sábado, 19 de agosto de 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm D-Day 1944 - Omaha Beach (part 16) - WN 61

WN 61, together with WN 62, was closing the acess to E3, the road to Colleville. This WN was placed lower down the bluffs and entering the beach itself. It housed another powerful A/T 88mm PAK 43 like the one in the oposite far end of the beach on WN 72. These two guns could crossfire the entire lenght of the beach.

There was a captured 37mm Puteaux gun from a French tank on Tobruk. This one is in fact 1/87th scale as I didn't want to ruin any of my precious French tanks for 1940 or German for 1944.

The 88mm PAK 43 this time is an Irregular Miniatures 100mm Russian A/T gun. I bought a few for my late war Russians but then I noticed how similar to the German gun this one was and I used it in my WN 61 with a few cuts here and there and some shortening of the trail. The crew is made of the eternal Airfix DAK officer and three gunners from the Pioneer Revell box converted to artillerymen with some rounds of 88mm ammo from Hasegawa.

I didn't want this WN too big (where the hell am I going to find 5 meters of table...) so I improvised some space for the extra six figures behind sand bags.  

Rear view of the strongpoint.  

The main bunker started as an isolated piece I made years ago but it's really completely different from the original H 667 model. But due to laziness (and having new stuff on my mind...) I left it like it was to save time. A true and excellent alternative model is provided by the Italeri D-Day diorama.

Next: the last few WN's: WN 60, WN 63 and WN 67.


sexta-feira, 18 de agosto de 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm D-Day 1944 - Omaha Beach (part 15) - Shermans Dozer, DD's and PT Boat

We need eighteen Sherman to portray correctly the 741st and 743rd tank Battalion on Omaha Beach. Trusting the high casualty rate of all these machines on that day I only built up to now three Sherman DD full model and three other bottom flat models (in fact the the only difference between them is the absence of wheels) and one Dozer. More to come in the future I hope, in spite of that thing - the future, I mean - being a strange and uncertain matter.
The Sherman DD are conversion from the very old and relatively useless Atlantic soft plastic model. I built a new mantlet for the 75mm gun and the metal and canvas structures and vertical exhaust pipes were made out of plastic card and two component paste.
I chose to model the swimming models with the canvas down as if they are very close to shore but also because I may just add their wheels and tracks and turn them into full models.
The Sherman Dozer is a Britannia model .
Finally a Revell PT Torpedo Boat to protect the 'Mason Line' from the dangerous German S-Boats.
Next: WN 61.

quinta-feira, 17 de agosto de 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm D-Day 1944 - Omaha Beach (part 14) - WN 62

Well my friends this series is running quickly towars its end, maybe three or four posts more and all will be done. The good news for beach lovers is that I still have to show you my stuff for the British beaches.
 This post is about the famous strongpoint of the equally famous German soldiers Severloh and Gockel who behind a MG 42 and a Polish MMG  caused tremendous casualties on the Americans.
There were two such bunkers (only one operational) at WN 62 with Czech 7,62 cm guns but I obediently placed a French 75mm  FG inside according to Master Colin's orders.
Models? The usual Britannia MG42 and Irregular Miniatures gun and crew.
This Britannia OP bunker was my first for the Atlantic Wall and so it had to fit somewhere.  The original one on WN 62 was smaller but this one can also have the place for the Tobruk 50mm mortar.

The 50mm mortar is the usual Esci conversion.
The MG bunker was made out of an electricity junction box. Always check these kind of stuff as they can be useful even allowing roofs to be taken out.
Gockel used its Polish MMG under some logged construction. So I built with barbecue sticks this removable wood bunker. Only when ammunition was low the Germans started to use tracer bullets which showed the way to USN fire forcing these positions to be abandoned.
The view from the rear.
And from the top.  
Next: Sherman Dozer and Sherman DD's.

quarta-feira, 16 de agosto de 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm D-Day 1944 - Omaha Beach (part 13), German beach obstacles

These are the several types of the beach obstacles I made so far for Omaha Beach defences. The ones at the bottom of the picture  (obstruction beams/Hemmbalken) have no base as they are intended to stay inside water while all other are for the beach itself. Another exception without base is the top barbed wire type which was made to go along rough or sloping terrain.
I painted this type of barbed wire in metal colours but they could also be wood colour. This kind of barbed wire was intended for removal to allow passage for personnel and vehicles. They are made of plasticard beams and metal barbed wire from HO train accessories.   
The second type of barbed wire was fixed on the ground and also mined. Its made from pieces of cocktail sticks (you can buy it cheap on supermarkets or wait for the next barbecue to have 'veteran' ones).
 The anti-tank  Dragon's Teeth are resin Britannia pieces.

The Hedgehogs on top are Britannia and carry a mine on top (in fact salt water rendered these mostly inefective). The ones below are home made from HO train rails, in fact like the original thing.  
The Hemmbalken are coctail sticks again  like the Rommel Asparagus. I made the mines with pieces of rod suitably melted with a lighter until the desired shape is obtained.
The Tetrahedrons have the same objective as the Hedgehogs, that is to rip a hole in allied landing craft while closing to the shore. Its was mainly due to the number of beach obstacles that the allies waited for the low tide in order to expose them but at the same time increasing the depth of the beach to be crossed under fire. It was an option, none of them was perfect. 
Next: WN 62 of the famous Gockel and Severloh.

terça-feira, 15 de agosto de 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm D-Day 1944 - Omaha Beach (part 12), American Landing Craft.

Up to the moment this is the US landing Craft I have. In time things got a little out of hand with too many LCM's (cheap Airfix with a Sherman as bonus) and too few LCVP's. But as I'm also building the assault fleets for the British beaches I ended up by having too many LCA's which can be used instead of LCVP's (in fact the French Militaria Magazine No 107 places the full 1st battalion of the 116th Infantry Regiment being carried on LCA's at Omaha). The bigger LCI(L)'s and LCT's are just enough for the American scenarios both Omaha or Utah.
I also have three big LCT 4 and two LCI(S) but those are only for British scenarios.
The big LCI (L) are from Combat Models a vaccum formed kit company in the US.
These Combat Models are very big (80cm) and they come quite bare with only the main stuctures. All details have to be bought (resin and metal) from a parent company making these models very expensive.
So I scratch built most of the detail, casted the rubber life boats  from the Airfix Marines box and used Britannia models as crew and AA guns.
The  LCT 6 on the bottom left is a Britannia model and the one on top is a copy I made in plywood.
The models on the right are the LCT 5 and are also made in plywood. All of them have Britannia figures with a few converted figures here and there taken from Airfix or Hasegawa.
Unfortunately the LCT 6 was not in Normandy but probably this fact escaped the people from Britannia as they were doing mostly Normandy models.
When I bought it I still didn't know it but then it was too late...
These plywood models are not difficult as they have mostly straight lines and plywood is an obedient material when you need to bend it up to a certain extent like the bow of these Landing Craft.
The view from the stern of the LCT 5.
 Now for the smaller LC's. To the right there is a row of nine LCVP's: the first group of four are the chunky Britannia; the second group of four are from Frontline Wargaming with converted figures and MG's and the last one is an Airfix model slightly taller as its not a water line version.
Same story for the LCA's. The first three and the last one are Britannia and the four in the middle are Frontline Wargaming.
All these LCM's are Airfix. Some are painted US style, others British style. Some DUKW's are also scattered along the LCM's and LCT's.
Next: German beach obstacles, because an obstacle also has the right to live, or WN 62.

segunda-feira, 14 de agosto de 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm D-Day 1944 - Omaha Beach (part 11), WN 64 and WN 65

These two WN's controlled E1 entry and, maybe due to incomplete works and sheer distance to WN63, WN 64 became one of the 'soft spots' of German defences something the americans used to their advantage.
The 'uncovered' defences of  WN 65: a bunker with a Britannia 50mm gun; a 50mm mortar in Tobruk (Esci conversion) and a MG 42 from Britannia in another Bunker controlling the Access to E1.
Now the 'soft spot', WN 64. All its defences are on the open with the bunker to house the Russian 76,2mm gun still far from finished. I scratch built a Russian 76,2mm (SHQ crew) field gun instead of an Infantry Gun by mistake. I'll try to find the one from Zvezda in order to correct this mistake.
E1 entry. Here you can see the two types of barbed wire I used for this scenario. To the left you can place that one over rough terrain as it has no base. On the right, the barbed wire with sandy bases is better on the beach itself. On the center the Dragon's teeth are Britannia.
Next: as I don't want to have my pants on fire its time for the American Landing Craft.

domingo, 13 de agosto de 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm D-Day 1944 - Omaha Beach (part 10): British Hunt Class Destroyer

After building the 1/125th scale USN Destroyer from Lindberg I still was feeling that something was missing, that an intrusion happened and that I had to purge myself. It was not 20mm, the true wargaming size, the one with whom we were fed, taught and in one word (or two...), brought upon! Sorry to place tears in your eyes but I just had to say it!
Looking again to the juicy picture on p.32 of RF! D-day campaign guide I could only admire the great work that Richard Marsh made on the conversion of  the Revell Flower Corvette into a Destroyer. With my usual arrogance I thought 'I can do that' and so I bought another model of the Flower Corvette this time for conversion.
There were 13 Destroyers supporting the landings at Omaha beach, 3 of them British. This, and the idea of using a Hunt Class Destroyer in other scenarios, namely British D-Day landings, made me start the work.
Of course a Corvette could never become a Destroyer (a corvette is 60 meter long and the Hunt destroyer is 90 meter) but using the usual compression idea and Richard's example I had a go at it. Again large quantities of Evergreen Plasticard was used.
The main focus was the guns obviously for the fire support they could give. The QF 4 inch MkXVI guns were scratch built and the original figures adapted as gunners.
The control room, tower, funnel, Oerlikon AA's and many other had some parts from the original Corvette or were entirely used, something I did all along the conversion as a time saving measure. The big structures had to be made from the beginning as they are completely different.
The QF 2 pdr were also scratch built and figures from other sets like the Airfix LCM were adapted to the new task.
Another view of the big guns and a new castle for them.
These kind of conversions are for me the most gratifying aspect of our hobby as we keep in the end something that, in spite of its many mistakes, is unique.
From the following pictures you can see the transformation the Flower had.
 Lots of carving, cutting and breaking was necessary.
The stern had its outer wall completely taken out making the Destroyer thinner than the Corvette as you can see in the top Picture.
This picture gives the illusion that the Corvette is much bigger than the Destroyer. That is only so slightly because of the non-existant walls in the Destroyer's stern and also I cut the Hunt lower from bow to stern giving that illusion. Also the original Corvette  has plenty more details looking bigger that way: due to compression if you place all details the Destroyer had you would end up with a Destroyer looking like another Corvette!
Next: WN 64 and WN 65, now for sure.