Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm Market Garden specials.

Just some quick posts to show you some models made in between SCW; AWI and other 'W's'. As I didn't want to interrupt your reading of these previous series here they come now.
These two guns represent the battery of AA Schneider 75/36(f) used by the Germans to counter the 'Charge of the Paras' in scenario 4 of Rapid Fire! Market Garden's book. Colin doesn't mention these guns probably because they were on the other side of the Rhine inside a complex of brickworks and not only their representation would enlarge too much the table as would made the wargame chances of victory for the British much lower as in fact happened.

I don't know anyone who produces these models in 20mm so I used some nice museum pictures of the gun and my loyal Evergreen plastic rod and tube .

The wheels are old Atlantic taken from its artillery set. The figures are metal IM, and various soft and hard plastics.

These Renault B1 flame-thrower tanks are conversions from the Matchbox models. I decided to convert them as the real things of Pz Company 224 lurking Oosterbeek woods (with the addition of a third one to give them a few more chances against PİAT, 6 and 17pdr's!... well in fact I was just having pleasure buiding them this way).

You just need five things:
1- Buid a rear end box for the flame-thrower fuel.

2- Cut off the top of the turret and make a 'German' one.
3- Build in the front hull another observation box with slit very similar to the original one on the left side.
4- Move sligthly the antennae to the front
5- And build a mantlet (I used GreenStuff) for the protudering small tip of the flame-thrower.

Don't forget a German figure and here you have them.

For more on Market Garden you can see my houses here:

and 1st British Airborne Division here:

All other units, specially Germans, will be presented in a series I'll call 'Areas' as its models can be used for many 1944 campaigns.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Rapid Fire! Spanish Civil War in 1/72nd scale - 1st Bandera of the Legion

This Bandera is made out of metal figures from IM, green figures from BUM, desert yellow from Japanese Esci/Matchbox and Russian Italeri and Brown ones from Revell WWI Germans and Esci WWII Brits.

The trousers of the Japanese were enlarged at the top in order to look similar to the Granadero trousers of the Legion.

After a week of practice ( painting, I mean) 1st Bandera gathers around the village of Casa de Piedra somewhere in North/Centre/South Spain trying as always to conquer Madrid from the Rojos.

The mortar stand has two metal IM and the old plastic copy of the Japanese officer from Esci. As in many other figures the head was shaven and a GreenStuff Isabelino was modelled instead. The rest of the sword was made into a sort of mortar shell.

The Japanese uniform, as well as the Russian, suits most of the SCW Nationalist infantry as they have very close cuts.

The Banderas of the Legion had extra Mg's here the ones from the Matchbox along with firers. To the left the ammo feeder is Esci British and to the right both feeder and observer are Revell German WWI.When modelling the borlitas on the caps I didn't notice I've made them too big and now they look like cucumbers.

The command stand has an IM flagbearer, a Russian Revell officer with many cuts and scars and a BUM gastador.

Metal IM figures. For those who look at Irregular Miniatures with suspicious eyes take another look at their SCW range which not only is very complete as the figures are very well sculpted.

Here you have the Japanese from Esci (first three); an helmeted figure with WWI head, japanese  Esci torso and legs from cheap japanese copies.

This LMG has a Japanese firer and a BUM figure.

Lastly a Picture of all types used: Metal IM, Revell Russian (kneeling figure), Esci Japanese (charging) and BUM.

Next: I think I'll go for break on the SCW and show you some WWII oddities or Gulf War stuff.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Rapid Fire! Spanish Civil War in 1/72nd scale - Tanks and Guardias de Asalto

After all they 'pasaran'... At Dos Molinos a column of triumphant PzI advances clearing the Ex Republican positions.

The models are Minairons. They are easy to build, three in a box and they even offer the 20mm Breda conversion turret. In the one above even the Matchbox Monty gave a hand proving the suspicious role the UK had in this war...

This is the standard Pz I this time with a figure from PSC with a new beret.

Hey, Pavlov's T-26 counter attacked and the tiny Pz I are all gone or destroyed! After all they didn't 'pasaran' as it happened so many times during the SCW in which the positions were conquered only to be lost in the next assault.

The T-26 are Minairons again. Simple but well designed models with two in a box. This one has a Irregular Miniatures Russian paratrooper cut to fit the turret with its Degtyarev Mg. The command version on the previous photo has a metal antennae scratch built around its turret.

The ground is only secured with boots on the ground. Six companies of Guardias de Asalto arrive. For Rapid Fire! I represent them with five figures as they were 60 per company only . They are a mixture of metal and soft plastic conversions.

The command stand is a full IM filled with rejubilant figures.

The mortar stand shows the a Guardia de Asalto in blue uniform (right) made out of
a) Head from the Chinese copy of Airfix 8th army officer;
b) Upper body from Esci US WWII mortar firer;
c) Legs from Revell Marines.

The other blue figure is IM and the grey one is again Revell with a new head.

An all IM stand .

In most two-figure stands I try to place one metal and one plastic figure. In all stands you can see the same Revell Marine changed with new headgear and weapons.

More of the same this time. The figures in the extremes are the same Revell Marine figure but one has an Isabelino cap and the other one uses the usual gorra de plato of the Guardias de Asalto.

Next: Legionários or planes, or may be both.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Rapid Fire! Spanish Civil War in 1/72nd scale - Republican artillery and cavalry

Near Dos Molinos the Republican artillery deploys before the advancing Nationalists. But here they 'No Pasarán'.

The box of the FirstToFight 75mm Schneider gun comes with a pair of highly detailed model guns. When I first looked I thought some kind of mistake hapenned and FTF got them in 1/100th scale or something like that. But no, after some measures I concluded its the others I have from other brands that are a little bit on the large size.

The crew are Irregular Miniatures and they go well with the guns.

Also four HAT Russian Putilov 76,2mm guns also joined the defense of Dos Molinos.  The models are simple but a pleasure to build with only a few pieces on the contrary of FTF guns.

These are the limbers, now painted, from two posts ago.

For the spanish artillery green I used GW Waaagh!Flesh - damn stupid name, but very close to the true colour I saw in Spanish museums.

The cavalry mixes the until now useless Hasegawa cavalryman and Revell Cossacks with Adrian helmets.

Next: armour, probably.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Rapid Fire! Spanish Civil War in 1/72nd scale - Aircraft for Nationalists and Republicans

In a stormy sky a Nationalist Cant Z 501 prepares to get to its naval base while passing over the village of Casa Sola.

The model is the old but still very nice Italeri model. All insignia and numbers are hand painted (it shows sometimes...).

From KP came this Czech Aero A101. The Nationalists captured a batch of them inside a Republican  ship and used them against their previous owners.

Top ace of the war, Comandante Garcia Morato, on board of its Fiat CR.32.

Supermodel model (can I say so?...).

 Directly from France, and apparently using the same aerial corridor of Casa Sola, here it comes a big Bloch MB200 from SMER on the service of the Republican airforce. Again no interiors and painted windows which speeds painting procedures a lot.

The more modern Bloch MB210 from Heller also arrived just in time before French government cut the weapon support for the Spanish Republican. 

The positions of France, England and USA (with a strong catholic lobby in the Senate and White House and plenty of oil sales to the Nationalists) during the conflict were shameful. As democracies they should have helped the Republic, but instead they bought the promisses of non-intervention of both Germany and Italy, which of course were broken almost immediately.

 In the end only the USSR and Mexico gave assistance during most of the conflict to the Spanish legitimate government and Hitler and Mussolini came out of this war with enough confidence to do what they did in the next few years: WWII.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Rapid Fire! Spanish Civi War in 1/72nd scale - Artillery limbers

During the SCW most of the artillery was still horse drawn. But I couldn't find anything dedicated to SCW. So I made them myself using bits and pieces.

The limber is made of Evergreen with Revell SYW wheels from its artillery set. Taking photos before painting is good to discover some flaws and the strange hair Trump's stlyle of the walking artilleryman was already taken out.
The artilleryman is an Russian Esci Cossack. It has a new Isabellino cap and an open jacket after X-Acto surgery. The sword was taken out and a blanket was placed in some of them.
The horses are all Esci Russian both from the infantry and Cossack set.

Some blankets and extra stuff was placed in the seats. I caught a picture of the Nationalists entering
Seville and the 75mm guns are being pulled by similar limbers to these ones and only by two horses.

Next:  Some planes, probably. Or artillery.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Rapid Fire! Spanish Civil War in 1/72 scale - Badajoz, 1936

Badajoz was conquered by the nationalist in their quick summer march of 1936. It ended in a bloodbath where the worst atrocities of the entire war probably happenned. When asked by foreign reporters after the war, general Yague, the commander of the attackers, said something like "what could I do? Follow to Madrid and leave 4000 enemies on my back?". Simple. Apparently the notion of POW was non existant in Yague's mind.

From the two photos above you can see the view the Republicans had of the advancing Moroccan Tabors who were encircling the city from the north heading to the Porta de Carros. The walls of the castle were still from the time of the fierce assault of the British in 1812 against the French garrison of General Philippon.

The steepness of the walls forced the attackers to look for more advantageous points of entrance.

The neighbourhood of  San Roque  was the assembly point of the II Tabor of regulares de Tétuan.

In the mean time,  4th Bandera charged Puerta de la Trinidad, in the south wall. This view is from the outer part.

This view here is taken from the inside of Puerta de la Trinidad. Plenty of information about the construction of this part of the wall but nothing else...

There were two HMG on the walls that poured deadly fire into the ranks of the 4th Bandera but the Legionarios managed to force the gate. 

As usual in Spain these kind of places have no plate, no description whatsoever about the Civil War events.

 History from 1939 up to 1973 was written by the victors who effaced all traces of their blame in the dreadful events of the period, placing the enphasis on the Republican killings of priests and nuns and the destruction of clergy property. The problem is that, while true, the Republic was in power due to an electoral victory of the Frente Popular, and the Nationalists were in fact outlaws that didn`t accept the result of the elections and who chose war in order to change that result. Besides, the killings by the Nationalists amount to the 150.000 (Paul Preston data, and not counting the horrors of Franco's regime up to 1973) and that of the Republicans to 37.000 in their respective areas. 

Even the killings of Paracuellos, in which the Republicans shot several thousand, were made on nationalists military personnel who openly denied to fight for the government of their country - that is, the Republic of Spain - and that would have suffered on those days the same fate in many countries of Europe and the world, as military discipline still predicted death penalty for the military.

In the Calle of San Juan, journalists counted over 300 dead people killed in the next few hours after the Nationalist victory. Rape and theft were also rampant. Badajoz lost 10% of its entire population.

But the worst place was the bull fight arena were the killed may have amounted to several thousands. The inscription read "the hugliest bull fight arena of Spain".

Viva la Republica! You can still read this in some parts of Spain after all those many years. Again no information for a visitor. After Franco, during Filipe Gonzalez long government  and nowadays, even with amnisties, the debate about what to do with the memories and living realities of the Civil War arrived to a dead end and the Spanish people buried the axe a little bit like we, the Portuguese,did with the PIDE agents of Salazar regime.
Is it fair to the memory of the killed?