Thursday, 2 December 2021

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - British 1st Armoured Division finished and a few extras for other units

During the ill-faited Abbeville offensive, tanks of the British 1st Armoured Division managed to conquer the very small village of Mathieu Valbuena (this one is only for football lovers) and its three houses, one of the few successes of the 27th May. 

Like this the 1st Armoured Division is complete, with all its six tank regiments and support group. From the AT guns only the 2 pdr gun is for this division with the two French Hotchkiss 25mm guns going to the famous Frankforce of Arras fame. 

The last six A13 MKIV are the usual Minigeneral PLA 3d prints. Simple and effective models even if showing its age with plenty of printing lines, something quick to happen in such an evolving technology. 

The last A13 MKI was also added. In Minigeneral models of the A13 the chassis are the most troublesome with very fragile mudguards which had to be rebuilt in most cases. The printing lines,  mainly visible at the front, were disguised with several layers of varnish but at the cost of detail loss. 

Same story for the Vickers MKVI B. Some stowage was placed were the printing lines were more visible. 

All the AT guns are also Minigeneral, two Hotchkiss 25mm and one 2pdr gun. The crew are PSC converted figures from their 6 pdr gun set. One of the beauties of PSC is the lavish number of figures they offer to man their kits with plenty of extras you can use elsewhere. 

All figures got a gas mask bag for them to come back to 1940. Another change were the heads whose helmets had netting all over (not that suitable for 1940) and were replaced by US heads from the HAT WW1 artillery set. 

The seated figure in the 2 pdr is a full HAT figure with disguised puttees and jacket. 

The base was cut to meet the shape of another group of three Zvezda guns of the same type. 

 The printed 25mm guns have the right proportions being longer both in the barrel and legs compared to some metal models from other brands. 

Next: a video on the British 1st Armoured Division in 1940. 

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Rapid Fire! Operation Barbarossa and beyond in 20mm - One more clash at Dubno/Brody


The battle of Dubno/Brody, in nowadays Ukraine, was the biggest tank clash of history with over 4000 tanks battling each other in a triangle between the cities of Dubno, Lutsk and Brody. To represent it in RF! terms you would need 800+ tank models for this short period of summer 41 in the East. It also includes some models that for sure are not the wargamer´s favorites like PzIII short 50mm; T-26, BT-7, etc (not counting a football field to play it all). Even if sometimes I exaggerate I don´t intend to reach those numbers due to the danger of bankruptcy and expulsion from home. Even so I´m around one Soviet Mechanized corps ( a mix of the 8th and 15th) and one full Panzer division for this short period of time without brown camouflage and short guns on tanks (a generic PzIII G/H/J based one, capable also of other campaigns like the Balkans and Greece).  

Two more giant T-35 from S-models were added to the 68th Tank regiment. With four now in the inventory maybe I´ll build another two and settle the issue:  the proposed ten by Master Richard is just too much considering they arrived in very small groups and many broke down. Hmmm... but 10 is tempting!..

Eight more BT-7 were added making a total of 15 enough for 2/3 Tank battalions depending on the unit. All my BT-7 are Mário Laranja´s great 3d resin prints. This company got a camouflage of brown 6K as used by some tanks of the 4th Mechanized corps in Ukraine. 

Again some 4th Mechanized corps painting influence with just a white triangle for air recognition on top of the turret. 

The markings of these two BT-7 came from 39th Tank Division at the battle of Uman. 

This kind of camouflage was taken from the 24th Brigade of Light Tanks, Rostov-on-Don. This camouflage was quite common and I used it also on my BT-5 and consisted of the basic 4BO color with stripes of 6RP and 7K.

The figures on these batch of tanks is Xan Miniatures from Spain. Probably some of the best around. 

A few more Xan Miniatures with the padded helmet. 

Lastly a pair of Self-propelled AA MG 4M-GAZ-AAA (Uffff...) from Minigeneral PLA 3d prints with Revell converted crew with the help of GreenStuff. 

The built is very simple and the result is quite sturdy. The soft plastic figures were glued to several parts of the vehicles for them to have a firm grip. 

The printed plastic had two coats of clear varnish before priming for the printing lines to become insignificant. 

The last batch of Mário Laranja's PzIII H necessary for the (undetermined) 1941 Panzer Division with PSC crews. 

This company commander tank got a turret MG. I'm not sure if this system, the Fliegerbeschussgerät (my goodness, he even knows German...) was used of the late versions of the PZ III short 50mm as all my references are for the late versions of this tank. Even so it looks nice and makes a difference in the lot. 

Next: Probably a video on the French DCR of 1940 or the last few British tanks for the 1st British Armored Division of 1940.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

5e DLC for the 1940 campaign in 20mm for Rapid Fire! wargames rules

This is the smallest of the French division types for the 1940 campaing. The 5e Division Légère de Cavalerie (5e DLC) tried to stop the Germans in the Ardennes and fougth them at Sedan and Abbeville. Its very interesting due to its old material and number of horses. The figures and vehicles are a mix of Simon Soldiers (pioneers and artillerymen); Hat, Esci,Caesar, EWM, Lancer and LesArméesOubliés (horsemen, Motorcyclists and Dragons Portés); Resin prints from Mário Laranja (AMR33, Unic P107BU and Simca Cinq); MiniGeneral PLA prints (75mm field guns and Lafflys), SHQ (SideCars and motorcyclists), Wespe (Renault ADH), Altaya (Panhard 178), Skytrex (H39) and plenty, plenty of my own conversions.

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Will McNally's Rules - AWI and the battle of Brandywine 1777 in 20mm (part 34) - Last few bits for the British


This another nostalgic post in which another army is finished. Can't be sure but probably my first British for the AWI were made around some 20 years ago and these were the last missing stands and figures at least for Brandywine in a collection of around 1000 figures. Still to be made are some 300 figures for the larger Washington's army at the same battle. 

These Ferguson rifles are converted figures from both Airfix bodies and Revell heads with some Milliput tufts on the headdress. 

Like this these little Ferguson men became quite reasonable. Very hard to make is unique fire mechanism of the Ferguson rifle and these poses were also chosen because they hide the missing details. 

The two last command stands missing were Howe's and Cornwallys themselves. The figures used were Hold the Line and Revell. 

Along a bulky General Sir William Howe rides a 16th Light Dragoon trooper both Hold the Line figures. The Revell figures to the right aren't true British with the Cornwallys figure on horse coming from the Prussian box and the foot officer from the Austrian box. 

More work with these ones. The last few batteries of artillery were made with some Revell Austrian and Airfix figures but most with converted infantry from Revell's box of British infantry. The limbers came from 30YW Revell horses whose harness didn't change that much along the years. 

And here they are. The guns are from Hold the Line and probably if you ever painted Revell British infantry from the AWI you probably recognize most of the figures. 

Next: a return for WWII or more Americans for Brandywine. Also a Pirrhic army is not out of the question as my Republican Romans are tired of calling names from their shelves to the Carthaginians on the other side of the basement.  

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Will McNally's Rules - AWI and the battle of Brandywine 1777 in 20mm (part 33) - Sir John Vaughn´s Brigade

Brandywine's British army is closing completion with this last brigade of infantry. Now, only 5 guns, a few command bases and the two stands of Ferguson´s rifles are missing which is something I hope to have finished in the next post. Then of course still plenty of American brigades, mainly Militia, have to be built and painted and that will take much more time and probably a skip to other periods in between.

Vaughn's Brigade had three regiments of Infantry ( 4th, 28th and 49th foot) and one of Fusiliers (23rd foot). The Fusiliers are Airfix from the Grenadier box but the rest of the infantry is a mix of the usual Accurate and Revell but introducing the lovely PSC designed miniatures of the Hold the Line French and Indian Wars expansion set. 

The Hold the Line mounted officer is a one piece gem and it really plays the part of a British gentleman on horse. In fact the figure comes in white plastic and, as all in this post, is intended to be a game piece for the French but all bicorne figures in all sets of Hold the Line can be used in any army.  I really pity not being able to get the initial game as it brings 200 figures in different poses compared to this expansion set which carries half of that number.

I placed Hold the line infantry in the front rank of all the three infantry regiment. They are true 1/72 figures and the same height as the Accurate/Revell figures even if a bit more beefed up. The bases are too big so I cut them for three figures to fit in line. 

All blurry flag bearers are also Hold the Line figures. By 1777 the 23rd had already stored the bearskins with which they arrived to the American colonies but that headdress makes them distinguishable.  

The brigade's artillery is a mix pot. The limber's horse and driver is 7YW Revell with a scratch built carriage on Napoleonic wheels, the gun is Hold the Line and the crew is Italeri, Airfix and Accurate. 

Next: the last few stands for the British at Brandywine 1777.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - The Pioneers of the DLM

 Exiting the village of Didier Deschamps, reconnaissance and pioneers of a DLM advance under the protection of a battery of 155mm guns. 

The DLM was the only French big unit type that had three Pioneer companies, with all other types of units having only one or two. Each company was very big with around 200 men each with small differences in number depending on the type of unit. These figures are Simon Soldiers and portray the pioneers carrying mines, shovels and wire. A few figures have the FM 24/29 LMG instead of the more common and older Chauchat distributed among the pioneers. I tried to convert some Revell Chauchat firers but was out of metal heads and these had to do (Revell heads are too small in the WW1 French set comparing with these metal ones). 

The figures are beautifully detailed and the pioneer equipment is all there with anti-personnel and light AT mines, wire laying devices, shovels, etc. 

And here some close-ups to see the great level of detail of these figures. The second figure from the right carries the AT mine modéle 36. 

These Schneider 155mm C guns are MiniGeneral 3d prints with Simon Soldiers and Irregular Miniatures crews. This battery was still missing  as I built some time ago the same guns (Ace models) but with spoked wheels and thus proper for the DI. 

These three motards are SHQ with the discarded side-car. They will be used for liaison and command. 

Finally two offers small but beautiful Simca Cinq from Mário Laranja resin printer. 

Next: more Brandywine 1777. 

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Will McNally's Rules - AWI and the battle of Brandywine 1777 in 20mm (part 32) - The 71st Highland regiment

The 71st Highland Regiment was present at Brandywine with three battalions totaling around 1200 men. It was thus the biggest regiment at the battle and it was kept as the reserve of Knyphausen Division and as train guards. 

The figures are in fact plastic game pieces in 1/72nd scale from the Hold The Line boardgame by Worthington Publishing and PSC. I lost my mojo for AWI a bit before the release of the original game with had some 200 beautiful figures inside. Later when the mojo came back I could only find in PSC the separate bags of  Scots and Hessians. Now finding Hold the Line figures after all this "post July" s##### is very difficult which is really a pity as they are really great. 

As you can see they go very well along Esci and Airfix pipers and they could go even better if  instead of clipping the base I had just cut a part of it. The figures were glued with hot glue and then with cheap super glue. The bond made by the two materials is extremely strong. 

All the figures are the same but with the colorful uniforms of the Scots the single pose gets lots of life. 

Most of them got red hair, of course! And they should have white trousers by the time of Brandywine but they also look much more Scottish like this. 

Two other poses were made from the original: officers and the flag bearers, using Greenstuff for new arms.

These three command stands are the ones with pipers and changed poses. I used wire for the first time for the arms of the officers waving the claymore sword which made some of them too long. Then laziness prevented me from changing them.

Next: France 1940.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Rapid Fire! NW Europe 1944-45 in 20mm - US Airborne and ground reinforcements.

The command group of Combat Command X of an US Armored Division meets in the middle of the Norman bocage. Fearful of a German incursion, the commander request all possible protection from the vicinity and so some Airborne 57mm AT guns and M8 HMCs shows up and make an impregnable ring of steel around him... What a bull###t story! Sorry, but nothing else came to my mind as an introduction.  

This time some additions to the US Armored Division and the Airborne Division. With the Dodge WC53 Carryall and the M8s HMC the Armored division is now complete and the Screaming Eagles finally got some AT protection and tows for the 105mm guns. 

The Carryall is a Matchbox die-cast model I found last month in a second hand toy fair. It looks to be in a smaller scale than the usual 1/64 of many die-cast cars and probably suits our 20mm size pretty well. New plastic wheels from Atlantic, antenna and covered engine (white paste) was added and it looks OK. 

And here it is together with some old metal US command figures, presumably SHQ, given by my friend Jorge Faria.  

The M8s are RTR and will be sent to the three mechanized infantry battalions and their assault gun platoons. The figures are Irregular Miniatures cut by the waist. I chose helmeted figures as for open topped vehicles.

The tiny M8 HMC become very colorful with plenty of markings. 

Half of the  US 57mm AT guns are PSC conversions (muzzle break erased, right side of front protection cut and shortened legs). The artillery men are converted Revell and SHQ figures ( these last ones with EverGreen first aid pads and pockets in the trousers). 

To the left you can see two SHQ 57mm guns and the two PSC to the left. 

Finally the Jeep tandem tows for the 105mm M1 guns were painted, as I had them built for years. The Jeeps are Frontline Wargaming attached to each other with the typical  'A' structure made of plastic card. The drivers are the usual plastic torsos with Milliput arms. To driver to the left is an old Airfix figure driving with his left hand and holding the Thompson with the right hand in a typical Cowboy style. 

Next: French 1940 or Brandywine 1777.