So I have gotten into a new (to me) game - it is called Blood Red Skies by Warlord Games. Perhaps in the future I will do a more detailed review on the game itself, but this post concerns some of the planes that I have readied for combat operations.
The game itself has a rather limited selection of planes, it started off focusing on The Battle of Britain, but then experienced a series of spasms making planes for multiple eras of the war including: the Pacific, the Eastern Front, Late war, and even The Korean War. This leads to a selection of planes in terms of numbers, but a complete inability to actually pull together any of the periods. Having decided to get into this, I resolved to pursue alternative sources.
Naturally, Warlord Games does not want outside planes brought in, so they have made things as difficult as possible with: specialized bases that are integral to the game which most other planes will not fit on, and the choice of an odd scale (1/200) which does not match most games out there. So I turned to Shapeways (https://www.shapeways.com/) for an alternative source of at least proper scale models.
One of the primary things missing are bombers. So when I placed my first order with Shapeways I ordered some bombers to fill this gap (along with some oddball fighters). The two first bombers I chose were the German Dornier DO-17 (the "Flying Pencil"), and the British Blenheim bombers, three of each were ordered as the game works in squadrons of fighters with 6 planes each and bombers in groups of 3 planes each. The reason I chose these planes is that they are included in the basic game as cardboard counters and would thus be available within the game and improve the overall game play.
Here is a picture showing a collection of planes. In the foreground are four finished French Morane 406 fighters. In the far background is a finished Junckers JU-52. In the middle on the left is a DO-17 and to the center a pair of Cauldron-Renault 714 fighters all as they come from Shapeways.
Here are the three Blenheims. I will be starting with these. If you will note the plane on the right, it is upside down. The Shapeways production system involves a wax model that is used to form the plane around. Then the finished plane is heated to melt the wax and remove it from the finished plane, this process leaves the hole in the bottom of the model to allow the wax out, and me to use them for mounting the planes for game purposes.
Here is a close up on the hole. The model itself is hollow. This hollow nature caused me much concern once I had the models in hand and saw just how hollow they are. Shapeways makes their models out of High Density Plastic (HDP from now on), but I am not a materials expert but am concerned about what some of my ham handed friends could do if not careful with these models. So after a conversation with Anton, I decided try a strengthening technique for the model.
Nail polish. It is Anton's idea and my application, but we shall see what we shall see on how well it works. Having four daughters and a wife, there is no end of nail polish in my house. I discussed the idea with my daughters and had one of them volunteer a color that was relatively flat/matte in finish and not desired by my daughter anymore and this is what I ran with. So all planes were painted with a coat of this stuff.
So here is one of the Blenheims with a coat of the nail polish dried on. The good news in this project was that nail polish dries in just a few minutes. So I waited until the next day and then painted the planes.
I chose this color scheme for my pattern as it was the right nation (South Africa) and the right year (1942), although not the right location (Egypt instead of Madagascar.
The bottoms of all three were spray painted flat White (Rustoleum Universal Bonding Primer because I was unsure about what would adhere).
And the upper surfaces were spray painted light brown (Ubermatte Playa) as a base coat. After letting the planes dry for a day the painting began.
When I started this menagerie my intention was to use the game to fight a campaign of the British invasion of Madagascar, so wherever there was an issue my choices were always toward painting for that campaign. Thus, since South African Blenheims underside were painted a sky blue, I have painted these models a sky blue. The paint I am currently using is from my local Michael's store and from the Martha Stewart range, it does not look good going on, and often requires touch up, but I like the end results so have used it quite extensively in this process.
Next the upper surface needed its camouflage pattern painted on this one has a name and is called "pattern number 2", I do admire war time naming efficiency.
Next up the retracted wheels needed to be painted black as did the tail wheel which does not retract. The engine guts were painted black and the cowling a dark metal color as were the exhaust pipes for the engines.
Next the glass needed to be painted and the upper cowlings and machine gun.
Some of Blood Red Skies planes come with proper decals. Other planes come with stickers, that's right I said STICKERS! For the sum of $16 you can buy a set of five proper decals, one sheet for each primary nation in the game. The fuselage decals seen above are from one of the advanced British decals sheets. I decided to use the stickers for the wing rondels on these planes as an extra attempt to strengthen the model as I figured the sticker would be stronger than the decal and could cushion some potential damage.
Here are the bombers completed with decals in place (it took five sets of the fuselage decals to get three planes completed), but all the numbers match and the plane designations are the same on both sides.
Here is the finished product with three coats of Anton's magic wash and a light coat of spray flat to dull down the wash.
Next up a bit shorter production of the DO-17's.
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