Challenging Challengers: A lesson in Paint Stripping!

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Oh, the road it took to get here. Filled with swearing and other such fun stuff!

Confession time…I hate painting camouflage. Absolutely hate it. I love the idea of it, but the actual time and painting skill required can be extremely daunting, and I never really attempted it. Until last week.

The British Army of the Rhine I’m working on historically had a quite simple scheme of black and green, and I figured I could rattle-can the process, and get it done really quickly. I followed this idea from Battlefront themselves, https://www.flamesofwar.com/hobby.aspx?art_id=5329, and figured I could use Blue-Tack to accomplish the same task.

This. Did. Not. End. Well.

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Oh, it looks so fine and alright. For now.

The issue I ran into is that not all Blue-Tack is the same. The brand I used was an off brand, a terrible gloopy Plasticine mess that stuck to the model and stubbornly refused to come off. Realistically, this wasn’t anyone’s fault but my own, as I used a sub-standard product. To be clear; Don’t use no-name brand Blue-Tack for this. Actually, having found another solution, I recommend not using Blue-Tack for this at all.

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After a bath in Isopropyl Alcohol 90%, the Blue-Tack was finally gone, and most of the original paint too! Acceptable casualties.

Now, I had to get the paint and Blue-Tack mess off. Plastic models aren’t as bad as resin to strip paint of off, but it is still significantly harder then metal. There is a lot of debate as to what the best solution is. I can only offer my personal solution, and make no claims that it is the “best”. I must warn you that I have no idea how this works on resin, so be warned!

What you want is this!

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Less Messy then Dettol. Just as good.

This, by far, in my experience the easiest and least fuss method. Simply pour the 90% isopropyl alcohol straight into a plastic container (Tupperware style), and let the plastic miniatures sit in it for a few minutes to a couple of hours. It should, depending on how thick the primer and paint was, come off fairly quickly. It may stain the model, but this doesn’t happen very often and also is of fairly little consequence as the new paint should cover it entirely.

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Silly Putty! Childhood nostalgia comes to the rescue.

So with Blue-Tack turning out to be a bust, a bit of further reading turned up Silly Putty as a masking solution. I applied it much the same as I did the Blue-Tack, and resprayed the models, emptying my last can of Firefly Green in the process(Luckily, some advice from several people on the Team Yankee Facebook page has led to a suitable replacement.) Not only did it not stick to the model like the Blue-Tack, it is also reusable! This is a massive improvement, and leads to the models you see as the end result that you can see here.

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Yes. I used the same picture twice. I really should document stuff better!

In all honesty, I didn’t document this process as thoroughly as I should have, since I was not exactly in the right mood for it. Lots of swearing, and overall malaise kind of took over. Lesson learned though, and it provides a decent start to begin painting in earnest. I do think I need more green and less black in the scheme, and the rest of my army will take that into account. On the bright side, one of the two boxes of Charlies Chieftains I found online has arrived, and the other hopefully will arrive soon, giving me Lynx helicopters and a solid core of Chieftain tanks, a cheaper alternative for when I don’t want to take the Challengers. The Lynxes I’m torn on if they should be assembled with TOWs or as transports; I’m leaning toward the latter to give me options to drop troops with nasty Milans in places they shouldn’t be.

This may not have been my most fun experience, and a less cheery blog post then I normally put out. But if my experience can help someone else, it’ll have been worth it! Beyond the scope of the Team Yankee project, I have also been tasked by my gaming Clubhouse to help build a website for them, and hopefully soon the fruits of those labours can be shared with all of you!

But until next time, Happy War-gaming, wherever you might be!

 

A Comedy of Errors: Team Yankee reinforcements!

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More stuff! That I built wrong, and primed maybe the wrong color, but stuff!

Sometimes, Murphy’s Law happens; If it can go wrong, it will. Luckily today’s minor errors fixed themselves pretty easily, and it wasn’t too painful. But they were annoying, and of course, leads to more time spent tomorrow trying to fix them!

I had received the ADATs vehicles last week, but only started cracking on them a couple nights ago. As a metal/resin hybrid kit, there was a potential for some issues, luckily my casts were mostly clean, and didn’t take a lot of work. The metal was in good shape too. They weren’t overly hard to build, but the turrets were quite difficult to assemble, and once complete the turrets were not exactly balanced. Luckily, the addition of magnets fixed that issue.

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The firepower will be worth the effort! These will go into my friends Canadian Army.
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An extremely unique platform, trialed by both the US and Canada. The Canadian military eventually did adopt the system in small numbers.
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The missiles could be fired at both Aircraft and Tanks, hence the name, Air Defense Anti Tank, or ADATS! In Team Yankee these vehicles pack a monstrous punch, but make up for that by being a massive target and having to do very different roles.
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Eventually, both neglect and age killed the system. While advanced for its day, by the time of its retirement the missiles had serious issues. The Canadians never fought a war where it could do its job as needed, and therefore was sidelined. It acted as defense for the Kananaskis G8 summit, and that was its last “deployment”. Incidentally, I lived in Canmore at the time, and the summit made for an interesting change of pace in the small mountain community. The military presence while not obtrusive was obvious. As a kid, it was all very fascinating, and probably added to my interest in the military as an adult.

 

The other package today included two platoons of M113’s with T50 turrets, another box of Scorpions and Army Painter Army Green spray paint. I also got lucky and received from a UK store another Australian mechanized platoon, completing my infantry contingent of my Anzac forces.

The M113’s were where things started to go awry. Badly assembled rear hatches, forgotten top hatches, T50 turret machine-guns assembled the wrong way around….it was a bad idea to hobby while talking to people on Discord and trying to text people at the same time. I’m just glad I didn’t injure myself!

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As you can see from the unpainted plastic pieces, I forgot a few! At the end of the day, at least it isn’t immediately obvious that things are wrong here…
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The M113 in Aussie and Kiwi service was commonly fitted with turrets. This was a result of experience borne in Vietnam. Oddly, they were the only countries to use these styles of turrets on their M113s; a fact that puzzles me, as the advantages are obvious. Someone more knowledgeable then me can explain it better.
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These are an older Battlefront kit, and the vast array of parts offered allow you to make a frankly insane amount of different variants. The M113 was certainly a workhorse platform!
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Ah, Bent barrels and bare plastic. This thing fought me the whole time…I hope the next five go better!

Finally, I took the whole lot of stuff outside to prime. Army Green? I’m not entirely sure what I expected, but using it on historical miniatures I know to be a different but close shade, I think it was that I could get away with it. I’m undecided, and it is probably salvageable…

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I should invest in an airbrush…

As Chieftain Green is now out of production, and my can being empty after finishing my British, I took a chance on using it on my Canadian ADATs. Bad call, as this color isn’t right at all. Luckily, I can cover most of it with a camouflage pattern. On the Australians, the color isn’t as egregious but still not quite right. It is close enough that once darkened with a wash it should be closer to true, but as people who have read my Vostroyan project blog know, I’m not a great painter and like to get the color as close to the end result with the priming step.

As for the British, they are finally, sans infantry, primed!

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Weather cooperating, finally! Got the whole lot done.
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I absolutely adore this colour! It is a nice British Army of the Rhine base, and when I get a can of black spray to do the camouflage pattern it’ll go nicely with it.

It could have gone smoother, but at least it all is done for now. Wait, nope, still got five M113’s to do. Unfortunately, I need ten more, and the supply in Canada for them has run dry. Waiting for a daily deal from Battlefront or a good sale somewhere else is probably my best bet. My Leopard’s are not primed yet, as I got a comment on my last post about modifying them to Aussie spec, and I want to try that first. As well, I need a good paint for German “Gelboliv”, which Australian Leopards were delivered in that color and not repainted until later.

While I thought my British were “finished”, I found a place in Canada selling the otherwise difficult to find Chieftain kits! One is part of the older Charlie’s Chieftains set, a good buy as it gets me a template I don’t own, and two Lynx helicopters as well, while the other is a standard box. While I am happy to get the good ole’ backbone of the BAOR, with my Chieftain/Firefly Green paint can having finally given up the ghost, I find myself looking for a suitable replacement. I’m not too picky in having it match exactly, but it should be close. I should invest in an airbrush, but my family enjoys their peace and quiet….

Anyways, that is all I have for today! I’ll be back with more progress when I have some. Happy War-gaming folks, wherever you might be!

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At least it was a nice sunset to cap off the day!