Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Rapid Fire! Western Desert 41-43 - 'Bill and his friends' (no, it's not Netflix)


With the Tobruk defences in the line of sight, an Arko 104 officer of the Heeres Küsten-Artillerie-Abteilung 533 - writing German makes me look much more cultivated under your eyes!!- directs the fire of the famous 'Bardia Bill' right into an Australian position. The second 'Bardia Bill' (first were Italian) was an ex French GPF 155mm gun in usage by the Germans that became famous together with "Salient Sue" for the shelling of the Tobruk perimeter.  

The gun is a MiniGeneral 3d print with soft and hard plastic crew. The ones born in the late 60s may recognize the bayonetting Airfix DAK figures now serving as artillerists ramming the shell into the  breech of the gun. 

The Mauser of the left figure was simply cut out and the figure was ready to hold the ram. The figure to the right required more work as the original figure is attacking with  the weapon above his head. So new arms were made from two component paste and due to the group having to be in place while the ram was glued, the figure got Popeye arms! Or at least its my excuse. 

The other two figures are the famous DAK Airfix officer and an Esci figure from the Nebelwerfer set in winter suit but that can become a passable Afrika Korps artillerist even if probably sweating more than it should. 

The tow for 'Bardia Bill' is a 3d printed Sdkfz 7 from BPM 3d. The limber was scratch built and generically copied from another one I have from Alby. No wheels with seven spikes in the left over boxes so I used the ones offered  in the Hat WW2 French artillery set of figures. Not exactly the same but at least they have seven spikes and speak French!

After painting the result is reasonable. The figure seating on the limber... Any guesses?... No?... Ok, its the Airfix Luftwaffe figure kneeling with a bomb in a upright position. The right leg was repositioned, the left arm replaced and a new field cap glued was to the original head. 

The idea came from some nice pictures Richard Baber found of the towing vehicle of the 15,5cm K418(f). Later I found another image and more information about Arko 104 and 'Bardia Bill' in the French magazine Batailles &Blindés Hors Série No26.

A third Bison II was added to the 90. Leichte Division this time from MiniGeneral 3d prints. I already have another two from BPM and those would be enough to represent the 12 ever made and used by the 90.LD but I just like the vehicle and if one model tank represents five in RF! terms it can also represent four specially because its Christmas. 

The crew figures are all conversions from Revell, Airfix and Esci. 

The model is quite detailed but a few more extras makes it more lively. 

Returning from Benito's Anniversary (see this blog two posts ago) I added this Altaya Macchi 202 Folgore...

... and this Macchi 205 Veltro fighters. The Veltro was a particularly good fighter and one of the few in the Axis arsenal that could put on a fight with the P51D Mustang. 

A big Thank You to Richard Baber as he stopped me from taking a Somua to Lybia to tow 'Bardia Bill'. 

Next: Normandy 44 a few more12th SS HJ soft skins. 

Friday, 25 December 2020

Rapid Fire! Normandy 1944 in 20mm - The Carriers for the British Motor Battalion of the 7th AD


The Carriers of the 1st Battalion Rifle Brigade, the organic Motor battalion of the famous 7th British Armoured Division, scout the village of Joyeux Nöel (not far from Bonne Année) looking for hidden Germans amidst the elusive Bocage in that terrible summer of 1944...

This post completes this one:

 and also finishes my two British Armoured Divisions for RF! one Sherman equipped (either Guards or 11th AD) and the Cromwell equipped 7th AD. 

The Bren Carriers are MiniGeneral 3d prints with Valiant converted passengers. 

Three Carriers are for the Motor companies and just suffered the usual stowage addition. The other two involved more work as they are the Support  Company Carriers with one carrying the Vickers MMG and the other the 3" mortar. 

The 3" Mortar Carrier  received numerous small tubes of EverGreen to simulate the ammunition in the rear compartments. 

A 3" Mortar was also placed at the rear broken into its usual three parts. 

The Vickers Carrier has extra ammunition at the back... 

... and the Vickers MMG pintle placed inside a thicker tube of Evergreen and strongly implanted on the vehicle. Also a smoke screen discharger was placed at the front and the Bren slit covered. 

The other three. The figures were placed seating by burning the legs while the goo doesn't dry. You have to be quick with this one as the plastic dries very quickly. 

Next: More Desert 1940-43 probably.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Rapid Fire! Western Desert 1940-43 in 20mm - Benito´s anniversary

Benghazi, 28th of July 1942. Right in the middle of Maydan al-Shajara square, the one that unites Gamal Abdel Nasser Street and Amr ibn al-As Street a group of Italian military gathers for the commemoration of Mussolini´s birthday . 

This apparently cultivated paragraph is nothing more than a pretentious way to show a kind of knowledge that I don´t have as all of it came from the Internet. The proof of that is that by re-reading the name of the first Street mentioned, the name Nasser popped out and - after searching in the Internet - its obviouly the ex-president of Egypt of the 50´s and 60´s. 

This post is also an homage to the great Rapid Fire! Monty´s Desert Battles by Master Richard Marsh. This book is in fact among the best researched rule's supplements I've seen but sold less when compared to others like D-Day or the old Market Garden as Master Richard pointed out a few months ago. So, Master, don't worry as you forgive them as they don't know what they buy, sorry, say! 

The models are mostly MiniGeneral 3d prints and a few repainted Amercom DieCasts. The figures are Waterloo1815, Italeri, Esci and Airfix. 

This will be the command of Ariete armoured division and it is made of surplus Italeri figures from their artillery sets. 

Here Generale de Brigata Fancesco Arena comforts Generale di Divisione Guiseppe De Stefanis about the course of the war:
 - Its not your fault, Sir. We choose sides poorly... once again!

This MiniGeneral AS37 was turned into a Bersaglieri gun truck with the help of an Altaya 20mm Breda and a few converted plastic figures. 

In order to achieve the "Italian Sand" I mixed Vallejo Yellow Green with Desert Tan Base.

The netting is normal gauze dipped into a pool of Khaki Grey and PVA glue and modelled in situ while drying. 

The figures came from Waterloo1815 and the firer is a heavily torned Airfix Italian soldier. 

The 20mm AA Bredas are MiniGeneral with Airfix converted Italian figures. Most of them got new arms in order of to perform new duties. 

Well, here they are defending very well the well. 

These two will go to one ot the Bersaglieri Type AS battalion. I don´t have many Italian figures with their characteristic colonial sun helmet so the M33 helmet had to do.

This Lancia R3O was also became another gun truck and again for the Ariete 8th Bersaglieri Regiment.  

I had never seen the small 47/32 mm gun on top of such a big truck until I found this picture in Batailles&Blindés Hors Série nº26.

Again a MiniGeneral 3d print without printing lines. 

The gun is Waterloo1815 from their Folgore artillery set and the figures are Italeri leftovers with a new plumed helmet.

The figure raising its left arm was originally pulling the string of a heavy gun with its right hand. A flame lowered it but many scars can be seen from the brutal surgery. È la Guerra. 

The M13/40 is another nice model from MiniGeneral. Even the flimsy side step is implanted on the model which is a very detailed piece with all rivets and small parts clearly showing. 

There are some printing lines showing through in the frontal armour of this one. They are in fact easily disguised as the Italians used sand bags in order to increase their 30mm frontal armour.

The command tank of 1st company, X tank battalion.

With a battalion of medium M13/40 done this is the start of the second battalion.

These oldies but goldies L3 tankette and Lancia 1ZM (Amercom) were also added just because they were waiting for too much time in the painting cue. But they are only good for the first RF yellow book related to 1940/41. 

These two Lancia 3RO will tow the Italian 88mm guns I made years ago or can be used in a multitude of roles as supply or troop carrier trucks. 

Lastly, two AS37 for the command groups of the Bersaglieri battalions. Some light printing lines can be seen in the engine cover but a pair of flags solve the issue.

Next: With too much stuff waiting and mail coming it will continue to be WW2 for sure.

Monday, 7 December 2020

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - The 67e BCC fight in the Champagne region, June 1940

The 67e BCC maneuvers  to help facing the onslaught of the 8.PD at the small hamlet of Jean-Pierre- Papin (who doesn't remember this small hamlet from the 93-94 Champions League won by Milan?). You may keep on reading as all the rest is not based on nonsense. 

The D1 infantry tank, despite being made between 1931 and 1933, still could put on a fight against early German armour due to the tenacity of its crew and their  47mm SA 34 main gun of the second turret, the ST2 (the first one was the FT17 turret and the poorly balanced ST1). It was used by the Vichy forces against US troops and the D1s last fight was at Kasserine were one is told to have destroyed a PzIV. 

All miniatures are MiniGeneral 3d prints. Yes, I know, they don't look like 3d prints. No need this time for the PVA+ acrylic paint paste. With two coats of primer all printing lines were virtually gone and that is because Pedro Pato is making his stuff better and better. 

1st company. The battalion was made mostly from the I/508e BCC and still formed in Tunisia before embarking to face the Germans in June 1940. The numbers on the tanks were not following a logical sequence. 

2nd company. I applied the same camouflage in all tanks but there was also a second type in which the turret camouflage was applied all over the tank. 

3rd company. This company had big white letters in the turret related to the tank commander's name. 

This is the case of D1 number 1085 which displayed a big "O" of Oudet, killed in action at 22 years old. This picture troubled me a bit as I have a son close to this age and a son's friend that looks a lot like Oudet. 

The D1 "1085" of Sous- Lieutnant Paul Oudet. 

The commander of 67e BCC, Chef de Corps Albert Valleteau, was not using a D1 tank but I used the tank of Captain Lapiche, 1st company commander, to have a command tank in the unit.

The main change is the addition of a second usual commander's antenna on the leftside and the necessary withdrawal of the spade from its place. 

All tanks got two pices of metal chain in the frontal part and also in the unditching tail. Some also got some stowage but not exaggerated as French tanks didn´t seem to have carried much stuff on the outside. 

These D1, even if old and outdated, managed to destroy a number of Panzers and stoped the Germans at Souain (were ironically the 67e BCC will face the 67. PanzerBataillon),  Croix-en-Champagne, Suippes and other places in those tragic days of 11-13 June 1940 for the Champagne region and for all France. 

All information and painting schemes were taken from the amazing GBM magazine, numbers 124 to 126. 

Next: More France 1940 as I was stung again by the Ooh Là Là bug. Or maybe Germans in Normandy or even Italians in the Western Desert.