Monday, 29 December 2008

Garamante Warrior Sec. I A.C.

Manufacturer: La Meridiana Miniatures
Item Code: AN54-21
Scale: 54mm
Material: White Metal 
Sculptor: Pongsatorn Kanthaboon
Review Publication Date: December 29th 2008

AN54-21 – “Garamante Warrior sec I AC” is a 54mm white metal figure from La Meridiana Miniatures’ “Rome’s Enemies” range of figures. Sculpted by historical miniature sculptorPongsatorn Kanthaboon, the box-art is painted by Italian box-art painter Danilo Cartacci.

Seemingly based on the Plate A Illustration 3 of Osprey Publishing’s “Rome’s Enemies (5): The Desert Frontier” , this figure is almost exclusively based upon a comparison of written sources with later traditional costume. He has the litham face-covering worn by many Saharan tribesmen and the skin cloak associated with the most remote tribes. His spear was made in the Sudan, and he is otherwise armed with a sling. The huge leather shield would later be known as a lamt.

While Romanesque subjects certainly are not uncommon, models representing the enemies of Rome’s desert frontier certainly are. In fact, I do not recall there being any other scale figures representing the Garamante. Despite an annoying casting seam, the casting of the figure is generally very good and captures the sculptor’s art very well. Overall, La Meridiana and Pongsatorn Kanthaboon have put a very neat and very unique figure out to the market.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

German DAK Panzer Crew Set

Manufacturer: Alpine Miniatures
Item Code: 35072, 35073, 35074
Medium: Resin
Sculptor: Yukio Honma
Box Artist: Artur Miniszewski
Review Publication Date: November 30th 2008

In true Alpine Miniatures quality, this figure set exemplifies the individual approach to military dress by all ranks of all armies which was seen during the desert war. This is the first set of figures Yukio Honma has sculpted for Alpine Miniatures; I am sure these will not be the last Alpine figures we see from this sculptor.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Demystifying "The Thing"

If you are a regular reader of this Blog you may recall back in May 2008 I mentioned "The Thing". You may also recall that at the time I was reluctant to broach the subject, and that I said I would reveal all soon. Well, that soon is now about 6 months later, and indeed about 3 months since "The Thing" took place. In actual fact "The Thing" will perhaps not be as exciting or intriguing as some may think. And no, it is not an addition to the family!

"The Thing" was simply, and certainly by no means am I trying to downplay the event nor the near nuclear fallout effect it has had on our lives, my wife and I immigrated to Australia.

This was not a rash decision. Nor did the process take place overnight. Indeed, this was about 18 months to 2 years in the making.

So why leave SA? Our reasons were and are numerous. But mostly we were wanting more security, both in the economic and personal sense. Unfortunately SA, due to the extreme poverty in Africa, has become governed by thugs and violence. While I am not referring to the current government, because I believe the pre-'94 governments were little different, I cannot help but wonder how a man who sings about and dances to revolutionary songs about his AK-47 could possible be fit to govern the jewel of Africa. Naturally there are many more reasons which I will not discuss here mostly due to space, and it becomes almost easy to find them if one becomes negative enough and justify the decision.

Of course I have to add, that I have always wanted to leave South Africa. My mother reminded me of this when I broke the news to her that we had decided to start applying for permanent residency in Australia.

So why Australia? When we decided to leave SA, we put together a shortlist of countries we were interested in moving to, and realistically could move to. The final 2 being the United Kingdom and Australia. While my wife has family in the UK, we decided on Australia - mostly for the way of life, but also the weather - my wife is very much a summer person.

So why the secrecy? Well there was and was not secrecy around this. For one thing, the decision to pack up one's entire life, particularly if you are fairly settled in, is difficult enough. Talking about it and sharing it with one's friends is just as hard. Then of course there were also professional reasons. We took a decision not to tell anyone about our intention to move. One of the reasons for it was the negative impact it potentially could have had on our careers. My wife worked for a rather temperamental (mostly just mental in my opinion) woman who in all likelihood would have instructed her to leave immediately had she told her of her intent. In my case, I was up front with my boss as I needed the references for my visa. However I decided it best not to repeat it in modelling circles as it could have unsettled the status quo of the site I was managing, and cast doubt and unsettle vendor relations.

So what has this got to do with a scale modelling Blog? Probably nothing. But, this is my Blog, and it may also serve to inform all why there has been such a slow down in my modelling of late, as well as my decision to resign from Historicus Forma.

Over the coming days and weeks, I will probably be discussing more on the move to Oz, our experiences as well as a very brief comment on my decision to resign from HF.

Oh, and just for the record: my modelling stuff has arrived in Australia, and I am reviewing figures again. I have however decided to become a little more subject focused. I have decided to return to my roots and my own interests, and thus will be focusing on Roman and WW2 subjects again. That said, I also have a modern Russian figure set lined up for review. I also have several projects lined up for 2009 already, but I would prefer not to discuss them until I get going with them.

More soon. See ya later.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Platoon's 12SS HJ Normandy ala Tan: Part 4

(A forgotten update prior to the big move)

Priming and undercoating

Having split the figure into manageable sub-assemblies and cleaned them up, I always prime a figure. There are many different ways to prime a figure, and some folks prime, others don't. As with so much in this craft, it's a personal choice.

One of the reasons I like to prime is that it helps to highlight where I may have missed a seam or flaw, and allows me to rectify it prior to it only being picked out by a dry-brushing which makes it glaringly obvious. Another reason is that I believe it provides the paint something to bite into. Whether this is true or not I don't know, but it works for me.

I prefer to prime my models with Tamiya's Surface Primer. I'm not to hassled whether I use the white or the light grey. After priming, Calvin's technique calls for a second primer coat, this time with black. I should mention that this isn't priming, as Calvin calls it, this is actually an "undercoat". Again, I'm going with a Tamiya product. No particular why, other than it's what my LHS stocks. And that's good enough reason for me.

Prior to priming, I place bits of poster tack over parts I don't want primed. All this really does is saves me from having to scrape the paint away later when I need to glue a piece down. In this case I placed the tack in the arms sockets, collar area and on the hip where the bread bag et al would be located. I rolled sausages of tack as well to hold the parts while they were being sprayed.

Below you see first the primed parts, and then the undercoated parts.

If spots were missed by the primer, or the primer is scraped down where a seam is fixed, there's no need to reapply primer, the undercoat will cover it. If however spots are missed with the undercoat, these should be filled in as the undercoat is essential to Calvin's technique. You can simply brush any missed spots in with your acrylic black paint.

Next up we get into the real painting of this figure: the head! Fasten your seatbelts, this is going to be a bumpy ride. :)

Monday, 3 November 2008

Platoon's 12SS HJ Normandy ala Tan: Part 3

(A forgotten update prior to the big move)

Putting the paint before the assembly

All to often we are asked by newcomers to figure painting "Should I assemble the figure, and then paint? Or visa versa?" And the answer is always a frustrating one: it depends. It really does depend. It depends on the skills of the painter, the complexity of the paint scheme, the pose of the figure, the subassemblies of the figure, and the list goes on.

I tend to treat every figure differently, but generally I do try to assemble as much as possible prior to painting. If you're not sure whether to assemble first, a trick I use is to dry-fit the figure together with poster tack, and then simulate painting using the various brushes I'll later be painting with. If I struggle "painting" the figure in the dry-run (excuse any pun), guess what? I'll struggle when the brush is loaded with paint.

In the case of this figure, the only part I could safely glue on prior to painting was the entrenching tool. The rest will be painted separately. This is partially due to the camouflage, partially due to the hand of the arms in relation to equipment, and partially due to some of the techniques we'll be trying out later.

Below you'll see the parts (with the exception of the rifle which will be painted much later) in their sub-assemblies next to the can of primer which will be used shortly.

Friday, 17 October 2008

WSS Panzer Crew Set 44-45

Manufacturer: Alpine Miniatures
Item Code: 35066, 35067, 35068
Scale: 1/35
Material: Resin
Sculptor: Taesung Harmms
Review Publication Date: October 15th 2008

35068 – “WSS Panzer Crew Set 44-45” is set of two 1/35th scale resin figures sculpted by Yoshitaka Hirano (modellers may recognise the name as being that of the owner of the Yoshi range of products: he has also done various sculpting commissions for other similar model manufacturers). The two Waffen-SS Panzer Crewmen, both wearing camouflage clothing, are portrayed in fairly neutral stances, perhaps discussing a course of action or best angle of attack. Released in June 2008, the box-art is painted by regular Alpine box-art painter Artur Miniszewski.

Both figures are also available individually as figures 35066 WSS Panzer Officer 44-45 and 35067 WSS Panzer Crew 44-45.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Painting & Finishing Military Figures with Rob Henden

Manufacturer: Compendium Films
Item Code (ISBN Number): 978-1905573-69-1
Media: DVD (seems to be an All Zones DVD)
Presenter/Author: Rob Henden
Review Publication Date: July 8th 2008

This was the first DVD (and indeed piece of reference material) I have had to review, and probably one of the most difficult reviews I have had to write. It's not that the product is poor - in fact far from it. Despite the fact that it was not quite what I expected (no, I had no idea who Rob Henden was prior to the review), or the poor editing, the DVD is actually quite good. But... it should have been titled "Airbrushing figures with Rob Henden" or something like that...

Monday, 23 June 2008

Sertorian Legionary: Groundwork done

Well, this really is rather embarrasing. Yes, I really am still busy with this figure...

Actually, in a previous post I jokingly commented on making monthly updates to this thread. Quite unintentionally that was a month ago. Anyways, here's the progress over the last month or so...

I'm pretty much done with the groundwork. I'm not really too happy with the grass, as I think it needs more highlights and shadows. But... the missus took a look and gave me the "hands of the groundwork now!" command. If she's happy with it then best safer not to argue.

It's really just the sleeves of the tunic that have been finished off. Again, not crazy about them, but... The cloak has been BC'ed with VC822, and then had a wash with Citadel Black Ink. Oh, and I discovered how much I really hate the Citadel pots: when I bumped the black ink pot over on my workbench! Anyway, no use crying over spilt paint.

I'm going to have to get a move on with this figure - I really don't have much time left...

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

German SS Unit Insignia: Badges GSS-001 - GSS-019

Manufacturer: The Regimental S-4
Item Code: Badges GSS-001 - GSS-019
Scale: N/A
Material: Resin
Sculptor: Nick Majerus
Review Publication Date: June 17th 2008

Have you ever completed a figure, vehicle or diorama depicting an action of a particular SS division and wanted to add just that little something extra to make your base stand out from the rest? How about wanting to add the divisional insignia to your base to clearly define your model’s represented unit? Generally speaking the only quick option has been to print it out and paste it to the base. And we all know how inks fade and paper yellows over time.

The Regimental S-4 has just the solution for you then. The Regimental S-4, a model figure company owned and operated by sculptor Nick Majerus, although specialising in mostly US subjects have a very unique line of products entitled “Badges”. And they are exactly that: badges. Cast in resin the series currently comprises of “U.S. Army Unit Insignia”, “German SS Unit Insignia”, “German Luftwaffe Insignia”, “U.S. Military Awards” and “WWII Desert War Unit Insignia”.
The subject of this review is the nineteen “German SS Unit Insignia” currently available, items GSS-001 through GSS-019.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

A forgotten Sertorian Legionary update

This is actually an update from a few weeks ago. I posted it on HF but somehow forgot to post it here.

  • Face has now been finished off. Not 100% happy with it personally, but the missus likes it so I guess it'll do.

  • Scarf has been finished off with a wash followed by a series of highlights followed by a glaze.

  • Helmet's done.. don't ask me how, quite honestly I can't remember... I sort of followed Daniello's method substituting a few items for others I had...

  • Plume... Hmm, worked on this today. Started off with a BC of VC822 plus a dash of black, followed with a heavy wash of Citadel Black Ink. Then DB'ed the BC, followed by a couple more lighter coats. Finished off with another wash of Black Ink. Suspect the ink has toned the highlights down too much though... might have another pass with the highlight...

  • Mail has been treated with a wash of Lamp Black and Burnt Umber oils.


And yes, that really is clingwrap ("seran wrap"?) around the figure. Picked up the tip from Mike Butler over at Medrom. Prevents finger oils from contacting the figure and rubbing off the paint.

The mail was allowed to dry overnight, and was then treated to a Tamiya Smoke wash. I'm don't work with Tamiya acrylics too often, so I thought I'd better give a chance to dry properly overnight - probably overkill...

The groundwork as also been treated to a series of dry-brushings. To be honest I can't remember the colours, so it's probably not a good idea to ask me...

Monday, 12 May 2008

Platoon's 12SS HJ Normandy ala Tan: Part 2

Preparation: Information Gathering


The first thing I do when starting any figure is to look for reviews of the topic. Now unfortunately it appears the only review of this figure is mine. In a way that's a pity, as I would have liked to have seen if the experiences of others were the same as mine. On the other hand, it's quite flattering.

Next I'll look for painted versions and interpretations of the figure. Again a search, albeit a quick one, yields nil. It's always nice to see how someone else interpreted the figure, although it's important not to merely clone their figure.

That was the "informal" and easy part of the information gathering. The next phase can become time consuming but it's an important stage as it will not only help you ascertain the accuracy of the figure (if that is important to you), but it will help you place the figure in terms of groundwork as well as defining your colour palette.

These are the references I used when reviewing the figure:

  • “Waffen-SS Soldier 1940-45”. Warrior 2. Bruce Quarrie. Illustrated by Jeffrey Burn. Osprey Publishing. 1993.
  • “Waffen-SS in Combat”. Robert Michulec. Colour Plates by Ronald Volstad. Concord Publishing.
  • “Waffen-SS (2) From Glory to Defeat 1943 – 1945”. Robert Michulec. Colour Plates by Ronald Volstad. Concord Publishing. 2000.
  • “German Combat Equipments 1939-45”. Men-at-Arms 234. Gordon Rottman. Illustrated by Ron Volstad. Osprey Publishing. 1991.

However as I now need to actually paint and place the figure, not only will I recheck these references, but I browse through more sources including Wehrmacht references.

Something else I tend to do before undertaking a figure is to browse through my figure modelling books. For this figure the two books in particular that I referenced are:

  • "Modelling Waffen-SS Figures". Osprey Modelling 23. Calvin Tan. Osprey Publishing. 2005.
  • "Modelling Fallschirmjager Figures". Osprey Modelling 31. Jaume Ortiz Forns & Daniel Alfonsea Romero. Osprey Publishing. 2006.

I also reread though an excellent camouflage article on HF to help motivate me: Painting 3 Types of German WWII Camouflage by Pete Becerra Jr.

As I mentioned though, during this build I will be applying Calvin's technique, so his book will become my primary reference.


Preparation: Supplies


Having gathered enough information (is there such a thing as enough information?) I put together a preliminary list of colours I will be using on my palette. In recent times I've gradually been moving away from enamels and oils to acrylics. Unfortunately my wife appears to have some sort of allergic or chemical reaction to oil based paints and solvents so I need to minimise their use when she's around. And so, I've gradually been replacing my trusty old Humbrols with Vallejo's Model Colour range, as well as acrylics by Citadel and Tamiya where the Vallejo's are unavailable. Unfortunately Vallejo is not too popular in South Africa, and only one LHS in Cape Town stocks them. Colours like Sunny Skintone seem to always be out of stock, and you're not always guaranteed to find everything you're looking for, and so you are forced to substitute where you can.

But back to the list of colours, as I said, this is a preliminary list of colours I'll be requiring:

VC# Chart Pos Name Comment
837 7 Sand light  
915 14 Deep yellow  
845 20 Sunny skintone Out of stock. Sub w/ 815 Flesh Tone
909 28 Vermillion  
835 37 Salmon rose  
899 50 Dark Prussian  
833 80  
975 89 Military green ja  
890 90 Reflective green  
889 91 Us olive drab  
924 94 Russian uniform WWII  
896 99 Cam.extra dark green  
830 102 German fieldgrey WWII Out of stock. Sub w/Tam XF-22
821 103 Ger. cam. beige WWII  
986 110 Deck tan  
988 115 Khaki  
847 123 Dark sand  
824 128 Germ. cam. orange ochre  
981 131 Orange brown  
875 135 Beige brown  
984 140 Flat brown  
921 141 English uniform  
873 142 Us field drab Out of stock. Sub w/?? Maybe English Uniform or Burnt Umber?
825 144  
985 146 Hull red  
871 147 Leather brown  
822 150 Germ. cam. black brown  
950 169 Black  

I'll also be using Humbrol Silver 11 and Tamiya X-21 Flat Base.

Tip: Prior to going to the LHS I always make a complete but preliminary list of all the materials I'll be needing for the project. I then cross off all the supplies I already have. You will note I sort the AV colours by chart position so as to make finding them in the LHS's paint rack a bit easier.

Paint however is not all we need to finish a model, is it? I'll also be using Tamiya filler putty, CA glue, epoxy glue, paper clips for pinning parts, paper or plasticard for straps, brass or fuse wire for buckles, and maybe the other odd bit or bob.

How about the base and groundwork? I have a general idea in mind of what I want to do. Something rather simple in fact, the figure's going to be complicated enough as it is, no need to recede my hairline further by complicating the groundwork. The groundwork will probably consist of epoxy putty, fine gravel, static grass and the odd root or twig. Later I'll add some WS Flock and grass.

Now that I have gathered the supplies, it's time to start cleaning up the figure and preparing the groundwork.

Platoon's 12SS HJ Normandy ala Tan: Part 1

Against my better judgement but doing it for the sake of my HF peeps I have decided to participate in Historicus Forma's latest contest: The Pegaso Painting Contest 2008 (PPC2008). For more info, check out Historicus Forma - see the link in my sidebar.

The figure I've selected is one I reviewed a few months back, Panzergrenadier ‘Hitlerjugend’ 1944 from the Platoon range of figures. Here's the review: In-box review

These first pics are those of the box art and not my work:

These are the parts in the box, and as I have yet to start still in this state:

I am an absolute glutton for punishment. Not only do I hope to finish the figure on time, but the plan is to paint the figure using techniques described by Calvin Tan in his "Modelling Waffen-SS Figures" book which was published by Osprey a few years ago. These are techniques I've never tried before.

To compound the situation further, the plan at the moment is to attempt to paint 3 different SS camouflage patterns on this figure. I'll not say which schemes or which parts yet, but know this: this is the most "technical" figure I've yet to undertake as this will be my first real attempt at camo (previous attempts being bad attempts a BDU and choc chip many, many years ago).

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Elizabeth I (1533 - 1603)

Manufacturer: Ademola 22
Item Code: 200 0019
Scale: 200mm
Material: Metal
Sculptor: Roman Rux
Review Publication Date: May 11th 2008

Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603) reigned as Queen of England and Queen of Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Often referred to as The Virgin Queen, Elizabeth was the sixth and final monarch of the Tudor period. While certainly not without her own problems and controversies, subsequent to the short reigns of Elizabeth's brother and sister, her forty-five years on the throne provided precious stability for the realm and assisted in fashioning a sense of national identity.

Ademola 22’s 200 019 Elizabeth I (1533 – 1603) is a 200mm scale resin bust sculpted by Roman Rux with him also having done the box-art. The figure represents Queen Elizabeth I of England during the latter stages of her life. The sculptor does not appear to have based the sculpt on anyone single artwork, but appears to have used various artworks of the regent as a source.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Great haul, and yet...

Time for what seems to be a monthly post. Apologies, things have really just been a bit crazy with trying to get things sorted for "The Thing". I'm not quite ready to discuss "The Thing", but I promise I will be spilling the beans soon. Probably towards the end of the month, but inevitably everyone will know soon anyways.
Anyways, as the title says, "Great haul, and yet...".
About 2 days ago I received a phone call from a good friend of mine, Roland, who happens to run a hobby shop. "Rudi, my old chum, my old mate, oh great guru of model related items" he says (okay... he didn't say "old chum"), "I've just received a call from a fella whom is selling an Aztek airbrush, in wooden box with 3 nozzles and a hobby compressor for R500." Now I won't get into the exchange rate discussion or even the math, but know that R1 (ZAR = South African Rand) equal about US$7-8. This is one good deal!
"What's wrong with it?" I says, being all too sceptical of this all too good sounding deal. "Well I haven't actually seen it," my chum says, "but apparently nothing. This dude needs cash urgently, today even, and is desperate to sell. I don't know too much more, but he bought it from Brian (the owner of another LHS) a few years back." Now, knowing what Brian sells, I probably have quite a good idea of the value of the item.
"Hmmm," I thinks doing the sums in me noggin (not only did I pass Matric with an A in mathematics and do 'varsity maths, but I can multitask!), "this all is worth over R2000 at least. The compressors sell for at least R1000-1500." Roland gives me his number and I prepare myself to tackle the next huge hurdle: clearing this transaction with the missus!
I'll spare you the embarrassment of me discussing (i.e. asking permission) this with the lil' lady, which I think must have brought a big smile to the faces of my colleagues, so we'll leave it at she said yes.
So, now having permission, I ring the seller up - no answer. A bit later, I ring him again - he answers. Turns put he's actually visiting Brian's store, which is not 5 minutes from where I'm working. Since it was near quitting time, I asked him to wait there for me.
With ants in my pants I eagerly watched the clock drag it's lazy arms for those 15 minutes before rushing out, telling the security guards to sod their Apartheid style car search.
Their waiting in Brian's store was a rather rough looking middle-aged gent. Unshaven and looking the worse for wear he'd definitely seen better days. We took a stroll out to his little hatchback sedan. I noted the Zimbabwe plates.
As we chatted, he revealed he had been working for a gent up in Zim, keeping the farmer's equipment running for many years. The gent had recently passed on through a series of unfortunate events: partially due to the state of that nation, partially due to illness, partially due to money hungry family members. The mechanic had been promised something for his years' service, but this had not materialised due to the meddling of aforementioned family. Now, he had moved down to SA in the hope of making a new life. Hard up for cash he was now selling off his modelling gear.
I checked the brush and compressor, I paid him and we parted ways.
But why the title "Great haul, and yet..."? Well simply because when I got home I gave the gear a really good looking over, and it's in great condition for stuff about 6-7 years old. Without a doubt, I've scored big time here. Seriously a great bargain! Great haul!
And yet... I feel guilty. I know the guy is hard up for cash. I know this stuff is worth more. I know if he had gone to a pawn shop or waited a few days more he could have got double, if not triple, the amount I payed him for it.
Should I feel guilty? I paid him exactly what he wanted...

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Lord of War 3

Manufacturer: DraconiaItem Code: FAN-03Scale: 54mmMaterial: MetalSculptor: Phillip DamontReview Publication Date: April 30th, 2008

Draconia is a relatively new figure company brought to us by Jose Jarque, who also brought us Ares Mythologic. The range of figures currently comprises of 30mm and 54mm fantasy figures. The subject of this review is the third of the four Lords of War: the 54mm “Lord of War 3”, or “Lord of the West, Brother of the South, North and East, Maestro of the Steel”.

FAN-03 “Lord of War 3” is a 54mm white metal figure sculpted by Phillip Damont with box-art by José M. Palomares. The warrior is portrayed wearing garb with a mixture of Asian influences advancing holding two large and dangerous looking swords.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

12 SS Grenadier Set

Manufacturer: Alpine Miniatures
Item Code: 35060, 35061, 35062
Scale: 1/35
Material: Resin
Sculptor: Taesung Harmms
Review Publication Date: April 23rd 2008

In 1943, while stationed in an Italy under the administrative control of the SS, Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler seized immense amounts of Italian camouflage clothing. The 1929 Italian pattern camouflage, or telo mimetico ("mimetic cloth"), later used to equip the 12th SS-Panzer Division Hitler Jugend and Leibstandarte’s own recruits, was used in the manufacture of many garments, from suits in the same cut as the “pea dot” suit to tunics in the same cut as the M44 suit. Perhaps the most famous of these garments was the camouflage coverall worn by the 12th SS-Panzer Division Hitler Jugend in Normandy.

35062 – “12 SS Grenadier Set” is set of two 1/35th scale resin figures sculpted by Alpine’s owner Taesung Harmms. The two camouflage clad Hitler Jugend grenadiers are portrayed on patrol in Normandy during 1944. The poses are a departure from Alpine’s traditional more neutral pose. It is also worth mentioning that, as far as I can tell, this is the first 1/35 scale figure set from Alpine to include a MP40 submachine-gun.

Released in January 2008, the box-art is painted by regular Alpine box-art painter Calvin Tan (Calvin’s blog describes the set as being “12.SS Pz.Div HJ PzRgt.25 Normandy 1944”). Both figures are also available individually as figures 35060 12 SS "HJ" Grenadier NCO and 35061 12 SS "HJ" Grenadier.

My review on Historicus Forma

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Lord of War 1

Manufacturer: Draconia
Item Code: FAN-01
Scale: 54mm
Material: Metal
Sculptor: Phillip Damont
Review Publication Date: April 8th 2008

Draconia is a relatively new figure company brought to us by Jose Jarque, who also brought us Ares Mythologic. The range of figures currently comprises of 30mm and 54mm fantasy figures, the first of which (and the subject of this review) is the 54mm “Lord of War 1”, or “Lord of the North, Brother of the South, East and West, Maestro of the Magic”.

FAN-01 “Lord of War 1” is a 54mm white metal figure sculpted by Phillip Damont with box-art by José M. Palomares. The warrior is portrayed wearing garb with a mixture of Asian influences standing feet astride holding a pole-axe type weapon.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Climbing back on the horse

As you might have noticed, possibly due largely to the fact that I have yet to actually make my first editorial on HF, I've not had much time for modelling these past few weeks. This is mostly due to getting the house ready for sale. That is now done and our house is on the market, but now my brother-in-law has arrived from the UK for a surprise visit. It’s been almost 4 years since we last saw him so it’s good to have him around. Oh, and to top it off, I have been sent back to JPMorgan – this time I have not been spared the pains of OneDesk and I have virtually no ‘net access. Despite all these goings on, I have managed to steal a few minutes here and there, for real modelling mind you, not the virtual kind - i.e. reviews, editorials, or even simply surfing the model sites.
But I digress so slightly. I'm back on the Sertorial Legionary horse after rushing and taking a fall. No matter though.
- The figure was stripped down, and primer applied again.
- I took on the face again, and although not really satisfied with it, I guess it's passable.
- The neck scarf has again been blocked in and the first highlight put on - next will be a wash and then a series of highlights.
- The helmet is being painted using Danilo Cartacci's bronze technique. This time I used Tamiya clear orange instead of mixing my own orange using Citadel inks.
- I've blocked in the hair as well as the plume.
This is were it's at:

I'd say more soon... but we'll see - history has proven otherwise... ;-)

p.s. since taking these pictures last week I have since attempted the eyes and done the final shadows and highlights to the face.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Panzergrenadier ‘Hitlerjugend’ 1944

Manufacturer: Platoon
Item Code: PT-030
Scale: 1/35
Material: Resin
Sculptor: Tony Williams
Review Publication Date: March 16th 2008

During 1943, a cadre from 1.SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (LSSAH) provided the basis of 12.SS-Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend made up for the most part of 17 year old members of the Hitler Youth. Led by Eastern Front veterans from the 1.SS-Panzer-Division LSSAH, the HJ developed a fierce reputation during the battles in Normandy during 1944. After fighting their way out of the Falaise Pocket, they were refitted and took part in the Ardennes Offensive. Involved in heavy fighting around Budapest, they later marched west to surrender to US forces near Enns, Austria, in 1945.

PT-030 “Panzergrenadier ‘Hitlerjugend’ 1944” is a 1/35th scale resin figure sculpted by Tony Williams with box-art by Luca Cardoselli. The youth is portrayed walking carrying helmet in hand, with his Kar.98k carbine with attached Gewehrgranate Schiessbacher slung over his right shoulder.

My review on Historicus Forma

Saturday, 8 March 2008


Manufacturer: Yedharo Models
Item Code: Bu001
Scale: 1/10
Material: Resin
Sculptor: Fausto Gutiérrez
Review Publication Date: March 7th 2008

The 2007 historical fantasy film adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel 300, a fictionalized retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae, broke box office records, yet also managed to divide critics over its look and style. While some chastised it for placing a greater value in visuals over characterization and its contentious portrayal of Persians, others revered it as a creative masterpiece.

Undoubtedly one person who felt this film was a masterpiece must have been Fausto Gutiérrez, the owner, designer and sculptor of Yedharo Models, as the movie has served to inspire the addition of 3 products to the Yedharo stable, namely two 1/10 scale busts and a 54mm figure.

Bu001 Spartan is a 1/10th scale resin bust sculpted by Fausto Gutiérrez with box-art by Jesús Martín. The figure represents King Leonidas, as played by Gerard Butler, during the early stages of the film when the plot is being set – possibly consulting the ephors or oracle.

My review on Historicus Forma

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Sound Familiar?

I must apologise for the the lack of posting these last few weeks. I'm sure you can all relate to my situation...
After the period of the last posting, the missus decided that now is as good a time as any to paint the house - IN & OUT! So, as small as my house may be, I have spent the last 3-4 weeks painting. Not figures - walls! Not with model paint - with PVAs! Not with sable hair brushes - with rollers! Sound familiar?
I suppose I should be happy that the house looks nice, but throw me a freaking bone here! I need a break! No more house painting already!
Now you might be thinking why don't I paint figures at night? Well, I'd love to, but I can't get into my room!
Okay, let's change the topic ever so slightly.
I've been in regular (okay, this is me we're talking about: irregular) correspondence with the host of another, much more hardcore, figure forum. In discussing various issues, but mostly him imparting much appreciated advice upon my person, he mentioned I should consider doing a regular editorial piece on HF. Be a little more edgy, ruffle a few feathers.
So, as soon as the KitMaker Network comes online again (I think they got wind of my desire to editorialise and decided to just shut down the whole Network! LOL), you will start seeing Tarok's Tales becoming an editorial type column on HF as well. It'll be a duplicate of what gets posted here, except totally different! No - just kidding. I'll post the editorial type stuff both here and on HF. My WIP stuff, what little there is, will remain as is - here as a blog entry, and on HF and MedRom as the regular type of thing... So if you read both HF and my blog and think "That sounds familiar" - it probably is!

Saturday, 9 February 2008

LAH Officers Kharkov Set (Max Wünsche LAH Kharkov & SS Pz NCO LAH Kharkov)

Manufacturer: Alpine Miniatures
Item Code: 35057, 35058, 35059
Scale: 1/35
Material: Resin
Sculptor: Taesung Harmms
Review Publication Date: February 8th 2008

In spite of the vast fatalities, Kharkov was a timely victory for Germany, gained in no small part through the efforts of 1st SS-Panzer Division Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler. In every other theatre on every other front the German armies were in retreat, and the propaganda value of the triumph was enormous. The red square in Kharkov was renamed “Leibstandartplatz” in the division’s honour and on March 21st, Hilter awarded Dietrich Swords to his Knight’s Cross.

35059 – “LAH Officers Kharkov Set” is set of two 1/35th scale resin figures sculpted by Alpine’s owner Taesung Harmms. The two Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler (LAH) officers, both wearing winter dress during the LAH’s deployment to Kharkov, are portrayed in neutral stances – the first, portraying SS-Sturmbannführer Max Wünsche, adjusts his mittens while the other, a Senior NCO, poses with his hands (closed) on his hips, his attention drawn to his right. Released in December 2007, the box-art is painted by regular Alpine box-art painter Calvin Tan.

Both figures are also available individually as figures 35057 Max Wünsche LAH Kharkov and 35058 SS Pz NCO LAH Kharkov.

My review on Historicus Forma

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Whatever is produced in haste goes hastily to waste

The medieval Persian Sufi poet Saadi (1184 - 1291) said it best: "Whatever is produced in haste goes hastily to waste." This was certainly true when it came to attempting to paint the Sertorian Legionary for The Missus in a single day. But let me start at the beginning - or rather just after my last post.
Provided you read my previous post, you will know that I decided late in the day to paint a 54mm historical figure for The Missus' birthday in basically a week. To recap, by last Tuesday night I had basically cleaned up the figure, primed it and started basecoating the skin and neckscarf - this was revealed in my previos post.
What was not revealed, largely due to continuing work after posting, was the preparation of the base for the groundwork (see the next 2 pics below).
I started by gluing the vendor supplied groundwork down onto the base, which was scavenged from an old football (soccer) trophy. After positioning and epoxying some stones on the side to imply a rock face, I placed masking tape around the sides where I wouldn't want spillage (be it glue, putty, sand or paint) later.
Next I would be building up a slightly sloping ground with plastic ceramic clay, but I first wanted to give the clay something to hold onto. Probably unnecessary, but I decided to do it anyways. I drilled a series of 1mm holes into the wood base, and cyno'ed short pieces pieces of brass wire into place. This would also give me an idea of the contours I was planning.
I let that set overnight, and the following day proceed to build up the groundwork with the plastic ceramic clay, placing the odd rock here and there. While the clay was still setting I also pressed some fine sand into place so that I could get an idea of of what it would look like later.

While I was quite knackered toward the latter part of the week, I didn't want to lose the momentum I had built at the start of the project. So I decided to continue working at the groundwork. Using Woodland Scenics terrain glue (basically watered down white glue) I glued down some GW sand and stone mix for texture and then covered that with a fine sand I had collected from the garden a few months prior.
The two sides of the base that would not be the main focus, the left and rear, were coated with a textured sandstone acrylic paint which I bought from a arts and crafts store. Once all of this was dry I removed the masking tape. You can see the result of this in the next 3 photographs. Please bear in mind that I haven't autolevelled these photos so the lighting isn't that great...

Okay, so up until now Saadi's quote isn't really appropriate becuase everything is more or less going to plan... the base is looking good, the figure is ready for painting and I've organised with the outlaws to spend the day with The Missus and keep her out my hair while I try this "speed painting" thing. But then Saturday happened...
After shipping the lassie off I finally sat down to paint at about 9 AM. To be honest I have no idea where I went wrong. Sure, I tried a new fleshtone mixture, and a different method of painting bronze. I can only attribute the (quite frankly) shit finish due to 1) my haste in painting and 2) a lack of practice of acrylic painting throught the year. So... a long story short, due to my haste, I will now be stripping the figure down and starting again.
Thank goodness The Missus isn't too phased - she's just chuffed at the prospect of getting a figure that has been specially painted for her. That and her main present was an iPod! LOL

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

First figure for 2008 underway

At the last minute this past weekend, in true "Rudi fashion", I decided that I would paint a figure especially for The Missus' birthday. So what's the big deal you say? The big deal is simply that her birthday is on Monday 21 January, and I normally take weeks - okay, okay, months - to finish a single figure. So for me this is a real case of speed modelling. That said, if I finish it: cool. If not: no worries, I have other gifts for her. But... I really do want to finish it for her.

So what's the figure already? El Viejo Dragón Miniaturas’ CG130 Roman Legionary, Sertorian Army, North Hispania, 74BC Why this figure? Not reason other than that when looking through my box of review samples she said she liked this particular figure the most. Don't think I need a better reason.

With every figure I undertake I like to try at least one new technique. And, since my copy of Danillo Cartacci's Painting Miniatures arrived last week, I've decided to try 2 of his metal techniques, namely bronze and mail. These should be interesting to try.

Another new technique I'll be trying to painting a Meditteranean skintone. I picked up a list of different fleshtone "recipes" off CMON a few months ago, and have been itching to try them.

Enough about what I want to do, and onto the job at hand...

I started the cleanup and polishing the helmet and mail coat last week Thursday at "Model Thingie".The helmet and mail were then masked using Humbrols Maskol (gawd the stuff reeks!) before priming the figure with Tamiya Light Grey Surface primer.

Started painting last night. Flesh basecoated using AV Cork Brown. Not that it's visible from this photo, but the neck scarf has been basecoated with GW Scab Red.

And that's pretty much how far the figure still is tonight. I started working on the groundwork tonight as I am a bit too tired to paint a 54mm face. At this point Monday is speeding towards me and I have no idea if I'll recover enough time to finish the piece. Maybe, just maybe, I can steal a few more hours during the week. I'll have to chat to the in-laws and get them in on the conspiracy to get her out the house on Saturday for a few hours. As it is I still need to charge and load her pressie - and nope, I ain't telling nobody what I bought her ;-) :-p


Thursday, 10 January 2008

Validating one's work

So you'll notice I've entitled this post "Validating one's work", so you should be warned that this is just a little rant. So this is how the story goes...

On Saturday evening I published my review of Alpine's 1/35 scale "WW2 German Officer Set". Now what many don't realise is that it takes time to put a fairly decent, or even a fairly mediocre, product review. I worked on the review on and off over about 10 days, I'd say total time including photography - which itself takes me about 1.5-2 hrs to take the pics
with my crappy camera and resize and fix them. Now let's talk upload time... it's weekend, the review needs to get published, I have no choice but to use my home dial-up (our older readers may remember those - well in darkest Africa most of us still use these due to parastatal monopolies - but that's another rant for another time). So add another 1-1.5hrs for the upload of the photos.

K... so we're talking max 12hrs working time for a review which takes a reader about 10 minutes to read and browse the pics. And here's my main gripe... after the 12 working hours, and the 10 minute read, and (at time of rant) 464 times the review has been read.... I get one comment... sheesh people, give a reviewer some feedback! How are writers supposed to know if the other 463 readers found the review useful? If you think the review sucks, or is unfair, or is just another product endorsement like some other reviewers I could mention give.... for heaven sake say so!

Now please, don't get me wrong. I really love doing figure reviews. I love it from the moment the moment I first open the box through the research (and how I love the research - it's probably my favourite part) through the photos (pain in the arse they may be to me) to the final publication and seeing my opinion in print. (I get the same feeling from being a business analyst and doing the requirements stages)

I just really want some validation for my work.I don't think that's too much to ask is it?

Rant ends here

BTW, I'd added the link to the review to my list of reviews.

BTW2, I finally got the Platoon 1/35 Panzer Assault Gunner published last night as well. Gawd, it took me long enough to get that one out...

Cya later

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Panzer Assault Gunner, 1944

Manufacturer: Platoon
Item Code: PT-029
Scale: 1/35
Material: Resin
Sculptor: Yoshitaka Hirano
Review Publication Date: January 8th 2008

Germany’s distinctive Panzerbekleidung is normally associated with the Panzer division’s tank crews, or with the SS. Furthermore, it is easy to forget that this service dress was not only issued in black or camouflage patterns. It was also issued to other branches within the Panzer divisions in feld-grau, such as the Assault Artillery (Strumartillerie).

PT-029 “Panzer Assault Gunner, 1944” is a 1/35th scale resin figure sculpted by Yoshitaka Hirano with box-art by Luca Cardoselli. The gunner is portrayed in a casual pose seated pose mid-cigarette - the box-art shows the gunner seated on the turret of an unidentified vehicle.

My review on Historicus Forma

Saturday, 5 January 2008

WW2 German Officer Set

Manufacturer: Alpine Miniatures
Item Code: 35054, 35055, 35056
Scale: 1/35
Material: Resin
Sculptor: Taesung Harmms
Review Publication Date: January 4th 2008

Initially issued to motorcyclists and military police, from 1944 the rubberised motorcyclist greatcoat was privately acquired by many officers and senior NCOs in the frontline. This recent release by Alpine Miniatures is an excellent example of how the garments were worn.

35056 – “WW2 German Officer Set” is set of two 1/35th scale resin figures sculpted by historical miniature sculptor Krisztian Bodi (a misprint on the box insert states that the figures were sculpted by Alpine’s owner Taesung Harmms). The two German Officers, both wearing rubberised motorcyclist overcoats, are portrayed in a casual stance – the first leans against an unseen object with documents in hand, while the other poses with his hands in his trouser pockets.

Released in October 2007, the box-art is painted by regular Alpine box-art painter Jaume Ortiz Forns. Both figures are also available individually as figures 35054 WW2 German Officer #1 and 35055 WW2 German Officer #2.

Review on Historicus Forma

Friday, 4 January 2008

What a day...

Sheesh, what a day! Ever have one of those days when you were incredibly busy but feel like you accomplished nothing? Well, I have those a lot, and today was definitely one of those.

I started the day by forgetting to copy the Alpine pictures I resized last night from my laptop to my memory stick - so that's kinda delayed the publication of the review for a day or so.
The day at work started off really slow... then sped up to such a rate than no sooner had I finished lunch than I was going to fetch SWMBO from work.

I must admit my first day back from leave yesterday was okay... but today was just a drag! Feel like I need leave again...

So... I didn't get to publish the Alpine review... but it is done (honest) and should be tomorrow night. Then I start on the LAH set. Actually started researching Max W.... last night. Will be interesting to see how close Taesung managed to make the likeness,

BTW, you'll notice I've added a list of links to all my reviews down the side. Feel free to either comment on HF or mail me about them. I'm always open to constructive critique.


Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!! May 2008 bring you fair winds and calm seas.

So... 2007 is done... Hmmm, all those unfinished projects... oh well, no use groaning over what's done - or this case what's not done.

I've set myself the personal goal of completing all those old projects by June (that's 2008 in case anyone asks ;-) ). Reason? You'll find out later in the year ;-)

I managed to put in some more work on the one Alpine review, the WW2 German Officer Set (guess I let the cat out the bag, eh? Consider this a head's up of a forthcoming review ;-) ), and the review should be published toward Thursday. The photography is done, just to resize and watermark, and the review itself is about 75% of the way. Unfortunately I'm back to work tomorrow so it's back to modelling by candle light while Eskom continues to loadshed. Best make sure the laptop's batteries are charged.

Well that's all from me tonight... still trying to recover from the party at my brother's place... those shots of Jack and my sister-in-law's awesomely wicked punch are still taking a toll :-D LOL

Have a great 2008 everyone!

Carthaginian Infantryman, Hannibal’s Army

Manufacturer: El Viejo Dragón Miniaturas
Item Code: CG131
Scale: 54mm
Material: Metal
Sculptor: JR Arredondo
Review Publication Date: December 4th 2007

El Viejo Dragón Miniaturas’ CG131 ‘Carthaginian Infantryman, Hannibal’s Army’ is a 54mm white metal figure sculpted by JR Arredondo. The figure is briefly described by the historical reference accompanying the kit as being a soldier from Hannibal’s army, prior to their crossing the Italian Alps.

My review on Historicus Forma

WW2 US Tank Crew Set

Manufacturer: Alpine Miniatures
Item Code: 35051, 35052, 35053
Scale: 1/35
Material: Resin
Sculptor: Taesung Harmms
Review Publication Date: September 7th 2007

The one piece coverall was part of the Army clothing inventory throughout the war. Initially issued only to mechanics and armor crews, the comfortable and economical garment was later used by truck drivers, signal corps linemen, and also for general infantry use, especially the jungle version for troops in the Pacific.

There were two main types issued to the Army prior to and through World War II: “Suit, Working, One Piece, HBT 1938”; and “Suit, One Piece, HBT OD Special 1943”.

Alpine Miniatures’ 35053 WW2 US Tank Crew Set, a 1/35 scale resin figure set sculpted by Taesung Harmms and box-art by Artur Miniszewski, masterfully displays both the coverall types as worn by a pair of members of the US Armored Forces. Both figures are also available individually as figures 35051 WW2 US Tank Crew #1 and 35052 WW2 US Tank Crew #2.

My review on Historicus Forma