Friday, 29 December 2017

Rapid Fire! "2008" Portuguese Army in 20mm (part 3) - Leopard 2A6 companies of BrigMec.

The GCA (Grupo de Carros de Combate) of the BrigMec can be considered done with these two Leopard 2A6 companies and the  M-88 Recovery Vehicle. In part one I've showed you the Leopard of the Co and the M-60 company. Maybe in the future I'll add a M-577 for the command and an Exploitation and Mortar platoons both in M-113.

These Portuguese  Leopard 2A6 started again (like the German ones of a few posts ago) as A5 versions from Fabbri Diecasts. I increased the lenght of the barrel in 17mm using plastic rod inside the tube. this time in order to desguise the joint I camouflaged the barrel by dipping it in PVA glue and then in Noch birch leaves while the PVA was wet. Like this the typical camouflage net is more or less represented and makes all vehicles unique.

A few more add ons are the stowage in the rear baskets and the number plates hanging from them. I left the camouflage pattern as it was and just dry brushed lightly the whole model. This is one of the few vehicles of the Portuguese army that will not be painted in the typical Olive Drab as its original paint is part of its protection.

But my favourite production of the lot was the M-88 Recovery vehicle. It is a complete conversion from a number of odd parts as I show you below.

Usual stowage and net to the rear.

I don't want to look pretentious but with a very cheap model and some old parts you can build this relatively rare model. Of course you can avoid all the trouble and order a nice one from S&S for instance!

The first series of 4D models from China are toys and far from the quality of their more recent series where they have the S-300 or the Topol. The models come in a small box with a nice artwork taken generally from 1/35th scale artwork boxes. In spite of saying they are 1/72nd scale models some are 1/90 (most of the WW2 models ) or 1/50 or so (like the M-113). Of the whole lot of 16 models I only used the T-72  that you can see here

the T-55 (maybe) and this M-88.

The top part of the model is not bad. Plenty of details are missing like the extra road wheels and other details are vague and incomplete.

The biggest problem are the toyish wheels and tracks: they are the same in most of the models and nothing to do in this case with the M-88 that shares the lower chassis with the M-60.

So the solution was to use an old ESCI M-60 I painted years ago for the Israelis (now I have my 1982 Israeli army in 1/87th scale) and use that part. The only change is that you need to cut about 6mm of the front lower chassis and replace it with a bit of styrene with the same inclination as the frontal arch of the M-88.

In the back part you need to raise the hooks a bit more.

When I glued things together some details like the spade holders and frontal rings were made of two component paste. The 4D model top part fits nicely in the lower part of the ESCI M-60 as you can see.  

Add some extra wheels to the side, a MG, a figure and its done. I placed the main hook in this flashy position just for style as it is ready to put down Saddam statue in Firdaus square! After priming this 2 euro Chinese 4D model you have something  much more valuable!

Next: Really don't know, maybe the missing PSC Churchills for the 6th Armoured Brigade, or some K-63 from S&S to my Iraqi, or some M-109 from Riich models, maybe some PzIII E for the RF! Blitzkrieg supplement or another Portuguese Mechanized battalion, or something else...

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Rapid Fire! '2008' Portuguese Army in 20mm (part 2) - 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion of the Brigmec

Just finished the 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion of the Portuguese Brigada Mecanizada (BrigMec). Due to the recent arrival of the Leopard A2A6 MBT the Portuguese infantry is looking for a solution that provides a modern IFV to go along the Leopard. But due to economic constrains the  workhorse of the Mechanized Infantry is still the US M-113 APC and its variants.

For RF! each infantry company has 9 figures and an M-113.

All M-113 models are 3d prints from Butlers Printed Models. I used a torso of an ESCI modern US figure and made the arms with GW GreenStuff for the Browning firer.

For Battalion support one M-106 with 107mm mortar and a M-150 with Tow-1 is added .

 The crew of the M-106 are again ESCI figures with new arms to fit their new misson.

 For the M-150 I added crew from the Preiser set of modern US tankmen as they use the tankers helmet and not the infantry helmet.

The blob of GreenStuff you see on top of each M-113 is the camouflage net.

The Command company is still waiting for their M-557 that BPM is kindly designing and two Land Rover 110 from Cararama have to do for the moment. Later on these two will pass to more administrative issues.  

Back to the figures you have in this company from L to R a stand with a LAW firer made of the old ESCI figure firing the M-47 Dragon. Still in the same stand is another ESCI figure from the German modern group with a new 'Fritz' US helmet. I converted a number of them as they are carrying true German G3 used by the Portuguese army. On the second stand you have another ESCI modern German carrying the MG42 (still in use here but the most common would have been the HK21) again with new head. The ammo bearer also has a nex box on its right hand and the rifle was placed on its back.  Other stands are a mixture of Revell US with ESCI US and ESCI NATO figures all having their M-16 rifles with cut-off  handlers to look like G3. On each left shoulder there is a small Portuguese flag sometimes not visible due to the camouflage pattern of the uniform.

I also repainted this Altaya M-548 for the SP artillery to be built.  I used again a ESCI figure with new arms and the Browning came from the Revell WWII US infantry set. The camouflage net was made of NOCH Birch leaves dipped on a thick coat of PVA glue that was painted after drying. I already used this trick for my latest batch of Churchill Tanks. 

Finally two F-16 from Altaya in true Portuguese colours were added. Here Altaya distributed all main aircraft used by the Portuguese airforce - F-16, A7 Corsair, Alphajet, etc in national colours.  Only the crew wasn't there before and they are made of GreenStuff, so no two alike.   

Next: probably the two missing companies of Leopard A2A6 for the BrigMec or maybe some M-109s or even a M-88 recovery vehicle I am inventing.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm D-Day, the British beaches- (part 7) Sword Seawall

The Seawall for Sword  Beach is already finished. Everything is made out of blue board. I textured the beach side with sand and the interior side with paint to look like concrete. All Tobruks have a rear door as you can see on the middle right model. On the left another open emplacement for the 50mm guns is made again in blue board.

With a total of 1,20 meters of seawall I hope to have enough for all three British Beaches. According to the RF! D-Day supplement this amount of seawall looks enough but there was plenty more in other places as Colin was probably worried with playability of the scenarios. Probably the same reason for not including anti-tank ditches on the maps in spite of them being shown in the pictures of the book.

I used some plastic circles from the DIY shop for the Mg holes.

 German side view with a Britannia figure.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm D-Day, the British Beaches - (Part 6) A few more Sword bits.

For the WN18 I already finished the observation tower and the Casino strongpoint. The true casino was levelled by the Germans and this building was built on top of it dominating a good part of the beach. The only place were I found some proper information was in 'D-Day Then and now ' books.

The first layer of the strongpoint is hard styrofoam which includes the barrel of the casemated 75mm French gun.

The second layer is a resin model of the standard AA type bunker from an unknown manufacturer.

Maybe I make a full WN18 in the future the problem being that this one will be pretty large and not easy to store.

In the mortar Tobruk there is an Italeri 81mm mortar. The sandbagged position can be useful for an extra Mg but doesn't make part of the original. 

The observation tower became a bit crude in the end of painting and I could have added some more details. Maybe I'll do it when WN18 is made as a whole piece.

The Britannia 20mm Flak gun was added to the roof. 

Two torsos of German figures were added for a "Sie Kommen" effect. 

A little bit inland of Sword beach on the western sector stood a 'chateau' from which I couldn't find much information. I made this one in heavy card inspired by the one from Raventhorpe.

The roof can be lifted as well as the 1st floor and plenty of figures can be placed inside. 

These Tobruks  are useful for several of the British beaches. Some will end by being integrated in one piece WN's. 

Some have Italeri machine gunners. 

Others have French tank turrets. 

Next: probably the last battalion of the British 6th Tank Brigade. 

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Rapid Fire! 6th Guards Tank Brigade in 20mm - Part 2, 4th Tank Battalion Coldstream Guards

This Churchill Tank Battalion was built around the 1/72nd scale ESCI model of the Churchill MkIV which you could see in numbers in the 6th Guards Brigade around the time of the Normandy campaign. Still four Churchills are missing, not for having problems dealing with the hedgerows but  with nowadays mail from England and, on this case, from PSC headquarters. 

I slightly improved the ESCI model with the usual different crew (Matchbox figure from the Humber AC), extra stowage, air recognition pannel and antennae. For the camouflage net/foliage of these ones I tried a new approach: I used Noch birch leaves on top of blobs of wood glue, let them dry overnight and repainted it in darker colours with a finish of lighter dry brush.

The 95mm CS Churchill is again a conversion of the Frontline Wargaming model with a crew from Britannia. The names of all these tanks are the true ones used by the Coldstream Guards in 1944/45. This one was 'Barossa' of  Peninsular fame.

Attached from the 79th Armoured Division is this Churchill Crocodile from Britannia with a crew figure taken from an ESCI  model.

This time the  Achilles supporting the Coldstream are 1/72nd scale Armourfast kits. I used all 1/72nd models in this battalion (including the PSC Churchills that are about to arrive) while the two other battalion have 1/76th scale models, both for the Churchill companies and Achilles batteries.  

Plenty of stowage, crew, and foliage was used on these ones as while these Achilles Armourfast models are very well designed they skip some important details.

Next: most probably the 3rd Tank Battalion Scots Guards to finish this brigade.