Panzer Command

The early war German force grows more complete each day, and there are a few more additions ready for action in the next Battle Report!!

The Panzer 38T (on the left) is an older resin/metal kit from Warlord which I painted in a live session a while back when I was first getting used to oils:

The SDK fz 232 in the center will act as a command vehicle in the battle.  I had a lot of fun painting that, using the Secret Weapon Weathering Paints.  That’s one that I had been looking forward to getting done for quite a while.

The radio antennae assembly comes off, so that I can rotate the turret.  There were a LOT of decals to put on that bugger!  It will be nice to have an armored car which is not open topped.  No random pins from small arms fire.

The Panzer 38T on the right is part of the new Platoon Box set from Warlord Games, which allows you to construct a number of versions of the Czech produced tank.

I painted that in the colors of the 7th Panzer division in France 1940, for obvious reasons.  I will be painting the other two versions in the box in winter and desert schemes for different theatres.

You can check out this YouTube live session in which that Panzer 38T was painted!

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Dragon’s Lair

Over the last several weeks, I have been working on the big 5-headed dragon from Reaper.  It is made from BONES material of course, which thankfully makes it very rugged!
Here’s a link to one of the original posts on this beast, which started at Gencon last year:

This will ultimately be finished off with oil paints, but I wanted to experiment with doing some follow up painting with the airbrush first.  Once I decided to do a lava style base, it meant that I could do a bit of light reflection on the wings!

On the flip side, I added more greens and dark blues, so that the orange tones would have even more contrast.

The same was done with the dragon body itself.  You can see a bit of the base too, which was made with chunks of pink foam carved and textured to match the original stones.

I don’t have any fluorescent airbrush paints at the moment, but I know that I can do some very intense colors with the oils.  Again, the idea here was to indicate where I wanted some of these lighter areas to be, and get a sense of “how much is too much” etc.  
This had been toned down quite a bit since by those subsequent layers of oils.

I stuck in the wings to get a quick peek at what they looked like on the body, which led to more course corrections prior to working with those oil paints.  I tried to film a few sessions where I did that oil painting, and I will try to get those edited and posted as soon as I can to the YouTube channel!
Stay tuned…

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Film School

You have seen me post a number of articles on my “primer painting” in the last few years, but in more recent days you have seen me posting more actual airbrush painting.  
The last article talked about the lower air pressures and the results that would yield, but now I have a brand new tool which has opened up a new range of tactics with the airbrush!

One of the reasons why I did not use the airbrush in more of a traditional method was the time it would take to mask off areas.  It just was not worth the time to screw around with that, when I could paint the same kinds of things with my brushes, acrylics and oils.
Even with the lower pressures, there are just some occasions where the only way to get the result you want is to mask off certain areas.  There were several on this big guy from Mierce Miniatures.
The turntable he’s standing on is about the size of a dinner plate, to give you an idea.

During one of my recent hangouts on the Styrene Syndicate, Gil and the guys told me all about something called Parafilm, which is easily available on Amazon.
In effect, it is like super Saran Wrap (or cling film in the UK).  You can cut off pieces of the “tape”, which has a slight stick to it.  Once it is stretched out over an area as you see here, it has the Saran Wrap effect, and holds tight enough to get the job done quickly.
I have not tried it on vehicles to do camo yet, or anything super precise.  In fact, that is not what I needed it for.  What I wanted was a way to “bulk mask” areas to that I could do things like the teeth, or even the inside of the mouth, very quickly.

It only took a few minutes to get all these masks in place, which would have been much harder with the blue tac which I had been using.

In the past, I would not have bothered to try and paint the teeth or the inside of the mouth with the airbrush.  Even now, I will still be painting over a good portion of all of this with glazes, etc.

But, I have a lot of the Minitare Badger paints, especially some brighter colors that I have not exhausted on terrain pieces!  
Another reason I like this new use of the airbrush is that I can try out some color schemes on the fly, and change them very rapidly if they are not what I wanted.  That would be much more involved if I were doing this huge figure with only a brush.

I hope that this gives you a new idea to think about, as the guys did for me!  Many thanks to the folks who do the Styrene Syndicate hangouts.  I learn something new every time!
Many thanks to Gil who brought this up when I broached the topic, and pointed me in the right direction!

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The Dogs of Rome

While the original posts in this Gangs of Rome series focused more on the mobs and the larger mosaic tile bases, I didn’t want to forget the most important aspect of the game… and that is the Gladiators!
Here’s a few more, and this time you get a better sense of how the ID number and wound counters fit into the bases.

The majority of these characters have bases that match those larger versions that were made for the mobs.  Here’s a link to one step by step post:

Most of the figures were painted with oils, part of a huge batch that I was working on along with a number of other figures.

I have discussed the value of oil paints when tackling huge batches of figures, where the extended drying times make it easier to carry out blends on a large number of figures all at once.  It is almost like having a wet palette for your miniatures!

Finally, we end up with the Mastiff, who is one big puppy!!!

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Wyrm Lord

This unusual beastie had a very specific color scheme request, which is very typical when you do commission stuff.  We have been doing commissions for a very long time, since 2001.  Sometimes you get very interesting requests, and sometimes very unusual requirements!
You never know what that is gonna be, so you just have to roll on.

Most of the time they are very fun, and this limited palette exercise was as well, done entirely in oils!
Here is the image that I had to try and match…

What I love about the oil paints is the ability to mix very subtle color shifts right into the paint, instead of having to go back in with glazes, etc.  I was able to sneak in those warmer ochre colors with no problem!

I also experimented even more with glazing the oils.  Since the capillary action is even greater with oil paints than water, I thought this would be a very good proving ground.  If you see any of the vehicle painting exercises, you know that people do those “panel line washes” or “Pin washes”.

Those are made possible by that enhanced capillary action, as thinned down oils (white spirits only!) make the paint so much thinner, it can even flow “upwards” against gravity!

Now I make my own Paenel Line Washes… but it is quite interesting to do them on top of wet oil paint. 🙂  I am still quite surprised that it is possible to do so.  As I often mention during my live sessions, it is the layering of thick paint over thin, and then thin over thick, etc., that allows each of these very wet layers to stick to each other 😉
Here’s an example of the latest demo, which is going to be a YouTube tutorial video for the patron very soon:

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Steel Green

Whenever people would ask for advice on painting Non Metallic Metals, my response would always be to “reflect the environment around the figure as much as possible”.  
In my recent live demos and previous blog posts, I have been emphasizing that more and more… but there are a few other tiny touches which can also make those ‘metals’ a bit more interesting with a little ‘sparkle’.

The first post from this unit had a purple/lavender color as an ‘accent’ tone.  It probably did not even register to most viewers as purple, especially in person.  However, it was still there, just as there is a greenish accent here.

What this added color does is create a bit of “spectral” highlight here and there, as if light were refracting off parts of the surface.

This is especially helpful on larger, broader surfaces like many you see on this figure.  Otherwise it would simply be a sea of blueish gray!  Now that I see many of these NMM paint sets floating around, I feel that it is even more important to talk about this concept.
In some recent articles, I suggested that the best NMM paint set is whatever colors you are already using on your miniature and base!  This really is the case… as incorporating as much of the surrounding color as you can into your metals (no matter what it might be reflecting) will make the viewer believe that those surfaces are in fact metal!

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Secret Weapon: Top Secret

During another great hangout on the Styrene Syndicate, I was working on a vast number of projects all at once, which is pretty much normal!  I was also trying to get a few more units ready for the next battle report, and this ambulance was one of them.

There was not much time, so I had to do this one quickly.  I brought out a few key paints, such as the Vallejo washes that I save for painting greenish vehicles in a hurry, along with the Reaper Liner paints and Secret Weapon Weathering paints.
I employed my usual system of placing the washes and wiping away the excess with the sponges and my larger brushes.  You can see this process under way on the cab.

Mixing in Blue and Brown liner every so often to darken or alter the color temps a bit, I worked towards the back of the Citroen truck (a resin and metal figure from Warlord Games).

On the canopy, I used a little more of the sepia wash, and made sure to scrub quite hard as I wiped it away from the recently painted ambulance markings.  The idea was to try and wipe some of those away, as markings on cloth/canvas can fade and crack away more rapidly because of the flexible surface, etc.

Then it was time to do a bit of dust and fading with the Secret Weapon Weathering paints!  This worked in reverse of the darker shading washes.  I wanted the lighter ‘dust colors’ to stay in the crevices where the canvas was stretched over the frames.
Again, this all had to be done very rapidly, so I could not employ the oil paints as I normally would.

I also made sure to have these glazes go over the top of the ambulance markings, which would give me a second type of weathering and wear on them.

I also did this on some of the stowage too…

Once that was completed, I needed to quickly apply some dirt and dust to the wheels and undercarriage.  There are dozens of Secret Weapon weathering paints now, and this one is quite perfect for that… and it just so happens to be called “Light Dust”.

As before, this was applied mostly as a wash, and wiped away.  There were plenty of crevices and crannies to leave some behind!  The Secret Weapon paints are designed to ‘flow’ a bit like oils, and they are also meant to dry extremely flat, or matte.  
This gives them the extra bit of realism, as they match the kinds of textures you see in dust, rust and so on.

One more substitute… this time adding the dust paint with some weathering powders.  I just wanted to apply a few quick blotches of this here and there.  Again, normally I would use a set of mud products for this phase, but I only had about an hour for the entire painting process!

I went back over some parts of the tires with (you guessed it) Tire Black and a few other colors designed to use on tires.  They just think of everything…

After some spatter and a few other quick details, this was all set for the next battle report, The Bridge to Nouvion!!

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Guerre Des Chars

I painted these vehicles during a recent hangout on the Styrene Syndicate, having quite a bit of fun!  Eventually I want to be able to create a few battle reports that include these Renaults, plus the completed Somuas and Char B1 Bis.

Eventually I may use them for Vichy French in a Torch campaign, or possibly for Syria.

I have not tried to replicate any specific DLM units yet… I think that process will have to come later when I can figure out the best way to make more new vehicles, or acquire existing tank kits.  Lately I have learned a great deal about how to scratch build vehicles!

These were painted with acrylics, using mostly Secret Weapon Weathering paints (that includes the camo colors as well)

My intent was to film a battle report with them right away, so I wanted them to be as dry as possible.  I also wanted to demonstrate what the Secret Weapon paints could do.

Once things calm down here a little, I will try to do more Twitch broadcasts.  I think those will be even more useful than the Facebook live sessions for longer painting processes such as painting a platoon of vehicles!  Those seem to be geared more for a “worktable” session, as opposed to a single very targeted lesson.

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Stepping Stones

One of my favorite miniature lines is Siren Miniatures, for a few reasons.
First, there is always a lot of wonderful detail, but not at the expense of “paintability”.  Even though there is a decent amount of details and other elements, you can still paint these up without much tedium or difficulty.
There’s also quite a bit of flow and movement in the poses, even when the subject is a dwarf like this guy!
Check out the rest of the collection on their website:

He’s also available here:

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The Clan Escher

At long last, the group image of the entire Clan Escher that was painted a while back.  This was the very first non historical unit that I tried painting in oils.
When I worked on these, it was much earlier in my exploration of using oils on figures.  I have discovered many interesting techniques since, and now I paint a much higher percentage of the figures strictly with the oil paints.
In particular, I now have many more high saturation oil colors than I did initially.  In fact, I now have a number of metallic oil colors… I was quite shocked to find out that they even existed at all.

Here’s another look at the facebook live session which shows the beginning of the process:

I have been prepping some more 40k figures that I will try out in oils as well.  These will be turned into new Painting Pyramid tutorial videos, done in multiple parts.
I have created some new pledge levels on the Patreon Page to cover this in more detail.  They are referred to as the “Army Painter” levels.  The lower levels give you access to the instructional videos via YouTube links, while the higher levels get you hard copy USB drives with high resolution versions of the edited videos!
There is an ultimate Army Painter level which also gets you the figures themselves…
You can check that out on the page here:

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The Bridge to Nouvion

To wrap up this latest terrain building series, I wanted to show you how things looked on the table.

As a reminder, I wanted to “extend” the banks of the river a little bit without having to create a new one.  So, I found these older tree stands I had made and revamped them:

I was extremely happy at the way the ground up loose leaf tea leaves matched the battle mat!  This is still the grassland/forest mat from TableWar.

This view gives you an idea of how much the river is now extended.  There is now rough ground extending several inches on either side, which should create the obstacle that I need.
Creating a bridgehead on the opposite bank will be difficult, but there are significant victory point rewards for doing so.  I have also sculpted some boats for the Axis forces to use in this mission!

This is the sector where most of the British forces will begin the game.  Again, the mission is to evacuate as many units off the board as possible.  They are going to have to use the road, unlike the supporting French units which are acting as a holding force.

The Long Road to Nouvion and safety is going to be a hazardous one.  If British infantry units choose to take up positions around the embankment, they can still score some Victory Points by wiping out Axis units, but they are more valuable getting off the board. 

The road seems very exposed, but there are a number of tree stands in the way, which serve as dense terrain.  The British units will have to take advantage of the initial Axis waves picking their way through all the dense foliage, the marshy banks and the river itself.

As the game moves along, there will be additional areas for the Axis units to enter the board.  In the latter half of the game, they will be able to enter through this edge, which might give them an easier field of fire at the retreating British units.
There will be some French defenders in their path, and they might be well dug in by that point.

As another point to note… the bridge cannot be destroyed!  The British need it to retreat, and the Axis forces would prefer to keep it intact themselves.  I do intend to have other missions where demolition is goal, so don’t worry!
The Axis forces are primarily an advance probing force, which also contains some armored elements.  You might even see a certain commander from Arras in his Panzer 38T!

I will be curious to see if this game involves the kind of close quarter fighting that was seen the the last battle report… Blood At Arras. There will be a larger contingent of Axis AFV’s this time around, so I think that might get in the way.
Here’s a link to that one to get you caught up:

If you recall back to the original post, the idea behind these new terrain pieces is to make them as multi purpose as I can.  I had hoped to use this embankment as a ridge line in future battle reports, with trees and gun positions at the top.
You can see those smaller tree stands on top of the ridge.

This is the reason I did not sculpt in the usual road tracks, choosing to create the impression of such an effect with flock only.  Now that my tree stands are in place, the “road” is effectively invisible!

I am painting the rubber boats and other odds and ends which will make their first appearance in the “Bridge to Nouvion”.  Changing the missions, terrain forces and various units in each of these reports takes a great deal of time, which is why it is taking me a bit longer to get each one made.  Once the terrain and the units are completed, it will be a little easier!
Any support that you can offer on the Patreon Page is also a huge help, since it offsets the many hours of building, painting, terrain construction, filming, editing and so on!

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The Old Made New!

Since I didn’t have the time to create an entirely new river terrain piece for the next battle report, I thought it would be a good idea to find a way to “expand” the existing river piece.  
After watching a few documentaries on the Battle or the Boyne, I learned that even small rivers sometimes have very impassable terrain on either bank.  Marshy, boggy and bushy embankments that are almost more hazardous than the river itself!
So, I hunted around and found some old terrain pieces that I had made for another game system, which looked a lot like large old trees which were decaying in marshy, boggy ground.

While I was flocking the main ridgeline/road terrain piece, I thought I could spruce up these old pieces and see if they would work.

Originally, these were designed for a game system where figures could really interact directly with terrain.  That is why the whole piece is relatively flat.  However, that makes it perfect for this task, and by adding some bushes to it, it will break up the round profile and make it better suited for Bolt Action.
It will reflect the rough terrain that I want, but also offer more cover for entire squads.  The other game system had figures which were much larger, and fewer minis as well.

It didn’t take long to have some nice greenery placed on the bases, which were old DVD plastic protective pieces.  Those date back to the Painting Pyramid video series, where I had to burn and label over 1300 DVD’s!

Following the same process you have seen in the other foliage posts, I sprayed the moss with the water and glue mix through the misting spray device and added a few colors and textures.

The initial layers are done by mixing the fine, dark brown flock with the scraps of greenish flock, followed by lighter layers of fluffier green flock.  This will “shade” the plain bright green moss, almost as if you were painting miniature bushes.

You can see the difference this makes, especially when you carry the fine green flock up the sides of the trees like moss… ironic, I know!

I didn’t forget to add my loose leaf tea “deadfall” however!  In the next post, you will see how this brownish color will blend in perfectly with the battle mat!

This piece is my favorite, as it is a tree that I sculpted 17 years ago out of wire and Sculpey!  Originally it was designed as a photo backdrop for our minis, but we learned right away that it was better to have a simple blue/white faded backdrop for that purpose.
I had ripped it off that ‘diorama’, but it had been damaged after many years of neglect.  I was almost going to toss it out, but I fixed it up instead and turned it into a terrain piece for another game system.
Now it has been reborn once again!

I really love how it looks now with the added flock and foliage.  In many ways, this is how I originally envisioned it… but didn’t have the knowledge and experience that I do now.

So, let’s have a quick peek at our handiwork…

I was amazed at the transformation of these pieces, which took less than 30 minutes.

Stay tuned for the next episode, where you will see all the new pieces combined for the brand new Ardennes terrain board.  I am almost set for the next battle in the series, “The Bridge to Nouvion”.

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