Small Desert Domes

Today we have two new 15mm SF buildings in the Desert Domes range, again making the scale transition up from 6mm. They are two simple hemispherical dwellings, each with a single door and window. They’re useful in a multitude of settings – although we title them ‘Desert Domes’, that just happens to be a catchy alliterative title; paint them grey or brown and they could just as easily be transplanted to any number of other types of world.

B15-411a – Small Domed Dwelling A – £7.00
B15-411b – Small Domed Dwelling B – £7.00

These are our final new releases until Salute on April 22nd; next week we’ll be posting the first items on our Salute 2017 new releases page, which we’ll be adding to over the next month as we build up to the big day.

Slammers Upgrades

Today we’re releasing more reinforcements for our 6mm Hammer’s Slammers forces. There are uparmoured versions of the M2A4UA tank and M9A7 combat car, plus new artillery support on the form of the M53 20cm Artillery Hog.

The new tanks have extra armour plating pretty much all over – the difference is obvious comparing the two versions side-by-side. This option makes the M2 blowers even more formidable than they already are.

The combat cars also have additional hull armour, plus extra plating that fits over the existing mesh splinter shield.

The M53 Hogs are enormous vehicles, as big as a blower tank and with a turret that wouldn’t look out of place on a naval destroyer ! The M53 can empty its six-round ready magazine in just 15 seconds and the ammunition options include nuclear, nerve agents and cluster rounds as well as the usual array of conventional munitions. You can read more about the Hog, and the other Slammers blower vehicles, on the official website.

The models are all available singly, or we have new army and detachment packs that replicate the existing organisations but with the uparmoured vehicles instead. There’s also a new artillery pack with hogs, mortar jeeps and command and observer vehicles.

HS-1600u – Friesland Defence Force Army Pack – £25.00
HS-1601u – Uparmoured Tank Detachment – £11.00
HS-1602u – Uparmoured Combat Car Detachment – £11.00
HS-1604 – Artillery Detachment – £10.00

HS-1611b – M2A4UA Uparmoured Blower Tank – £1.50
HS-1611c – M2A4FUA Uparmoured Command Tank – £1.50
HS-1612d – M9A7 Uparmoured Combat Car – £1.00
HS-1614 – M53 20cm Artillery Hog – £1.50

Anarchy in the UK

In preparation for the release of our new 15mm Neo-Soviet tanks, the Vombat and the Bars, I wanted to paint up some samples for the website. Inspired by an article written by the editor in the February issue of Miniature Wargames I thought I might try out the airbrush stencils made by Anarchy Models. I came across them at Salute last year and picked up a leaflet, but hadn’t got round to ordering any. I decided, perhaps over-ambitiously (you decide), to go for a three-colour ‘urban’ camouflage scheme using the Digi Camo stencil set. An A4 sheet cost £8.99 with postage at a fixed £2.50, so at the same time I ordered some other sets (which I’m sure will be appearing in future painting blog posts).

The painting process was done over several days, indoors and out and in different lighting conditions, so you’ll find the photos vary in colour and lighting (and quality – a couple aren’t as well focused as I would like). I tend to take photos of step-by-step articles like this on my smartphone, rather than having the proper camera setup on the tripod – it just gets in the way.

Assembly is straightforward enough – the hull of each tank is in three resin parts (hull and two track units), with a metal turret and main gun, two-part secondary gatling and hatches. After assembly with superglue I gave them a coat of Halfords grey primer which was also to act as one of the three colours in the camouflage scheme. I had decided to drybrush each colour as I went along rather than attempting to highlight each colour at the end, so the first highlight stage was a drybrush of Citadel Longbeard Grey over the whole model – drybrushing works very well on the hard-edged panels of the tanks.

So now it’s time to apply the first set of stencils. They come as a single self-adhesive sheet which has been rather cleverly pre-cut into multiple small pieces. The Digi Camo scheme utilises lots of little squares joined together into panels of varying size. They come off the sheet by bending the backing paper and peeling them off, just like a sticky label. I used to point of a scalpel to position them on the model then pushed them down with a finger. I tried to align them with the model, rather than laying them down at random angles. I found that it was possible to make them stick when bent round corners, as long as it wasn’t too sharp an angle. I also had to remember that this was just the first layer of camouflage, so I had to think ahead about where the next layer was going to be positioned and leave spaces. You can just about see the stencils stuck on the models on the image below.

The first airbrush coat (the second camo’ colour) was a Vallejo paint, Desert Sand, which went all over the model. Once dry, everything was drybrushed with Citadel Dry Terminatus Stone (barely visible below, but it is there !)

I then started to put on the next layer of stencils. I hit two small snags – the first was that the stencils didn’t seem to want to adhere to the new layer of paint quite as well, so getting them to go round corners (such as the edge of the trackguards) because a problem. I have no idea why this was the case, but I simply tried to place them on flat areas and avoided the issue. The second, much more minor point was that the pre-cut decal pieces were in many cases too large, especially for a 15mm model, but this was easily solved by cutting them into small pieces with a sharp scalpel and steel ruler. Again, they are just about visible in the picture below as darker areas.

So now it was time for the second airbrush layer, the top coat of Russian Green (appropriately enough). Once dry this was drybrushed with Citadel Dry Nurgling Green

So now for the exciting bit – removing the stencils. They came off using the tip of a scalpel, but unfortunately I managed to scratch the paintwork in one or two places, especially on the metal parts, so I’m wondering if there’s a better way. It also very annoyingly pulled up some of the paint, but only from metal areas – there was no problem on the ones stuck to resin surfaces. You can see in the photo below where the sides of the turrets have bare patches, and it happened on the Vombat’s rear ramp as well.

I had to go round and patch these areas by brush (Tamiya Light Grey is a reasonable match for the Halfords primer), and also tidy up one or two patches where the spray had leaked under the edges of the stencils – in places I obviously hadn’t pressed the stencils down firmly enough.

It was then a case of painting in details such as the crewman, tracks, gatling barrels, rear lights and so on. In case you’re wondering, the tanks are sitting on the grill from an old microwave – I use this when painting models all over in Army Painter Quickshade, if left on a normal flat surface they’d stick but the grill leaves little surface area for them to stick to – it’s also good for spraying on.

Decals (stars from Dom’s Decals, numbers from (I think) Flames of War WW2 Soviets) go on the Quickshade before the matt varnish – they adhere nicely to the shiny surface.

Then it’s an airbrush coat of Tamiya Flat Clear – as I try to mention every time I write one of these, I’ve had persistent problems with Army Painter’s own matt varnish over their dips – it blisters and crazes on flat surfaces, so I reserve it for models that haven’t been Quickshaded.

So that’s it. Despite a couple of minor problems (down mainly to user error rather than any technical problems with the product), I’m very happy with the result. I’m planning to do a full unit using the stencils, although I think I’ll probably only do a two-colour scheme for speed if I’m painting a dozen or more tanks.

Guards, Guards !*

We’ve put out the odd photo of a new 15mm tank lately, and we’re pleased to say that it’s finally ready for release. There are in fact two of them, similar but each with a different role on the battlefield. Both vehicles are used by Neo-Soviet Guards armoured divisions instead of the smaller Bizon used by regular units.

The Vombat is an Urban Combat vehicle with infantry carrying capabilities. It’s heavy armour allows it to go deeper into a hostile urban environment than a light-skinned APC could, carrying its cargo of four infantry.

The Bars on the other hand is a pure main battle tank, losing the infantry compartment in favour of larger fuel tanks for increased range and a heavier ammunition load.

This also seemed an ideal time to bring back the former ArmiesArmy Neo-Soviet guards figures. Guard units wear flexible splinter-resistant composite fabric face masks with integrated breather units to keep out dust, pollutants and chemical/biological agents. Some formations, especially when facing irregular insurgent forces, wear red masks to increase the intimidation factor.

The Bars and Vombat are available individually, while the Bars is available in a platoon pack of three models (which includes crew and stowage). The Vombat meanwhile is available in an Assault Platoon pack of three models plus 12 infantry. The guards infantry consist of three packs – riflemen, support weapons and command – plus a platoon pack of 32 figures.

SF15-1211 – Vombat Tank/Apc – £9.00
SF15-1213 – Bars MBT – £9.00
SF15-1260 – Guards Riflemen (x10) – £3.75
SF15-1261 – Guards Support Weapons (x8) – £3.00
SF15-1262 – Guards Command (x6) – £2.25
SF15-1271 – Guards Rifle Platoon (x32) – £11.00
SF15-1273 – Guards Assault Platoon – £30.00
PP15-1213 – Bars Platoon Pack – £26.00

* – (ahem) with apologies, once again, to the late Terry Pratchett…

Ocean Blue

As we’ve been hinting at for a while (starting with the Polyversal remastering work), our Pacific Federation 6mm forces have been getting a bit of a makeover to match their 15mm cousins. The overall configuration of each vehicle hasn’t changed, but the original designs have all been replaced by sharper, more detailed versions. Phil has been steadily churning out production moulds, and the stack in the workshop has grown to the point where we’re finally able to release them. All of the existing vehicles have been updated along with new 6mm versions of the Raeside utility vehicle, and the PacFed also gain two new company packs.

The PacFed models also see dual service in the Hammer’s Slammers universe as the Terran Authority Starmarines (TAS), in which the Komodo is one of the few tanks capable of stopping a Slammers Blower tank.

Most (although not all) of the old versions will continue to be available as long as the moulds hold out in case you have an existing PacFed force and want to add to it.

SF300-701 – Cougar Grav Tank – £1.00
SF300-701a – Tiger AA Tank – £1.00
SF300-702 – Komodo Heavy Grav Tank – £1.50
SF300-703 – Wombat Grav APC – £0.80
SF300-705 – Bennelong Command Vehicle – £1.50
SF300-705a – Bilby Radar Vehicle – £1.50
SF300-706 – Ocelot Light Grav Tank – £0.80
SF300-707 – Quoll Grav Scout – £1.00
SF300-708 – Tanami Self-Propelled Gun – £1.00
SF300-708a – Kakadu Rocket Launcher – £1.00
SF300-709 – Minigwal Fast Attack Vehicle – £0.80
SF300-710 – Koala Heavy Attack Vehicle – £1.00
SF300-710a – Koala-M Missile Vehicle – £1.00
SF300-712 – Raeside Grav Utility Vehicle – £0.50
SF300-712b – Raeside Grav Pick-up – £0.50
SF300-712c – Raeside Scout – £0.50
SF300-712d – Raeside with Missiles – £0.50

IC-701 – PacFed Strike Team – £36.00
IC-711 – PacFed Tank Company – £14.00
IC-712 – PacFed Infantry Company – £9.50
IC-713 – PacFed Artillery Company – £14.25
IC-714 – PacFed Strike Group- £8.00
IC-715 – PacFed Scout Company – £9.25