Monday, October 8, 2018

A local tank museum!

It sure took a while, but I finally finished a big bunch of Armenian fighters a few days ago. I've been into painting larger groups of figures lately, so that definitely slowed me down some, but mainly I was slowed down by glazing. Usually I glaze my figures by hand with Vallejo gloss varnish, wait a few days for them to dry thoroughly and then cover them by hand with Army Painter Anti-Shine. I've been disappointed with the process though, the figures I finished have been still too glossy for me, especially darker colors like black. For these figures I waited eight days for the gloss varnish to dry (it was really humid here for days on end). I also found a better alternative to Anti-Shine ... Vallejo's matte varnish. It mixes easier and works better. (So good in fact, I'm taking a few days to work on some past figures).

The pictures I took today came out a bit dark, but I'm very pleased with the set, oddly the varnish discovery is a big part of it. It's been fun to go over an enjoy figures I've worked on this year ... very motivating.

For this group I did quite a few head swaps as usual. I also used green stuff to sculpt big collars, jacket extensions and for two guys I went all out and gave them some civilian pullovers. I painted them with more camouflage then my first group of Fall/Winter Armenians, mostly VSR.

RH Models MULTBHAK; MULT*AK with head swap; HDBRPG; EER2W


RH Models MULT40AK; RMRAK* with head swap; MULT*AK with head swap; MULT*AK with head swap

RH Models MULT40AK; RMRAK* with head swap; MULT*COM with head swap; MULTBHAK

RH Models MULT*AK with head swap; MULTBHPKM; RUSAK* with head swap; EER2W


Below are some pictures that inspired me:

Armenians defending the village of Askeran on the border of Nagorno-Karabakh. (March, 1992)

Armenian fighters in the city of Askeran. (March 19th, 1992)

Martuninsky Region, Nagorno-Karabakh - Armenian fighter (December 10th, 1992)

Armenian fighters, Eagle and Garegin detachment

Armenian liberators of Agdam

Armenian fighters

In April, 2019 a large tank museum, The American Heritage Museum, run by the awesome Collings Foundation is opening near my home - just a few towns over! A couple of years ago they bought the Jacques M. Littlefield Collection (which includes a running Panther!). I've been waiting ever since for them to move everything from California to Massachusetts and put it on display. This weekend was the preview opening of the museum. There is still work to be done (no information posted), but 95% of the vehicles are already in place. I was of course very interested in their Soviet stuff; although all of it is great. As you can see in the pictures below the vehicles are in great shape, well lit and displayed with all hatches open. I'll definitely be going to this place often.

Here's some pictures. Not shown in the pictures, but interest to me were a ZSU-23-4 SHILKA and a 2S1 GVOZDIKA.

Looking down at the World War II section

Looking down at the Post-World War II section

Leichter PanzerspƤhwagen SdKfz 222


Panther A

Churchill Crocodile?



M1A1 Abrams

ZPU-4 and PT-76

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Heavy Weapons in the Karabakh

Well I guess I've been busy with too many projects (including some home improvement ones) as it has been a while since my last post. I've still been painting away though! One additional thing that slowed me down and I'll have to remember this for next year is the humidity. It has been a really humid summer here and the protective clear coats I put on this batch of miniatures took a very long time to dry. Furthermore when I glued the sand mix on the base of these guys the sand stuck on the figures like never before. It took me hours to carefully get the sand off with a hobby knife and pin. Ugh. All of these miniatures are meant to represent Armenians or Azerbaijani's using heavy weapons in a mix of seasons (with two exceptions). The figures with notes ...

RH Models MULT43; MULT20HMG with RB Models 72P10; RUSAGSH

(Left to Right) The first guy is straight out of the bag. The next guy began as loader for a DshK 12.7mm. I carved his ammo box and hands off and replaced them with a RB Models 12.8cm PaK 40 L/61 shell and used green stuff to sculpt new hands. I'll use him for as a Chechen D30 gunner. The last figure is also meant to be a Chechen gunner, this time in a snowsuit for a MT-12 I've been modelling. I rotated the hands on him.

RH Models HDB2644 with WEA42

RH Models MULT*HMG with head swap and Elheim Miniatures GUN19

RH Models EERHMG with head swap and Elheim Miniatures GUN19

(Top to Bottom) For the first figure I sculpted a thick collar and paired him with a RH Models 12.7mm DshK for which I carved off the scenic base and replaced it with some sandbags I made of green stuff. The second and third figures where originally RH Models paired with 12.7mm DshKs on tripods. I hacked off the tripods, fixed up their pants and sculpted new hands for them. One guy got a new head. The second and third figures were mated with Elheim 12.7mm DshK's on wheeled carriages. Such guns seem to have been very popular in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. All have empty shell casings created from cut, thin brass rod.

RH Models MULTBHGUN; MULT*GUN with headswap; WEA40; Black Dog T72026

RH Models URBCIVB; URBCIV* with headswap; Black Dog T72026

(Top to Bottom) Besides head swaps for some of these figures, I created 82mm mortar rounds by rounding out some RH Models RPG rounds. For the last group I cut off one guy's hand and sculpted on a new hand to hold the mortar round. The hand looks a bit big in these pictures because of the camera angle/focus.

RH Models MULT*COM with head swap; EERGUN; MULT*GUN with head swap; WEA?; Black Dog T72026

RH Models MULTBHGUN; MULT*GUN with head swap; WEA?; Black Dog T72026

(Top to Bottom) I didn't think I needed bases of such a big mortar, but then Rolf sent me these for free and I found pictures to inspire me. Thanks! The first base has an AK resting on the boxes that I hacked off another miniature in this group.

Below are some pictures I was looking at while working on this set of figures and their weapons.

Ethnic Armenian fighter, Nagorno-Karabakh, 1992.

Armenian firing DshK in Hadrut (May 22nd, 1992).

Armenian fighters in Mardakert District (July 15th, 1992).

Armenian firing DshK in the Mardakert District (July 15th, 1992).

Azerbaijani forces load mortar (October 7th, 1992).

Armenian mortars (December 21st, 1992).

Armenian fighter? firing DshK (December 21st, 1992).

Armenian mortars the Martakert District, near the Sarsang Reservoir of Nagorno-Karabakh (July, 20th, 1993?).

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Truck Drivers

While prepping a big batch of Armenian/Azerbaijani crewmen and their heavy weapons I decided to paint up a few drivers for some trucks I'm working on. These four went quick as I only painted the bits that would show. They are done in colors that are suitable for all post-Soviet conflicts I'm interested. I hope to paint up all vehicles I can in a way that they can be used for many conflicts. I think I may have to lower the seats of two of them to get them to fit right. It sure is difficult to fit such guys in plastic model cabs.


RH Models MULTBHTRUCK; *DRIV with head swap

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Truck Riders

Some time ago I convert a pack of RH Model's mujahedin tank riders to make them more of a multi-purpose pack by swapping our their bearded heads with different bare heads and Soviet headgear. Recently I got around to expanding this bunch with another pack and converted some sitting figures Rolf puts out to give me even more variation. Some of these conversions are the most extensive I've done yet. It sure was fun and I'm very happy with the results. I plan on using them to model Armenian soldiers riding in the back of army trucks. The thought is that with some precisely cut, thin steel plates I can create different load-outs for trucks I plan to build and paint. One type of load-out I hope to make is a one with dudes like these.

RH Models MUJ25 with head swaps

RH Models MUJ25 with head swaps

For the figures below I had to do more than swap heads. The figures in camouflage hooded suits originally had bases which I removed with my Dremel, a hobby knife and a file. The middle two figures originally had different heads on them, binoculars and hands holding the binoculars. I changed them to be holding their heads up. The new hands were done with green stuff. The last two figures were cast as gunners for Soviet AA. For these I chopped off one head, the left arm, right hand and chair back on both, put a Moison-Nagant rifle on their laps and sculpted new arms and hands to support the gun.

RH Models RUSHMGH with head swap; RUSHMGH; RUSAGSH with head swap; MULT20ZPU4 with head swap; MULT20ZPU4

These pictures give an idea of the look I'm going for with these figures:

Armenians during operations in the Martakert District near the Sarsa. (~7/1992)

Armenians during operations in the Martakert District. (July 12th, 1992)

Armenians during operations in the Martakert District. (July 12th, 1992)

Armenians during operations in the Martakert District. (~7/1992)

Friday, May 4, 2018

Azerbaijani Fighters

Last weekend I finished this big batch of figures (26 might be too many to do at once, sure slows one down). They are meant to represent Fall/Winter Azerbaijani forces during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. To prep these I did a whole bunch of head swaps, some jacket extensions and some big collars. I painted them with my darker flesh tone, some mustaches, mostly a whole range of khaki and three new Azerbaijan only camouflage patterns. I did the bases with the usual bricks, cinder blocks and trash as well as grass, bushes and some rocks (courtesy of the nearby middle school). In the near future I'll have to do a 2nd batch like these with more RMR figures (older kit), a couple more Azeri-only camouflage patterns and a whole lot more khaki. First, however, I'm half through a batch of Armenian tank/truck riders.

Lately I've been busy reading a big pile of books concerning modeling and painting models. All these figures need vehicles! I've got a big stash of plastic, resin and metal kits waiting for me to get working on them - and a couple of die-casts I might repaint. I haven't bought an airbrush, but soon will do so.

RH Models RMRAKF with some green stuff jacket extensions

RH Models RMRAK* with head swap; RMRRPK with head swap; MULT51 with head swap; EER14

RH Models MULT*AK with head swap; EERKESTAK

RH Models MULT*AK with head swap; MULTBHRPG

RH Models MULT*AK with head swap; EERKESTAK; MULT*RPG with head swap

RH Models RUSAKD; RUSCOMA; RUSAK* with head swap

RH Models MULT*AK with head swap; EER11*

My inspiration pictures:

Azerbaijani fighters with helicopter wreckage. (February 1st, 1992)

Azerbaijani soldiers arrive at a base in the Karabakh. (March, 1992)

Azeri soldiers guide former hostage in Karabakh. (March, 1992)

Azeris decorating donkey. (October 7th, 1992)

Azeri soldier gets attention from medic. (October 7th, 1992)

Azeris feed ammunition belts while another assembles a rocket. (October 18th, 1992)