Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Rapid Fire! Attacker /Bogue class Escort Aircraft Carrier in 20mm


When I was a teenager I got somehow a Scenic Effects catalogue. Opening it made me dream about Monte Cassino, Tarawa and also a big 20mm USN Aircraft Carrier.  No credit card, no nothing, and ordering expensive stuff from the USA made me put aside that possibility. Years later I made my own Tarawa table but always thought about building an Aircraft Carrier. Or maybe two. 

With RF2 rules book I got another nice vision of a scratchbuilt British Aircraft Carrier with several pictures devoted to it.

In fact for the 20mm wargames size I think that no more than the smaller Escort Carriers can be built, otherwise you will need to leave your house if wanting to build a true big one in the line of the USN Entreprise or HMS Illustrious class.

But what really made me build this one was this Luppa Fairey Swordfish that came out two weeks ago. Its the only 1/72nd scale aircraft from the collection with fixed landing gear and so apt for the deck of an Aircraft Carrier. Quickly I added some crew and started my Carrier project. 

Looking for more aircraft in the stash this Altaya Blackburn Skua was found and its another useful aircraft for a British Carrier at least up to 1942.

The model was built in wood, Blue Board and heavy duty 3mm card. The bridge was made roughly of pieces of Blue Board and its not a true Attacker Class bridge but more of a generical one in order to be used with other classes of Escort Carriers.  

Only a fraction of the AA fire power of these Carriers were placed in the model. These  20mm Oerlikons at the stern were scratchbuilt but more on that later. 

The other side of the bridge with some Airfix figures, a spotlight and some surplus doors taken from a converted Matchbox Corvette and made into a British destroyer a few years ago.  

Both sides of the ship have these double 40mm guns made from Atlantic parts and converted figures from the HAT WW1 US artillery set. The bays were the guns sit are made from spray covers. 

Details of the bow with anchor and more Oerlikon. The figures are Atlantic Conversions. 

The Hat and Atlantic converted Royal Navy figures and the Airfix ones. 

The bases are mostly Euro coins (well, plastic ones from the supermarkets). The Atlantic figures got new arms made of two component paste, the stucture and shield are Everegreen plastic card and tubing and the guns themselves were taken from the stash of Airfix LVT-4.  

And now a bit of magic...

Voilá! The Royal Navy flag can be replaced by another from the USN. There is a small transparent break in the middle of the pole (it should be just a thin rope, but it get sturdier like this) and the flags are glued to a piece of transparent protective brush tubing. The hand you can see is of your truly yours and was made 53 years ago by mom and dad. 

With USN flag...

... becomes a USN Bogue class Escort Aircraft Carrier. In fact I chose this class as the Bogue is the original one and made from transformed cargo ships. Some were sent to the RN and became the Attacker class. 

I´m finished with USN Oerlikons and so I used what I had around which were these 50. cal HMG´s from Britannia. 

Also new double 40mm guns were made due to different uniforms. These were made from Hat WW1 bodies and Britannia metal heads. 

The lifeboats are German Revell. 

This conversion was also made easy because I already had a few USN aircraft from Altaya with lowered landing gear. Left to right, a SBD Dauntless, Grumman F6F Hellcat and Grumman TBF Avenger. I also have all of these in flight mode and ready for action. 

The Britannia USN crew. 

The boat is 80cm X 20cm and it will rest  on top of a cabin as there is no more place for it inside any of them...

Now some construction clues. First, the bow shape was made from 3mm heavy duty card. 

The general shape was achieved with three internal divisions glued inside the boat and the whole piece was put together with the help of a hot glue gun. 

The main deck is made out of the wood I use for my vehicles and figure bases. Its a type of plywood covered in one of the sides with a white acrylic layer giving it extra strenght. 

The general appearence before priming with two squares of card to simulate the elevators that lead to the main hangar deck. 

The bridge looked better after carving than it looks now after painting. I covered it with PVA glue before appying acrylic spray but some got through and made a mess out of it. 

The sea level and waves was made with  the glue gun . 

Thinking I was making the right decision I plastered to bridge and contributed even more to the scary look you can see in the finished model. Unfortunately I only noticed after painting. 

The stern spotlights were made from PSC A9 surplus tank parts and the AA bays were taken secretly from my 3 YO toy boxes with the firm but useless opposition of my wife and the complete ignorance of the victim!

All this was made only from stuff I had laying around as confinement and the subsequent laziness didn´t let me go to any DIY store. 

This model is usable by the British and US both in the Mediterranean and Pacific is support of land operations even if my wargaming can be called ... erratic, at least, one in each 10 years being my average. 

In the future I also want to make another Escort Carrier this time a Japanese one. These have some fascinating camouflages and will be another more than probable joy to build. 

Next: More French 1940. 

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Rapid Fire! Late War Eastern Front in 20mm - A few more Soviet vehicles moved by Steve Shann's " The Seelow Heights" wargames book


Under the attack of  a German artillery barrage, Russian tanks move to the front passing on the destroyed village of Sepp Maier while the artillery tows and ambulances look for shelter in the rearguard. 
The  'retreating' vehicles are 3d resin prints while the advancing tanks are AER and Fujimi.  

The 3d resin print Gaz ambulance is an amazing one piece model. The detail is all there and the friend who printed them for me just rescaled them to 1/72nd scale as they were originally made for his own collection of 28mm models. 

The white bonnets and red crosses adds some interest and they are my first ever Russian ambulances.

The white colour only became white on layer number 3 over the green base!

Look at the winch on the STZ-5 model! Again, a one piece model. How these things are done I have no idea.

Already painted the STZ-5 are really cute machines and I think they were the inspiration for the German RSO. I see them towing mostly the 76,2mm AA gun but they were used to pull a vast array of other weapons. 
The shell burst are Frontline Wargaming.

The AER T-34/85 have too large and long guns and were replaced by a piece of EverGreen tubing. 

Equipped with new guns they roll "Na Berlin!".

One more Fujimi model was added to the collection. Steve Shann mentions a total of 18x T-34/85 in one of his larger scenarios so now I`m only short by two models of this late T-34. 

His book is very good and packed with informations about one of the last big battles in Europe's History . I alreday have all Germans for any scenario but still miss those 2x T-34/85 and all the 6x  Sherman 76mm in Russian colours.  

The AER SU-100 is a straight from the box built. 

Next: A Royal Navy/USN escort carrier in 20mm 

Monday, 15 February 2021

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - Reinforcements for the GRDI

Three different group of French vehicles join at the intersection of Jérémy Mathieu farm. All of them belong to three different GRDIs, the reconnaissance groups of the infantry divisions. 

They are again resin prints and the quality of this technology can be see on the step of the Laffly. They are two parts only, body and turret and the level of detail is simply great. 

Only the command and radio vehicles got the usual crew and antenna as additions. Also the usual stowage was applied in all of them for more colour and difference. 

AMC Schneider P-16 of the 1e GRDI, part of the 5e DIM. 

More AMC Schneider P-16 AMC, this time belonging to the 6e GRDI, part of the 3e DIM of Stonne fame. 

I was after this one for a long time. Its one of the cutest machines of the French campaign of 1940, already outdated but still capable to put on a fight like some did at Haut-le- Wastia on the 15th May. 

6e GRDI in full markings. 

Laffly AMD-50 for the 4e GRDI, 15e DIM. These old WW1 veterans gained a new life in the 30s with a big overhaul  and a small group of  7 still fought the campaign of  1940. 

All the advantages of the resin prints can be seen here: no printing lines, raised detail and the incredible ability to place parts like steps and headlights directly embedded on the main parts. My advice to you is: choose your friends carefully, and decide yourself by those with resin printers :). 

Next: a few more late Soviet for the new Steve Shann's 'Seelow Heights'. 

Friday, 12 February 2021

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - The Lorraine 28s of the 4e BCP

The three battalions of the 4e BCP, the infantry component of the larger 1e DLM, meet at the Dutch village of Marco Van Basten on the way to the Breda manouver. Two battalion commanders are having a hot conversation about who uses the road first and sentences like 'Encoulé de ta race!' and 'Va te faire foutre, connard!' can be heard loudly by the ashamed lower ranks. 

The 4e Regiment the Chasseurs Portés was the only big unit to use the Lorraine 28 VDP as the mount for its soldiers. I was trying to have these models for quite a long time after doing the same with a full regiment of Laffly S20 TL for the 3e DLM.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine and amazing modeller bought a resin printer and this  was my chance to explore the poor guy on my behalf. He designed and printed these magnificent models of the Lorraine 28. They are packed with details and without any printing lines to be seen. These machines really look to be the future and I´m just sorry for not be younger otherwise I would do it myself and a good part of my collection would be made from resin printers for sure. But, alas, after 40 years of modelling, its too late. Even so the models that were hard for me to find, or nowadays taking much more time and beaurocracy from England due to Brexit, will be done in my friend's resin printer as he already has a list to make him company. 

One of the few additions I made was placing an Hat officer (the ones that are shouting each other in the first picture) on top of three of the vehicles. Later I regretted not placing ordinary Chasseurs for the sake of diversity. All of them can man a FM29 LMG as the two openings on the roof of the Lorraine 28 allowed exactly that. 

Here is one of them still glowing from the fight. 

All models carried the antenna sockets which were only used in three of the models  that became radio trucks, one per battalion. 

The normal VDP stayed like this.  

The first battalion was painted in more 1940 colours of green and brown and with blue card symbols. This is wrong as they should have the other colours also ( namely Red at least)  but like this the unit can be easily recognized. 

The second battalion got an older camouflage with four distinct colours and red card symbols.

The third battalion has a very similar camouflage to the second battalion with the difference being one of the ochre colours replaced by a lighter green. Also the Radio vehicle has some light blue separating the colours. The symbol painted is the wild boar of the 4e BCP.

The camouflage for one of the battalions was taken from a nice diorama by the Pascal Danjou in the Steel Masters magazine and its based on  the most famous photograph of the 4e BCP Lorraine 28. 

The same famous BW photograph was the basis for this camouflage and, with a lighter tone of green, was the basis for another battalion's camouflage. The drawing is taken from Hors-Série nº9 of Batailles magazine. 

Next: more resin printed French 1940