Thursday 24 September 2020

What's on my Workbench, September 2020

So I haven't gotten around to taking nice pictures of completed figures, partly because Ninja Babushka really outshines everyone so best wait lest everyone appear inadequate in comparison.

A concept, a prototype and a production vehicle walk into a bar....

The E-75, a paper tiger in the literal sense.

The E series tanks were an attempt by Nazi Germany to rationalise and simplify their tank production and types. Basically they came to the realisation that having many overly complicated and unreliable designs with many different variants of each, may have been contributing to them losing the war. Of these the largest was the E-100, a 100+ tonne monster, for which a hull was built (which the British got their hands on, assessed and then promptly scrapped).

The E-75 was to be the standard heavy tank, a replacement for and derived partially from the Tiger 2 tank. It would weigh somewhere between 75 and 100 tonnes (which is still quite ridiculous even today). None were built as the Nazis were too busy losing the war (and the RAF was bombing the industrial tank building capacity into the dust.)

An interesting looking design nonetheless, with a ridiculously long gun (I am not sure if this is meant to be an 88 L71 or a larger calibre?). This tank will probably get roped into the forces of Orotinia as a post war production based on German plans.

Iosif Stalin-7, now with excessive machine guns!

The seventh instalment into the line of tanks named after Soviet leader Iosif Stalin (these were named to please Stalin and there's a bunch of nonsense around this tank series as a result) this machine actually made it to prototype stage and can be seen at the Kubinka Tank Museum outside of Moscow (which I long to one day visit).

The tank is all around impressive in terms of firepower and protection. However, it was also highly complex and expensive and to an extent needlessly excessive (those rear facing machine guns on the turret are next to useless). It was not accepted into production but some of it's features were incorporated into the IS-8/9/10/T-10 (there's some nonsense going on there).

But hey it looks cool and if nothing else it would certainly intimidate any foe who didn't expect to see it. I will probably put this one towards the service of the Pan Andean People's Republic and/or Ororussia (Oronegro's odd colony).

M1117 Guardian, boring but also the only useful one here.

The M117 Guardian is the odd one out in this line up. Not only is it not a tank, it is also the only vehicle here that was actually mass produced and put into service. A replacement for some of the ageing armoured cars in US service, this vehicle is used by the US Military Police as well as a few other nations.

It is armed with a machine gun and an automatic grenade launcher. It provides relatively good protection from mines and small arms fire but that's about all. It will probably be put towards the service of Gran Bolivia or someone else. it is quite generic.

Regarding the model itself I was somewhat disappointed to find that once you put the feed for the grenade launcher in place the gun barrels can no longer elevate which totally defeats the purpose of having them moulded as a separate piece.

Anyway that's all for today. I hope to get a bit more work on these done next week maybe ready to show off the following weekend. We shall have to see. I hope you have enjoyed this post and I will catch you all next time. Take care everyone. :-D

Thursday 10 September 2020

Ninja Babushka and company! Wasteland A-Team

So today I am very, very excited to bring you what has been a true labour of love. Creating this little group of survivors was an exercise in character creation, conversion, sculpting and painting. With each element informing one another as I pieced together who exactly these little people were. Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to them. I hope that you get along well, because if not Ninja Babushka will be most displeased.

Our brave heroes stare down the horde. An unfair fight, the zombies don't stand a chance.

So in creating these characters I did more than just give them names, I also considered that abilities they would have. These I have designed to be suitably generic so that they an be adjusted to whatever rule set is in use. Some of these abilities are suitably ridiculous, and generally unbalanced. That being said I have generally styled the group so that while lethal and incredibly strong at close range and melee, they are vulnerable to long range fire. So keep your distance if you want to live.

Ninja Babushka: The Iconic leader.

Nina Babushka.
Role: Leader, melee specialist.
Traits/Abilities: Babushka Knows Best
"So you think you are smarter than Babushka? Stronger than Babushka? Faster than Babushka? Hmph, we'll see."
- (Passive) Babushka automatically gains better stats than any model within her proximity.

She had a lot of sculpting work done to convert a tracksuit Ninja into a Babushka, it was also quite a joy to paint the floral pattern on her jacket.

She is perhaps the most deadly of the group. Do not think she is merely some little old lady, it might be the last mistake you make.

Fire-Fighter: Because there are so many fire puns.

Role: Specialist, flamethrower
Abilities/Traits: Firestarter
"I spent my life putting out other people's fires, now I just want to watch the world burn."
- (Passive) immune to all fire damage, flame attacks and ambient fires (including anomalies).

So you may think that a firefighter with a flamethrower would be a totally fantasy figure. Yet despite being out there I put a lot of work in to make them look just right. The helmet is based on some Russian firefighter helmets and the flamethrower is based on Soviet designs used during WW2. A lot of research for one made up figure.

A rather complex figure to make but one that is sure to turn up the heat.

Bolshy Nurse: Sick of zombies eating her patients.

Bolshy Nurse.
Role: Support, medic, dual pistols
Traits/Abilities: Placebo effect.
"After years of budget cuts, she's learned how to make a little go a long way"
- (Passive) gets at least double usage out of healing items.

This figure was the simplest conversion, just added a bag and trimmed her ponytail. That being said I was nice to make a more useful figure than just woman with pistols.

In terms of range (flamethrower not withstanding) she's the best equipped of the team. Again reinforcing the notion that this is a close combat group.

Warrior Chef: Dishing out wasteland justice.

Warrior Chef.
Role: Heavy, melee specialist
Abilities/Traits: Only the finest cuts
"She's the finest butcher in the zone, saw her cut a mutants arm clean off."
- (Cost action point, timed cool-down re-use) Perform a devastating melee attack that bypasses all armour and deals double damage.

Another more simple conversion. You have seen the base figure in a previous post. This figure has had a gender swap, is wearing a mask for good health safety and is using rubber gloves.

With figures like these the fake shadow technique really pops, much nicer than the quick wash technique I have used recently. Clean and bright may not be the most realistic but hey we're talking about a chef fighting with rubber gloves on.

Angry Teacher: Gives opponents bad grades.

Angry Teacher.
Role: Support, technician
Abilities/Traits: Lecture
"Can't tell if he's teaching them something, or just pissing them off?"
- (Cost an action point) Grants temporary combat buff to nearby allies.

Another more interesting conversion. Replaced an arm (he had a machete, not a pose I particularly like) and gave him to text books. Again another pistol wielding figure. So there are no long range weapons (the flamethrower can't really go that far).

Now the fact I made the ability of Angry Teacher to maybe being annoying people into success is in now way a reference to those of my friends or family who are teachers. It is totally a coincidence.

All the figures are a mix of Alliance Stalkers and Survivors, overall I really like the lively poses and the opportunities for conversion (as evidenced by my insistence on converting half of those I am working on). These figures were some of the first with my attempts at varnishing and it shows in their glossy finish. Since then I have got better results which will hopefully show on figures I will show off soon.

Anyway that is all for today, I hope you have enjoyed these figures, if you have any ideas for other characters, I am loving making these crazy characters. I do have more characters to show off, so until next time I wish you all a very good day/night.

Wednesday 9 September 2020

Currently Reading: Books on Soviet Tanks

Well I don't have pictures of my models to show due to having had a very busy weekend with many other engagements. So those pictures and their associated stories will have to wait for the time being. In the meantime something of a book review. I have been reading through the series of books by James Kinnear and Stephen L. Sewell. I have already finished their book on the T-55 and the T-10 and I am currently reading the one on the T-54.

The covers area really nice and judgement of the cover in this case does match the quality content inside.

So what do you get inside? Well quite a lot, a lot of pictures both historical and of surviving vehicles, perfect for anyone wanting to recreate these in miniature. You also get a good deal of information which is presented in a balanced, clear and concise manner. The topics range of specific differences between variants to the behind the scenes story of their production. It may not be the most riveting stuff, certainly not Game of Thrones. However, it is interesting (admittedly one guy did get sent to Siberia for getting into an argument about torsion bar suspension, so there are some stakes to the drama.)

Overall good quality titles and I probably will pre-order their upcoming book on the T-62 at some point. That being said I did notice some editing and layout issues, this impacted the T-10 book the most with labels referring to images on the left that were on the right, etc. There was also some repetition but nothing too major.

Overall I give them 8.5/10. Would recommend them, especially on a discounted price. I got my copies from Book Depository, and they took around a month to get from the UK to NZ (they would usually only take a week and a half, but delays are the least of my worries given present circumstances.)

Oh and as for models, well I don't have any assembled versions of any of these tanks. I do have some work in progress T-55s and I am sure that the book will be useful in painting up those (although I have very simply wargaming kits from Plastic Soldier, lovely quality mind). I am interested in seeing when Trumpeter's promised T-10M will drop to add to my collection of IS-tanks.

Anyway, if you have any questions about these books please do not hesitate to ask I will be more than happy to give you more information. As stated more models on the way (when I get photos), but until them I wish you all the very best.

Friday 28 August 2020

Survival of the oddest?

 Well another small update, just a few figures to show, but plenty more to take photos of. These are  two figures from Alliance's Survivors (Antizombies) and one from the Stalker (set 1). This figure is the same pose as the one from this post. As you will see I have made some "minor" changes. I hope that you enjoy these pictures I hope to bring you more soon.

Adventurers we need you! To dish up justice, to knock it out of the park, to, um, to put many holes in things?

Actually I think you other two can go home. I am sure the big guy has got this?

I must say that the fighting chef seems to be a favourite amongst my friends. When asked who would be their pick for a character he was a consistent first choice!

So let's take a look more closely at this conversion. A dark and sinister twin to the previous figure. While the other figure could have been a heroic saviour, or a pretty run of the mill action hero, this one is more likely to play the villain, the tooled up henchman or final boss.

Right off the back, my misgivings. The contrast on the camouflage did not show through well. While being dark, mysterious and threatening there's not enough contrast (mask aside) to really make the figure pop. Especially after the varnish (I am improving at varnishing figures to avoid this).

As for what I love, it all works together. The exoskeleton, made from bits of wire and greenstuff, looks like it is meant to be there, the helmet was a joy to sculpt and looks very good and the mask is correctly proportioned which is hard to get right I have found.

At the end of the day not my best work, not my worst. But certainly a good antagonist to role out against our heroes.

Speaking of heroes, I hope to bring you some very soon. I have been using the time gained by working from home to get more done. I now have quite the collection ready to share with you so watch this space.

In the meantime I wish you all a very good day/night. I look forward to hearing your comments and seeing what everyone else has been up to.

Tuesday 18 August 2020

German UAV Operator in Multitarn

So this is something of a preview, something of a first look. I have a bunch of modern and cold war Germans that I will slowly get around to painting. Now for the modern Germans I wanted to go as modern as I could, but also as interesting as I could. As such I have decided to paint these miniatures using the Multitarn pattern of camouflage that has not (yet) been adopted as standard.

Given this is a sneaky look at something we'll encounter later what could be more appropriate than a UAV operator?

This pattern is basically the classic Flecktarn pattern but using the, very popular, Multi-Cam pattern colour scheme. I want to take this moment to say a big thank you to Youtuber SIC, whose Flecktarn pattern video tutorial was invaluable for me when painting this miniature. Now why use this specific pattern? Well the joy of these Multi-Cam inspired patterns is that they are supposedly usable in multiple terrains (hence the multi in the name). Which means that these figures can also be used in a variety of terrains. Now obviously there's a flaw in my thinking: If the Bundeswehr does not adopt this pattern these figures will not be usable at all! Not to worry, these figures will still be useful to represent Orotinia, the neighbour of Oronegro and the brainchild of Archduke Piccolo. I highly recommend his blog as well.

This photo was taken the same day as the previous zombies, expect more content soon from this photo shoot. ;-)

Now something I was not too happy with was the wash I used, I decided to add one, which I usually do not do for camouflage patterns, instead using painted shading in tight places. I think the wash reduces the contrast a little too much.

Another slightly different thing I did was add a painted camouflage pattern on the gun, again the wash has reduced the contrast of the pattern that I am not too happy with.

On the bright side I got to try out this Multi-Cam painting set from MIG. Have to say I am very happy with the paints.

This figure was quite the joy to paint and I look forward to painting more of these Caesar figures.

Well that's all for today. I hope that you like this miniature, if you have any tips please let me know as I can use those in the future miniatures. I do have quite a lot on the workbench and in the "production line" so there'll be some I need to clear off before I can get stuck into the rest of the Germans.

But until next time I hope that you all are safe and healthy. I wish you all a good day/night.

Friday 14 August 2020

Back from the Undead

 Well between coming in and out of lockdown, illness, breaking my arm and the all consuming reality of full time work... it has been a long time since I could sit down and make a most, or at least felt up to it. So yes, here I am back WITH the undead (please do not shoot me for the puns, I know I deserve it but still). One of the things that I have been quite enjoying during these trying times is painting zombies, they are relatively quick, relatively easy, but oh so satisfying. So here's my little horde as it stands right now, as you can see I have been experimenting with photography. Not entirely satisfied, but they will do.

Got Braaiiiiinnnnssss????

These two have to be my favourite, I really like how they both turned out.

Fun fact the one on the right somewhat resembles a co-worker, which terrified me while I was painting and was actually unintentional.

One in the middle was very fun to paint, tried to make the skin as gross as possible. Something I mean to outdo with a later miniature.

Zombies are far less threatening from behind.

And here's the B team, not as happy with these guys, sorry.

Okay the crouching one is pretty cool, the others need to go back to zombie school.

The big zombie makes a comeback, here with his.... groupies? Do zombies have groupies?

And the bikini zombie was quite fun to paint, messing with skin tones is certainly advised.

Well that's all for today, more is on the way but it will take some time. Although there will be posts as I do have some completed stuff that is ready to show right now. But I will wait another day before posting those.

One thing you will notice is the gloss. I have varnished these figures. I used Humbrol Clear Satin Varnish, but when applied from the brush it seems far too glossy. I am not that happy with the look but I do value that protective cover for the paint. I used the Matt Varnish before, but that killed any shading the figures had and made them generally quite lifeless. Maybe I should apply it with an airbrish? If you have any tips (or should I say, if you could pick your braaaiinnnnssss?) I would love to hear them.

Anyway that's all for today. I wish you all a very good day/night, stay safe, stay healthy and I will catch you around.

Saturday 9 May 2020

The Living and the Undead

Well hello everyone I hope that you are doing well. Back with more from the Zone project this week, four more miniatures to show you. Two zombies and two Stalkers. Once again thanks goes to my flatmate Logan for lending me their phone to take these photos.

Obviously staged, even Stalkers this well armed would not casually stand with zombies.
So we have two women now finding themselves in a cruel state of unlife (hopefully they have passed at least consciously). One is a Dark Alliance miniature, the other is another Caesar zombie. Quite a difference is style but they are still relatively compatible. The other two are from the Dark Alliance Stalker sets. Let's take a closer look.

So the one on the left is part of the same inquisitor/witch hunter group as the last one, the guy on the right is a mercenary.

Bad mask etiquette on the inquisitor, doesn't he know it is ineffective that way?

So for the two living characters we have another Witch Hunter/Inquisitor/Zealot figure and a mercenary. Mercenaries are common in the zone, both in the sense of former mercenaries becoming Stalkers trying to make it rich, and Stalkers becoming mercenaries earning a living fighting for the various Zone factions. Mercenaries tend to be better equipped than most stalkers with some military equipment mixed in. However, they are generally not as well equipped as the factions directly (although usually unofficially) backed by military forces from outside the Zone.

Red coat and exoskeleton. Which one is more fashionable? 

Red vs blue too, although one is substantially more red than the other is blue.
Now onto the undead, the walkers, the zombies, the living-dead, the Zeds, the..... why do we have so many names for Zombies? Here are two, whether these two were once women living in the Zone before the cataclysm, or tourists in the early years before the second emission turned all who'd foolishly entered is unknown. They could even have been from some of the Stalker villages. Whoever they were now they are but moving husks, who's one aim is to feed on the flesh of the living (or the dead, but they prefer fresh meat). Feeling no (or very little) pain they are hard to take down, but a shot to the head or a few good hits on vital organs will end their torment.


Zombie..... hug?

On the left we have cream shirt and blue jeans and on the right yellow dress and blue shoes.

Oh looks like their friendship is over, time to go shamble off to greyer pastures (sorry about the hair in these shots)
So finally some individual shots of the miniatures. It has been interesting painting the zombies in particular. They are generally very quick to paint but there's a few tricks to get them looking suitably zombified. Usually this involves using light skin tone with some black or grey in it, gives the right tone for cold dead skin.

I am not sure if the fingers were supposed to be bitten (or chopped) off or if this was a sculpting/mould error but I decided that bitten off fingers was the look to go for.

For a while I was struggling to decide what colour to use for her dress but I am so glad that I went with yellow. The dirt, blood and general weathering effect looks quite good.

Quite the cool operator and another member of this zealot group of hunters. Three more miniatures to go for them (for the first party at least). Although I do still have to decide on the fifth member.

Here's the mercenary, this shot really brings out the exoskeleton. At first I was going to do some urban camouflage but the simple blue works quite well.
So that's all for today. I hope that you have enjoyed these miniatures. More is coming up to keep an eye out. I also have some Soviet/PAPA NCOs that I really should get around to finishing. So they could be next or it could be something completely different. We shall see.

But until next time I wish you all a good day/night.