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)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Armenian Fighters

Below is my latest batch of figures. They are meant to represent Armenian fighters during the early part of the war over Nagorno Karabakh in winter garb. Later fighters would have more camouflage. To prep these I did a lot head swaps. I would have done less had I had a pack of Rolf's multipurpose figures with fur caps, but I didn't have any of those left and I had spare ushanka heads to use. RH Models new multi-purpose pack with bald heads and bare heads with beards came in handy. I wanted one of these figures to have a hat I've seen many pictures of (see below). It looks like a hood without a jacket. To create this hat I trimmed a brim off one from another pack and filled it in a bit. I carved off some pants pockets and some equipment too.

After the figures were prepped I went to work with my trusty green stuff. A lot of these figures got jacket extensions and big collars. The figure with the hood had his hood extended. My biggest leap forward was with the sculpted hair (or lack thereof). To accurately depict soldiers of this conflict I need figures with lots of facial hair with all manner of hats (and not hats) and since many middle-aged men were involved in the conflict guys with thinning hair.

When choosing paints I went with a flesh color that was slightly darker than my usual color and stuck with dark colored hair. I mixed up lots of varieties of khaki too, some yellowish, some brownish, etc. I've got a big cheat sheet of my mixes for next time. I even got to use my bright yellow to paint one of the camouflage jackets - I'm just not sure where this jacket would blend in.


RH Models MULT*AK with head swap; MULTBHRPG; MOSCOM


RH Models MULT*AK with head swap; EERKESTAK; EER14

RH Models MULT*RPK with head swap; MULT*AK with head swap; MULTBHAK; MULT*AK with head swap

RH Models MULTBHPKM; MOSAK; *SA7 with head swap

This last figure is my 20mm rendition of Monte Melkonian (1957-1993) in winter clothing. To quote Wikipedia Melkonian was an American born "Armenian left-wing nationalist militant, revolutionary, and commander. He was the leader of an offshoot of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) in the 1980s and the most celebrated commander during the Nagorno-Karabakh War in the early 1990s. I highly recommend a biography his brother wrote My Brother's Road, An American's Fateful Journey to Armenia.

RH Models MULT*COM with head swap

Below are a few of the images that inspired me.

Armenian volunteers display homemade RPGs (January 19th, 1990).

Armenian fighters in the Agdam Region (1992).

Armenians aboard aircraft with coffin (~1992).

Armenian fighter in village of Askeran (March, 1992).

Armenian firing PKM (March 6th, 1992).

Monte Melonian with fellow Armenian fighters (March 1993).

Monte Melonian (March 1993).

Armenian fighters evacuate wounded (~1992-1993).

Armenian solider holds modified machine gun (~1992-1993).

Armenian soldiers preparing positions in the mountains while transporting a Dhsk heavy machine gun (January 1992).

Armenian fighter near Nakhchivan (January 8th, 1992).

Armenian transporting SA-18 during the winter of 1993.