Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Rapid Fire! Belgium 1940 in 20mm - We may not be Tigers... but we are veeeeery cute.

Belgian armour takes its positions in the Ardennes crossroads of Route Murée. That's all this time, I couldnt remember anything better!


The Berliet VUDB is a French A/C  used by the Belgian Gendarmerie. The model is Minigeneral as are all in this article.

I transformed it as a command and radio model. This radio variant existed in the French Foreign Legion but I don't know  anything about this variant in the Belgian Gendarmerie. In any case I needed something for Command and Control of my Belgians and here it is.

The other VUDB was made simpler with no additions, just the standard APC version.


Only a figure with a map made of paper (aren't they all?) was placed for some colour.

The T-13 B3 was the most successful of the Belgian tank designs. The Minigeneral model is another beauty with all detail carved into just four parts.

Here one of the T-13 B3 has the company of its older brother the B1 model.

This time I placed helmets in all crew and not bonnets as in the last one that belonged to the Chasseurs Ardennais. In fact the helmet was used in all branches of the army, including the Chasseurs Ardennais, so its probably the best solution.
The figures are French Hat WWII artillery and torsos from the Esci WWII French. Most of the arms are two component paste that was also carefully aplied to the front of some helmets to make them closer to the Belgian tanker's helmet.

Next: If the next batch of Minigeneral and Shell Hole Scenics arrives today or tomorrow, Minigeneral and Shell Hole it will be, if they don't, I will start WWII French dismounted cavalry.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Rapid Fire! France 1940 - Allied reinforcements from MiniGeneral, the fish market and the flea market

In a carrefour of Northern France, in the beautiful place of Jolie Place, a Belgian and a French General watch from the inside of their staff cars two British armoured columns. Without knowing,  the left column will break its teeth at Arras as part of the Frank Force and the one from the right will suffer a similar faith at Abbeville along its companions of the 1st AD.

The A12's are 3d prints from MiniGeneral. They are nice renderings of the Matilda II of the BEF.

The BEF model had a raised suspension and Vickers Mg ...

... and an unditching tail and only one exaust pipe.


MiniGeneral models in the form seven new Mark VIc light tanks.

In the local flea market I found one more Altaya model, this time a Panhard 178. I changed this model's camouflage with some thin lines of sand between the green and brown original camouflage. I toyed with the figure that started its life as a Spanish tank commander of a Minairons T-26. I made a French tank helmet and goggles out of two component paste and an original figure came out.

Being forced to go with the wife to the local fish market has its positive side as I found in a small toy shop inside these two die-cast cars. They are more cars from the 20' than from the 30'/40' but they were around 20mm size and reasonably detailed. I repainted them and made one the transport of a French general and the other the transport of a Belgian General.

Next: more France 1940 models or the start of my Bir Hakeim French units

Friday, 17 May 2019

Rapid Fire! Desert War in 20mm - Italian reinforcements for the Armoured Division

In the Egyptian-Lybian border an Italian Task Force prepares to block the British close to Ras-Al-Brexit, in an atempt to stop them leaving Europe.

The Italian L6/40 are Minigeneral 3d prints. With a total of five parts each they are nice little tanks and I finally had the chance to build  the Lancieri di Novara that our boss Richard tells us to have for El Alamein.
The two commander figures are in fact the German tank crew of the Esci PzIII. If you have them you must have noticed how ugly their cap was moulded: round and with a thick strip all around the head. I used a bit of paste around the neck and the Italian tank helmet shows up easily.   
Also some usual stowage, sand bags and antennae were added and they  are done. The colour I use for the Italian vehicles is the GW Vomit Brown with a slight wash in some parts only with GW Mournfang Brown.
The Italian 3RO with the 90/53 gun is Italeri. Its one of the nicest plastic models of the last few years both in detail and cleverness of construction. After using some 5 crewmen you still have another 4 that will be very useful in future projects.

The base was cut from a CD and I only made some boxes in plywood for the 90mm shells.
The towed 90mm gun is another nice model. The crew and gun are the same as in the SP version only the base being different.
The same wood boxes were added as in the previous model. This time a full CD base was used for the model and crew to stand.
The 149/40 artillery gun is another simple but efective model with an even more beautiful crew in colonial hats.
Next: Most probably more British armour for the BEF.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Rapid Fire! in 20mm thoughts

Hi RapidFriends!

I very rarely wargame and my main pleasure with the hobby is to collect big units division size. I built or I'm in the process of building many divisions for El Alamein, Kursk, Tarawa, Normandy, Arnhem, Bastogne and a few others. I do the same with other periods of history and other sets of rules. For France 1940 the departure point is obviously the RF blitzkrieg battlegroups but the end is not this time the full OB of the main divisions but the historical maximum number of each vehicle in doesn't matter what division. Like this when all models are collected I can 'play' (not exactly on my case) with whatever big unit on any side and whatever battle.

The list goes like this for tanks (the middle number is the necessary number of models in RF! and inside brackets is the division to which they belonged):

German 1940

PzI - 23 (3 PD)

PzII - 26 (3 PD)

PzIII - 12 (10 PD)

PzIV - 8 (1 PD)

Pz35t - 24 (6 PD)

Pz38t - 18 (7 PD)

Beob35t - 3

Beob38t - 2

BeobPzI - 4

BeobPzIII - 6

Total: 126 model tanks

French 1940

Ft17 - 24 (3e Armee)

R-35 - 27 (4e DCR) or 36 (3e Armee)

H35/39 - 5/28 (3e DLM)

FCM 36 - 18 (2e Armee)

D2 - 9 (4e DCR)

B1bis - 13 (1e DCR)

S-35 - 19 (1e DLM)

Various AMR - 13 (1e to 5e DLC)

Total : 165 model tanks

British 1940

A9cs - 3

A10cs - 2

A10 - 3

A13 MkI - 11

A13 Mk II - 17

LT Mk VIb - 19

LT Mk VIc - 9

(all these are 1st AD)

Matilda I - 13

Matilda II - 3

(these last two are 1st Army Tank Bgde for Arras)

Total : 80 model tanks

I'm somewhere in the middle way, with French ahead, British closing and Germans in the last position.
Is anyone trying this aproach or is just my megalomania?

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - A few more addings to the French

This time I can't lie to you with any French village strange  name. The H39 are all finished, total 18, which means enough for any DLM or DCR. The R35 are just a few more to add to the total of 27 I need (number necessary for the 4e DCR). Pretty far from that as I have only 7 of them.

The R35's are MiniGeneral 3d prints.  Once again some fair and detailed models with very little printing lines.  

I added a crewman and a surplus S-Models unditching tail to one of them. 


Camouflage and markings were kept relatively simple.

The H39 are S-Models and the camouflage matches the last ones I've made as they will belong to the same unit of 9 tanks.
Next: 1942 Desert Italians

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Rapid Fire! Belgium 1940 in 20mm - First battalion of the Chasseurs Ardennais with some help from MiniGeneral

The 1st battalion of the 1st regiment of the 1st division of Chasseurs Ardennais dugs in to receive yet another attack from the German Panzers and Mechanized infantry in the crucial Belgian Ardennes forest.

The idea of making Belgians was out of my scope for many years. The idea I had was that the uniform was the same of the French (at least in 20mm size) and that the black boots were negligible and French infantry could be used instead. Regarding vehicles I new little and they were scarce.  Recently I was reading about the French 5e DLC, which I'm also building, and found that their same defensive places were also shared by the 1st Division of the Belgian Chasseurs Ardennais.
So my idea is to make at least a full regiment of Chasseurs Ardennais. That will cost over 200 figures total as these are large sub-units with companies with 14 figures. Obviously I looked at EWM site who have almost everything you need for Belgians but this amount of figures would come out too expensive even if EWM is excelent and not a very expensive brand with figures around 1 Euro (85 British pence).
So conversion was the way. By looking at Liliane and Fred Funcken books, internet and photographs of my visit to the Army Museum in Brussels and museums in the Bastogne region a reasonable amount of information was gathered.

I used for these conversions the Airfix and Revell WW1 German Infantry, Esci Alpini and a few Revell WW1 French. A few more from different origins were used  but more on that later. I chose these figures because their uniform cut is very close to the Belgian uniform as well as the black boots could be easily painted or desguised with paint on top of other different foot wear.  


Bycicles came from the German Hat range. The helmet on every figure was carefully carved out and a bonnet made of two component paste was glued with super glue while the paste was drying. This allows you to model the bonnet to its shape and to achieve a good bonding.


The three 50mm DBT mortars were made with Evergreen plastic card.

Some arms of the crewmen were bent with the fire of a lighter into a new position.

The dog is Revell and I looked for some pictures of the Belgian Malinois breed in order to achieve this result.

This company command section is Esci and Revell in its origins.

Full German WW1 Revell for the two 08 MMG's. The Belgians got their hands on large amount of German WW1 weapons after the Versailles Treaty and many of them came back to the original owners after German occupation.

An Airfix WW1 German officer talks to an Atlantic Soviet partner from the infantry. The radioman is the Esci German figure with a new radio with doors.


The T13B1 is a nice model from the Portuguese brand Minigeneral by Sirocco. As you can see the detail is all there in a well proportioned and sturdy model. More are on the way as Pedro Pato already designed all types of AFV for the 1940 Belgians.

My Belgian Khaki was achieved by mixing Americana Raw Sienna and GW Strakken Green in equal proportions.

A few torsos and arms were added for the crew. Of course there are still some printing lines but the models from Minigeneral have them very small: this model is some 4cm lenght and the printing lines you see here close to the gun tube can't be easily seen  on the real thing.

Next: last H39's and a few more R35 to the French.