Sunday 24 September 2023

Able Archer/ RFR rules (?) - Russian invasion of Ukraine 2022 in 20mm (part 12) - The best heavy metal from both sides arrives

In the last few months the best armored machines from both sides - Russia and Ukraine/NATO- started to show on the battlefield: the Russians introduced the T-90M  in increasing numbers, as they have the industrial capability to do so, and the Ukrainians received from Germany and Portugal 21 Leopard 2A6 taken from the stocks of each armed forces. Excluded here are the Leopard 2A4 and the Swedish Strv122. 

The T-90M is the state of the art of the Russian tanks (not counting the T-14 Armata, very expensive and with problem in ist production). Its based on the T-90 series, derivative of the T-72 series, but solving an old issue with the automatic loader for its 125mm rounds by displacing the ammo store and carousel to the back as many of the western designs did, and introducing newer armour and engine, a remote-controlled HMG and other details like a new telescopic mast and so on. 

The models are Modelcollect (left) and 4D quick builds (the two to the right). Years ago the way to have contemporary Russian vehicles in 1/72nd scale was to buy Modelcollect which at 25 euros each was a good way to go bankrupt, specially when you want always big units. The 4D models, ordered through Aliexpress cost around 3 (!) euros each and don't owe much to the Modelcollect as a finished product. If you take pleasure of the model building, then you are at ease with the Modelcollect series, filled with parts that fit marvelously, but, if you want a quick (and cheap) build still with detail then you go 4D, which has nowadays the same quality as PSC, Armourfast and alike. 
When first showed up, 4D was intended for kids to play with some 20 or so models from WW2 and modern periods, all with the same ugly wheels in both 1/87ish and 1/72 scale. I bought a big pack with all of them but could only use some 3-4 and these only after placing new wheels and tracks. Well, for around 1 euro each it was not a problem and in fact I'm around a AS-90 SPG from 4D which turned out nicely - after new wheels and tracks, of course!

The German Leopard 2A6 is considered one of the best tanks in the world surpassing all opposition - east and west - in many events and military shows. Even so, some 16 (Oryx) to 31 (Weeb Union) Leopards 2, all variants combined were already put out of action. This variant was apparently concentrated on the 47th Mechanized Brigade.  

The models are Altaya die-casts of the Leopard 2A5, with the shorter gun. In order to make the gun larger, up to the A6 variant size, an extra piece of EverGreen styrene was added and everything was disguised with GreenStuff in the form of camouflage netting. I did the same to my Portuguese Leopard 2A6´s of the Brigada Mecanizada and to my nowadays Germans. The camouflage was left as it was and the only additions were the stencilled crosses and the usual antenna and stowage.  

Finally some Marders for the 82nd Airborne Brigade joined the group. In fact only the one to the left is the correct variant for Ukraine, the Marder 1A3. Both models are die-casts. The colour applied on the Marder fleet by the Germans recently seems to be a plain medium green and not this NATO camouflage, but this older scheme was also spotted in Ukraine in some units. 

Next: More Russo-Ukraine war.