Sunday, 17 October 2021

Will McNally's Rules - AWI and the battle of Brandywine 1777 in 20mm (part 33) - Sir John Vaughn´s Brigade

Brandywine's British army is closing completion with this last brigade of infantry. Now, only 5 guns, a few command bases and the two stands of Ferguson´s rifles are missing which is something I hope to have finished in the next post. Then of course still plenty of American brigades, mainly Militia, have to be built and painted and that will take much more time and probably a skip to other periods in between.

Vaughn's Brigade had three regiments of Infantry ( 4th, 28th and 49th foot) and one of Fusiliers (23rd foot). The Fusiliers are Airfix from the Grenadier box but the rest of the infantry is a mix of the usual Accurate and Revell but introducing the lovely PSC designed miniatures of the Hold the Line French and Indian Wars expansion set. 

The Hold the Line mounted officer is a one piece gem and it really plays the part of a British gentleman on horse. In fact the figure comes in white plastic and, as all in this post, is intended to be a game piece for the French but all bicorne figures in all sets of Hold the Line can be used in any army.  I really pity not being able to get the initial game as it brings 200 figures in different poses compared to this expansion set which carries half of that number.

I placed Hold the line infantry in the front rank of all the three infantry regiment. They are true 1/72 figures and the same height as the Accurate/Revell figures even if a bit more beefed up. The bases are too big so I cut them for three figures to fit in line. 

All blurry flag bearers are also Hold the Line figures. By 1777 the 23rd had already stored the bearskins with which they arrived to the American colonies but that headdress makes them distinguishable.  

The brigade's artillery is a mix pot. The limber's horse and driver is 7YW Revell with a scratch built carriage on Napoleonic wheels, the gun is Hold the Line and the crew is Italeri, Airfix and Accurate. 

Next: the last few stands for the British at Brandywine 1777.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - The Pioneers of the DLM

 Exiting the village of Didier Deschamps, reconnaissance and pioneers of a DLM advance under the protection of a battery of 155mm guns. 

The DLM was the only French big unit type that had three Pioneer companies, with all other types of units having only one or two. Each company was very big with around 200 men each with small differences in number depending on the type of unit. These figures are Simon Soldiers and portray the pioneers carrying mines, shovels and wire. A few figures have the FM 24/29 LMG instead of the more common and older Chauchat distributed among the pioneers. I tried to convert some Revell Chauchat firers but was out of metal heads and these had to do (Revell heads are too small in the WW1 French set comparing with these metal ones). 

The figures are beautifully detailed and the pioneer equipment is all there with anti-personnel and light AT mines, wire laying devices, shovels, etc. 

And here some close-ups to see the great level of detail of these figures. The second figure from the right carries the AT mine modéle 36. 

These Schneider 155mm C guns are MiniGeneral 3d prints with Simon Soldiers and Irregular Miniatures crews. This battery was still missing  as I built some time ago the same guns (Ace models) but with spoked wheels and thus proper for the DI. 

These three motards are SHQ with the discarded side-car. They will be used for liaison and command. 

Finally two offers small but beautiful Simca Cinq from Mário Laranja resin printer. 

Next: more Brandywine 1777. 

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Will McNally's Rules - AWI and the battle of Brandywine 1777 in 20mm (part 32) - The 71st Highland regiment

The 71st Highland Regiment was present at Brandywine with three battalions totaling around 1200 men. It was thus the biggest regiment at the battle and it was kept as the reserve of Knyphausen Division and as train guards. 

The figures are in fact plastic game pieces in 1/72nd scale from the Hold The Line boardgame by Worthington Publishing and PSC. I lost my mojo for AWI a bit before the release of the original game with had some 200 beautiful figures inside. Later when the mojo came back I could only find in PSC the separate bags of  Scots and Hessians. Now finding Hold the Line figures after all this "post July" s##### is very difficult which is really a pity as they are really great. 

As you can see they go very well along Esci and Airfix pipers and they could go even better if  instead of clipping the base I had just cut a part of it. The figures were glued with hot glue and then with cheap super glue. The bond made by the two materials is extremely strong. 

All the figures are the same but with the colorful uniforms of the Scots the single pose gets lots of life. 

Most of them got red hair, of course! And they should have white trousers by the time of Brandywine but they also look much more Scottish like this. 

Two other poses were made from the original: officers and the flag bearers, using Greenstuff for new arms.

These three command stands are the ones with pipers and changed poses. I used wire for the first time for the arms of the officers waving the claymore sword which made some of them too long. Then laziness prevented me from changing them.

Next: France 1940.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Rapid Fire! NW Europe 1944-45 in 20mm - US Airborne and ground reinforcements.

The command group of Combat Command X of an US Armored Division meets in the middle of the Norman bocage. Fearful of a German incursion, the commander request all possible protection from the vicinity and so some Airborne 57mm AT guns and M8 HMCs shows up and make an impregnable ring of steel around him... What a bull###t story! Sorry, but nothing else came to my mind as an introduction.  

This time some additions to the US Armored Division and the Airborne Division. With the Dodge WC53 Carryall and the M8s HMC the Armored division is now complete and the Screaming Eagles finally got some AT protection and tows for the 105mm guns. 

The Carryall is a Matchbox die-cast model I found last month in a second hand toy fair. It looks to be in a smaller scale than the usual 1/64 of many die-cast cars and probably suits our 20mm size pretty well. New plastic wheels from Atlantic, antenna and covered engine (white paste) was added and it looks OK. 

And here it is together with some old metal US command figures, presumably SHQ, given by my friend Jorge Faria.  

The M8s are RTR and will be sent to the three mechanized infantry battalions and their assault gun platoons. The figures are Irregular Miniatures cut by the waist. I chose helmeted figures as for open topped vehicles.

The tiny M8 HMC become very colorful with plenty of markings. 

Half of the  US 57mm AT guns are PSC conversions (muzzle break erased, right side of front protection cut and shortened legs). The artillery men are converted Revell and SHQ figures ( these last ones with EverGreen first aid pads and pockets in the trousers). 

To the left you can see two SHQ 57mm guns and the two PSC to the left. 

Finally the Jeep tandem tows for the 105mm M1 guns were painted, as I had them built for years. The Jeeps are Frontline Wargaming attached to each other with the typical  'A' structure made of plastic card. The drivers are the usual plastic torsos with Milliput arms. To driver to the left is an old Airfix figure driving with his left hand and holding the Thompson with the right hand in a typical Cowboy style. 

Next: French 1940 or Brandywine 1777. 

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Rapid Fire! Western Desert 1940-43 in 20mm - Rehearsal for another of Benito´s anniversary


This time out of Benghazi, at Ras-al-Sand-Green-Board, the Italian troops that will parade on the 29th of July are rehearsing their task far from the eyes of spectators...and spies. The black line dividing the two boards is obviously an irrigation ditch (eh,eh). 

When building and painting Desert Italians I try do as many as I can at the same time in order to catch some other armies that are far more numerous in the collection. This time two infantry battalions got a second life with some repainting (they were already painted for years and inside some old boxes but with the uniform color painted both on the helmet and puttees which was wrong) and the addition of the support weapons. Also some artillery and a few more tanks were added. Like this the Ariete division is not far from concluded. 

The second battalion of the tank Regiment is done with the third starting with the two models from the far left. The models are 3d PLA prints from MiniGeneral and Italeri double kits. 

The crew figures came from MBM Netherlands and very pretty they are. 

The MiniGeneral model is a late M13/40 as you can see from the cut down mudguards.

Generally I don´t bother opening the hatchesIn order to place figures. Simply new doors were made from plastic sheet and the figure was cut down to size. 

The M13-40 from Italeri is in fact a M14-41 as it has the perpendicular bars in the engine grill and the mud cleaner on the drive sprocket. With two antennas it becomes the Centro Radio variant used by command tanks.

These Fiat Dovunque 35 SP´s are MiniGeneral and all will go to the Bersaglieri regiment. The two to the left have Waterloo1815 47mm Elefantino guns from the Folgore artillery box. The ones to the right are original models with the Breda 20mm AA gun. 

The crews of the Elefantinos are converted French from Hat with Revell US Marine heads and GreenStuff for the plumes. The ammo box in the back of the figures was erased or  heated for it to look like a water canteen.

The Breda AA guns have firers converted from a number of parts until they sit properly (with the help of my trusty lighter). The ammunition supplier is a Waterloo1815 conversion and the driver is MBM. 

The 100/17 guns (ex Austrian from WW1) are Hat and they are an important asset of the infantry division. 

I tried to make new rubber wheels for them but left the idea very early due to its complexity. Besides these old wheels were also used and transported with the help of the Carellos Elasticos. 

Here you can see the variety of figures used to crew the 100mm guns: Esci, Hat and even some Japanese Atlantic legs on the top right Esci figure which also got a Waterloo1815 Carcano rifle. These 100mm gun stands are two sheets of cardboard glued together with PVA as I was lazy to cut them from wood. In the end I spread cheap super glue all over to give the base extra resistance, the trick Mário Laranja used in its Carentan houses. 

The second 149mm gun was added to the Corps Heavy Artillery Group.

The model is Italeri and probably ranks among the simplest models ever to be placed inside a box with the gun having just nine parts. The figures are outstanding and you can have plenty of extras from the three Italian artillery boxes made by Italeri (this one, the 90mm gun and the 3RO SP). 

An example of what you can do with the Italeri extras are command groups like this one. The Radio is a scratch built RF3C model. 

A piece of 3mm hard stryrene was used for the bulk of the radio and a piece of plastic broom bristle was folded for the antenna. 

The riflemen of the two infantry battalions were painted for years and stored in boxes. This time Grey Green was painted in puttees and helmets. A few helmets also got some ochre. All other support weapons and groups were made in the last few days as you can see from the different color of the uniform. I settled with Vallejo Desert Yellow for Italian uniforms and Citadel Balor Brown for vehicles. 

The Elefantino guns are Waterloo1815 with converted Esci Alpini and officer from the gun box with trimmed trousers in order to look like infantry boots (originally this figure had paratrooper´s trousers).

The RF1 man-pack radio in a command stand of a battalion. The radioman is Esci and the officer is Waterloo1815.

The 45mm Brixia mortar is a contraption made of multiple plastic parts with converted Esci figures. 

My Bersaglieri battalions already have the Breda as MMG so I scratch-built these old Fiat-Revelli  MMG´s from the Revell WW1 Germans also using the figures from this set. 

The Solothurn 20mm AT rifle was also made from various bits of plastic. 

The Ariete is almost finished but still missing are some 8 M13-40, heavy prime movers for the 149mm guns, 3 ton Fiats and the 508 'Coloniales' which means  that this division still needs a few posts to be finished. 

Next: a few US additions for Europe 43/45. 

Monday, 30 August 2021

Rapid Fire! Sicily 1943 in 20mm - The last parts of the LPD Herman Göring


On the heights of Gela, right on top of the twin mountains of Monica Belluchi, the II and III artillery battalions of the LFD Herman Göring artillery regiment prepare to support the attack of the mobile forces. Also close by some IG75mm lend some hitting power to the attack.  

What was still missing in this division were a pair of Marder II, one to each of the infantry regiments; four IG75, one to each of the three infantry battalions and one to the reconnaissance battalion; one infantry battalions and two battalions of 15cm sFH18  (maybe still needing a pair of them in the future). 

The Marder II (PzII chassis) were part of the AT assets of both PzGrenadier regiments. These models are MiniGeneral 3d PLA prints. 

The crew came from PSC, Simon Soldiers and Esci.

Plenty of stowage had to be added as these MiniGeneral prints are already a bit old and the printing lines are visible even after spraying several coats of varnish. But dimensions are very good and a nice result can be achieved with some patience. 

Now for the First To Fight 15cm sFH 18. They are the horse towed version (the only ones FtF released up to now) and some work had to be dedicated to turn it into the Hanomag towed version. That passed into filling with Milliput the holes of the wheels with that were drilled after drying.

Then some cut out pieces of Evergreen plastic card were rolled around each wheel for it to look like a rubber tire. 

In the end the result is ok (ok if you discount the fact that the vehicle towed wheels only had 8 holes instead of 9, but that is a secret between you and me). 

The artillery crews are also FtF with a few converted Esci in the middle. All of them had baggier trousers added with GreenStuff. 

The IG18s are MiniGeneral with FtF, PSC and Hasegawa crews. 

Both crews of the 15cm sFH and 75mm IG18 have painting schemes (no SS camouflaged smocks) that allows them to blend with the Afrika Korps as all these models were still absent in the mighty DAK. They have some particular insignia of the HG division as the cuff titles but they are too small to be seen from 1 meter distance. 

The infantry is coming from all sorts of plastic brands as usual - Airfix, Esci, Atlantic, Revell, Matchbox, FtF -  and all of them got baggier trousers with the help of GreenStuff. 

The Esci MG34 firers got a bipod for them to rest their tired arms. They were in this position for 30 years or so which must have not been easy!

An HG infantry company with many brands mixed in. 

The heavy weapons company is a full FtF company with a few Revell and Esci figures in the MG34 stands. 

The radio man is a conversion from the tripod MG34 firer of the DAK Revell. 

Also the officer is the famous Airfix DAK officer with legs from Revell. 

A few more stands for the engineers of the HG. Airfix and Esci figures. 

Like this I can consider the Luftwaffe Panzer Division Herman Göring for Sicily complete. In the last few months I added the PzIII M, infantry, some missing Stug, Marder II and artillery to a list of vehicles that were not collected thinking of this big unit particularly, like Pz IV Gs, 251Cs, 105 lFH, etc that will have to fit in order not to make another long list of models just because of minor details. 
What I think is essential to portray the LFD HG is the PzGrenadier infantry, due to their SS smocks mixed with other desert pieces of uniform and equipment and the battalion of PzIII M, due to the absent chassis skirts. All the rest can be and will be recruited from other fronts, namely the Western Desert and even Normandy, which is the place from where my PzIVs, Hanomags, Opel Blitz and Bisons will come just to name a few.  

Next: probably more Italians for the desert.