Saturday, 12 March 2011

Plastic Soldier Company 15mm T34 Part Two.

Once the models were all assembled (less their tracks) and the glue thoroughly dry it was time to commence the painting phase.
First undercoat with Army Painter White Primer
Being an unreformed tight arse, I have tried a number of cans of budget car primer over the years, but have come to the conclusion "you only get what you pay for" and now I stick to quality primers only (Vallejo, GW etc). They cover better, loosing less detail and at the end of the day they are specially formulated to take acrylics!
Next - airbrush the top coat.
I use a Premi-Air G35 Airbrush and am very happy with it so far. This is powered by a small mains Hobby Air compressor I found on ebay for £35. I use Vallejo Model Air paints, which are ready formulated for airbrushing, allowing me to get a large number of vehicles base coated in very little time. In fact it takes longer to clean the blooming airbrush than to do the painting!

I've always used Vallejo Russian Green as base coat for my British vehicles and now I've used it for my first ever Russian ones as well!
First coat on and drying
It takes two coats to cover the White primer, but little time to dry between coats. I mounted the turrets on plastic strips with BluTack to ease holding them while painting. You'll notice there's a battlefront Sexton in the background getting its base coat as well.

Now a wash to bring out the shadows and give a worn appearance
Once the base coat was dry, I sprayed the vehicles with Vallejo Sepia Wash to pick out the shadows and to give that overall worn appearance to the finished item. You'll see in the photo that the wash is still drying. When dry it has a perfect matt finish a will look more subtle than it appears above.
Now to focus on the tracks
While the hulls and turrets dried I turned my attention to the tracks. These I'd left on their sprue as it made it easier to paint them. Each received a coat of primer, followed by Vallejo Dark Grey. Then, when dry, a coat of Vallejo Sepia Wash to highlight all the wonderful detail and finally a dry brush of Light Grey to pick out the tread etc.
Dry-brushed highlights
Now the hulls and turrets were dry I was able to dry-brush a highlight coat of slightly lightened Russian Green over each model. This picked out the engraved detail beautifully.

Other details were picked out. The hull mg in black, the tips of the exhaust in rust followed by Vallejo Smoke glaze and the moulded on tow cable in light grey. The whole model was then very lightly dry-brushed with sand paint to pick out the very edges of track guards, turrets etc.

Adding the tracks
The tracks could now be added. Fairly straight forward here, it's pretty obvious that the undulating track goes on top to sag from wheel to wheel and the straighter one goes on the bottom. Just make sure you have the track edge link detail outermost and ensure that the moulded track tooth guides are visible between the wheels.....if you've done all this you've got it right!

Tracks and final highlighting in close-up
The two track sections meet well with minimal gap and once the glue has dried, a quick touch-up of the original painting scheme is all that's needed to finish them off.
 I like my vehicles based, so I bought appropriate mdf bases from the Warbases stand while I was at Crusade. These were coated with Vallejo Grey Pumice and left to dry.

I decided that a plain green T34 was a bit boring, so I got on the Interweb looking for some good old Russian graffiti to add to the turrets.
Hard to see it, but as a guide I transferred the design to the turret in pencil.
The slogan was hand painted on in white. Then, to finish everything off, the pumice coating was painted earth brown (I use those cheap craft acrylic paints for this, costing about £2 for a 59ml bottle) followed by dry brushing with sand paint. The tank was secured to the base with PVA, the whole thing sprayed in GW Purity Seal and finally Army Painter Anti-Shine Matt Varnish. Once all was dry a bit of Jarvis Summer Meadow static grass was glued on with watered down PVA. Job done!
The finished article
Conclusions:

Pros. -
  • The sculpting is very fine and the moulding flash free.
  • They go together well with little call for any "fettling".
  • They are good value at £3.30 each 
  •  With the optional T34/76 turret they are even better value!
And here it is with PSC 15mm Russian Infantry
     Cons.-
    • I think some people will moan about how many parts there are to assemble and how long this takes (In the same way they moan when comparing Perry plastics to Victrix plastics) such is life!
    • The instructions, whilst adequate, could have been annotated to give a bit of guidance to the un-initiated. (see comments in the text above)
    • I personally didn't like the fact that you can see the holes in the hull sides (behind the tracks) when assembled. Personally, I would have moulded holes rather than slots in the hull sides to avoid this?
    • Whilst the models are good value, I think PSC will have to keep an eye on such companies as Forged in Battle to ensure their products are priced to maintain that value. You can buy the FiB Tiger for as little as £6.30 from some discount suppliers which is very good value for a high quality item in resin/white metal when compared to Battlefront etc.
     To sum up, I think these are fantastic little models and I cannot wait for the next release.

    Now lets get ready to go to the WMMS Show tomorrow.........

    Friday, 11 March 2011

    Plastic Soldier Company 15mm T34 Part One.

    As I mentioned previously, I first saw these kits at the  Crusade Show in Penarth back in January. I tried to persuade Will to sell me just one sprue so I could build a tank to try it out, but he was having none of it!

    So I took the plunge and bought a whole box for £16.50 (@ £3.30 ea).
    All you get by way of a construction Guide is the exploded diagram on the box.

    So how did they go together?
    The front idler has the most spokes
    The first thing I had to do was work out which way round the wheel sets should fit (see above) I found that bending them just slightly so they bowed towards their inner face meant that when they were glued to the assembled hull they stuck flush rather than trying to bow away from the sides.
    Fit of parts is really rather good.
     The mouldings were all crisp and free of flash and went together easily with Humbrol plastic cement. You need a bit of modelling skill to get it right as the parts lack locating pins/guides etc. but to be honest you don't need the brains of an Archbishop to achieve this!
    Finished - less tracks
    In all it took about 10mins per vehicle to assemble them less their tracks. I opted to leave the tracks off to make painting easier. I drilled out the end of the barrel, to give it a bit more realism, with a 1.5mm drill bit.

    I've assembled all five as T34/85's as I'm not sure what part of the War I will be fighting yet, but I thought it more likely to be the latter battles (Berlin etc). The spare T34/76 turrets will either be painted as alternatives, or possibly used to make some defensive positions (Tobruk turret style).

    I have to say I'm most impressed with these. Good value, good quality and top marks for the choice of turret.

    See part two for the painting stage..........

    Sunday, 6 March 2011

    Warmaster Empire War Altar

    Well I said on an earlier post, that I can't resist anything to do with Warmaster. So when I saw this on ebay for £3 I couldn't resist.
    Completed War Altar on the bench with Dwarf Gyrocopter alongside
    Over the years I've collected a number of Warmaster Armies. Some purely GW in make up, others a mixture of GW Character sets combined with Pendraken/Irregular/Kallistra figures making up the regiments. In the order I collected the armies, these are what I currently have;-
    1. Undead (3000 points) all GW
    2. Chaos (2000 points) all GW
    3. Orc (1000 points) 50/50 split between Kallistra & Irregular
    4. Dwarf (1250 points) Kallistra
    5. Bretonnians (1000 points) Pendraken
    6. High Elf (2000 points) all GW
    You can see from this I now have all the armies from the original rule book except the Empire.

    So when I saw the Empire War Altar languishing unloved on ebay I had to have it.... oh and I couldn't leave the Dwarf Gyrocopter for 99p behind either!

    Assembled, hot-melt glued onto plastic strips and undercoated white.

    I took colour scheme guidance from the the GW website
    As I finished each component part of the War Altar I added it to a Warbases 50 x 75mm mdf base and built up the ground around it with Vallejo's grey pumic. This was then painted earth brown, washed with Sepia Dip & dry brushed sand at each stage, as this would be nearly impossible to do when all the figures were in place.

    The finished article
    Once all the figures were finished they were added and the base finished as described above. Then when totally dry, they were first given a coat of GW Purity Seal followed by Army Painter Anti-Shine. Final step was to add some Jarvis Summer Mix flock with watered down PVA.
    Close up of the horse train
    The Grand Theogonist himself!
    Oh, and the finished Gyrocopter!
    Well I have to say I really enjoyed painting this model. You can still obtain the War Altar from GW Specialist Games for £10.75 and it pains me to say that this doesn't represent too bad a value as the quality of sculpting is second to none.

    When I bought it, I half thought this might be the start of me finally collecting an Empore Army. Well it certainly was!

    You may remember the 28mm Italian Special Forces I showcased last weekend? Well they sold on ebay within 30 minutes of posting, for £60. And low and behold I won an unpainted Empire Army (around 1200-1400 points) on Friday night for £64!

    I can't wait for it to arrive and to get started painting it up!

    Now the only downside is there's another War Altar included in the lot. And as you can only have one per army........does anyone know someone who wants one??