Monday, December 30, 2013

Fallschirmjäger Artillery Battery

I just finished painting this Flames of War fallschirmjäger artillery battery, which was a birthday gift from my family. It seemed like a good opportunity to dust off the blog and share something that has always interested me-- painting miniatures.

German paratroopers ready to range-in on their target.

Battlefront no longer makes this set, so it really appealed to the collector in me. You can still order the individual bits and pieces from their online store, but that's a more cost-prohibitive route in an already expensive hobby.

The set comes with options to build either the standard 10.5cm leFH18 or the more compact 10.5cm leFH18/40. I opted for the latter. The 18/40 version is mounted on a PaK40 carriage with a stubbier barrel and modified gun-shield. These modifications made it far more functional from a historical standpoint, as it was lighter and easier to maneuver into position. It's a funky little artillery piece in the end.

The 10.5cm leFH18/40 version
This artillery battery was a lot of fun to assemble and paint. Lots of dynamic figures, and minimal flash. There were some thick mold lines along a few helmets, but nothing too worrying. I used Vallejo model colors for the paint scheme. The guns were painted in middlestone, followed by some blacklining, and then a highlight mix of 50:50 middlestone/white. I did not add the standard 3-tone camouflage to the guns as I wanted them to stand out a bit from the heavy foliage on the base.

The crews were my first ever attempt at German paratrooper camouflage. I consulted various online sources and the books I have at home and just decided to wing it. I'm satisfied with the end result. A full fallschirmjäger infantry company may be in the cards for a future project. The paratrooper smocks were a nice change from the grenadier uniforms I'm used to painting. 

The staff team consults their ballistics charts.

I used the staff team table as an opportunity to add a bright color accent to the battery. Also, this is my first time using medium-sized shrubs on all the bases. It helps to tie all the teams in the battery together.

Experimenting with more foliage to fill out the bases.
I didn't get a good photo of the observer teams, but the box came with two bases, each with their own radio. These extra bits really help set the spotters apart from other independent teams.

Overall I'm happy with the results and looking forward to getting these guys on the table. I have plans for the four extra 10.5cm leFH's that came in the box. I only need to find crews for them.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


My alarm clock for the past two weeks has been little feet kicking the wall: thump thump thump -- Daddywakeupwakeupwakeup! That's the cue to start the day, and it is ignored at my own peril.

I am a slug this week; doing what slugs do. There are perpetual messes around the house. I ignore those at my own peril as well. Some are easier to ignore than others.

I am thankful for our new son. He is suspiciously normal. Almost too normal. He doesn't cry really at all. Just kinda grunts with an air of dissatisfaction when there is a problem. Happy just to eat and poop and sleep. I love him.

Sluggishness doesn't make for compelling discussion. I'll jazz it up by pointing out something neat:

Parenting is totally awesome. 

That's all.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Lost at See

Attempting to reintegrate into the social-networking sphere appears to be an anxiety-inducing exercise, but here goes:

E is all done with school and sworn-in as a lawyer. I'm proud of her. She's run a good, long race and finished with flying colors.

Now onto the next chapter of our lives. What now?

Well, I want to get back to pursuing this art career thing:

The Great Wilderness.

Guy Goodwin told us from the beginning that it's one of the hardest career paths to follow. I couldn't agree more! The resurrection of this blog is a step in that direction; a decision to move ahead, develop a discipline in making art and writing about it. To share it.

So yeah, Step 1: art blog - check

Step 2: audience for art blog - (resulting in semi-embarrassing creation of super-secret facebook group) - umm, check?

Step 3: I need talk about what projects I'm working on - umm, okay here goes.

So I love video games, but I haven't really played anything but Minecraft for the past 3 years, which I use as a kind of virtual sketchbook. Recently though, a friend let me borrow his old copy of Silent Hill 3 which is a game that came out eleven years ago that I always wanted to play. Since most of my technology is a decade or more old this worked out pretty well.

So I manage to find some time to play Silent Hill and something amazing happens: the old, corroded part of my brain that used to make art begins to flicker. I start to miss the active, hands-on
making of things. Exploring this video game continues to fuel this feeling. I explore these virtual "digital" game-spaces and come away with the urge to create.

Also, I should mention that the game came with a soundtrack CD, which I've been listening to on my commute. It's a novel idea and I've really enjoyed the immersion into the experience. My hat's off to the creators for this approach. It reminds me that I've always wanted to collaborate with musicians, to hear their soundtracks, and then build a physical environment to compliment their audioscape, and vice versa.

So these are some initial ideas in the rough. I'm nervous about putting myself out there again, but gotta start somewhere. Thanks for reading.

Step 3- check!

Saturday, May 4, 2013


 After a long walking discussion it was decided to bring back this blog. I need to start writing again. I need an outlet. Something cathartic. So. Here we are, unapologetically, boldly, back-to-normal. But I'm going to be rusty for a while until I get the hang of this. Or permanently rusty. Something. 

I'm not political really. And certainly not up on Current Events. Sometimes I have a certain level of ignorant pride in not watching TV or reading the newspaper. So I asked E what was going on in the world these days. 

"Syria," she remarked.

"Oh yeah. They're fighting still? Wars these days seem to burn themselves out in a week or turn into a long occupation, like Afghanistan, right?"

"I think this one's different. They are two different groups of Muslims in this civil war, and it's been going on for over a year now."


"Yeah, a lot of people are dying."

The conversation was interrupted by a prolonged contraction. She goes quiet and closes her eyes. Never stops walking, but just pulls inward for a minute or so. I dutifully helplessly push the stroller alongside her in the interim. Remark on the perfect weather. Or marvel at the back of little A's head as she watches something with interest.

Marvel that I woke up today not feeling physically ill. Throat was a bit raw, but I didn't need to take anything but antibiotics. I've missed more days of work then I care to count. Almost perpetual illness. But. Not. Today. thank God

When the contraction subsides we walk along, trying idly to pick up some strand of the conversation. Though not up on Current Events, I have been devouring Current History, so I volunteer the following:

"You know Syria and Egypt once launched a huge two-pronged attack on Israel?"

"The Six Day War?"

"Yeah! Some of the biggest tank battles to take place with 'Cold War'-era weaponry!"

It is true that I have become semi-obsessed with war history logistics and force organization charts. I'm terrible at statistics, but for whatever reason have been drawn more and more to this type of thing. She lets me chatter on a few more minutes about Syrian tank specifications and infrared targeting systems. 

There's probably a conclusion here somewhere. Were I in a less rusty mood I'd weave all the talking points of this story together into a compelling end. And maybe that's happening now. My thoughts are adrift in a sea of burning T-55 tanks on the Golan Heights, the crunch of gravel underfoot as the stroller bounces along, and a future that is both awash in possibility and obscured from us. And the next contraction sets in and my thoughts immediately turn to my wife. 

And around and around it goes.