sexta-feira, 17 de março de 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm 1944 US armoured Division - 'Gods of War' are coming (Stalin's words but Ok...)




A battalion of M7 SPG are ready to support the general advance, I mean of course the general advance started a few weeks ago with this series of posts.

They are Matchbox kits with a sole Fujimi M7B1.


Side by side the two M7 of an SPG battery with OP jeep. The nearer is a Fujimi more modern M7B1 with side rollers and Mg bigger pulpit..


Even heavier here comes a battalion of M12 155mm SPG's. On the left you have two models from Fujimi and to the right an Altaya model.


I extended the rear base of the M12's as the crew operated mostly there. Here a crew of Irregular Miniatures...

...and here the crew is converted Atlantic plastics.


The Fujimi version of the M30 Ammo supplier for the M12's.


Help from the Corps: Long Tom's and tows from Hasegawa with an Altaya version of the lot arriving.


Old plastic conversions were used for the artillerymen.

Next: Recce.

sexta-feira, 10 de março de 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm 1944 US Armoured Division - 1st Tank Battalion (75mm Sherman)


A M4 Sherman battalion joins the general advance of its Armoured Division started last week with the TD battalion.



I made this battalion around six nice Esci M4A1 I had for years. After building them I just added a few more Sherman from Airfix, Frontline Wargaming and Altaya, three Stuarts and a 81mm HT from Hasegawa to fill the unit. All medium tanks are 75mm gun equipped as I have other units armed with 76mm guns but as these last ones only arrived to the Normandy front in middle July they remain separated in the shelves. 76mm Shermans started to be included slowly from July 44 on and ended being the majority in many units only by the end of the war.

I still need to find some recovery vehicles. Probably I will use the hull of the Lee/Grant from Airfix or Hasegawa.


The Esci Shermans had their side skirts removed and plates of armour were glued to the sides for the protection of the ammunition (Plastic EverGreen  of course). Then the usual different figures and stowage were also used.


The closer Sherman is the old and useful one from Airfix with extra crew, side armour and Browning HMG. Most of the US armoured battalions were receiving other Sherman models as replacements. This one still sports the old M1 mantlet. The Sherman to the back (M4A1 and M4A3) are both Frontline Wargaming with the usual add-ons.


Somewhere I read that the Esci model of the M4A1 had some flaws particularly in the rear part. Fortunately the US tank crews had plenty of stowage attached to the rear and whatever flaws there were they now remain well hidden. Most of the stowage I use is my own plastic EverGreen boxes and bedrolls and backpacks are made out of plummer's two component paste and GreenStuff.


The Command Sherman (Esci again) with plenty of crew to be easily recognized on the table... sorry, shelve, and with Fujimi armour on the turret. The M4 Half Track with 81mm mortar is Hasegawa and the Sherman 105mm is an Altaya Die-cast.



This one with a too big turret is Fujimi. It has a hull close to 1/76th scale and a much bigger turret. With such a big head it will go to college for sure !!!


The last two pictures are pure nostalgia from the times the M5 were non existant in plastic and very expensive in resin. Many years ago I 'curved' the square lines of a few Hasegawa Stuarts with Milliput and changed the place of headlights and such for them to look like the later M5. This one also has a scratchbuilt Cullin Hedgerow device. Pretty hugly things but remind me when I was young...


Then some pieces of home made bush to hide the flaws and here they are after probably some 30 years of faithful service trying to kick Jerry out of Normandy!

Next: artillery.

domingo, 5 de março de 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm 1944 US Armoured Division - Tank Destroyer battalion.



With this post I'll start to show you my 1944 US Armored Division. In fact the idea is to have enough units to represent any of the big types of US units in the Western front, the Light Tank Division, the Heavy Tank Division and even the Infantry Division from the Normandy landings up to Germany 1945. Then I also wanted to be able to compose several of the usual Regimental Combat Teams (around infantry units) or the Armored Combat Command (around tank units). So no specific unit in mind when building US units but the aim is to gather enough units to be able to represent any of them.


Somewhere in Normandy a M10 Wolverine Tank Destroyer Battalion leaves the protection of the woods and advances to meet the enemy.

I made the battalion with three companies each of two M10 and one M8 Greyhound and one MG armed Jeep. The command of the battalion only has an M20. This organization presents problems as the total number of M10 was 36 per battalion (12 per company) so the number of models in the battalion should be 7-8 instead of 6. The problem is obviously to divide 7-8 by three companies...to cope with this and to compensate the lack of punch I placed one M8 Greyhound with its 'Tiger destroyer' puny 37mm gun in each company when in reality there were only two per company.


The models are Armourfast for the M10, Italeri for the M8 and Hasegawa and Airfix for the Jeeps.


The crews of the M10 are Irregular Miniatures; the M8 have Skytrex and Hasegawa crew and the Jeep's crew are also Hasegawa with Airfix drivers.


The M10 of Armourfast is an accurate but simple model. So place plenty of stowage, antennae, crew and don't forget the ammo box for the 12,7mm 50 cal Browning MG. Eventualy I fitted some of them with a smaller 7,62mm 30 cal Browning.


Lastly the command M20 Scout Car from Altaya with IM crew.
Next: the first Armored Battalion.

sexta-feira, 3 de março de 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm Ardennes 1944 specials


Another quick post of lately done models. These are all american stuff mainly for late 1944, specially Ardennes campaign.


The 90mm AA gun is necessary for the Stoumont scenario of Rapid Fire!Battle of the Bulge. Once again I  prefer to scratchbuilt it as only one is necessary and it gets cheaper this way. If you want the true model you have SHQ for instance.


All parts are EverGreen plastics. Only the wheels come from something German I had around, maybe old 88mm wheels.  Crew is Hasegawa and Revell hard and soft plastics. The M5 vehicle tow is Hasegawa.


These Jumbos started as normal M4A3 from Armourfast. You have to place 1mm Evergreen around the hull and turret which becomes tricky specially in the round parts as the turret and transmission armour. The mantlet has to be sculpted and drilled from a block of EverGreen. Crewman from Skytrex. 



Don't forget pegs in the turret and the extra cover of the power unit and exhaust pipes. Also add 1mm plastic plate around the tracks as they had them larger than normal Shermans M4A3. Do the same above tracks between main side hull and track section. Finally in all parts were things didn't went particularly well place plenty of stowage as americans did. Jumbos had a lot of work locally close to the front and that is why its parts look rough and ill finished but hey that is good news for model converters!


Nothing special here. Altaya Long Tom with tow.  Probably ready to be ambushed by Peiper's column or something like that. 


The Dodge ambulance from Academy to be used as HQ of the 106th ID. Straight from the box with painted markings.



Some US heavy-weights champions. M36 TD from Altaya (camouflaged) and two Fujimi models. One of them (to the right) has a hull from an Armourfast Achilles after the original one was destroyed by Kit, an envious Cocker Spaniel that ruled the house before my beautiful Sula arrived. There is a slight difference of scale in Fujimi's 1/76th turret and Armourfast 1/72nd scale hull but it's barely noticeable. 


Lastly two M10 TD and one Sherman 105mm, The M10 to the left is factory painted for Tunisia but with some blotches of white paint it becomes usable for the Bulge. All models are Altaya with Irregular Miniatures crews from the WWII US artillery set of Really Useful Crews.


Next: the beggining of my 1944 US armored division. 


terça-feira, 28 de fevereiro de 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm Market Garden specials.


Just some quick posts to show you some models made in between SCW; AWI and other 'W's'. As I didn't want to interrupt your reading of these previous series here they come now.
These two guns represent the battery of AA Schneider 75/36(f) used by the Germans to counter the 'Charge of the Paras' in scenario 4 of Rapid Fire! Market Garden's book. Colin doesn't mention these guns probably because they were on the other side of the Rhine inside a complex of brickworks and not only their representation would enlarge too much the table as would made the wargame chances of victory for the British much lower as in fact happened.


I don't know anyone who produces these models in 20mm so I used some nice museum pictures of the gun and my loyal Evergreen plastic rod and tube .


The wheels are old Atlantic taken from its artillery set. The figures are metal IM, and various soft and hard plastics.

These Renault B1 flame-thrower tanks are conversions from the Matchbox models. I decided to convert them as the real things of Pz Company 224 lurking Oosterbeek woods (with the addition of a third one to give them a few more chances against PİAT, 6 and 17pdr's!... well in fact I was just having pleasure buiding them this way).



You just need five things:
1- Buid a rear end box for the flame-thrower fuel.


2- Cut off the top of the turret and make a 'German' one.
3- Build in the front hull another observation box with slit very similar to the original one on the left side.
4- Move sligthly the antennae to the front
5- And build a mantlet (I used GreenStuff) for the protudering small tip of the flame-thrower.

Don't forget a German figure and here you have them.

For more on Market Garden you can see my houses here:


and 1st British Airborne Division here:


All other units, specially Germans, will be presented in a series I'll call 'Areas' as its models can be used for many 1944 campaigns.


sábado, 25 de fevereiro de 2017

Rapid Fire! Spanish Civil War in 1/72nd scale - 1st Bandera of the Legion




This Bandera is made out of metal figures from IM, green figures from BUM, desert yellow from Japanese Esci/Matchbox and Russian Italeri and Brown ones from Revell WWI Germans and Esci WWII Brits.

The trousers of the Japanese were enlarged at the top in order to look similar to the Granadero trousers of the Legion.


After a week of practice ( painting, I mean) 1st Bandera gathers around the village of Casa de Piedra somewhere in North/Centre/South Spain trying as always to conquer Madrid from the Rojos.


The mortar stand has two metal IM and the old plastic copy of the Japanese officer from Esci. As in many other figures the head was shaven and a GreenStuff Isabelino was modelled instead. The rest of the sword was made into a sort of mortar shell.

The Japanese uniform, as well as the Russian, suits most of the SCW Nationalist infantry as they have very close cuts.


The Banderas of the Legion had extra Mg's here the ones from the Matchbox along with firers. To the left the ammo feeder is Esci British and to the right both feeder and observer are Revell German WWI.When modelling the borlitas on the caps I didn't notice I've made them too big and now they look like cucumbers.


The command stand has an IM flagbearer, a Russian Revell officer with many cuts and scars and a BUM gastador.


Metal IM figures. For those who look at Irregular Miniatures with suspicious eyes take another look at their SCW range which not only is very complete as the figures are very well sculpted.



Here you have the Japanese from Esci (first three); an helmeted figure with WWI head, japanese  Esci torso and legs from cheap japanese copies.



This LMG has a Japanese firer and a BUM figure.


Lastly a Picture of all types used: Metal IM, Revell Russian (kneeling figure), Esci Japanese (charging) and BUM.

Next: I think I'll go for break on the SCW and show you some WWII oddities or Gulf War stuff.



sábado, 18 de fevereiro de 2017

Rapid Fire! Spanish Civil War in 1/72nd scale - Tanks and Guardias de Asalto





After all they 'pasaran'... At Dos Molinos a column of triumphant PzI advances clearing the Ex Republican positions.



The models are Minairons. They are easy to build, three in a box and they even offer the 20mm Breda conversion turret. In the one above even the Matchbox Monty gave a hand proving the suspicious role the UK had in this war...


This is the standard Pz I this time with a figure from PSC with a new beret.



Hey, Pavlov's T-26 counter attacked and the tiny Pz I are all gone or destroyed! After all they didn't 'pasaran' as it happened so many times during the SCW in which the positions were conquered only to be lost in the next assault.


The T-26 are Minairons again. Simple but well designed models with two in a box. This one has a Irregular Miniatures Russian paratrooper cut to fit the turret with its Degtyarev Mg. The command version on the previous photo has a metal antennae scratch built around its turret.


The gound is only secured with boots on the ground. Six companies of Guardias de Asalto arrive. For Rapid Fire! I represent them with five figures as they were 60 per company only . They are a mixture of metal and soft plastic conversions.


The command stand is a full IM filled with rejubilant figures.


The mortar stand shows the a Guardia de Asalto in blue uniform (right) made out of
a) Head from the Chinese copy of Airfix 8th army officer;
b) Upper body from Esci US WWII mortar firer;
c) Legs from Revell Marines.

The other blue figure is IM and the grey one is again Revell with a new head.



An all IM stand .


In most two-figure stands I try to place one metal and one plastic figure. In all stands you can see the same Revell Marine changed with new headgear and weapons.


More of the same this time. The figures in the extremes are the same Revell Marine figure but one has an Isabelino cap and the other one uses the usual gorra de plato of the Guardias de Asalto.

Next: Legionários or planes, or may be both.