Only a few more hours until the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is over. Alas and alack.
It’s been a great weekend, starting with Thanksgiving at Chez Smyth. Good food and good company. But it was also a great weekend for painting, and I made sure to get in lots of it. Though Thursday night’s weather knocked out my DirectTV, I listened to both the Apple Cup and the Sea Hawks game on my trusty Pioneer receiver while getting some stuff done.
Macchi Mc 202 Folgore
I finished, 13 planes this weekend. I wrapped up six Scotia Me 109E’s, but I’ve written about these before. I also wrapped up seven of the dozen Italian MC 202 Folgore’s fighters I need to finish my Malta project. Yes, seven is a weird number. I thought I had a dozen, but mistook some G55 Centauros for the more slightly constructed Macchi fighters, and had to order some more. The good news is the remaining five arrived yesterday.
The big challenge was to figure out what to do with the Folgores. They represented the next generation of Italian fighters after the open cockpit Fiat G50’s and Macchi 200’s. The Folgore’s were a big performance upgrade with its use of a new inline engine. But, it also suffered the weakness of many Italian fighters, an inadequate armament of only two 12.7mm machine guns. The Folgores appeared over Malta in December of 1941, and though many of them were diverted to North African airfields in the spring of 1942, about 60 remained in service over the embattled island throughout the Spitfire spring and summer of that year.
Italian planes of this campaign do not lack for something interesting and different in the way of camouflage schemes. One of the more interesting is the “smoke-ring” or “cigar ring” camouflage. The Folgores get a base top-side paint scheme of a mid-brown with a slight red cast. I used German RLM 79 Sandgelb. Not quite right, but I don’t think anyone will notice. The underside was painted German RLM 78 Hellblau in accord with the article I read.
The tricky and tedious part was panting the smoke rings on the plane. According to photos and the article I consumed, the rings had to be vaguely circular and elliptical and generally irregular. Got most of this done during the Apple Cup. It gives a nice effect, and definitely something different. The rings are painted a Ceramcoat charcoal. I used one of the very last Blick Master Kolinsky size 0 brushes that exists. These were produced after the Kolinsky boycott a few years back and were made with way shorter than the 15mm tips promised. These were more like 10mm, but very fine with small but useful tips. Generally speaking it required patience and persistence. Seven down five to go. This plane also had a very wide fuselage band, appearing just behind the canopy. Italian marking markings, without the white roundel backing them were hard to identify.
Philippine Insurgents–Rayadillo Pt. 2
It took me a long time to wrap them up, but I finished my first unit of Philippine insurgents. You’ll recall I finished a unit of Spaniards, whose rayadillo uniform appeared pretty gray. I promised myself to try something a little different with my next unit and I did.
These figures started out as Vallejo Blue Gray and highlighted them a couple of times before moving on to attempting the stripes. I was much happier with the effects, but the uniforms still seem very blue. I’ll try to get them lighter next time. The Philippine fighters are accoutered differently than the Spanish, and in some respects seem “busier.” Even so, the figures are quite nice.
It does seem like I’m learning by process, and I’ll want to try some things differently with the next batch.
I did try something a bit different with the basing. I’ve been looking at terrain bits for the jungle shared on The Tactical Painter blog. He has some great suggestions for making jungle terrain, and also rice paddies which were a regular feature of the Philippine War. One of his ideas I adapted over to terraining my bases for this unit. He suggested the use of tea and some spices mixed together and put under jungle plants. I used them on my bases. I found some aging tea bags and slit them open into a bowl. Then I sloshed in some bits of oregano, tarragon and rosemary. I think it looks different and interesting.
Just a lot going on miniatures-wise right now. I’m closing in on the last of my Malta planes. I have a good start on some Regianne 2000’s. They’ll be followed by the last of the Mc 202’s, Raiden planes freshly arrived from I-94. Then I have 14 Spitfire Mk. V’s, both B’s and C’s that will wrap up the project. That’s 188 planes painted since spring of this year. I also have started on one last unit of Philippine insurgents. My hope is that all of this is completed by Christmas break, about four weeks away.
After that, I’ll be getting ready for the Next Big Thing. Rebels and Patriots, the next Daniel Mersey game is due out at the end of January. David Sullivan and I have already committed to this rules set, and we plan to have a game for Enfilade. We’ve talked about a number of actions for this small unit game. Today we settled on the retreat from Concord in 1775. We talked about other battles, but agree that if we do this right, this will be a signature game. I’ve been taking stock and I have some troops I can begin with immediately. More to follow