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; MULTBABESQU


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


RH Models MULTBABESQU; MULT20SKS with head swap; EERKESTAK; MULTBABESQU


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.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

A few days ago I finally finished a big bunch of figures I have been painting. I decided to try to paint an entire squad at once - twenty-three figures. I'm not so sure it was a good idea to work on that many at once especially with the many modifications I did with these and all of the different camouflage schemes, but it is hard to stop oneself sometimes.

This group is meant to represent a SOBR unit of the 2nd Chechen War. The photos that inspired me are below. Modifications included lots of head swaps, cutting off of arm pockets and leg pockets, replacing back pockets with new three horizontal pockets and sculpted hoods and big collars. It took me five nights are so to sculpt all of this with my trusty green stuff. Uniform camouflage schemes include woodland BDU, winter SMK, spring SMK, winter tiger, bright spring tiger, dark spring tiger, reverse winter SMK and very faded winter tiger (those are the names I give them in my head anyway). For their assault vests I stuck with just three patterns: spring tiger, urban tiger and some sort of woodland that I haven't named yet. I also tried my first attempt at finger-less gloves and a soldier with a shaved head. 20mm sure is a great scale - any smaller and it'd be impossible to paint decent representations of some of these camouflage schemes while any larger it'd be tough to get away with painting on details like finger-less gloves.

Next up I'm taking a break from all of the camouflage painting and painting a big batch of winter Armenians suitable for the war in the Karabakh. Lately I've been reading a lot of books about Armenia and that has inspired me. I'm hoping a new set of progressive glasses (bifocals) help.


RH Models RUS25E; RUS21 with head swap; RUS20AK74* with head swaps


RH Models RUS26* with head swap; RUS20COME; RUS20AK74* with head swap; RUS25R


RH Models RUS20AK74* with head swap; RUS20E; RUS20BGE


RH Models RUS23* with head swap; RUS23E; RUS20COME; RUS23* with head swap


RH Models RUS20E; RUS20BGE; RUS20E; RUS20COME
Russian Interior Ministry troops patrolling Grozny. (February, 1996)


RH Models RUS20AK74* with head swap; RUS20COME; RUS20E

This group of figures was mainly inspired by a great set of pictures I came across in a posting about Vladimir Mikhaylenko a Russian as part of a SOBR unit participated in 1st and 2nd Chechen war. These photos are from the 2nd Chechen war.

I was also inspired by these images.


Russian Special Police running in Grozny. (January 24th, 2000)


Russian Special Police keep watch in Grozny. (January 24th, 2000)


Russian Interior Ministry troops helping wounded comrade. (Grozny, January 28th, 2000)