Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Rapid Fire! Desert war 1940-43 in 20mm - Numbers for the British 8th Army

A British Task Force prepares the defence of the oasis of Ras-al-Boris. This time the force defending Ras-al-Boris is prepared against any kind of injury, virus or desease suffered by the British and some proper medical measures were taken as you can see by the Ambulance Jeep.

The M-7 Priest SPG Regiment got its 4th vehicle. Again an Altaya repainted model. 

The 25pdr and Morris tow is the 6th and last for the towed 25pdr Regiment. Altaya repainted and soft plastic crew. Only the seated crewman is a hard plastic figure from PSC.

This is the 3rd 6prd Portee so a full Motor battalion is complete but still far from the necessary eight for an Anti-tank Regiment. Again repainted Altaya with a soft plastic crew from Esci, Airfix and Matchbox.

This part will be longer while I will try to show how you can take advantage of the leftovers of the PSC box of M3A1 Light Tanks built for Ozereika.

I found on the web an award winning 1/35th scale M3 painted in this kind of blue and just copied it. 

All symbols were hand painted (that can easily be seen šŸ˜•).

At the moment a complete M3 Honey battalion of 10 models is done. 

As told in the previous a total of six models can be made from the PSC box, three of them directly from the sprues an another three with a few extra parts.The 30.cal Browning is made of 8 small parts stuck and drilled together. 

The driver's plate is easy to make. Not so much for the gun and I was lucky to have kept 3 mantlets from Hasegawa's M3 models. The gun itself is metal tubing with a cover of drilled plastic in its thicker part. 

The bottom part of the chassis is Styrofoam with a few plastic parts added. You can use superglue on the Styrofoam to glue whatever you want if you apply a generous coat of PVA glue before. 

But the funniest part of these builds was this small Matchbox Jeep converted to an ambulance. Two stretchers from Airfix were added as well as a scratch built intravenous infusion system. 

Next: whether the motorcycles of the QVR for the 1940 BEF, some soviet gliders and planes or the Naval infantry for Ozereika. 

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Rapid Fire! Eastern Front in 20mm - The South Ozereika landings (part 4)

Around 2am, in a dark February night, dangerously close to the end of the world, feeling the same fear as the Portuguese navigators that overcame the Bojador cape and under a clear and hot sky (WTF??) the M3A1 light tanks of the 563rd tank battalion disembark from a Bolinder at Ozereika beach. 

The PSC M3's are a beauty. There are three versions possible versions inside but you can really make a total of six tanks out of one box as you will see in another picture. The tanks of the 563rd tank battalion had whether white or yellow markings. I chose yellow as it stands out pretty well. 

The figures on the kit are for both US or British tankers so I used some Orion modern Russian Federal Forces tankers that comes along the infantry, 

And here is what you get from this PSC box. I think Will Townshend is the most generous guy in the hobby, probably a Samaritan that live and produce its models in a hidden Monastery for the sake of the  poor and helpless. In fact if you choose one of the three models available you can build them PLUS another group of three at around 80% completion. Besides the Russian M3A1´s at the back you have at the front row three M3 that will join the British ranks for the desert in another post. The missing 20% parts are a new 37mm gun  and mantlet (this was easy as I had surplus ones from Hasegawa), the bottom hull part made from stryrofoam with a few extra details, turret Browning .30 cal, driver's plate and air cleaner pipes made from simple sprue. All the bigger parts are given for free: hull, tracks and turret so with a bit of extra work you can have six M3's of two different models at around 3/4 euros each. 

According to the RF! Bavarian Blue book you need one of these, a Polikarpov PO-2. This is from KP and it makes a detailed model of the real thing. 

The only thing you need to add are the pilots which came from an Encore model with closed cockpit.

Next: I`m still thinking but it won´t take too long. Maybe Desert British.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Rapid Fire! Normandy 1944 in 20mm - Allied aircraft

This is June so lets celebrate D-Day and  the Normandy campaign with some Allied aircraft built along many years. There are still some models missing like British bombers, late Spitfires and P-51 B/C models. 
Starting with the British the first picture is my sole Beaufighter, a nice Die-cast model from Altaya.

Next four Typhoons. The closer one is a Die-cast from Altaya and the others are Airfix. In reality the ones from Airfix are the later Tempest with a laminar flow wing as the main difference something hard to see in this scale. After a few cuts here and there they became closer to the intended ground attack Typhoon. 

Now for the USAAF. E2D is a Maisto Die-cast, all others are Revell. 

A P-47M Thunderbolt from Revell. 

A P-47D Thunderbolt "Razorback" Die-cast from Altaya. 

"Hard to get" is  B-26 Marauder from Revell. 

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Rapid Fire! Eastern Front in 20mm - The South Ozereika landings (part 3)

The Glebobva night airdrop was a mission carried by a small group of 80 Soviet paratroopers in support of the Ozereika landings. Apparently they managed some sucess wiping out some German garrisons and five days later a few of them were part of the rescued. Master Richard places 10 paratroopers in the Russian OB which is right. Even if only 80 (6 figures) landed one of the four planes assigned to the mission couldn't find the landing site and returned home cutting the Desant force by 25%. So the 10 paratroopers are the initial force without any incident. 

My biggest doubt about this airdrop was which kind of aircraft launched the paratroopers as I couldn't find any information on the issue. There are two possibilities: The Lisunov 2 (Li-2), a licence produced DC-3 or the much bigger TB-3, famous for the first mass jumps in airborne history. I have both in stock (in fact its a DC-3 Dakota but they are the same) and decided to use the ICM TB-3. Besides by having a Tupolev TB-3 you gain a bomber for the Barbarossa period. 

Its a really big thing with a a wing span of over 55cm. Not only its not easy to place on the shelves as it is a really difficult model to assemble with over 300 parts. The green paint you see is an almost dry GW colour mixed with PVA in order to desguise the many faults during construction. As my patience is not what it used to be I wanted it assembled ASAP. So many interior parts were discarded as well as the engines interior. All flimsy and easily breakable structures were replaced by metal ones. 

The only addition are 5 of the 10 crew members that are visible, two pilots and three machine gunners. 

The camouflage was the typical A2 Green and Black used throughout the conflict and particularly common on bombers. 

A second doubt of mine was the exact uniform of the paratroopers. They used by then a Khaki jumping suit with an aviator leather helmet and that is for sure. But they also used a black printed camouflaged smock in the style of the scouts. Besides that Zvezda (hey, they are Russian) shows their own small box of paratroopers in a greenish jumping suit different in colour from, for instance, Osprey's book on Russian paratroopers. I followed the Zvezda box cover as the green uniform without printed black looks very nice. 

All figures are conversions from three diferent origins. The legs came from the Airfix Luftwaffe figures as they have no boots. The torsos are wether hard or soft plastic from Esci or Revell. The heads are mostly taken out from hard plastic aviators as I paint all cockpits blue and only use aviator's figures if they are in an open cockpit like the case of the TB-3.

Some of them kept the blue paratrooper's beret. One of the paratroopers became a radioman. 

Almost all figures got some extra equipment like bedrools and haversacks made in GreenStuff.

The small 50mm mortar came from the Pegasus Russian Naval Infantry. 

Next: Wether France 1940, USAF and RAF for D-Day, WW2 Italians or another part of the Ozereika landings. 

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Rapid Fire! Market Garden in 20mm - Oddities and such (part 3)

Another group of SS prepares for a nap at Hotel Taffelberg only to find it closed due to a pandemia of British paratroopers that felled unexpectadly from the sky. This post shows my recent captured or requisitioned vehicles and tries to catch the environment of many famous photos of the Arnhem campaign. At the same time these will make part of some of the hastily formed Kampfgruppen operating in the Arnhem/Oosterbeek area according to the RF! Wine Red book. 

This is an US captured Willys Jeep from Hasegawa. I placed new figures, MG, stowage and foliage and radio as extras. 

The radioman is the famous Esci figure and the driver is a conversion from several sources with GreenStuff arms. No, no, the driver is not tuning the radio but  moving up a gear.

The Italeri/Esci Dodge WC 51 was filled with converted figures carrying Panzerfaust, a Panzerschreck and a PSC ammo box.

An Airfix Ben Hur trailer was added for more effect. 

The figures are heavily converted from Matchbox; Airfix DAK and the original Esci figures that came along the kit (the last ones got PSC German heads as both body and heads could be glued with normal plastic glue). 

Three Umbauwagen were also added. They are originally Die-cast Matchbox Chevies 47 but they suit the requisitioned Umbaus from the Dutch. The only new thing in the structure of the cars are the bigger plastic wheels. 

The Umbauwagen were packed with a full box of Hat German Bicyclists. The bicycles were used for 1940 Belgians and the figures can easily be adapted for seated figures with a few twists of one of the legs and also some help of a little bit of heat. A few additions like Panzerfaust from SHQ, netting and foliage makes an interesting and relatively realistic group.

In order to seat all these figures two planks of plastic card EverGreen were placed in each car all along the cargo area. The vehicle in the middle carries a 13th figure, the officer from the Esci Nebelwerfer box.

Next: More Ozereika Landings.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Rapid Fire! Eastern Front in 20mm - The South Ozereika landings (part 2)

Now its time for the transport of the first wave of Naval infantry. The first 300 men intended to arrive at Ozereika beach were carried by six of these MO4 Submarine Chasers. Things went bad from the beginning as the MO4 transporting the officer in charge (051) of the first wave assault troops and another ship were destroyed before reaching the shore and 1/3 of the initial assault force was lost. 

The MO4s were made as usual slightly smaller than reality, Less windows were thus glued to the side of the boat and the 12,7mm AA guns were discarded.

 This is a photo of an original MO4 slightly longer some 6-7 cm than the models showned here. You can find all angle drawings of the MO4 in the excellent site Engines of the Red Army.  

Many details were discarded in order to have space for the Naval Infantry stands. The depth charges are leftovers of the Matchbox Corvette and were placed on a new structure. 

Each of the six 47mm guns were made from tubes of the Esci Flak Vierling 20mm gun. An extra barrel on top, deck support and wheels made the final result which became reasonably similar to the original.

One of the aims was to have enough room for 20 stands of figures and many details were made shallow for not to disturb the balance of the transported figures. 

Only one figure was placed manning the 47mm guns as a space saving measure. 

The Revell sailors had new arms to fit the new function. 

Once again Blue Board and card was used in the bigger structures and bits of chain, EverGreen plastic card and metal tubbing were used for details. 

The windows were made with a paper punch. 

The hardest part of these kind of models is to get the right shape of the bow. After some practice and some rigid calculation you manage to use X-Acto on the Blue Board in the correct way followed by some careful sanding. If you fail, don`t worry, there is always some more Blue Board in the construction yard near you. 

Next: An interruption in Ozereika and a return to Arnhem oddities.