Monday, 27 September 2010

"B" Battalion command group and supporting Austin armoured cars

With apologies for not driving my Tank Corps project on with as much force as I’d like owing to work and family life, here’s the next few parts of “B” Battalion from 1917 completed.

First, there’s the command group consisting of the Prince Henry Vauxhall car, the Battalion Commander and a despatch rider. I was fairly pleased with the way that the Prince Henry Vauxhall, a Matchbox Models of Yesteryear purchase for a couple of quid on EBay, painted up. It really was a joy to dry brush and weather. It’s perhaps slightly out of scale and a little on the large side, although the Sloppy Jalopy chauffeur looks the part. The motorcycle despatch rider from Great War Miniatures was a real joy to paint.

I managed to finish the Austin armoured cars this weekend, working either side of my daughter’s birthday party. I was pretty pleased by how both cars came out in the end. I used the same painting and weathering techniques as I used on the Prince Henry Vauxhall to try and keep the project fairly consistent in its appearance. Just as a reminder of how I started, after thoroughly washing the cars in soapy water I primed and undercoated the cars in Humbrol matt black enamel.

I then added a heavy wet-brush of a Vallejo Russian Green mixed with Vallejo Black, followed by a wet-brush of just the Vallejo Russian Green.

I dry-brushed the cars next with a mix of Vallejo Russian Green and Vallejo German Camo Ochre. I did about four of five dry-brushes, adding progressively more of the ochre each time, trying to get a scrubby, weathered appearance on the exposed parts.

I then tried a weathering technique from the Forgeworld “Imperial Armour Modelling Masterclass, Volume 1”. I loaded up an old brush with a very heavily diluted wash of white spirit/ turpentine thinners with burnt umber oil colour and dark rust weathering powders. I then gently flicked the paint onto the model, trying to focus on areas where rusting would naturally take place. I tried the technique on a spare piece of paper first to make sure the brush wasn’t overloaded. I thought this was a very simple technique, but it did look (at least to my eye) good on the cars. I varied the colour a little by adding progressively less, then more of the weathering pigment in the thinned mix.

Then, before the paint was fully dry I washed clean thinners over the flicked on paint. Some of the flicked on paint simply disappears, other spots start to seep naturally over the dry-brushed paint work, and the larger spots of the rus/brown umber mix blur on the sides of the car. When you’ve worked about 15 minutes on this process, the result looks a little like this.

Then I heavily diluted some black oil paint with thinners and washed the mix around all the nooks, crannies, hatches, rivets, engine filters and engineering pits on the cars, watching the mixture slowly pool into the darker areas. Using a fine brush this took about 5-10 minutes per car, although I repeated the process a couple of times to make sure that some of the areas between the armoured turrets were a little darker.

After the thinned black oil paint had dried, I dry-brushed a mixture of Plaka Gelb-braun paint mixed with some weathering pigment from MIG onto the model to simulate mud and dirt accumulated on the steps of the car, and the lower running gear. I love the Plaka range of water based acrylics for this sort of weathering as they are slightly “grainy” in texture and mix beautifully with the weathering powder.

Finally, I painted the tow chains I’d glued on the front of one of the Austins and added the unit identifications on the front engine plate.

I really enjoyed the painting and weathering of the vehicles, not least because the weathering helped to mask a couple of slight imperfections in the resin cast of the cars. Next up, I need to varnish what I've finished so far, finish off the bases of the vehicles and tank crewmen, paint the remaining converted 6 tank crewmen and then finally paint the four mark IV tanks from the Battalion. I'm hoping to blog a little later this week on how I'm getting on.

Finally, I've arranged last week for the trench terrain to be making a trip to Burton-Upon-Trent in November for a TooFatLardies games day with some friends in the Midlands and North of England. I'll taking up the "Copse 125" terrain boards which shoudl allow for a decent sized (and hopefulyl fairly dramatic) game, so watch out for those in future blogs in October together with some shots of the game being tested.


  1. Wow! Again, these models are beautiful. I'm going to have to try that weathering technique for the armoured cars on some of my WW2 tanks.

    I've just been excavating Great War trenches in Belgium for the past week, so seeing this stuff done in miniature is a real pleasure!!

  2. The weathering is truly grand, Mr. Roundwood. You have a remarkable consistency to your painting, really great.


  3. Beautiful models. It's done, I'm gonna buy some wheeled armour to reinforce my British

  4. Thank you all very much indeed. I really appreciate the comments, Guys.

    @ Vlad - that sounds like an awesome week of excavations. I'd be really interested to know what you've found!

    @ Colonel Hessler - Hessler, having you say that means a great deal to me, given that your Blog is a great inspiration to everyone. Thanks very much, mate.

    @ Drunken Samurai - many thanks. I've checked out your wonderful Blogs as well. If I manage your Blogging consistency, I'll be very pleased indeed!!

    @ Anibal - Thanks Anibal. The wheeled armoured cars make a nice variety to tanks, with their own strengths and weaknesses on the wargames table. I wrote an article on one of the TooFatLardies "Specials" about an armoured car/ cavalry action in France in March 1917. The armoured cars were far from useless when (periodically) the battlefields opened up a little. There's a few other models available in 1/48th or 1/56th scale such as the Rolls Royce A/C and (I think) the Lanchester, and more arriving all the time it seems.

  5. We (there was three of us) were working at Palingbeek and Sanctuary Wood just outside of Ypres for the Flanders Archaeological Institute. The whole stretch of trenches of the Western Front in Belgium is under consideration for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List and the Institute was tasked in assessing the level of preservation of the underground archaeology. In short we found German front line trench systems, at least three with wood remains from side revetting hurdles and planking on the base. There was no shortage of cartridges in Sanctuary Wood, mainly British .303, which was strange given the trench maps indicated the position was a German held one. We also recovered a small German Brazier and a sock... There's a longer and more humorous explanation over on my blog.

  6. Vlad, thanks very much for taking the chance to add your comment. That sounds a wonderful assignment. I very much liked your coverage of the visit on your blog, especially the photo with the flare pistols. Thanks again!


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