Tuesday, January 14, 2014

It's been One Week...

It's been a productive week after getting the air brush. Monday and Tuesday were a struggle - even to the point of nearly throwing in the towel - but Thursday and Friday were very productive. It's like it suddenly just "clicked". I've gotten a lot better with mixing and flow control.

Mind you, assembly of everything pictured was done in advance. But still, 23 Polish, 24 French, and 32 British figures base coated; two ruined buildings and a corner wall section near complete; another ruined building almost there; and an M10 beginning to weather. Yeah, it's been a very productive week! This little experiment is starting to pay off tremendously!

Painting vehicles will definitely be an improvement. I had been using a spray can base coat and then just washing it with some ink and brushing on the Army Painter dip. I was happy with those, but this is going to take my vehicles to the next level - weathering, camo, etc. Even painting the tracks was a vast improvement over brushing them. 

I'm pretty much hooked at this point. I wanted to try a color scheme for some Rangers/Mediterranean GIs and thought this would be a good test to see how well I can airbrush in tight corners and to a finer level of detail (as opposed to the monochrome basecoats)

Not too shabby. 
As for the color scheme, I think it could work... I may try one monochrome in Field Drab and use the Khaki more for packs and gear with the occasional Khaki jacket (NCOs, weapon's crew, etc.).  That and maybe trying a slightly greener or darker khaki on top with the brighter khaki for packs and gear.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Adventures with an Airbrush

After this past Black Tree Design (BTD) 50% off sale, I'll have a lot of metal to paint up for various armies. Plus I've been doing a lot of terrain building and painting, so with an Amazon GC from Christmas in hand, I figured now would be as good a time as any to see if an airbrush was for me.

Since this was primarily an experiment, I wouldn't be getting anything too extravagant and would curb my expectations as well. 

I found this Master G22 starter kit for under $50. With that $25 GC, this would be a minimal investment to experiment with. 

I had primered the metal figures as usual with a matte black primer by Army Painter. Apologies for the lousy photo... black on black is tough to see otherwise.

These are the French and Polish by Warlord Games; the BTD figures haven't arrived yet. They both wore similar color uniforms so this should be a perfect example of any potential efficiency to be gained using the airbrush to base coat large lots of minis. 

I'll be using Vallejo's Green Brown for the base coat thinned with water. 

I had read the mix should have the consistency of milk, so I started with that in mind. I didn't know if we had any pantyhose  laying around, so I didn't strain the acrylic at all. This may have been a culprit of some of the issues to come, but I'll give it a try later to see if the results are any better. When I did get flow from the airbrush, it seemed very watery when it hit the metal figures. I tried adding some more paint and mixing, but this usually resulted in a no flow situation. So I would dump the paint mix into a cup and clean out the airbrush. I did this several times and as a result am getting much more proficient at disassembling and reassembling the airbrush - something I read to be one of the more time consuming and troubling parts of using an airbrush. Well, at least that's one obstacle overcome.

In the amount of time spent, I really would have expected to spray all of them, so there's still some things I need to figure out. Someone has suggested Tamiya's airbrush thinner and of course another recommendation for straining the paint mix through a pair of pantyhose.

If you have any other recommendations, please feel free to post below.

Here are some of the results - some taken midway through and a few others at the end when I called it a night.

Perry Miniatures Desert Rats

The British have arrived and are assembling to counter attack Rommel's Desert Afrika Korps. 

The value in this box is great - 38 plastic infantry with some support weapons available, including: 2" mortar(s), Boys anti-tank rifle(s), and Bren light machine guns. There is also a radio operator and officer. For even more customization, there are separate heads for SAS/LRDG troops: nine with Arab headdress and nine commando caps.

The detail on these hard plastic figures is excellent. As for the size, they are slightly smaller than a comparable Warlord Games Bolt Action miniature. The Warlord units have a slightly "heroic" build, whereas the Perry Miniatures are perhaps closer to scale when it comes to girth. 

As you may have noticed above, this LRDG soldier is mounted on a 25mm plastic base that you'd expect to find in a Bolt Action kit. These are not the bases that are included in this box set. The included plastic bases are also smaller. Since bases play a part in movement and range, I'd prefer that all my models be based on the same size bases when possible, so I purchased some extra Renedra 25mm bases to use with this kit. 

After assembling a few figures, my one complaint is with the manner in which the parts are fixed to the sprues. These lads won't be falling off - in fact, they'll have to be cut free and then filed down extensively to stand level. I suppose a minor quip, but one that will add some significant time to assembly.

I've also posted an unboxing video on YouTube which can be seen here: http://youtu.be/54uXoDu8Lz0

UPDATE (1/7/2014): It would appear that I never actually published this post back in August when I composed it. Since that time however, I ended up selling off the Perry Miniatures, along with the Armies of Great Britain book (which I later received new again as a Christmas present). I've replaced the Desert Rats with a platoon of Airborne and Commando models from Black Tree Design to be used as an SAS/Commando raiding platoon. The Perry Miniatures' figures were top notch; it's just that I've grown tired of assembling all things plastic. That Warlord Games Japanese Banzai Starter Box and Plastic Soldier Company Russians are still looming, but at least the Tommies are now all metal.