Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A few soldiers, getting more confidence

In my Warhammer 40K work I have always enjoyed working on bases to give the model a real world to live in. So, with my American soldiers, fighting in Northern Italy in 1944-45, I also wanted to give them a bit more then just some flock and sand.

Here are the some guys in the works.
For basing I use stones from Galeforce Nine, cut up into smaller pieces. The sand is beach sand, which is extremely fine and has good scale proportions for 1/28. Here's a pic of the stone product:

Once painted I keep the stonework bone colored with white higlights, to mimick the lime stone prevalent in buildings in Northern Italy in those days. The sand I also paint bone, but after washing I don't highlight it with white, so it stays a bit darker.
Here's a previous shot of a group of guys done, so you can see the color scheme. I also like how all the colors kind of work together, which seems logical from a military standpoint, better to blend in.

I have gained a bit of confidence in building these little guys and attempted a small conversion. Using a regular kneeling guy, cut off one of his legs and adding it to a standing model. Now we can have a trooper surveying the land. It gives the squad a more diverse look. Not sure where this one will fit in but its fun to play with. The base still needs sand.

I want to end with this great image of somewhere in Italy in 1945, and I nice idea for some decals for a jeep (it might have to be freehand):

SC Mike

Friday, July 26, 2013

Finished M4 Sherman - learned some stuff along the way

I picked up a Hobbyboss 1/48 Sherman M4 with 75 mm gun, an early variant of many different versions to come during the war. The one in the kit is the 'welded' hull variant, there was also a 'cast' hull variant, which had a much more rounder look.

I can't use an airbrush in my house, so I knew I had to do some super dry stippling. I primed the kit white and then, holding the model upside down, primed black, so the bottom was shadowy and dark, but the top stayed white. Then primed with Tamily Olive Drab, all the way green. After that some brown wash and lots of pushing paint with an old brush, like stippling but harder and very dry and going lighter in the middle part of each section. After that the usual weathering and adding some dirt wash to the bottom part of the tank,

I could not find real life references to the 'hell with it' marking, but I liked it so I did put it on, risking that this particular vehicle never saw action in Italy with the 92nd.

Here's an action shot of black troops, taking cover behind a M4.

This photo would actually be a great diorama. I love how the soldiers strapped their gear to the back of the vehicle, things that would be fairly easy to model. It looks like the tank in the photo has the 75mm gun, just like the model does. It's the lightest armament of the all Shermans.

You can also see the extra armor plates on the side, which were put on places where ammo was stored inside the tank. There were lots of fires in the beginning with ammo exploding after being hit, so the plates gave extra protection.

The cupolas up front have extra, angled armor as well, since the upright original design made it a target for anti tank weapons. Sloping the armor increased rate of survival.

My friend SC John, who is expert on many things WW2 related, told me that many tank crews removed big stars from the tanks, because they could be used by enemies as a target. As you can see in the WW2 photo, that Sherman also doesn't have any markings besides a number and a name. I did decide to add the top star, since airplanes could see the tank was an ally.

It's been great learning while building and this will be the joy of this hobby diversion and the blog. Anyone with pointers or more info is welcome to contact me at scwarhammer at gmail dot com or leave a comment!

SC Mike

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Playing with History: a start

I started Santa Cruz Warhammer in 2007. After 6 years of blogging about Warhammer Fantasy and 40K with my comrade SC John and having attracted over 1000 followers I was in need of something extra. I love Warhammer and 40K and am in the middle of building a Night Goblin Army. But....my inspiration is taking me on different roads...
I have always had a love for history and I have looked at historical miniatures for years with great interest. The Perry Twins' Miniatures, Dave Taylor's 19th century armies and many, many more talented modelers, they all inspired me for a long time. Whilst pondering all these things, I happen to run across an old picture of my wife's grandpa, who I never knew (he died 20 years ago). He served as a ski trooper in the 10th Mountain division in Northern Italy during WW2. Here's the shot:

You can see he was a staff sergeant and while I was exploring the image in Photoshop I noticed his chest pin, which is the Combat Infantry Badge.. Here's a better shot of what that looked like.

It has been said that the CIB is considered the highest honor for infantry, besides the Medal of Honor. For more info on this award, check out the link above. Very interesting stuff. One of my wife's uncles has Grandpa's WW2 belongings, including the awards, and hopefully I will be able to take a photo of it.

Anyway, I have always known from family lore that he was in combat and survived but never thought much more of it. His sons, one of them my father in law, certainly never talked about it. But after doing some research at the Online Denver Library (which is where the Tenth Mountain Archive is) I found out the unit that he served with: 86th regiment, company G, and then I got excited. I ordered books from the library about the Italian campaign, have read two books about the start of the 10th and THEN started having fantasies about combining all this information with my favorite hobby: modeling. Naturally I ended up with Bolt Action. I bought a box and started painting. Here are some guys I did, as you can tell, they are the African American troops from the 92nd, who also fought in the same Italian theatre as the 10th.

After finishing up some models, I made a plan: creating a new blog, an of-shoot from Santa Cruz Warhammer, working on WW2 models and finding out more about my wife's grandfather. Along the way there are plenty of great opportunities for stories, modeling, learning about history and the odd guest post. I certainly don't want to restrict the blog to just WW2 and will create a comprehensive blogroll with all the sites I find interesting. Hopefully you all will be along for the ride!

SC Mike