Monday, 30 August 2021

Rapid Fire! Sicily 1943 in 20mm - The last parts of the LPD Herman Göring


On the heights of Gela, right on top of the twin mountains of Monica Belluchi, the II and III artillery battalions of the LFD Herman Göring artillery regiment prepare to support the attack of the mobile forces. Also close by some IG75mm lend some hitting power to the attack.  

What was still missing in this division were a pair of Marder II, one to each of the infantry regiments; four IG75, one to each of the three infantry battalions and one to the reconnaissance battalion; one infantry battalions and two battalions of 15cm sFH18  (maybe still needing a pair of them in the future). 

The Marder II (PzII chassis) were part of the AT assets of both PzGrenadier regiments. These models are MiniGeneral 3d PLA prints. 

The crew came from PSC, Simon Soldiers and Esci.

Plenty of stowage had to be added as these MiniGeneral prints are already a bit old and the printing lines are visible even after spraying several coats of varnish. But dimensions are very good and a nice result can be achieved with some patience. 

Now for the First To Fight 15cm sFH 18. They are the horse towed version (the only ones FtF released up to now) and some work had to be dedicated to turn it into the Hanomag towed version. That passed into filling with Milliput the holes of the wheels with that were drilled after drying.

Then some cut out pieces of Evergreen plastic card were rolled around each wheel for it to look like a rubber tire. 

In the end the result is ok (ok if you discount the fact that the vehicle towed wheels only had 8 holes instead of 9, but that is a secret between you and me). 

The artillery crews are also FtF with a few converted Esci in the middle. All of them had baggier trousers added with GreenStuff. 

The IG18s are MiniGeneral with FtF, PSC and Hasegawa crews. 

Both crews of the 15cm sFH and 75mm IG18 have painting schemes (no SS camouflaged smocks) that allows them to blend with the Afrika Korps as all these models were still absent in the mighty DAK. They have some particular insignia of the HG division as the cuff titles but they are too small to be seen from 1 meter distance. 

The infantry is coming from all sorts of plastic brands as usual - Airfix, Esci, Atlantic, Revell, Matchbox, FtF -  and all of them got baggier trousers with the help of GreenStuff. 

The Esci MG34 firers got a bipod for them to rest their tired arms. They were in this position for 30 years or so which must have not been easy!

An HG infantry company with many brands mixed in. 

The heavy weapons company is a full FtF company with a few Revell and Esci figures in the MG34 stands. 

The radio man is a conversion from the tripod MG34 firer of the DAK Revell. 

Also the officer is the famous Airfix DAK officer with legs from Revell. 

A few more stands for the engineers of the HG. Airfix and Esci figures. 

Like this I can consider the Luftwaffe Panzer Division Herman Göring for Sicily complete. In the last few months I added the PzIII M, infantry, some missing Stug, Marder II and artillery to a list of vehicles that were not collected thinking of this big unit particularly, like Pz IV Gs, 251Cs, 105 lFH, etc that will have to fit in order not to make another long list of models just because of minor details. 
What I think is essential to portray the LFD HG is the PzGrenadier infantry, due to their SS smocks mixed with other desert pieces of uniform and equipment and the battalion of PzIII M, due to the absent chassis skirts. All the rest can be and will be recruited from other fronts, namely the Western Desert and even Normandy, which is the place from where my PzIVs, Hanomags, Opel Blitz and Bisons will come just to name a few.  

Next: probably more Italians for the desert. 

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Rapid Fire! France 1940 in 20mm - 1st British AD almost complete

The 1st Rifles Motor Battalion and some armour takes control of the village of Just Fontaine, not far from Huppy, where the 1st AD will find glory but also defeat. In the next parcel from Pedro Pato the 1st AD will be complete as only 9 vehicles are still missing for the six tank battalions of the division. 

By having a more careful look at the stash I found the Atlantic 'Fusiliers' (the blue ones to the left) which in fact by not carrying the hoe shovel on the back become ideal 1940/BEF infantry. Only the gas mask was applied in all of them and made from Milliput. 

Also some Esci infantry saw the hoe shovel carved out. 

This battalion became a mixture of Atlantic, Esci, Airfix, Emhar and Hat. 

The command group had mostly figures from the two boxes that HAT made for British infantry (2' and 3' mortars stands), the Boys AT stand are converted Esci figures with a MiniGeneral 3d printed AT rifle, and the command stand has Emhar and Esci officers and a Hat radioman. 

A typical Motor company made from Atlantic, Esci and HAT figures. 

The Cruiser A13 Mark IIs are MiniGeneral 3d prints in PLA. They have different mantlets in this group, with the ones with the biggest becoming the Mark II A version. 

One last A10 MkIA CS missing joined the Division here in the colors of the 5th RTR. For some time by now I´m using 2/3 coats of clear varnish before priming in order to disguise the printing lines on the PLA models. 

A group of MiniGeneral Dingoes were also added, one for the division´s command and two other for the command of each of the Armoured Brigades. The figures seating on top of the hatch are HAT (they simply didn't fit inside) . 

A resin printed Austin Ruby by Mário Laranja joined the BEF. I could only find evidence of the cabriolet version in France 1940 (there is famous picture of one abandoned at Dunkirk) and not this one. In fact I´m not sure of the military use of the fully enclosed Ruby. Nevertheless this was an offer and it had to fit somewhere. How those three to the left will fit inside the Ruby that is a different matter, and the driver is already seating!

Next: whether Italians for the desert, HG Germans, Soviets for Dubno or 1940 French. 

Monday, 9 August 2021

Rapid Fire! 20mm Carentan in pictures


Well, this was Christmas in August. Last week Mário Laranja came up to Coimbra with 4 big boxes crammed with this beautiful Carentan City in 20mm. In fact when visiting him in Algarve a few years ago I saw most of these houses already built and it was the Uauu! effect. Recently Mário quit the smaller scales and concentrated his modelling and wargaming in the 28mm size. And that was a clever move as his Carentan ended up, to my surprise,  with me. My luck with friends that quit 20mm and give me all their 20mm collections apparently continues and I can only hope for more to come!

Carentan was the place of some vicious fighting between the German 6.FJ Reg. and the 101st US Airborne division on the second week of June, 1944. Of course while looking or thinking about Carentan one can´t forget the incredible work the series Band of Brothers made on the issue even with some imprecision here and there namely about the movements of Easy company, 506 PIR, while approaching and inside the city. Even so a big piece of action capturing very well the feeling of war. 

I got all 18 buildings and other structures like this, primed grey and with lift top roofs. So my only work was painting them. The level of detail on the structures was so good that some simple dry brush techniques made most of the work. 

All buildings and structures are made in card and then (clever trick), Mário let cyanoacrylate run all over ALL surfaces spreading the super glue with the tip of the jar or with the brush when included. This gave the structures the consistency and strength of hard plastic or resin. 

The interior of some of the building had no other floors but others did. I glued the upper floors when they existed as there are enough space to place hundreds of figures in all these houses. 

Here you can see the way Mário made the roof's interiors namely the always intricate dormers.

As said before my work was simply painting the lot. As you can see in this roof some dry brushing was applied in two tones in each surface. 

This is a bombed house. All masonry and rubble is again card, 'washed' in cyanoacrylate glue. 

Carentan was not destroyed in the fighting of the 2nd week of June but received plenty of damage. 

This arch gives a beautiful detail to this street. 

The House of the Arches is famous in the Band of Brothers episode on Carentan and it was originally a commercial area. 

The colours of the wood work, gutters and other details was just based on my perceptions of the Normandy buildings and the work of others from the Web. 

This is Carentan´s milk factory (the only factory of Carentan) with a nice place for the Germans to place a 20mm AA gun. 

The streets are made of small sections. Mário made a few shapes in card and they served as the matrix for duplicates in resin. 

This big house on the back of the famous Cafe de Normandie has a very large yard were even some vehicles can be parked. 

The telephone poles were made out of barbecue sticks and some street sections have bomb craters.

Here you can see two of the most famous buildings of Carentan, the Cafe de Normandie (left) and the Desire Ingouf restaurant (bottom right). Nowadays the Cafe de Normandie is the Bar du Stade, unfortunatly also closed maybe due to this damn pandemics. Desire Ingouf became famous with a picture of some of the paratroopers of the 101st Airborne division resting by it and some others passing by in a captured Kubelwagen. 

Mário Laranja used for this setting the Call of Duty map and game on Carentan. As its a video game its not accurate, missing all action and buildings around the train station and the Place de la République. Even so I think its an impressive lay out and a pleasure to paint. 

For more Carentan there is the Matakishi's Tea House lovely site you can visit here:

Next: Im thinking about dedicating a bit of time to restore my very old Napoleonic paper models. 

Rapid Fire! 20mm Carentan in video

This is a gift from my friend Mário Laranja and represents Carentan, the famous battle place between the German 6. FJ Reg. and the 101st US Airborne. All buildings are made in card and then were 'washed' with super glue making them very tough models. My only work was painting as they arrived black primed, a small participation of 3 or 4 days in a project that took months for Mário Laranja to finish. Fortunately, Mário became a 28mm modeller and wargamer (he has several of these houses in his colection in this bigger scale) and so this wonderful models ended up to my surprise in my collection.

Thursday, 5 August 2021

Rapid Fire in 20mm! Filling gaps in WW2 - part 4

One more episode of this series that already became your favorite for sure. This time a few details and numbers for the allies, both British and Soviet. Also a few more German dead markers for my next game that will have plenty of infantry.

Super Mário offered me this Gaz AAA. It has the rear part with a big miss print so something else had to be done. 

In Shann´s Seelow Heights book the command version of the Gaz AAA shows up from several perspectives. Command vehicles are the typical vehicles for this series that is concentrating on small details, sometimes unnecessary ones. 

The only change is the big box at the rear made from plastic card and Milliput. 

The usual stowage and boxes were also added, specially on the roof top which also helped to disguise some flaws. 

In the end you get a reasonable Soviet command vehicle which would´t be difficult as the base resin print is a beauty. 

While looking to the stash I remembered mating the chassis of an early surplus MiniGeneral PLA print Polish 7tp with a Minairons leftover  T-26 turret in order to get one more complete T-26 for Barbarossa. The holes of the twin turrets were filed with hot glue and one of them was drilled for the turret to swirl around.

A few boxes and stowage were added and the model was built. 

This is an easy conversion as the Vickers 6 ton tank is the base for both the 7tp and the T-26 tanks

Another conversion of the week was this pair of M7 priests in British service. They have the wading system used on D-day and will be used in Don McHugh's latest RF scenario, Breakthrough to Lion-sur-Mer. The models are Matchbox and Fujimi but many parts were interchanged. The white superstructure was made from plastic card and the crew are the original figures with Valiant British heads. 

Both are 1/76th scale and even if slightly different ( the Fujimi model is the B1 version) the added superstructure helps to unify them. 

Can't say this picture is an original, right, Don? 

Two more fighters were added to the Barbarossa VVS, namely these die-cast Mig-3 from Luppa. I still didn´t have any of this important model which was one of the more numerous in the 1941 summer. 

Finally, a few more German casualty markers were added. The figure are hard plastic Hasegawa with added arms in GreenStuff. 

The poses themselves are initially Mg-42 and Mauser firers but as many have the face down they became reasonable casualty markers. 

The blood stains are pretty convincing as they come from a GW reference called 'Blood for the Blood God'... what else can you ask?...

Next: Carentan in 20mm. One of the best pieces of modelling I've seen in my life made by Super Mário and offered to me a few days ago.