Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

AWI Project - Fife and Drum have arrived

When I originally decided to get into the AWI I had decided that Perry Miniatures and Fife and Drum were going to make up the bulk of the miniatures in my AWI armies. I will be focusing on the Americans first and the Perry plastics have been at least started (Progress is slow, there is always so much to do around here). In the meantime I figured I may as well add to the lead mountain and put in my initial order to Fife and Drum. Following some advice from TMP I'm opting to start the army with four continental regiments and one militia regiment. With that in mind I ordered enough miniatures from Fife and Drum to build two 28 figure continental regiments and one 28 figure militia regiment. Of course since I only have one regiment ready to go from the Perry's I need to find another plastic box of them somewhere, I'll probably try the Warstore first.

So 84 miniatures from Fife and Drum arrived yesterday. I had a chance to go through this morning Jim at Fife and Drum did a marvelous job at filling my order. Although I do wish he would work up some regimental packs, it was a bit tedious getting my order into his system. They are fabulous miniatures and I really can't recommend them enough. They are well cast and mold lines are quite light. They were well backed and I only saw a few bent bayonets in the packs. Jim was also kind enough to include a few freebie extras in the package including a mounted American office (fortunate since I was going to order one and I forgot in the excitement of ordering more lead).

I need to clean up a couple of these and paint up a couple of samples just to see what I can do with them. I'm currently painting 4 of the Perry's right now. Four happens to be the number that fits on the popsicle/craft sticks I use when painting up army units. So you can at least look forward to a couple of samples in the next couple of weeks.

The first set of bags of minis all came with a nice header card attached.

I think by the end he was tired of attaching header cards! Looking forward to breaking out the brushes and working on these!

Monday, July 17, 2017

World War II Project - Jeeps! - British Airborne

With the anticipation of the new Rubicon jeeps arriving this week (perhaps even today), I decided to pull out the resin Warlord Games British Airborne jeep and get it built.

Now this is a fairly old kit but I was immediately disappointed with the quality of the casting. The resin casting was definitely from a mold that was on the tail end of its life. The metal castings were not good either. In fact the metal was brittle that several pieces actually broke at crucial spots. At this point I'm counting on having enough parts left over from the Rubicon kits to finish this one.

I suspect that this one will paint up just fine, but the build was just a little wacky, not difficult, just minor problems that irritate you. It makes me really look forward to getting those Rubicon kits though!

The raw, out of focus, jeep body casting. After the war, in the civilian world, this would become known as a CJ-2

All gussied up with what parts stay together. The driver's side front wheel does not sit well in the socket.

I'll hold off on priming and painting till I get the Rubicon jeeps.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

World War II Project - Horsa Glider - Part VIII

Since I had everything out to prime the AWI troops I just moved right on over and primed the Horsa as well. I occasionally manage to operate efficiently, it doesn't happen often so I try not to get use to it.

You definitely have to prime anything built from MDF. MDF sucks up paint like nobody's business and I would rather have it suck up primer than paint. I basically did two coats of the Badger Stynylrez grey primer, my go to primer at this point. 

I followed that up with a black from AMMO by Mig. I have really come to like the airbrush paints out of this line. I can consistently just open the bottle and pour it into the cup and be ready to shoot paint. It certainly makes the whole airbrushing process much easier.

So here is the Horsa as she stands right now, black under surfaces and primer upper surfaces. I will be pulling out the tape to define the edges for the camouflage work on the upper surfaces when I have time to work on it again.

Now that it has dried its definitely looking a little splotchy. A second coat is probably in order this time.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

World War II Project - Buildings - Railway Station - Part IV

With the Horsa on the bench for painting I have come back to the Sarissa Railway station. As I expected I had to go back a few steps. The contact paper had not adhered very well to the MDF so I pulled out the clamps and the clue and dealt with that.

Then I took a close look at the different areas of the station that would require some additional work to make the brick look right. I started by filling in the odd gap between the main building and the wings. I went ahead an glued the roofs together as well so that I could make sure that everything would fit before I glued in these fillers.

I also discovered that there is an order to how the decorative trim needs to go on. Of course I managed to get it on in the wrong order creating additional work for myself. They had to be trimmed anyway because I had glued in the filler pieces for the brickwork. Not much to look at, there is nothing quite like waiting for glue to dry.

Really you can't have to many clamps!

Perhaps you were thinking I didn't have enough clamps to do the whole thing at once?

Well the width is right, now I just need to check the roof clearance.

This should be close enough to give the paper something to grip on. Using clamps in this spot is going to be tough.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

AWI Project - Perry Miniatures Plastic American Continentals - Part II

Not the most exciting of posts but I did find a few minutes to mount the Continentals on painting sticks and get a layer of primer on them with the airbrush. Once again I turned to the Badger Stynylrez grey primer, I can pour it straight in to my Badger Renegade airbrush and just start painting. Granted its hard to tell the difference between the shots but I do feel that a layer of primer is important for a good paint job, even when you are painting plastic.

Monday, July 10, 2017

New Vehicle!

At the end of June we finally found a nice Jeep to bring into the fold, a '98 Wrangler (TJ series) Its in really good condition, runs great and its ready to be tricked out as time and money allows. This will be our running around Jeep.

Immediate thoughts are to pull the seat from the back, replace the front seats, probably the fenders (front and back), the grill and a new top. Will see how the rest of it shakes out after that.

Under the hood is a 4.0 L straight six. This one has been christened "Rosie" after Rosie the Riveter. That's my '07 Sahara edition Wrangler (JK series) in the background. The '08 Sahara is in the garage at this point, we don't have any intention of selling either of the Saharas at this point.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

World War II Project - Horsa Glider - Part VII

With the sanding, more or less, complete its time to get some paint going. The Horsa has a pretty straightforward scheme, 2/3rds of the fuselage and the undersides of the wings and tailplane is black. The upper 1/3 of the fuselage and the upper surfaces of the wings and tailplane is done in camouflage using greens and browns. The rudder itself is also black. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do the various markings at this point. The invasion stripes are easy but I would like to find decals for the rest of it if at all possible.

Since this is a pretty big object I pulled out the airbrush. I started with Badger Stynylrez grey primer. This has become my go to primer at this point. The black was done with a black from AMMO.

The Wing

The fuselage

And we are off, starting with the grey primer

And here we are with the black. I didn't bother to tape at this point. When I move on to the camouflage on the upper surfaces then I'll tape off the lower and give a nice sharp line between the two areas.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

World War II Project - Horsa Glider - Part VI

This is my attempt to try and do away with the very evident scoring on the cardboard pieces. I'm not sure how successful it really was. I'm not going to go back at this point though, in the end this is just a piece of terrain and I think the average gamer is not going to notice the flaws. I decided to "skin" the aircraft skin as it were using Liquitex modeling paste. A choice made mostly because its what I had on hand. What I discovered is that this stuff drys very hard and its hard to sand down to a smooth finish. This was exacerbated by the fact that I was using a very fine sandpaper as I didn't want to introduce scratches (800 grit).

You must be very careful when you are sanding this as the cardboard doesn't like to be sanded and will fuzz up and/or layers will peel off. I'm still not happy with Sarissa's choice on the cardboard, something even thinner and more flexible would have been better in my estimation. I'm also of the opinion that more ribs would have been nice in the tail section.

The extra effort is certainly worth it though and if I do another one I think I would use a wall filler of some kind, something that is designed to be sanded down quickly and easily. Tragically there are three tubs of the stuff at the other house where all the remodeling is taking place.

Here is where things ended up:
The idea; fill the score lines in the cardboard with the modeling paste and try and feather everything else so its a gradual transition and not an abrupt 90 degree change.

The sanding was tougher than I expected it to be the modeling paste formed a tougher shell than I had anticipated it would. I suspect a higher grit sandpaper would have worked better but then I would probably have really ripped up the cardboard, the same thing would probably occur if you used files on it.

To get rid of those obvious gaps in the fuselage I took scrap cardboard and wrapped it around the tail section (as seen here) and the cockpit section. I then trimmed off the overhanging cardboard from the main fuselage which for some reason was not actually long enough to cover the gap which was Sarissa's intention. Make sure you use a very sharp knife blade for this, I would recommend a new one. I thought mine was sharp enough and I still ended up with a bad edge on the ends of the main cabin. 

Here she is ready to be "skinned".

Cockpit section, "skinned" and ready for sanding.

The tail, "skinned" and ready for sanding. This was the easiest of the three sections to do and I just didn't bother to try and feather in between the cardboard and the MDF.

"Skinning" the main body

Everything sanded and ready to paint at this point. Its not nearly as smooth as I want it to be.

Friday, July 7, 2017

AWI Project - Perry Miniatures Plastic American Continentals

While I have been busy working on the World War II project I have been dabbling in the AWI behind the scenes. It began when I introduced my wife to the move 1776. While it plays a bit fast and loose with history it did grab both of our interests in the period and that it was followed by a flood of books (that's pretty typical with me and my wife shares my interest in history you should see her collection of books on Eisenhower). I started off with the biography of John Adams by David McCullough. I highly recommend this book right along with his books 1775 and 1776. 

With the Fourth of July celebration going on I decided that I would at least put together the plastic Continentals from Perry Miniatures. I have to say that these were a real joy to assemble and I thoroughly enjoyed the couple of hours I spent working on them. The only real trouble I ran into was assembling the command group and I'm not really happy with that part of the effort. I'm also not happy with riflemen in hunting frocks. Quite frankly they just look fat, the hunting frock was just sculpted over a miniature that was already sculpted with a full uniform underneath and my understanding is this is definitely not how they were worn or used. I think Perry and Fife and Drum will end up being the bulk of my AWI forces in the end.

Here's a quick look at the assembly process:
A sprue of five American Continentals. Three types of hats as well as the ability to put the musket on the right or left shoulder. There are also backpacks and bedrolls. I have plenty of parts left over to cut from the sprue that might well be useful on other projects.

I elected to build the box just one sprue at a time since each one is self contained. This first bunch is left shoulder arms. There is a some variety on the left arms so making each figure unit is not an issue. Each of the five men on the sprue is in a slightly different pose.

And the right arms are attached. Right now they look like a bunch of little Ben Franklins!

And with hats! That was really the finishing touch. As I moved on to the other sprues I opted to glue the hat on first so I didn't have to shift it if the musket I selected didn't fit. I also elected to just leave off the bedrolls and backpacks at this point. I fiddled around with them but I just wasn't happy with the look.

All the troops are finished and the command group is being worked on.

The full 38 miniatures in the set including the four riflemen. I probably won't be using these, I'll see how I feel about them later on.