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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:


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:


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.


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:

WP_20130626_001 (2)

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

I’ve had a chance to think about my list and how it performed at NJCon this week. I’ve taken a short break from painting and modeling to recharge the batteries and in the mean time thought about what I like and what I dislike about my Moto/Tankovy hybrid.

First and foremost, it is apparent that if I want to play an motorized infantry list, Motostrelkovy is not the way to go. There is no moto in Moto ;-> I used my Stuart tanks as transports but this is less than ideal as tank riders are extremely vulnerable. It is hard to hide a big platoon of tanks, even light tanks, and taking a small platoon means that each tank is carrying two or three infantry teams. Not good. I also think that infantry + MG armed transports is more efficient than just more infantry teams. Vehicle MG’s rock. The tanks provide MG’s when used as transports, but I am going to buy the tanks regardless of what I do with the infantry companies. I’m not giving up my Stuarts, I think they are cool!

So, my current thinking is that I will morph the force I am building into a Rota list. I’ve hopped around the blogosphere getting ideas and there are two builds that appeal to me – the scout cars and the universal carriers. Doing the math, the carrier option provides the max number of vehicle MG shots when mounted and on the move. The scout car option has less dice, but greater firepower from the .50’s so in use is probably more effective. Infantry is almost always dug in and the .50’s are also useful against light armor. Defensively the carriers spread out better, are smaller and easier to hide, and minimize infantry losses when a transport is destroyed.

On balance, I think I will start by adding one full platoon of each type, scout car and universal carrier, to my list. I have plenty of infantry so I’ll only have to purchase the transports and crews. This is another advantage, albeit an out-of-game advantage, to the carrier option – they are three-to-a-pack with crews included. The scout cars are single vehicles and do not include the Rota crew. So, three packs of carriers to a platoon vs. five scout cars + a crew pack.

I already have Rota crews, and I just picked up a pack of universal carriers. I need to clear the stuff that is currently on the table and get cracking. I don’t have any games lined up immediately so I probably have until mid-August to get this all painted.

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.


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.


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.

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.


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:

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.