Well, Covid has finally grabbed a foothold in our fortress of a house, putting me out of action for a week. Although really only the first day felt like anything other than a crappy cold-type situation. Anyway, this was a great opportunity to sweep up some odds and ends that have been laying around for years. I had some resin castings that I picked up from eBay plus a Sarissa MDF house or two and a nice Hovels bridge. I decided to make a centre piece for a town with a proper river section sunken down into the board. I had a nice piece of 3mm MDF to mount it all on, and used lots of polystyrene to build up a few layers. Cobble streets were made with modelling clay and my cobble textured roller. There are two more houses to go at one end of the town which are 100% scratch built and not quite completed. I dressed up the MDF houses with new roof tiles, floorboards and chimney pots. A little bit of work goes a long way. Realistically i think this will be the town centre for a much bigger layout (maybe a battle for Caen or something), as i can surround this with more houses, rivers and roads to cover a whole 5 x 8 foot table. Next up will be finishing the last two houses and then can texture the open ground with glue and sand before painting. I have also started making bricks and rubble as I am going to need quite a bit of it to decorate the place, considering all the ruins!!
Hovels Church and Ruins and Superquick Town Square
I am desperately trying to reduce the pile of kits and scenery items I have kicking around. I think like everyone else I have been reading about similar issues of some pain and even unhappiness in staring at huge stacks of things to do! Don’t despair my modelling friends. I find closing the door to my storage room and cleaning my work table (read dining table) of all work in progress really helps. Then I just bring out a project I know I can complete. This seems to prevent any overwhelming feelings of soooo much to do….
Anyway I finished this church from Hovels i had. It was based onto MDF coated in clay and textured with cobblestones. I also pimped up my Hovels ruins with a cobbled base and new rubble. You can still lift up the buildings and hide men inside. The town square type market clock tower is another card kit from Superquick. Another nice kit which I felt would not be out of place in any European village. It has some cool arches I can see cool street fighting happening in and around. I put a quick village scene together and realised I have enough buildings to make a big town and cover a full 6×4 table. One day!!
Superquick Railway Hotel in 1/72 scale
I had a change of direction this week and built one of the Superquick card models i had lounging around. It makes a nice change to build something not out of plastic and also a switch to some scenery. These kits maybe old but their design really stands the test of time. I guess they are older than me and pre 1970 even!
This one is the Railway Hotel and seemed to me like it would fit into any European town. So now it is called the Hotel Du Canard Mort and will be sitting pretty in my Normandy towns and villages. When building these card kits I make sure I use some foam board bits to reinforce the whole thing rather than just rely on the card supports supplied. Makes the whole thing much straighter and stronger. Rather than use the flimsy base supplied I used 3mm MDF covered with paving slabs glued on individually. I also added some foil flashing superglued on as box gutters in suitable places. Its a good finishing touch to paint all the exposed cardboard edges with matching paint colour. This definitely makes a big difference. I added some weathering powders to rough it up a bit too as cardboard tends to look to clean. The street lights are little kits from Langley Models in the UK and added a nice detail I thought! Oh I also added black drain pipes using painted wire glued straight onto the card and also metal chimney pots from Langley Models again. These little additions take the card kits up a notch. Bit like MDF kits when you make that extra effort!
Wrecked Tanks Terrain
I wanted to create some wrecked vehicle markers, both as nice looking scenery and bits of cover, as well as potentially actual wrecked tanks to replace vehicles destroyed during proceedings. I thought that having a few actual wrecked models would add to the variety rather than the usual plumes of cotton wool smoke.
These two are a Plastic Soldier Soldier Company Sherman and an Armourfast Jagdpanther. Neither model I was particularly impressed with. The Sherman was very big and chunky and I found many better offerings from Trumpeter, Esci, Dragon etc. Same for the Jagdpanther who was since replaced with much finer model kits from Zvezda and Trumpeter again. SO i got to it ripping off bits, hatches, tracks and punching holes in the hulls with pins and drills. I placed them on bases at funny angles which helps with the drunken wrecked look. I added lots of homemade rubble and stuff and other bits and pieces of debris. Always good to have an old oil drum kicking around. I used a heavy brown wash followed by lots of dust and dirt powders and some charcoal to show the burnt out bits. They look good just as extra scenery cover near some blown out buildings. I am looking forward to Christmas and hope to get some more work finished so I can post more pictures!
Esci Churchill Tanks in 1/72 Scale
This weekend I finished painting three more Churchill tanks for my British forces. These three were all Esci kits bought on eBay (one of them was boxed as Humbrol, but it is the same Esci kit in the box). The kits are identical except for the Humbrol branded one comes with one piece plastic tracks rather than the link and length tracks in the Esci kit. Luckily the one piece tracks are usable and not the super annoying vinyl ones that mess with my sanity. It also helps that the design of the Churchill means a lot of track is not even visible so you have plenty of scope to make a mess and then cover it all up.
These kits may be old, but they are still great. No fiddly wheels as the running gear comes in just two sections that you have to line up. The detail is good and the parts fit together well. I only had to fill a few gaps here and there with putty, mostly near the front fenders. I think the old plastic had warped a bit. You can leave the commanders hatch open, which I did, and added my usual AB Commanders. Turrets fit nicely and turn easily even after a couple of layers of paint. I added some aerials but left off any stowage, just for a change felt like some clean looking vehicles.
They were all undercoated in matt black then a coat of olive drab. A layer of gloss varnish before I added a whole heap of decals, some from the kits plus a bunch of other spares. I like seeing names down the side of the Churchills so these three got that treatment. A brown wash and a coat of matt varnish finished these guys off. Plus some dark earth and European earth pigments just to dust them up a bit.
I also finished my furry field and sandy track for the Churchill troop to be driving down. Perfect photo opportunity for everyone. These kits may be old but they are just as good as modern offerings from Dragon, and better than more simple kits like Plastic Soldier Company. If you can find them for $10 on eBay well worth the money. I built an Airfix Churchill Crocodile at the same for comparison. You can see him next,
Teddy Bear Fur Fields again…..
I have been getting tired of my terrain mat being like a billiard table. I found a cheap source of faux fur on line from Spotlight (Australian craft/fabric/stuff shop). So this week while in front of Masterchef I have been busy painting fur many shades of green. The dog brush we never use on the dog has come in handy to brush the paint in. I also replaced my beard trimmers with a new $25 dollar pair from Target. The old ones were handy for trimming my faux fur before painting and also carving a path. I intend to do a whole heap of fields and roads to cover up the unrealistic smooth finish of my green mat. I think the fur was $10 per metre x 75cm. It will take some time to paint the whole lot but will be worth it.
Superquick HO/OO Buildings
A quick update, or even a super quick update – ha ha ha, on some card model kits I cranked out recently. I love these Superquick kits. Unchanged designs since way back when and they are still so much fun to build. If you want some fast options to build a little town these will do the job. Hard to make the roofs removable so i did not even try. I placed them onto MDF bases for extra strength. I also added a lot of foamboard supports inside the houses and church to maintain its shape. Much better than the suggested bits of card that the instructions suggest. To try and make the shops look a bit more like 1940s France I added some new French signs. That should fool everyone. Also painting all the exposed card edges a dark shade and adding some dirt and dust makes all the difference. Oh and I nearly forgot I replaced all the chimney pots with some nice new metal ones. Chimney pots on buildings are a bit like eyebrows on faces. They are much more important than you think, and its only when you remove them you realise their importance!
The shops will look great in my town square and the small church also handy for when I do not want to use my massive home made church.
To finish off the base I used Metcalfe Models card pavers. These come in sheets and you just have to glue them onto your base. They look much better than the supplied bases. You can see in the last photo my use of the pavers with some other buildings too. I think this is a better option than carving pavements and definitely much quicker.
Dapol Girder Bridge HO/OO Scale
I needed another bridge. I have two home made country bridges but really wanted an old rusty looking girder bridge. Down the road I want to add a railway line onto my table top so a girder bridge would be perfect for that. Dapol make a very cheap range of plastic terrain aimed more at railway modellers. Their buildings are too small for 1/72 scale wargaming, in my opinion, but this bridge is perfect. It is 32cm long and wide enough to take a medium tank (Sherman etc). It makes it easy on creating a rule for what weight it can withstand. If the tank is too wide for the bridge then it is too heavy for the bridge.
I think I bought this direct from Dapol at their web site Dapol Girder Bridge
It is a simple model, with three main bits, two sides and a bottom. Plus some struts to link the tops. There is some decent detail showing lots of rivets. I had a lot of fun painting this up. A solid undercoat of matt black, then a spray of red brown. Then i attacked it with buckets of track rust and light rust weathering powders. Using a really wrecked brush i stippled more black back on top, plus a wash of brown on top of that. I think I even went again with more rusty powder. I wanted a really old rusty effect so spent some time adding more and more. The colour and texture came out quite nicely and even looks like peeling paint in some places.
I also made some quite steep roads for each end so I can place my bridge over a river. I used polystyrene on MDF bases coated with plaster for good strong and light results.
Here you can see a cautious advance from a Dingo Scout Car backed up by a half track and a Humber armoured car.
OTP Terrain Houses in 20mm
I think I am totally addicted to making buildings and creating a tiny world, rather than actually playing a game in that tiny world! I found OTP Terrain while looking for the great designs by Jens Najewitz. So they make a whole heap of Printed 3D terrain in a hard plastic. I bought three houses, the Normandy Hotel, Small Building and Town House. They each have removable roofs and floors perfect for your wargames. The detail is excellent and easy to paint. The only additions I made were chopping off the chimney stacks and adding my own metal ones. It has become a thing, I need to replace every chimney pot on any bought building model. I get mine from S&D Models in the UK. They do not cost much and are way better than any of the attempts at chimney pots you get with kits or ones you can make yourself.
These houses are not cheap compared to their MDF counterparts, but they paint up really nicely, have good detail, and they have a huge range. Check them out at OTP Terrain
Photos below. Check out the French Boulangere called Brien. Weird.
I have my eyes on a farm house and barn and bridge. But so much else to get painted first.…….. Good thing we are locked up at home………
Superquick Card Model Houses HO Scale
I figured I would need some more houses to build while the world goes into lockdown. These card kits from Superquick are just pure nostalgia. My big brother had built some for his railways in the 1980s and they were swiftly borrowed to be used on my ping pong table for battles. After 35 years they have not changed. I will get to build them this time. I am sure I can make them look a little more French and a bit less cardboardy this time around. My aim is to have enough buildings to have a full town on a 6 x 4 sized table.