Saturday, 9 May 2020

Rapid Fire! Desert War 1940-43 in 20mm - Early British armoured force

At an oasis near Ras-al-Brexit, in the middle of the Levant, an early British tank force with support group, prepares for the night after a hellish hot day (you will see it better if you inscrease the size of the picture). They are forming a laager to protect themselves from marauding Vichy French, Italians or eventual Germans who may arrive in the region at any time. And quite on time as a huge green tank approaches filled with menacing guns. To whom does it belong? Friend or foe? Is it the Carro Armato P26/40 that the spies of MI5 are talking about? Or maybe the German Neubaufahrzeug? Keep on reading to find out! 

All models are Minigeneral 3d prints. 

My third Guy ACV went for Early British and was painted in the Counter camouflage scheme. A few stowage parts were added as well as two torsos of Matchbox officers.

Two Vickers Mediums joined the forces. I painted them with the scheme used at Tobrouk in 1942, at least according to the Wardrawings website.

The last two Morris CS9 travelled to the desert and received the colours and camouflage of the famous 11th Lancers of the even more famous 7th Armoured Division. The crew is Airfix and PSC.

For the Counter camouflage I used a base of Vallejo Desert Yellow, Sage colour from Docraft and Vallejo German WW2 uniform. 

These Light Tanks Mk IIA received the colours of the one present at the Bovington Tank Museum. I added turret hand grips for the commanders as these little tanks could flip them easily

I use several of these figures for my British tankers. They are the Airfix driver you can find in the DUKW, Matador truck or Willys Jeep. By carefully placing some headphones made of heated styrene you get a nice tank commander. 

The last few Morris CS8 and Universal Carriers necessary to finish the transports of my 1st Motor Battalion in all flashy Counter Camouflage. 

The occupants are 1st edition Airfix for the driver and Revell for the back seater. This last figure is originally seated in a large piece of stowage eating its meal but here is in a much more military attitude holding his Boys AT rifle. 


Finally the mystery is unveiled: the approaching monster is the sole Independent A1E1 tank ever made. It escaped Bovington Museum, crossed the Channel, carved a path of destruction in the occupying German forces in France, swam all across the Mediterranean sea (where it may have sunk a German U-boat, but this information is unconfirmed) until joining its comrades-in-arms in the hot sands of the Levant. 

The only addition to this gift from Pedro Pato, besides figure and stowage, is the ladder that came from the Airfix Commando box.

I somehow managed to find a way to reduce the lines of the 3d prints. You can use your oldest acrylic paint, the one that is almost drying is the better, mix 50% of PVA glue, mix the paste (red paste in the picture) and let it dry to loose most of the water. Then apply over the areas with more printing lines.

When the lot was primed the results are visible. Still not perfect but most of the problem is solved. 

Next: British Infantry for the Desert 1940-43 or Hannibal's army,


  1. Very nice.

    Re. the MkII light tanks - (i've been researching the East Sfrica campaign for the last year or so) there were no Australians in East Africa (if you ignore a handful of partisans in Force 101), and no MkII tanks - you are probably confusing those with the 12 MkIII tanks that the South Africans used in East Africa. Those were shipped down from Egypt in 1940, and all the photos i have seen suggest a monotone (sand) colour - if you have any photos that suggest a camo schema i'd be delighted to see them.

  2. Thanks for the comments. Its good to find someone who knows about this specific business as I'm no expert. I took the information of its usage by Australians from the Online Tank-Encyclopedia. They show a MarkIIa with green stripes and say "probably used by Australians"

    I changed the colour to brown to be similar to the MarkIIa at the bovington museum. I was tempted to say "South africans" in the post as they used both IIAs and MarkIII in the Abyssinian campaign of 1940 at least accordingly to Chamberlain's book British And american tanks of WW2.

  3. Very nice job, great pictures and diorama

  4. Well done Joao. Your ability to think of solutions is remarkable. You have some very original pieces there. I particularly like the Morris CS8 trucks and the Morris CS9 armoured cars. Great job.

  5. Thanks SRD. I live in a country and a town with little connections to wargaming so you have to use your imagination or wait for the mail for a lot of time and screw plenty of money. Then when the mail arrives you are already into something else and the stash keeps on growing.