Skytrex is gone forever. I don’t know if you could call them venerable, but it seems to me that twenty five years ago I was looking at their paper catalog and scratching my head trying to figure out how to order from them. A British company, Skytrex carried this wonderful wealth of different miniatures–WW I planes in 1/144th scale, 1/300 scale planes, WW II and modern coastal vessels. And 1/200 scale armor and infantry–sounds weird now, but in the days before 15mm armor became universal, it was the bridge between micro-armor and 20mm. The real problem was ordering. In those days I had to make an international phone call in the morning before I left for work, which invariably cost as much as what I was ordering. Ah, the days before the internet and online shopping. Editors note: This is not correct!! In fact Skytrex does exist, though many of their ranges have been sold off elsewhere, including the WWII coastal line. The modern coastal vessels are still available.
A couple of years ago Skytrex went away and their coastal miniatures were acquired by ROS/Heroics. Since their breakup from Navwar, I’ve ordered from ROS a few times. I needed stuff for the St. Nazaire project. I’ve always found it to be a bit more of an adventure than I would like. I always get my order, eventually, but a four week wait or longer is not unusual.
During this long weekend I focused my attention on getting my small remaining bunch of ship miniatures finished, including the German Type 24 torpedo boat I’ll need for the Channel Dash scenario at Enfilade.
Let’s start with the Siebel ferries. Pretty simple miniature. Painted overall in Vallejo Neutral Gray, deck finished in Ceramcoat gray-brown, a quick dry brushing with Vallejo Light Sea Grey and washed black. Honestly there wasn’t a lot to the models, and not a lot to the actual catamaran ferry/assault craft. The heavily armed escort version of the model is a nice twist. I like having the addition to my pile of WWII coastal miniatures. Something different.
Next on the list is the HMS Vixen, a V and W class destroyer. Weighing in at 1,100 tons, this large class of 69 destroyers was authorized and built during World War I and served throughout the Second World War. I bought, assembled and primed this miniature a few years ago, while Skytrex was still Skytrex. I decided on something different. I usually avoid painting camouflage patterns, but opted for the Western Approaches scheme. It combines white, a light, pastel green and an even lighter blue. No problem, eh? Unfortunately, the, blue, Vallejo Pale Blue, came out much darker, or at least scaled out much darker than it seems. But I’ll be damned if I’ll repaint. When looking at the side view of camouflaged ships I’m always at a loss about the decking and what that looked like. I gave a deck tan in the obvious spaces, and everything else is Vallejo Neutral Gray–one of my favorite go-to colors.
Finally, I ordered the Type 24 torpedo boat from ROS/Heroics in November. Assembly was pretty easy, it was just the question of what to do with the paint scheme. I had one of those internet moments, scrolling through the web looking for color side views of the Type 24/Elbling Class and thought I found something interesting with a bow wake camouflage and red gun turrets. I closed the page and never found it again. Sigh. In any case, I painted my torpedo boat in Vallejo Light Sea Grey and gave it the bow wake marking as best I could remember. I’m actually pretty happy with it.
So I’ve added these six ships to my collection of coastal vessels, giving me about sixty all in all. The vast majority of my ships are the excellent resin miniatures by David Gregory at PT Dockyard, but there are a handful of the Skytrex metal models in there too.
On my painting table
I’m in the middle of my next batch of Dragon Rampant figures. These are old Mithril Riders of Rohan from the early 90’s. Probably worth a lot more unpainted than painted, but I need a batch of collectible miniatures like a hole in the head. The horses are okay, but simplistic; it’s the riders that are pretty interesting. I’m calling them Riders of the Westfold, with Erkenbrand as their leader figure.
Less is more
The six ships adds +6 to my totals for the year. No new purchases keeps me headed in the right direction. +25 for 2016.
Music to paint to
One of my better $1 finds last year was Going Back to Colorado by Zephyr. This 1971 LP by a band you’ve probably never heard of will not blow you away. It is an album better for its component parks than a complete whole. When I was much younger I would see lots of albums by Tommy Bolin. Lots. And I had no idea who this was. Was he related to that T-Rex guy? No, he was a wunderkind guitarist who died uselessly of a drug overdose at age 25 in 1976. Together with vocalist Candy Givens, Zephyr offered a couple albums worth of sort of bluesy rock. I’d characterize Givens as an Anne Wilson-lite kind of singer. The heart is there but the instrument isn’t. Most of the ten songs on the album show Bolin as a support to Givens, but on “See My People Come Together,” Bolin is freed–and fully unlimbered he is pure fire. Not a great record, but interesting, and for a buck . . . any time.