Thursday, 16 February 2017

Getting started, Desert Rats 1

So I've managed an update on the chaos Knight but what about that other project in the middle. As promised in the year round up for 2016 today I'm going to share the first miniature from my small bolt action force.
Now late 2015 I'd managed to get the box of Desert Rats assembled and ready to paint.

At the time I was eager to get started but with winter at hand outside priming wasn't going to be an option, no problem though as at the time I was working out of the company's old building which had a large warehouse and a lot of scrap cardboard.
No one else would be around to get in the way and there wasn’t anything else to do at lunch times, so I packed up the full 3 squads, 2 weapon teams and HQ with a plan in mind.
It was at this point disaster struck, now when I was convinced to start bolt action I really wanted to get stuff painted and in use quickly and having seen a number of fellow hobbyists use washes and glazes successfully I wanted a go myself.
Starting with a zenithal highlight I aimed to then get every model to a base level where the whole model would be the same colour. Washes and glazes would then provide the details with some slight highlights to finish off.
But when I primed them I went with my trusted Halford's black and some army painter desert yellow. However I not only failed to make sure there was enough light to see clearly but the army painter went on way too thick, ruining a lot of the details.
Now the light was my own fault the weather was crappy and I got impatient looking for the various light switches (which didn’t all work anyway), however I'm not convinced that I was that bad with the light zenithal spray, so the army painter has been relegated to terrain duty till I have chance to properly play with it.
It took a while to get round to it but I eventually stripped and resprayed the whole box worth, around the same time as spraying up the nurgle start collecting box. This time I picked up some Halford’s filler primer for the zenthial and while tricky to ensure a thin coat I was working outside on a relitivly clear day and it was good enough.
In the mean time I heard whispers and advance publicity for a plastic Crusader by rubicon so while flitting between Korea and the UK I eagerly awaited the model's release and then got to work in fits and starts, assembling and then undercoating using the same black/brown as the infantry.
Now obviously last year involved a fair bit of upheaval bouncing from the UK to Korea with nearly half the year abroad so I can't remember the exact order of getting the various models undercoated as things got delayed and projects stalled. However in early December I’d arranged a game of bolt action with Lester, since the Tank needed a significant amount of work before I could field it on the table it became my priority.
Starting out with the various bits all sprayed I gave everything a shade wash using a base of acrylic brown umbra ink diluted with water and some glaze medium.
It’s a technique I first saw used by Gregg on feed your nerd and is intended to add depth to the shadows before the later stages add colour. 
Once the wash had fully dried I also needed to select the parts I wanted to use, the Rubicon kit comes with the various options to represent one of the 3 marks of crusader tank, with both turrets from the Mk1/2 and the 6 pounder from the Mk3. A third turret is included for the anti-aircraft gun refitted to a number of crusaders later in the war.
Now I wanted to be able to use the tank in a number of theatres from early Africa and through into Italy so selecting a good combination of parts was important.
I settled on the howitzer turret for earlier periods and then for anti-tank the 6 pounder MkIII turret means I have some good options for list building and since a number of MkIIs where refitted with the alternative turret I can even play it as the same tank.
With the parts selected I quickly assembled the turrets and a few other bits before dry brushing the main parts bleached bone. 
Now I’d spent a fair bit of time searching round for tank markings and insignia which kept coming back to this crusader MkII at the South African National Museum of Military History. 
From http://www.sa-transport.co.za/military/tanks_1.html
However I didn't want to just make this exact vehicle and as nearly all contemporary images of  desert war tanks lacked any real insignia I settled on a bit of an interpretation, using the serial number from above but with different numbers. 
Next up was to ad wear and tear to the transfers so that the number was disguised and could be interpreted as a variety of numbers along with blending the other markings in as well. Simply adding a light drybrush of bleached bone was enough at this stage to keep with the sun bleached and streaked look of the paintwork. 
Once completed I picked out a couple of details in black and added further weathering with a sponge to finish the main body of the tank off. The tracks where treated to some grit and grime as well,  some typhus corrosion and light dry brushing helped give a dusty look that along with the weathering gve the impression of a vehicle thats been a bit battered by the harsh desert elements and maybe even an enemy shell. 

With the Tank finished in time for it's first outing as a MkII with howitzer I'd picked up some keen for bolt actions and thoroughly enjoyed my first two games. 
So much so that I quickly moved onto some of the HQ and support elements of the infantry. 
Unfortunately my keen was interrupted by a combination of Christmas and a short Korea visit in the new year. However I still had a painting itch to scratch on my return and I'll be talking about that in a coming post. 
Not only that but we both managed a number of pictures of the games between me and lester so I'll be sharing those and my thoughts on bolt action as well. 

Not only that but I've promised a post of the knight Braziers to boot so I've plenty to talk about in the coming weeks. 
Until then I hope this little diversion from 40k has been interesting and TTFN.








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