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…

2mm Terrain

We have a bit of small-scale eye candy this afternoon. Jonas Dahlberg has sent us some pictures of his impressive 2mm WW2 layouts, featuring the Battle of the Bulge, D-Day landings and a really nice pacific island – I especially love the snow-covered industrial zone. Enjoy !

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

Track Painting

With the recent release of our new Small Scale Scenery engine sheds and track, I thought it might be a good time to quickly run through my painting method for the track. When I first got hold of prototypes of our original track to paint, I looked at all the little tiny sleepers and thought “how on earth am I going to paint those – it’ll take forever”. Well, fear not…

Step 1 – Primer

After a quick cleanup, removing any extraneous bits of sprue and running a file round the edges, I gave the track a coat of Halfords’ grey car primer. This is my favourite primer for all models – it sticks to any surface and gives a good matt base for painting over.

Step 2 – Sleepers

If you’re in North America, read ‘crosstie’ when I say sleeper, it’s the same thing. I gave the sleepers a good drybrush with GW Bestial Brown (use your favourite brown if you don’t like/use Citadel paints) – use a small brush to do this as you want to avoid too much paint getting everywhere. You will inevitably get some brown around the track but don’t worry too much, we’ll clean it up in a minute. You want a relatively heavy drybrush coat (if that isn’t a contradiction) so that the whole of the sleeper surface is painted, not just the edges. As you can see, it’s all looking a bit messy…

Step 3 – Cleanup

I then went round and tidied up any overspill from the drybrush with grey paint (Tamiya XF-66 Light Grey is a good match for Halfords primer). Assuming you haven’t been too liberal with the brown and got it between the sleepers, you should find it reasonably quick and easy. Don’t worry about any brown on the rails themselves – any on the top surface will be coming off later, and any on the side looks like rust, which is a major colour as far as railway track goes. You might notice that I forgot to do the tops of the road crossings in one or two places – I had to clean this up this later.

Step 4 – Wash

Everything was then give a good coat of Citadel Nuln Oil black wash (Army Painter Dark Tone or Tamiya Smoke would work just as well). This takes longer than you might think – you tend to get little bubbles between the sleepers so you might need to use a stiffer brush to work the wash into these areas.

Step 5 – Rails

On our first set of tracks I used a silver paint pen and ran this over the top surface of the rails. This worked OK but I did get some overspill onto the sleepers especially around the points. You could use a small detail brush and silver paint, although I suspect it would be time-consuming. My solution this time was to make use of the natural colour of the metal. On the first piece of track I used a piece of wet-and-dry to remove the paint from the top of the rails – this took longer than I thought, and I managed to remove the paint from some of the sleepers as well. So for the next piece I simply ran a scalpel blade along the rails and scraped the paint off – perfect ! It was more accurate, quicker and cleaner. Look at those rails shine !

I painted almost two dozen pieces of track in an hour or so, so it’s a pretty quick method of producing reasonably good looking track.

Railway Assortment

Today we’re expanding on the railway options available in our Small Scale Scenery range. We have two different engine sheds – one is a large shed (over 250 scale feet long) with room for multiple engines and carriages. It’s not based on any specific prototype but is more generic.

The second is a more distinctive circular shape based on the Camden Roundhouse in London (now a well-known concert venue which I’ve been to once or twice). This has just a single entrance door for engines, but had a turntable to distribute the engines to repair bays once inside.

We have a new pack of double track, allowing side-by-side running (which would have been difficult with our existing curved track) – this has twelve pieces, six straight and six curved.

Finally, we have a very useful set of assorted crossing track – single and double road crossings, X-crossings and left- and right-hand crossovers (there are two of each piece in the pack – ten pieces in all).

SSS-8077 – Large Engine Shed – £4.00
SSS-8078 – Roundhouse Engine Shed – £3.00
SSS-8079 – Double Track – £5.50
SSS-8080 – Railway Crossings – £4.50

Cavalier 2017

Our next show is on Sunday 26th – Cavalier in Tonbridge, Kent, just a few miles down the road from Brigade Towers.

For this particular long-standing show we’re in the same position again, a couple stands along from the entrance to the trade hall on the right. We again have a smaller stand than usual, which means being able to carry and display slightly less. So, this is what we’re hoping to have with us:

  • Spaceship fleet packs plus some of the new Neo-Soviet models
  • Aeronef fleet packs and some individual battleships (including all of the new models)
  • A full range of 15mm individual vehicles and packs of figures
  • A full range of 6mm army packs, company packs and building packs
  • A full range of individual Celtos figures, small unit blisters and medium army packs
  • The full range of 2mm Small Scale Scenery items
  • The full Magpie Miniatures range
  • Imperial Skies rulebooks and accessories
  • Great War Belgians
  • Squadron Commander blisters
  • A selection of Shapeways 3D-printed items

We will not be bringing:

  • Any individual spaceships, Aeronef or 6mm models unless noted above
  • 15mm buildings or building packs
  • 15mm platoon packs or Hammer’s Slammers army packs
  • Celtos Large Army packs
  • 10mm Buildings
  • Individual Squadron Commander models
  • Iron Stars

If you would like us to bring anything on the list above, please drop us a line by Wednesday and we’ll see what we can do.

We won’t be able to display everything – so if you can’t find it on the stand, please ask, we’ll have it somewhere behind with us.

Maidstone Wargames Society will also be there, running our new Fenris Descending participation game for the first time. Hordes of Robots…

Defending the Harbours

Today’s new release is an expansion to our Small Scale Scenery Harbour Walls set. It’s a set of compatible pieces with fittings for various sizes and type of gun turret, plus fixed gun mountings (from our Fort Guns). They aren’t based on any historical prototype, so technically I suppose they’d fall under the remit of the Aeronef and Land Ironclads VSF umbrella. That said, the fixed gun positions are very similar to historical installations around the world, and Dover Harbour has a gun turret on the harbour wall which is still in position today.

The set contains ten pieces – two end pieces for large turrets, two angle pieces for smaller turrets, two angle pieces for fixed guns, two straights for two smaller turrets and two straights for three fixed guns. Four types of turret are available – French, British, German or Russian (see pictures for more details). If you’d like a different mix of turrets from our range, contact us and we’ll see what we can do. Using the fixed gun pieces, it would also be possible to create a fixed gun battery or water battery.

SSS-8076 – Harbour Defences – £9.00

Polyversal Fulfilled

Great news – two large boxes landed on Collins Epic Wargames doorstep last week containing around 1600 vehicles and 1200 Power Armour. That means we’ve fulfilled the final part of our contribution to the Polyversal Kickstarter. Apparently we’re the first of the six miniatures companies involved to do so, but I’m sure the others aren’t far behind.

By way of celebration, here’s a photo of some new 15mm tanks in amongst the detritus of other new stuff. These are the Neo-Soviet Vombat and Bars, the former of which is already part of our 6mm range (although this is a modified new design). The latter is essentially the same vehicle but without the infantry-carrying compartment at the rear of the hull. Readers of Miniature Wargames may have seen some CGI previews in the Fantasy Facts column last month. More photos to come as I get them properly painted.

The Flying Dutchmen

Although not one of the conventional major powers, the Netherlands nevertheless has significant colonial assets at the end of the 19th Century, both in Central/South America and the Far East. The Royal Netherlands Air Fleet watches over the skies and seas of these far-flung territories with its force of unique twin-hulled Catamaran craft.

We’ve had a pair of Dutch models made by Phil in the range for some time. As part of our ongoing programme to replace or update worn or inadequate moulds, it’s become the turn of the Netherlands to get an upgrade. As well as taking Phil’s two existing Nef and remaking those, I’ve created three new designs to round out the classes. The de Ruyter class heavy cruisers remains the largest vessels in the fleet, but they’ve been joined by new light cruiser, frigate and torpedo boat designs.

The Dutch feature in a Benelux fleet pack, and this won’t change; however, in recognition of their increased range of vessels, they now get their own dedicated fleet pack with two of each of the largest four models, and a torpedo flotilla with five torpedo craft and a frigate as leader.

All of the models, apart from the torpedo Nef, feature separate turrets – the smaller ones are the existing secondary turrets from the Gaulois, while the larger ones are a new design. These are available separately in accessory packs of 12 along with all of our other turret models.

VAN-1001 – de Ruyter class Heavy Cruiser – £5.50
VAN-1002 – Zeeslang class Destroyer – £2.00
VAN-1003 – Tromp class Light Cruiser -£3.00
VAN-1004 – van Speijk class Frigate – £1.50
VAN-1005 – Flores class Torpedo Catamaran – £0.50

VAN-7047 – French Single Medium Turret (x12) – £1.50
VAN-7048 – French Twin Medium Turret (x12) – £1.50

VANFP-1002 – Netherlands Fleet Pack – £22.00
VANFP-1011 – Netherlands Torpedo Squadron – £4.50