Saturday, 16 November 2019

Rapid fire! France 1940 in 20mm - The Motorcycle Squadrons of the RDP of the DLM

In a recent comment in FB, Richard Baber referred to the high cost of the metal motorcycles of our beloved scale. I already have four of the SHQ French combos and yes, they are lovely but yes, they are expensive, around five or six pounds each. 

For some time I was thinking of a way to have between 12 and 16 more but the price (something like 100 pounds total PP included) kept me aside as I prefer to spend my money in vehicles. I kept this number in the dozen as some Simca cars will also be added probably EWM or MiniGeneral. 

Also an excellent FB post from Robert Rycharski showed how beautiful can be the Zvezda German Combo when turned into a French one as well as how some old Airfix Afrika Korps can be turned into very nice French Motorcyclists.

This is the way I did it. 
- After looking at numbers used I decided to make the Gnome et Rhône AX-2, one of the many models used in greater quantity.
- The one-piece Motorcycle with driver from the Airfix Forward Command Post was used as a start. GreenStuff was modelled for a longer coat, for the typical French ammo pouches, helmet and for the typical loose trousers of the motorcyclists.
- For the side-car I built one in EverGreen and GreenStuff and glued inside the torso of a Hat artilleryman with a few extra details like the goggles. 

- Some old resin wheels were used for the side-car.
- Some plastic and copper tubing for both the side-car and motorcycle and an extra rear seat for the motorcycle. 
-Here you can also see to the right one of the six (less than half of the French combos had them) FM29 LMG made from EverGreen plastic card and tubing. 

Later I found better to fill all holes with GreenStuff and to cut the right arm of the motorcyclist for better moulding (the right arm was made in GreenStuff and modelled in its place after the motorcycle came out of the mould). The head was also moved and now is looking forward for a more natural look.

Then both parts were pressed into BlueStuff moulding substance. After drying, GreenStuff was pressed into the Bluestuff and here you have them. 

After gluing the two parts and an extra rifle to the back of the driver everything was primed black.  I used a greenish paint as seen in many reenactment photos for the motorcyclists coat. 

The motorcycles were painted black as with the previous SHQ models. This colour was the pre-war scheme with green only showing up from late 1939 and in imported American models. 


For painting details I used this picture from GBM 127. 

Only strip-tease and Metallica are missing. If Metallica doesn't show up we don't mind having only strip-tease!

For the dismounted motorcyclists the new StreletsR WW1 French were used. The trousers were modelled accordingly as well as the helmet and goggles. Also the Lebel rifles were shortened for them to look as MAS36 rifles. The symbol of the mighty Sporting Clube de Portugal at the back of the picture can be seen and is the inspiration for all my work. This is why most probably Porto and Benfica fans can't reach this level of efficiency!!

The figures were painted in the same style as the seated ones.

The new StreletsR box comes very handy as you can convert them and make plenty of different units both from WW1 and WW2.

In this stand the FM29 was transformed from the original Chauchat.

Finally some Laffly V15T from MiniGeneral with EWM drivers were added to the EDAC of the DLM. 

Next: More Bussaco 1810 with Spencer Division. 


  1. superb mate, wonderful conversions

    1. Thanks Richard. You are right, its best to invest in vehicles😀

  2. Very creative conversions and a very nice looking unit as an end result.

  3. Thanks Peter. These kind of things are never 100% accurate but many times brands aren't also 😀.

  4. great work JP, lots of useful ideas

  5. Thanks Will. I also want to do the British big4 for the BEF too.

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks Borodino. I was tempted to use the same green you used on your EWM motorcycles. They are great!