Progress in Process

I haven’t completed anything new in a few weeks, but I do have a number of projects in progress, so I thought I’d show a few photographs. Feel free to offer pointers, tips, helpful links, and anything else you might think would be of value on painting small scale armor.

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PZ IIL "Luchs" by MMS. I haven't completed the weathering, yet.

PZ IIL “Luchs” by MMS. I haven’t completed the weathering. Needs antenna, but I won’t be mounting the crazy three-way antenna, as I have no idea how to fabricate such a thing (and it wouldn’t survive the wargaming table, if I did)

This PZIIL “Luchs” (Lynx) is a great white metal model 1/76 scale kit from MMS in the UK. The Luchs is such a small tank that it looks in scale with the 15mm M3 Lee I’ve been painting. Or it does until you take a look at the comparative sizes of the shovels and other accessories. There were approximately 100 of these diminutive tanks in service in the west, where they served in a reconnaissance role. I’ll be using this tank for our Chain of Command games.

I’ll probably strip this tank back down to metal and repaint it, as the model deserves a better paint job than I’m capable of giving it at my current skill level. Unfortunately, I sprayed the primer from a rattle can, and didn’t do a particularly good job-some of the fine detail of the model is obscured. I think the camo is weak, although it curiously appears quite a bit stronger in person than in these photos. My only disappointment with the model itself is that the primary gun barrel is too fat at the end. I’m not talking about the muzzle brake, rather the barrel as a whole tapers the wrong way. I should have looked around for a turned brass barrel, or something. Oh, and I lost half of the muffler, but I can’t blame that on MMS.

Another failing of this build is that I had difficulty consistently applying the Archer dry transfers I was using for decals. I need to work on my technique, particularly on tight spaces and surfaces with relief.

Interestingly the Luchs usually had a four digit turret number. There’s no way I could fit four digits of the decals I have onto the Luchs turret, and I was too chicken to try to freehand it, so this particular tank is going incognito.

PZ IIL "Luchs" by MMS.

PZ IIL “Luchs” by MMS.

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This is a 1/72 SD KFZ 251 halftrack by Plastic Soldier Company. They come three to the box for around $24,which is a really good deal. No decals, though.

SDKFZ 251 by Plastic Soldier Company-Only the basic paint job and the 'chipping' type weathering are complete.

SDKFZ 251 by Plastic Soldier Company-Only the basic paint job and the ‘chipping’ type weathering are complete.

The nature of the halftrack interior and positioning of the drivers requires that the interior be painted separately from the rest of the model. This kit fit together REALLY well during test fittings, but something was a bit out of whack when I went to fit the two hull halves together, and now the horizontal joint between the halves is uneven. It’s even worse on the side not shown. If I hadn’t already primed and laid down dunkelgelb on the whole model, I would have filled the gaps, or maybe cut the thing apart and tried again. It’s a wargaming model though, right? Does it really matter? Yes. The answer, as I stare at these photos, is, unfortunately, yes.

SDKFZ 251 by Plastic Soldier Company. It will only hold five Panzergrenadiers, including the drivers. Hmmm.... The interior here is fully weathered.

SDKFZ 251 by Plastic Soldier Company. It will only hold five Panzergrenadiers, including the drivers. Hmmm….
The interior here is fully weathered.

I love the looks of these halftracks. There will be lots of accouterments added to this vehicle before all is said and done.

I love the looks of these halftracks. There will be lots of accouterments added to this vehicle before all is said and done.

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M3 Grant done up as an M3 Lee with the wrong markings. 15mm. Battlefront.

M3 Grant done up as an M3 Lee with the wrong markings. 15mm. Battlefront. Here the Archer transfers turned out beautifully. Household paint brush bristle is serving as the antenna.

This 15mm M3 Grant is the very first historical miniature I ever bought. I had somehow came across a Flames of War ad or website, and ended up acquiring a rule book and a 3 pack of these tanks, with some sort of vague plan about doing something in North Africa. Never happened, because I had better sense back then!

I’ve painted this Grant up as a Lee (to be honest, I’m not sure what the difference is), although the markings are entirely wrong. Pretty sure it should have a yellow star with yellow stripe around the turret. Still, this tank served as a way to ease my way back into painting armor, and I could maybe even use it with my 15mm paratroopers for a Sicily scenario. Some sort of link-up operation, maybe.

Weathering could be better (and stronger). I didn’t take photos of its sister tank, which I ruined trying to use pigments to do desert weathering. Blech. At this point, I’m a little gun shy of weathering, in general! It will take me some time and effort to come to grips with pigments, in particular.

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Pegasus Pigs! (1/72)

Puh..puh..puh..puh..peeiiigs (1/72)

Pigs are absolutely necessary for doing a proper AAR. Additionally, they can serve as amusing objectives for small skirmish scenarios centered around providing something for the pot. These oinkers need some more work, but come from the excellent Pegasus farm animals kit in 1/72. Next up, Cows!

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A Few Blue Moon Confederates

A Few Blue Moon Confederates

Last, but not least, I’ve been painting on a final two regiments of 15mm Confederates, because the Scarlet J is forcing me to field ‘proper’ brigades, which would, apparently, field at least four regiments apiece.

I’ve been wanting to give Blue Moon a thorough tryout. I love the gaunt look of the figures, but, gauntness aside, there is a slight problem in that they are VERY crowded at 3 figures to a 1″x3/4″ Regimental Fire and Fury base. For instance, the base is so crowded that I can’t put these marching figures side by side. Maybe not the worst thing in the world, as the resulting ragged lines of march will look appropriate for the ACW.

I had intended to use Blue Moon for my entire Union force (which I plan to start later this year), but I don’t know if I can handle futzing around with hundreds of figures that barely fit on the bases.

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That’s all for now. I’m off for a week’s travel in Colorado and the Rocky Mountains!

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Comments

  • 172fixer  On 07/11/2014 at 9:44 pm

    Yikes! You’ve been busy during those early mornings. I’ve got my eye on the Plastic Soldier Company’s SD KFZ 251 halftracks. Yours came out great!
    I’ve also got the Pegasus farm animals on my list (shamed that I’d not purchased them earlier!). I’ll need ’em for the Wild West scenario I’m working up.
    Again, great job!

    • arkiegamer  On 07/11/2014 at 9:54 pm

      Thanks. Other than the bizarre fit problem I had with this particular model (and I’m sure it’s something I did wrong) the only problem with these kits are the treads. They’re very simplified. You could even say abstracted. For the price and intended purpose, it doesn’t bother me. The kit comes with plenty of crew, passengers, stowage, and other bric-a-brac, and there’s no flash and minimal mold lines.

      I’m not a true treadhead, so there may be inaccuracies in the kit I’m blissfully unaware of. :)

      I can also recommend Pegasus’s cactus kit. Excellent for Wild West stuff, especially if you want to do something in the southwest, or California.

      • 172fixer  On 07/11/2014 at 10:02 pm

        Fantastic news…I was worried about the scale of the cactus so held off on buying them.
        As for tracks; anything that keeps me from having to wrangle with those plastic/rubber belts, then I’m a happy man! I’ve always felt that at this scale, It comes down to more of an illusion of accuracy, then the true nuts and bolts of the thing to make me happy. Life’s to short :) (and heck, it’s basically three for the price of one…how can you argue with that!)

      • arkiegamer  On 07/11/2014 at 10:07 pm

        No belts!

        I have a picture of those cacti next to some 28mm figures somewhere on this blog. Look in the ‘old west’ category, and you may find it. Should answer your scale questions definitively.

        I’d post the link but am currently typing from my phone.

      • 172fixer  On 07/11/2014 at 10:08 pm

        No problem, I’ll check into it.
        Thanks for the info!

        Cheers

  • Frank Arey  On 07/11/2014 at 10:35 pm

    Tim, I think the armor looks great – particularly the Lynx. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good – or the good enough. You’ll see what I mean if I can ever get around to sending pictures of my painted Musket Miniatures!

    I’m curious. Scale wise, how do you think the Blue Moon figures compare to your AB Confederates? Could you mix them in the same unit (not that anyone should)?

    • arkiegamer  On 07/12/2014 at 5:53 am

      Good advice, Frank.

      I think they’d work fine together in a unit scale-wise, although the Blue Moon are definitely a tad larger. To my mind The real problem would be the huge stylistic difference.

      When I get back in town I’ll line some up together and take a photo or two and let you see how they look.

  • chairborne  On 07/12/2014 at 3:11 am

    Those German vehicles look great – particularly like the camo on the halftrack – good airbrush skills.

    • arkiegamer  On 07/12/2014 at 5:50 am

      Thanks! My airbrush skills are very much a work in progress, but thankfully I had a breakthrough or two in the process of painting these two models.

      Hopefully the 251 doesn’t go all murky when the weathering starts.

  • tinpotrevolutionary  On 07/12/2014 at 10:37 am

    Looking very nice Mr. Arkie! Can I ask what setup you use for your photo backgrounds? they look very professional. Don’t let the odd little mistakes knag at you just put it down to a rush job at the factory, they are for 1944 wargaming after all, allied bombing can play merry hell with craftsmanship, so I here! ;)

    Also I believe that M3 Grant is what us Brits called them when we used them in the desert. Similarly we called the M3 ‘Stuart’ tank the ‘Honey’.

    • arkiegamer  On 07/12/2014 at 3:11 pm

      Well, I’m sure there were some physical differences between the Grant and Lee, if only the installation of hot plate and tea kettle holder in the Grant. ;)

      My photography setup is quite elaborate; it consists of a piece of blue poster board, a desk lamp, and a sheet of white paper. I just set my camera on the desk (or maybe a tripod), set the self timer, and use the sheet of white paper to cast some reflected light on the model. I also do some levels editing in photoshop afterwards.

      The blue paper is a new thing for me. It makes the photos look pretty cool, doesn’t it? My camera (or maybe it’s just the photographer) always has had trouble handling a white background.

      • tinpotrevolutionary  On 07/12/2014 at 4:59 pm

        I think the Grant had a slightly different turret but then again we probably needed the extra room for those ‘essential’ items you’ve mentioned! :)

        The setup does indeed look rather good, I must try it myself!

      • arkiegamer  On 07/12/2014 at 10:15 pm

        Please do. As inexpensive as poster board is, I may try some other colors, as well.

  • Burkhard  On 07/15/2014 at 7:26 am

    Looking real nice all around! It is impressive how much your painting has developed over the past years!

Trackbacks

  • By Not So August Progress | ArkieGamer on 08/23/2014 at 9:40 am

    […] It’s been a slow couple of weeks around here at Arkiegamer HQ. I did manage to finish up my 251/D, and knock off a regiment of Blue Moon 18mm ACW figures for Regimental Fire and Fury. I had posted earlier progress work on both of these little projects here. […]

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