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.