Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Fire&Fury ACW using Epic miniatures for the Western battles (part 4) - Last McLernand Brigades and a few extras for Shiloh

The Shiloh project continues with two more Union brigades, General Grant stand, one more artillery battery and the Indian Mounds. At the moment I managed to finish five Fire&Fury brigades total both Union and Confederate, which used five of the free sprues from the WI magazine. The starter set was open and the resin Meade was turned into Grant but more on that later. 

The commander of this regiment had his arm repositioned for more variety and longer shafts were inserted after drilling in the hands of the flag-bearers for the bigger 15mm Revo flags. 

Marsh and Raith's Brigades, respectively 8 and 10 stands for F&F. 

The gun barrel was also drilled and the crew and wheels switched sides. For that the metal ends of the wheels axis were cut and glued on the insertion hole. Like this the guns looks different when placed side by side with an original one.

In order to make this stand for general Grant, the Meade figure from the starter set was used. For that the bold head of Meade was scalped and replaced by a slouch hat and a waiting artilleryman had the bold head of Meade glued. General Grant was more known for its civilian cut uniform but at least at Shiloh it seems he used the more conventional uniform.

Another view of the man himself.

The flag-bearer with the army pennant is another conversion. I´ve been reading about both Kallistra and Peter Pig having 15mm ACW ranges that are close to the 13,5mm size of the Epic miniatures. But taking advantage of an order for 20mm vehicles from Lancer I also ordered some packs of 10mm command and cavalry ACW figures after looking at their site. The bodies of the cavalrymen looked quite compatible with the Epic range while the horses were on the small size, which was expectable. Like this I glued the torso of this flag-bearer to the horse of a 15mm Irregular Miniatures WW1 French cavalryman which are quite similar in size to the Epic ones. I'm thinking about the same procedure for more figures in command stands namely officers and cornets as nowadays ordering from England is troublesome to say the least. 

I found this smallhill top in a local pet shop in the aquarium section.

Somehow it looks like the Indian Mounds of Shiloh that can be found in the northeast part of the battlefield close to the Tennessee river.

Next: The "Colonial Shermans" for Seelow Heights 1945.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Rapid Fire! Operation Barbarossa and beyond in 20mm - One more group of early Russian armour and artillery


21st June, 1941. In Soviet occupied Poland at a place called Zbigniew Boniek Wiatrak (wiatrak means windmill) a large mixed group of artillery and tanks receives orders to prepare for  engaging a possible threat coming from German occupied Poland. 

All vehicles are MiniGeneral 3d prints and the 203mm B4 artillery pieces are Altaya diecasts. 

The MiniGeneral Voroshilovets got a canvas cover made of BlueBoard and small paper windows. 

The Altaya B4 howitzers were repainted to conform with the Voroshilovets tractors. The crew is mostly Italeri with a few Esci and Revell. 

Officer - Comrade girl! Can you please take your (beautiful by the way) ass out of here! And take  your Call Center with you! We need to deploy our guns here! - He said in a very angry tone. 

Radio girl - Wait a moment Comrade. I'm finishing my conversation with Comrade Stalin...

Officer - Suuuure... Comrade supreme.... I'll bring you a chair!

You need a battery of two of these guns at Corps level. I already have two from Irregular Miniatures but like this I can use this new battery for the second Corps of my Kursk OB. 

One of the T-34/40 got a crewman (Orion modern Russian Federal forces box), a radio antenna and a new turret hatch. All of them got the side boxes seen many times in the early versions of the T-34. 

The Orion figure is particularly good for the open hatch of the T-34. Originally he is pouring a drink from a glass but here he became intolerant to Vodka. Some of these PLA models have very distinctive printing lines and some Vallejo putty had to be placed and then sanded in order to hide them. 

The T-34/40 group with their distinctive low velocity L-11 76,2mm guns. The first group of six  T-34/40 I made years ago were conversions from the Matchbox model. This group's camouflage is in conformity with that older group. 

I added a second T-28 model 1934 to the collection and made this one a command version by adding a leftover antenna from a Diecast T-26, another Orion figure and an open hatch. 

The camouflage is close to another BPM model I have of the T-28 model 1934. The number 69 was added simply because the tank commander was in love, so I was told. 

The other two T-28s are the rare 1940 model of which only some 12 were made. 

I remember once reading an article in an old Military Modelling magazine about making a T-60 from plastic card. Never had the courage to do it! 

A sole T-38 with 20mm gun came as a gift from Pedro Pato, the MiniGeneral CEO (also designer, printer, seller, advertiser, etc). MiniGeneral has enough employees so no recruiting is necessary :)

Finally my first few BT-5 were added to the Barbarossa models. This group was very close to be transferred to the SCW as it was this exact model the most used by the Republicans. 

Present in most of today's pictures is this nice vac-formed Polish windmill from Remi which I found in the middle of some boxes and that was produced in the early nineties. Its an easy build and a most needed one as I have very few structures for the Eastern Front. 

Next: France 1940, Arnhem 44 or Epic ACW. 

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Rapid Fire! Normandy 44 in 20mm - One more Regimental command for the 21st Panzer Division

Close to the Bois de Anthony Martial the command group of the 192nd PzGrenadier Regiment is counting the models still missing to complete the 21st Panzer Division Normandy 1944. The report says:

 "No more models are necessary for the division as all units are Kampfwert I. The only thing it can still be done is the Nachschubtruppennhenhenhe 200 and such useless units for RapidFire." Then the report became more personnal: "Besides,  your wife (mine in this case) is not finding any fun in your relation with the mailman. Are you two having a case?".

This is how the report ended and it fell like a bomb!

Well, the prospect of having  made all possible models for my beloved Normandy 21st PD leaves me sad and distressed. It was a long journey of maybe more than 20 years interrupted of course by many other projects. But this one was special as there is no other division as the 21st PD in Normandy. 

These models are: figures- Simon´s Soldiers; Lorraine 38L - Minigeneral PLA print, Citröen CV11 - Resin print. The Lorraine 38L  follows the suggestion of Don McHugh and Alan Mcoubrey of these being used as radio vehicles. 

The figures of the command group are from two different sets of the excellent Simon´s Soldiers.

The Lorraine and trailer got supports for the canvas roofs and Simon´Soldiers figures. Pedro Pato designed this one without canvas covers which allows to put some nice figures inside. 

No the antenna is not a 20mm AA gun but is made of small pieces of broom stick attached with super glue and a tiny blob of GreenStuff. 

The CV11 is another great resin model from Mário Laranja. This group of vehicles got the same camouflage in dark yellow and green in contrast with the first group showed a few weeks ago painted in a more psychedelic style.

Here you can see Oberstleutnant Josef Rauch trying to convince a poor corporal to embark in the following mission:
"Look Gefreiter, the Mulberry harbours are here as you can see in this map, you just need to swim up to there and cut all cables connecting them. Quite easy!!"

Next: most probably more Russians for "Barbarossa and beyond". 

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Rapid Fire! Late War Eastern Front in 20mm - Last T-34/85 tanks and STZ-3 tows for Seelow Heights

End of April 1945, Germany. A group of STZ-3 tows heading for Seelow Heights  are escorted by a company of T-35/85. The danger awaits as the village of Rudi Voeller is not secured and some roaming Volksturm AT groups have been spotted in the region. 

All models are resin 3d prints made by my friend Mário Laranja (yes, the true Super Mario, the other one is fake). They all started in 28mm size for his own collection and they were resized to 1/72nd scale. 

The T-34/85 is a beauty with only two parts, turret and body. All 16 necessary T-34/85 for the biggest scenario (Diedersdorf 18 of April) are done and only 6 limbers and 6 Sherman M4A2 76mm are missing for the Seelow Heights Scenarios. But Super Mario is taking care of the issue. 

The level of detail can be seen here and its magnificent. 

The STZ- 3 is another one piece beauty. Only the drivers were added. The good thing about Russian tows is that most the more important ones, STZ-3, STZ-5, Voroshilovets and Komsomolets started to be built before the war and can be used them up the end of the conflict. 

 Well, true to the socialist doctrine its time for the tractors to escort the T-34/85 for the last part of the journey. 

Next: Maybe more Russian WW2, Normandy 44, Market Garden, France 1940 or even Epic ACW. 

Saturday, 13 March 2021

Fire&Fury ACW using Epic miniatures for the Western battles (part 3) - The gunboats of Shiloh

Grant itself recognized the great help given by USS Tyler and USS Lexington during the battle of Shiloh namely by helping the repulse of the Confederates that tried to envelop the last positions of the Union left on the first day of the battle. That help continued during the night, this time not causing many casualties but preventing the enemy from sleep!
These two boats were converted commercial boats and fought all along the war in many battles and ended up with many scars. 

The construction of the miniatures was quite easy. I used two wooden toys as the base and built the upper parts from blue board. Small parts of card were added later as well as plastic chimneys and cardboard roofs. The masts were pieces of metal waiting for years to become useful. 

The gun ports had small pieces of plastic tubing to simulate the guns.

USS Tyler (sort of). 

USS Lexington. This one was troublesome as at first I could not see two chimneys and no covered deck and she was built, as you can see in the second picture of the post,  filled with mistakes. A few days later, thanks to information from ACW buffs, those mistakes were somehow corrected. 

At this time thousands of my faithful followers are asking "Why is this post Epic?" and Warlord is preparing its dozen layers to sue me. But cool down, the sailors are converted Epic plastic infantry, so I´m safe!

The weapons and bedrolls were carved out first, then kepis and slouch hats were trimmed and later squashed after heating with fire. A flag post was also converted to a ram. The result is far from good and I managed to find some great brands with 10mm and 15mm figures for this exact situation but all US based and taking too much time to arrive here. Besides the "Epic" flavour would be lost :)

Bird view of the USS Tyler. These models generally always end up in the fatty side as I want to compromise between the general shape, some details and a smaller size than scale. The same happened to the 20mm aircraft carrier I showed you a few weeks ago and many other structures made all along the years. 

Bird view of the USS Lexington. The painting of these boats is very scruffy due to the haste I have all the time and also to the hot glue used to put together all parts. This glue leaves plenty of bumps everywhere but its an easy way to attach different materials. The blue board was covered with PVA glue and then all joints got a small stream of superglue to strengthen the final result. Don´t forget to paste your blue board with PVA otherwise you will get a smaller scale thing in the end.  

A big Thank You to the FB ACW buffs that gave me precious information in particular to Richard Schwab and Mike Hinton this time and also Brad Butkovich for some of my future projects. 

Next: More Russians for Seelow Heights.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - Finishing the RATT

Close to the Coline d'Éric Cantona the Artillery Regiment (RATT) of a DLM prepares a warm reception to the advancing Germans. In the meantime an Unic P107 BU broke down and  is being towed by a Somua MCG 5. Everything is being closely controlled by two rare command Renault YS in the typical French Methodical Battle doctrine. 
I used a new cellphone but some of these pictures became blurry as I still need to check the device for better results. 

The 75mm guns are MiniGeneral 3D prints with HAT wheels and Simon's Soldiers crew. The limber is Irregular Miniatures with new doors and ammunition. 

The towing bar of the Irregular Miniatures limber was changed to something close to the original. 

The Simon's Soldiers French artillerymen are beautiful figures and for more poses I mixed several references. 

The cavalry Renault YS and the Artillery Renault YS are ShellHole scenics. The camouflage schemes were taken from the profiles of the Hors-Série Nº5 of Batailles magazine. 

My friend Mário Laranja designed and printed for me the nine Unic P107 BU you see in the first picture, the artillery variant of the P107.  Like this all three battalions of the RATT have their tows (six will pull the 75mm guns and three other the 105mm guns). They came out very nicely as usual with lots of detail. This camouflage was taken from Pascal Danjou fantastic models in the Minitracks magazine. 

This other simple painting scheme was taken from a very nice model made by Olivier Chabanne. 

The last camouflage is another from Pascal Danjou. 

The level of detail of these resin models is very good, the opposite of the photographer's quality. The model comes in one piece, only the canvas cover and steering wheel are separate. 

The original resin 3D print of the P107 BU in all its grace minus canvas cover. 

Another recovery Somua MGG 5 was added to the BCCs. This one is a MiniGeneral 3D PLA print with added crane and details.  

The driver is Hat from the French artillery set. 

Next: Epic ACW or Seelow Heights.