Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017 Welcomed in the Dungeon, SEAL Direct Action Team with JTAC painted

New Years was spent playing the WotC boardgame Dungeon (the 2012 version anyway) with the boys.  Instead of playing with the cardboard pieces WotC uses, I pulled in some of my Khurasan Miniatures Tom Meier Collection Fantasy Master Pack 15mm Miniatures.  Not only are they top notch sculpts, with penny bases, they worked out great on the Dungeon board as well as adding excitement for a 6, 8, and 10 year old boy.

15mm Tom Meier Sculpts from Khurasan Miniatures taking on WotC's 2012 Dungeon
To match the cardboard pieces, I've painted the penny bases with the colors of each class based on the color of the cardboard counters.  Red for Wizard, Green for Rogue, Purple for Fighter, and Blue for Cleric.

I also finally finished my SEAL (or other SOCOM) 8 member team.  I decided to keep it simple and do desert colors.  This reflects the use of camo by the Dept. of Navy, be they SEALS or MARSOC, or even Army and Air Force from tri-color DCU days.  At any rate, this eight member team includes one sniper with M-14, an M-249 SAW gunner, a JTAC with radios (and whatever might be flying in a few hundred mile radius that can drop something...) and 5 members with M-4 carbines.  Given rules for most games (for example, Osprey/Ambush Alley Force on Force), even those 8 members, properly utilized, are a force to be reckoned with!

I was very pleased with the acrylic ink wash I used instead of wood stain this go around.  For one thing, drying time is minutes, not hours!  Once again, on both sets of miniatures, I mixed used, dried, coffee grounds into the burnt umber paint for the bases.  Perfect 15mm ground texture for a rocky arid environment!  I'll have to find the link of the guy who got me into doing that... 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Wow, I haven't worked on this since 2009?!

I just picked up an interior detail kit from Black Dog studios out of the Czech Republic for the M1126 ICV kit from AFV Club for my AFV Club 1:35th Scale TACP Stryker

Obviously, some modification is necessary (if you look at the 2005 Air Force news article I linked in that earlier post) to make it work for a CV/TACP variant, but it is manageable.   Besides, there are so many ways to fix things that might not fit just right...  We had so much crap in those vehicles, it wasn't funny...  Such is mechanized warfare, why pack light when you stick ammo cans full of ammo in every crevice not filled with MRE's, AT-4 rockets, a set of cots, or someones assault pack?!

Speaking of MREs, I think Black Dog Studios is the first aftermarket kit, or mass produced kit for that matter, with a modern US forces in Iraq or Afghanistan NOT to have a set of MRE's in the kit...  Amazing! I never realized there were so many MREs just laying about...

The Workbench, picking up where I left off 7 years ago.
Test fitting the Drivers Compartment with poster putty (blue tac)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

24AUG16 Still kicking...

It has been way too long since my last update about those miniature bases I 3d printed out of black ABS plastic.  Since then, I got to priming and painting them!  Just some ultra-flat Krylon camo tan as my primer, and then the usual Delta Ceramacoat (i.e. cheap craft store paint) mixed with a secret ingredient I found over at Tiny Solitary Soldiers 15mm blog, dry used coffee grounds.  Yup, take your coffee grinds from the filter (or in my case French press) and let them dry out, mix them into your base coat paint (burnt umber in this case) and then you have a nice large aggregate for your miniature bases instead of compost!  I liked the effect.

Got some of my Khurasan Miniatures Soviets, GOTA Clan, BMP-1, and Super Heavy tank along with some Battlefront Team Yankee Soviets on the bases in this picture just to give you a sample.  My Khurasan Soviets have the usual Woodland Scenic's model railroad ballast glued to a black primed base.  I'm not liking how that falls off.  When they shed, I'll go ahead and repaint them with the mix of coffee grounds and acrylic!  I might still use a bit of the ballast for variety, they are ground walnut shell after all (perhaps another use for my walnut shell brass tumbler media in the future).

At any rate, here are the rest of the ABS printed plastic bases for penny mounted figures.  In the background you might catch the Battlefront miniatures bases I used to size mine to.  This will help me use my mix of penny based Soviets (and other miniatures) for games requiring multi-figure bases, while not requiring me to re-base all my miniatures.  Want some of your own bases to print?  Well here is my Father's Day post where you can find the Thingiverse link to my page and download them!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

19JUN16 Father's Day and a 3D Game Changer

Happy Father's Day gentlemen!

Hopefully your days featured at least one good board or wargame with the kids!  Mine was Star Wars Clone Wars edition Risk with my eldest.  A few months back, we played Star Wars FUBAR.  He's getting into games.  Obviously, he enjoys the miniatures and terrain more than the games...  But hey, he's 10.  I really have to watch out for my middle son though, he's a shark at Pente and Battleship...

Last post I mentioned making 3D printed bases for my 15mm miniatures.  I'm proud to state I carried out that decision and published my first Thing on Thingiverse.  In order to use my penny based 15mm infantry in Flames of Wars based games, I developed a quick and dirty 3mm x 50mm x 65mm Penny base tray for 15mm wargames (yup, its a long, but unique title) using Design Spark Mechanical from Allied Electronics and Space Claim.  I highly recommend this free program for aspiring mechanical designers and those experimenting with 3D printing at home.  It is an easy parametric modeler to use, especially if you have SketchUp experience.  I did not align the holes or anything, so for those who are type A about how lined up their troops on a base are, these will drive you nuts.  Fine, go download the native file format on Thingiverse and fix it.  In fact, I made these bases public domain, use and abuse.  All I ask is that you paint them up real nice and take pictures with your miniatures on them and post them were I can find them!

15mm trays for 6 miniatures.

I also indulged in building some bases for one of my favorite Games Workshop rule sets, their Lord of the Rings based War of the Ring.  Sadly, this game is no longer published by GW, but hey, I enjoyed the rules set offering and the miniatures are top notch.  Too bad GW has massive cranial rectal inversion disorder at the moment.  Anyway, for anyone who has the miniatures, or ones similar that need such bases, here you go:  WotR Infantry & Cavalry Company Bases.  With the WotR bases, I used Solidworks and lined everything up pretty square.  I also left the SLDPT files there for editing.  Use, abuse, have fun.  Just post pictures and let me know!

WotR Infantry and Cavalry Company Bases 

No, my rant about game changing technology...  3D printers are awesome for gamers.  I think miniature gamers especially should own them.  You can just about print your army these days if you have the right model files.  If you are a 3D CAD guy who can sculpt digitally, your print resolution and the sky are the only limits.  My FDM Lulzbot Taz 5 printer only lets me get down to about .1mm (100 micron) resolution, and has thus far been unsuited to small figures.  However, vehicles, bases, and other game terrain are not limited.  Hopefully I can get some more stuff out there.  

Sunday, June 12, 2016

12JUN16 Team Yankee Soviet Afgantsy Weapons

I am adding to my 15mm Soviet equipped force, this time infantry heavy weapons using Battlefront Miniatures Team Yankee miniatures this time.  I picked up some Afgantsy Weapons teams for $24 (US) at my local game shop, Dragons Lair Comics.

This weapons team gets me 9 AGS-17 (30mm automatic grenade launcher, similar to the US MK. 19 40mm launcher), and 9 AT-4 anti-tank missile launchers, along with associated assistant gunners and the like.

Compared to my Khurasan Soviet motorized infantry, the details are very similar, and the figures about the same height.  I don't think there will be too much difference painted up.  I'll likely mount them on pennies like the Khurasan miniatures, and then start building bases that will allow me to mount them for Team Yankee/Flames of War play.  What, a 3D printing project?  Sure, why not.  Perfect use for that machine.  What a shame...  I have to design something cool for my miniatures.

Cons of the Battlefront miniatures largely lie in the amount cleanup required.  Mold lines and sprue exist everywhere on these, such are the requirements of casting with soft metals!  Bent barrels and other features don't bother me in the least, after all 1:100 scale AK's and antennas will bend no matter what you do to protect the models!  I'm pleased with the level of detail.

Friday, June 3, 2016

15mm T-55 project

So, as I am about to embark upon making some Battlefront Miniatures Flames of War Arab-Israeli war T-55's...  a thought occurred to me.  Why not make them upgraded T-55AMV's of my fictional Red Equipped Nation (Upper or Lower Slobobia until I come up with a better name, as the US Army already uses Krasnovia at NTC for the fictitious name of the OPFOR).  A quick Internet search for images led me to this gem in 1:35

The Modelling News: In-Boxed: Takom's 35th scale T-55 AMV Russian Medium Tank

Wow, I'm almost ready to plunk down the money and get it in 1:35 as well.  It is an awesome kit!

In the mean time, I have Stackpole Books "Cold War Armored Fighting Vehicles" handy and have reduced the 1:72nd Scale drawing of the T-55AM down 72% to create a 1:100/15mm scale drawing of the tank for my project.  Check out the scale down guide from Fine Scale Modeler for other scale options.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

30DEC15 ACU in 15mm Followup Comments

Here were my first choices for replicating ACU using acrylic paint.  My cover, with SFC rank (a rank I obtained with the Alaska State Defense Force, I only ever made SSgt. in the USAF on Federal Active Service) was worn a lot and reflects a bit of the UV light exposure and field conditions with some cleaning done on it.  Obviously, it was nowhere near as bad as the cover I wore in Iraq that I sent to the USAF Museum along with my ACU's....  

Delta Ceramacoat Ivory, Dark Forest Green, and Hippo Grey mixed best to replicate the 1:1 scale reference source.  Ivory was the best base coat, mixed in with drops of grey or green as looked good at the time under a full spectrum Ott Light I use at my desk.

Here is the Khurasan US Army 15mm miniature that I have painted to be a USAF TACP (Tactical Air Control Party, AFSC 1C4X1 or the old 275X prior to 1994 or so) to fulfill Force on Force game role of TAC (terminal air controller).  Base coat was Ivory with some Dark Forest green (I'd venture to guess 15 parts Ivory, 1 part or less Dark Forest Green).  I used strait Trail Tan to paint the Interceptor Body Armor (IBA), boots, and backpack along with any web gear pouches.  Why?  Well, in 2005/2006 when I deployed with the 172nd Stryker Brigade, we had ACU uniforms and DCU or Coyote Tan everything else.  That means IBA covers, backpacks, web gear, and PPE (personal protective equipment like goggles and knee pads) hadn't caught up to the new ACU Universal pattern.  Boy, was there ever a mix of uniform camouflage schemes.  Wargamers simulating the "Surge" era and just prior shouldn't feel compelled to make US Army forces all wear the same gear types.  Depending upon when a Brigade Combat Team arrived in country, there were huge variations in uniforms.  Black, woodland, and DCU components can be spread liberally along with ACU Universal pattern for that period of 2005 through 2007.  Marines even had variations in uniform types, our ANGLICO counter parts wore desert pattern Marine uniforms with Coyote Tan IBA and web gear, but had the usual Marine camo backpacks as per 2nd MARDIV SOP at the time.  They go special permission, with their critical mission, to wear Coyote Tan assault packs to carry radios.  Uniformity has its limitations and disadvantages.

On my foreground mixing palette, you can see my base coat of the Ivory and Dark Forest Green.  I also tried, and I emphasis TRIED Foliage Green and found it mostly useless for the time being for ACU.  However, the gloves on the other hand might be painted with this color as it matches the Nomex or Kevlar gloves a lot of guys wore.  Gloves can vary even more so than other uniform components.  I've seen crazy mechanics gloves on Infantry grunts before.  Have fun!  

When I painted equipment, I added black to the Hippo Gray until I was happy with the color.  I figure I shouldn't use strait black on the miniatures themselves, and this will help with highlighting later.  I obviously opted for NVG's on all but my heavy weapons guys (who fires and AT-4 or Javelin with NVG's up anyway?  Well, I never did, so if you did, sorry, I ran out of NVG's and didn't put them on the Javelin guys or Sniper/Designated Marksmen).  I think they add a bit to the miniatures along with getting the point across that most, if not all, US units went out with NVG's when I was in Iraq (a result of lessons learned in Mogadishu, yes we ALL watch "Blackhawk Down").  Pardon the Transformer toy in the background.  Optimus Prime is watching over these fellas.

So far I'm pretty pleased.  I might use more green in my base for future ACU miniatures, or hit these guys with more of the green.  You really cannot see my efforts to put some of the light foliage green using a higher percentage of green in my Ivory base.  That is a problem.  Right now, they look like DCU's or Marine Desert more than ACU universal.