Sunday, March 3, 2024

Back At It

Well after a couple of years ... I'm back at it. In case anyone still reads blogs here's an update.

I guess I just got burned out. That's how it is with me and hobbies. I'm all in for five years or so and I then I need to take a break. I always seem to come back to them, however. I spent my time doing genealogy research, something I hadn't done in twenty years, reading and running. Then I started to feel the need to create. I got inspired by my daugther and her many crafting projects.

I explored many avenues before I settled on what exactly I wanted to paint. I like many areas of history so of course I've been tempted by many genres. I also flirted with 15mm figures. I looked into (added to my mountain of shame, bought books, etc.) 15mm American War of Independence, primarily the Battle of Bunker Hill as I have ancestors who fought there; 15mm Civil War, never been a big ACW nut, but I have always wanted to finish a Fire and Fury scenario; 20mm WWII, Eastern Front, a big interest of mine; 15mm Ancients, Romans vs. Dacians; 15mm WWII, Pacific War and finally 15mm Vietnam. What did I learn about myself during all this crazyness? 20mm is the scale for me. 28mm is too expensive, takes too long to paint and I don't feel confident enough to sculpt for it; 15mm, well, they take just as long to paint as 20mm if they're done right and I don't find them as much fun to paint ... just too small. I need variety. 15mm, painting, gaming involves too many figures of the same pose. I like clean, crisp models. I don't like spending too much time cleaning up models. A lot of 15mm figures I came across had indistinct faces and a lack of detail or casting faults. I need to really like the figures and don't like to mix figures from different makers. AB Figures have many pluses, but I was really disappointed to find that size difference among the range is huge - plus some of the casting isn't so great.

So I landed where I left off. I just really like RH Models' stuff so I'm sticking with them. I might not be able to get more of them, but I've got about 10 years worth of stuff to paint already. Rolf, if you're out there I've got a large order I desperately want to place. Please reach out. Everyone else, if you have some spare RH Models to unload please get in touch with me.

For starters I finished a set of ICW figures I was last working on. RH Models don't have leader figure so I made one with a head swap and some sculpted equipment, included a holstered pistol. They also don't produce a British Lewis gun team so I did a weapon swap with a such a weapon and a headswap with another to make a team.

My first new painting foray is going to be figures for the 2nd Indochina war (French vs. Viet Minh). I also have some 15mm Vietnam US Army and 20mm modern Australians to base. My recent research has included the civil wars of Nicaragua and El Salvador.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Seals at Takur Ghar

A few days ago I wrapped up these six figures. They are meant to represent the Navy Seals at Takur Ghar.

These figures started out as early war US Special forces 2001/2002 (USS02 codes). I gave them all head swaps using heads from Delta Force figures (Mogadishu). The helmets then had their holes filled in and some gear added to them with green stuff and some plastic sprue. Each got a green stuff hood, new front ammo pockets (four not three as originally sculpted) and some more back straps. I also sculpted a holster for each (some with a small pistol handle) and extended their pants a bit. One figure got new hands to hold a swapped in SR-25.

Next up is a small batch of Australian SAS in Afghanistan.

RH Models USS02-* with head and weapon swap; USS02M4GL* with head swap
RH Models USS02-* with head swap; USS02-* with head swap
RH Models USS02M60 with head swap; USS02M4GL* with head swap

I didn't have too many pictures to go off of. My main source of inspiration was one image of a Seal at Takur Ghar from Osprey's book about the battle in their RAID series. Based on information in that book I found specific pictures online of the equipment said to be used.

Navy Seal at Takur Ghar.
John Chapman's holster from Takur Ghar as displayed at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

2001/2002 Al Qaeda

Weeks ago I finished this batch of Al Qaeda/Taliban for a couple of scenarios regarding Takur Ghar. I'm sure they'll have other uses, but the 2001/2002 time frame was my goal.

So that more figures would have chi com ammo rigs I modified Rolf's PLO figures with some green stuff giving them shalwar kameez (long tunics). I also added some beards, extended a few shirts to make jackets, made a few scarf endings and a prayer cap. I was particularly pleased with the beards. When I get back to working on Chechen fighters I'm definitely adding some of these.

In the future I hope to create some more Takur Ghar fighters with cold weather gear. For that fight in the mountains they seem to wear knit caps and western style winter jackets. I need a few more of guys dressed like that.

RH Models PLOAK; PLOCOM; MUJGRENK/T; MUJ14* with head swap
RH Models MUJ14* with head swap; EER2W; MULT*AK with head swap; MUJLMGT
RH Models PLOAK; MUJ14* with head swap; EER2W; AQSQU
RH Models MUJ14A; PLORPK; MUJ14* with head swap; BALAK
RH Models MULT*AK with head swap; AQSQU; AQSNI
RH Models AQ26; WEA26

Strangely picutes of Al Qaeda/Taliban during the early period of the war were difficult to come by, even dead ones. Below are some of the few I found.

Al Qaeda in Afghanistan (May 26th, 1998).
Al Qaeda 055 elite force celebrating capture of Bagram Air Base (August 1st, 1999).
Al Qaeda 055 elite force celebrating capture of Bagram Air Base (August 1st, 1999).
Taliban POWs in jail complex in Shebargan, Afghanistan (December, 2001).
Foreign Al Qaeda POWs in Agam Valley near Tora Bora (December 17th, 2001).
Osama Bin Laden guards in Tora Bora before 9-11.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Odd Weapon Insurgents

I am not sure why, but for some reason it took me forever to get around making this post. I finished this group about a month ago. Looking back I sure did have fun creating them.

The group is meant to represent Sunni insurgents in the War on Terror. When looking through source pictures I realized that not every insurgent fought with an AK. Pictures of discovered weapon caches showed lots of variety. G3's seemed to be particularly popular. Presumably these came from Iran.

All figures got head swaps; some got green stuff scarf endings as well. I also sculpted a vest on one figure (pretty easy to do actually), "cived up" a gunner figure and gave one guy a new right hand.

Since I got discouraged creating a couple of US Marines for Fallujah with shotguns, I moved on temporarily to big group of Taliban/Afghans for Takur Ghar. I'm about halfway through that batch.

RH Models MULT20SKS w/ head swap; NEG28 w/ head swap; URBUKRIF w/ head swap
RH Models URBPIST* w/ head swap; NEG28 w/ head swap; URBM16203 w/ head swap
RH Models NEG2 w/ head swap
RH Models MULT*GUN w/ head swap; ARACIV* w/ head swap; WEA40; BLACK DOG T72026

Some good pics ...

Armed Iraqi men welcome residents of Fallujah home (May, 2004).
US Marines gather weapons found in the restive city of Fallujah (December 12, 2004).
Insurgents in Ramadi (March 9, 2005).
An armed man waves his weapon after burning a van in northern Iraq (December 11, 2004).
Sunni Iraqi insurgents celebrate in front of burning military tanker (April 9, 2004).
Insurgents in Ramadi (March 9, 2005).
A member of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadir's Mehdi Army in Kufa (April 19, 2004).

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

US Marines in Fallujah Pt. 1

It has been a while since I've posted, but I've been busy. There's lots of stuff to fix up/change in the new house and those kids keep staying up later! Both of these are cutting into my painting time.

This last group was painted to represent US Marines in Fallujah in 2004. I didn't do any head swaps for once, but I did do a lot of green stuff sculpting to give them the look I wanted. I used the good stuff for knee pads (some up, some fallen down), groin protectors, hydration bags and some straps. I also added an AT4 to one of these figures. I went back and forth with the sculpting quite a bit as I really wanted to get the knee pads and straps thin so they'd match the cast figures well. I had planned on adding sunglasses to some figures, but it just didn't work with figures already wearing helmets. In the end I'm pleased with the results.

I tried to vary the colors I used as much as possible - personal equipment like googles and knee pads were an opportunity to add some variety. Some marines seem to have been issues coyote brown armor while others are pictured wearing armor in woodland camo. Initially, I was a bit scared to paint desert MARPAT camo, but it wasn't too bad once I got going.

Next up is a second batch of US Marines to finish this platoon. For the next group I'll have to sculpt some more accessories, like these have, and go with different skin tones and gloves.

RH Models US02COMA4; US02GREN; US02SAW1/US02SQ1; US02M21

RH Models US02GREN2; US02SQ3; US02COM; US02SAW1/US02SQ1


RH Models US02SQ3; US02SQ3; US02SQ1 with WEA43

RH Models US02COMA4; US02GREN2; US02SQ3

There are a lot of great pictures out there. Here are a few I used.

Marines of the 3/5 Lima Company rest against the damaged shutters of stores in Fallujah (November 14th, 2004).

3/5 Lima Company Marine takes away suspected insurgent in Jolan district of Fallujah (November 12th, 2004)..

US Marines of the 3/5 Lima company conduct a house-to-house search in the Jolan district of Fallujah (November 12th, 2004)..

US Marines from the 3/5 Lima company arrest a man while conducting house-to-house search in the Jolan district of Fallujah (November 12th, 2004)..

A US Marine from the 3/5 Lima company takes away a suspected insurgent in the Jolan district of Fallujah (November 12th, 2004)..