Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fire and Tikis

Campfires and Ancient Germans.

Campfires keep the evil spirits away.

Campfires keep the men safe and warm.

The ancient mammoth lived as recently as a few thousand years ago in areas near Alaska.

Add a few Tikis for a more exotic experience.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Tiki Heads

A while back I got some ice molds in the shape of tiki heads, at Dollar Tree.

I cast them up, not using ice, but using resin.

The items were all the same face, but by painting them differently they look different.

The figures are Caesar 1/72nd scale ancient Germans for size.

These tiki heads go pretty good with the new campfires.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Secret of Fire

This is the Secret of Fire.  Create depth with your painting.  After painting fire with normal paints, when it is dry, paint it again with clear paints.  That will provide a level of depth that ordinary paints can't match.  Here I start with Tamiya Clear Red.  It goes on just like the solid colors, just paint it on randomly, over the other colors, covering about a third of the surface of the fire.

Next is Tamiya Color, Clear Orange.  I paint the clear on from dark to lighter colors for more depth.  This covers a third of the surface, just like the Clear Red.

Tamiya Color Clear Yellow is the final color.  It gets used to cover any parts that have not been painted by one of the two previous clear paints and should cover some of them too.  Remember, we are attempting to create depth.

Once all the other paints are dry, paint the whole fire with Tamiya Color Clear.  Use at least three coats of clear.  It will create a greater depth than the other colors alone.

Here they are, all the colors needed to paint the base and paint fire.  Not counting the white primer that I used to start the whole project!  I try and paint a lot of fire at one time because it's a lot of different colors to fool with for a small project.  Painting fire is easy, but time consuming.  Enjoy, and don't burn yourself.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Painting Fire When Ready

Fire is very complex to paint.  It takes a lot of work to get it so that it looks halfway decent.  I start with Character Yellow, from Mr. Color.  It's yellow with a little orange tint to it.  I just paint about a third of the surface of the fire, in random blobs.

Next, is Flat Red, this time by Tamiya.  Again, just small blobs of color, cover about a third of the surface area of the fire.  It's okay to overlap the yellow a little.

Next is Tamiya Color, Lemon Yellow.  Cover most of the remaining surface of the fire.  This is a very yellow, yellow color.

Model Master Fluorescent Red, it goes on in random blobs to cover any unpainted spots, perhaps covering 20% of the surface area of the fire.  It's fire so random application of color and in different locations on the different models helps to make it look real.

This is a brand new bottle, my other one died after about 15 years service.  I don't use a lot of Fluorescent Red, but it is handy when you need it there is no substitute.  Note, I have marked the lid with the paint name.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Paint and Stickers

About 40 years ago I started buying this Testors, Flat Tan paint.  I use it as my standard "dirt" color.

It works for any light color earth, sand or dirt.  Since I use it on all my terrain as the dirt color, my terrain can be used together more easily.

The top of the bottle has a Testors logo on it.  I take an Avery label, write the name and number of the paint on the label and then stick it to the lid.  That way I can tell what color the paint is just from the top of the bottle.  Many companies make the lid out of a plastic color that is the color of the paint, I leave those alone, but this works nicely for the other brands.  As an added bonus, unopened, extra jars of paint only get the serial number written on the label.  That way I don't have more than one bottle of any color open at a time.

Monday, August 26, 2013


A pile of sticks, set on fire; a staple of camp life since prehistoric times.

Troops in the field build campfires to keep warm.

They also need campfires to cook their food.  Making coffee was a big deal in the American Civil War and it was done over a campfire.

Sometimes campfires could be used to keep wild animals way, under the belief that animals are afraid of fire.

Troops could light campfires and then march away at night leaving the enemy the impression that the enemy are still there, waiting.

A simple campfire is very useful to have, that's why I painted up a bunch of them.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

German Paratrooper Supplies

Paratroopers in WWII, the US Army jumped with a large load of gear, and weapons, on their body. 

The Germans jumped clean.  The heavy gear sometimes caused jump injuries.  The Germans loaded weapons and ammo and other gear in boxes and parachuted them.

A Ju-52 could carry 12 paratroopers and four cargo boxes.  One box for every three troops.

The boxes were color coded with stripes to tell the Germans what was inside each box.

The boxes had little wheels inside that could be mounted to allow the heavy boxes to be towed around by manpower.

The boxes were used to supply units that were cut off and could hold panzerfausts, grenades, mortars and mortar shells.  If you have WWII German paratroopers, you need these boxes.  Units that worked with or around German paratroopers often liberated a few of these boxes for themselves.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


An airfield full of boxes.

Spare engine parts.

Extra machine gun barrels for when they burn out.

Food, uniforms, oxygen hoses, extra canopy glass.

Spare tires, oxygen bottles, boots, jackets, shoes, socks, belts, tee shirts, underwear.

Spam and bullets, beans and barbed wire, it all has to be shipped from home in a box.

Friday, August 23, 2013


When I get crates, I try and paint them up in a variety of colors.  These are all different kinds of wood.

Cherry, oak, pine, maple, driftwood, ash all different kinds of wood tones.

Civilian crates are almost never painted, and even military ones are seldom painted.

Military bases, and camps often have old drums of oil, fuel, or grease sitting around.

Even cooking oils are kept in drums, in war and in peace.

Stack a few crates or barrels around the runway and you go from a simple field to a forward airbase.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Missing Airfix Bit

While building an old Airfix kit I realized it was missing one of five canopy parts.  I went on their website and ordered the part and this was their response:

"This is an automated response to your email.

We acknowledge receipt of your email  and thank you for contacting our Customer
Care Team.  We will deal with your enquiry as soon as possible. Airfix and Corgi
spares requests can take up to 28 days and we would only contact you again if we
cannot supply the part or require further information."

28 days!  Are they doing a special run of the kit to make the part? 

The next day I got this message:

"Dear Sir
We have today packed your parts.
They will be leaving us tomorrow.
Best Regards
Airfix Spares"

Okay, that's a lot better than 28 days.  I will let you know when it arrives here in the USA.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Real Tank Combat

This is a video of various tanks and BMPs in Syria fighting the rebel forces.  There are also several short video clips inserted from the rebel point of view that show them attacking the same tanks.  So it's a rare opportunity to literally see a battle from both sides.

This is an excellent training video for those who do tank combat, in built up areas.  At one intersection I could count over 100 windows that were within easy RPG range of the tanks video.  A couple times I saw automatic weapons fire that did not draw fire from the tanks.  The situational awareness of these tankers is very low.  They fire one round and everything is just all dust for a minute or more.  When they move the dust rolls up so thick you can't even see the front of your own tank.

Their tank infantry cooperation is almost zero.  The troops, if any, never seem to dismount from the BMPs.  The tanks almost seem to just randomly fire at buildings, but I can't hear the conversations on the radio net, so they may be directed to fire at enemy troops the camera does not pick up, or their optics might see things we can't.  Think about this video when you drive US tanks in Cologne or Soviet tanks into Berlin; I know I will.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


A few days building and I got a whole airfield out of it.

P-47s lined up in a tactical airfield.

As the American Army moved across Europe the USAAF followed behind.

Setting up airfields for close air support, by being close they could make more sorties and carry heavier bomb loads than if they were still based in the UK.

Airfields used by the retreating Germans were used of course, but some were little more than farm fields.

P47s were used for ground support because their radial engines were more resistant to ground fire than the water cooled engines of the P51, although both were used at times.