About this Squat Lover

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I paint small metal and plastic figures and rarely get to play with them. But that is fine with me.

02 March 2015

8th Army 6-Pounder Anti-Tank Gun Portee and the end of the 6MMRPC!

Over the weekend I finished painting up my North Africa 6-pounder Anti-Tank gun Portees Platoon. I will never paint another one of these again…. ~_~ Annoying as all hell – fiddly bloody monstrosities. This leaves only the two Motor infantry platoons to paint and then any trucks I might be able to fit in before the March 14th tournament! Wish me luck…
The complete platoon. Now they're finished, I think they look rather badarse.

Platoon Commander and his jeep - had to free-hand the numbered marking and tried out a Battlefront Desert Rats decal. Those decals are too damned big. Again.
Like my Heavy Machine Gun Platoon, I stuck the unit's numbered badge on the rear of the base for easier recognition on the tabletop.

The trucks from the front. All unit markings were painted freehand. I didn't even want to deal with the stress of trying to paint accurate Desert Rats symbols and so they ended up being red square, white circle-ish and a red squiggle in the middle. It'll do from far away.

The trucks, guns and bases were all magnetised so I could switch out easily the guns for...

... both the mounted...
... and the dis-mounted versions.

The gunner's position on the base whilst not the best looking, makes for adding or taking off the 6-pdr guns a LOT easier and so I'll hopefully limit possible opportunities to damage or scrape of paint.

Haven't seen one of these in a while, eh? This is where my paint progress is on this project. Not bad at all I think! 
Also, the 6 Month Mountain Reduction Painting Challenge (6MMRPC) Is over as of…. Today? Yesterday? Below is a swift summary of the challenge rules and whether I did my usual on these type challenges and allowed all self discipline fall apart!
*The below was copied directly from Dave Brawley’s great blog “Towerof the Archmage” and my own answers thereafter.*
#6MMRPC: Round 1 complete!
This post marks the completion of the inaugural round of the 6 Month Mountain Reduction and Painting Challenge. Let's see how I did...

The rules, beginning September 1st, are as follows:

1. No purchasing of new miniatures, EXCEPT if you use a joker card. Like in a deck of cards, you get two jokers to use on a figure purchase during the six months of the challenge. Could be a blister pack, an ebay bundle, or a single figure...you can't splurge.

SUCCESS! I used both Jokers on my two ACW Ebay lot purchases. I also received my Reaper Bones 2 Kickstarter stuff, but as I pledged for it prior to the commencement of the Challenge it doesn’t count.

2. Gifts do not count against you. Christmas and or birthdays etc. Also, if you're given gift cards by your hobby illiterate family or friends, you can without penalty use them on anything you want miniatures wise. 

SUCCESS! Don’t think I got any gifts. Maybe. Nope. Not minis in any case. I think.

3. Paints, terrain (or materials), and other hobby supplies do not apply to the no purchasing rule.

SUCCESS! Plenty of paints and so forth, some terrain and a couple books – all fall under this one.

4. At least one hobby related blog post and/or Instagram update a week. If you Instagram, be sure to hashtag your pic with #6MMRPC 

MINOR FAILURE! Now, if number of posts were to equal one a week, I believe I was good here. (Including this final post – I managed to get in 34 posts in 6 months) But there were a few weeks where I didn’t manage to get a post in within the 7 day limit, but did post up an update soon after. Maybe I get a ½ point for this one….?

5. Zombtober will be part of the 6 month challenge so, Zombie related stuff during October is ENCOURAGED!

SUCCESS! 8 Zombies were painted for Zomtober. 8 disgusting, rotten Zombies. My rpg sessions will be all the more colourful for them!

So what was my final mini count for the 6MMRPC? 16x 28mm, 68x 15mm Infantry and 29x 15mm vehicles. Not amazing, but certainly progress and that includes ¾ of my whole Flames of War 8th Army North Africa company. I’m glad I went and signed up for this challenge. It helped me to keep a handle on my spending habits and I got to both paint stuff to remove it from my backlog and also spurred to stick up other long neglected projects on Ebay (There’ll be more of these set up in the very near future.) After I get these desert Brits off my paint queue, I’ll be moving away from 15mm for a bit to take a break from uniforms in general – most likely do my best to work on my rpg minis backlog. But…. That ACW project is staring me in the face, so who knows how long it’ll be until I get back to 15mm uniformed minis?

Will I sign on to a second challenge if it’s announced? Yes, I think I will (Though later in the year, if it’s held at that time.) – and my wife is happy for that too!

23 February 2015

Rapid Fire! (8th Army Heavy Machine Gun Platoon)

Here is my Heavy Machine Gun platoon for my Desert Brits. They painted up smoothly and look pretty good, though I am not happy at all with the lack of different poses within the sculpts for this unit.

They also have trucks to roll about in, but I've decided to leave painting any and all transport vehicles for this force to last thing and concentrate on getting all my infantry and gun teams painted first so I’ll (Hopefully) have everything I need to play ready for the next tournament on 14th March.

It's pretty sparse out in the Sahara. Except for a leaking oil drum, apparently.

The "51's" on the back will help tell them (Mainly the Command team) apart from other infantry stands during games. It'll also help tell which trucks they are supposed to mount up in as their trucks will get the same numbered markings.

Closeup of the leaky oil drum. Effect was just extra superglue to look like the oil has pooled in the sand and then gloss varnished after paint and dullcoat.
So now 5 platoons down and only 3 to go until my army is ready! Next up are my 6-pounder Portee Anti-tank trucks. Cool models, but lots of work as I have to paint both a "mounted" and dismounted version for each gun! To make this easier and less work, I have magnetised the guns and trucks and the bases so that all I'll have to do is pick up the gun from the truck when dismounted and plonk it on a base instead! Genius if you ask me. Right, right? Anyone? Beuller?

Here's where I'm at so far - the guns themselves are done (Aside from a little weathering to come.). 
The guns were since completed since this picture was taken.
And last news for this post is that my Reaper Bones II kickstarter stuff arrived! (Like I needed more models to add to my paint queue.....) From some Hill Giants, to a cool arse dragon, a HUGE mealy-worm-thing and a sweet Gelatinous Cube - I am super happy with what I got and am already devising uses for all these minis in a D&D campaign I've been putting together for my rpg group. 

Water Elementals, a Succubus warrior, Grim Reaper-type fellow and some other wee slimes round out my haul. Once I'm done painting all my Flames of War Desert Brits I'm planning to take a break from 15mm and get some of my huge amount of Fantasy and Sci-fi minis finished!

17 February 2015

We Generals Three (ACW Project - Part 1) & Kingforce Completed!

Bit of a quick aside to keep from burning out on painting desert colouring, here the three miniatures that will represent my generals for my 15mm ACW Confederate army.

I have no idea who produces them or if they were even supposed to be Confederate Generals int he first place (As opposed to Union), but they are full of character and were fun to paint. 

These are 15mm on 1" circular bases per the Regimental Fire and Fury rules.

Think this chap is supposed to be regarding his map.

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As you can see, I just couldn't get the rider/saddle to sit flush on this horse.

Tried to show a "Dapple-Grey" effect on the horse's rump.

My least favourite of the three and obviously an inferior sculpt, but damn he sports a nice moustache!

This will be my Cavalry commander, so he gets the light blue trousers.

My fav of the three. Love his dashing facial hair and sash (Looks messy here, but I cleaned up the red since.)
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Tried to make this horse look like a Palomino.

Also got the last of the KingForce Chuchills done! Commander is painted the same method as my other infantry, but the lighting makes him look a lot darker skinned than he actually is. With him done, I've finished painting half my platoons for my Desert Brits, well on target for the next tournament March 23rd (or 14th or whenever that weekend is...). Next up will be my Heavy Machine Gunners!

Looking a bit "extra" sunburnt here. I'll be going back over all my skin shades for this army once I've got them all tabletop ready.

Closeup of poorly done stowage. I really need more boxes of stuff to add too.
And here's the platoon all together.

09 February 2015

King Force (Part 2 - Two down and something in the air)

More for my Desert Brits – a second King Force Churchill tank and an RAF Hurricane Mk iiB (This one sports Machine Guns and Bombs ingame, but I left the bombs off the model as I felt they made it look too clunky.).

The plane was loads of fun to paint and took me far less time than I’d at first anticipated. The only time swallowing aspect of it all were the decals. They were obviously quite old and so took yonks to lift off from the paper. Regardless, they went on well and after a coat of first gloss, then matt varnish, I have my air cover.

Painted the canopy-glass up to match the windows and lights of the rest of the force. I think the light blue makes for a good spot colour on the desert browns and tans.

The Hurricane certainly struts an impressive sleek profile.

Ready to rake infantry positions with those MG's!

Now I'm really gunning to pick up a Spitfire in the same scale!

Not sure the camo scheme is historic, but it'll do.

The Churchill is more of the same from my last post, except this one has different stowage across it’s rear quarters. Again, fun to paint and only the weathering to be done that I’ll get to once all three tanks are finished.

Dust Dodger on this one looks better than the previous.

The blue/black breath mint tin that I had been using to prop my mini's upon for pictures has perished. Instead, a static grass container has stepped up to fill the void. Interesting eh?

Am super excited to get to field these in game!

Churchill's rump. So to speak.

An idea of what exactly I added. This one is stowage-light but I think still looks good.

After I finished up the Hurricane, I then went on to start on the Heavy Machine Gun platoon for my desert Brits. Not much to show so far, just helmets, boots and socks done so far, but I hope to have these boys finished up (Along with their truck transports) by the weekend. 

03 February 2015

King Force (Part 1 - One down, two to go)

King Force was a unit of 6 Churchill Mark iii British Infantry support tanks that were sent over to North Africa in October 1942 under the command of Major Norris King and deployed within the 7th Motor Brigade. This was the Commonwealth's first time trying out Churchill tanks in action since the failed Raid on Dieppe in August of the same year. Unlike in Dieppe, King's Churchills performed admirably and proved very durable against German Anti-tank fire and although they were deemed too slow to join in chasing Rommel into Tunisia, their example lead to the Churchill seeing service through the rest of the war and beyond. 

In my Mid War Flames of War Motor Company list for North Africa I am able to field two platoons of these. (One with 2 tanks, the other a full 3.) But they are super expensive points-wise, so I've stuck to the one platoon of 3 tanks in my 1650 list. (This is the points level for the next tournament I intend to attend next month) In Mid-War desert, they are only really afraid of Pak40's, Semoventes, 8.8" Flak36's and Panzerfausts - and even then they have a fair chance at saving when hit by AT rounds. 

Modelling-wise, mine are by The Plastic Soldier Company and were a great kit to put together with crisp detail and (mostly) clear instructions. As you can see in the picture above, I've also attempted to model the canvas "screen dodger" across the front that was utilised to deal with the mass amount of dust and sand that would get thrown up and into the driver's face as the tanks rumbled on through the desert. It wasn't a very good solution to the issue and post 2nd Battle of El Alamein the crews instead resorted to removing the front fenders altogether which proved a far more successful fix. (Hence why supposedly most pictures of any Churchills in Tunisia are seen sans front fenders - though I've not researched this bit very much to date.)

I tried to match the camo that I was able to find in Google searched photos from 1942. Some sources claim the darker colour painted on was left over from when the tanks were originally delivered and then the crews would slap on the desert "pink" on top. Other sources I have read would have us believe the darker parts are instead brown or dark blue even. I feel the green makes most sense.

Here is the first of my squadron - done aside from some weathering and dust to be added. Another thing I researched was the almost total lack of unit markings on these. Aside from a strange and otherwise little accounted for a tiny "Cluster of black grapes" symbol on their front right/back left fender Kingforce Churchills supposedly had no other Regimental markings. I neglected to add this onto my tank as what little I've seen of the grape marking are that they are tiny and I really don't have the patience to try to replicate the look. 

The Screen Dodger canvas skirt. I have painted this probably darker than the originals actually were, but felt a darker colour stood out better.

Imposing beast of a tank. 
A little stowage made out of greenstuff. Looks better in person mind.
For those interested, here's a small comparison of the Churchill next to a Crusader iii tank to give a sense of the size. 

Crummy picture, but you get the idea. Big bugger.
I'll hopefully have the 2nd and 3rd tanks of the platoon finished by the weekend. 

*Which, btw also signals the start of the 2015 Six Nations Rugby Tournament! Wales versus England will be the 1st game and I am pumped! Cymru am Byth!*