Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Team Yankee - An evening of priming

I like to prime in batches so I tend to let things pile up. I was finally ready to fire up the airbrush and get down to business with the various cold war vehicles that have been piling up. This priming session included 5 M1 Abrams tanks, 4 M113 APCs, 3 M106 Mortar Carriers and 1 M577 Command APC (its a Battle Front objective marker).

I used the Badger Stynylrez primer for this. I decided to try using a modulated primer style to see if that really has an effect at this scale or not. I used the pure grey for the upper portions of the hull and turret and a darker grey (about a 50:50 mix of the grey and black) on the sides of the hull and turret. I finished it that way but I'm not sold on the concept after I finished.

It was fun to break out the airbrush again and feel like I'm making some progress on one of the 2017 priority projects!
The APCs on the turntable at the beginning of the evening's priming extravaganza. You can see some of the M1s in the background sitting in the booth waiting for their trun on the table.

You can see the darker primer lower on the sides and tracks and the lighter primer higher on the sides and top

The M1s and M577 after the same treatment

The M1 turrets primed and ready for paint

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Non-Kickstarter Kickstarter from Armies Army - 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade

I know that's a terrible confusing title, hopefully it intrigued enough to come in and take a look. With all the Team Yankee stuff going on this one caught my eye. Essentially Armies Army is creating their own Kickstarter just not on Kickstarter and he calls it "Kick it Off". The idea is still to raise money to fund a project it just has you are dealing directly with Armies Army on this project. The big advantage, Kickstarter doesn't get a cut of his funds so it all goes directly to bringing you the elements to build the 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade.

You can find details on how it works here: Kick it Off

To look at the "rewards" go here: 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade

I think this is a fantastic project. I actually built the 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade in micro armor a long time ago. Unfortunately it was sold along with the rest of my cold war era micro armor. I would love to recreate it again in 15mm, just need to come up with some stats for some of the vehicles for Team Yankee. that shouldn't be to hard to do.

Here are some examples of what will be going into the project (taken from the Armies Army website):
One of the Canadian Infantrymen in progress

A Leopard I

The Lynx


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Team Yankee - Building and prepping the Khurasan M113s

I ordered one Khurasan M113 to take a look at it when I ordered my mech infantry for Team Yankee (which reminds me that I need to get some stands for them). I was happy enough with that model to go ahead and order three more for my mech infantry platoon instead of using the ones from Battle Front.

I started to build the original M113 that I had received. If you remember I had some issues with this one off the bat that I was able to fix with the hot water trick. What I didn't notice at the time though was the seam along the side. I think this particular vehicle must have slipped in the mold somehow, however, all the other three M113s have it, just to a much, much lesser degree.

Rather than wait to try and get a replacement I decided to just fix it with Squadron Green. I completely covered both sides and part of the front glacis and then filed it down after it had dried. I don't think you will be able to tell the difference after a bit more filling and filing. I checked the other three out and they don't seem to have any issues, so it really is just a fluke that I received a bad one.

I compared these to the M106 from Battle Front. They are almost identical but the Battle Front versions stand taller. Noticeably so when they are next to each other. During a game I don't think anyone will notice.

M113s on parade well sort of. The Khurasan kit comes with a couple of options, like metal or resin tracks, along with three options for the vane in front.
I tried a partial application first

Then decided it would just be easier to do the whole side

The front, you can see the seam here. Again this is not a seam from the mold, just a casting that went wrong. Most of the front will be covered by the vane.

I added some of the components while the Squadron Green was drying. I went with the resin tracks, I liked the fit better. The hatches are pewter pieces. The front and sides have been sanded down. I just need to decide if they need another application of Squadron Green or not.

Still a little rough after using the file, but getting closer. I would follow this up with a quick rub down with a piece of fine steel wool. that really smoothed out the surfaces.

After I had finished this first M113 I went ahead and started work on the remaining three.

Here are the backs of the other three M113. The issue is the top piece where the ramp goes. The casting on the left is the best, the middle one isn't bad , but the one on the right is quite wavy. Don't panic! The resin here, at least on these three, is quite flexible and I was able to use the metal ramp casting to push everything into place. It its not flexible (i.e. doesn't move when you push it with your fnger) then you can use hot water to make the resin flexible and fix it into position after that.

I used my handy metal blocks to hold the tracks in place while the glue driec. You can see the fully finished first M113 in the upper right of the photo, this is after finally assembly and a rub down with fine steel wool.
Putting together the TCs hatch

All finished and ready to go.

I grabbed an M106 for a quick comparison. The Battle Front model is definitely taller, but is pretty close in all other respects.  If they are even a few inches apart on the table you are not likely to notice the difference in size.

The Khurasan M113 tracks are much easier to put on than the Battle Front versions. If you want the skirting use the resin tracks and if you want it without just use the metal tracks that also come with the kit.

I also spent some time finishing up the M1 Abrams models with some extra stowage both from the kit sprue and with the stowage metal stowage sprue from Khurasan. I'm still looking for some really good stowage for cold war vehicles at this scale but I'm not having much luck.

These are ready for primer now too! All of this may have paint by the end of the week, don't hold your breath on that.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Madbob's Miniatures - Prepping time with a Milliput wash

I have been slowly working on the PaK 40 Auf S307(f), and Geschutzwagen 39H(f) from Madbob's kickstarter. As I mentioned in those posts the resin he uses is a little rough and the details are not as sharp as I would like them to be. While I can't really do anything about the detail short of doing some super detail work (and these are game pieces after all) I can fix some of the roughness of the resin.

This is a trick I learned for dealing with pitted metal miniatures. I think I picked this up from either a class with Jeremie Bonamant or with Lilly Troy. The idea is to fix something like this as quickly and easily as possible, what could be simpler than a wash?

First mix up a small bit of Milliput (I prefer the regular but the super fine works for this too). Add water to some small container (I typically use the plastic from a blister pack). Add the Milliput and work it into the water. This is not quite as easy as it sounds, you kind of use a mortar and pestle type motion to breakdown the Milliput into the water. I find the end of a paint brush to be quite handy for this. I recommend wearing gloves as Milliput is slightly toxic. If you feel the tips of your fingers tingling you forgot the gloves.

You are looking for a consistency about like cream. You want it to flow off the brush yet remain thick enough to be a filler and not drip down the side of your model. I just keep adding Milliput or water till I get the consistency I want. A little Milliput goes a long way!

Once I'm happy with the mixture I use an old craft brush and just paint it on to the surfaces that are rough or pitted. For the Madbob armor one coat was enough to reduce the roughness to an acceptable level. I restricted myself to just dealing, mostly, with the armor panels. If its a very pitted surface it might take two coats. It dries pretty fast when its painted on like this. 

The Geschutzwagen had some air bubbles in the top of the shell cases. I pulled out the Squadron Green for that. Overall these are really good castings from an air bubble perspective. You also need to watch out for the bogies on anything based on the Lorraine Schlepper chassis as there is a spot that doesn't fill well right on the outside of each bogie.

The blob of Milliput that I mixed up. I used, maybe, a quarter of this. I should have had some bases sitting nearby to work on!

This is the Milliput wash. It flows but it doesn't drip.

Its hard to see here, but the whiter portions of the vehicles are the original resin. I didn't apply the wash to the tires, treads, bogies, or guns. The armor is a slightly yellower color, that's where I applied my wash. These are now ready for some primer, finally!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Team Yankee - Prepping M1s and M106s

At this point I'm trying to work on everything at once so that I can prime everything at the same time. Overall the Team Yankee plastics for the M1 and the M113/M106 are really very clean with only a couple of spots that need some work.

On the M1s there is a seam right in front between the upper and lower hull that needs a little attention. I pulled out the Squadron Green and proceeded to fill in this small seam on all five vehicles. 

A little dab is all you need but be prepared to work fast, this stuff dries out quick.
Here you can see the seam that needs to be filled. Its a bit messy right now.

After I finished the M1s I did the same with the M106s. Again the only seam really appears on the front glacis much like on the M1. This is a bit tricky to fill because of some of the detail around it. Had I been paying attention I probably would have filled this seam first before finishing the vehicle.

I also used this opportunity to try and fix the notches in the plastic from where the sprue marks where left from my clippers. The M1s benefited from the use of my x-acto, skipping the clippers.

After the green stuff had dried, which was minutes, I filed smooth the area. I prefer to use a disposable nail file for this has its gentler on the plastic (or resin for that matter). However, I didn't have any available so I worked gently with a file. Most of the file marks are going to be covered over with primer so I didn't get to stressed out about it.

You can see the scratch marks from the metal file here, its why I prefer the disposable nail files for this kind of work. The primer should fill this in.

Looking good so far. I just need some tarps and stuff to add to the vehicles and they will be ready for some primer. I might try a modulated primer style on these just to see if it makes a difference at this scale.