Stewart Larking is Head of Design here at Osprey Publishing. In this blog he talks about how working on an Osprey book rekindled a long lost love…
For as long as I can remember I have been interested in building and painting model tanks. I can still recall my early attempts, with the frustration of gluing fiddly parts together combined with the disappointment when my creation didn’t look quite how I imagined it would. But I was determined – I stuck with it, honing my skills throughout my teenage years and my time at art school by building 1/35 scale (mainly Tamiya) tanks.
Things changed when I graduated. I was concentrating on design, and to make time for that I had to put modelling to one side. It stayed there for over twenty five years, and perhaps would have remained as an ex-hobby were it not for my work here at Osprey. I was asked to layout Bolt Action: Armies of Great Britain and was absolutely amazed by the photos Warlord supplied us for the book. I went to the Osprey Games office and asked Phil Smith, our man in charge of all things games, if it would be possible to get some samples from Warlord.
Let me just break off here to say this – if you are ever given the chance to get into the Osprey Games office seize it with both hands! It is a great room stacked full of figures made and painted by both Phil and Joe McCullough, and both of them are always eager for an opponent.
Back to the story – A few days later Warlord paid us a visit, and next thing I know there was a pile of goodies left on my desk. There were German, British and American troops as well as a selection of vehicles, the highlight of which was a Sherman! Over the next few months the odd bit of armour would appear on the end of my desk after each Warlord visit.
And now, finally, I have got round to making up my figures and painting them.
I started with the troops, putting together some of all three armies. My first try didn’t go so well; I don’t really have the right paints for the British, and need to get some more experience with working with Valero paints. It was early days though, and it felt great to be back to my old modelling ways.
One thing I needed a lot of advice on was basing, so it was back to the games room to pick Phil and Joe’s brains. After a few chats and a quick look online I went for a base of Gaugemaster OO Ballast, to be used with the Army Painters Highland Tufts and the Army Painters Field Grass.
I wasn’t overly pleased with the infantry and so, tank nut that I am, I moved onto the vehicles (to be a little more precise, a Sherman M4A3, M5 Halftrack, M3 Scout Car, Greyhound and two universal carriers). First I dug out the airbrush and compressor, the perfect tool for giving them a really even coat. After making an improvised spray booth out of an old Wine box and a plastic bag I gave them a base coat of primer.
After a few days it’s on with the base colour. A little more research led to me choosing Valero’s Surface Primer US Olive Drab 70608. I decided to paint them in a batch to keep the same overall effect, as I intend for them to be shown and used as a unit. Next on was a dark oil wash, then drybrushing and detailing them.
Here are the first results. The Sherman looks great and has come up a treat, although it does need more work and I probably should have added in the decals and painted in some US insignia stars. The halftrack and the Greyhound need a lot more work, and I’m not all that happy with what I have done.
The star of the set is certainly the M3 Scout Car. It’s a new model from Warlord and a very good bit of kit, with amazing detail and some great metal parts.
There were a few additional pieces I wanted, so I headed onto their website, made an account and started to look around. I had only meant to buy some spare heads, but I ended up buying jerry cans for the Sherman, kit bags and stowage packs and a M18 Hellcat.
That’s the next project. Watch this space!
All miniatures shown in this blog were kindly provided to Stewart by Warlord Games.