Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Rapid Fire! 20mm - converting Matchbox Firefly to standard Sherman V

The Matchbox Sherman Firefly is a fine old kit which, with a little work, can be turned into a 75mm gun Sherman V. The main characteristic of this model was the alongated hull which also made a wider space between sprockets.

This is a particularly important version of the Sherman as it was mostly delivered to the British and a usual sight in Normandy 44.

The changes are: 
- cut the 17 pdr barrel (25mm at the final); 
- place two small Evergreen barrel support/protections at the beginning and sides of the barrel;
- cut the two sides of the gun mantlet and keep only the central one;

- cut the side hull protections. This part is quite tricky: pass the X-acto blade between the main hull and all along the side protection several times until you can withdraw the side protection with your fingers. Do this as many times as possible. Don't do it with a pair of scissors as you will probably break more plastic than you want;
- apply three ammo plate protections to the sides of the main hull - two on the right and one on the left side. I used my trusty Evergreen for the plates and for many other details ( in fact the only styrene available in Coimbra...). 
- make a mantlet out of GreenStuff for the hull MG;
- place a 12,5mm Browning MG on the turret; 
- scatter as many stowage as you can all over the back and side areas. Change the barrel cleaning kit to the  front hull on some of your Sherman as the real ones used to.

The final result makes a very different model comparing with the original kit.

This is also a cheap and enjoying way for you to have the longer Sherman V in plastic.

Next: my RF! Sherman equipped Normandy armoured division. Just finishing basing the lot and painting these last two. About 120  AFV models and 250 figures.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Rapid Fire! 20mm - Leyland Retriever bridge carrier

What to do if you have two Matchbox 1/76th Monty's Caravan?

Monty only ordered one to be made with the famous Italian body so if you have more than one model you are exaggerating. 

Looking for the usual inspiration on the Rapid Fire! supplements I found a 6xwheeled Leyland   Retriever  (RTR79) smacked in the front cover of the Scenarios for NW Europe 44/45. 

Here is mine: 

The basis is the Matchbox kit. The changes are:

- a driver from the Airfix Buffalo/Jeep kit.
- a petrol drum from a Hasegawa Churchill.
- a styrene Evergreen cargo area (6cm x 3cm) and some mudguards.
- and four electricity posts taken from the spare box and cut into shape. In the inside some broom black plastic rod was glued. 

Now this one is ready for the Airfix Pontoon bridge. 

Happy Christmas to you all!!!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Rapid Fire! 20mm - El Alamein British tank force

These are the latest models for my British forces at El Alamein. The Matildas are an extra for this campaign but still useful for other 1942 battles.

Some of the models are still offers from JF and JMM while others were old models of mine I had waiting on the shelves for years.

King's force Churchill III (Esci). This was the second time the Churchill was used (first was at Dieppe). 

After some research in the web and in some magazines I found that the base colour was green and the sand colour was the secondary one. So be careful as many modern drawings, brands and pictures tend to show the colours in the reversed way. 

Matilda are Esci with a PSC commander for the closer one.

Valentines from Esci and Fujimi. 

I tryed a new painting on all these new British AFV's: grey priming; block yellow ochre (Vallejo); brown wash (this is the new part and used instead of black wash) and finally dry brushed white + yellow ochre. This change follows a veeeery close look at the pics on RF! Desert books and supplements.

This kind of changes make some problems but more about this later on.

The Matchbox Chevrolet and Willys Jeep of the LRDG. The Chevrolet is towing a Planeta Agostini 20mm Breda.

Humber and Daimler armoured cars from Esci and Hasegawa. Enough for two RF! Cavalry squadrons.

Airfix Crusader II (closer) and Hasegawa Crusader III (back).

The Stuart from Matchbox with  Hasegawa crew. 

I also placed some red pennants on all my British AFV's. These are paper triangles glued to fishing string antennae. 

By the way: in order to place the fishing string in the upright position you need to pass your nails vigorously all along the lenght of the string. Repeat this method until it gets straight. 

This is my 8th army armour up to the moment. 

The annoying thing about stopping an wargaming period and restarting months or years later is that you generally have a mixed bunch of different coloured models  as you can see in this photo. 

Even if you use the same colours as before your painting style may have changed and things get pretty varyed and little uniformed. Well... Nothing that you can't survive ...


LRDG. More than necessary for the RF! units but simply irresistible.  Besides you can play the original Barce raid from the old RF! Rules book in which the vehicle ratio is 1:2. 

Airfix 6 pounders and tow Carriers.

6 pdr portees with Esci crew ( Altaya).

25 pdr from Airfix and Altaya (far right).

Bishops (Esci) and M-7 Priest (Altaya).

I took the advantage of the big primer cloud raised on my back yard to paint another Somua (Heller) and FT-17 (Matchbox) for the French 1940.