Thursday, October 08, 2009

Fallschirmjager HMG's

I picked up some Platoon20 German Airborne HMG's and crews. The nice little pack came with an officer as well. Here you can see the result...

This should just about finish my Fallschirmjager force. At some point in the future I'll pick up some light arty. crews and maybe a recoilless rifle crew, but for now I will move on to other armies(maybe, just maybe, the Brits will get some love from me one of these days!).

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Warhammer 40K Terrain Part II: Crashed Pod

Straying from my GW terrain for a second, I wanted to post a couple of pics of a simple, little side project I did recently. When you get into making terrain, you quickly adapt to having an eye for turning household junk into scenery gold!; I consider it the "alchemy" of the miniatures hobby world! I was looking at an old Gatorade bottle and a thought formed...
That's right- an escape pod. It was a simple idea that involved cuttin off the top of the bottle at a 45 degree angle, attaching it to some cardboard, and using a "baby bottle pop" lid as an exhaust nozzle(that one of the kids had discarded after his tasty treat). A little spackle to build up the earth around impact, a little static grass and some painting later- boom, a crashed escape pod.

There are many variations one could perform on this concept. I thought of an exposed interior compartment having been vacated by the survivors...or even some non-survivors in the capsule. In the end, I opted for a simple interior electronic section being visible through an exposed hatch. The narrative here is that the crew never made it out, the capsule being too deeply embedded in the ground...but scavengers came along and sought to see what they could salvage from the craft.

Warhammer 40K Terrain Part I: Manufactorum

I have been busy the last few weeks working on urban terrain for the Warhammer 40K universe. I got started by purchasing the excellent Imperial Sector set that is the heaviest box of hobby material I've ever received in the mail!

First up is the Manufactorum- the hot forges of the Imperium that churn out the wares of war in a restless galaxy. It was a fun kit to assemble, but even more fun to paint! I decided on a gun metal basecoat for the structure, which I thought was fitting for its purpose. I added some detail by concocting a custom "rust" wash from deep reed, steel and brown colored paints(which I thinned with water before applying).

Here is a close-up of one of the wall panels. The pipes, wires, rivets and valves detailing that GW put into the kit is beautiful!

I decided on a pretty standard "corner building" construction for the piece, as can be seen in this side view.

Here is a look at the interior with a Space Marine Scout for size reference. I "rubbled up" some of the edges of the surviving walkways with kitty-litter and sand.

Here is a close-up of part of the base. I mounted the entire structure on 1/8" hardboard. Spackle was used to build up rubble piles. I added debris into these piles consisting of extra pieces from the kit, some plastic sprue and even a jewely chain(now a large industrial chain!). The base was textured with the aforementioned mix of kitty litter and sand; I painted all ground areas in a black basecoat and drybrushed three different shades of grade to highlight them.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What's on the Workbench? 9-27-09

Now my first installment of "What's on my Workbench?"....

Above you can see my latest painting projects.

To the left are two US 30cal MG crewmen, with 20mm partisans to their right(bases not painted yet), and a couple of Tau Crisis Battlesuit accessories being painted up(multi-tracker, missile pod).

No these aren't impaled victims of Chaos...they're WWII Germans glued to nails(my prefered way to paint minis). Included are 2 officers, a sniper and six Waffen S.S. infantrymen.

That's it for now...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tau...For the Greater Good

O.K., so some say they are interstellar communists, but I just like their "Samurai meets Mechwarrior" appearance! For the last couple of months I've been working on a Tau Battleforce and I am pretty happy with the results. Now though I admit they aren't an easy army to play, especially once close combat occurs, I like the raw power of their weaponry and their versatile battlesuits! I decided on a unique paint scheme for this army with a "Fall Forest" pattern. The narrative is that these Tau have chosen a camo scheme to match the autumn woods that they are skirmishing in. I used birch catkin seed pods to make custom 'leaves" for the bases as well as tree roots made from GW green stuff(click on the first two pictures for a closer look at the bases).

Firewarrior squad...

Crisis Battlesuit and Firewarriors

Two Battlesuits....

Stealthsuits- infiltrators for the Tau!...

A Hammerhead heavy support vehicle...

I have also worked on some Kroot, but I will save them for a future post.

So far I have made and painted...
12 Firewarriors
3 Stealthsuits
2 Crisis Battlesuits
1 Hammerhead/Devilfish
6 Kroot Warriors

On my workbench I still am working on...
1 Devilfish troop carrier
6 Kroot Hounds
1 Krootox

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Space Marines(Ultramarines) Tactical Squad

Here are some early efforts of mine to paint some of the Space Marines from the Black Reach set. The Ultramarines are my favorite chapter because of their devotion to the emperor and strict adherence to the Codex Astartes, They have great back-story and the Ultramarines Novels by Graham McNeill made me even more excited to model these guys.

Here is a shot of 10 Ultramarines- I have been working diligently to find a painting technique that I like. I am generally satisfied with their look, but I know I will improve in time.

The squad includes 10 Space Marines(tactical marines) armed with the following: 7 boltguns, 1 flamer, 1 missile launcher, 1 bolter pistol/chainsword.

The sergeant shown below gives a leadership boost to the squad. I like the pose, and imagining him firing off rounds keeping some xenos hoard at bay until they finally close on him and he grinds them up with his chainsword(plus, we all know guys with shaved heads are not to be trifled with)...

The flamer-armed marine- I love the so-armed character of Pasanius in McNeill's novels.

Here is the squad arrayed in defense of the archaic ruins walls from the set shown in my previous post...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Ano"- Space Marine Marine Dreadnought

For my second WH40K post I will show my Space Marine Dreadnought. For those not in the know, a Dreadnought is basically a mechanized sarcophogaus for a Space Marine who's battle injuries are too severe for medical recovery. The dreadnought chassis provides him a second life as a "heavy support" option in the Space Marine codex. Their name is plastered to the armored shell in banners- I have chosen "Ano" as the name of this dread...

The model above came from the Assault on Black Reach starter set- a great way for noobs to jump into the 40K hobby. The dreadnought in this set is a great figure and I did not modify or convert it in any way. The only customized bit is the "urban" base that I dressed up.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Space Marine(Ultramarine) Scouts

Something new for the blog...
I am posting my first pics of some of my Warhammer 40,000 minis. I've been eyeing Games Workshop's 40K line for man years and I finally dived in! I am currently working on Space Marine and Tau armies, and my son is building a Necron force. Today I will highlight my first 40K figures(though I've done dozens by now), Space Marine Scout(Snipers). These guys are great for taking objectives, providing pinpoint fire support and disrupting enemy battle plans with their "infiltrate" deployment ability.

First- a group shot. I chose the Ultramarines chapter for my paint scheme. It wasn't simply a default choice as they are the most heralded in 40K lore, it was really inspired by my recent reading of the WH40K novel, The Ultramarine Omnibus- a great read by Graham McNeil.

Here is a shot of three scouts in "sniping" poses with their rifles.

And from behind you can see their "camo cloaks". I chose an urban scheme(which you will see is also the theme for all my Space Marine bases as well).

Here is a Scout Marine with a missile launcher. The snipers are fine, but they need a little punch in case they come up against enemy armor or superior numbers- this guy fits the bill.

An individual sniper- I posed his head to the side as if he is awaiting targeting info or orders.

Finally, the sergeant of the squad. I was a little initimidated by the painting of the eagle on his chest, but it came out o.k. The sgt. provides a leadership bonus that is important in morale-sensitive situations.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Visit to the US Army Ordinance Museum Part II

Before sharing some more pictures, I wanted to share a couple more things about the museum. First- it is free to visit(but you are going onto a US Military base so a photo driver license and(for drivers) a car registration slip is required. There is a museum building which houses hundreds of pieces of small arms from M1 Rifles to Panzerfausts and MG-42 machine guns. Pretty much every famous gun, big and small, is housed in this two-story complex. Also, the museum vehicle collection, as I understand it, is moving to Virginia in a year or so and will be housed completely indoors. Though I am thankful the collection will be protected from the elements, I feel lucky to have had the fun of exploring a field of tanks on a beautiful day!

First, an Italian M13 tank...

M3 Grant/Lee Tank(USA)...

M10 "Wolverine" Tank Destroyer(USA)

An M4A3 76mm gun Sherman(USA)

A 210mm German field piece(immense)...

The open crew compartment of a Wespe self-propelled gun(Germany)...

A Nashorn German 88mm Tank Hunter...

The famous "Elefant" 88mm anti-tank vehicle on a Tiger chassis(Germany)...

Some of the items we saw that I did not post pictures of...
"Leopold" German railcar gun from Anzio, Sherman Firefly, Churchill Tank, Matilda, Stuart, Jagdpanzer IV, Brummbar, 16" Coastal Defense Gun, French S-35 and R-35 tanks, Italian Semovante 90mm SPG, Japanese Chi-Ha, US 280mm "Atomic Cannon" and many more.
It was truly a pleasure to enjoy seeing all of the tanks, artillery pieces and small arms. To walk up and touch the thick, cold steel of a Panther tank, and to wonder what stories it has to tell from battlefields an ocean away, is truly undescribable.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Visit to the US Army Ordinance Museum Part I

One of the side-trips my son and I took while in Lancaster for Historicon was the US Army Ordinance Museum at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. Now what I failed to take was a panaoramic view of the field that is home to acres and acres of WWII, WWI and Cold War era armor and artillery. I think from the pics that I do have here you'll get an appreciation of just how much is there(although for every tank I'll show in my two blog entries, there are ten more!).
I was really excited to see the museum because for all my WWII wargaming, I had never had the pleasure of seeing tanks up close and personal. When you are face-to-face with these monsters you gain an immediate appreciation for (a)how much an infantryman would not like to face these giants in the field and (b) how tight it must have been for the crew in these things. It was like candy for a Military History enthusiast! My son had to run to keep up with me as I exclaimed "Wow, a Panther", "Wow, a T-34", and "No Way, an M-10!". The models were instantly recognizable, and there was so much to see.

Today I'll post some pics of German and Soviet ordinance(sorry I am in so many pics- obviously I was excited).

A Panzer III(Germany)

A Panzer V(Panther)- two, actually(Germany)
A Jagdpanther(Hunting Panther)(Germany)

An Elefant(tank destroyer on a Tiger chassis)(Germany)

Jagdtiger(Hunting (king) Tiger)(Germany)

A T-34 with 85mm gun(Soviet)

A T-34 with a 76mm gun(Soviet)

Soviet Su-85 Tank Destroyer...

A 152mm Soviet Artillery piece-phew!

Gareth and a Pak 36/37mm anti-tank gun(Germany)

My favorite artillery piece, the PAK 40(75mm) anti-tank gun(Germany)
(and, yes, they had a towed '88 too!)