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Category Archives: Modeling

Finished up a Sturmovik IL-2 from Zvesda, purchased from Amazon for about 5 bucks. The kit lacks certain details that I would like to see but you can’t go wrong for the price. Here are the unboxed contents:


The kit consists of one full sprue of green plastic parts, the cockpit in clear plastic, a sheet of decals, and a black plastic flight stand. The aircraft fuselage is reasonably detailed (cannons and MG’s) and can be configured with landing gear either deployed or retracted (I went with the “in flight” option”). The panel lines are very very shallow and do not take an oil wash very well, but the plane painted up ok regardless. More disappointing is the lack of any under-wing ordnance; no bombs or rockets. Oh well, I’m not sure any of the other options in 1/144 (e.g. Battlefront) include more detail.

Assembly is very simple as this is a snap-fit kit. There were several mold lines on the one-piece fuselage that were of the carve-scrape-sand-fill variety but other than that the kit was pretty clean.

I painted the plane using the color scheme from the box art – a Russian Green and Khaki camo pattern on top with light grey-blue under wing. I Google’d up a few paint schemes to get an idea of where to place the decals and to see what other details can be added. Here is the result:



Here is the draft Rota list I am working towards:

Allentown Rota

I may adjust the number of Stuarts down, and the number of SU-122’s up. I was toying with the idea of adding SU-85’s but they are lots of points and I would prefer to have the air support.

From a collecting standpoint I have all of the infantry stands painted, the BA-64’s, the SU-122’s, and the Stuart light tanks. I still need to purchase the M3A1 scout cars and the trucks for the AA teams in the HQ.

I have accumulated the balance of the models I need including a P-39 Kobra in 1/144 scale. I found it on ebay from this guy:

Link to aircraft model on E-bay

I was a little surprised how small the model is in 1/144, but it is workable. It comes pre-painted and requires minimal assembly, but is unfortunately only available in US and UK colors. It was a pretty simple job to repaint in Soviet colors after a quick google search to find a color scheme:

WP_20130626_001 (2)

Next up, I am going to assemble and paint the Universal Carriers with crews.

I’ve finished up the first batch of destroyed vehicle markers. I ended up doing 15 large and 4 small, enough to lose my entire army ;->

A video tutorial on this project is in the works, but I am just getting my stuff together to record video and the post-production is going a bit slow. In the mean time, here is a quick shot of the finished markers, ready for play.


I’ve done a basic grey and black paint job using my spray brush and el-cheapo craft paints. I use the Americana brand as it is a quality vinyl based paint that is very inexpensive; 2 oz. bottles are on sale at A.C. Moore for .84, I just reloaded black, white, and neutral grey after using up my supply on this project.

I may touch these up a bit more, and I may not. I think they look pretty cool without “flames” at the bottom and I am not convinced yet that adding color will be an improvement.

Notes on assembly – when creating the “smoke” make sure to tear the cotton balls, even if you are going to use a full blob in one go. If you look closely you will see where I did not use this technique and the “cotton balliness” shows a bit much for my tastes. Once I figured out that the perfectly wrapped sphere shape needed to be “broken” the  the results were more convincing to my eye.

I took a short break from painting to do a little modeling, specifically to put together enough destroyed vehicles markers for my Mid-War Soviet list. I am going to play with 14 or 15 vehicles, so that will be the minimum number of markers I want to assemble.

First up, raw materials. I watched a couple of YouTube videos on the topic and also visited a blog or two to get ideas. Once I had a vision of how I wanted to create the markers, I took a quick trip to the local Family Dollar for supplies – this project will cost less than 10 bucks, not including tools.


I am using the felt pads for the base, and cotton balls to make the smoke. The package of pads has both 1” and 3/8” sizes which will allow me to make both large “tank sized” markers and smaller “jeep/car” sized markers. Purchase price was $1.55 for the pads, $1.00 for the bag of cotton balls. I bought three packages of pads and two bags of cotton balls to ensure I had enough materials to screw up a batch and still be able to finish the project. Total cost was about $7.00 with sales tax.

For armatures, I used a length of “real” armature wire that I had lying around for the first few, and then switched to large paper clips (2” size) for the rest. If I had to buy the materials, I would have used the paper clips for all of them. They work great and they are essentially free. The only drawback is that they are very stiff and require tools to bend into shape. For my “large – tank” size I cut a piece of wire 2.5” long. For “small – jeep/car” size I go 1.25”. Note on armature wires – I have seen other tutorials mention a preference for very soft wire. I don’t want something that can be easily bent/crushed so I prefer thicker/stiffer wires. This way, I don’t have to soak the “smoke” in glue to harden it and provide structure. If I was ok with markers hard enough to damage the paint on my models I wouldn’t bother making them at all, I would just remove/stack  the turrets. This method doesn’t produce rock-like smoke markers, they are quite soft and very lightweight – no damage!

Tools used – cutters, long nosed, and regular pliers. Paper clips.


Each 2” paper clip produces 2 2.5” and 1 1.25” sections of armature. Next step, I bend the end of the wire into a small loop using the long nose pliers, and then create a vertical bend and an “S” shape using both pliers together. Here is a step by step with the final result pressed in place on a felt pad – the felt pads have an adhesive backing that holds everything in place prior to hot-gluing. I show both a large an a small armature below, the process is essentially the same for each size.


To be continued: