sexta-feira, 20 de janeiro de 2017

Rapid Fire! Spanish Civil War - Republican Infantry (EPR).

Those BUM miniatures are really hard to find, no? There are no other plastic SCW infantry, right? Right. But if you give a good look at the most common plastic sets available you will see that some quite passable infantry is not hard to convert.

I saw on the web some modellers using the Hat WWI Austrians and Serbian boxes as the basis for Republican Spanish. It's a great idea but I didn't have any of them around so I used mainly converted figures.

The action takes place in the village of Casas Amarillas (obviously...) and you can see an EPR (Ejercito Popular Republicano) battalion with 4 companies, 3 of them rifle and one heavy weapons.

They are are mix of metal Irregular Miniatures with WWI and WWII Esci and Revell plastics, as I did with the Moors.

The Republican infantry used the Spanish Trubia, Czechs and Adrian helmets besides the Isabelino cap and other headdress namely the Pasamontañas cap (very close to the Austrian WWI cap). For the Trubia I've used the heads of German Revell WWI figures, the Japanese from Esci for the Czech helmets  and for Adrian helmets from both Airfix and Esci heads.

On the mortar you can see (L) an IM figure, the mortar firer of the Esci WWII Russian set (with a Trubia helmet and open coat) and an Esci US WWII mortar crew with GreenStuff Isabellino cap.
The Hotchkiss group has (L) the observer with the body of the Revell WWI German figure with an Airfix Adrian helmet; an IM firer and another Esci US HMG crew, again with Isabelino cap. The Hotchkiss came from the Esci Japanese with scratch built tripod.

The light mortar (with plate added) is an Esci Japanese with Revell German WWI head and PPSD sub-machine gun on its back carved from a PPSH. The command set is a Russian officer and the Australian radio man, both Revell. To the right another IM figure.

The LMG's sets are made of a mixture of Japanese, French and Russian, all Esci both hard and soft plastic.

From left to right you have a Russian Esci and two IM figures. The fourth figure is made out of Russian legs and a Japanese torso all Esci. The two last figures are a Revell US marine with a Czech helmet and a Esci WWII French with Trubia Helmet. I used the Revell US marine uniform because is quite similar to the mono used by many Republican troops.

More of the same. The fourth figure is an US Matchbox venerable body with Trubia Helmet. The last of them is again another Frankenstein with Revell Marine legs and Esci Japanese torso.

Metal and plastic happily living together is the same stand.

Some of the figures got an EverGreen blanket roll which desguises some faults on the uniforms.

On the modelling table I have planes, artillery, tanks, cavalry and infantry some half done other half painted. More stuff to do than available time ... Where did you hear this story?

sexta-feira, 13 de janeiro de 2017

Rapid Fire! Spanish Civil War in 1/72nd scale - Moorish Tabors from Melilla

This action happens close to the village of Quatro Casas - as you can conclude from the above picture - and it portrays the two dreaded Moorish Tabors (half battalions of 2 companies of infantry and one of cavalry each) of Melilla, east Morocco.

The Moors were coming from North Africa and belonged to Franco's African Army who became  famous for the first history's airlift (with Hitler and Mussolini's help), its fighting prowesses and also its cruelty.

The figures gave me lots of pleasure to build as I could do what I like the most: converting, that is building armies without becoming broke! (of course I would prefer to be rich, order everything metal and send scratch building and converting for a big walk around the park!).

In the mortar stands I used two metal Irregular Miniatures figures, here with fez, and one plastic. These last ones got a little tricky as the torso and mortar comes from the Esci WWII US mortar figure and the legs are from Revell WWI Germans. The head is the original Esci with a GreenStuff turban.

Cheap Chinese copies of Airfix Japanese and US Marine were turned into Moors again with GreenStuff in the turban and bed roll. The blanket roll was quite used in the SCW and helps desguise imperfections and particularities of the uniforms.

German WWI Esci MG 08 crew with head from Esci Muzlims. The HMG firer is from the Esci US WWII box complete with gun; the helmet is carved to become a fez; the blanket roll hides many different parts of the US uniform and equipment. Pay attention to the HMG crew who should always be Spanish so no turbans. Here I only placed a Spanish as the firer, all other are Moors.

All non-metal figures are these kind of conversions. The basis is mostly Revell WWI German bodies with heads from the Esci Muzlim set.

Loctite Special Plastics gives a good bond to soft plastic parts and was used in all figures needing a new head.

The command stands have figures from the Atlantic WWII Russian set, again converted, Revell and IM metals. The Flags are simple prints from the internet.

The cavalry are based on the Zvezda Turkish cavalry. Some carving, two blanket rolls (on the horse and horseman) and a rifle/SMG made the rest. The Ottoman tuban also had some cutting in order to make it smaller.

terça-feira, 3 de janeiro de 2017

Rapid Fire! Spanish Civil War in 1/72nd scale - Early Republican aircraft

Now for some aircraft of the SCW. The village of Dos Casas is again the setting and the local inhabitants must be thrilled about all this crazy activity in their, until now, quiet place. 

All these models are plastic and some have resin parts. Fortunately the fiddly resin parts are mostly for the interiors and were discarded by painting the windshields. No decals on any of them as I prefer to paint the symbols. Paint always sit on the place we want, well, more or less. 

This is the Lockheed Orion from Special Hobby. Only some 3 were used by the Republicans, one of them Mg armed. The plastic is a bit rude and it has some resin parts to compensate. What doesn't compensate is the price which is too high for the quality of the plastic. But it was easily available at my local hobby shop and when you have the fever it really doesn't matter? Right...? (please say yes...).

The Letov S.231 (KP model) was a bit more common with some 17 flying for the Republicans.

The Nieuport 52 (Azur model) was license built in Spain. Some 56 were active when the Spanish Civil War broke out. 

The Fokker F.VII (Valom Model) was a rare bird also. I regret having built and painted it in this "civilian" look as there was a much nicer version with a Mg in central fuselage which made it with a more menacing look. 

sexta-feira, 30 de dezembro de 2016

Rapid Fire! Spanish Civil War in 1/72nd scale - Early armour for the Republicans

The Republic rushes reinforcements to the Madrid front in order to stop the Nationalist Army of Africa from taking the capital! The action is taking place near of the pueblo of Dos Casas - easy to see why in the pictures - and it shows a number of early vehicles used in the conflict, sometimes by both sides.

Here a Hispano-Suiza MC-36 from Minairons. It's a simple and big model and at least one was used with a T-26 turret as HQ vehicle also in Franco's army.

This Camion Protegido Nash-Quad is by Panzer-Garage and has an SHQ British paratrooper as commander from the leftover box.

Again by Minairons a pair of Carros Blindados Bilbao Mod.32. They were mostly used by the blue- later grey- clad Guardia de Asalto. The figure comes from the Minairons T-26.

When they started, Irregular Miniatures was so enthusiastic about the SCW that they produced a strange Trubia tank, probably based on the few pictures available some years ago. Now, particularly in Spanish language, there is plenty of information about one of the few real tanks ever produced in Spain (nothing to be ashamed, in Portugal we never had any). The model has several faults mainly the lenght of the track part which is short by some 5mm something hard to come by. Even so I detailed a little bit more the charismatic Hotchkiss Mg's, placed the frontal roller, made the turret cupolla taller and desguised with stowage the rear part as the parts that connect the tail to the hull also don't fit.
 I'm sure that if IM remodels it's Trubia they will solve these problems.

Another IM model, and much better designed, the Schneider tank. I only added the home made rear stowage boxes and the Hotchkiss Mg's.

The Russians arrive! The BA-6 by Pegasus is a quick build model and you get two models in the box which are really good!

Can you imagine the noise produced? Easy to guess why Dos Casas is deserted...

quarta-feira, 28 de dezembro de 2016

Rapid Fire! Spanish Civil War in 1/72nd scale- Conversions for the Infantry and Cavalry

In the last few weeks I've been secretly building my SCW armies, a little bit like the Nationalists prepared their coup against the Republic (as a Republican by hart these last ones are my favourits). The problem of a new period is the amount of reading you need and your own misconceptions you have to rebuild regarding  that period.

The reading issue was, as usual, solved by my friend JMM who sent me the usual pile of books inside a Pendrive. The misconceptions issue is still being solved -  with the help of the books of course: until then I was thinking the SCW was a struggle between Republican militia and professional Nationalists; that there was no big battles at corps level, uniforms were, well, not mandatory and many other silly ideas of mine.

In SCW wargaming and modelling you can find a never ending number of very interesting units from Carlists to International brigades; Italians and Republican regulars; Moors and Guardia Civil. The Spanish literature on uniforms, aircraft and vehicles is very good and lately the magazine Desperta Ferro has dedicated entire volumes to the Spanish Civil War. Of course Osprey and many other editors in english language also have very good reading material.

Frankly, the SCW craze is not new for me. A few years ago I already built a few airplanes in plastic that I will show you soon. Recently I kept making some new planes and also ordered some Minairons, Pegasus and Panzer Garage vehicles for the SCW while making the Blitzkrieg models. With the arrival of  two of those big packs of Irregular Miniatures infantry each with 100 models things got more serious and now I can say, NO PASARAN!

Some of the Republicans of Irregular Miniatures are intended for Militia and have no headdress so I made Isabelino caps and berets for them out of GreenStuff so they can join the Exercito Popular Español. The arms were also placed in a more casual position just by twisting the nice metal in which IM figures is made of.

The Irregular Miniatures  Guardia Civiles have no support weapons and I think they are right as I've never seen any picture or  description saying they had them, excepuating a sole HMG per Battalion.
  But, just in case and to make the Guardia Civil more autonomous, I added to the German ESCI Mg's the head of laying down George Washington's Airfix heads. Now these unfortunately famous security force can have some support.

I'm also converting Moors as the Nationalist pack of IM brings only a dozen of these fearful warriors. For that I needed the baggiest trousers possible with a torso from the decade of 10 or 20. The Revell WWI Germans were the chosen ones with heads from the ESCI Muzlims. The backpack was taken out and replaced with a blanket and a sash.

Also only two dozen Guardia de Asalto in the Republican pack of IM. So a few more were built from the body of Revell US Marines and heads from the Airfix WWI British set.

This Republican Cavalry squadron is made out of the bodies of Revell Soviet Cossacks with ESCI WWII French heads. The Hasegawa cavalryman that goes along with the M-3 Stuart gave a nice guidon bearer.

The Nationalist IM pack along some conversions and also BUM Legionarios.

The Republicans were also joined by some conversions and packless WWII French and Russians  from ESCI.

Next: planes and tanks.

sexta-feira, 23 de dezembro de 2016

Rapid Fire! Blitzkrieg on 20mm - Eben-emael, 1940

The German attack on the Belgian fortress of Eben-emael is a striking image on the imagination of every WWII buff.  A group of less then 80 Glider borne attackers dominated 800 defenders after careful planning. The standard ratio of 1 figure to 15 men in Rapid Fire! terms is what you can see in the picture but hopefully in the future another two or three gliders and bunkers with a few more paratroopers can produce a ratio of 1 to 2 which can be more apropriate for these kind of small actions and possible in Rapid Fire!

 The bunker is a two piece Frontline Wargaming model. I think it's no longer produced but something close can be scratch built.

The German paratroopers are hard plastic Preiser in 1/72nd scale.

The DFS 230 Glider is another Frontline Wargaming model. Only the struts connecting the fuselage to the wings were added as extras.

Also only two additions to the bunker: some barbed wire and a camouflage net. The joint between the two roof top and the walls is not the best but in the end is a nice and big model that portrays well the Belgian forts and that can also be used to the Maginot Line.

sexta-feira, 9 de dezembro de 2016

Rapid Fire! Blitzkrieg in 20mm - Reinforcements for the 1st and 3rd German Leichte Divisions.

I managed to finish a third battalion of Blitzkrieg German Infantry and a few more Czech Pz38t, Pz35t  and armoured cars.

Not much new this time with the exception of the middle row of tanks which are the Pz35t for the 1st Leichte division.

This is the Pz35t from First To Fight  with added crew from PSC leftovers.

Now a comparison between the Pz38t from First To Fight (left on both pictures) and Frontline Wargaming (right on both pictures). They are very similar and Frontline 38t only needs some MG's which came again from surplus PSC parts.

Altaya Pz38t (top) and PSC Pz38t. Here the main difference are the rivets on the PSC model which are almost non existent in the Altaya model.

Good old Matchbox  in all its glory! (finally I found what to do with them).

The crew member is the old and useful driver of the ESCI King Tiger.

Nothing new with the infantry. Again all possible plastics and some conversions on mortars, HMG's  and radioman. Blitzkrieg fever is slowly passing and giving its way to Guadalajara, Brunete and the Ebro... if you know what I mean...