Thursday, 28 February 2019

Rapid Fire! Blitzkrieg in 20mm - German reinforcements for balance

After last months flood of French material that arrived to the front line - that is, my basement - I had to balance things making some more Germans.

The artillery comes from some the old and venerable set of Revell German artillery, probably the most useful and well built soft plastic set ever. The artillery Sdkfz 253 is from Altaya and only the only extra was some black wash and sand dry brush to finish it.

Most of the artillerymen are already used and I had to manage with some other options like the Revell DAK figure (painted here as an artillery FO) and the old Airfix Luftwaffe standing pilot which suits well other branches of the German army if differently painted. 

Three more BMW combos from Zvezda were built and also two Command Pz I from S-Models. 

The S-Models received extra crew from Esci and PSC besides the usual aerials and stowage. 

The figures hanging from the side hatch had new arms in Greenstuff for a more natural look of this awkward position.

The Esci commander on the left also received new arms for them to sit correctly in the turret. I think that new arms, even if not as well proportionate as the original ones, have a better look than the original classic multi-pose figures which many times look like Karate fighters.

Next: A WWII Cossack regiment.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Rapid Fire! The Japanese air force of WWII in 20mm

Mistubishi G4 M ('Betty' for the allies) was the main bomber of the Japanese Navy (IJN) during the war. This model is Hasegawa and not very easy to store due to size. 

The Kawasaki KI-48 ('Lily') was one of the main light bombers of the IJA. This model is again Hasegawa.

The Nakajima B5N2 ('Kate') was, alongside the Val, the most important Carrier based Japanese fast bomber and torpedo launcher. Model from Fujimi . Matsuo Fushida, commander of the Pearl Harbor attack, used one of these on that day.

Aichi D3A ('Val') was the main carrier-borne  plane and was credited (not counting Pearl Harbor and other actions were they operated with other types of planes) for sinking 16 big allied vessels from Destroyers to Aircraft Carriers during the war. This one is an  Hasegawa model.

An Aichi E13A ('Jake') was the most important Reconnaissance aircraft of the IJN. Hasegawa model.

 The Mitsubishi KI-46 Type 100 ('Dinah') was a reconnaissance, and later a high-altitude interceptor, aircraft of the IJA.  Airfix model.

The most famous Japanese fighter aircraft of the war, the Mitsubishi A6M ('Zeke' but mostly known as the 'Zero'). All models are Airfix, with both the grey-white IJN camouflage or the atypical green camouflage.

The Mitsubishi J2M ('Jack') was a late war fighter designed by Jiro Horikishi, the same designer of the Zero. The idea was for it to become the opponent of the B-29 and other high-altitude Allied bombers. It also became famous as it participated in the last dog-fight of the war in which the Japanese lost 2 Jacks and two Zeroes but shot down 4 USN Hellcats. The one to the left is Hasegawa and the other is Altaya.

The Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien ('Tony') was a good Japanese fighter that became famous for ramming B-29's later in the war. Both are Revell.

The Nakajima Ki-84  ('Frank') is considered the best WWII Japanese fighter built in large numbers. Revell model.

Kept to the end is the Yokosuka MXY-7 Okha ('Baka'- fool or idiot for the Americans) rocket-powered Kamikaze attack aircraft that generally was released from Betty bombers The model comes along the Hasegawa Betty and that's why I built it.

I still have some 20+  Pacific war aircraft to build, both US and Japanese, and that includes a B-29 and a Kawanishi H8K 'Emily' which will cause some storage problems. In my plans are also two aircraft carriers, one USN and another for the IJN but that will cause even more storage problems.

Next: wether the USN for the Pacific, or a Cossack WW2 regiment I'm finishing, or a few more Blitzkrieg Germans that are also almost finished.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Rapid Fire! The Soviet VVS of WW2 in 20mm

This collection started many years ago when I got involved in building the Soviet forces for the Kursk battle. As usual I ended up by building many more than the ones that were necessary. On the good side I managed to get planes for the initial fightings around operation Barbarossa in 1941 up to the last stages of the war.

All markings in all models - excepting the Altaya - are hand painted. I prefer like that as paint is sturdier than decals and no shining exists from decals.

These Tupolev SB-2 from Eastern Express were bought for the SCW Republican side but ended up facing the German onslaught of 1941.

The Polikarpov I-16 are Revell and Altaya and almost had the same destiny as the SB-2s. Slowly I'm also building a Soviet 1941 army that will be shown later in this year.

The Sturmovik is most probably the most famous Soviet aircraft of WW2. These three are Airfix (right) and Altaya (the two on the left).

P-39 Airacobra from the Lend-and-Lease program. Left is Revell and Right is Altaya.

This Ilyushin IL-4 from Revell is the biggest Soviet bomber I have. There are some crazy plans to have a PE-8 but I don't know were such a big thing can fit in my shelves.

 A PE-2 bomber from Italeri...

And a TU-2 from ICM for the same role. 

Yak-3 from Revell and Altaya

La-7  from  KP and Altaya. 

The Yak-9 is considered the best Soviet fighter of WW2. Altaya model. 

This other Altaya Yak-9 is ready for a setting where a Soviet airfield can be under attack.

Monday, 11 February 2019

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - A few extras to the French infantry.

 Up no now I managed to build six French Infantry Regiments for a DI 1940. They were built many years ago with Airfix, Airfix copies and Revell miniatures and even some Japanese conversions that crossed half of the world to fight against Hitler (what?...). No AA though, no rifle grenades and no 60mm Brandt mortars on those days. This group of figures was made from more recent brands and to complete these missing bits. I ended by adding some horse transport aided by the unique GBM magazine information.

The Fourgon Omnibus Mle 1887 was still in use in the French artillery park and was used for many different tasks. It can't fight but its a nice piece for bringing supplies or ammunition.  

More than 300 20mm CA 39 Oerlikon were present in France at the beginning of the war in more than 30 divisions, mostly infantry, as replacement of the 8mm Hotchkiss MMG's and as a way to ensure some AA protection while the heavier 25mm CA Hotchkiss weren't arriving in numbers.

As most of the pieces in this post these ones are scratch built efforts. More on that a bit further ahead.

Also scratch built are the two Avant-Train to pull the AA guns. 

As usual the foot drivers are converted figures. 

The 60mm mortars are  a mix of scratch built tubes and the usual brands of figures. 

The plastic figures received metal rifles and were adapted to new functions.

The rifle grenades launchers are clearly bigger than they should but I just couldn't find any thinner Evergreen tubing that I could drill in order to get them stuck in the rifle. 

Some pictures to show how these were done: The 20mm AA Oerlikon are scratch built as well as the limber. The towing horses are Britannia, the wheels are Hat and the structure of the limber is Evergreen plastic card.

The drivers are the Revell WWI cornet and the Caesar marching figure. Both received new GreenStuff arms.

The guns started as Irregular Miniatures Type 89 Japanese 20mm gun. They were heavily transformed and lengthened mainly with Evergreen  but also with some minor other materials. The seated crewmen are the Matchbox figures of the Char B1bis with new arms and with the torso bent with the heat of a lighter while the others are Hat.

The 60mm Brandt mortars are also scratch built in Evergreen with Hat artillery men and Caesar with rifles from EWM.

The horse cart is Britannia with Hat crew. This model is from the WWI German range but suits well most early WWII European armies.

Next: The dismounted French cavalry for 1940 or  more Blitzkrieg Germans.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - French Divisional Headquarters

Close to the village of Nous-Sommes-Foutus a Divisional Headquarters tries to find a way to stop the Invading Germans relying on a new piece of information brought by a cavalry reconnaissance officer that has just arrived...

The figures are Hat, Revell and Caesar with the ageing French General being constructed from the torso of the Matchbox Montgomery, a pair of German legs and a kepi from the Esci Foreign Legion. 

The Revell officer showing the map is the WWI French officer with a new arm. 

The Caesar horse holder also received a new arm. The Horse is a Napoleonic Revell piece with some extra stowage. 

The Renault ADH is a Wespe Model. The model is a true collector's item and, tipically from these kind of kits, it is not an easy construction. 

I strengthened the more flimsy parts with blobs of GreenStuff as you can see in the headlights and antennae. Also the junction between the axis and the wheels had the same treatment. 

The idea is to use this last build with the towed office from a few posts ago. 

Next: some attention to the plain French infantry material.