Thursday, 15 April 2021

Rapid Fire! NW Europe 1944-45 in 20mm - M32 ARVs for the US Tank battalions



Some badly needed ARVs arrive to the shelves of the US Armoured Regiment. With luck no more bogging down in the (Richard) marshes of the Cotentin. 


The models are MiniGeneral 3d PLA prints. The models are simple and very well designed but lack all the details that made this vehicle win plenty of Modelling contests with 1/35th scale models. No problem though as the extra details are easy to make. 

After washing and carving out some excess plastic I tried something new in order to erase the few printing lines visible: before gluing any extras, two coats of varnish were applied and the problem was solved. The varnish covers most of the lines and this solution is much better than all the pastes I´ve tried. Besides now, and thanks to the varnish, the superglue that attaches all details has a firm substance to hold and stay. 


Then all the extras were glued and the vehicles gained the look of ARV vehicles, crammed with tools and all the objects we see when we take the car to the auto repair shop. 


I caught some nice photos on the web of a M32 with a Ben-Hur trailer and used one from Airfix.



The additions were: 
- a 81mm mortar, used mostly to lay smoke
- different types of wheels and extra tracks
- bags and chains
- a second repair arm you can see here folded on the left side of the vehicle
- antenna, turret light and crewmen from PSC, Esci and Fujimi. 


Another view of other extra details which are fun to improvise and are always historically accurate :)


 In the future another group like this one will be added to the British Tank Regiments of my Sherman division.

Next: Maybe a group of BT-7 for early war Russians.  

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Rapid Fire! Late War eastern Front in 20mm - Shermans and limbers for Seelow Heights.

Germany, mid April 1945 ( I like these dramatic and apparently serious entries). After leaving Kustrin, the "Emchas" (Russian for M4) of the Soviet 1st Mechanized Corps enter the small village of Michael Ballack and head for the Seelow Heights, the last big obstacle before getting to the final prize of the war, Berlin. 


With this post I finish all necessary models, Soviet and German, that are necessary to play any of the Steve Shann's Seelow Heights scenarios. This build started years before the book's release but the fine work of Steve Shaan speeded the project. Completing all models for a certain period is always a bit nostalgic for me as I enjoy a lot making big units that can illustrate what I read about military history. But, well, this will happen hopefully with most of my modelling periods. As the same thing is happening with a number of different projects, WW2 and others, I'm really considering to start playing some solo games, as many of us are doing during these confinement days. Besides my hands need a bit of rest in order to avoid more physiotherapy like the one I had to do last year due to a guy called Quervain who made up this syndrome. 

The models above are once more fantastic resin prints from my friend Mário Laranja (aka Super Mario). Both the Shermans and the limbers were made on my request while the soft-skinned vehicles are his own 28mm resized into 1/72nd scale. 

From left to right, the Gaz M1 "Emka", the Gaz M415 and the Gaz 67, all one-piece prints. 

The "Emkas" and the Gaz 67 will be used by the command of infantry units while the Gaz M415 will tow 45mm guns or carry 120mm mortars in the mechanized units.


The limbers are once again one-piece printed beauties filled with detail. 


The railing is a clear demonstration of the quality of these models. Years ago I scratchbuilt  a number of them to tow the guns of a LFD in Normandy but these are incomparably better.


The horses came from several plastic brands and different periods. These ones are Italeri Napoleonic and the figures are Esci and Revell Cossacks with new heads. 


For the other five limbers I used 30YW and  7YW Revell artillery horses. The Soviet harness for these horses was a bit more simple in WW2 but even so I think these play well its part. The horsemen are Atlantic and Esci torsos with GreenStuff arms and legs. In the end I always glue the boots to the legs while the GreenStuff is still soft. 


For the harness electric wire and Evergreen plastic tubing was used. 


The lot ready to tow the 45mm guns and the 76,2mm IG. 


Another look at some of the limbers. Rifles were glued to the back of the cavalrymen and some arms holding the PPSH were left without cutting as you can see in the rider to the font right. 


The painted stand with the Napoleonic horses. 


Now for the Shermans. They are the M4A2(W) with 76mm gun. Half of them were printed with the commander's hatch open. 



The headlight are printed with all the rest and caused Mário some headaches on its design but lots of joy to me when I saw them, clearly compensating my friend's hard work. 


The model has 3 parts, hull and tracks, turret and Browning 12,7mm Mg. 


The work of a Lusitanian artist! 


Tracks and inner wheels were not forgotten. 

By looking at the o5m6 blog I understood what for are the small handlings in the back of the T23 turret. They were designed to carry the dismounted turret Browning and I built some half a dozen Revell Sherman M4A1 76mm for my US tank force without realizing that. 

More Orion modern tank men were used as tank commanders.

Before the arrival of this last parcel from my friend I toyed with a conversion for a M4A2 you can see to the right compared to a resin printed version on the left. I followed Master Richard orders on the Bavarian Blue book on how to make one by mating the old Hasegawa and Esci kits. 


The hull and turret are Hasegawa and the wheels are from an Esci M-12 given to me by JF or JMM, my wargaming friends from Porto.


I kept the tracks of the Hasegawa models as they are wider and pretend to look  like the "duckbill" end connectors.


A new loader's hatch was made and the Mg placed a bit higher. 


All side mudguards were carved out and sanded. I kept the gun barrel muffler on this one as it was also used by the Soviets. 


The full fleet of Soviet M4A2 76mm. Only 8 are necessary for the scenario that uses the biggest number of them (Bottleneck at Herzhorn, 19 April), the 9th being the plastic conversion that I couldn't resist on doing. Of course plenty other actions were fought with this model of the Sherman and that includes against Japan in August 1945. 


The lower engine hatch is also there as well as all possible details. 


How these things are printed to such a detail I have no idea. But really I don't care :) 


Only additions are the obvious antenna and some rear stowage, something that the Soviets don't seem to have used to a big extent on its Shermans, and generally on its tanks. One interesting fact about the turret Mgs is that it looks that one of the two batches of M4A2 76mm Lend-lease didn´t carry them. This and many other interesting facts can be read in this very good article which includes an interview with Dmitryi Loza, hero of USSR and officer of "Emchas".  

http://www.theshermantank.com/lee-and-grant-tanks/soviet-shermans-the-soviet-union-used-and-liked-the-sherman/

Next: probably some M32 recovery vehicles for the US Late War tanks. 

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Fire&Fury ACW using Epic miniatures for the Western battles (part 4) - Last McLernand Brigades and a few extras for Shiloh



The Shiloh project continues with two more Union brigades, General Grant stand, one more artillery battery and the Indian Mounds. At the moment I managed to finish five Fire&Fury brigades total both Union and Confederate, which used five of the free sprues from the WI magazine. The starter set was open and the resin Meade was turned into Grant but more on that later. 


The commander of this regiment had his arm repositioned for more variety and longer shafts were inserted after drilling in the hands of the flag-bearers for the bigger 15mm Revo flags. 


Marsh and Raith's Brigades, respectively 8 and 10 stands for F&F. 


The gun barrel was also drilled and the crew and wheels switched sides. For that the metal ends of the wheels axis were cut and glued on the insertion hole. Like this the guns looks different when placed side by side with an original one.


In order to make this stand for general Grant, the Meade figure from the starter set was used. For that the bold head of Meade was scalped and replaced by a slouch hat and a waiting artilleryman had the bold head of Meade glued. General Grant was more known for its civilian cut uniform but at least at Shiloh it seems he used the more conventional uniform.


Another view of the man himself.


The flag-bearer with the army pennant is another conversion. I´ve been reading about both Kallistra and Peter Pig having 15mm ACW ranges that are close to the 13,5mm size of the Epic miniatures. But taking advantage of an order for 20mm vehicles from Lancer I also ordered some packs of 10mm command and cavalry ACW figures after looking at their site. The bodies of the cavalrymen looked quite compatible with the Epic range while the horses were on the small size, which was expectable. Like this I glued the torso of this flag-bearer to the horse of a 15mm Irregular Miniatures WW1 French cavalryman which are quite similar in size to the Epic ones. I'm thinking about the same procedure for more figures in command stands namely officers and cornets as nowadays ordering from England is troublesome to say the least. 


I found this smallhill top in a local pet shop in the aquarium section.


Somehow it looks like the Indian Mounds of Shiloh that can be found in the northeast part of the battlefield close to the Tennessee river.

Next: The "Colonial Shermans" for Seelow Heights 1945.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Rapid Fire! Eastern Front in 20mm - Operation Barbarossa and beyond - One more group of early Russian armour and artillery

 


21st June, 1941. In Soviet occupied Poland at a place called Zbigniew Boniek Wiatrak (wiatrak means windmill) a large mixed group of artillery and tanks receives orders to prepare for  engaging a possible threat coming from German occupied Poland. 

All vehicles are MiniGeneral 3d prints and the 203mm B4 artillery pieces are Altaya diecasts. 



The MiniGeneral Voroshilovets got a canvas cover made of BlueBoard and small paper windows. 


The Altaya B4 howitzers were repainted to conform with the Voroshilovets tractors. The crew is mostly Italeri with a few Esci and Revell. 


Officer - Comrade girl! Can you please take your (beautiful by the way) ass out of here! And take  your Call Center with you! We need to deploy our guns here! - He said in a very angry tone. 

Radio girl - Wait a moment Comrade. I'm finishing my conversation with Comrade Stalin...

Officer - Suuuure... Comrade supreme.... I'll bring you a chair!


You need a battery of two of these guns at Corps level. I already have two from Irregular Miniatures but like this I can use this new battery for the second Corps of my Kursk OB. 



One of the T-34/40 got a crewman (Orion modern Russian Federal forces box), a radio antenna and a new turret hatch. All of them got the side boxes seen many times in the early versions of the T-34. 



The Orion figure is particularly good for the open hatch of the T-34. Originally he is pouring a drink from a glass but here he became intolerant to Vodka. Some of these PLA models have very distinctive printing lines and some Vallejo putty had to be placed and then sanded in order to hide them. 



The T-34/40 group with their distinctive low velocity L-11 76,2mm guns. The first group of six  T-34/40 I made years ago were conversions from the Matchbox model. This group's camouflage is in conformity with that older group. 



I added a second T-28 model 1934 to the collection and made this one a command version by adding a leftover antenna from a Diecast T-26, another Orion figure and an open hatch. 



The camouflage is close to another BPM model I have of the T-28 model 1934. The number 69 was added simply because the tank commander was in love, so I was told. 




The other two T-28s are the rare 1940 model of which only some 12 were made. 




I remember once reading an article in an old Military Modelling magazine about making a T-60 from plastic card. Never had the courage to do it! 



A sole T-38 with 20mm gun came as a gift from Pedro Pato, the MiniGeneral CEO (also designer, printer, seller, advertiser, etc). MiniGeneral has enough employees so no recruiting is necessary :)



Finally my first few BT-5 were added to the Barbarossa models. This group was very close to be transferred to the SCW as it was this exact model the most used by the Republicans. 


Present in most of today's pictures is this nice vac-formed Polish windmill from Remi which I found in the middle of some boxes and that was produced in the early nineties. Its an easy build and a most needed one as I have very few structures for the Eastern Front. 

Next: France 1940, Arnhem 44 or Epic ACW.