Monday, May 23, 2011

A Brief Intermission...

So where are we going today Mr. Peabody?
Ok, the FanVans are actually nine-tenths finished right now and all that remains is final assembly, taking a few pictures and to write up the last post. I'm pleased with how the flyers have turned out and really look forward to getting them on the table and playing Gruntz! with them ASAP.
But early last week Ken brought over some WWII German armour and asked if I could give his 1/72 scale Armourfast and Italeri fast-build tanks the same basic treatment I was giving to the Ground Zero Games flyers. These are painless to build, so in no time I had them added to the painting queue.

The two Panzer III's and the Panther will feature in 20mm games of Disposable Heroes & Coffin for Seven Brothers by Iron Ivan. I'm not really into WWII, but I'll play pretty much anything by Iron Ivan Games; loads of fun.

Please enjoy this intermission while I complete the FanVans.
Peabody out.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

FanVan WIP

Ok, lets commit to a full WIP series on the FanVans from Ground Zero Games. Think of it as basic armour painting 101. Not difficult stuff at all; practice and patience will be rewarded. I took this same approach with the GZG New Israeli armour & I'll want to review this at some point.
Where were we?
Lets finish up the Canopies first.
A protective coat of Future needed to be laid down over the canopies, but before I did that I decided to spray a little bit of Tamiya Smoke as a way to blend the gold & black together. Smooth.

When the Future had dried, the masking that protected the canopy frames & the rest of the models was removed and discarded.

Models are numbered to track painting masks
Time now for the canopy-glass shaped bits of tape saved when cutting the masks. Each model & its mask were numbered, so it was simple enough to match the masks with the models. Note how each 'window' was cut and laid-out in position relative to each other. A piece of scrap styrene sheet was used to keep these safe. Additional trimming or adding of thin strips of tape was done as necessary.
The masks were smoothed into place using colour shapers.
As I finish painting each model the canopies will remain covered and (in theory) protected. The big reveal will happen as I move into detail painting. Fingers are crossed from now until then.
Now for the base-coat. A thin, transparent coat is sprayed on at about 10psi. At this point any pre-shading I have done will either become a wonderful part of each model, or hidden under too much paint. Only a few areas of each model get second coats.
I'm using Dark Yellow tinted with drops of red-brown, yellow and black. I made sure to mix up quite a bit of this when this project began so that colour matching would not be a problem.
After the base-coat dries I lay down a  good coat of Future in preparation for the next step.
Future is self-levelling, so I can spray quite generously and still get an even, gloss finish that wont fill detail.
A gloss finish is critical for the oil wash that is to come. If I apply a wash over a matte finish, the entire surface will become stained. On a gloss finish, the wash will fill detail and any excess will be easy to remove.
The middle FanVan has been dry-brushed buff.

Oil Wash & Dry Brush
The wash is applied outlining and emphasising the details of each model. Once this dries (a day at least!) it's time for a light but thorough dry-brushing using buff artists oil paint.

Still to Come: decals, filters, details & more.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

15mm FanVans & Sci-Fi Canopies

So this afternoon I broke-out the Tamiya masking tape, put a brand new #11 in the old x-acto knife and got to work masking the canopies of my platoon of Ground Zero Games FanVans.
Now these are cool models; near-future Slicks ready for any job be it rapid insertion of troops, casevac or ass & trash. Perfect toys for the 15mm sci-fi table!

The canopies of these vehicles are wonderfully sculpted and the potential is there to really make a stand-out statement if only I can pull it off.
So, carefully I cut out the canopy areas, saving the resulting masks so as to be able to cover the canopies again when this stage is done. The canopies were then sprayed black.
The FanVan engines were painted in phase one of the 15mm Sci-fi Project.

Once the black was dry, I mixed up some Tamiya gold with a few drops of clear orange and thinned the mix down for spraying with Tamiya thinner. I sprayed on the orange-gold at an oblique angle to create a fade from gold to black.
Lotus position Buddha, agent of dharma in our pulp themed games, got the rest of the orange-gold paint.

The next step will be to lock down this gold-black fade with a coat of Future and then tomorrow morning put the masks in place and get on with painting the rest of these beauties.

Calling FanVan Fans

I'll admit I've put off painting these kits hoping that some clever and talented person out there would post some inspiring shots of their finished FanVans. So far no luck!
IF you have painted FanVans, take some pictures, post them up and share the link! Lets see some FanVan action out there!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Building Bridges

Double Rainbow?
Well, I had every intention of moving on to phase two of the 15mm Sci-fi Project, but the old workbench needed a good clean after the chaos of phase one, and stuck in the middle of everything were two kits, both bridges, crying out to me: "Peabody, build us now!"

The Italeri Stone Bridge is a classic single span bridge, an objective to enhance any table. The kit itself has good detail and is simple to build.
I primed the model light grey using Vallejo airbrush primer. A base coat of Tamiya medium grey, xf20 was next. I mottled this coat as I sprayed, so I would be painting details over a mix of greys.

Hot mugs of tea & favourite tunes made the job of picking out selected individual stones easy enough. I worked my way through cool greys, greens, tans and khakis trying to avoid patterns, but allowing these spots of colour to group in places to draw the eye to some of the more interesting detail or create interest where the pattern of stone was too repetitive. The paint for this stage needed to be very thin, almost transparent, to keep the effect from becoming too much like a patchwork quilt. The brightest tans were toned down with a touch of dark grey.

A good dark oil wash (burnt umber & black) did the job of picking out detail, but left the whole model very cold looking. That was fixed easily with a couple of applications of the Mig Filter 'brown for desert yellow', which warmed the colour and tied the whole piece together nicely.
Well diluted Tamiya flat earth, xf52, was dusted on via airbrush, working mostly around the base and lower ends of the bridge, leaving the higher parts brighter and free of 'dust'.
The next day I added ground work to better tie the bridge in with the terrain most used on my table. I couldn't resist trying the Army Painter Poison Ivy, it's so easy to use. I also took a tip from the great tutorials on the Acrylicos Vallejo pages and tried my hand at moss using Woodland Scenics fine turf, acrylic matte medium and different shades of home-made green pigment powders.

While working on the Stone Bridge I also had a second, very different bridge on the bench.

Pontoon Bridge Trussed-up
The venerable Airfix Pontoon Bridge is the donor for this kit-bash. There is so much bridge inside this kit it's a shame not to get more than one project out of the box! This short span is intended for my Vietnam table where there are numerous deep but narrow canals to hamper traffic. The look is intended to suggest the classic bailey bridge that springs up around so many conflicts and natural disasters.

I thought it would be worth the trouble to leave the span of this bridge detached. Now I can play all sorts of bridge-out, bridge-laying or destroy-the-bridge scenarios. But I can also use the ends with the remaining longer span from the kit to eventually make a much larger bridge.

I base my 20mm minis on pennies which makes them too wide for the narrow strip of walk-way to each side of the Airfix kit's truss-work. My solution was to add width with some additional 'wood work' made of styrene strip and square-stock. The effect is more convincing than I thought it might be.

The overall look works for me and reminds me of the sort of improvisational construction I have encountered travelling in South-east Asia.

So what really inspired me to build these now?  I think this little detour is the pay-off for going out of my way and having tried new techniques for the 15mm Sci-fi Project. The stone bridge is no work of art, but it's come out a lot better than it would have had I tried to build it a year ago.
The bailey bridge tested elementary (but fundamental) scratch-building skills and was chipped using the hairspray technique. Both bridges benefited from the use of oil based filters and washes.

Die-cast Repaints. Road-work on Highway 19?
A year or more ago I won an ebay lot that included some poorly painted die-cast toys and what turns out to be bits from the Airfix Aircraft Recovery Set.

A quick repaint and a dash of grubbiness and these are now ready to help add a bit of story to the next game.

 Tragically the 'Queen Mary' aircraft recovery trailer is missing a wheel...
I would be grateful if anyone has a line on a suitable replacement!

Now that the bench is clear again I will be cracking on with the flight of three GZG FanVans.

Peabody out.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

15mm Sci-Fi Project phase one complete!

The transport, drones and support attachments are finaly done for my mechanised infantry platoon of Ground Zero Games 15mm New Israelis.

Despite an interruption of many months this project was a lot of fun to pick up and complete. The scheme was a simple one, so it was easy to carry on from where I had left off.
This was supposed to be a 'learning project' and there were still a couple of techniques and products I wanted to try out on these models. I'm happy to say I learned a lot and still managed a decent table-top quality finish despite 'experimenting'.

I want to apologise right now for the lack of step-by-step photos. These final shots will have to do.

Picking up from the last post on this project, I used an airbrush to lay down a coat of Vallejo Matte Varnish before Dry-brushing with buff coloured artists' oil paint. The advantages in terms of time and workability that come from working in oils made this step less stressful. If I went too heavy, I could easily subtract using a clean brush moistened with thinner.

For this step, instead of Turpentine I tried out Mig Productions Thinner for Washes, finding this to have much less odour and a faster drying time.

A spot of Future (Klear) was dabbed-on and allowed to dry wherever I intended to put down decals. A mix of decals from old kits and a home-made set of unit numbers went on using micro-sol decal products.

Once the decals were set & dry I was eager to try out a suitably tinted Filter from Mig Productions. I wanted to tone-down the camo & dry-brushing and tie-in the decals as well as other details and a filter (basically a very thin wash) is a good way to do this.

It's easy enough to mix a suitable wash with either acrylic or oil-based paints, but I wanted to try the MIG product. I found it was convenient to use and that it did the job well. The fact that I can come back to the jar again and again for consistent results is a big plus. The MIG Filters are intended to allow easy application of multiple thin coats, building up transparently, providing subtle results.

 Final work included lights, vision blocks and other details. This stage offered the biggest opportunity to add personality to each vehicle and to make the mistakes I would really regret.

Fortunately the coat of Vallejo Matte Varnish I had previously put down proved to be very durable & so I was able to 'undo' a couple of bad ideas without damaging the good work underneath. So I'm happy with the Vallejo Matte Varnish for a couple of reasons: it's fairly tough, and it is UV resistant. I'll be using this on every project I think.

Last of all everything got a coat of krylon Matte spray for protection. This is not dead-flat matte, tending instead to satin, but I like it for the durability. If I need dead matte I can hit these again w/ a dusting of the Vallejo.

The flight base for the GZG Roach is made with a Warbases 70mm Hex, fender washers, 5/32" brass tube, 1/4" acrylic rod and Golden Acrylic High Solids Matte Gel. Texturing and decoration are a selection of aquarium plants, Woodland Scenics rock-moulds, grass-tufts and found materials.

Your comments and criticism, as always, are welcome.

Peabody out.



Almost SIX months without a post. Oh my....
Right now I'm grateful for two things:
  • Those of you who decided to follow Peabody despite this no post period.
  • I can't get fired from our hobby if I don't produce. 
  • Projects don't stall, they are infinitely patient,  waiting to be completed.
  • While I wasn't painting or building new stuff, I still got to play some great games with good friends using the stuff I had completed. Medals awarded to everyone for making our own toys.
Ok, that's three four things. I'm grateful for four things.

I suppose we all go through periods when Real Life™ forces us to step away from the work bench. There are all kinds of reasons why this can happen, some good, some not so good. I'm glad to finally find myself on the functional side of this one.
Oddly enough during this time of no-hobby I have used this blog a lot. More than any post that I can write, the gaming goodness that flows through the right hand side of this page is the real soul of Peabody Here!  The fora, the news feed and especially your blogs have all nourished the neglected creative spirit. Picking up the brush again has been that much easier thanks to you out there.

Peabody out.