November 29, 2016

FARLEY'S FIGURE OF THE WEEK: #133 Battle of Fredericksburg 1862 Vignette

Our latest Figure of the Week is a bit of "folk art". I came across this vignette about 25 years ago at a Civil War collectors show. This tiny gem ( 2" x 3") was created by George Skotch out of sculpey modeling clay. George sold his hand made vignettes for several years at various shows and I have several different ones in my collection. With December upon us I though it only fitting to feature this little treasure depicting Union troops advancing at the Battle of Fredericksburg December 11–15, 1862.

The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought December 11–15, 1862, in and around Fredericksburg, Virginia, between General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General Ambrose Burnside. The Union Army's futile frontal attacks on December 13 against entrenched Confederate defenders on the heights behind the city are remembered as one of the most one-sided battles of the war, with Union casualties more than three times as heavy as those suffered by the Confederates. A visitor to the battlefield described the battle to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln as a "butchery."

Burnside's plan was to cross the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg in mid-November and race to the Confederate capital of Richmond before Lee's army could stop him. Bureaucratic delays prevented Burnside from receiving the necessary pontoon bridges in time and Lee moved his army to block the crossings. When the Union army was finally able to build its bridges and cross under fire, urban combat in the city resulted on December 11–12. Union troops prepared to assault Confederate defensive positions south of the city and on a strongly fortified ridge just west of the city known as Marye's Heights.

On December 13, the "grand division" of Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin was able to pierce the first defensive line of Confederate Lieutenant General Stonewall Jackson to the south, but was finally repulsed. Burnside ordered the grand divisions of Maj. Gens. Edwin V. Sumner and Joseph Hooker to make multiple frontal assaults against Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's position on Marye's Heights, all of which were repulsed with heavy losses. On December 15, Burnside withdrew his army, ending another failed Union campaign in the Eastern Theater.

Have a favorite figure? Send us a good image of it along with a brief description and become one of our Figure of the Week contributors. Email you submissions to If your figure is chosen you will receive a special promo code for a nice discount on your next order with us as well as our eternal gratitude.

November 25, 2016

MTSC PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT QUICK LOOK: Super Sanding Blocks from Goodman Models

Goodman Super Sanding Blocks are quite different from traditional sanding files. The blocks offer a perfectly flat surface for a true sanding surface and are ideal for correcting alignment issues.
What you get in the box
The packaging is a stiff small box, easy to ship and protecting well the “blocks” inside. When you open it, you find two small leaflets: one dedicated to the instructions, while the other one is a color keyabout the various grits of the blocks. As you can see from the image, each block has a nice spot / circle engraved and colored in a different tint: this way it is really easy to grab always the grit you need.

And then, the real stuff: 6 blocks in the shape of sort of small "tablets", plus a small cube of softer material to keep everything at its place in the box during shipping.
The grits are:
80 grit for stock removal (dry only)
180 for shaping
220 for shaping
320 for shaping
400 for smoothing and polishing 
600 for smoothing and polishing

Each block has the sanding surface on both the sides. The lateral sides are finely polished, to allow a comfortable handling. The size of the blocks is 3.5" long x 1.5" wide (76 mm. x 37mm). All the grits can be used for dry and wet sanding, with the only exception of the 80 grit, that is for stock removal only. 

So, how they work? I was happily surprised to discover that thanks to their flat and rigid shape, these blocks give a true surface to sand against. This makes it easier to make or keep the surface flat and even. When you experience troubles while trying to sand seams smoothly and evenly using traditional sand paper or flexible sanding sticks, ending up with crooked surfaces or flat spots around curves, these blocks can truly help to avoid this problem. With the different grids in the set, it is easy to quickly remove the material and then work it to a nice polished surface (though for an ultra polished surface, like the one needed to spray paints like AK Interactive Extreme Metal or Alclad, i would complete the job with an ultra fine grit, like the Micro Mesh polishing pads.

The blocks have perfect 90 degree edges and corners for reaching tight spaces, tough sometimes for very tight spaces you still will have to use the traditional "rolled sanding paper". Last but not least, these blocks are made to last long time: indeed as the instructions show, they can be easily cleaned with an old brush.

View the MTSC Product page to order HERE


November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Thanksgiving in Camp"
Click image to view full size version
sketched on Thursday, November 28, 1861 by Alfred R. Waud, an illustrator for the New York Illustrated News who was with the Army of the Potomac for the length of the war.

President Lincoln's Proclamation of Thanksgiving
This is the proclamation set the precedent for America's national day of Thanksgiving. During his administration, President Lincoln issued many orders similar to this. For example, on November 28, 1861, he ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving.

Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the "day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival." She explained, "You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution."

Prior to this, each state scheduled its own Thanksgiving holiday at different times, mainly in New England and other Northern states. President Lincoln responded to Mrs. Hale's request immediately, unlike several of his predecessors, who ignored her petitions altogether. In her letter to Lincoln she mentioned that she had been advocating a national thanksgiving date for 15 years as the editor of Godey's Lady's Book. George Washington was the first president to proclaim a day of thanksgiving, issuing his request on October 3, 1789, exactly 74 years before Lincoln's.

The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise." According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln's secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3, 1863, fellow Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary how he complimented Seward on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops.

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

November 22, 2016


As Thanksgiving approaches what better way to honor the main course then with MTSC's coveted FOTW award. What we have here is a vintage 54mm hollowcast turkey which was part of the Britain's Farm range circa 1950s. Runner up in a close race is the turkey from Lineol. Produced in Germany, this 7cm composition figure hails from the 1930s. 

Thanksgiving… Not a good day to be my pants! Kevin James
Britains 54mm Turkey

Lineol 7cm composition Turkey

November 18, 2016

Fridays with Farley...Another Dose of Useless Tidbits - Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. It originated as a harvest festival. Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, after a proclamation by George Washington. It has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863, when, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens," to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November.

• The Good Stuff...
Fun with At-Ats
• Blogged!
Roundwood's World
Sidney Roundwood who hails from St Albans, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom has been enjoying the wargaming hobby, and the friends it brings, since 1981. His gaming blog Roundwood's World is packed with excellent Playtesting Scenarios, Campaign Diaries, Play-Aids and Painting Guides. Anyone with even the sliest interest in Historical Wargaming should stop by here!
• Socialized
found on Facebook...
Great collection of WW2 images.

• Sited
Shorpy is an online archive of thousands of high-resolution vintage photos from the 1850s to 1950s. Our namesake, Shorpy Higginbotham, was a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

• Built
Helmet Vignettes
1:35th scale
1:35th scale
1:72nd scale
 1:35th scale
• Benched
Organization is the key to success!

• The Parting Shot...


Trench Runner Charles Oldaugh: 1 Hour Tank Weathering Using the Vallejo Weathering Effects Range

Charles Oldaugh checks in with a quick (less than 1 hour), down and dirty guide to weathering a Bolt Action tank...

 Since I started playing Bolt Action, I had to start painting larger armour than I previously had. I prefer a well campaigned tank to a shiny one, so the new Vallejo Weathering Effects got my attention. With over 20 different effects, it is pretty easy to go overboard with the weathering, so we are only going to use 5 of them. Choose the effects that fit the terrain where your tank will be fighting and you can’t go wrong. 

Light Brown Splatter Mud, Rainmarks, Oil Stains, Petrol Stains, Mud and Grass
Step 1: We will start with a painted tank. Make sure you have all of the tank markings in place as well. I have also sponged on some battle damage. When you are happy with the paint, seal it with a clear coat and we can start the weathering. Most of the weathering products have a glossy appearance, so I used a Matte Varnish on the tank to increase the contrast. 

Step 2: I started the weathering with the Splash Mud. You can apply it in 2 different ways. The first is by loading a brush up with the mud and flicking it at the model. To utilize an airbrush, load up a paint brush and spray the brush with bursts of air from the airbrush.  I used both methods on this model, but I found that I had more control with a toothbrush.

Step 3: Next I added rain streaking to the tank. This is the most laborious of the weathering processes. I used 3 different sized brushes to add variety to the streaking. Make sure that you don’t make a pattern with the streaks.

Step 4: Using the Oil Stain, I put a wash and some spills around all of the hinges and hatches and other moving parts. You can use a fine brush to turn some of the spills into streaks as well. 

Step 5: To add fuel stains, first find out whether the tank you are painting used diesel or petrol. Once you have established that, make sure you know where the fuel cap is on the tank, you don’t want to add fuel stains where they don’t belong. The Sherman V still had a petrol engine, so I added some Petrol Stains around the fuel caps and the jerry can. 

Step 6: The last bit of weathering will be mud texture. This product is a combination of mud and static grass that looks quite convincing. Dipping a brush into the bottle doesn’t do much good here. The best method I found was to place a blob of the material on the tank and then work it out from there. 

Finished: In less than an hour the tank went from a factory finish to a battle hardened veteran. I really like the effects that these effects produced, and best of all, they are water soluble. This is a great product line. I can’t wait to use it on my next tank. 

Charles Oldaugh


November 17, 2016

"I'M SAYIN' WHAT?" Contest #32 Winner + This week's teaser for "I'M SAYIN' WHAT?" #33

"I'm Sayin' What?" #32 WINNER
It's Thursday so...we have a winner for last weeks “I’m Saying What” contest. Mickey Simms has snagged one of the most coveted prizes on earth...which is of course is a Gift Card from Michigan Toy Soldier.


MTSC PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: Deluxe Materials Plastic Magic Box with Brush

Deluxe Materials Plastic Magic Box with Brush ref. DXM-AD77
Plastic Magic’ is another indispensible product that’s a must have for all modelers. 
‘Plastic Magic’ is a liquid solvent glue that produces invisible glue lines and is ideal for all modeling needs. The new safer formula can be applied with the Deluxe Materials ‘Pin Flow’ Solvent Glue Applicator, conventionally with a fine paintbrush or by using the very  latest ‘Plastic Magic Twin Brush Pack’ or with the ‘Glue Brush Set’. 

Plastic Magic bonds nearly all commonly used modeling plastics including polyester, styrene, ABS, PVC, butyrate, and Polycarbonate.

• New low odour formula plastic adhesive for invisible glue lines. 
• High solvency formula - one bottle for almost all plastics
• Less evaporation and smell for improved working conditions and less waste
• No more spillages with the sturdy,stable bottle
• Two high precision, long reach brushes for perfect joints 

Related Product:
Pack of 3 specially designed, superfine, long reach brushes will deliver the tiniest drop of solvent adhesive even to difficult tiny joints.
 High precision
 Long reach for tight  places.
 Enables clean glue action.
 Delivers tiniest drop.
 Reaches last drop

Pin Flow Applicator ref. DXM-AC11 
Plastic Modelers Solvent Glue dream applicator! Prevents glue runs. Invisible joints. Professional finish. Perfect for PLASTIC MAGIC. Supplied with protective case.

November 16, 2016

MTSC PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: The 'Weathering Magazine Special' How to Paint 1:72 Military Vehicles from AMMO of MIG

Softcover, 120 pages
Published by AMMO of Mig Jimenez S.L.
The subjects featured in this latest weathering tutorial:
1/72 Scrapyard T-72A
1/72 Panzer IV
1/72 BMD-2
1/72 M1A1(HA)
1/72 Tiger I - Kursk
1/72 Scud TEL
1/72 E-75
1/72 T-34/85

Small-scale, braille-scale, seventy-second, whatever you refer 1:72 modeling as there's no denying it never seems to take as much of the spotlight as 1:35. Most of us will have cut our teeth as young modelers with 1:72/76 kits by Airfix, ESCI, Matchbox and others. Small-scale armor kits have improved massively and there’s now more worthy product than ever. If one doesn’t ‘nail it’ in terms of finishing, though, military vehicles in 1/72 and 1/76 scales can easily look toy-like once completed. This useful softcover guide from the AMMO stable seeks to educate modelers on the best methods for painting and weathering these diminutive military models. After a brief appraisal of available kit brands, Spanish modeling ace Mig Jimenez and his contributors merely hint at construction advice, this being far outweighed by the painting/weathering coverage and, to be fair, this is exactly what most modelers want these days.  This combines models by a number excellent modelers who have done their magic using step-by-step tutorials on an interesting variety of small scale models, and created an interesting variety of effects as well. It reinforces the view of using the same techniques you'd use on larger scale models and they work just as well with these smaller models.
The UK's Alex Clark starts the book off with a heavily weathered T-72, based on the Revell kit but with lots of detail updates, and finished as an example left rusting in a scrap yard.  As with the rest of the models featured in the book, he takes us through the build and how he finished it with such an effective and heavily worn look, all done in a well illustrated, step by step process. This is followed by Jan Moravek finishing a Dragon Pz IV Ausf D in a worn and weathered Afrika Korps machine, with the worn sand yellow applied over the top of the Panzer Grey base coat.

Then we get back to another modern subject, as Mig himself finishes a BMD-2, one of the simpler wargamers models by S-Model, and he makes a lovely job of it.  Staying with modern subjects, Fabrizio Repetto builds two kits in a small Gulf War diorama, with Dragon's M1A1 (HA) Abrams with added stowage and this is passing an overturned T-55, built from the kit by Ace Models.  It's back to WW2 again next, and Artur Wachowski adds some upgrade parts from RB Models to the Zvezda kit of the Tiger I to present Wittman's Tiger during the Battle of the Kursk salient and gives us a very nicely done Tiger.

Next up modeler Leonid Postny builds two different models. One is the Toxso kit of the SCUD-D on a MAZ-543 chassis and finished in an unusual camouflage from modern Iranian forces.  The second is one of those 1946 designs, an E-75 from Model Collect.  This is one of those late war German designs which would have come along if the war had continued into 1946. The book is rounded off with a camouflaged T-34/85, built by Sergey Golikov using a kit by Trumpeter along with plenty of upgrade parts thanks to photo etch accessories. I was taken back a bit to read the author's approach to painting the T-34/85 was to thin his acrylics with Vodka. I'm not sure if that qualifies as alcohol abuse, but I'd rather use my Isopropyl Alcohol as thinner and drink the Vodka instead! As I said - lot’s of different techniques!
These are some very finely done models which also provide a good showcase for the variety of manufacturers who provide smaller scale models these days including newer manufactures such as Toxso, Model Collect and S-Model plus seasoned veterans such as Zvezda, Ace, Dragon and Revell .  
the book is very nicely presented, and printed on good quality paper so the quality of the photos is good as well as it is heavily illustrated throughout.  I am happy to see Ammo do something which focuses on smaller scale AFV models. What is consistent with all of these builds and these series of titles for that matter, they are all high quality work and presented in the same way that can help you sharpen your own skills. Several builds used a new product called Masking Putty and were able to achieve some nice camouflage patterns with the material.
If you're looking for a good reference for painting and weathering your own 1/72 scale armor force, you'll want to add this title to your library. This will be of special interest for wargamers who want their armor to look outstanding on the playing field!
Arley Mitchell 2016

 from the publisher...
With this ground breaking book, AMMO entersthe world of 1:72 scale modeling with authority. This book is the essential painting and weathering guide for 1:72 scale modelers. Beginning with a history of the scale, we will explore the many fascinating and refreshing aspects of modeling in this increasingly popular scale. Featuring a collection of the words best modelers demonstrating the latest techniques, these pages are lush in technical detail, explaining in depth painting and weathering processes with numerous step by step examplesincluding:  scratchbuilding, assembly, camouflage painting, weathering, and the effects of dust and mud! Learning these techniques and many more is easy with this collection of step by step photo rich tutorials. With all of the detail and realism of larger scales, you will be shocked that the vehicles being shown are so small that they will fit in the palm of your hand. The models featured represent vehicles from the Second World War through the modern era, with varying degrees of wear and a variety of camouflage schemes. Through numerous beautiful examples, photo rich step by step demonstrations, and thorough descriptions, stunning results are now available to modelers of all genres and skill levels.

Order from our site HERE
sample pages from the bench...

Trench Runner Pat Hillard Attacks the Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) Late War British Armoured Division, Army Box - Part 4 Painting The Figures

With the vehicles finished the infantry was my next step. I used tack to hold them onto roofing nails. I have tried painting on the bases and also on hobby sticks but I like the nails better. I can access all sides of the figure and they are easy to hold. Included in the picture are the infantry, tank commanders and half track passengers. They are ready for priming.

Primed figures, I used Vallejo 70.602 Black Surface Primer with my airbrush again. I used the same technique for application, thinning and cleaning as I did for the vehicles. The one tan figure is a test piece to see if I like the base color.

Another view of primed infantry. I used an old cardboard box to catch over spray and test my air brush.

Infantry with their base coat of Vallejo Model Color 70.921 English Uniform. I painted the vehicle crews that were installed during the build with the same colors. The only difference was I used a brush for the entire process.

A close up of the base coated figures.

The finished figures. In addition to the primer and base coats I finished the figures with the following colors:
Helmet Strap/Webbing/Packs - Vallejo Model Color 70.886 Green Grey
Wooden Gun Stocks and Shovel Handles - Vallejo Model Color 70.872 Chocolate Brown
Metal - Reaper Master Series Paint 09052 Shadowed SteelHelmets - Vallejo Model Color 70.924 Russian Uniform
Hessian Camo Strips - Vallejo Model Color 70.821 German Camo Beige WWIIFlesh - V 70.845 Sunny Skin ToneFinal Wash - Army Painter Strong Tone Brown Ink

The box came with a sprue of infantry bases. They are slightly larger than the Flames of War bases. I choose to use some old Flames of War bases that I had in order to keep all of my finished figures the same size. The PSC bases are on the left and the FoW are on the right.

The finished infantry mounted to the bases. I had an HQ, a Piat team, a 2" mortar team and 7 infantry bases. I only needed six but I do not like more than four figures on a base; it is hard to finished the bases without getting material on the figures. Notice the slashes on the bases. I use the end of my hobby file to gouge the bases. This helps the base material stick to the bases. Without this it will easily crack off of the completed base if dropped.

Your basing friend! I used to use spackle patch but it cracked easily and took a long time to dry. A friend told me about Durham's Water Putty. This stuff is great! A 16 can costs $2.58 at Lowe's and will do a lot of bases. I have finished about 150 bases so far and the can is still half full. It is recommended for furniture repairs, spackle/plaster repair, filling knots in wood and as a pouring medium for molds. Mix about a teaspoon with water in a small container. Stir until you have a consistency similar to a thick white glue and apply with a brush or other object. I like to use toothpicks and hobby sticks.

The bases with the putty applied. Notice the container with the extra putty  and my high tech application sticks.

A close up of the details on the bases. I used it to smooth out the raised bases of the individual figures and also create some contour on each base. I do not use it on prone figures. It tends to make them look like they have sunk into the ground.

Getting ready to finish the bases. I used Elmer's white glue, any type of cheap acrylic hobby/craft paint and Fine Dark Brown ballast from Woodland Scenics for my first layer on my bases.

 Make a 3 to 1 mixture of glue and paint in a small container. Add more color as desired for your base coat. This may show through in some places.

A base with the glue applied. Be careful not to get glue on your figures. I used the brush to pull the glue/paint mixture towards the end of the base before adding the fine ballast.

You can bury the base in the ballast mixture or just add it on with a spoon or any other device. I use an old stainless steel mixing spoon that ended up in my hobby supplies. It works pretty well. There are some larger pieces of ballast in this batch. They were a different color  in medium that I added to give the appearance of rocks on my finished bases.

The base when removed from the ballast. Use a brush to reapply glue/paint mixture to any spots that are bare.

The bases all finished with the ballast stage.

I paint the edges of my bases for a nicer appearance and so that I can easily identify them on the table. I decided to use Vallejo Model Color 70.921 English Uniform for my edge color. I also believe that painting the edges helps to seal the edge of the ballast. At this stage I tape the bases to my condiment cups for easier handling while working on them.

The next step involves using a 50/50 mix of white glue and water and the addition of a grass of your choosing. I decided to use Gale Force 9 Summer Flock Blen and also Army Painter Swamp Tufts in 6mm. The tufts come with a self adhesive backing but it does not last. I dip the bottoms in super glue before I put them on the finished base.
 I liked the slight contrast between the flock and the tufts. 

The base ready for the flock.

Using an old brush apply the glue in any type of pattern that you want the flock to appear. I like to follow the contours of the base and create random patches.

The flock added to the base. I use a pair of tweezers to cover the entire base with flock. I then turn it upside down over the container and gently tap it to remove the excess flock.

Once again I use my tweezers and select a tuft. I lightly dip the bottom in super glue and stick it where I want it located on the base.

The finished infantry bases. The next step is a spray of Testors Dullcote finish for protection.

A close up of the finished infantry bases.