Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

My best to all of you for a happy new year!

And happy new year from the boss too!
(I'll be in such trouble when she sees that I snuck that one in). 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A nice haul this year!

Mrs. History PhD did a great job this year! Some excellent swag! First:
It's one that I really needed!

From Picoarmor, she got me heavy cavalry in bicornes and command to match (which you'll see here shortly, as I've already started on them), as well as some very nice looking MiG-27's! Also the new M132 Zippos and a pack of UH-1B Gunships from GHQ:
Which will end up as Heavy Hogs:

And to top it all off, an assortment of desperately needed paints and eight of GHQ's Bunker Boxes!! A not-so-subtle hint that she wants some of my ocean of minis off of HER bookcase. Wait...I had that bookcase for many years before we were married. How is it HERS now? Best not to bring that up and disturb the domestic felicity. 

Thank you sweetheart! I knew I was right to keep you! Yikes!! Run, everybody!! She read that!!

Happy Christmas to you all. I hope you got masses of great wargaming stuff from Santa!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The anticipation is killing me!

Today, a padded envelope addressed to Mrs. History PhD arrived from Picoarmor!! It was immediately whisked away to a secure, undisclosed location! Eeeeeeeeee!! What can it be!?!
Oh, please please please!!! 
Mrs History PhD always chooses the BEST Christmas gifts! Even more amazing, given that she's a Buddhist! 

I'll just have to wait for two more days. Oh, the agony!!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

3mm Saxon command stand

I've been tinkering with my 3mm Napoleonics over the last few days. Although these little guys actually paint up quite quickly, I've just been poking along. For me, a hobby is supposed to be leisurely. I already get too much "work" at work. 

I'm not the most technologically adept person in the world (are any academics?), so when it came to the subject of standards for 3mm command stands, I enlisted a bit of help. I had no big problem reducing images to a size appropriate for 1/600, but my home printer's best resolution was still quite grainy and indistinct. Luckily, at work, we have an ultra-high resolution industrial printer and Gerold in the Drafting Dept. was kind enough to give me a bit of his time. I think he was a bit bemused by the tiny flags (he's not a wargamer), but he quickly got them looking quite crisp and professional. Thank you Gerold!

So, without further ado, two companies of Saxons of the First Battalion, Kürfurst Regiment: 
The other two companies are still in the works. Alternatively, they could represent the entire regiment in larger scale games, with the addition of the second battalion's command stand. 

I clipped off the flag and pole cast as part of the standard bearer figure. It was easily replaced by a short bit of .015" galvanized steel wire. I made the pole a bit taller than it really ought to be, just as my printed standards are a bit bigger than true 1/600 scale. These little guys benefit greatly from an extra bit of eye-catching "bling" and slightly over-sized standards on extra tall poles really help with that, as well as aiding in identifying the standard at arm's length. 

As with the supernumeraries at the back of each company, my command stand figures aren't intended to be historically correct in either number or placement. They're purely for decoration, given that the standard itself is the actual point of the stand. 

These white uniformed, bicorne wearing infantry with red facings can easily represent Saxons, Spaniards, Dutch, French in the short-lived 1806 uniform, and possibly early Italians, so separate command stands facilitate this interchangeability. 

More from me next time!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

My first 3mm Napoleonics!

I've finished my first stand of 3mm Napoleonics: 1806 Saxon (or 1808 Spanish) infantry:

They're mounted on a 40x20 steel base. I was torn about how to present them. By companies? Battalions? Whole regiments? Or even brigades?  In the end, I decided to give myself some flexibility. Each stand can represent a company, allowing me to depict units in a square, etc., and I can put four on a sabot base to field battalions or in larger scale games, each stand can be a battalion in its own right. For a company, it's about 2:1 and for a battalion, it's about 10:1. To expand the possible combinations, I'll do command stands separately so that the standards don't tie the units to just one identity. They can depict any nationality that the uniform is appropriate for simply by changing command stands.

Before anyone starts crying "burn the witch!!" and "heretic!!",
I am well aware that the supernumeraries I have at the back of the stand are not historically correct in either number or position. I put them there simply as a bit of window dressing to make the stand more attractive. 

Onward to my first command stand!

"And how do you know that she is a witch?" "She turned me into a newt!!.....I got better"

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

This is moving right along!

I've about finished my first few 3mm Napoleonic Saxons. Given that these things are really too tiny to paint in a traditional, straight-forward "miniature painting" style, I've elected to go with the Kandinsky method of Impressionism:
That's his "Autumn in Bavaria". It's not a landscape, but it gives that impression. 

Not really soldiers, but painted to give the impression of soldiers:
Up close, and I do mean CLOSE, they appear fairly messy. However, from a gaming distance, they look quite good, if I do say so myself:
It all blends together well at this distance. 

Black was far too dark for things that ought to be black, so I used Vallejo Basalt Grey (869). Dark enough, but not too dark. Facings and pompon in electric red to give a bit of "bling" to catch the eye. 

I must say, heavy dry-brushing certainly goes faster than actual painting! Now I have to set about shrinking down a Saxon standard from a 6mm template. More on all of this shortly!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Oh my God, these are tiny!!!!

Today the U.S. Post Office finally deigned to deliver my 3mm Napoleonics from Picoarmor.

Holy Hell, these things are tiny for real! Quite some time ago, I ordered the American Civil War sample pack, just to have a look. Those figures are small, around 4mm I'd guess, but these Napoleonics are smaller yet. They really are 3mm. 

The first step has been to lightly glue them to popsicle sticks and prime them a light grey, then give them a fairly heavy black wash:
Sorry, I don't yet have a macro lens for the new iPhone 6.

Next up is a heavy dry-brushing in the main uniform color. These got three coats of white (the black wash bleeds through too much on the first two), as they will serve as both Saxons and Spaniards. At this tiny scale, only their command stands and standards will set them apart, so it seems a nice plus to be able to use them as any white-uniformed bicorne-wearing infantry:
Now I just need to pick out a few details, bicornes, muskets & bayonets, faces, etc and this first lot is finished! Wow! These things paint FAST, as long as you don't get too anally-retentive about it. After all, they're going to be seen en-masse from four or five feet away. 

Stay tuned for more as this progresses!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Fencers and iPhone cameras

A couple of new developments to report in this installment, in addition to bemoaning the fact that my 3mm Napoleonic troops, mailed in Chicago on Monday morning are STILL not in Houston as of early Friday evening!!! Damn it!!!

Firstly, I've been working on two Soviet Su-24 Fencers:
The Su-24 was designed as a solitary, deep strike aircraft, specifically for targeting high value enemy installations; NATO airfields, command and control nodes, etc. Although nuclear capable, the majority of their planned operations were to be conventionally armed. The Su-24, which entered service with the Soviet Air Force in 1973, was modeled on, and was a direct response to, the U.S. F-111:
Both aircraft shared many design features, as well as carrying out similar roles. Although the Fencer was designed for deep penetration raids, it was also expected to carry out tactical strikes in support of frontline ground troops. 

As you can see from the top two photos, the Fencer was a very trim and elegant aircraft; highly unusual for anything designed and built behind the Iron Curtain. Tumbling Dice's rendition doesn't do the real thing justice and it's definitely not one of their better sculpts. It's noticeably blocky and chunky. However, it's the only choice for a Fencer in 1/600: 
As usual, Dom's decals; a superior product. 

As you may also notice in the above photos of my Su-24, I have upgraded to an iPhone 6 since my last post. While the iPhone 6 Plus has an excellent camera (by cell phone standards), the damned thing is HUGE!! It's definitely too large to be conveniently carried, so I opted for the somewhat smaller iPhone 6: 
Although the camera isn't quite as impressive as that on the 6 Plus, it's vastly superior to what I had before. Hopefully it will provide you all with better quality photos to look at. 

Ok, back to painting. More next time!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

YOU did this!!

I blame all of YOU for this!!
Yes, YOU, with all your talk of confounded new-fangled 3mm Napoleonics. You know full well that I'm an addict!! You have NO business whatsoever in chattering away like magpies on about the gorgeous sculpts and the bright colors and the stunning mass effect!! YOU, I say! YOU are at fault for this next order I make to Picoarmor!!
I see you all hiding there behind the sofa! And you, the one in blue! Sheepishly staring at your shoes won't help matters!

Mrs History PhD will have my scalp for this!! I hope you're all happy now!!
Heads will roll! I am NOT taking the fall for this all by myself!!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!

Actually, mine looked like this:
Thai turkey lettuce wraps!  Mrs. PhD is as good at cooking as she is at painting! Watch out for that red sauce! It's like Hiroshima in a bowl!!

I hope you all have a great day and eat far too much! 

To my followers outside the U.S., don't worry! Eating a large meal of roast turkey with all the trimmings on the last Thursday in November is a basic human right! Please speak with the nearest ex-pat American in your country and an invite to eat will be forthcoming! 

Back to painting tomorrow! 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Polish Fitter A's this time!

I've run out of Wargame Accessories steel bases and given that next week is Thanksgiving, I imagine the ones that I've ordered won't arrive until the following Monday. So this weekend, I didn't get much painting done, but I did manage to finish two Polish Su-7B Fitter A ground attack aircraft: 

In the early 1980's, the Soviets and the Poles were in the process of replacing the Su-7B (with the Su-17/Su-20), but it wouldn't be fully retired until 1990. The vast majority of Polish Su-7B's seem to have been in a plain aluminum finish:
Only a few were painted overall very light gray (as in the top photo), and since it was unusual, that's what I've chosen:

The Su-7A was an interceptor and entered service in 1958, but was not wholly successful and just under 200 were built. It was retired in 1965, having been replaced by the MiG-21. The Su-7B was the main Soviet ground attack aircraft of the 1960's. It entered service in 1961 and was also never seen as an entirely satisfactory aircraft, as the operational range was fairly short at just 1025 miles (980 km) and it had a very limited payload of only 4400 lbs (2000 kg). Despite this, 1,650 were produced. The aircraft's shortcomings drove the development of the Su-17. 

More from me during or after the long holiday weekend!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Polish Fitter C's and Soviet Hinds

I've been feeling in a bit of a 3mm rut lately, what with churning out loads of East German and Danish vehicles over the last 3-4+ months, so the aircraft binge I've been on lately has felt pretty good. I'll have to get back to vehicles, as there's still so much to get done, but I'm in no huge hurry. That being the case, I've been working on my first Polish fixed wings, as well as my first Soviet helicopters. 

First up is a Polish Su-20 Fitter C, it being one of the export versions of the Soviet-built Su-17 ground attack aircraft:
As you can see, some squadrons painted the air intake cone red and others used green. For no particular reason, I opted for green. Here's my rendition:
I never apply decals to the undersides of the wings. At 1/600, these little guys will only ever been seen from above, so it's a waste of effort and decals to put them on the bottom. When doing this Su-20, something I've seen a thousand times, but never really thought about, hit me. Cold War Polish aircraft had national insignia on each side of the fuselage and each side of the vertical stabilizer (the "tail"), but none on the upper surfaces of the wings! Lower surfaces, yes, but not the tops:
That seems odd to me. Perhaps that's been changed since Poland joined NATO? Also, as an added aside, from 1918 until 1993, the Polish checkerboard insignia was always presented with a red square in the upper left-hand corner (as viewed). In 1993, this was changed to a white square in the upper left, as a break from the Communist era. 

Next, I've added two Soviet Mi-24 Hind F gunships to my growing aircraft collection. The real thing:
And mine:

The Hind D entered service in 1973-74 and had a four-barreled 12.7mm Gatling gun mounted on the chin:
However, very early in the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan, it became blatantly obvious that the weapon did not pack a heavy enough punch. Beginning in late 1981, the Hind F entered service, which replaced the machine gun with a twin-barreled 30mm cannon:
In reality, the Hind F became operational in the autumn of 1981, but for my purposes, I'll assume that the Soviets pushed this forward by a few months, knowing that war with NATO was imminent. 

Ok, I'm headed back to the painting desk. More 3mm goodness from me soon!