Base colours
    I usually use 2 base colours to give some variation but have recently used a third.  The 2 main colours are Khaki 988 and Khaki Green 880 but I occasionally use Green Grey 866.  To my eye, these colours represent the best match for pictures of the Denison Smocks.  I apply this all over the smocks and don’t add any highlights or washes
  2. Green camo
    I use Reflective Green 890 for the green camo.  When brushing this part of the pattern, I aim to paint wide brush strokes on the figure to try to mimic the pattern on the actual smocks.  Once the green sections are complete, I add a little Khaki 988 in the paint and add a highlight over the green just to give it some definition
  3. Brown camo
    I use Mahogany Brown 846 for the brown camo.  As with the green parts, I try to copy the pattern on the actual smocks.  It’s OK to overlap the green and brown as this is the best way of achieving the look of the camo on the actual smocks.  A single highlight is OK here too, mixing a bit of Khaki in with the brown
  4. Agrax Earthsade wash
    Once the camo has dried, I go over the entire smock with a thinned down wash of GW Agrax Earthshade.  This helps to tone down the camo and bring out the details in creases and seams

    20171007_211008
    Final camo effect after the wash has been applied.  The wash sits in the creases and defines the seams in the smock

When painting the smock, bear in mind that the smock is made up of separate parts of cloth, so the pattern will not flow across the smock in a uniform manner.  I always try to do the sleeves different from the body and the same thing with the pockets and collar.

For the rest of the uniform I use English Uniform and either Iraqui Sand or Green Grey for the webbing.

I hope that you find this guide useful.

Paintbrushes…

I seem to have some sort of love/hate relationship with brushes over the years.  Games Workshop always used to be good, as did Army Painter but over time, I’ve grown disillusioned with the quality of both, apart from specific brushes for specific tasks.  Oddly enough, both do really good drybrushes.

My brush of choice over the past 3 years has been INTEX.  I always bought mine in Hobby Works (US) and they’ve never let me down.  They are cheap, reliable and have a nice firm tip that holds its shape well.20170929_204044

I’ve been meaning to try Windsor & Newton but haven’t had a chance to get one yet.  After quite the search, I decided to try Broken Toad.

To cut a long story short, I’m impressed.  I love the glossy lacquer on the brushes and they have a really good, firm tip.  The presentation is excellent and has a nice quality feel to it.  Painting is where it matters and the deliver consistently.  I haven’t used them enough yet to comment on their long-term strengths, but after my initial use, I’m converted.

Ratings:

Value for money: 4/5
Quality: 5/5

Warlord Games British Airborne Starter Army

I have my own Para force that as yet are still unpainted and unassembled.  These are a mix of Artizan and Warlord and as such, are all metal.  When the plastic British Airborne were launched,  I desperately wanted to get my hands on some to see how they looked.  Fast forward to September and after seeing a great deal on the starter army, I took the plunge.

The initial impression from the set is very positive; it is great value and has a nice mix of plastic figures and metal specialist teams such as the flamethrower.  Some transport would have been nice, but that doesn’t detract from the set.

On to the plastic figures… they are really finely detailed and have a large selection of options available.  I particularly like the arms options with both arms holding the guns as it saves a lot of fiddling about getting the arms to look right when holding the gun.  There’s a nice range of stances too  with enough options to make some nice looking figures.  As you can see from the pictures, there are lots of backpacks, pouches, grenades etc to help make your figures look as though they mean business!

The inclusion of Polish heads is also noteworthy as it gives an option to players wanting to field a Polish contingent.  It seems like good customer focus to include these rather than selling a separate upgrade set; kudos to Warlord for this.

On the downside, my set had a lot of mould lines.  Maybe I just had a slightly duff batch.

To sum up, I’m impressed with these figures and really hope that some more options may become available in the range.  However, I  want Warlord to keep the metals going as they complement each other nicely.

Ratings:

Value for money: 5/5
Quality: 4/5

Where to buy:

The Outpost – Starter Army