Thursday, 3 September 2015

Flames of War - Polish Armoured Train 1939

So its been a little while since my last post again and as I am a day away from heading out to film in Peru for September I thought that I should do another blog post just to prove that I haven't actually been inactive.

So... on the back of a serious customer services cluster f*** from Hawk War-games I made the decision not to buy any more of their gear and not to play their games... or to say anything good about it from here on forwards and instead devote some of my mountain of creative energy to another period that Im passionate about.. and thats the Second World War.

Now, since my last blog and turning my back on Dropzone Commander I have decided to paint up another army that has always been close to my heart, and thats the Polish army of 1939!

There are so many misconceptions and misunderstandings about this army that it beggars belief the main one of course being that their cavalry charged tanks with lances, their aircraft was destroyed on the ground... and that they just rolled over and played dead!

...oh yeah, and they used trains with guns... well at least this one is true. The Polish had 10 of these behemoths on their books, dating back to the first world war and the Russo Polish War, as well as another 6 improvised and/or training trains that were mobilised after the Nazi's strolled across the border.

Battlefront miniatures are the only manufacturer in the world that do a full model of one of these trains. The train they purport to represent is Pociag Pancerny No53. (Armoured Train No53.) This train in the 20's had the name Smialy (Shmee-ah-weh) which means 'Brave' and all of the other trains had similarly evocative names but in the late 30's the names were all ditched leaving just the numerics.

The model itself has, I think, some historical innacuracies the main one being the configuration of the tender. There were three locomotive and tender combinations that had a more angular tender superstructure mounting a turret from one of their Samochod Pancerny (Armoured Car) wz.29 which were allocated to PP51 (Pierwszy Marszalek), PP52 (Pilsudcyk) & PP53 (Smialy)... but anyway, we try not to complain, but rather just to get on and paint the damned thing,

One of my pet hates is that no matter what polish material I have seen painted on different sites I have never been convinced of the colouring of the vehicles. So I went through a research process in order to determine the colours that the Polish military used on their vehicles and finally came up with, what I believe, is a colour scheme that is pretty close to without further ado:

 So here is a view of the complete train. We have the two artillery wagons shunted on either end of the train, the locomotive and tender in the middle pulling the assault wagon which would carry the communications equipment and a platoon of about 40 infantry.

The Locomotive & Tender

The Assault Wagon

The Artillery Wagons

So, how did I actually paint these monstrosities and come out with the colouring that I did? Airbrush baby, and a lot of it. In 1937 Poland changed its vehicles camouflage schemes to have a more soft edged feel which is why I opted for the airbrush, and ironically the colouring that I opted for was the same process as that I used for my Dropzone Commander UCM army which meant happy days.

Grey Primer with Black Basecoat

Camouflage Airbrushing:
1. Base coat of Tamiya XF-58 Olive Green
2. 2nd Camouflage Colour of Tamiya XF-57 Buff
3. 3rd Camouflage Colour of Tamiya  X-9 Brown

4. Once dry the whole miniature is painted with AK Interactives Tint for Nato Vehicles to unify the colours and give them a contiguous feel
5. Once dry the profiling is done with AK Interactives Wash for Nato Vehicles, this will provide the deep contrasts that all of the armour plates and rivets have around their edges.
6. Once dry the excess is rubbed off using Cotton Buds and White Spirits and allowed to dry.

7. Once dry a layer of varnish is applied so that all of the acrylic stages that follow won't have their paints contract.

8. With Vallejo's Chipping Colour a sponge is used and the chipping colour is lightly dappled over the surface of the vehicle.
9. The edges of the chips can be painted manually with more chipping colour to emphasize certain areas
10. The edges of the larger chipped areas are lined using Vallejo's Iraqi Sand

11. Final layer of Matt Varnish is applied

and that as they say, is that! There is obviously room for shading each of the camouflage colours and apply more weathering but Im painting the army for gaming and I want it knocked out as soon as possible.

the majority of this army is now painted but I haven't settled on a basing scheme that Im happy with yet.... so you will have to wait until I do before you see them!