Tuesday 17 February 2015

Gothic Line Miniatures Afrika Korp and US Army Infantry review

I was very kindly supplied with some sample miniatures from the Gothic Line range to review, and here I'll be taking a look at some of the DAK and US Infantry figures.

The figures are incredibly well cast, with a tiny presence of mold lines and no more significant flash than this. and are ready to paint very quickly. The metal used is quite hard and takes primer well, and the detail is impressive. I found the figures were very easy to paint and accepted washes and layers well.

Scale wise they fit well with other ranges,  here's a pic of DAK soldier with one of my Winter Germans, and they scale very nicely together, mixing these into an existing force would present no issues.

The Gothic Line range has an intersting mix of models, including some Dutch infantry, and soon a Romanian range is being added too. Although not reviewwed here, one figure that does stand out for me is the figure firing his MP40 from the shoulder in the Panzergrenadier pack, he's actually holding it by the grip rather than the magazine as commonly seen on figures.

Overall, I'm very impressed with these, and will be looking forwards to the range developing.

Gothic lines range can be viewed here and you can see more of my work at Volley Fire Painting Services

Warlord winter Russians review? Not quite!

Warlord games have recently released a pack of plastic winter Russians. I've been immensely excited about this pack since it was announced, as the Eastern Front is my favourite theatre to model and game. Upon eagerly ripping open the box and rolling around on the piles of fantastic sprues, I looked at the models a little closer, and was very pleased with the level of character and expression on the faces, and the mix of poses is great(!) too. On each frame are 5 figures in great coats, and 3 in padded suits. You can see close ups of the sprue in my unboxing here.

Upon looking at the sprues and consulting my collection I discovered I have one Russian Army, and 3 German armies. This clearly meant that I needed to add another German army to my collection as I've not covered Tuesday January 24 1944 yet, which lead me on a short search for plastic figures in great coats...

To make my winter Germans I sculpted hoods and heavier trousers onto the figures in padded suits, and removed some of the quilting effect, and the great coated figures I trimmed some of the overtly obvious Russian items, though this was quite simple.

 I also sculpted a small sheet onto one of the figures for him to use as camouflage. For the heads I had a choice, either use German heads without modification and waste the awesome Russian heads, or cut off the Russian helmets, and trim the heads out of spare German helmets, and then nail the two together.  This was with hindsight really quite a frustrating exercise, however once I'd got some practice with the first few it became simpler. 

Weapons, webbing and some of the arms came from both of Warlords German sprues and these fitted perfectly to the models.


Painting was done using Vallejo Russian Uniform (Ironically) for the field grey great coats, Khaki, Reflective Green and Leather Brown were used for the Splinter Pattern items, and Off white was used for the white.

To make the snow I used baking soda mixed with Vallejo Water effect, and applied as a paste. Larger base comes from Warbases, and is a 50mm round. 

As always more of my work can be seen at Volley Fire Painting Services, and you can purchase some Winter Russians from Warlord Games

Monday 16 February 2015

Warlord Games Pazner IV Ausf H

At long last I'm back with a building article! This time I've been working on one of Warlord Games Panzer IV's, this time with a winter feel to it to accompany some Winter Russians I'm converting to Winter Germans. I'll not do a review as I've already reviewed the kit here and I've also compared it to Rubicon and Die Waffenkammer here.

For this tank I decided to make a really banged up, worn looking vehicle, with plenty of missing mudguards and Schurzen, as well as only partial Zimmerit. The observent of you will be aware that Warlords kit doesn't actually come with Zimmerit paste so my first task was to add this to my tank.
 I'll do a more detailed guide in the future, but for now I apply Zimmerit using White Milliput applied in a fairly thin layer to the surface to be treated, then wet the surface and lightly drag a razor saw through the milliput to add texture. It's simple, but can be quite time consuming.

The key defining part of a tank in winter camoflage is the winter white wash paint (Shockingly!) This was applied in the field, and tended to range between beautiful and smooth white finishes to damaged chipped and faded finishes. Naturally this is the effect I'm going for.

To do the winter finish I sprayed the Panzer with grey auto primer first, then used Middlestone, Reflective Green, and Hull Red to apply a standard 3 tone camouflage scheme to the tank.  I sprayed the panzer with gloss varnish and applied the turret numbers from a Warlord decal sheet, then re glossed it. The reason for using gloss varnish is it's harder wearing than matt varnish, and the later stages of paint work better over a gloss surface. 

I can't recommend leaving the tank to dry for at least 3 days strongly enough, I left mine for a week then used blue tac to cover the transfers to spare them being painted out when I applied the white was finish. I use a scale modelling technique to give a worn finish to my armour, and this is achieved by dipping the model in water, then rubbing it in table salt, letting the salt congregate in areas that are heavily worn and used by the crews. 

As soon as the surface of the tank is relatively dry, though it doesn't have to be completely dry I sprayed it with Vallejo Off White, starting lightly then letting the paint build in the centre of panels and upper surfaces. 

After the white was applied I then left it a couple of hours to dry, and then washed the salt off to reveal patches of the camouflage beneath and give a nicely chipped look, Once the salt was off I re glossed my tank and then painted artists oil paint Burn Umber into the panels, recesses and other areas of wear and tear to add a bit of interest to the tank.

The snow was done by mixing baking soda and Vallejo Water Effect, and caking it in the tracks and running gear. At that the tank was done, and awaits it's infantry support! 

As always you can see more of my work here at Volley Fire Painting Service and you can get your own Panzer IV's from Warlord Games

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Warlord Games Ostfront and the Eastern Front releases

This morning I recieved a very exciting box from Warlord Games, containing the brand new Ostfront book, the new Waffen SS Cavalry packs, a winter Russian plastic sprue and also a box of the Veteren Grenadiers. I don't normally like unboxing reviews, but these are quite exciting releases so thought I'd share straight away! 

Ostfront Barbarossa to Berlin

This book is Warlords second campaign/theatre book and whilst I enjoyed D-Day to Germany this (and the early war) book is the one I've been most excited about. The book is written by Andy Chambers, author of the the Armies of the Soviet Union book. Ostfront is crammed with scenarios and new units, containing no less than 12 scenarios and at least 27 new units for Russia, Japan Germany and Finland, theirs so many that I may have miscounted or missed a nation as well. It's a very full book. To name a few of the new scenario rules there are rules for minefields, snow, mud, dug in troops, city fighting, sewer movement, and night fighting.

Osftont covers the fighting between Russian and Japan at Khalkyn Gol, the Winter War between Russia and Finland, and the War between Russia and Germany, covering the German invasion in 1941 right up to the Battle of Berlin.

The scenarios included are varied, and really capture the feel of the battles presented in each of the regions, especially once you start factoring the enviromental rules. One particularly cool battle takes place at night during a thunderstorm, with a dice roll each turn to see if lightning illuminates the battlefield. 

I won't list the new units included as I don't wish to ruin the surprise of discovering them, but there are some real gems in here, and I can't wait to get back to my Russians and Germans following a quick read of the book this morning. It's worth noting how exceptional the artwork in the book is too, the best I've seen in one of Warlords books. 

Plastic Winter Russians

This new set is a major reworking of Warlords existing plastic Russians, and adds a massive bundle of new parts, with some superb new heads, hands with mittens and gloves, oh and 5 great coated bodies!


 As you can see from the pictures the new heads are absolutely full of character, my favourites being the ones wrapped in scarves and the Fur hat with the ears flapping around.

 These look like great models to work with, and I'm also going to try using some spare German bits and some Milliput to make me some Winter Germans too. Watch this space for how that goes! 

Waffen SS Cavalry

Warlord have recently released 2 packs of Waffen SS cavalry, the first contains an NCO, a man with an MG34 and a number 2 for the MG carrying the ammunition boxes. The second pack contains 3 men with rifles. Each pack contains mounted and dismounted versions of the figures.

I'm very impressed with these models and particularly like the mounted and dismounted versions. All field gear is present and correct, and worn properly as well. The detail on the smocks is especially good. Once these are painted up they will be a fine centerpiece to any German force

German Veteran Grenadier Squad

Another very recent release, this pack contains 10 figures, with no duplicates, and also comes with MDF bases. All the models are in a fairly mixed bag of uniform, and several are wearing their Zeltbahn's as a camouflage poncho. Poses are great, with no awkard or unnatural looking stances, and the separate heads allow a good amount of variation to the poses. 

 All the men are heavily armed with MP44 assault rifles so could also double up as Volksgrenadiers, as mine will probably be. 

These men are wearing stripped down fighting order on their belts, and most have abandoned their field gear apart from their bread bags and water bottles.

The models have a very late war feel to them and would be perfect for any forces themed around the Battle of the Bulge onwards.
Another top set, and one I'm really looking forwards to painting.

I'll aim to get these painted up as quickly as possible, and as ever you can see the rest of my work here at Volley Fire Painting Services