As some of you may be aware, my focus is currently firmly on the Cold War and the development of a version of TooFatLardies excellent Chain of Command rules to allow me to represent that conflict. I’ve decided on 20mm and needed some figures, so I fired up my browser and went on the hunt – this is about the results.

First requirement was for some Soviet Motor Rifle troops. I wanted to be able to represent a platoon and all the usual supports and I wanted to be able to portray both the pre-PKM structure and the post-PKM one (the Soviets introduced PKM machine guns into squads starting in the early 80s). Anyway, first port of call was, as always, Elhiem Miniatures. I’ve always been very pleased with what I have had from them and the excellent service, so I usually go there first. However, for me to buy (literally) into a range I need to see that the range covers all the key requirements. All too often I find ranges that just don’t meet all the basic requirements. Now I do appreciate that manufacturers invest a lot in ranges and some figures will never be big sellers and that’s a conundrum. Do they make a comprehensive range and accept low sales of some figures in the hope of the range selling well, or do they just produce the ones that sell well? I really can’t answer that except to say that there are a number of occasions when I have not gone with one range and selected another based solely on the range of figures available.

However, this was not an issue – Elhiem had all the figures I needed and a good range too. I was especially pleased to realise that not all my squads would look the same and that there would be no duplicate figures in any squad. Really chuffed by that.

And so, with all the bases covered, what about the figures? For me it is all about style, sculpting and casting.

First of all, I really like the style of Elhiem Miniatures’ figures. I don’t know if all the proportions are absolutely correct, but they LOOK right and that, for me, trumps everything. There is no ‘chunkiness’ about the figures but nor do they look ‘slender’. The weapons also seem in good proportion. I know this latter is a really difficult issue for sculptors, but these weapons look far closer to the mark than most whilst also not being too delicate; these are wargames figures after all and will get handled. There was also something else about these figures that I just couldn’t put my finger on until I started work on the BAOR figures and had a ‘flashback’. The poses were perfect, bringing back the memories of soldiers carrying weapons and webbing. The latter for infantry in the British Army is defined as a standard 44lbs and weapons are not light; these figures don’t look like they are wearing webbing and holding weapons, they look like they are CARRYING them. The slight lean on the man with the Carl Gustav on his back is just perfect.

And now the sculpting and casting as, for me, these 2 go together – the former can be severely compromised by the latter. With Elhiem, both are of the highest standards. The detail of vents on the stocks of weapons is clearly visible, faces are distinct, hands clearly defined and uniforms ‘creased’ in the right places, all with enough depth to really reward a wash/dry brush method but without being pronounced. Webbing straps are precise, straight edged and distinct – just run a paint brush along and the sculpting does a good chunk of the work for you. There is also a tremendous attention to detail – on the BAOR figures I noticed a small ‘bump’ on the back lower edge of the respirator pouch – hmmmm. And then it came back, the little pouch with cord tucked in it!! Superb. And that accuracy is another of my key requirements and is something that I always find with Elhiem.

But all of this would be pointless unless the casting was of the same standard – and it is. Cleaning the figures is easy. There are a few casting run offs but these snip away cleanly and easily. You can just about make out the odd mould line, but these are not pronounced and a quick ‘tickle’ with a file and they are gone. This is REALLY important to me, all too often I find myself deciding whether to get rid of mould lines and lose detail or leave the line and keep the detail. No such dilemmas here. And the voids in the crooks of arms? Nothing major – a little thin flash on rare occasions but a quick trim with a sharp knife and done.

And I really like the thin and flat bases – no trouble to blend into the final base.

You may have guessed, but these are wonderful figures and I really like them. They are a joy to work with and are amongst the very best figures I have ever worked with. I can only give the highest possible recommendation. I can only hope these photos do them some justice.

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And how did I paint them?

First off, a spray with Plastic Soldier Company British Khaki

A base cost of Vallejo English Uniform

A wash with diluted Army Painter Strong Tone

A dry brush with Vallejo US Field Drab

Leather is Vallejo leather

Webbing is Vallejo Russian Uniform washed with Olive green

Weapons black/light brown

Boots black

Helmets Russian Green with a dry brush of lightened Russian green

Patches – Army Painter Pure Red and Vallejo Flat Yellow

Flesh is Flat Flesh washed with dark sepia

And that’s about it!


Monty the Desert Rat




Well I should have done this ages ago! I’ve always kept my paints in a drawer and that was okay whilst there were few enough that I didn’t have to open the drawer more than about two thirds of the way. However, since starting Monty’s, the number of paints has increased, filled that drawer and the best part of another. After several near disasters (and the odd real one!) with drawers falling out or the cabinet tipping over I decided enough was enough.

So, as I was going to Warbases yesterday, I picked up some of their racks and they are the business! They just slot together and bingo, storage for paints!

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You could glue them and I probably will at some point but I was just too impatient to do anything like that. The ‘stack’ you see above is currently held together with blu-tac! Again, glue will be a more lasting solution, but I want to be sure I have the arrangement I like before doing anything more permanent. The stack is also pretty stable given that my painting table doesn’t provide the best surface for such things.

So, all in all, delighted, and good value at the price.

Monty the Desert Rat



Some of you may remember my writing about Leven Miniatures range of 6mm buildings before, well, I now have some pretty pics to add a little more to those words.

First off, some Mediterranean type buildings:

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Then some ruins:

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And finally, some bridges:

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I really have to say what lovely models these are. They are amongst the best resin castings I have seen – there was virtually no preparation required; none of those annoying little bubbles and really nothing more than a little tidy round the base and that was it. The detail is also very clear and precise. Net result, not that hard to paint and a real joy, rewarding a little care and effort to give some really nice pieces.

Monty the Desert rat



Yes, I know I have been quite of late – a combination of illnes (flu type, nothing serious), building work at Monty HQ and so it goes on. However, here goes with some more eye candy!!

First off, some RN chaps from the NZ wars:

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And then some more WW1 British and Germans,

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And, finally, some WW2 early British:

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Hope you enjoy,

Kind regards,

Monty the Desert Rat



It’s time again for an update on what’s been going on at Monty HQ! First off, we have completed some WW1 Scots:

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and then there are some early WW2 Germans:

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and finally, some Rif Wars tribesmen for Chain of Command.

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Hope these were of interest,


Monty the Desert Rat





I have been asked to describe how I do snow basing and winter cam. Now this is only the way I do it and I am sure there are plenty of other methods, but here goes!

First off with the basing.

1. I cover the base with textured paint (I use Basetex). The purpose is to blend the figure base into the base. Whilst wet, I sprinkle with a mix of sand and bird grit to give some more texture.

2. Next up is painting – I use a dark brown acrylic from the local craft shop.

3. I then dry brush the base with white.

4. I then attach tufts and dry brush them with white.

5. I then varnish – there are mixed view on this, some say varnish at the end, some say do it now or the ‘snow’ will go yellow. Anyway, I varnish now!

6. I then mix a paste of neat PVA and Bicarbonate of Soda – the aim is to have a ‘gritty’ consistency but easy enough to apply with a brush. I use an old brush (!) to put this on the base. The consistency allows you to build the snow up but also to almost dry brush it on to give a thin covering.

7. Whilst wet, sprinkle with Bicarbonate of Soda.

8. Leave to dry, brush any excess off the figure and Bob’s your uncle!

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Winter Cam.

The first thing to say is that I don’t use white! I prefer an ivory/antique white as this is less bright and, I think, looks better. There are several options:

1. An overall, solid coat for something freshly applied.

2. Some form of pattern such as lines. Again, these could be solid to represent fresh cam.

3. A less fresh option! I paint the vehicle and shade as normal. I then dilute my ‘white’ paint and apply where I want it. I go quite thin at this stage and it will show a lot through. I leave to dry and go back over, staying within the same areas with slightly less dilute paint (it is normally quite a good consistency on my palette by the time I want to use it). I then just keep going with that until I have the look I want. On a 15mm vehicles, it probably only takes 2-3 goes and it gives a more faded look towards the edges of the cam.

4. I then weather. I’ll add chips of the base colour – using sponge on larger vehicles or stippling on smaller. I’ll also do the usual dirt, muck round the engine compartment, bare metal around hatch hinges and the like.

5. As a final option, you could use the snow basing method to add some accumulated snow in the nooks and crannies away from hot surfaces – round spare road wheels, for example.

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And that’s it! I hope this helps and please do shout if I can help in any other way or anything is not clear.

As for the end result – there are loads more picture on my Flickr account:


Monty the Desert Rat



I know I’ve been a bit quiet of late, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been busy here at Monty HQ. Quite the contrary and I now have quite a few photos to tantalise!!

First up we have more mats, starting with Papua New Guinea, including coastline:

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And then we have Crete:

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Going to the opposite end of the temperature spectrum, we have some 28mm Germans all ready for winter:

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And staying with WW2, we have some 1/300 scale US and German aircraft:

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And, in parallel, I’ve been developing an extendable flight stand, which I hope to have available for sale soon:

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We have more Sci Fi tanks:

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and, finally, some 15mm Napoleonics:

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Monty the Desert Rat



A very short one this time, but the latest to pop off the workbench is some WW1 Germans and British – a mix of staff officers, officers, NCOs and gunners with their gun. The figures are all Great War Miniatures, which are very nice indeed, and are unbased as that is the way the client wanted them. Here are the pictures:

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Monty the Desert Rat




A reasonably productive week this week with some more stuff completed, so here goes!!

Some anti grav tanks

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The last photo shows a chip where the headlight (a missing part) used to be!

And now for a Peter Pig Renault FT17 – Spanish Civil War flavour!

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A couple of SCW armoured cars:

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And some guns – again, Peter Pig:

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Monty the Desert Rat



I know I have been somewhat quiet in this respect over the last couple of weeks, but I have been working away on a Dark Ages commission and really nothing was finished until it was all finished, if that makes sense!! I had mainly been waiting until I could count shields so that I could do an accurate order to Little Big Men Studios – my first choice for Shield and Banner transfers, really lovely and easy to apply once you have the knack. Anyway, I am now sitting next to a stack of box files crammed with figures and such like all ready for the off and I thought I’d share my work with you. As ever, please excuse the poor photography – I am a better painter (honest!!) than I am photographer!!

Here goes with some Saxons:

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And the Norman oppostion:

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Some wagons:

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Siege equipment:

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and jetties:

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Hope you enjoy,

Monty the Desert Rat.