Monday 10 February 2020

Airbrush Adventures - and Tanks!

It's been a long time organising, but I finally managed to get everything together to airbrush a bunch of stuff that has been sitting around for a while. The saga of the airbrush has been going on since November, when I got a brand new shiny Iwata Eclipse for my birthday - hurrah! Unfortunately, when I tried to run it using my little electric air-pump from HobbyCo (Japan), no paint..   arrgghhh.

The model I was given was the BCS, which is a siphon feed, so I suspected that I needed larger volumes of paint or a higher air pressure.

In the meantime, I sent the airbrush back to the vendor: to be checked (and also to see if they would consider replacing with a gravity feed model). Of course, in their hands, the airbrush worked perfectly, so back it came. Tried various tests: yep, my little pump wasn't managing enough pressure to get the siphon effect working.  So I needed a new compressor.

Much research later, I decided a Sparmax for around £100 would do the trick, got back in touch with the vendor, who had been brilliant  - sorry, no Sparmax in stock, but they did offer me a demo Iwata PowerJet Lite shipped for £100. Ok, done!

So the siphon thing means a bit more mucking around than with a gravity feed airbrush, but it just works brilliantly. I like to use Tamiya acrylics for airbrushing. With the Tamiya X20 thinner, even with my old setup (cheapo airbrush & electric pump purchased online for about A$40), I had much less clogging and issues than with other brands. With the new Iwata brush and compressor, it's an absolute dream.

The whole session lasted about two hours, and I worked out a new technique that minimised issues and cleaning. I had purchased a whole bunch of small plastic bottles online, so I would fill these approximately 50/50 with Tamiya colour and X20. Shake to mix, then decant into the siphon bottle. Spray - NO clogging! not even once!  When I finished with one colour, detach siphon bottle, pour what was left back in to my plastic bottle, rinse out the siphon bottle, spray out the remaining colour with the siphon bottle detached, and repeat the process with the next colour.

Over this session, I used 6 main colours, 5 variations with added white, and it was absolutely trouble-free. This is how airbrushing should be!

You can judge the results for yourself, apologies for the photographs, but they were taken under artificial light.  And I can highly recommend whose customer service through all this was just great.

AFV, a blockhouse, hut and Malayan jungle des-res

Oh, and some more terrain - rocky areas, an oasis and some palms for desert games, on the left, MDF and clay making some paddy fields for my Malaya setup.

More terrain!

Sunday 2 February 2020

Ha Go in the jungle

As I have been putting together a Japanese force for Malaya, I acquired a couple of type 97 Chi Ha tanks from Warlord, one plastic and the other resin, in various sales etc.

Reading through accounts of the Malaya campaign though, by far the most common armour in use was the Ha Go Type 95 light tank. This model equipped the armour component of infantry divisions and was used very successfully by the Japanese forces in Malaya. As far as I was aware the only 1/56 Ha Go available was a resin and metal model from Warlord, and as I wanted to field at least two, at £18 each, that was expensive for a support option that might only get a stand-in role in one Chain of Command campaign.

As luck would have it, a chance conversation on Twitter with Garry, who runs Paint and Glue Miniatures, revealed that although not on the website, yes, P&G did a Ha Go, for the princely sum of £7. (plus postage).  Less than a week later I had two Ha Go on my desk, in a fetching shade of blue.

Ha! Who Go's there?

The print lines from the 3d process are minimal, the models very neat and clean, (I just gave them a quick scrub with a stiffish old brush to get rid of some wispy print residue). 

I am very impressed with the quality, price, and speed of delivery, so Paint and Glue are likely to be my go-to for support options from now on. 

So now I have four Japanese AFV to get painted, and the Japanese camouflage schemes are very interesting and appealing. I can see these playing a significant role in future campaigns. 

Here's their natural habitat:

In the jungle, the mighty jungle..

I'm not sure what more to add to these. In a real jungle, creepers and fallen trees, but I also want to be able to place figures, so these may be left as is, they have had two coats of dilute white glue to seal the ground cover, and some added flock and tufts, but not much real change. It's time to find a place to store these, till I get them out to play.

Finally, I am also experimenting with making trees for European settings. I have a bunch of the smaller Woodland Scenics plastic armatures, so I glued them together, twisted them into shape and glued some coarse chopped foam to them using rubber cement.

Trees, Mark I

Not very impressive..

The Mark II version used a strip of rubberised horse hair, cut into lengths, teased out and stretched over the armature, the foam was then glued to the horse hair and branches, again using rubber cement.

Trees, Mark II

Much better! I have given them a first coat of thinned white glue to seal them, and we shall see how durable they are. I am expecting some larger armatures to be delivered soon, as these are too short to be anything larger than ornamentals or fruit trees for an orchard.

It's all progress, I had better get on with painting some of the core infantry platoons now!