Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Battle of Berlin vignette, Part 4

More trouble with rubble!

...Getting tired of this yet?  ;)

OK - for those of you who haven't lost the will to live I continue adding debris and damage to my street scene...

First of all I let my trusty Dremmel loose on my buildings facade. There are several things I want to do - add bullet holes, cracks in the plaster and damage to the frontage where falling masonry has broken lintels, etc...

As with everything else, it's sort of a case of knowing when to stop - hopefully I haven't over-done the damage.

Now, the facade done I move onto the debris on the street itself. Doing random is quite hard I think - so fingers crossed my random debris doesn't look too unrealistic...

It all looks a bit funny, but I'm hoping that's because it's not painted yet - SO I better get on with the painting!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Battle of Berlin vignette, Part 3

Well here we go...Let's get ready to rubble!

Just to recap, I started my 'rubble' off by squeezing a lump of quick dry Pollyfilla into a discarded margarine lid...

Once dry I started to break up the lump into smaller 1/72-looking lumps - one tip is not to make your layer of Pollyfilla too thick, try to imagine the scale size of a wall or a floor, that's the thickness you are aiming for. I tried to grade my 'lumps' into big, medium and small...

Now, rubble ready I now have to prepare my backdrop to make it ready to place the rubble on. The two main features will be masonry spilling through gaps in the wall - a hole blown in the wall and the main doorway. I began by building up some of the 'spills' with some foam-board off-cuts...

Pollyfilla time again! I'm using this as a medium with which I can stick my rubble to the backdrop...

Then just sprinkle on the scale rubble, pressing it lightly into the still wet Pollyfilla. Just a little at first and then let the Pollyfilla dry, then add additional rubble on top of that using PVA glue, building the fallen masonry up in layers until you feel it looks realistic. I also added in some strips of plastic and wood to look like fallen interior planking...

Once I had the two main exterior mounds of masonry done I turned my attention to adding some rubble to the building facade itself. I applied some smaller pieces of the ground up plaster to the edges of the wall - sticking it in place with some Pollyfilla - and sprinkled some more dust and small lumps to window sills and lintels...

Nearly done. All that's left to do is to scatter some bits and pieces of my plaster rubble and wooden strips over the street. I've marked out where the tank tracks will be so I know where not to put any debris. I'll probably wash the street with a thin mixture of PVA and then sprinkle some of the smaller gritty pieces of plaster here and there and then glue in the larger lumps individually.

Well, that's that. Once all the rubble and detritus is on I'll spray on a grey base-coat before starting to paint the backdrop.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Battle of Berlin vignette, Part 2

Right, time to start detailing the backdrop for my ISU-122 vignette. As said, I'm not going into a lot of research for this - I just want something that looks like a generic 'bombed out' building. I know I want it to look like it's the shell of a building, well just a wall really, and that I want rubble spilling through the gaps in the wall.

First thing was to start adding some of the architectural details, nothing fancy and everything was quick to apply. The bricks are from a HO/OO model railway texture sheet (dirt cheap)...

The lintels and window sills are all just off-cuts from some plastics strips I had - all pretty straight forward. BUT - at this stage I started to get a little ambitious (always a bad thing) and fancied peppering the walls with bullet holes, so I did go looking for some reference material and found this...

Having seen a few Berlin WW2 period building now I realised that they all seemed to have plaster cladding facades, not brick as I originally intended. This is bad and good, the down side is it will mean a little more work, the good side is that if I clad my wall I can jab holes in the cladding to make more realistic bullet holes.

What I decided to do was this - I used some very thin sheets of plasticard to cut a top layer which will be glued onto my brickwork, BUT I have cut random holes in this layer so you can see the brickwork THROUGH this layer...

(You will notice that I added some broken window frames and some shutters behind the lower floor windows. Easy but adds extra realism.)

A bit messy, but that doesn't matter as it's supposed to be messy!

Now, I fix the wall to my diorama base and I'll just pop on my ISU-122 to check scale and placement...

Yep, that looks OK...And so, it's on to adding the rubble!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Battle of Berlin vignette, Part 1

ISU-122s roll into the German capital.
With my Pegasus ISU-122 nearing completion I began to think about a base for the model. Usually I would just make a small rectangular base with a minimal amount of terrain on which to base my models, but this time I thought it might be nice to experiment with something a little more creative.

Wouldn't it be nice to try out some sort of diorama? Well, as this is a war weary ISU the obvious environment for it might be a Battle of Berlin vignette.

Really, all I want to do is practice some scenic techniques, I don't really want to get too hung up on authenticity - that will come later. But in any case it's always nice to start with some sort of reference material to get a feel for the subject...

Hmmm, well obviously the key aspect to this mini-project will be rubble, and lots of it! But before that I will have to construct my 'street' - well, more of a theatrical backdrop really. Luckily for me my local model railway shop has a bargain bucket full of random HO/OO plasticard texture sheets, so I picked up some cobbled and paving sections...

Now, as mentioned, I am not going to be a stickler for historical authenticity here. I know these aren't the correct cobblestones and I'm not putting in pavement-side drainage grills or manhole covers (and I'm certainly not researching what types of street furniture existed in Berlin during WW2). I just want a street that looks roughly like those in the reference photos above.

So, now I have my road and pavement I need to think about the building facade which will form the backdrop of my vignette. A very quick sketch is what's needed...

I am cutting this out of that foam-backed cardboard and I'm not thinking too much about ornamentation at this point. I will add the pretty bits in an ad-hoc way later. Let's get cutting!

Obviously a lot of both the street and the facade will be covered in rubble so it's time to put some thought into how to make scale 'rubble'. An idea...What if I squeeze out a big blob of Pollyfilla quick dry plaster into a flat tray and allow it to dry - I could then crumble up the plaster to make simulated rubble. What do you think?

I used an old margarine tub lid and spread some of the Pollyfilla into the groves around the lid to see if I could mould some interesting shapes that might look like sections of felled concrete (just an idea). When dry the Pollyfilla should pop out the lid if I bend it, I can then break it up into big lumps and smaller rubble and also grind up some of it to make small stones and dust.

OK, I'll leave things there. In part two of this project I will start to add the detail to the building facade and crunch up my make-shift detritus. But so far so good.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Mud, mud, glorious (Vallejo) mud!

Time to get some mud on the underside of my Pegasus ISU-122. I am trying out some of Vallejo's pigment effects, specifically their 73109 Natural Umber.

A better and more authentic effect could be done if you take your time and by adding different shades of pigment to represent fresh and dry mud, dust and rust. But I am thinking 'war game' model and I think this quick application gets a nice effect for little effort...

Mmmmm...Nice and 'clumpy'

Applying the powder is very simple - I made a thin mix of PVA glue and water and brushed this onto the surfaces I wanted the mud to stick. I then sprinkled and dabbed on the pigment to get a mixture of dusty and clumpy mud effects. A final coat of matt varnish will 'fix' the effect.

I now know what to expect when using this medium and would be tempted to be a bit more adventurous - and careful - on a display model I have in mind. By layering the effects - using a variety of effects mediums - you could produce a very realistic mud effect indeed.

One thing I would say though, Vallejo pigments are comparatively expensive (I got mine in a sale otherwise I would balk at the price) and I think the cheap alternative of grinding up artist's conte crayons into powder would achieve just as good and effect at a fraction of the cost.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

1/72 scale bricks and stuff

It still amazes me just what you can get in 1/72 scale. I picked up these miniature terracotta bricks for £2 a pack as I am planning a small Battle of Berlin diorama base for my ISU-122. Now I could have made my own bricks, but as usual I like to buy a commercial example of a scale item first so I can get an idea of scale and size before scratch building my own versions...

Aside from the bricks I also bought a set of cheap airbrush cleaning brushes as I am starting to use my airbrush a lot more and despite my care I notice that some paint is hard to shift during cleaning.

Now all I have to do is to work out how to make realistic urban rubble and whether I need to add mortar to my bricks to give them that realistic used look...LOL

Bricks bought from: Basecrafts Wargaming Basing Materials & Supplies (UK) 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

ISU-122 Weathering & Chipping

Had some time to do some quick weathering and chipping (please excuse the dodgy photos)...

As well as added grim I have done some chipping in a dark purple-grey around the edges and areas which I guess would see a lot of wear and tear.

The thing to remember is that this tank depicts a vehicle which saw action up to the final stages of World War 2 - in fact one which took part in the final Battle for Berlin - so it will be quite war weary.

Hopefully I haven't over-done the touches of light rust and scratches.

I haven't perfected a good means to do dust yet, I would like to do some work with dust effects in order to tone down colours and flatten the finish. I may yet try to add some dust using powders.

NEXT: Adding mud to the underside before attaching the tracks.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

ISU-122 progress...Finally!

Phew, it's been a while hasn't it? This hiatus has been due to some intense modelling I've been doing over on my 1/32 toy soldier blog...Other pastimes have suffered as a result. Anyway, I have finally managed to get back into my ISU-122 experiment.

To recap - my Soviet tank destroyer was undertaken to practise some finishing and weathering techniques. At this point I needed to add some identification stripes to my tank, but these needed to look hastily applied and hand painted.

As far as I have been able to find out the late war Soviet ID stripes were quickly daubed on in the field, probably with white wash...

The first step in applying Soviet ariel reconition stripes is to mark out the outline
of these stripes using thin strips of making tape. These are just guides for adding
the actual painting mask itself.
Stephen Hamiliton’s (2008.25) ‘Bloody Streets: The Soviet Assault on Berlin’ where, citing a ShAEF report dated 21/04/45, he states: 
‘Still believing they [the Soviets] would run into U.S. or British units along the way [to Berlin], Stavka agreed with Eisenhower that Soviet tanks should be painted with a white stripe around the turret and a white cross on the top. It has been suggested that this stripe was designed for recognition of Soviet tanks and SP guns during the street fighting in Berlin, but in reality [Hamilton proposes] it was to differentiate their vehicles from the Western Allies. Studies of late war photos of Russian armour depict no vehicles outside of the fighting for Berlin carrying the white stripe. By the end of April the Soviet tank recognition marking changed from the white stripe to a small triangle on the turret. This change was caused by Gertman Panzers in the 9. Armee painting their tanks with the Soviet recognition stripes in an attempt to fool the Soviets during their breakout West. Again, a study of late war Soviet photos show the small triangle marking on vehicles involved in the Berlin fighting but nowhere else.’

So, how to paint the recognition stripes? To start with I laid down some guides using thin strips of making take (see above) and then masked off the rest of the tank, then removed the guide tape...

Now, this is where things got tricky. I decided to try out the hairspray technique again - I used this with some success on my SU-122M conversion. So the next stage was to spray on a layer of hairspray, let that dry and then spray over a layer of white paint.

The idea is that you can then easily distress the white layer using water, scraping off small spots of paint to reveal the green paint underneath...

Unfortunately, I overdid the hairspray - applying too thick a layer - and the white paint started to come off in large flakes. Oooops! (I reckon one light layer of hairspray is all you need.)

I had to do some remedial painting with white acrylic, which was a bit of a shame - however, and luckily, because the final effect was supposed to look slap-dash I *think* my dodgy painting will just past muster.

Next: Another layer of gloss and then some final weathering, distressing and chipping.