Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Rapid Fire! Late War eastern Front in 20mm - Shermans and limbers for Seelow Heights.

Germany, mid April 1945 ( I like these dramatic and apparently serious entries). After leaving Kustrin, the "Emchas" (Russian for M4) of the Soviet 1st Mechanized Corps enter the small village of Michael Ballack and head for the Seelow Heights, the last big obstacle before getting to the final prize of the war, Berlin. 

With this post I finish all necessary models, Soviet and German, that are necessary to play any of the Steve Shann's Seelow Heights scenarios. This build started years before the book's release but the fine work of Steve Shaan speeded the project. Completing all models for a certain period is always a bit nostalgic for me as I enjoy a lot making big units that can illustrate what I read about military history. But, well, this will happen hopefully with most of my modelling periods. As the same thing is happening with a number of different projects, WW2 and others, I'm really considering to start playing some solo games, as many of us are doing during these confinement days. Besides my hands need a bit of rest in order to avoid more physiotherapy like the one I had to do last year due to a guy called Quervain who made up this syndrome. 

The models above are once more fantastic resin prints from my friend Mário Laranja (aka Super Mario). Both the Shermans and the limbers were made on my request while the soft-skinned vehicles are his own 28mm resized into 1/72nd scale. 

From left to right, the Gaz M1 "Emka", the Gaz M415 and the Gaz 67, all one-piece prints. 

The "Emkas" and the Gaz 67 will be used by the command of infantry units while the Gaz M415 will tow 45mm guns or carry 120mm mortars in the mechanized units.

The limbers are once again one-piece printed beauties filled with detail. 

The railing is a clear demonstration of the quality of these models. Years ago I scratchbuilt  a number of them to tow the guns of a LFD in Normandy but these are incomparably better.

The horses came from several plastic brands and different periods. These ones are Italeri Napoleonic and the figures are Esci and Revell Cossacks with new heads. 

For the other five limbers I used 30YW and  7YW Revell artillery horses. The Soviet harness for these horses was a bit more simple in WW2 but even so I think these play well its part. The horsemen are Atlantic and Esci torsos with GreenStuff arms and legs. In the end I always glue the boots to the legs while the GreenStuff is still soft. 

For the harness electric wire and Evergreen plastic tubing was used. 

The lot ready to tow the 45mm guns and the 76,2mm IG. 

Another look at some of the limbers. Rifles were glued to the back of the cavalrymen and some arms holding the PPSH were left without cutting as you can see in the rider to the font right. 

The painted stand with the Napoleonic horses. 

Now for the Shermans. They are the M4A2(W) with 76mm gun. Half of them were printed with the commander's hatch open. 

The headlight are printed with all the rest and caused Mário some headaches on its design but lots of joy to me when I saw them, clearly compensating my friend's hard work. 

The model has 3 parts, hull and tracks, turret and Browning 12,7mm Mg. 

The work of a Lusitanian artist! 

Tracks and inner wheels were not forgotten. 

By looking at the o5m6 blog I understood what for are the small handlings in the back of the T23 turret. They were designed to carry the dismounted turret Browning and I built some half a dozen Revell Sherman M4A1 76mm for my US tank force without realizing that. 

More Orion modern tank men were used as tank commanders.

Before the arrival of this last parcel from my friend I toyed with a conversion for a M4A2 you can see to the right compared to a resin printed version on the left. I followed Master Richard orders on the Bavarian Blue book on how to make one by mating the old Hasegawa and Esci kits. 

The hull and turret are Hasegawa and the wheels are from an Esci M-12 given to me by JF or JMM, my wargaming friends from Porto.

I kept the tracks of the Hasegawa models as they are wider and pretend to look  like the "duckbill" end connectors.

A new loader's hatch was made and the Mg placed a bit higher. 

All side mudguards were carved out and sanded. I kept the gun barrel muffler on this one as it was also used by the Soviets. 

The full fleet of Soviet M4A2 76mm. Only 8 are necessary for the scenario that uses the biggest number of them (Bottleneck at Herzhorn, 19 April), the 9th being the plastic conversion that I couldn't resist on doing. Of course plenty other actions were fought with this model of the Sherman and that includes against Japan in August 1945. 

The lower engine hatch is also there as well as all possible details. 

How these things are printed to such a detail I have no idea. But really I don't care :) 

Only additions are the obvious antenna and some rear stowage, something that the Soviets don't seem to have used to a big extent on its Shermans, and generally on its tanks. One interesting fact about the turret Mgs is that it looks that one of the two batches of M4A2 76mm Lend-lease didn´t carry them. This and many other interesting facts can be read in this very good article which includes an interview with Dmitryi Loza, hero of USSR and officer of "Emchas".  


Next: probably some M32 recovery vehicles for the US Late War tanks. 


  1. Superb. I wonder if your friend could print some 15mm French or German cars and trucks? Normandy and Berlin.

    I love 76mm Shermans. We don't see them often enough on wargame tables.

  2. Thanks. His problem is sending stuff outside EU which is something he will not do due to nowadays demands.

  3. Absolutely superb models and fantastic brushwork.
    I am very interested in the 3d printing side now too.

    1. Thanks Duc. Painting such detailed models becomes easy.

  4. Wonderful as ever. I just love those limbers!
    Regards, James

    1. Thanks James. They are my
      favourites too and I've been looking for them for quite a long time.

  5. Superb work once again, by both your friend and of course yourself:). I hope you get some solo games in so we can see these toys on the table!

  6. Wow fabulous João, those limbers are fabulous! Some great detail your friend is getting on those vehicles I must say.


  7. Thanks Matt. Yes the guy is incredible and I have no Idea how he does it.

  8. Brilliant work, especially the limbers

  9. Thanks Will. Our style of stuff, right?