Thursday, 16 September 2021

Rapid Fire! Western Desert 1940-43 in 20mm - Rehearsal for another of Benito´s anniversary


This time out of Benghazi, at Ras-al-Sand-Green-Board, the Italian troops that will parade on the 29th of July are rehearsing their task far from the eyes of spectators...and spies. The black line dividing the two boards is obviously an irrigation ditch (eh,eh). 

When building and painting Desert Italians I try do as many as I can at the same time in order to catch some other armies that are far more numerous in the collection. This time two infantry battalions got a second life with some repainting (they were already painted for years and inside some old boxes but with the uniform color painted both on the helmet and puttees which was wrong) and the addition of the support weapons. Also some artillery and a few more tanks were added. Like this the Ariete division is not far from concluded. 

The second battalion of the tank Regiment is done with the third starting with the two models from the far left. The models are 3d PLA prints from MiniGeneral and Italeri double kits. 

The crew figures came from MBM Netherlands and very pretty they are. 

The MiniGeneral model is a late M13/40 as you can see from the cut down mudguards.

Generally I don´t bother opening the hatchesIn order to place figures. Simply new doors were made from plastic sheet and the figure was cut down to size. 

The M13-40 from Italeri is in fact a M14-41 as it has the perpendicular bars in the engine grill and the mud cleaner on the drive sprocket. With two antennas it becomes the Centro Radio variant used by command tanks.

These Fiat Dovunque 35 SP´s are MiniGeneral and all will go to the Bersaglieri regiment. The two to the left have Waterloo1815 47mm Elefantino guns from the Folgore artillery box. The ones to the right are original models with the Breda 20mm AA gun. 

The crews of the Elefantinos are converted French from Hat with Revell US Marine heads and GreenStuff for the plumes. The ammo box in the back of the figures was erased or  heated for it to look like a water canteen.

The Breda AA guns have firers converted from a number of parts until they sit properly (with the help of my trusty lighter). The ammunition supplier is a Waterloo1815 conversion and the driver is MBM. 

The 100/17 guns (ex Austrian from WW1) are Hat and they are an important asset of the infantry division. 

I tried to make new rubber wheels for them but left the idea very early due to its complexity. Besides these old wheels were also used and transported with the help of the Carellos Elasticos. 

Here you can see the variety of figures used to crew the 100mm guns: Esci, Hat and even some Japanese Atlantic legs on the top right Esci figure which also got a Waterloo1815 Carcano rifle. These 100mm gun stands are two sheets of cardboard glued together with PVA as I was lazy to cut them from wood. In the end I spread cheap super glue all over to give the base extra resistance, the trick Mário Laranja used in its Carentan houses. 

The second 149mm gun was added to the Corps Heavy Artillery Group.

The model is Italeri and probably ranks among the simplest models ever to be placed inside a box with the gun having just nine parts. The figures are outstanding and you can have plenty of extras from the three Italian artillery boxes made by Italeri (this one, the 90mm gun and the 3RO SP). 

An example of what you can do with the Italeri extras are command groups like this one. The Radio is a scratch built RF3C model. 

A piece of 3mm hard stryrene was used for the bulk of the radio and a piece of plastic broom bristle was folded for the antenna. 

The riflemen of the two infantry battalions were painted for years and stored in boxes. This time Grey Green was painted in puttees and helmets. A few helmets also got some ochre. All other support weapons and groups were made in the last few days as you can see from the different color of the uniform. I settled with Vallejo Desert Yellow for Italian uniforms and Citadel Balor Brown for vehicles. 

The Elefantino guns are Waterloo1815 with converted Esci Alpini and officer from the gun box with trimmed trousers in order to look like infantry boots (originally this figure had paratrooper´s trousers).

The RF1 man-pack radio in a command stand of a battalion. The radioman is Esci and the officer is Waterloo1815.

The 45mm Brixia mortar is a contraption made of multiple plastic parts with converted Esci figures. 

My Bersaglieri battalions already have the Breda as MMG so I scratch-built these old Fiat-Revelli  MMG´s from the Revell WW1 Germans also using the figures from this set. 

The Solothurn 20mm AT rifle was also made from various bits of plastic. 

The Ariete is almost finished but still missing are some 8 M13-40, heavy prime movers for the 149mm guns, 3 ton Fiats and the 508 'Coloniales' which means  that this division still needs a few posts to be finished. 

Next: a few US additions for Europe 43/45. 


  1. Fantastico mate, you have made those figures come alive!


    1. Thanks Matt. Cutting, twisting and burning these plastic figures makes them different.

  2. Super job! Thanks for the great ideas and inspiration.
    MBM Models website is here:
    Minigeneral website is here:

  3. Great work there as always JP:)

  4. Thanks Steve. Making WW2 italians is a true pleasure.

  5. I can only follow the other comments. Great conversions and an eye for good poses. I need to increase my Italians too:-)

    From where are the 3D printed Trucks?

    1. Thanks Uwe. The trucks are Minigeneral by sirocco. You can find them at Etsy.

    2. Hi Joao,

      thanks for the tip. I will check, what they have to offer:-)