sábado, 12 de janeiro de 2019

Rapid Fire! French 1940 in 20mm - The figures of the Dragons Portés of the 5e DLC (Part 2)

The 15e RDP chooses a crossroads in an Ardennes forest to try to slow down the invading Germans. 

The Regiment figures are finished. The EWM and Caesar figures mix very well after painting. Of course the bodies and helmets are a bit larger  in EWM but not everybody eats the same amount of food. 

The rifle squadron of each battalions has 11 figures as Messieurs Colin and Richard say, seven from Caesar with the vareuse or the  converted Capotes and three EWM in the MMG. 

The support squadrons are the opposite with more EWM than Caesar figures. The Dragons Portés MMGs are a total of six for the two battalions. Not bad as it has to compensate the lack of riflemen in the regiment. 

The command squadrons are a mix of the two brands plus an ESCI figure with the 60mm mortar coming from the US range of SHQ. 

The work with the two component paste on the Capotes can be seen here. After painting the result is reasonable and they look like cavalry dress. 

Next: Maybe the last cavalry regiment for this division, the 12e Chasseurs, or some Iranian armour for the 1980-88 conflict. 

quarta-feira, 9 de janeiro de 2019

Rapid Fire! French 1940 in 20mm - The figures of the Dragons Portés of the 5e DLC (Part 1)

This group of 50 figures represents the full 15e RDP of the 5e DLC as each of its battalions only has one rifle squadron the rest being command and support squadrons. I used Caesar plastic figures and EWM metal for this unit. 

The Caesar set has beautifully crafted figures but no HMG/MMG of grenade launcher. I used the marching figure for the grenade launcher. The idea was to have the grenadier with its weapon visible, on the other hand a marching figure in the middle of action figures is not a very clever idea...

These Dragoons have the cavalry uniform so the Vareuse is Ok but the Capote of the original Caesar figures have its buttons fastened on the back in infantry style. I used two component paste to make the cavalry Capote front details and cut the folded part on the back with a X-Acto. 

The same for the officer. Even for infantry the original Caesar officer has the Capote fastened which was not the way for any officer to use it. Taking out that small detail and the lack of some weapons the Caesar figures are great. 

The radio man is the standing casually figure with a scratch built (sort of) French ER40A radio on its back. 

For the Brandt 81mm mortars I used the Esci figure with bipod from Atlantic and cut in some extra details. The other figures are Caesar. The figure on the left had its rifle taken out and placed on its back.

The 8mm Hotchkiss MMG are all EWM and the same trick on the Capote was used to turn these figures into Dragons Portés. 

Next: Most probably these figures already painted. 

terça-feira, 8 de janeiro de 2019

Rapid Fire!/Able Archer, the Gulf War in 20mm - The Iraqi 5th Mechanized Division Mohammed Ibn Al-Kasim (Part 6) - Iraqi III Corps support for both 5th MD and 3rd AD

Normally an Iraqi Corps artillery brigade has three battalions of towed guns. In Able Archer rules the 18 tubes of a battalion can be represented by 3/4 models (one represents five) so you have here a total of six battalions as the III Corps received extra battalions to support the Khafji operations. 

These are 85mm AA guns from Irregular Miniatures with metal Skytrex and Airfix converted gunners. 

These BM-21 Grad are Modelism kits and are a very accurate depiction of the real thing. 

The 152mm D-1s guns and crew are Irregular Miniatures. 

The 152mm D-20s are also Irregular Miniatures. 

These 122mm D-30s guns and crews are Skytrex. 

The 152mm M43/37 and crews are Irregular Miniatures and have shields and gun suspensions made in plastic. 

The 85mm AT gun D-44 and crew are more Irregular Miniatures. 

The closest PT-76 is a repainted Altaya and the other one is Skytrex both for a Corps reconnaissance unit.

This is the last big post on the subject as the material of the Iraqi Army is somehow covered. 

What do I have for the Iraqi RF!/Able Archer:
- the 3rd Saladin Armoured  Division;
- the 5th Mohammed Al-Kasim Mechanized Division.
- the Corps support. 

What can be done with all this:
- Any Iraqi Republican Guard unit due to the big number of T-72 and BMP-1 present in the 3rd AD.
- Any Iraqi unit equipped with T-62 due to their numbers also in the 3rd AD.
- Any Iraqi unit equipped with T-55/59/69 due to their numbers of the 5th MD.
- Any Iraqi Infantry unit due to the numbers of BTR-60 and OT-64 in both 20th Infantry Brigade and 5th MD.

What is still missing:
- Straight Flush control and radar vehicles for the SAM-6  batteries (I'll go BPM for these).
- Three more K-63 for the missing battalion of the 5th MD (probably S&S models).
- Command BTR-50PU for the Recce battalion of the 5th MD (one ACE model on the table but not a big will to build it).
- Towing trucks for the Corps artillery (not easy these ones).
- A few BMP-2 for the Republican Guard as I only have one and also a few AMX 10P for the same units (probably BPM)
- Two more infantry battalions (have five for the 3rd Saladin but need a total of seven for the 5th MD; need to find Arab modern Infantry, hoping to be Caesar).
- A few Mig-21/23/27/29 plastic kits boxed/semi-built, Die-cast on the shelves to be finished or repainted. 

Next: The painted infantry of the 15e RDP 1940.

segunda-feira, 7 de janeiro de 2019

Rapid Fire!/Able Archer, the Gulf War in 20mm - Marines reinforcements for Khafji

With the last flow of material to the Iraqi Army we could still think that Saddam could win the 1991 war. In order to balance that I needed to get some reinforcements for my Marines in the Khafji sector. The issue was simple as all these five models  are Die-cast (Altaya and Armour) and just needed a few brush strokes.  

This is the Altaya LAV-25. It was necessary a full repaint as it carried the ETO colour scheme. 

Much better than the Altaya version you can see on the right the Armour model. Not only its much more detailed as it carries the turret MG. The usual stowage treatment and basing was applied and the Marines have some transport. In the future I'll go for the BPM range of LAV-25 which already covers all variants for the 1991 Gulf War. 

Finally another Altaya Cobra AH-1S joins the Marines. 

Next: Wether the infantry for the French 1940 15e RDP or the Iraqi assets from the III Corps. 

domingo, 6 de janeiro de 2019

Rapid Fire!/ Able Archer, The Gulf War in 20mm - The Iraqi 5th Mechanized Division Mohammed Ibn Al-Kasim (Part 5) - The attached 20th Infantry Brigade

The 5th Iraqi MD had an attached unit, the 20th Infantry Brigade, for its operations around Khafji. Sometimes this brigade shows in some sources to be a Mechanized unit but there is very little information on this one to be sure. I bet more on being a purely infantry unit as the 5th MD already had seven battalions of mechanized infantry and simple infantry seems more natural to be attached in order to have the departing lines for the Khafji operations protected and to occupy the territory that was to be (briefly) conquered. Everything about this unit in these photos is purely speculative and based simply on the material and vehicles that normally are present in an Iraqi Infantry Brigade of the 80's or 90's. 

I used nine BTR-60PB for the transport of the three battalions. Six are metal Skytrex (left, on the picture) and three are Altaya (right). The Altaya model is much more accurate as its a recent model  but the overall dimensions of the two are pretty similar. 

I was too lazy to convert the BTR-60 to the R-137/140 command-staff vehicles that the Iraqi also had so I used three BTR-152 I had at hand. 
This one is from BPM. The printing lines shows on the top part close to the HMG but the rest is fairly Ok. 

This one is ICM with Hasegawa crew. 

This Zil-157 is also from ICM. I just added a scratch built Zu 23-2 for this unit to have some AA protection. 

A better shot of the scratch built Zu 23-2 with Atlantic crew. I used green camouflage in this brigade as many Iraqi vehicles still had this scheme in 1991 left from the Iran-Iraq war.

Next: Gulf War US Marines reinforcements. 

quarta-feira, 2 de janeiro de 2019

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - French Army Command office

One of the problems of building a French army for 1940 in 20mm is the lack of command vehicles. The last issue of GBM  magazine (HS7) brings a probable sugestion in the form of the Remorque-Bureau (Trailer Office). Apparently the French, and probably other pre-WW2 armies,  used these wheeled cabins as offices. A towing vehicle is also necessary but I have no idea as to which model would pull these ones. 

This trailer is made from the leftover cabin of my Polish Smialy armoured train. 

The windows are painted card and the sentinel is a Caesar figure. The wheels are extras from the WWI Airfix Mk1 tank (rudder parts). 

The flag is a Napoleonic 1812-15 flag but if you fold it enough the inscription in it will not be readable and it can pass as a ceremonial French flag of 1940.

This was the toy I used for this trailer. Lots of cutting and breaking was necessary to make it acceptable. As you can see I quit taking out the glued paper and after finishing the conversion I just applied GamesWorkshop primer and it worked OK. 

And this is the picture of the original Trailer Office. 

This funny vehicle dates from the mid-20s and may even have seen service in WWI so probably it didn't get to May 1940. But I like to think that this one did. 

Next: More Iraqi 5th MD and III Corps assets or the figures of the Dragons Portés for the 15e RDP.

terça-feira, 1 de janeiro de 2019

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - The transport vehicles of the Dragons Portés of the 5e DLC (Part 2)

The two battalions of Chasseurs Portés of the 15e RDP (5e DLC) pass in the hamlet of Deux Maisons with orders to delay the German advance in the Ardennes. 

The P-19's of the support company of the first battalion include in the center a Portee 25mm that didn't exist in the 5e DLC but that in this form is absolutely irresistible. To the left the EWM P-19 mortar version had the boxes behind the driver unified with two component paste and some door handlers glued on their side. The P-19 MG version on the right had the boxes dealt on the same way. 

The standard P-19's for the Fusiliers were built with no changes. 

The Command version had two extra EWM figures on the back, one manning a radio and the other holding the FM mle 24, and an Irregular Miniatures officer preparing to leave the vehicle. 

I bought another five cheap Chinese Die-casts for the second battalion of the 15th RDP. 

You can see here what I did with the first batch: 


This time they are intended to pass as the GMC ACK 353 that was in service in this regiment as these models are very close to the American trucks. I looked for models of this US truck but I could only find the six wheeled GMC. As these toys are far from perfect they suffered some changes namely the insertion of two replacement wheels behind the driver and double wheels on the rear set. 

The extra replacement wheels also allowed for the displacement of the cargo structure to the rear making the vehicle a bit longer as a true GMC ACK 353. 

The double set of wheels you need to correctly portray the GMC ACK 353. 

This picture in GBM is one of the few that confirms the usage of this vehicle by the 15e RDP. 82 of these US trucks are known to have joined the regiment but they are not enough to equip the two battalions. Based on this information I made the two battalions equipped differently, one with P-19 and the other with the US trucks. 

Next: French Army command post. 

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - The transport vehicles of the Dragons Portés of the 5e DLC (Part1)

These P19 HT are from EWM and are intended to be the transport for the 1st battalion of the 15th Motorised Dragoon Regiment (of course I could say this unit's name in French but I don't want to impress you that much). 
EWM produces two conversions of the P19, the fusilier vehicle and the staff vehicle. In the GBM magazine, the main source for France 1940 equipment, none of these staff vehicle shows up, so I will use six standard P19 for the whole battalion with four conversions. 

Starting with the support squadron, one of the P19 was used to carry the Hotchkiss 25mm AT gun. In fact the 5e DLC didn't convert any of their P19's to the Portee version and kept on towing the AT guns. The problem is that after looking at their pictures you just have to have one of them!

A plastic card structure was built for the gun and I tried to insert a Lancer 25mm gun inside but it just didn't fit. So I decided to scratch build one. I used a very old EKO 1/87th German 37mm gun as base and made the double mantlet out of Evergreen plastic card. The wheels came from some Chinese toys I had around as they are almost invisible inside the vehicle and will be covered by the crew. 

Then some rectangular hard foam structures were added to the sides to serve as the descending beams for the gun and also the rear part of the gun and supporting structure was added. 

Finally some Hat artillerymen were added as well as the driver. Also plastic card doors were glued in order to have the P19B version were these changes were made. 

The P19 Voiture Mitrailleuse (See? What do you say about my French, hmm?) has some changes from the original. The two boxes behind the driver were united with two paste component and an Hotchkiss MG was added. For the MG I used a 37mm gun leftover from an S-Model French tank as a starting point, changed the barrel, drilled a hole for the handler and used a bit of GreenStuff for the bumper in the middle of the gun. 

The MG firer is again the same Caesar figure with new arms I used with the Laffly S20's.  The door handlers to access the other MG parts are now already in position but skipped the photograph. 

This is the mortar version. Basically the same as the MG version with connected boxes and door handlers to access the mortar and ammunition. 

The command vehicle of the battalion could  very well be a Laffly S20 but I want to concentrate those on the DLM. Another normal P19 was used, a radio and doors were added as the P19B was used mostly in the command sections, some wire made the canvas armature and an Irregular Miniature French officer became the unit's commander. 

Another addition was the exhaust added with GreenSuff to the right front side in all vehicles.  

A few drivers had to be copied in GreenStuff as sometimes EWM forgets some parts. Well, nothing that we can't live without, besides EWM makes a great job on covering the first few years of the war and many other periods. By the way they just realeased  Ardennes 44 German Infantry and they look great. 

Next: whether the infantry figures for the Dragons Portés, the vehicles for its 2nd battalion or the start of the Iraqi 5th Mech. Division for the 1991 Gulf War.