Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - The last Lafflys S20 of the DLM (part 1)

According to Masters Richard and Colin we need 18 Laffly S20 of different types for the three battalions Dragons Portés in a DLM. Four are already built and painted, three from SHQ and another from MiniGeneral.
This post is about the last 14 of them, all MiniGeneral, and two new models made out from their basic and very nice Laffly S20TL.

I wanted something different for the HQ company. The Blitzkrieg supplement mentions a standard S20 TL for it due to the need of transport, I think, of the 60mm mortar. But a few dozens of the Laffly S20TL PC were built for radio and command of the DLM's. They are a good alternative as they are quite distinctive, good looking and give some radio capability to our French miniatures. I don't know anyone who produces the PC version so I decided to convert a few of them. I also think that anyone who has the EWM, SHQ or MadBob standard versions can also use the next photos as a guide for their own conversions.

The PC version started with a careful measurement of the new roof made in wood which has to be carefully bevelled to this aproximate shape.

Using the front widscreen as a guide the back support of the roof is made out from plastic card.

Then comes the trickiest part. You need new sides for the truck. I built two in plastic card, one right and another left side, and used them as matrix for the other trucks. A long strip of plastic card for the windows are previously glued to the inside and you are almost done with the main body.

An extra Wheel is glued to the back. Around this point I noticed I bevelled the rear part of the roof and two component paste was used to remedy the situation.

Lastly the antenna set. Some lines are carved into small pieces of EverGreen tubing to look like the copper bases of French vehicle radios. These pieces sat into blobs of GreenStuff and a T part is made of thinner tubing. The more striking part is the triple the antenna parts which are made of bended broom bristles. I looked for my old surplus Matchbox Sdkfz 231 antennae  and I couldn't find them. If you have  them in stock use them as they are a good alternative after a few cuts. 

To complete the PC version I glued some sliced tubing to represent handlers and exterior radio parts.

Two other conversions are the 25mm portee version. First you need rebuild to shape a new windshield with a space for the gun to pop out. Then you have to break the middle divisor in the troop compartment for the gun to seat. Then comes a full scratch built Hotchkiss 25mm AT gun as the ones I have in stock simply don't fit. Mine were made from Plastic card and the gun tube from extra 20mm Minairons PzI's. The wheels are MiniGeneral 3d prints. There also some ammo boxes under and to the sides of the gun.

You also need a tow and some ramps. Frankly I already had a nice SHQ model of the Laffly 25mm portee and I copied most of the parts.

Next: this lot already painted and with a few additions.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - StreletsR French artillery

These two StrelestR guns and crew are designed for the WW1 but can be easily adapted for 1940. The main aspect is a new paint job on the crew. The two rows of buttons in the capote need somehow to be desguised - I did it with a thick coat of varnish - and a belt need to be painted in each figure. The officer has the capote buttoned infantry style, so he can be an infantry officer giving a hand to his fellow artillerymen. Its an excuse as good as any other.

The 155 GPF was built straight from the box but this Schneider 105mm has new wheels from the Hat artillery box. Initially intended for the Hat 75mm gun these wheels were historically also used in the Schneider 105mm guns of the DLM's and DCR's.

Next: The rest of the vehicles of the Dragoon regiment of the DLM.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Rapid Fire! Blitzkrieg Refugees.

Refugees are another sad part of the German Blitzkrieg across Europe in 1939-40 and these figures try to show the European western civilians that fled from those invasions. While painting these guys I could not stop thinking that some of them came to Portugal or Spain, but many went to North Africa or Middle East where they were well received by the local communities, even if in those days they were still European dominated. Nowadays it's a shame what we see ın the EU with some countries denying help to refugees. If to the East those countries have no idea what is a colony in their History and have a natural fear of the refugees who comes to 'steal their job', in the West the same  attitude is particularly dangerous as Western European countries would still live in Middle Ages  if it was not for the exploitation of resources and people in the places from where the nowadays refugees come from.
But of course memory is a fragile thing. And even worse is the History knowledge.
The figures are Airfix from the old civilian sets and from Faller, Rocco and Preiser. They are different scale with Airfix around 1/76th and Preiser, Rocco and Faller in 1/87th scale. But they match well  if you want to make refugees as you may portray men and women of different size and ages. A total of 22 stands were built which makes more than 1 meter long of refugee column capable of hampering any possible Allied counter attack.

I built the carts out of EverGreen plastic card and glued piles of stuff and figures on top or hanging from them. The basis for this one are two Hat horses with extra harness, wheels from WW1 Airfix artillery and Airfix seated civilian figures. The stowage on top of the cart was made of two component paste.

This one is pulled with a pair of oxen from Preiser.

- Father, why is mom leading?
- My son, you will use in the future a new saying: size matters!

At this point spare wheels were scarce and this cart only has two and one surplus.

Even if school is closed you need to do keep on studying.

I placed grass only in one of the borders of each stand so that they can be placed on the road side. Well, this doesn't always work.

A mix of 1/76th and 1787th scale figures without no one getting offended.

Another mix.

I only had a few running figures and these try to portray wether the ones whom are late to enter the column or people running from the dreaded straffing of a Stuka. 

This stand has a RAF Airfix cyclist converted to a civilian.

As usual in war there are those who take advantage of other people. The guy in the rear is analysing the girl's ass even in this dire situation! Shame on him and on the one who made this vignette.

Even the dog came along.

Rich and poor, everybody is quite similar under the same circumstances.

Also the cow and the calf had to come as both received prizes in the last agricultural fair of the region.

Next: StreletsR new French artillery.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Rapid Fire! Poland 1939 in 20mm - Junkers Ju-86 E1

This Junkers bomber was initially to be used by the Nationalist side of the SCW but was diverted to the Polish campaign of 1939. It was a quick build that lasted only a few hours of the last two days. There are some tricks you can use for a fast build of a wargame aircraft or in fact any wargame model and still having a reasonable good looking model in the end. Remember: your kids will sell your stash most probably, so be quick on your models!

Everything starts at the beach by reading about our beloved issues and inspiring yourself.  Already at home the model was put together quickly, the propeller parts and exterior figures all glued and some joints strenghtened with super glue.

The ailerons on the wings were glued with a hot glue pistol. There is some seams you can see but you avoid a painful process of using the tiny gluable parts inserted in the ailerons and designed to be glued to the under parts of the wings. Also like this the model gets extra strenght in that fragile area.

The aircraft was fully primed, figures and all and the camouflage was hand painted. No security tape no nothing, just do it with a firm hand. Ten minutes later, the first darker acrylic layer dryed. Apply a bit of diluted black in the most obvious recesses. With a bit of paper try to drain all excess of diluted black and the lighter tones were applied some 15 minutes later.

No interior parts whatsoever. The transparent parts are simply painted and that avoid one of the most time consuming procedures in building an aircraft. The front MG13 was replaced by a thicker piece of plastic as the original one wouldn't last for long.

Some care was placed in the details of the two exposed MG13 firers,one seen here and the other in the under belly of the fuselage. This figure had its legs burned with a lighter until a ball of melting plastic was formed. Like this you can sit the figure in the position you want. The same happened to the arms that now are grabbing correctly the weapon instead of practicing martial arts. The decals sit in  a layer of acrylic gloss varnish. After placing the decals they were again covered with the same varnish. In the end two coats of acrylic varnish spray were applied, one gloss and another matt and its done.

In the last two days, I spent most of the day out and only used maybe some 6-7 hours of these two days in building and painting this aircraft.

You are thinking 'Sure, this guy has no wife or kids to deal with and most probably is retired'. Wrong. I drive 60 km for my working place and  have a wife and two kids. Well, one is 19 YO but the other one is 2YO! Besides, finding a wife that understands your hobby and do most of the house stuff is also important.

But most important than everything is making a compromise between an elaborate model and one that when quickly finished really helped you reducing your stash (my wife calls it 'colesterol') before the mailman rings. Again.

Next: Blitzkrieg refugees.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

A few Rapid Fire! small bits

In the middle of I don't know which posts I finished some models that were walking around with no life prospects for some time, just spending father's money (me).
I used the Matchbox Humber MkIV to make the personnal mount of Hauptsturmführer Victor Graebner of the 9th SS Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion of Arnhem Bridge fame.
The figure is Valiant and I painted it as close as I could to the character in A Bridge Too Far movie.
This is the 10.5cm K18 Panzer Selbsfahrlafette IVa (c'mon, then the Germans don't want people to have fun with their names on YouTube) from Altaya together with the Sdkfz 253, also Altaya, that supported these big SPG's. Only some plastic crew and light wethering and they are ready for their exciting  lives in my basement shelves.

Next: The Junkers Ju 86  for the 1939 Polish campaign


Monday, 5 August 2019

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - June 40 Desperate measures (part 2)

With its best material lost in Belgium and in the battles of May, France had to scrap deep into whatever weapons they had in storage to cope with the German advances of Fall Rot. Here they are using a battalion of FT31 (improved FT17 with a Reibel Mg and some changes in the suspension) and a battery of 194mm GPF SPG in support of one more counter attack. All models are MiniGeneral 3D prints. Ah, for the ones with geographical instincts the location is Champs Carrés.

Here the standard FT31 with added chains to the trench crossing tail.
The FT17 BS, the support version, with a 75mm Howitzer in a fixed turret.

The figure, the usual copy of the Skytrex tank commander and some plastic card doors were glued to the side of the turret.

The FT17 TSF, the command version.

A number of addings were made for this one like the usual commander's figure and radio equipment. 

 The radio antennae and supports were made in several plastic materials like plastic card and broom bristles.

Here the star of this post, the gorgeous tracked 194mm GPF in a picture clearly taken after shooting its powergul gun, so strong that even the photographer trembled in awe.

Here a better one to show the details of this lovely MiniGeneral model. Only the elevating wheel was added and this one was taken from the leftovers of the Airfix Mark I tank, namely its crossing tail. Also a crew was added, this time from the brand new figures that comes in the Strelets R 155mm GPF gun and Schneider 105mm gun.

The tractor and ammo carrier is another funny thing. The railing here is clearly too thick but like this  it will face better the rigours of a life of battle in the shelves.

Crew (Strelets R and EWM copy) and the towing cable were to only addings to this one.

Family photo.

Lastly the Laffly S20 TL for the Motorised Dragoon Regiment I'm building. I already have a few from SHQ and with this one and the next 14  from MiniGeneral I'll have the Regiment finished.

This one needed some extra parts: rear step, side tools, folded canvas and LMG. The wheels are also different from the ones sent with the model. Pedro Pato, the boss of MiniGeneral, was very kind in supplying some extra wheels  from his Schneider P28 AMR. This model is under revision and these little problems will be solved shortly.

 The standing figure is a cross between some Esci Alpini legs (with puttees) and a copy of the torso of the Hat mounted artilleryman.

Next: wether the new French Strelets R artillery, an old Italeri Junkers Ju-86 for Poland 1939 or a lot of Polish vehicles from MiniGeneral.