Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Rapid Fire! Normandy 1944 - SPG 8cm mortars on AMR35(f)

The 8cm mortars of the converted AMR35(f) are ready to unleash a true Trommelfeuer (saying it in German probably convinces you that  I really know about the subject) on the advancing allies. As it happens many times I got carried away by the cuteness of these little things and build too many, specially when using a ratio of 1 to 5 in unit organisation. These AFV's were field conversions and less than a handful were ever made.

The models are MiniGeneral 3d prints with the usual additions of figures, stowage and antenna.

The tube of the mortar was replaced by a metal one. The figures are from the Airfix set of German Mountain troops. 

One of the models was converted to this rare OP version. 

An enclosed superstructure was built in plastic card and small pieces of RoofMate. The original few pictures of this vehicle available to me don't even show the kind of enclosement it had. I based the OP version on existing models in other scales after searching in the web and in some nice pictures in the Encyclopedia of German Tanks by Chamberlain, Doyle and Jentz.

The figure is Esci with a new arm. You also need a small cuppola and this one came from a Roco Minitanks rolling wheel I had around.

Next: Recce German aircraft for the Blitzkrieg.

Monday, 27 April 2020

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - More German reinforcements from Minigeneral 3d prints

With the French menace ahead a column of German AFV splits in several directions bypassing the village of Thierry-Henry.
All models are MiniGeneral 3d prints.

New on MiniGeneral catalogue are these Kfz 13 Adler and Kfz14 command and reconnaissance vehicles.

The Mg13 is cleverly built in a unique and separate piece comprising MG, shield support and seat.

The Kfz14 has its antennae included in the car body and the extraction of the surplus plastic is a delicate operation. 

The Pzjager I is another nice vehicle depicting very well the first model with smaller shield. The usual additions are the extra tracks at the front and the central headlight.

Another Pz38t and a PzIIc took advantage of the primer cloud to join this group.

Finally a group of Pzbüchse 39 anti-tank rifles were added. I made them from the lying down Mg34 of Esci. I  cut the Mg and only used its tip. Then small pieces of EverGreen were added and  that includes the bipod, the wood socket, the handler and two lateral ammunition boxes. These three are enough for the infantry regiment you can see here:

Next: more Rapid Fire! stuff still to be chosen.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Impetus Baroque- Mohacs 1526 - All arms Hungarian reinforcements

Another batch of Hungarians finished. The Hungarian CP stands are now 11 and I'm done with heavy cavalry. Archers and Crossbows are also done with 2 and 4 stands each. At the moment there are 20 Impetus stands for this army but still I need another 20 for more Armati stands and to start the Clipeati (with those big tasty pavises), Hussars, Hungarian CL, Landsknecht and some heavier artillery.

The CP are RedBox and Miniart. The only addition was a plastic card shield of Hungarian design. 

I placed as much Hungarian heraldry as I could find but still this group looks like many European heavy cavalry of Early Renaissance. 

I made two Ribaudequins from EverGreen plastics and old wheels from the tail of the Airfix Mark I WWI tank.

The crewmen are converted RedBox figures. 

The Hungarian army had some 85 pieces of artillery ( against 300 Ottoman) at Mohacs so I still need to find a few more artilley pieces of an heavier type. 


The spears at the top of the artifact are made of stretched sprue. 

The archers are RedBox from the Men-At-Arms and Retinue box. The flag is a colour photocopy of my own hand painted designs.

These are the Armati from the same box with a flag given to me by Stephen Sheard.

Next: with the arrival of a batch of new Minigeneral models its time to go back to France 1940.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Rapid Fire! Desert War 1940-43 - First models for the Fighting French at Bir Hakeim 1942

Two Made-In-China Dodge trucks, one Tanake and a 75mm Portee, roam the oasis of Ras-Al-Confinement looking for information on the big southern envelopment of the DAK in May 1942 that will lead to the Bir Hakeim Battle. 

These Dodge 3-ton transformed trucks became famous in the hands of General Koenig French Foreign Legion men specially when defending the Bir Hakeim position and later, in October, when they attacked the Nabq Rala position. But before and after they gave agood account of itselves in the Levant and even under the Vichy rule.

The model vehicles are conversions from cheap Chinese Die-cast, the same I used for various Allied 1940 units particularly the one with a naked woman painted in the canvas of a French truck. Ah ah! I knew you would remember!! 
The biggest difference between the true Dodge and these ones are the headlights which should be placed a bit up the mudguards. Other details are passable or easily added like the cross shape at the front.


The Portee Dodge carries an Irregular Miniatures French 75mm gun with wheels from soft plastic Hat. All figures are FFL from Strelets R converted to hold ammo or the Bren LMG's.

The arrangement of the crew and guns of the Tanake. 

Here is its humble beginning. Each of these models is 4 euros and unfortunately the place where I bought a dozen or so is finished with them. The original wheels, the type of Hotwheels, were discarded and replaced by bigger ones. 

The EverGreen entered in the Portee version with some extra structures for the box and the steps to access the cabin. Later, the top part of the cabin was taken out and that reavealed a nice detailed original interior.

The Tanake was more complicated as a set of new structures, mostly the walled parts,  were made from scratch in EverGreen plastic card.

Other parts were made in StyroFoam. A few minutes before priming I aplied PVA glue. Too late as I should have waited for the PVA to dry. You can see the effect of the attack by the solving primer in the pictures of the painted models.

Next: more Bir Hakeim  1942or Mohacs 1526.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - BEF Scottish infantry in Kilt

The 79th Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders leaves their transports and prepares to entrench at the village of Zidane not far from Dunkirk. 

I was thinking about making Scottish infantry for the 1940 BEF since I stumbled on this picture of the 79th at the river Escaut in May 1940 in the last campaign where the Scots used the Kilt:


Then when reading a little about the Scots in the 1940 BEF I was admired by its courage and determination specially when ordered to delay the Germans for the Dunkirk evacuation.

At first I thought about using the HAT WWI Highlanders (still in Service Dress but that is still possible in 1940)  but those figures have the apron on the kilt and the box has no support weapons. So my usual conversions started. The main idea was to use the obvious old Airfix, Esci and Italeri Napoleonic Highlanders legs and kilts in the bodies of equally old Matchbox, Airfix and Revell British WWII figures both desert and battle dress uniforms. 

The problem is to get the two parts attached. Simply by gluing them with soft plastic superglue doesn't solve the problem as the joint is never perfect with parts of the equipment cut in half by the figures waists. What I did was to drill a 2mm hole in the legs part and to cut the body in a triangular shape in the waist area. This allows for the triangular area to be melted with a lighter and stuck while its boiling in the leg's drilled hole. A good part of the melt will go into the drilled hole and you can have a firmly stucked figure. Believe me. I did it many times and works. After many burned fingers you start to master this technic. Besides all of us have these figures somewhere in a shoe box and if you destroy a number of them you still have plenty to keep on trying.

After a few hours (maybe more than a few…) you have the the full battalion ready. 

The HQ stand has a few other options: an  unchanged Bagpiper from 8th Army Matchbox set, and a Revell figure with two component paste uniting the two sides of the shorts and giving the illusion of a kilt. This figure also became a radio man with the addition of the Airfix radio. 

The painted group.The Revell officer I added a cane and binoculars. All figures also got the usual BEF gas mask bag.  

The HQ, MG and mortar platoons are all here. The laying down figures have legs and skirts from the Esci Scottish running figure.

The Boys AT rifles were made from carefully cutting a few extra parts of the Matchbox Bren figures and adding a piece of 1mm EverGreen plastic. The Vickers MMG was the trickiest with added parts to make it higher and a new watercooler device. If you have these sets of figures you will probably recognize most of them. 


No, these guys are not performing Shakespeare but manning the 3'' mortar. I used the mortar from Matchbox but dont forget to cut the top part of the ring connecting the bipod to the tube for a better miniature of the 3'' mortar. 

A company has the usual mixture of torsos and legs. The Revell 8th Army box is very useful as you can use the bereted Scottish figures and make the kilt out of the shorts. This box also has the true model of the Thompson M1928 SMG used by the BEF.

The 79th used the battle dress tucked into the Kilt and and you can simulate this with figures whose arms and Enfield rifle are covering the waist. Some of the figures like the NCO with Thompson SMG have the Service Dress from 1908 which was still used ocasionally. For that, mold quicky and carefully the melted plastic of the waist joint while you still can!

B company. The kneeled figures are a problem but after a few "losses" you can have some nice kneeling Scots.

B company painted. 

C company attacks!! These older sets of British are also useful as most of them have the helmets without netting or camouflage as a good part of the BEF did. 

C company relentlessly presses the attack. 

D company. The NCO has another useful early Thompson SMG. 

D company painted. I felt glad in the end as I managed to lower bit a little a shoe box of maybe 10+ boxes of old British plastic infantry. Even if its time consuming making Scottish BEF infantry this way is quite challenging and i'll may do a couple more battalions in the future and complete a brigade of them. 

Maybe this was the most difficult figure of this group. Three of them were made and cutting the figure in half without cutting its right arm is not easy. Then, burning the torso without burning the Bren is again tricky.

Next: Maybe more Hungarian for Mohacs 1526 or French Foreign Legion for Bir Hakeim 1942.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Will McNally's Rules - AWI and the battle of Brandywine 1777 in 20mm (part 31) - Cavalry for both sides

A flank attack by the British 16th Light Dragoons catches off guard two regiments of American cavalry, the 3rd Continental Light Dragoons and the South Carolina State Light Dragoons. 

All figures are Italeri from their generous cavalry set with 16 figures plus one Airfix conversion and a ACTA figure. The only addition to the Italeri figures was some short cavalry rifles that were missing.


The figures are beautifully sculpted and reasonably accurate but as usual with Italeri most of them are looking sidewards which is not the better position for wargames figures.

The British 16th Light Dragoons. Some sources say that the Tarleton helmet would be more accurate for these units and that includes the 16th LD reconstitution group.

Next: Scottish for France 1940 or more Hungarians for Mohacs 1526.