quinta-feira, 14 de julho de 2016

Rapid Fire! 20mm, French Army 1940, Aircraft up to the moment.

Before continuing the recent Russian Contemporary Wars series I was forced due to piles of dust and humidity to make new shelves and place glass on some of the cabins holding parts of my collection By doing so some cleaning became necessary and I took the opportunity to take pics of some planes. Let's start with  the French from 1940. 

It must have been a nightmare to supply parts to French military aviation in the late 30's and during the German invasion of may 1940 as there were an enormous amount of aircraft performing the same function. 

If you want to see the rest of my french Army for 1940 please open the label France 1940 and then lets get back to BleuVille. 

These Heller  Dewoitine D.520 were some of the most modern fighters but not many reached the war zone.

The Bloch MB 152 was more numerous, but older and not as fast as the Dewoitine. To the left is a SMER model and the one to the right is an Altaya Die-cast.

Other fighters (to help the work of the maintenance crews...) were the American built Curtiss H-75A-1  and the wooden light fighter Caudron C.714. Not sure but I think both are Heller. 

The Morane-Saulnier 406 was the mainstay of the French Airforce shooting down between 190 and 270 German aircraft. Altaya Die-cast model. 

The Potez 630 was a heavy reconnaissance airplane and here once again the french produced a great number of different models with the same characteristics. Heller again.

Even some few Italian Caproni Ca.313 bomber/reconnaissance aircraft were bought. This plane is a Supermodel model (Supermodel is the brand...).

The old ANF Les Mureaux 113 was the most numerous reconnaissance aircraft of those days, again by Heller.

The  Bloch MB 174 (Heller) was one of the best and newer machines of the French air force and intended to replace the Breguet 693.

Another aircraft for observation and reconnaissance the Potez 63.11 (Heller).

I made some 30 of these stands. By using the Altaya plastic black stand you can glue a piece of acrylic and, on top of it, glue the tip of the Altaya stand. Drill a hole the same size on the under part of the plane and here you have a nice and convincing stand.

These older Breguet 693 by Heller ground attack aircraft, also used for reconnaissance.

The Potez 540 (SMER model) series was an old design that first saw service with the Spanish Republican Airforce, earning the reputation of the 'Flying Coffin'. When WWII hit the French they were only used for transport, mostly in the colonies.

I still have some 10 French aircraft models to build, some are only for numbers but others are new ones like the LEO 451 bomber. Hope to show you some of them soon.

quarta-feira, 13 de julho de 2016

Contemporary Russian Wars in 1/72nd scale - The T-80 and T-90, comparing Modelcollect and Revell

Believe me I looked. I looked in several sites, asked friends and searched in shops. I found two in OLX but they wanted to sell the whole collection. Besides my e-bay account doesn't work...

What is he talking about? Is he still under some mysterious substance influence after the awesome win of Portugal in the Euro 2016?

No. I'm just talking about my quest for finding more Die-cast modern Russian tanks and AFV's. Tired of looking I drove to Maceda, in the north, to a nice Model shop called Bigcat, and brought a big supply of model kits both Modelcollect and Revell.

Well, of course you get a more detailed model than Die-cast but each takes two days of your life, with such small pieces so enervating that they look like the extra-time of the Euro 2016 final - that Portugal won by the way.

After opening the boxes you get 100 to 150 pieces each and you start to feel sorry for not having tried harder the Die-cast solution. On the other hand these models are expensive, between 17 euros for Revell and 25 euros for the most expensive Modelcollect, so stop crying and start gluing the damned things! You can order Modelcollect from China directly and much cheaper but post cost levels the final price.

It is funny how after building hundreds of Airfix, Matchbox, Esci and alike you get more lazy because of the recent flood of Altaya and such Die-cast models...does the same happen to you?

The problem - or advantage - is that nowadays models can be scaled down from 1/35th scale without loosing detail. That drives you crazy as you try to to glue 6 or 7 pieces just to have the turret machine gun!

Stop complaining, as Portugal was European Champion of Football (did I already mentioned it?) and lets try a small review.

In the above picture you have the Revell T-80BV to your right and two Modelcollect T-80BV. The Revell model already has some years. Years ago I bought several of them which I turned into T-72's serving Saddam Hussein. It's a simple kit but not very detailed. On the contrary the Modelcollect is all about detail, too much some times, enhanced by PE  and really thin parts.

Both T-90's, Modelcollect to the left and Revell to the right, are similar in accuracy and detail as the Revell model belongs to the more recent fashion of downsizing the bigger scales on the contrary of their T-80. The ModelCollect offers the new tracks you can glue with normal plastic glue and a metal one-piece down hull. But this makes the Modelcollect more expensive in some 5 euros.

The Modelcollect T-90MS to the left is fortunately the least complicated model of the collection, mainly due to the simple lines Merkava type of the real thing. The Revell T-90A to the right is again a nice model with clever and simple hard tracks that you only need to dip into hot water before gluing. 

I turned one of the Modelcollect T-90 into the K version for command with an extra antennae and two figures from WWII models. I'm nowadays making all arms of tank crew with GreenStuff in order two avoid having tank crew that looks like puppets in a string or Karate athlets. Like this the arms sit beautifully doing whatever you want.  

Modelcollect new tracks and metal hull.

One last thing: Revell instructions are more clear than Modelcollect and you need have some years of modelling practice to build the later.

As a final conclusion only from these seven models I can say Modelcollect is more detailed, more modern in solutions like the track and hull but it's more expensive; Revell keeps a good level of detail, better instructions and it's cheaper which for wargaming is very important. Important is of course the win of Portugal in the Euro 2016 with nothing less than 11  players formed in Sporting some of them not very well known like Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Rui Patricio, Moutinho and many others. 

Next: T-72 fleet, BMP-3 and new variants of the T-80.

sábado, 2 de julho de 2016

Contemporary Russian Wars in 1/72nd scale - Altaya Die-cast Russian AFV's.

And now for some other Die-cast Russian AFV's. The fact of having a reasonable amount of Russian stuff, both planes and tanks, was the real cause for venturing into this series. Once again the models in the picture are Altaya. On the contrary of aircraft, all of them got some kind of repaint:

- the BTR-70 got a black wash and some light sand dry brush,
- the same with the PT-76,
- the T-80 BV got a new painting as the base green color was too light.

Some bedrolls, antennae, a Russian flag, the black wash/dry brush and the model looks like a true scale model ready for action. 

 The T-80 BV were repainted with Vallejo Russian Green. This color is an aircraft color and darker than it should be but after dry brushing it gets close to the original one and I use it for everything Russian, WWII, Modern, tank or warplane. The camouflage is Vallejo Iraqi Sand and black.

Some of the BTR-70 got some Macharius Solar Orange (which in fact means Orange...) from GW and the Russian flag was painted in all models. 

Finally for a good guide on how to paint Modern Russian AFV's follow these Spanish guys even if they are out of the Euro Cup 2016 and Portugal is not (at least up to next thursday...).


quinta-feira, 30 de junho de 2016

Contemporary Russian Wars in 1/72nd scale - Russian airforce

Altaya SU-25

Having used most of the plastic model kits of USSR/Russian warplanes for the Iraqi airforce I'm using Die-cast models for the modern Russian Airforce. Most will be Altaya both from Aircraft or Helicopter current collection.

These models are just great. You just need to glue a few parts and they are ready to fly. Of course you may not get the right camouflage for a determined conflict but the Russian army I'm building also covers a wide period of time of some 20 years (1996-2016, and when next January comes a new year starts).

Altaya MIG-29

Altaya SU-27

Altaya MIG-31

Some of these aircraft are really big as you can see from the standing 1/72nd scale pilot.

The only major addition to all models are sitting pilots which Die-cast generally don't have. 

Easy Model and Altaya KA-50

The two lighter colored Hokum are Easy Model while the one in the center is Altaya. The Altaya model doesn't bring any rocket pods so I had to use the spare box. 

The Hokum was first used in Chechnya in 1999 and it looks to have performed pretty well. 

The Altaya model is heavier with metal parts while the Easy Models are entirely plastic and more detailed. I bought the Model Easy a few years ago for 15 euros, so they may be nowadays a little bit more expensive while the current Altaya helicopters are 14 euros in Portugal which just one hour ago defeated Poland and its in the half-finals of the Euro 2016 using 10 players formed in the MİGHTY SPOOORTİNG !!!! Sİİİİİİİİİİ......

domingo, 26 de junho de 2016

Will MacNally's rules - Brandywine 1777 revisited for the last time (?)

My wargames table is about to leave the rolling hills of Pennsylvania to give way to the Bekaa valley or the Georgian landscape or even the necessary space to build my two Pacific WWII aircraft carriers in 1/72nd scale. But before that happens I took some photos to show the many units and terrain features I built since the table was last pictured.

The Birmingham meeting house is placed at last and the Gettysburg buildings that replaced it can go back to the shelves.  Top right you can see the Hessian Jägers crossing Street Road. 

The Benjamin Ring House is already set...

 ... as well as Chad's house.

The Hessians wait patiently to cross the Brandywine maneuvering back and forth in the Knyphausen sector to create the illusion of numbers.

In front of them the Americans aren't less nervous.  

Here it is the awkward outmaneuver of De Borre which placed the entire American line out of balance.

At the same time close to Benjamin Ring's House, G. Washington looks at this maneuver thinking:"Which tree must have given the sawdust De borre has in his head..."

West part of the battlefield. 

Queen's Rangers preparing to ford...

Already in battle position, all units of Cornwallys flanking maneuver can be seen (if badly...).

Dilworth before the storm of fleeing Continentals.

And a general view. There are some units to be made mostly Continentals, the cavalry and some artillery but for the moment I'm having great fun with moderns so more Brandywine only in a few months.

sábado, 25 de junho de 2016

Lebanon 1982 - QRF 1/100th scale models for the Syrian Airforce

The SU-20/22 was the mainstay bomber of the Syrian Airforce in the Lebanon campaign of 1982. Apparently they attacked with success a number of Israeli AFV columns. This QRF model is made of resin and metal but it's showing its age as it needs some filler here and there.

The Mig-21is a much better model and I presume more recent. The Israelis destroyed many of them after blinding the SAF with the destruction of the Syrian missile and warning ground system in operation Mole Cricket.

Now I'm eagerly trying to get both the Mig-23/27 and the Mig-25 in 1/100th scale. Does any one have some surplus or know were to find them?

The most successful aircraft of the SAF was the Aerospatialle Gazelle equipped with Hot missiles. As usual Syrians and Israelis give different numbers for the casualties inflicted and suffered by these small machines. The QRF model comes quite bare with no Hot missiles nor the dark gray box for target acquisition over the pilots compartment so they had to be scratch built.

Next: more Contemporary Russian Wars in 1/72nd scale  for you to stop biting your nails.

quarta-feira, 15 de junho de 2016

Contemporary Russian wars in 1/72nd scale - S-300 missile system

Modern wars like Lebanon, Iran-Irak and Falklands in the 80ies are part of my imagination during boyhood and to make things worse, there is an incredible amount of models, both kit or die-cast, to portray any of those conflicts and any other up to today. And not only western material as it happened in the 80ies but also Russian, Chinese and others mainly in our beloved 1/72nd scale.  

With the Gulf War in 1990-91 and then with the 2003 US invasion of Iraq I used many models from late 20th century. 

But then what to do with the T-80/90's, Kamov KA-50, BMP-3 plenty of them very nice die-cast or from new plastic brands like ModelCollect and such?

Little by little I managed to build a sizable force of modern Russians. And so it came out the new series 'Contemporary Russian wars in 1/72nd scale' that will start in Chechnya 1996, throughout Georgia 2008 up to nowadays Russian intervention in Syria. So if you want to know more about Yeltsin, Medvedev and Putin's armies, please follow me.

The first models I'll show you are some very nice and easy to build '4D Puzzle Model' ordered directly from China. It took some 20 days or so for the parcel to arrive but both cost, post free, only 8€ each while I've seen some shops asking the double amount in Europe! So I hope a long life to the emperor of China, simultaneously leader of the local party (called Aliexpress, by the way).

The S-300 AA system is the Patriot's rival and some say its superior in many aspects. If you buy the two available you get the missile launching device, the 5P85S, and the radar and communications system, the 30N6E2,  The models are very easy to build and in fact if you are lazy enough you don't even need glue, as pegs can hold all parts in a very good engineering maneuver. I used glue just to strengthen the models. I read in some reviews some nonsense like these models not being able to accept plastic glue and being copies of PST models. Untrue. Normal plastic glue goes just fine and PST model is far more complex to build and 5 times more expensive!

Camouflage of the S-300 systems varied a lot even between batteries, the ones I'm showing you are just some of the most common. The camouflage seen on the radar vehicle is not standard in shape so you can paint the yellow and black as you like. The gray color can be seen in the machines placed by the Russian in Syria after the SU-24 shooting down incident by the Turks.

The only extra parts added were the crew member (this one came from Fujimi), antennae and the mirrors. I never saw the Russian flag in the S-300 system but I think it gives a nice touch.

The basing is for Rapid Fire! and its online modern version.

Next: back to Lebanon 82, but hey, I'll be back to this new issue soon.