Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer


The sweltering heat wave which baked the East Coast finally returned to where it belongs in August and it brought along the humidity. Ouch. It's been brutal. Air conditioners are working over time and the power company is pleading with everyone to run appliances at night. Oh and let's add a stomach bug to the equation, leaving me with little motivation to paint, model or even thrown down dice over the past few weeks.

There's another reason. There's a new girl in my life. She 4 mos old and weighs in at a stout 29 pounds. It's Saucy, the Labradoodle!

Now Saucy wasn't my choice of a name for her. I knew we'd be getting a dog before the end of the year. I had several naming ideas. The conversations went along like this:

Me: "I know a great name for the dog."
She Who Must Be Obeyed: "What?"
Me: "Rommel?"
SWMBO: "What's a Rommel?"
Me: (surprised that she doesn't know who Rommel is): "Rommel is a World War 2 German General. He commanded the Ghost Division during the Battle of France. He commanded the Africa Korps and was given the nickname "Desert Fox" and was well respected by the Allies."
SWMBO: "No. Not another German general. You know what happened last time with Panzer."
Me: "Panzer wasn't a german general, it means tank or armor."
SWMBO: (Gives the Look)
Me: "Okay. Okay. How about Cromwell?"
SWMBO: "No German generals."
Me: "Nope, not a German. He's British."
SWMBO: "No."
Me: "Churchill?"
SWMBO: "No."
Me: "Bradley."
SWMBO: "That's good, but what if we get a girl."
Me: "What about Emcha?"
SWMBO: "That's cute. Where's it mean?"
Me: "It's Russian."
SWMBO: "Is it a tank or used in tanks."
Me: (long pause) "Maybe..."

Now the above is all tongue-in-cheek. My wife is very supportive (yes, tolerant as well) of my obsession (er, hobby). Perhaps I did throw good FOW names at her over the months leading up to finding a dog. I think Steve of WWPD has a dog named Scout or Recon or both. My friend (Armored Cav veteran) named his cat Sabot, as is Armored Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot (APFSDS).

In the end, once we got her, her personality made the name choice easy. We love her and couldn't be happier.

Monday, August 8, 2011

White Wash M4A2 Sherman Test Piece


I recently started delving into pigment powders after speaking with RJM (aka Ryan Miller). I had asked him how he winterized the Panzer III's and Panzer IV's for the 11th Panzer Division. Armed with this information, I ordered two jars of White Ash from the MIG site, along with Pigment Fixer.

RJM explained that you mix the pigment with water, lather it in on the model and then use fingers or blister packing to rub off the pigment to show the wear and weathering. My first attempt the pigment/water mixture was too runny in my opinion. I added more pigment powder to thicken it. In retrospect, it was too much as can be seen by the build up around the cupola and gun mantle.

Still, I liked the effect for a first try. What I also learned is that it is crucial to NOT be generous with the pigment fixer. Too much of the fixer will wash away the pigment powder, and defeat the purpose.

Next time, I'll apply the water/pigment mixture in stages, gradually building up the white wash and then gently scrubbing off areas of the tank with the most wear. As far as Pigment Fixer, the brush will barely have any of it on the thistles. RJM says you don't need that much.

The test tank in question (if you have guessed by the bent barrel) is an Old Glory M4A2.

I hope you found this information on pigment powder somewhat useful. RJM says it takes plenty of trial and error to get the mixture right and to learn how much white wash to apply.