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Category Archives: Painting

These models have been waiting for paint for a while – time to get them out of the way. I’ve been painting mostly vehicles lately, surprising how much more work goes in to infantry.

The AT guns are Command Decision miniatures. Assembly was a minor pain and certain elements lack detail. For example, the inner surface of each wheel is not sculpted at all; it is a flat lead disc without any of the elements that are on the outside (spoked wheel, treads, etc.). I tried to use deep shadows to hide the worst of it.

The gunners are Skytrex – I bought a bag of 50 assorted poses to supplement the goofy PSC gunners from the plastic kits. Unfortunately, these are not great sculptures – the detail is confusing at best. Everything is raised and exaggerated, so at least I was able to pick out what usable detail there is.

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These probably won’t make it into my Rota list – I put them together for my Late-War Udarny list. That said, I think they are very useful as they are the most effective Soviet AT gun that is rated “Light”. For ambush purposes they will have the most flexible placement at AT rating 8 and ROF 3. That is a real threat to the side armor of everything except Tigers.

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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:

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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:

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I’ve been on vacation and haven’t made any real progress for a couple of weeks. Getting back in the groove, I finished up three SU-100’s that I had purchased for my Late War list (Udarny) to get them off the work table. This follows the new rules – everything that gets purchased gets painted! I suppose that I could proxy them in a pinch for SU-85’s in Mid War if I wanted to use that option as well.

These are a bit of an experiment. I didn’t use my usual three step process (basecoat, drybrush, detail). Instead, I did all of the highlights and shading with the airbrush and finished with a couple of oil washes. I think they compare pretty favorably and this method is much faster. I used Vallejo Model Color paints cut with Liquitex Medium/Distilled Water/Liquitex Flow Aid. Colors used were Russian Green for the basecoat and shadows, Russian Green/Russian WWII Uniform at 50/50 for the mid shades, and Russian Green/Iraqi Sand for highlights. Van Dyke Brown was used for the oil washes. Finish coat is Vallejo Satin Varnish mixed 50/50 with the airbrush thinner mix from above.

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Now that I’ve got these off the bench I will continue working on my Rota list for next month. I need to rework the list given the P-39 Kobra nerfing – I still want air power and have purchased an IL-2 Sturmovik in 1/144 (Zvesda model). It is more expensive, points-wise, so I’ll have to tweak the list over the weekend and finalize my painting plan for this month.

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:

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

This week was more-or-less a total loss as far as painting and modeling are concerned. I had to take another business trip to the west coast, with an unscheduled stop on the way back in Detroit (again, same two clients). Nothing much to report on progress, but I did do a little prep work today.

I have three SU-100’s on the table that are now completely assembled and basecoated in Russian Green. I have also started to prep one Rota platoon of Universal Carriers (nine vehicles) and one additional SU-122 that are all Battlefront resin models. I will finish up my purchasing this week for PLAN ROTA, I need M3A1’s (7) and maybe some odds and ends.

While I was away, a bunch of orders were delivered. I have the Universal Carriers and SU-122 that I mentioned above, flamethrower teams, a pack of tank commanders, two squad command/commissar packs, a heavy mortar platoon, Rota Razvedki crews (2 packs), motorcycles and sidecars for the mid-war company command, and an artillery command section. With this batch, I can finish a platoon of Rota’s in UC”s, have all the crew necessary for the M3A1 scout cars, can flesh out a full strength heavy mortar company, and will also have the odd command and commisar stands for all of the non-BF stuff that I have painted up.

In addition, there are still 45mm AT guns on the bench from last week, as well as the PSC HMG’s and mortars.

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The big guns are ready to go. Same technique as the rest of my army with a couple of minor tweaks. I used the same colors – Russian Green Primer, Russian WWII Uniform, and Iraqi Sand all from Vallejo. Same basic process, first coat of Russian Green airbrushed, highlights drybrushed, oil wash, and then modulation of raised detail. I added one step this time around – a heavy oil wash black-lining using the “scaffold” technique I mentioned in my last post. I like the really distinct separation of the armor panels and road wheels that this created, I think it suits the model very well. One other minor tweak – I did not use Dullcote for the final matte varnish, I cut Vallejo satin primer 50/50 with airbrush medium and sprayed at 20psi from about 10cm. This produced a very smooth and even coat with very little gloss and did a better job blending the decal edges.

I am going to let these sit a while before I decide on weathering and final detailing. I can play them as-is and go back to them later when I have more time to think about the final result. For now, ready for the tournament.

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I’m working on the SU-122 assault guns I mentioned in the last post. After basecoat and 3-step drybrushing, I have applied a Van Dyke Brown oil wash. I use this color both as a liner and for a subtle weathering effect. One problem that occurs often when you have large vertical surfaces is that the strong capillary action of an oil wash actually works against you, pulling the wash down off of the model before it can dry. To avoid this, I use a roll of tape as a scaffold so that I can wash each “face” of the vehicle as a flat surface, which keeps the wash where I want it. This Increases the drying time as we are doing multiple washes, but I think the added control is worth it. In the photo I have the tanks standing straight up, keeping the wash in the gun detail.

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As I mentioned in my prior post, I had to re-weather the armored cars after a dullcote-related faux pas. I preferred the original job, but these will have to do for now. They are such ugly minis that I have a hard time caring. Note the PSC commander in the one-and-only PSC pose – no commander was included with the BA-64 models so he will have to suffice.

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Time for another project update. The BA-64 armored cars were completely finished, including a nice weathering job if I may be permitted to say so. They looked a bit shiny to me, so I hit them with another shot of Dullcote – don’t varnish over weathering powders, duh! Gone, has to be done over. So, nearly done … I was a bit impatient with these, and it shows. Detailed, varnished, decals applied, dullcoted, weathered, sealed with alcohol, and re-dullcoted in one evening has washed out much of the detail. Being in a rush sucks, they should have dried overnight between most of those steps. A saying I use in the office applies – I didn’t make time to do it right, now I have to make time to do it twice ;->

I’ve got the rest of the Company on the table for final assembly and painting. 3 SU-122’s, 4 120mm mortar teams, 2 81mm mortar teams (I’ll stick these on a large base and proxy as 120’s for the tournament), and 2 HMG teams. I have until June 7th to get this all finished, if I have any spare time I may do a few AA Trucks and I’ll do the extra 120mm mortars rather than proxy.

Note on the PSC Heavy Weapons set – I like the scale and the clean detail, but the crew are in goofy poses, and there is a limited variety. They are also a little fiddly to assemble, lots of tiny bits. At some point in the future, I’ll pull the crew and use something else, maybe BF or Peter Pig. I used Vinyl Spackling Compound to level the bases and to adhere the models – the crew are on “pitchers mounds” and the weapons are not. If the bases are terrained after assembly, the weapons look like they are sitting in sand traps!

Note on the Skytrex/Command Decision/Old Glory armored cars. The amount of mold flash is almost beyond belief. I gave up trying to clean it all up and just weathered over the worst of it, using it as a base for mud! The SU-122’s are from the same manufacturer and have almost no flash, so maybe just a bad batch of models.

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Well that took a bit longer than expected, but I get carried away sometimes. I am very pleased with the final product, so worth the extra time. Next on the table is a small platoon of 4 BA-64 armored cars. I’ve basecoated, dry-brushed, and applied two coats of oil wash to get them started. They are tiny little tanks, should be finished before the weekend. Then it’s on to 3 massive SU-122’s, fun! Just for giggles, I included a shot of an SMG stand as I am working out better lighting and needed to take a few test shots.

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