Panzer III comparison

Here are two 15mm Panzer III models I painted.  The one on the right, “311,” was painted maybe 5 years ago, and it’s a Command Decision model.  It’s probably a Panzer IIIF, but I don’t remember the specific variant.  I painted the one on the left, “312,” a week or so ago for our annual WWII game.  It’s a Peter Pig PzIIIE variant.

It’s hard to tell which differences between these models are due to the different variant they represent, and which are just sculpted differently.  Overall, I much prefer the quality of the Command Decision model.  The Peter Pig castings have a rougher surface and are less detailed.  The drive wheels on 311 are toothed and have properly shaped holes in them (not round) while the PP wheels were obviously just done with a drill bit.  The PP model is larger overall.

In practice, I don’t think these details show very much on the game table, but if I have a choice between Command Decision and Peter Pig for a specific vehicle, I’ll choose the Command Decision.

WWII Russian Vehicles

Here are the Russian WWII vehicles I painted for our recent WWII game.  Since it was a blind game, I withheld these until after the game was finished.

First are four Russian T-26 tanks.  These are Command Decision models and I like them a lot.

When researching appropriate tank markings for these, I found more images of captured T-26’s with German markings, than T-26’s with Russian markings.  Apparently not many of them survived long enough to bother marking them up.  I added a red star to one tank to identify it as a commander, but left the rest blank.

Next is a 45mm antitank gun and a relatively light Gaz truck.  The truck looks straight out of WWI.  These are also Command Decision.

DBA Army I/24: Hittite Empire

Although I haven’t made a new post in a month, I’ve still been busy.  Here are some pictures of my latest DBA army: I/24, Hittite Empire.

The figures are almost all Essex, but this was a semi-random selection of figures, and not from an army pack.  I bought this as a “not for the squeamish General” deal in the bazaar on the Fanaticus forum, so the figures are not all as appropriate as they should be; however, it’s close enough for me.  I’ll get another copy of the army if I like it enough.

Specific figure selection problems: Most of the spearmen are royal guards, and the rest are charioteers instead of ordinary spearmen.  I got a pack of generic biblical-era hordes for the horde, and got the chariot runners from JM, who also bought one of these semi-random army packs.  All of the figures with beards are somewhat inaccurate unless they’re interpreted as allied forces, since Hittites were apparently known for shaving their faces.

All Hittite chariots used two horses. The heavy chariots had three passengers instead of two.  I modelled all of mine so they can be used either as light chariots in I/24a, or as heavy chariots in I/24b.  The chariot with an archer and no runner would be used as the light chariot in I/24b.

For color selection, I mostly referred to the Osprey Hittite Warrior and Ancient Armies of the Middle East books for inspiration.  They show white robes with red and blue decorations at the edges, and skirts on the guards that use brown and blue stripes.  I also read the appropriate WRG reference, which suggested shields, clothes, and chariots could be colored/painted instead of using natural leather and cloth colors.

I decided on red and blue as the main colors for the army.  Unfortunately this makes them look very similar to my Arab Conquest guys, because it uses “safe” colors I’m comfortable with.  I’m going to have to push myself next time around.

For shading, I primarily flat-painted everything, added detail and some minimal shading, and then applied Army Painter Strong Tone.  It does an adequate job on the white, but it’s certainly not ideal. White is hard however you do it, and I’d rather not spend much effort on it. I pretend it’s just before laundry day: how clean are soldiers going to keep their kit while on campaign, anyway?

I really like the effect Army Painter has on the horses, flesh, and offwhite colors.  It certainly gets adequate results quickly.

Achievement unlocked: You painted a horde element?  Really?

WWII Russian Infantry

Here are some of the Russian Infantry I painted for this year’s Mike’s Memorial WWII Miniautes Game.  (“I remember back when I played games with Mike… let’s do it again.”)

These are 15mm figures I picked up at the flea market at Fall-In.  As far as I know they’re Quality Castings, but no guarantees.  They seem small, but it may only be compared to the Ancients I usually paint. 

I got them done quickly: 50 infantry in 2 nights of painting; and another 6 LMG’s in about an hour.  I used simple flat base coats of Vallejo paint and then applied a GW wash or Army Painter dip.  They came out good enough, which is just what I’m looking for.

After playtesting BAPS with Frank last night, we decided we won’t be using BAPS for this game.  Instead we’ll probably fall back on Disposable Heroes again.

Malifaux: Samael Hopkins

Samael Hopkins

I finished Samael Hopkins, another Guild figure I started along with Perdita and her crew.  I was disturbed by his superfluity of straps and decided to set him aside for a while.

He was a bit easier to paint than I expected, but I totally cheesed out on his boots and knee pads.  I decided that the sculpt has enough detail as it is, I don’t need to try to ruin it with too much fancy paint.  So I just used black with a bit of grey highlighting.

This time, my Army Painter dull varnish was really really dull.  It’s not as dusty looking in real life, but it still doesn’t photograph well.  I picked out the metallics with gloss varnish. 

I got this figure on discount without a card, and I’m unwilling to pay Wyrd’s shipping price for a single $.50 card, so I may have to make my own.

Malifaux Update

I’ve taken a break from painting DBA models, and finished some more Malifaux figures.

Here is Ramos with his mechanical minions.  I’ve added another Steampunk Arachnid Swarm and an Electrical Creation.  I’ve always used Johann in this crew, but he seems to be best at dying.  When a few more nice looking models are released from the Rising Powers set, I’ll be adding those.

I’ve also built some scrap counters to match my crew, since Ramos needs scrappy bits to convert into more spiders.  In the center is a treasure counter I modelled for Mordheim, that I’ve been using when the need arises in Malifaux.  Of course, I replace the Wyrdstone with Soulstones first.

I’m also painting a Perdita crew.  I’m very happy with the way her pants turned out, but she definitely has a face made for radio; luckily she keeps a hat over it.  Once again I started this crew with a full can of Army Painter dull varnish.  Unfortunately it’s hard to shake the can enough, which results in a semi-gloss finish at the beginning of the can, and an ultra-flat finish near the end of the can.

And here’s the star of our show: Francesco “Zappa” Ortega, aka The Grand Wazoo.  Is that a real poncho or a Sears poncho?

His cohorts may consider his shirt a bit flambouyant, but Francesco always uses the right tool for the job.

Papa Loco likes fire.  Heh.  Blow stuff up!

I still have a few more Ortegas to paint before I can field a full Guild crew.  I also have a Peacekeeper, because I like the big robots; and Samael Hopkins. I’ll post more pictures once they’re finished.

DBA Army II/4: Warring States Chinese, Double Army

I’ve completed the elements necessary to field two Warring States Chinese armies at the same time, or a double Chao army.  It’s been hot in the attic so I haven’t gotten a chance to take pictures for a while.

The green army is II/4c: Chao, which has no options: 2xHCh (gen), 2x2LH, 4x4Sp, 3x4Cb, 1x2Ps.  I needed to finish the chariots, crossbows, and psiloi to field this army.

All of the figures are Museum Miniatures.  Overall I really enjoy working with these figures.  There is very little flash or other cleanup required.  The poses are limited, but I like the overall effect in this army.  The infantry has enough detail, but not too much, and lends itself to a clean simple color scheme.

I’m not quite as happy with the green army chariots as I am with the blue ones I painted a few months ago.  I mounted the umbrella too low on the general’s chariot, and didn’t paint the red quite as well.

For the cloth, I used a light base coat and mixed a wash from darker paint, gloss varnish, and water until it flowed well over the cloth.  A few highlights on top finished it off well.

The blue army started as II/4a: Qin, but I quickly decided I wanted to morph it into other Warring States armies.  The first morph was into II/4c: Chao, but along with the green army I can now morph into any of II/abcd with all options.  I’m missing the 3Bd and 3Cb elements for II/4e.

Here, I have 2xHCh (gen), 1x3Cv, 2x2LH, 4x4Wb (with halberds/dagger axes), 4x4Sp, 3x4Cb, 2x2Ps.
In this round of painting, I only needed to paint the 4x4Sp and 1x2LH elements.

I chose to model the warbands with halberds to differentiate them from the spearmen (shown here).  According to the DBM army lists, the same troops are categorized as warbands in the Qin army and spear in other armies, due to their different motivation and not different weapons: Qin soldiers were paid by the head.

The light horse is the only element I needed to match colors with an existing element.  It’s not identical but they’re close enough that it makes no difference.

With only a few elements of light horse, I don’t mind that there’s only one pose. With an entire army of light horse, I need either different poses or different colors to keep things from getting boring.

This is all the Chinese I need to paint for our planned BBDBA tournament at Fall-In; but it’s fun, so I could forsee getting around to painting some more.  Maybe I’ll build enough to morph into a double army other than Chao, or maybe into Han.

DBA Army IV/11: North-Western American: Tlingit

I finished painting my Tlingit army.  The camp will wait a bit while I finish some other projects.  Here’s the whole army: 10x3Bw including the general, and 2x2Ps.  Since the main body of the army is bows, I decided to use melee troops for the psiloi.  The only sources I’ve read about Tlingit fighting suggest that they’d be better classed as warband.  At the Battle of Sitka they apparently rushed at the enemy in an attempt to win individual combats, and didn’t shoot en-masse from a distance or advance in formation.

On the other hand, most folks seem to agree there weren’t enough of any North American warriors to build a “real” DBA army.  That really doesn’t bother me: I painted these guys because they look cool, what more do you need?

Here are pictures of individual elements.  On the right side of this image is the General, distinguished by melee weapons, and the fact that all three warriors are wearing helmets.

I looked at sources on the Internet for inspiration to paint the patterns on the helmets, armor, and conical hats.  My patterns are paraphrased versions of the real patterns, but the overall effect should be similar.  Most of the helmets were done with a brush and paint, while some of the fine black lines on armor and hats were done with a Pigma Micron pen, .005″.

Almost all of the helmets and armor patterns are taken directly from specific images I found online. Some of the helmets are patterned after modern helmets carved and painted by Tommy Joseph: specifically, his Wolf War Helmet and a human helmet whose images I can’t find anymore. 

Other designs, including all of the hide armor patterns, are inspired Tommy’s pictures of Tlingit artifacts in museums around the world, which are available only on his Facebook pages.  One of the helmets (top center in the second detail picture) is patterned after a Shark Transformation helmet, depicting a human (on the front) transforming into shark form (on the rear).

Overall, the coloration on most helmets seemed very uniform. Faces of humans and most animals were copper/tuquoise blue, with red (iron oxide?) on the lips, nostrils, and ears.  Eyes, hair, eyebrows, and other details were black, and teeth are inlaid in white.  Depending on the specific animal detailed, portions were left wood colored, painted white, red, or black.  The blue paint I chose was somewhat more blue than it should be, but I had a very hard time mixing a blue-green that didn’t read as “way too green” at this scale.  Some animals (bears) are depicted with a black face, but lips and nostrils are still red.

On the wooden slat armor, I painted the body of the armor khaki, similar to the color of the fresh bindings shown on Tommy Joseph’s reconstructed Tlingit body armor.  I detailed the exposed wood portions at the edges with a lighter yellowish wood color.  Historical artifacts all show much darker wood and bindings, but those are hundreds of years old.  I expect in battle, the armor would look much newer.  Many of the wooden armors have a detailed crest on the chest, but some are plain or have patterns of exposed wood between the bound areas.

I didn’t find any evidence for the colors used for bows or arrow cases. I expect both were more decorative than I’ve depicted them here, but I’d rather err on the plain side just in case.  I don’t think any of the arrow cases are visible in pictures here anyway.

I’m very happy with the way this army turned out, but I don’t have a lot of hope for its prospects in open battle.  Luckily there are two North American theme events at Fall-In 2010, so I’ll have a chance to win a battle with them.

Overall, I like the Eureka sculpts.  It might have been better for me to choose a different mix of helmet/armor options, but another limiting factor is in the shapes available for the helmets.  They are far more limiting than the wide variety of animal shapes used on real Tlingit helmets.  The other problem with the Eureka sculpts is that they don’t use a large enough collar: I think the helmets should be sitting much higher than they are here, compared to the head height of the warriors without helmets.

I sat on these half-painted figures for a while, worried that I’d wreck them by detailing the helmets and crests.  I’m glad I finally jumped in and finished them, because I think they turned out quite well. 

Tlingit Preview

I’ve finished painting my Tlingit helmets, and I’m excited to share some initial results.  The pictures aren’t great, and the figures aren’t based yet, but I’m quite happy with these guys. Most of the helmets are patterned after Tlingit artifact images I found online, or helmets carved and painted by Tommy Joseph.  Thanks for the excellent inspiration, Tommy!  I apologize for my inferior work and any errors my ignorance of the subject material have produced.

Essex Arab Camp

If I remember correctly, this is Essex part number TT9: Tent with fire, seated Arab leader with two bodyguards.  I painted it for my Arab Conquest army.  The fire has a pile of sticks with two plates next to it; on one plate is a chunk of food (meat?  let’s pretend) and a knife.

The tent is tiny, only as high as the seated leader.  It’s certainly not a general’s campaign tent in most armies I’d know, or a stereotypical arabian merchant’s tent.

However, the cloth sculpting on the tent is excellent.  It took drybrushing very well.  I’m happy with how this camp and camp followers turned out; I might even like it better than the army itself.