perjantai 27. lokakuuta 2017

Soviet Reinforcements

Next patch of finished Soviets is ready. To be honest they've been ready for quite a few weeks already as the tanks were finished in September and the mortar teams in early October. I've just been lazy in getting them up on the blog, even though I uploaded the photos as a draft two weeks ago already.

My hobby efforts have slightly slowed after the release of Total War Warhammer 2. I've always loved Skaven, but never really got around to building an army of them as the hundreds of minis needed didn't seem too inviting as a youngster. Now that I can command hordes of thousands of rats and their crazy machines you can imagine I've put in more hours than I'd care to admit. Adding to that joy are the Lizardmen, another faction that I never collected as miniatures, but always liked the aesthetics. Nothing appeals to my inner 7 year old more than lizards riding big ass dinosaurs while wielding massive weapons.

With these 6 T-34's and a full company of light 82mm mortars I'm over half way through my Soviet project. 10 more T-34's, 4 Katyushas and two AA trucks left and I should have enough troops to field up to around 1900 points worth of Soviets. Good basis to enlarge upon at some point in the future. But for now I'm going to stop at that and continue a bit on other projects as well.

Nothing new painting wise. AK Interactive paints are still acting up, but luckily I've now received replacements and all the units after these are painted with a combination of Ammo of Mig and Vallejo paints. I ran into an interesting issue with Battlefront decals though. On some of the turret numbers the first number would drift so that they were no longer aligned. I'd had the same in the first batch, but I thought that maybe the decal was unaligned to start with. With these I noticed it happening while they were soaking in the water. Strange effect that I hadn't seen before and that was annoying to try to fix with the decals being wet already. Cutting proved more or less impossible so I did what I could be scratching some away with a hobby knife and trying to move one number down a bit. Luckily with them being Soviets some numbers not being properly aligned doesn't matter.  You can always say the Ivan had just had a bit too much Vodka before applying turret numbers by hand :)

Next Soviet batch is almost done already with Katyushas just waiting for basing and 5 more T-34s missing weathering. I'll try to be a bit less lazy with posting them when they are finished.





maanantai 25. syyskuuta 2017

Soviet Steel

With the infantry out of the way the next goal in my Soviet project was starting on all the armor. I didn't fully get these guys done for our first game and their inaugural outing was without any weathering, but they are finally done! I actually got them done over a week ago, but never got around to finishing this blog post. Still here they are in all their green glory.


To get me through the first 500 point games I went for a force of 5 T-34's and some BA-64's to support my infantry. Both are from Battlefront, the T-34's being plastic while the BA-64's are resin models. Sourcing the BA-64's turned out to be quite a task as Battlefront wasn't able to supply them and they were out of stock on most online dealers. Few days of searching ultimately proved fruitful though with the required 2 blisters being found in Germany alongside some other sets that have been tricky to find.





I went for a fairly heavy colour modulation on these guys like I do with all my vehicles nowadays. This time I didn't use Vallejo like I normally do, but rather decided to try out one of AK Interactives modulation paint sets as I thought it would be a simple way to get all the required shades. This turned out to be a massive mistake as the paint was probably the worst I've ever tried. All the colours had the pigment separated as a thick sticky paste and needed a few mixing beads and extremely vigorous shaking to have them anywhere near a paintable state. And it's probably not even just this batch as I bought their white and grey basecoats at the same time which had a similar issue. And some googling turned up plenty of horror stories of their quality control.

When I'd gotten them more or less mixed up and ready for painting some more problems started to arise. The paint would dry on my airbrushes needle tip every 15-20 seconds and required constant cleaning with a cotton bud to allow for painting. And the paint seemed to separate extremely fast so I needed to mix all the paint in the cup every few minutes by backflushing it with air. All in all the process took far longer than it should have with the constant cleaning etc. Not surprisingly it didn't take long for me to go online and order new paints from another manufacturer for when I'm going to paint the next bunch.





Rest of the painting was super simple as there aren't many tools or other details on the tanks. I slapped on some decals adding a few slogans on them as well as at least propaganda pictures often seemed to have tanks with some encouragement written on their sides. With the decals and some chipping added I went for an overall brown wash with enamels, followed up by wiping most of it off with the help of thinners after it had dried. As a last touch some additional streaking was done in a couple of different tones with a thin brush.

For mud I tried a new technique. I've been tinkering with Ammo of Mig's mud products, but haven't been completely happy with them as the results seemed a bit too even on previous tries. This time I added a bit of plaster in the mix to give it more of a body and applied it from the brush with the help of my airbrush. Getting the mixture on a brush and blasting air through it helped create a nice splatter effect and with all the stuff being enamel based it was easy to clean it up from unwanted areas with thinners. I'm pretty happy with the results and this seems to be far more effective compared to stippling it on with a brush like I used to do. The only downside is the massive mess I made with a lot of the splatter going everywhere else, but the tank. Luckily I'd had the foresight to cover my painting station with a cardboard before doing this so clean up wasn't too hard. It just meant that quite a bit of the stuff went to waste.

In the last week I've been keeping busy with another 6 T-34's just missing mud. I also got started on a 82mm mortar platoon and some Katyushas. When the tanks are finished I'll have enough of them for 750 and 1000 point games and the only addition needed for 1000 points will be the mortars. However I'm trying to get ahead of schedule a bit as at 1250 points I'll be needing a further 5 T-34's, 4 Katyushkas, 2 AA trucks and other support vehicles. With the games being every second week there is no way I'm going to be able to finish all that in time so better get started now to have any hope of fielding everything in time.



As a lighter ending to this wall of text here are some pictures from last Sunday :) Our dog was used to sire some puppies and me and the missus took a trip to the kennel to check out the little fur balls. A day of playing with puppies was definitely worth the couple of hours of driving and having to forgo my painting time.





perjantai 15. syyskuuta 2017

New Flames of War project: For mother Russia

It's been a busy last few weeks with painting. We started a Flames of War escalation league at our club slowly going from 500 points to 1750 points, which has actually gotten me painting regularly for the first time in a long long while. Since the spring I've had periods where I didn't get any painting done for weeks and at best painted for maybe one or two days before having a long pause again. Now for the last few weeks I've been putting in an hour or two every day and it's actually felt great. The first few days felt a bit meh, but when I powered through it I actually started to really enjoy just relaxing while painting and sipping some good whiskey or craft beers. Hopefully this good flow will keep on going.


For my new army I'm building a Soviet Tankovy Battalion. I've been wanting to do a Soviet force for a while and actually bought most of the required infantry for a Strelkovy in early 2016, but the inspiration died of when Battlefront took nearly a year to get everything delivered and even 4 months to get the first blisters to me. I'd originally wanted to do a Strelkovy Battalion, but reality kicked in with the escalation league when I calculated I'm going to need about 250 infantry + masses of guns to have a decent list. So I took the easy way and went for a T-34 Battalion with some supporting infantry to get playing and maybe sometime upgrade to an infantry force.


I started with some infantry as with 500 points a tank force really isn't practical in Flames of War. With a two platoon strelkovy company and a small machine-gun company and command stands I should have a decent basis for my force. All in all 76 infantry and three machine guns which took me the better part of two weeks to get finished. And with that it's only really representing about a third of the infantry I'd need for a fully fledged Strelkovy list and I'd still need about 20 guns with their crews on top of that.


These actually aren't even the original infantry that I bought when I wanted to start my infantry battalion. I was planning on doing a Berlin themed force and will still probably build it sometime in the future. I'm leaving the metal infantry for when I continue on that and decided to get the cheap plastic ones for this league that I can also kind of test colours etc. on. BF plastic infantry is bit of a mixed bag. On some areas the detail is far superior to their metals, but then you get the normal restrictions of plastics and there are some really distorted areas and bad detail. Still for about 30 euros you get enough minis for two medium sized infantry companies so they're a really cheap way to build up a force. What you see here is actually only about half of the box so there's plenty of stuff in there.


Painting them actually proved a bit challenging as most of the equipment is of a very similar shade. Trying to figure out which paints to use so that everything would stand out took a while and I actually ended up painting some equipment with "wrong" colour shades so that there would be more variety instead of having everything in various tones of Khaki. Not exactly historically correct, but looks better and I think I can always claim that they probably made equipment in that shade in some obscure factory far off in Siberia. And it's probably not even that far off as the Soviets really had massive variety in equipment shades etc. judging from what I've seen in different museums and online.


 

The project will continue with some T-34s and BA-64s. Almost done with them, just missing final weathering in the form of streaking and mud effects. With the missus being out of town for the weekend I should have plenty of painting time ahead of me in the coming weeks as well. Some more Alpha Legion almost finished on the table as well with just the bases missing so I have plenty to keep me busy.

keskiviikko 9. elokuuta 2017

Alpha Legion Squad Bravo

My slowly growing 40k army gets some more reinforcements with another regular Chaos Space Marine squad. As I was planning on building roughly a 1800-2000 point army and keep it at that this should be the last regular Core choice, at least for a while before I've played some full sized games. Still a Havoc squad and Terminators to do as well as character models, but outside of that it's mainly just vehicles and Daemon Engines from now on.


As with the previous unit plenty of kitbashing with pieces from different plastic kits from three decades and some 30k Forge World Alpha Legion bits thrown in for flavor. Some minor conversions as well pieces cut off and mixed between kits to vary identical parts somewhat.

Like with the previous unit main colours were done with an airbrush followed by picking out details. I cut down a little on the edge highlights compared to the previous unit as they are just a pain in the **s to do and getting clean  edges just seems nigh impossible at times. Concentrated on the most visible areas  now to save a bit of time, while still keeping the same look as the other minis. Worked out rather nicely so I'm going to continue with the same on the final minis as well.





I bought some new paints in late spring from a fairly new company from Cyprus called Warcolours. I've been tinkering with them lately, but haven't really painted proper until now. They seem to be more gel like compared to the Vallejo I normally use and dry a lot slower as they are meant more for wet blending etc. compared to traditional layering painting styles. I decided to try them out on the banner to see how easy  it would be. Smooth blends are something I've always struggled with, but boy these paints really seemed to make it easy. As they dry slightly slower and are more translucent than Vallejo it was really easy to feather out the edges between layers. In real life the contrast differences are a bit more stark than on the photos, but hopefully they still show the effect. Considering that I did that with 4 different shades in less than 10 minutes the results are pretty nice. With more practice and time really smooth highlights shouldn't be too hard to achieve. I'm really starting to like these paints more and more, the colour selection is aimed more towards fantasy and sci-fi with strong vibrant shades so not that great for historicals, but for other subjects should be amazing. Especially on larger smooth surfaces these are superior to Vallejo and so much easier to handle once you get used to the different properties compared to more traditional paints.

Decal wise I used a combination of Games Workshop and Fallout Hobbies decals as well as a 30k Alpha Legion decal for the unit's Icon. Everything else went on smoothly except  for the Forge World one. I've had issues with their decals previously as well as they are extremely thick, but still somehow they seem to be quite brittle and crease easily as well. Getting that hydra decal on the wavy flag took me nearly an hour to get it to sit straight and set into every crease. It seemed that the moment I though I had gotten everything to stick correctly some corner had moved  and lifted from the flag. With massive amounts of decal softeners and setters I finally got it to sit straight and covered it with a thick varnish layer that smoothed the surface out to remove most of the creases.




With these guys finished I'm probably going for a Daemon Engine next. I have a Helldrake and a Maulerfiend prepped up so going to start with one of them unless something else grabs my attention. We also have a Flames of War escalation league starting in September so I really need to start to prep and start painting for that as well. I'm going with a Soviet Tankovy so plenty of T-34's in store throughout the autumn.








perjantai 28. heinäkuuta 2017

Flames of War Pershings

With my summer holiday over it's time to be more active in the hobby field again. A month away from work was definitely needed as I was really starting to feel fairly burnt out and frustrated about everything. Couple of weeks in Canada and a few weeks back home spending time with friends, going out, watching movies etc. really did a lot to help bring back some long lost motivation for work, and for painting as well. I've been back to work and a normal routine for about a week now and painting has actually been really enjoyable for the first time in a long while.

First up are some more additions to my Flames of War US forces in the form of a Pershing platoon. A late war entry these didn't really reach troops until the final months of the war and even then only in small numbers. Still it's an iconic tank that saw much use in Korea and formed the basis of further US armor development into the Patton series, so I had to have some. From gaming point of view these are pretty bad to be honest. They are very expensive points wise in Flames of War, but still pretty vulnerable to larger late war AT guns. Fielding more than 3 is nigh impossible and they aren't too survivable then.  Still fun to field every once in a while for a themed list.


These guys were nearly done before I left for Canada, but with the mud effects taking hours to dry they weren't quite finished in time for that. Still it was a good way to start getting back to painting by just slopping on some finishing touches and varnish to get these guys ready.


I followed my normal recipe for US vehicles with a suitable green basecoat with dark yellow modulation. Some chipping and enamel washes for weathering followed by liberal coats of mud. Still haven't really fully figured out the Ammo of Mig mud products that I've started to transition to. They feel a bit too liquid to me and don't really have much texture so building thick coats of mud seems tricky. They've nowadays come out with some thicker stuff as well, so might have to give it a try or then try to mix in some very fine sand to add more texture and grit to the ones I already have.


Aside from the Pershings I've finally received my Skaven Blood Bowl team from a Willy Miniatures Kickstarter and been putting them together. I'd opted for a Deluxe box which included a pitch and transportation foam. After some mishaps those who did so ended up receiving their stuff about three months after everyone else. If I'd known before hand I would have just taken the minis, but originally everything was supposed to ship at the same time.

Alongside Skaven I've been continuing on the next Chaos Space Marine squad. Most of the time consuming work is finished with all the details picked out and the tedious edge highlighting done. I've still got decals to apply and chipping to add before a final panel line wash to make those pop out better. I probably should have gone for a slightly faster scheme to paint, but I do enjoy the look so maybe it's worth the extra time. Hoping to finish them of within a week or so, though a friends wedding this weekend will reduce available hobby time quite a bit.



From a hobby point of view it's forming up to be quite a busy autumn. We have a Flames of War escalation league starting to get new players in and for us older players to start new armies. Also a Shadow Wars Armageddon campaign starting which I was planning to take part in. And finally we are planning to start our 1813 Napoleonics campaign that we'd originally already planned for 2016. So there should be plenty of gaming and painting ahead and hopefully I'll be a bit more active updating the blog as well.

maanantai 26. kesäkuuta 2017

Chaos Decimator

Back to 40k and blogging! Painting has still been slow with computer games like Steel Division and Battlegrounds taking much of my free time lately. But with the 8th edition of 40k coming out and massive hype at my club and online it's really rekindled my interest for my Alpha Legion project so I dug them up and continued from where I left previously!


I started by continuing on the Rhino which was left in a WIP state previously, but like last time I wasn't completely sure about the aesthetics that I went for. Originally I thought a rust base coat and chipping fluids would be a cool idea, but now the vehicle just feels too 'messy' compared to how the rest look. So I put it aside until I figured what to do with it. I hate removing paint, but with an airbrush job covering some of the chipped areas will be a pain in the ass. Luckily most of them are on the lower areas and will be covered by mud anyways, but I'll let that simmer for a while until I get  some inspiration.


So with the Rhino pushed out of the way I went for what is probably my favorite Daemon Engine, the Decimator. It's like a massive mean version of a regular dreadnought that really looks chaotic, but doesn't go overboard like some of the funkier dinobots. Like many Forge World models, fit wasn't always perfect and it was extremely fiddly to put together as it's really top heavy and connection points were tiny. Plenty of pinning and green stuff helped though and now it feels pretty sturdy.


I was thinking about different variations on the green accents with more realistic highlights, random splotches etc. but just ended up going with highlighting panel lines and corners. Outside of that it was a fairly simple job of painting all the steel areas, picking out some cables in different colours and highlighting the demonic features on his armor. I added some dusting and rust effects with pigments, but didn't want to go overboard so left it pretty light. Likewise the base was kept simple, partly not to take too much away from the model and in part, because there  really isn't much room even on a 60mm base as the model really is that huge.


Outside of that I started applying paint on another squad. All the airbrush work is now done, next up it's all the steel pieces and then some edge highlights. That will have to wait a few weeks though, as I'm starting my summer holiday in a few days with a trip to Canada to visit my parents and tour Quebec for a little over a week. Might squeeze in a bit of hobby time before my departure, but that will probably go into some nearly finished Flames of War things. After the trip I'm going to try to get back to more regular painting and blogging, but we'll see how I'm feeling after a short holiday period.



torstai 11. toukokuuta 2017

Dropfleet Commander PHR

Last batch of PHR ships for Dropfleet Commander, at least for a while. I've still got one starter fleet left, but I'm leaving that for until I've gotten more games in and a better feel for how I want my fleet to work. I've already got more than I'll ever use in a single game, so just need to figure out what kind of ships I want more.

Got these done a couple of weeks ago for a game at the club, but took my sweet time taking photos and putting them up here. Painted here is one of the two PHR battleships, Heracles, some corvettes and four support frigates in the form of two Calypsos and two Andromedas.


The battleships are some of the newer additions to the game and only came out a few months ago. I ordered mine straight away, but unfortunately it arrived with some parts missing which lead to a few more weeks of waiting until I got the items from Hawk. With them still being somewhat overwhelmed with Kickstarter issues it took some time to get replacements, but in the end I have the missing fins and a complete ship. The quality is a bit mixed with the body showing the layers from 3D printing that was used to make the master. Still nothing too bad and a light sanding followed by a heavier basecoat on the affected areas fixed everything.

The resin Corvettes on the other hand were excellent with a super smooth finish and no apparent flash or parting lines. Hopefully when the old moulds wear out on the battleships they'll redo them with a better finish on the master model.

Heracles

Calypso

Andromeda

 Echo
 
Finally I dug out all my current PHR ships. There's surprisingly many now that they are out of the storage box. Can't even fit them on my regular photo backdrop :) Next up for Dropfleet is an UCM fleet, I've put most together and I'm only really waiting for a few online only limited edition light cruisers to arrive and I'm all set for a large fleet. When I'm done with that I need to start running some demos at the club as there's only a few guys playing at the moment and new opponents certainly wouldn't hurt!


perjantai 14. huhtikuuta 2017

Looking for my painting mojo

As is probably apparent from the silence in my blog I haven't really been interested in doing any painting for a while. My rush to the finish line in the painting challenge was bit of a dud with plenty of things on the table, but I just couldn't get anything finished up. Those have now been pushed aside to wait for some inspiration to finish them at some point.

Lack of painting mojo isn't anything new though as frankly I haven't really felt super interested in painting anything since last summer or autumn. I have periods where it's fun to paint up things, but I just can't bring myself to crank out unit after unit of minis in similar garb. At times painting yet another Napoleonic unit or some more WW2 stuff seems too much like a job. This does tend to cause some issues as the games I like the most tend to require quite a lot of minis with an average Napoleonic division coming at around 200-300 15mm minis in our games for example.

Interestingly the thing I'm disliking the most at the moment is painting with a brush. Airbrushing is still ton's of fun, but somehow when I need to go in and pick out details to finalize stuff all motivation goes out the door.

Even though I can't get myself painting, it doesn't mean I've abandoned other aspects of the hobby. I've actually been playing quite a lot lately with version 4 of Flames of War being a ton of fun despite some of the oddities and rules that I disagree with. The old edition and lists were starting to be boring and this really brings a fresh way to play the game without making it too different from the previous editions. Dropfleet has also been fun to play as well as all the different board games that I've gone back to.

So with a plenty of gaming and other activities I'm slowly trying to find my painting mojo again. One thing that I'm not going to do is trying to force myself into painting any larger projects for a while as that's really killed my interest in brushwork. I'm only painting whatever seems cool at the moment and not stressing about even getting it finished. Last weekend was quite fun with some airbrush work on additions to my Dropfleet army as well as on a Chaos Rhino that I'd built up last summer and started on by airbrushing a base layer of different rust shades. I tested a some chipping products from Ammo of Mig that allow you to paint over a previous layer and by wetting it again you can scratch of some of the top layers. Worked out quite nicely and now the Rhino is waiting for some detail and decal work before I can get to washes.



My mancave has also got a bit more furniture and it's starting to look more like what I want it to be. Another desk was bought for the PC so that I don't have to cram everything onto one desk. Some storage solutions for books etc. were also added which aren't really visible in the picture. Finally I bought some more paint racks from Warbases as well as new paint from a  newish brand called Warcolours. Haven't had time to test them out properly yet, but from the test pieces I did they really seem very promising! Not ideal for historicals, but strong vibrant colours and a nice 5 shade colour setup that should prove great for fantasy and scifi stuff.



With that rant out of the way  I'm off to celebrate easter. My parents are visiting Finland for a week so some time will be sent with them as well as the in-laws. Nice to have a four day weekend after a few weeks of working 10-12 hour days.

perjantai 24. maaliskuuta 2017

Final challenge entries

With the Painting Challenge over it's high time I get to posting my final entries! Points wise my challenge wasn't much of a success with only 506 points gathered out of my original goal of 1000. Personal worst of the 5 editions I've taken part in, but still I'm pretty happy with the result. When setting up my target I didn't know I'd be buying an apartment just a few weeks later and spending much of the beginning of the year redoing it before moving in. Even after that I've honestly felt quite exhausted constantly and rather spent my time watching various TV shows and spent my hobby time mostly gaming instead of painting.

Enough rambling and onto the things that I actually managed to paint up!

First up the cast of Danger 5 and their arch nemesis Hitler with some of his cronies. I'd planned submitting them for the final bonus round as they were perfect for the theme, but seriously underestimated how long it would take to paint them up and missed the deadline. Still when I accepted the inevitable it did allow me to paint up the accompanying human and lizard soldiers for Hitler that would otherwise have been left for another entry. Great sculpts from an even better TV show. Now I just have to figure out how to actually use them in some game :)






For my final entry it was time for my entry fee. The wednesday crew had decided to paint up some Spanish Civil War minis for Curt's collection and I decided to join them. SCW has always interested me, but never enough to get me started on collecting any forces. So this was the perfect opportunity to get some painted without having to commit to a project. Luckily my fellow Finn Teemu (Vain Vader) was organizing the group entry and had ordered plenty of extras so I was able to source a mini from him. I went with a Miliciana as what sane man could resist a fiery southern woman! Like all Empress offerings the pose and general sculpt was great, but the face was bit of a let down. All the minis I've painted from them have had fairly smooth faces with little detail, perhaps more realistic in the scale, but it just doesn't look as good as a some exaggerated details.





With the challenge ending I was left with a few projects on the table in varying states of readiness. Different fantasy miniatures had paint thrown onto them as well as two battalions of Napoleonic Saxons that got about all the base colours done and were only missing a final highlight and a wash. I just couldn't get myself to finish them as doing large groups of nearly identical minis just started to feel too much like work and I had to force myself to pick up the brushes. So I felt better leave them on the desk and continue when I start to feel like painting again.


Finally part of the reason why I've been fairly quiet on the blogging and painting front aside from the renovations. A product development project on which I've been working on as one of the lead designers for the last couple of years has more or less reached it's conclusion with the first production runs and project delivery to our customer. As we are using a subcontractor outside of Finland there's been quite a bit of travel to inspect and approve work. Still quite nice to see things in real life after looking at them on the computer screen for such a long time! Hard to realize the scale of things as well considering that the smallest sizes weigh about 17tons and take roughly 100 cubic meters of space. As you can see I'm also pretty adept at playing the part of the inept office worker. No helmet and taking a selfie while hanging at 4 meter height with no proper walkways is something that is exactly what they tell you not to do at the occupational safety courses that I've gone through :) I probably should write a hazard report due to that...