December 28, 2014

Links & Web Jems & Other Digital Delights: Step-by-Step Armor Finishing Downloads our 2014 Update

Glenn Bartolotti has a excellent website devoted to Step-by-Step Armor Finishing articles that currently has 41 volumes . These are available as reasonably priced downloads in PDF format at $1.95 each.

The latest issue, no. 41 is devoted to a 1/72 IJA Type 95 “Ha-Go” Light Tank and is available now HERE

Glenn offers Vol. 35 as a free download so you can get a feel for his tutorials and what they entail.  This is different from many of his other products in that its subject is a 1/72 scale kit, and although he has done a few others for this scale, it has to be said that subject matter of this type aimed at braille scalers is relatively rare, and so is to be welcomed. The subject here is Dragon’s Sd.Kfz. 263 “Funkspahwagen” which, as Glenn states, is a very nice kit.

Product Spotlight: The Best of 2014- The Vallejo Game Air Paint Range

From the innovative leader in acrylic hobby paint comes an exciting new range of paints especially designed to compliment the popular Game Color range. Game Air has been designed with gaming and fantasy modelers in mind with a completely new formulation of new resins have been selected for qualities which up till now had not been achieved in water-based colors.
View & Order Game Air Here
View All the Latest Releases from Vallejo Here

From the manufacture:
Game Air is a new range of water-based, matte acrylic colors, developed especially for airbrushing. The strength, resistance and covering power of Game Air is superior to any acrylic airbrush color currently available and also allows for application by brush to highlight the smallest details of the miniature. The pigments have been selected according to their degree of light-fastness and optimum micronization. The effects of washes and transparencies can be obtained by diluting the colors; all colors and varnishes can be mixed together and diluted with Airbrush Thinner.
Game Air PDF Leaflet

Game Air Colors: The colors in the range have been selected in collaboration with modelers specialized in fantasy figures and dioramas, and the existing colors in the Game Color range have been taken into particular consideration. The names and shades of the most popular colors of Game Color have been maintained in Game Air, using the formulation and resins employed for Model Air (see Equivalency Table). 

Surfaces: Game Air has exceptional performance on all materials. The adhesion of the colors on resin, plastic, steel and white metal is extraordinary. Moreover the surfaces do not require previous priming. Only in the case of a very dark base may it be useful to first apply a primer in order to increase the brightness of the final colors.

Airbrush Thinner 71.261: The Airbrush Thinner can give more flexibility to the color without causing a loss of adhesion, opacity and covering properties The product also helps to delay the drying of paint inside the airbrush mechanism, so that is advisable to add a few drops of Thinner while working. For dilution with Thinner, the recommended proportion is 1 part Thinner to 3 parts paint .Distilled water changes the properties of Game Air but is not incompatible.

Airbrush Cleaner 71.099: Airbrush Cleaner is the solution for cleaning the airbrush between one color and another. The product quickly removes the remains of the old paint and also lubricates the airbrush without damaging its mechanism. While painting, the tip of the airbrush should be cleaned occasionally with a cloth moistened with cleaner to remove traces of dried color; this will prevent splattering or the clogging of the airbrush. Airbrush cleaner can also be used on the model as a stripper to remove paint or to correct errors in the application of the colors.

Surface Primers: The water-based acrylic-polyurethane primers dry quickly to the touch, and confer a mat, self leveling base coat of extraordinary resistance; the painting of the model can be continued almost immediately.

Airbrush and Compressor: The viscosity of Air Game lets you work with airbrushes as small as 0.2 mm without diluting the colors. Environmental conditions can alter the viscosity of the product and cause the need for further dilution. We recommend working with a compressor pressure between PSI 10-15

Vallejo offers four different water-based chemical formulas in these colors lines, each one created for a particular segment of the hobby market, but all compatible with one another.
Model Color and Panzer Aces are creamy, highly opaque acrylics formulated principally for brush application: the two ranges total some 246 matte colors and mediums, and 8 brilliant alcohol based metallic colors.
Game Color has been developed for tabletop games. The range consists of 119 acrylic colors, washes and inks; designed for painting small figures, the formula has a lower viscosity than Model Color and a resin more resistant to frequent handling. The colors provide opaque coverage without loss of minute detail.
Model Air is a line of 129 colors which have been formulated especially for airbrushing, although they are also frequently used for painting small details with a brush
Game Air is a line of 47 colors which have been formulated especially for airbrushing, although they are also frequently used for painting small details with a brush. In the formulation of this range various new resins have been selected for qualities which up till now had not been achieved in water-based colors. The strength, resistance and covering power of Game Air is superior to any acrylic airbrush color currently available

These product lines are further augmented with a line of Washes, and a complete assortment of Medium, Varnishes and auxiliary products.

December 24, 2014

Links & Web Gems: Figure Painter Magazine Issue 20 Now Available

Figure Painter Magazine Issue 20
Is Now Available for Download

THIS ISSUE IS HUGE! 120 pages full of miniatures goodness that will certainly sate your miniature lust J. Inside we have reviews from Fallen Frontiers, Olivier Bouchet, Siren Miniatures, Nocturna and Miniaturas Fortes. Luke Wilson and Ian Succamore continue their tutorials and Thor Intararangson and David Powell join the fray with tutorials on sculpting and painting an eagle statue base and a French Dragoon, respectively.

STILL THE BEST DEAL ON THE WEB! FPM is available as a downloaded PDF for less then $2.00 a copy.  FPM is a independent magazine dedicated to sculpting, painting, displaying, collecting and gaming with miniature figures from all genre's. The magazine has details on new releases, reviews, interviews with the industries top painters and sculptors, show reports, tutorials and a user gallery.

December 22, 2014

A Holiday Daily Dose for 22december2014

Christmas Cartoon by Bill Mauldin 
From Yank - The Army Weekly, December 25, 1944

Spec. 4 Ron Brault of Kansas City, Mo., eats dinner while sitting next to a Christmas tree sent to him by his parents. Bu Dop, South Vietnam, December, 1967

December 21, 2014

A Holiday Daily Dose for 21december2014

'Saluting Santa' December 7, 1918
by J.C. Leyendecker
'Soldier’s Christmas' December 22, 1917
by J.C. Leyendecker 
'Hanging Holly' December 21, 1918
by J.C. Leyendecker

Joseph Christian Leyendecker was one of the preeminent American illustrators of the early 20th century. He is best known for his poster, book and advertising illustrations, the trade character known as The Arrow Collar Man, and his numerous covers for The Saturday Evening Post. Between 1896 and 1950, Leyendecker painted more than 400 magazine covers. During the Golden Age of American Illustration, for The Saturday Evening Post alone, J. C. Leyendecker produced 322 covers, as well as many advertisement illustrations for its interior pages. Although Leyendecker’s art career was waning by World War II, he received commissions from the U.S. War Department to paint posters of officers like Eisenhower and MacArthur encouraging the purchase of war bonds. No other artist, until the arrival of Norman Rockwell two decades later, was so solidly identified with one publication. Leyendecker "virtually invented the whole idea of modern magazine design.

Product Spotlight: The Best of 2014- Uschi van der Rosten´s Metallic Polishing Powders

Every once in awhile a product so good and so useful comes along that you wonder how you did without it. After playing around with these polishing powders the last few days I can honestly say these are one of those products. Easy to use with great results, every modeler should have these nearby because you will find yourself reaching for them all the time.

Here's the scoop-  Uschi van der Rosten´s Metallic Polishing Powders is a range of complementary metallizers for creating a natural metal finish (NMF) of iron, steel or chrome. One of the most challenging jobs in scale model building is to turn plastic into metal and make it look like real metal rather than just a paint job. As Uschi says-  During the research for the release of this product, I followed exactly our goal: Make it look like real metal. I also had to keep Uschi´s key requirement in focus: Making things easy. Both have been accomplished and we now have another  powerful tool to make convincing NMF easy.

View and order here
USH-4008 Metal Polishing Powder Chrome 
USH-4009 Metal Polishing Powder Steel
USH-4010 Metal Polishing Powder Iron

Click Here for a Step-by-Step Sequence using an engine as an example

Here is an excellent short instructional video on how to use the Uschi van der Rosten metal polishing powders

December 20, 2014

Product Spotlight: The Best of 2014- Painting Wargame Tanks by Ruben Torregrosa

The definitive guide to paint Wargames armored vehicles by the hands of the famous Ruben Torregrosa aka Heresybrush and Mig Jimenez. Through its pages you will discover, in a very visual and easy manner, how to get the results you want in your vehicles, since the book adapts to the needs of each modeler. From a basic guide of materials, through painting a tank in an easy but effective way, to obtaining the best possible professional finish. The ultimate tool to make your tanks the highlight of the tabletop.

From Ruben
I am thrilled to tell you that my book Painting Wargaming Tanks has been published by AMMO of MIG. The book is 96 pages. It starts with an introduction to the different materials I use (eg. acrylic paints and enamels), explains the differences between a filter and a wash, how to clean your airbrush and some other basic techniques to help understand the rest of the book. The book contains ten "step by step" articles to paint German, American and Russian WWII tanks in small scale. The first three tutorials are a little more basic, with the idea of assimilating the different techniques you can use. While the remaining seven are more detailed with more complex effects being applied. The idea is to show some range of possibilities for painting small scale tanks. The book uses 15mm Flames of War and The Plastic Soldier Company tanks as example but also can be used for1/72nd scale too.

Visit the Heresybrush website to see more of Ruben's work.

Carsten Schwejda (The Tightheadprop) has prepared a video review of the book ’’Painting Wargame Tanks’’ from Ammo of MIG

A Holiday Daily Dose for 20december2014

T‘was the night before Christmas, when all through the wood
Not a soldier was moving, and none of them should.
Huddled in foxholes, around a small fire, 
Spirits were high though conditions were dire.

With the officer’s tucked up all snug in their beds,
The Sergeants made sure the men kept their heads.
Rifles were ready in case of attack,

Two men a foxhole, to cover one’s back.

When off in the distance there arose such a clutter,
“Tanks on the way.”  One man muttered.
Grasping their rifles close to their chests,
Each man could only hope for the best.

With the chatter of tracks drawing ever so near,
It was the pending attack the battalion had feared.
Preparing to fire, the soldiers gave pause,
As though the woods emerged Panzer Claus!

December 19, 2014

Product Spotlight: The Best of 2014- Expeditionary Force for the Discerning Plastic Collector

Singapore based Expeditionary Force exploded onto the plastic scene in late 2013 and is  already quite a prolific plastic soldier manufacture. The current range includes the American Civil War, Ancient Greeks & Persians and 14th Century Knights. Each set comes in a deluxe four color box and each figure is packaged individually within the box. Each set contains extra plug-in multi-pose heads, arms and weapons allowing for a unique and large number of pose variations. The 54mm ACW range is compatible with figures from Marx, Imex, Accurate, Cunnyngham, Hat and others while the 60mm Ancients are scaled to be compatible with Conte Ancients. 2015 will bring new ranges of World War Ii and Napoleonic figures.

Why do Expeditionary Force sets cost more then other brands on the market?
In my mind the correct answer is historical accuracy, quality & versatility!

Scott Lam the owner of the company puts it this way....
In the trade-off between costs and quality/quantity, my preference is to emphasize quality while hopefully still keeping the cost of a model affordable to the more discerning type of customers. A thing of beauty is a pleasure for always. Within my team, we are in complete understanding that we are actually not producing toy soldiers for children but model soldiers for historical collectors. The research and action poses took up a lot of design time, tooling space and thus costs. We knew we would be in a niche market for people who like mini-sculptures of historical subjects rather than disposable toys for children. Our target customers are adults, and specifically, not for children under 14 years of age.

ACW C.S.A. Zouaves

EXP-54ACW-CS-SHL C.S. Militia Infantry in Shell Jackets 
EXP-54ACW-CS-ZVE C.S. Zouaves

ACW U.S.A. Militia
EXP-54ACW-US-SHL U.S. Militia Infantry in Shell Jackets
EXP-54ACW-US-ZVE U.S. Zouaves

English Foot Knights

14th Century English Army
in Dark Metallic Armor
EXP-HYW-01-B Archers & Billmen
EXP-HYW-02-B Crossbowmen & Pavisiers 
EXP-HYW-03-B Dismounted Men-at-Arms & Armati
EXP-HYW-04-B Free Companies
EXP-HYW-05-B Hobilars & Mounted Sergeants
EXP-HYW-06-B Knights & Men-at-Arms
EXP-HYW-07-B Knight Command in Dark Metallic Armor
EXP-HYW-ENGBUNDLE English Army Bundle-Save-All 7 Sets
French Mounted Knights

14th Century French Army
in Light Metallic Armor
EXP-HYW-01-W Archers & Billmen
EXP-HYW-02-W Crossbowmen & Pavisiers 
EXP-HYW-03-W Dismounted Men-at-Arms & Armati
EXP-HYW-04-W Free Companies
EXP-HYW-05-W Hobilars & Mounted Sergeants
EXP-HYW-06-W Knights & Men-at-Arms
EXP-HYW-07-W Knight Command
EXP-HYW-FRENCHBUNDLE 14th Century French Army Bundle-Save-All 7 Set
Also in the Range: Ancient Greeks & Persians
ACW Federal & Confederate Infantry, Artillery & Cavalry
View Complete Expeditionary Force Listings HERE

December 17, 2014

FIGURE OF THE WEEK #69: The Big Guy by Barclay

This skiing Santa comes from the Barclay MFG. Co. Produced in 1930s & 40s this jolly guy was a fixture in many 'Dimestore' collections of the time. He is Made in the USA, 70mm and a hollow cast lead figure. As the big day gets closer its only logical to kiss up to the big guy by making him the MichToy Figure of the Week.
For a few years in the 1930s and early 1940s Barclay was the largest manufacturer of toy soldiers in the United States. At its zenith the company produced over 20,000,00 toys a year. In the days before WWII these were sold for a nickel apiece in Five & Dime stores throughout the country hence the nickname 'Dimestores'. 

December 16, 2014

The Best Products of 2014: The Paint Guide for Figures of World War Two & Painting Guide for AFV of World War Two and Modern Era from Histoire & Collections

For our latest Product Spotlight we take a look at two recent modeling books, one covering figures and one on vehicles, authored by two of the worlds top modelers. With the wealth of products available these days the modeler can be overwhelmed with figures, kits, paints, weathering products, how-to books and DVDs. The process of getting the information necessary for a good model can be daunting for the beginner but there are excellent resources available for just about any type of modeler whether you prefer figures or vehicles or both. These two books are among the best available for any skill level and can be considered new milestones in the modeling world. 

The Paint Guide for Figures of World War Two
by Joaquin Garcia-Gasquez 

From Histoire & Collections of France comes this new softcover English translation from the original French release, with 80-pages devoted to how to paint WW2 figures in 1:35 scale by a skilled Spanish modeler who has regularly contributed to Steel Masters magazine.  The book starts with the author’s explanation of light source to allow for painting figures, which is described as ‘zenithal light’. That is the basis on which the lessons continue, and how to use the light source as your guide to painting the figure accordingly. It is split into 10 main sections, starting with the choice of tools, from the work area to the preparation of the figure, used and in the assembly and preparation of the basic figure.

Next up is painting faces and their different complexions, again considering the areas of light and shadow, and the use of ‘glazes’, a build up of very thin layers of color with acrylics. Then it moves on to standard uniforms before moving on to leather clothing, such as coats, and then how to deal with painting camouflage uniform. Next comes a section on painting equipment, including weapons, before talking about how to stage your model and creating vignettes with figures and appropriate scenery.
Throughout each stage of the process, the author deals with particular figures and takes you through the whole story of painting them, including giving all the details of the paints and mixes used, along with a series of excellent step-by-step (SBS) photos, each of which are well captioned and keyed to the main text. The painted figures look delightful, and the mix of SBS photos and the color mixes he has used are really clear. I am sure you will pick up on other elements, but overall this is a nicely produced book. If you are looking for some help on your WW2 figure painting, there is plenty of inspiration to be found in this one.

Painting Guide for AFV: of World War Two and Modern Era by Jose Luis Lopez Ruiz

Jose Luis Lopez Ruiz is a renowned Spanish modeler, well known to readers of Steel Masters magazine. The talented modeler spent the last few years developing and improving his techniques inspired by the zenithal painting effect aka the black and white technique, to achieve a stunning color finish on his military scale models. Following the best selling Paint Guide for Figures of WWII, this new book explains, through detailed step by step photos (SBS), how to give your model the perfect enhancement of contrast and a eye catching look. A variety of materials are used, black and white priming technique and different types of weathering are also presented. Five examples of AFV’s, from WWII to modern era, are illustrated with many photos. The understanding and the mastery of these methods and related techniques are essential to give a striking realism to military vehicles of WWII and modern era.

The book has 80 glossy pages with cover. The quality of the print is excellent and the images are sharp, the font for the text is very suitable for reading and there is a sufficient amount to both read and observe on each page.

The section on materials covers airbrushes, primers, paints, varnishes, pigments, special products. There are not only examples of products used in the book and others besides the book are given, but also necessary hints on how to use them properly. For example, there is a detailed section on how to produce different types of effects using oils on the model which includes color charts and a walk through of the techniques available. The author stresses the crucial aspects of work with primers, airbrushes and paints. 

The examples section features five exclusive models that were made especially for this book and includes 1/48 Char B as “Beute panzer”, Soviet BT-7 in 1/35, German Tiger I in 1/35 with distinctive winter camouflage, large 1/35 modern truck M-1078 with a drone in the cargo and finally a 1/35th scale Israeli Tiran 5 tank. Different scales, eras, and subjects - the author shows full range of possible techniques. Basically, these are ready to use recipes and the readers would be able to pick up ideas straight from the text as the explanations are clear and simple. Some of these builds like the Tiger and Tiran use Black and White technique more extensively, while M-1078 is closer to earlier “zenithal light” models. 

A gallery of finished scale models completes this highly recommended book for modelers.

Preface from the author
Materials used in the book
Concepts for painting AFV models
Examples of models from the author
Additional gallery

December 15, 2014

The Best Products of 2014: All Quiet on the Martian Front. The WWI - Sci-Fi - Steampunk Game

Enter the world of alternative historical gaming with the highly popular All Quiet on the Martian Front  the game with WWI-like weapons and Martian Advanced Technology, that breathes new life into the Classic Earth Invasion. This 15mm battle game in miniature is set during the second Martian War, circa 1910.  After their first defeat a few years earlier at the hands of stiff British resistance and unexpected environmental factors, the Martians have returned. Set in the beginning of the second decade of the Twentieth Century. All Quiet on the Martian Front starts in an exciting time that’s filled with the smoke of countless factories creating the first tanks, automobiles, aeroplanes, lightning guns and more. Larger than life historical figures like Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and many others lead the fight against the soulless Martian invaders.

This time the Martians have started their invasion from the New World and they established themselves well before surging forward in an unstoppable tide of destruction.  The game begins on the Mississippi Defense Line, with America desperately trying to hold back the Martian advance.  Super weapons by Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison are being rushed to the front. President Roosevelt leads the nation against the blood sucking Martians and their incredible machines.  Henry Ford works feverishly to produce as many of the new steam powered tanks for the front as possible.  J.P. Morgan, Carnegie and Rockefeller work together to make the fearsome new Land Ironclads a reality.  The United Kingdom, experienced with anti- Martian war, sends the British Expeditionary Force to help.  France and Germany, untouched by any Martian machines, gather forces and build armies, but for what purpose? Black Dust, Heat Rays, tanks upon tanks as well as miles and miles of trenches and traps…they all form the backdrop for Tripods vs. Tanks with lightning guns, Rough Riders on early Harleys, and lots more.

In All Quiet on the Martian Front mankind is fighting for survival: upon the steppes of Russia, across the sands of Egypt, amongst the foothills of the Himalayas, but nowhere more fiercely than in the United States of America. Our game puts you in command of the embattled armies of humanity or their implacable adversaries the Martian invaders. These opposing forces are represented by models of alien Tripod war machines armed with heat rays, black dust, and green mist, and Martian Made Human Zombie Slaves on one side versus all the tanks, infantry, artillery and other weaponry that humanity can muster on the other. Your model armies clash over a tabletop turned into a battlefield by the addition of model terrain, fortifications, and alien constructions from mysterious Cylinders to towering fortifications.

- Truly innovative game system developed by some of the world’s best game designers such as Rick Priestley, Alessio Cavatore, and Ernie Baker.

- Initiative based system that determines who goes first that turn.

- Scalable game system allow players to start out with a few tripods and tanks with the ability to progress to play truly massive conflicts.

- This is a unit based game of massive conflict rather than a skirmish game.

- Rules designed for massive battles made possible through the use of 15mm (18mm) scale miniatures.

- The rules system is highly flexible and allows for hidden movement and ambushing.

View Listings & Order

AQ001 All Quiet On The Martian Front Starter Game 
ACC002 All Quiet On The Martian Front Hardcover Rulebook 

December 13, 2014

Tips & Tricks: Wilder Step-by-Step #1 Weathering Tracks

Weathering Tracks Step-by-Step
using the Wilder line of weathering products
You may click on any image to enlarge the S-B-S view.
Go Wilder Here