Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone (yes, I'm still here)

Hi folks, after a solid month of silence I thought it wise to let people know that I had not been eaten by a tinsel-shark (they lurk in Christmas decorations, be warned) and was in fact, well, still here.

old but topical photo
In fact the blog situation got first worse... then considerably better... if incompetent. Let me explain, no, there is too much, let me sum up: Old camera dead. Something to do with the sensor being bent/warped/something complicated and expensive. Thus worse; camera not repairable, new ones pricey. Then managed to find a nice dSLR second hand. So considerably better! Only trouble is, it is much, much more manual than my old "bridge" camera so am having to learn how to get the best out of it. This will happen soon, just not yet, because of the incompetence I mentioned earlier.

So the long and short of it is: We'll be back as soon as I can take competent photos again, should be soon. I will be going in to my normal Christmas/new year hibernation anyway but realised that if I did that without posting then nearly two months would go by with nothing. Unacceptable. Rest assured that there will be shiny new things in the new year for us all. But for now, from me, Mrs PVP and Mulder (the bony one) we wish you a very, very happy yuletide and only the finest and most marvellous 2016.


Saturday, 14 November 2015

Please Stand By

Hi folks, just a quickee to say that I am having photographic troubles (somehow I've knocked either the lens or sensor off centre which means it's shooting and focusing verrrry wrong). Suffice to say, there are shiny toys to share... and no means to do so. Lame.

Hope to fix fast, but yeah, lame.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Fire Broadsides!

Greetings one and all! Well, they've been a little while coming but they're here and ready to follow the order: FIRE BROADSIDES!

Yep, finally joining their little autonomous buddies the Drones are their big manned (Tau'ed?) cousins the Broadside Battlesuits. I've talked a bit about the details of their construction and battle damage here so I'll leave that there. I will though mention a few thoughts about the models as they are the first Tau I've painted from the second wave of designs that came through, obviously there is now a third wave too but the point is valid. These are a huge improvement on the old "pin a pair of metal cannons on the back of a top heavy plastic model and call it good" school of Broadside. I will confess I was initially a bit "awww" that the client wanted the missile versions as I really like the "rifleman" railgun configuration. But these really grew on me and I can certainly see the tactical reason you would want them in this arrangement.

Painting wise, I was using the same mixes as the Drones and for the same reasons. I wanted the suits to look like they contained soldiers and bright saturated colours like Tau Light Ochre do not do that. Instead I kept the scheme down at the XV-88 end of the spectrum to have that military drab feel without losing the "Tau desert" scheme. I will say to anyone making one or more of these: Sub Assemblies are your friend as they are a beast to paint in one piece.

What do I mean by sub assemblies? Well, I'm talking leaving the arms, smart missile system and possibly the seeker missile off while painting and doing them separately with a view to adding them at the end. I very, very rarely do this as I think it causes problems with composition, shading, highlighting, all sorts. But once you've tried to basecoat the armour plates of one of these the with the three coats of XV-88 it takes to get a clean basecoat (assuming you want thinned nice flat paint with no brushstrokes) and doing so with all the fiddliness of getting around the obstructions? You'll wish you had left it in pieces. I certainly did. Lets just say XV-88 is no Tausept Ochre and draw a respectful veil over the loss of foundation paints once more.

Thankfully, once the basecoats were on the rest of the painting really was not that bad at all, even fun in places. The scheme complements nicely and I think using the green lenses as I went for makes for a more pleasing contrast than the red on the studio ones. The bullet holes (which I'm quite chuffed with) were built up in layers, first a pale version of the basecoat to look like chipped edges, then some dark brown/black/dab of plate mail metal to be the exposed and oxidised metal, then some shinier bits for the edges and finally a bright metal centre where the round impacted. I then got some Ammo enamel "Streaking Grime" and dirtied up the area around each impact to tie them into the armour rather than looking like shiny fried eggs on the surface. Some dusty weathering on the lower legs - careful washes of the basing colours - helped tie the model to it's environment and as usual helped with the "soldier not toy" vibe.

All in all, a challenging but not unenjoyable task. They are in their cardboard dropship now making their way to their new home and I wish them the best of luck getting past their shiny model syndrome as quickly as possible. As an aside, I've been reading Iain M Banks "Culture" series over the last few months and my view of the Tau is shifting in light of it. I love the idea of the drones having individual sentience rather than being slaved. It would make the Tau a really different race with machine intellect being granted equal status to organic. Ah well, in the Jeffiverse of the year 40,000 that is totally what is happening. Never mind what canon says eh?


Tuesday, 20 October 2015

From the Wastes of Colony 87

Hiya folks, today we are returning to the inhabitants of Colony87 and adding a couple of new faces to the lineup.

As is usual for my painting I had come up with vague identities and narratives for these chaps. So on the left we have an old successful tech prospector and dealer and on the right we have a down on his luck chap scavenging the worst areas around the Colony. These are my two favourite sculpts of the Colony87 range and were a blast to paint. Let's start with the prospector:

I wanted to keep quite a drab palette for both of these. They felt like "salt-of-the-earth" chaps and thus less likely to be toting bright colours and finery. Vallejo paints covered most of my bases, in this case the dominant colour being the coat and that being German Fieldgrey. Interestingly, both this model and the scavenger have the same colour on them but you wouldn't guess it. This has been shaded with a wash of Athonian Camoshade while the scavenger got the brown Earthshade wash. Otherwise this fella is a mix of leathers and XV-88 on the body warmer/armour. All the colours in the scheme were highlighted with Deck Tan which made for a pleasing almost mono-chromatic feeling palette. The skin got my usual trick of adding a little light grey in place of the normal bone as the final highlight tones to make the prospector feel older.

Like the prospector, the scavenger needed a muted scheme but with one battered splash of colour, the re-purposed space helmet keeping him alive in the nastier bits of the world. His robes are again German Fieldgrey (the top bit) and US Olive Drab which I think might just be my new Charadon Granite, it is awfully close. Might try the "Andy-green" with it and see...

The helmet I was quite chuffed with, starting with my Averlander yellow and then adding little chips and dings with Ammo Chipping paint. Then I started in with streaks of lots of different enamel weathering paints, streaking and stumping them with odourless turps to make a nice rich collection of stains, muck and rust which of course the camera captures about 30% of. Sheesh. Anyway, I decided that a rusty poking stick/metal detecting wand would finish him off nicely. 

I've enjoyed these. The colony87 project is proving a fun little diversion amongst the larger projects (the Tau Battlesuits I'm working on for instance) and the client giving me complete carte blanche for colour scheme has rather set my imagination loose to just have fun with it. Nice.

That's all for today folks


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Droning On...

Hi folks, bit of a change of direction this week. I've got a commission for three Tau Broadside suits that I've made a start on. As a means of testing the colour scheme I started with the drones that will accompany them. Then thought... why should they not have a feature all of their own?

I've always been rather fond of the Tau drones. They speak to the high technology and more "modern" tactics of the Tau compared to the rather 40's and 50's approach beloved of the Imperium. For me, more than the suits, more than the tanks it is the drones that define the Tau as an army. So I was happy to be giving these some love.

The client has chosen a very missile heavy Broadside squad with seeker missiles attached so has wisely opted for a markerlight drone to accompany each one. The scheme for these are the classic sandy-Tau. This starts, oddly enough with a lot of black. Most of the machines and suits are actually painted black with just the armour panels in the distinct Sept schemes. Black, drybrushed grey with a black wash covers this nicely.  Then we move on to the sand, I'm not fond of the very, very bright sand colour that the studio use, shocking news to regular readers I am sure. Instead I kept it more to the XV-88 Base-paint end of the spectrum. My Tau Sand therefore is XV-88, a highlight mix of XV-88 and Tau Light Ochre and then Pure Tau Light Ochre.

A word on panel lines, they are very important to the look of the tau army. They are also a swine to paint neatly. There are a bunch of different ways ranging from the simple (just leave the base colour in the cracks, tricky to keep neat), through the complex (use an enamel paint to darken the panel lines and then use odourless turps to remove the excess) but my preferred method is to use very, very carefully applied washes. Agrax Earthshade, thinned a little is painted into the lines cleaning up any overspill with a clean damp brush as you go. Best way in my opinion.

I'll talk in more detail about painting when we get into broadsides but I felt that the little dudes needed some love too. Until next time folks


Friday, 9 October 2015

Men of Praetoria, Stand Ye Steady...

Yep, fire this up, because it's Praetorian Imperial Guard O'Clock baby yeah!

This is part one of the commission with a platoon command squad and a bevy of heavy weapon squads still to come. Common sense though dictated I start with the biggest "block" of the troops and get the solid 20 man core of the platoon completed.

These were actually a lot more work than I was anticipating and a lot of that was due to nostalgia-tinted glasses. It's really hard to get crisp, clean lines on the old guard models because the sculpting and casting wasn't that clean. There are big filled in undercuts and wobbly chinstraps and the like. Of course, being post-hoc conversions of the Mordian models that proved so popular at a Games Day that they got released didn't help either. So, in other words, these are models that you have to either paint like a character for each one or get to a point and say, yep, that is good enough.

But enough grumbling about archaic sculpting. Painting! Fortunately for my client I've been restarting my Napoleonics in recent months (sloooowly) and thus had found a rather lovely red just perfect for Colonial era Brits (appropriate and very punk song here). Essentially the whole thing revolves around doing a normal highlighted red up to an orange highlight. This will look ridiculous, waaay to orange. Then mix up my normal blood mixture of 2 parts red ink to 1 part chestnut. Thin this with water and glaze medium and glaze the whole thing, ta daaaa! Colonial red. Vallejo Off White then provides the piping and webbing details and my fake not-really-NMM gold took care of the braid. Interestingly, I was looking to see what colour to do the heavy weapons, red seemed too gauche, black looked too "sleek", and found that Victorian artillery was essentially Codex Grey. So mid tone grey it went and shiny it looks! I washed some of the basing colours into the wheels to make them seem a bit dusty and that was about that.

I'll leave it there, as there are more of these to come and don't want to be saying "well, I talked about the painting extensively in the first post..." again. So for today,


p.s. these are getting a break now, Tau next!

Friday, 2 October 2015

It's Not That Easy Being Green

Hi folks, today, we have a bit of a departure from our normal faire with a rather nice frogman. No, not that sort, a Colony 87 Frogman (well "Amphiron") apparently called Barcoon Krobosh:

Yep, let the Frog Chorus play (those of a certain age hate me for that earworm, those who don't know it, google it and then remember it was released by a profit seeking entity and former Beatle to boot...). I have spent the past week working on a big batch of Praetorian infantry and while they are lovely, they are a bit involved. While they are looking good (cue sneak peek)...

...I was starting to get fatigued and needed a bit of a palette cleanse, something very, very different. Fortunately another client had some sci-fi civilians that needed doing, among which was ol' Barcoon the Froggy up there. Couldn't resist.

The colour scheme was determined by the frog skin I went for. On a split complimentary scheme, lime green works with a yellow-orange and red-purple. The purple is actually a lot more red than this photo shows. The camera decided to ignore the glazes and cut down to the darker bits. Grrr. Anyway... The skin started from a clean coat of Vallejo Stone Grey, this was going to be the basis for the underbelly so it made sense to use it for the bright green undercoat too. The green started with Moot Green, again just getting a clean coat, which was then shaded with two glazes of green ink mixed with glaze medium. That's it. It needed nothing else; anyone else thinking "Lizardman army in a weekend"? To keep the colour scheme balanced a tan leather bodysuit (XV-88 shaded and highlighted by adding Skrag Brown and Deck Tan respectively with a Seraphim Sepia wash) and a purple-ish magenta cape were married up with bronze, brass and gold decorations. A splash of extra contrast colour with the eyes and a mysterious steel flask (?) in his hand and job done.

I quite like the Colony 87 stuff, it's nice to see civilians getting some love in miniature form although some of the detail is a little soft. Might need to go around the foot claws again as the softness there really needs some sharper paint than it got on this pass (sometimes you only spot this stuff with the camera). But yeah, I think they're a useful addition to the canon. That's all for this time folks, predictably, it should be Praetorians next!


Friday, 25 September 2015

An Imperial Guard Smorgasboard

Greetings one and all, today we have a collection of Imperial agents and soldiers. All part of the increasing Inq28 forces I'm painting for the same client as Project Leviathan:

These three elements are - from left to right - an Inquisitorial acolyte raised from the ranks, an Imperial officer with something of a Goth complex and three members of the Mordian 7th:

Wait, the Mordian 7th... that name seems familiar... well, if you are in the same blogging circles as me you might well have run across the Mordian 7th in the blog of the same name. My client asked me to replicate the paint scheme so as to represent some of the 7th among his command staff on this side of the Atlantic (I believe they natter online).

Obviously, taking cues from another painter's scheme is often a cornerstone of a commission painters world. We're often matching from photos or other reference material. In this case I had to interpret a few details but for the most part there was plenty of source material on the blog. I wound up using the same yellow as my Averlanders for the weapons, "The Fang" and associated layer colours for the armour and some Vallejo chocolate brown for the leather. The beret colour could have been either the blue-grey or the red. I decided on the red mainly for colour balance reasons. It picks out the red from the piping and the grey is already nicely spread across the model. No need to add any more.

From a model with quite a specific brief to one where my brief was "Goth Officer". A Gofficer if you will. Being a man with Cruxshadows, Opeth and Sisters of Mercy (neatly pigeon-holing my age) well represented among a lot of similar music in my collection this was a brief I could handle. Sadly... the camera just can't. It's one of those models with subtle transitions of colour and texture that studios never ever use for this exact reason. It doesn't photograph well. There is purple brocade in his coat lining, as well as on the uniform piping and sash. Everything else is silver, either faux NMM silver or just straight up metallics. If it isn't either of those choices then as Ford once said "any colour so long as it's black". There's black leather (starting from a brown base), black cloth (starting from a grey), gloss black armour, black hat, black... oh you get the picture. For a bit less rambly musing on painting black, go check out the 54mm (and thus more photogenic) ninja post.

Finally we have the Inquisitional Acolyte, another fond user of black and red with lots of chipped gloss black armour plates and brass bits... what's that? You swear he had a scenic base? Well you were right!

The client wanted a vox caster included on the base and in discussions we realised that a planetary scale unit might be more cool for an Inquisitor's henchman. Sadly this would make him a bit unwieldy so using the same magnets and flex steel technology from project Thunderbolt I gave him a swappable base.

The base itself features an old battered ammo case as a table, an Apocalypse vox caster nicked from a tank and the acolyte's lasrifle with underslung grenade launcher. Worked out nice I think!

That's it for today, nothing too deep, just shallow dives into some progress tracking. Have a nice weekend folks.


Friday, 18 September 2015

On the Workbench: Bullet Holes and Broadsides

Greetings one and all, today we get to riddle things with holes and set stuff on fire, ooooh yeah!

Y'see, I've been asked to do a trio of Broadside suits for a client and mercifully, he wanted them modelling distinctly "mid-battle". Dirt, grime, fired missiles and that can also mean, battle damage. Now this makes me very happy as grimy Tau are best Tau in my opinion. But it also made me realise that this was a perfect opportunity to show you my method for making bullet hits. You'll need a source of heat (I used a candle, yeah, that's what we're setting fire to, sorry to lead you on but heck, you're reading now...) a couple of thicknesses of wire and some pliers or other wire-holding, hand-protecting gubbins. You'll notice there isn't that perennial go-to of bullet holes, the pin vice. That's because sadly, they don't work for this job. Bullets are not neat hole-generating devices, unless they go clean through thin materials, instead a survived hit on metal tends to look like this:

image source
So how do we create these? Well, in the bad old days of metal you had to drill out a bigger hole, fill it with green stuff and then shove something in to distend the "metal" out from the impact. When plastic is the material?

some of this will not be the best photography as I'm shooting one handed

Just heat a wire and stab the model. No really, it is that simple. You will need to play at getting the right temperature and practice the timings and such (sprue is great for that) but it isn't much more complex than that.

A good trick is to go in fast with the hot wire and then pause, wait for the wire to cool enough for the plastic to solidify again and then wiggle it out. You will leave streamers of plastic every now and again but they can be trimmed later, the upshot though is you are left with:

Gorgeous, damn near perfect bullet impacts for practically zero effort. You can push all the way through a plate and leave a crater in a surface behind it. You can push through across a corner or along a plate to leave a ricochet scar or a through-and-through. You can even use a hot knife to create claw marks where some metal-chomping Tyranid beasty has got at it. It's very versatile and will really reward some experimentation and practice.

The finished squad, all battle damaged and mid-combat. I've tried to change up the poses as much as I can but those legs are limited by the pins holding the ankle and the solid posed knee (would a two part leg have killed you GW?) make it tricky. After two variants of the pose I knew I had to do some modelling jiggery pokery on the third or look like a line dancing set. I removed the ankle pins and turned the - admittedly nice - braced pose into a stride. It's not easy though, and I suspect with the locked legs GW were trying to avoid this:

Being necessary while the glue dries. I get the impulse, but seriously, a deeper ankle joint and a hex shaped connector in the knee would have allowed for some more freedom in pose. Ah well, minor grumbles. But while we are talking modelling and modifying the GW kits, all of you should click on the picture below and check out what fellow Beard Bunker dweller Charlie has done with a Leman Russ:

I love it, gives the Russ a much, much more satisfying set of dimensions. Really inspired to retrofit all my company of Russes with the better true-scale battlecannons. Even found a company in Poland who make 1:48 scale Firefly barrels which will hopefully make nice Vanquisher cannons.

Well, that's all for today folks, happy modelling and


Friday, 11 September 2015

Moody Hammers (both called Boris)

Greetings one and all, yes, still here, just took a couple of weeks off. Back and rocking now! Today we have a couple of inadequately clad gentlemen with a serious workout habit:

they're sexy and they know it

These chaps are Heresy miniatures Big Boris's - long term readers will know these are the second and third Big Boris's I've painted after my dynamic Big Boris Barbarian - including the Job's A Good Un Boris from the kickstarter (I've got one of these coming once Andy sculpts the new Ogre with Table, sculpt man sculpt! /cheeky). The client's concept for these was something plucked from the awesome depths of the Daniverse (that part of the 40k background authored by Dan Abnett, otherwise known as the bits with actual character, soul and real human lives rather than dakka dakka dakka). Moody Hammers is the term that low-life types use to refer to hired muscle. These two are cloned moody hammers with plenty of vat grown muscle grafted on for extra threat. By the way, these models are huge, those bases are not 25mm, they're the 40mm...

too sexy for boxer shorts that's for sure, dat thong...

Frankly, there isn't a lot to say about these except skin, lots and lots of skin. So as it's been a while since I talked about it... lets talk skin, Caucasian in this case: there are, it is true, lots of problems with Citadel's paints, but the stuff that is good is very, very good. The skin paints are one of these very, very good ones. I like to start not with Bugman's Glow but with Cadian Fleshtone. I only break out the Bugman's for ruddy toned people. Once a clean coat of Cadian Fleshtone is on, a shading wash of Reikland Fleshshade gives a nice warm tone. From here, start building up the highlight levels. The highlight steps are Cadian Fleshtone, a mix of Cadian Fleshtone and Kislev Flesh, pure kislev flesh and then a little bit of Kislev Flesh mixed with Flayed One Flesh (doesn't seem to be available at the moment, substitute a little bone instead). Now. Those mixes are where the differences between a rank and file dude and something like these moody hammer characters come in. Normally there is at most six stages to skin on my figures (base, wash, base, highlight one, highlight two, edge highlight). I often skip the edge highlight. These had at lease eleven layers blended in, each step in highlighting had a 2:1, a 1:1, and then a 1:2 ratio mix rather than just a 50:50 mix. There was also another shade layer as I thinned Agrax Earthshade and darkened the deepest recesses and the face.

"They said I could be anything, so I became a meat balloon."

Of course, with all that skin area it was just crying out to be used as a canvas for some mad tattooist. Not having one available, I had a bash at it with some online reference to help. With tattoos, the main mistake people make is using a pure colour, that will always look like warpaint and will visually sit on the surface of the skin. Instead, mix some skin tone in with the tattoo colour and that knocks the colour "under" the skin surface. I can recommend starting with mid 2000's "tribal" style tattoos as you can't really get them "wrong". More complex tattoos like the ones on my sumo D&D monk are a bit more involved and need a bit more practice.

Loved these chaps, lots of fun. Can't wait to get my own one of the JAGU Boris's... sculpt man!


Saturday, 22 August 2015

Flecktarn Special Forces

Greetings all! Remember these guys? Well, they're back in a slightly altered form:

First of all, these photos are all irritatingly shiny. I needed to use a dispersed flash in order to actually get pictures and that made the paint gleam. Finding a reliable matt varnish is a pain in the rear too, any PVP reader suggestions for a good solid matt varnish? Anyway, on with the real stuff: These are a terrifying hybrid creature made of DKK Grenadier torsos and resin cadian-style legs. They needed the grenadiers to be razor sawed through the waist (take care to preserve the lower armour plate) and then smooth the resulting cut ready to be glued to the legs. These were intended to be a Special Forces squad of the Flecktarn-style infantry. As a result the client wanted them to be reminiscent of the originals but stand out from them. Thus the decision was taken to use a different "season" of the flecktarn camo scheme, in this case Spring:

Try to ignore the SS icon, this was on all the elite Heer forces, just a shame so many of those were SS...

So as usual you need to break down the scheme to get a progression for the paint job (I have one more of these to do and am likely to do a step by step on the camo). The scheme is clearly a bright green background, with a dark brown layer providing the principle pattern. Then a brighter brown in the middle of the larger dark brown blobs. Finally more dark brown dots with bright green dots in the centre through the brown blobs. Note that this is not how the material is printed, but it is the easiest method to "stack" the camo layers while painting. The result is:

Fairly close, the green is the horrible - but perfect for this job - Vallejo Uniform Green with a mix of German Camo Black-Brown and Black for the dark blobs. Flat earth was the light brown colour of choice and the whole uniform was shaded with a thinned Agrax Earthshade. Previous flecktarn infantry dictated the German Grey armour and US Field Drab pouches etc. so that was an easy choice. These chaps however have collars, cuffs and a skull on the Ammo Rubber & Tires gas mask. What colour should these be? Anything bright was not going to be a win as these are special forces, drab is their thing. Then looking at the original camo scheme again I spotted the uniform collar. Perfect, thought I, so Val German Fieldgrey it was. It also looked cracking on the skull.

With so many colours going on with these guys already I wanted to keep all other spot colours very muted. Once you get above three or four principle colours you are getting dangerously close to gaudy and visually noisy. All you can do to keep the miniature focused is to boost certain colours and mute others in the hopes that you keep the whole job unified. I think these guys are pretty much there.

That's all folks! I know August has been a smidge quiet here on the ol' PVP but that's largely due to the rest of my life packing everything about six months of stuff to do into the eighth month. August has been proper busy... and isn't done yet. I'll be back to mostly normal in September but hey, at least August has had some updates right?


Friday, 7 August 2015

Great big whacking tanks

Hi folks, as promised, the KV-1 is finished and is a whacking great slab of green!

Yep, this is the same KV-1 (KV stands for Kliment Voroshilov, the defence commissar at the time of its commissioning) that was the focus of a workbench article about brass etch back in... wow... March. The KV series was designed to be a siege tank and it's armour and gun did indeed come as something of a nasty surprise to the Germans who found that it was just plain immune to anything but their biggest weapons. The problem came when these slow lumbering tanks were compared to the T-34 - so far beyond its time that it ought to have come with a TARDIS - and found somewhat wanting. The up-gunned variants of the T-34 (the T-34-85 - hah, just used shortcut keys to do that, ctrl+K and then ctrl+V, KV, gave me a chuckle) could hit as hard, move faster, presented less of a silhouette and be made quicker and cheaper. Soviet tactical doctrine was never going to ignore the value of having two of something in favour of one survivable something and so the poor KV-1's days were shorter than would have been in other armies.

I've already waxed so lyrical about this kit in the build log that you could make a singing candle but if you will indulge me just once more: Wow, seriously, if you have any interest in WW2 gaming do yourself a favour and join Maisey, Emma and I in choosing 1:48 as your vehicle scale of choice. The scale "feel" is better with the chunky 28mm lads and oh god. The kits. There is no contest between a 1:48 multimedia plastic kit designed for armour modellers - and in the case of HobbyBoss often a reduced version of their hyper detailed 1:35 kits - and the 1:56 resin and "wargamer grade" plastic kits you can get. No contest. I will say that if you are the sort to see your models as nothing but wound counters then stick with the 1:56's they'll go together fast and get you on the table. But if like me you love a bit of armour modelling... no contest, and the range grows all the time.

There's a real problem - well two, but I'll get to that - with WW2 painting, especially Soviet, and blogging: There are only so many ways you can say "Well, I painted the whole thing green. Yup, that's about it". So I shall mostly let the pictures do the talking and assume if you are curious about painting methodology you'll check out the T-34-85 and T-70 articles. Literally nothing is different here save less scratches and dings and subtler dust. The KV-1 simply doesn't go fast enough to cover itself too badly in filth. What's that? The second problem? Oh, painting WW2 troops with any fidelity leaves them rather drab in photos. Sure you can push the contrasts and get a better photo but then you end up with cartoons. There's a reason that high contrast is "studio style" and fetishised by some online, it makes for better photographs. However, painting for realism is my great enjoyment so sometimes I just have to eat the fact that the photos won't be great.

Just to show how big the KV-1 is I've assembled a little motor pool of my Sov armour along with happy Ivan the flag waving goon. The KV-1 makes even the T-34-85 look a bit compact and bijou, the T-70 looks like a toy! For those who are curious, these latest additions have swelled my Soviet ranks rather nicely and are now clocking in at well over a thousand points. While I won't be able to shake the Sov habit any time soon I think I need to start thinking about the next project. My problem is that I want to do too many, which to choose? Heer pioneers? Oh, but those Panzergrenadiers are really shiny... Commando raiders? But then there's the Sikh's in Burma who are an unusual project... or 8th army/Afrika Korps in the desert... you've always been fascinated by the Paras and Market Garden... but heck, there's Band of Brothers yanks too, if only they'd make plastics for either of those...

[indecision fades gently to black...]


Monday, 3 August 2015

For the Motherland!

Pozdravleniya tovarishchi! It's been a wee while but the Russians are here again on the ol' PVP blog. 

Just like last time I decided to batch paint the whole box - Warlord's Siberian Veterans - in one go. The paint jobs are simple enough that 20+ batches aren't such a trial. I've needed some more infantry for a while and the Siberian box had the advantage of including a medium machine gun and a nifty commissar with loud-hailer so seemed a no-brainer. Lets start with the least interesting unit first.

Least interesting maybe but very useful nonetheless, this is the second light machine-gun squad of the army. The mainstay of any Sov infantry army, these are unremarkable but effective. The painting follows exactly the same model as the first time round, but this time I did a few tweaks. I ditched the tonal variation in the greens as, bluntly, it didn't really produce results worth the extra time. Instead I separated the Val Russian Uniform green summer uniforms from the padded telogreika uniforms by painting the latter in Val Khaki Grey mixed with a dab of Val Russian Uniform. This still breaks up the unit a bit but doesn't take forever. For those who may be curious, the mix of summer and padded uniforms indicates to me early spring. I'm designing the army's look to be around about April. Still cold enough for soldiers to be comfortable in the telogreika but not so cold that they must be worn. Equally, cold enough that those exposed to the elements - tank riders for example - would still be wearing greatcoats. Thus giving me a nice excuse to include some of their nice new winter troops as tank riders later on!

The maxim MMG in the Siberian box is modelled in a pose I can best describe as "cheese it!". I'd have preferred a firing one, as they don't move often in game but beggars can't be choosers and I'm sure I'll pick up another one in time. The painted sections of the maxim are in that ubiquitous russian green used on helmets, tanks, artillery, frankly, I reckon they'd have painted soldiers that green if they could. It's Val Cam Olive Green with a glaze of Athonian Camoshade to add some subtle shading.

And now what I suspect is the reason for the "cheese it!" pose on the gun, there's a commissar yelling behind them and no-one wants to show insufficient zeal... The Commissars of the NKVD were a hangover from Stalin's first purges, initially as a second in command rubber-stamping the commander's orders if they were politically acceptable. This proved... inefficient at best and around 1942 the "commissars" were retired and turned into "zampolit" responsible for morale and discipline. In practice this usually took the form of rounding up those who ran from the enemy and shooting them. Stalin's regular "not one step back" orders were almost literally enforced, much of the Soviet reputation for relentlessness came from a lack of choice. It was the enemies guns or the guns of the NKVD. At least the enemy might give quarter...

Neither of these models are what I'd call "top notch" but both have character. The standard bearer is displayed in the only good angle it has available I'm afraid and has a face only a mother could love. He is though carrying a whacking great flag and is the perfect ADC for a bolt action commissar. The flag is an overhighlighted red going through the GW reds up to Wild Rider. It was then glazed first with a shade of red and chestnut ink. Then a glaze of Bloodletter to brighten the red. The zampolit, aside from the blue uniform trousers and cap is essentially identical to the men. The coat is Val US Drab with lots of little red piping details. Both were quite a lot of fun to paint. Especially getting the ruddy faced commissar's skin tone right with layers of glazes of mixed flesh tones and reds.

Finally, we have that rarest of things in the Soviet Red Army: Veterans. The Red Army had a nasty habit of treating war as a numbers game alone, those who survived the first few weeks of battle were tough indeed and forged into lethal fighters. They also had a habit of scavenging equipment from all and sundry leading to them being rather more enthusiastically armed than the average troopers. Aside from some battle damage to, and a couple of slogans on the helmets their uniforms are the same as the normal lads.

One of the real differences is in the scavenged German gear some of them sport. An MG-42 - one of the best machine guns of the war - an MP-40 and a couple of Panzerfausts mean these guys are armed for bear when added to their PPSh-41's, Thompson's and their DP-28 light machine gun. These were scavenged from German infantry frames I've got for doing a small Pioneer army. It's strange how different just adding a belt of ammo - not normally a Soviet feature - makes to their "feel". I decided to push that feel a little further though:

The soldier on the left is from the veterans squad, the right is from the Light MG squad. I wanted to make the veterans look tired, ill, stressed. Being a veteran soldier in the hell of the Eastern Front means more than being an experienced fighter, it also means having seen and endured rather a lot... that leaves a mark. This was achieved by using light grey instead of Flayed One Flesh in the final highlight mix for the skin. Combine this with a purple wash into the eye sockets and stubble and you have tired, strung-out, ill looking people. It tuned out quite effective and helps mark them out as veterans.

General Mulder approves
That's all for now folks-ski's but while I was putting these lads in their case I saw the KV1 that I did the build log on a fair while ago. It has actually been painted. The only reason I haven't photographed it for the blog yet is I hadn't weathered it yet. I'll get on that and actually finish that article! Until next time