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1:1200 ships

A friend of mine recently posted pictures of a model of Bismarck that he had recently completed and I immediately browsed through the files here so as to share pictures some of my own smaller models with him. It turns out that although I have some pictures of the Bismarck and others from the battle of the Denmark Strait campaign in (Big Ship) action, the only ship I had posted individually was the Vittorio Veneto …

P.B.Eye-Candy Fleet Action: Bismarck and Scharnhorst engage Hood and Suffolk
P.B.Eye-Candy Profile: 1:1200 Vittorio Veneto from Revell

So this post is a gratuitous corrective post. It reminds me that I have a lot of work to do on the rules and on the collection – but it also puts up some more pictures.

The War for the North Atlantic

1:1200 Airfix and Revell: the pride of the Kriegsmarine …
Bismarck
Scharnhorst
Prinz Eugen

The inspiration for taking these pictures was my friend’s Bismarck, so mostly I took a lot of pictures of the Kriegsmarine’s capital ships … but, hunting them down, of course, would have been the Royal Navy …

KGV, POW, Ark Royal, Hood, Suffolk and one of several destroyers
P.B.Eye-Candy: the search for Bismarck … long range missions, and Swordfish from Ark Royal
P.B.Eye-Candy: eager to close the range, Hood hunts down Bismarck

Merry Christmas everyone. An unusual year. And I’ve been up to something unusual (for this blog, anyway) over the evenings leading up to the 25th – but which I thought you might enjoy.

My friend’s daughter recently lost her grandfather, who had been an enthusiastic warplane buff and modeller, though latterly affected by old age. She was able to retrieve some of his models which she wanted to keep for sentimental reasons – the only problem being that they were broken (so she wasn’t sure what to do with them). A job for Uncle Phil, then … and I determined to get them ready by Christmas (so, a gift of time and attention for her, rather than something off Amazon!)

The box contained a couple of WW2 biplanes and a more recent helicopter. In varying states of repair (but all had had their wheels broken off, and not all the wheels were in the box). The Kaman Seasprite looked the bigger challenge as I was going to have to find or fabricate one of the main rotor blades and the entire rear rotor. As it happened, that significantly underestimated the problems I would have with the Stranraer’s upper wing.

Anyway, despite a very long night or two, I got them done, and I think they ended up looking very tidy. Pretty much back to their former best, so the (surprise) box opening on Christmas Day was a magical moment (a wave of emotion that easily justified the time that had been taken).

FAIREY SWORDFISH (1/72)

This was the easiest of the three. Other than fixing some loose wing parts and struts, all I had to do was fabricate a missing wheel and fix both wheels on. Miliput to the rescue. I was intending to make a press mould but the wheels on the Stringbag are so basic I was able to make one freehand.

Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber

The refurbished Swordfish model.

A favourite of mine. Hero of the attack on the Italian fleet at Taranto, Swordfish attacks also helped cripple the Bismarck in the struggle for the North Atlantic shipping lanes.

SUPERMARINE STRANRAER (1/72)

Look at the rigging on that! Unfortunately the broken off top wing and struts had warped, and the tangle of attached rigging prevented an ‘in one’ reassembly (I had to work my way out from the centre, section by section with elastic bands to give the glue a chance to hold the wing in line). This one also had a missing wheel and a broken propeller.

This model also had snapped machinegun barrels, so I had to drill them out and replace them with brass wire.

The floats proved particularly tricky, as the plastic was aged and brittle. It didn’t want to be glued, and the compression necessary to achieve the bond snapped the struts.

Although I do frequently use plastic kits for vehicles, I have long advocated the ‘metal parts for guns and fittings approach’ and shake my head at the current fashion for hard plastic figures. So it was ironic for me to be dealing with precisely the issues I have warned others about with ageing hard plastics. Ah well. I got there in the end.

I have to say that, although the crews apparently disliked it, as a plane of its era, the Stranraer is a very cool machine.

Supermarine Stranraer

SEASPRITE ASW HELICOPTER (1/48)

The big problem with the Seasprite was the missing rotor blades. In the end, I cut the missing main rotor blade from a scrap plastic takeaway box. It took 2 layers to get the thickness, but I wanted that soft plastic to match the droopiness of the other blades (which were themselves made of a softer plastic than the rest of the model).

I know that it is a bit ‘rough and ready’ (it’s not an easy material for fine modelling) but you have to get quite close up to see that one of the four blades is a hand cut replacement rather than a moulded component from the kit.

So, all in all, a different project for Christmas and, it turned out, a job well done.

By my standards, these were quite big models to work on, and made out of my least favourite material. They look great, but it reminds me that I do need to get back to the (mostly metal, 1/100) German and Russian horsedrawn project. And some wargaming.

2021 beckons.

White-Laffly AMD50

November’s output on 20th Cent. wargames projects hasn’t been that photogenic – but I thought you might like the painted version of that Laffly armoured car Butlers released last month.

I’ve added a crewman (a Peter Pig French motorised crewman cut at the waist) and a mast aerial (there probably should be 2 – a further one on the front) otherwise it’s fresh out of the pack.

Butler’s Printed Models: 15mm Scale White-Laffly AMD 50 armoured car

With the naked eye, the printing striations don’t really show up at all. I will probably replace the guns with metal Piggie ones in due course – but for now, I wanted to make it as supplied.

Regards the aerial, the bedframe types were more common (or none at all) but some photos do seem to show mast types …

Yesthatphil’s 1:100 White-Laffly AMD50

Painted with my usual mix of enamels, acrylics and inks. All I would say is be careful of the direction when you dry brush in order not to accentuate the printing ridges.

One more picture from my researches to end the post. It doesn’t really help modelling or painting the AMD50 but it has an airship (in 1930s Morocco!) in the background (so it automatically makes the cut!)

More on the horsedrawn projects next month.

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(restored museum exhibit flak cart in Normandy)

During October I have been putting in small blocks of work on the horsedrawn support echelon units for 198 ID … I expect to complete these next month but can’t resist a preview (below)

But there have been distractions

NEW ACCESSIONS

First amongst which would be a new release from Butlers Printed Models … the earlier (AMD 50) version of the Laffly armoured car:

These were much used in the North African colonies under the Vichy regime so will be very popular with collectors with French armies.

The characteristic striations from the printing process are not too bad, the guns are much better than with some of the earlier BPM releases (so too the wheels) and the size looks spot on. Here’s how it compares:

The AMD 50 and AMD 80 were just about the same size, and the model checks out very clse to the optimal 1:100. And (see photos) matches very well with the Old Glory/Command Decision AMD 80 which was previously the only option for this generation of French armoured cars.

As I was ordering from Butlers, I also picked up one of the very neat little Italian Dovunque trucks …

… and some jerry cans.

I think the truck speaks for itself, and the comments about the sharp detail on the wheels etc. apply. The Jerrycans are slightly smaller than the Peter Pig ones, I think (closer to the Skytrex/CD stowage) but I think they will look good (and are £1 for a pack of 10, which is hard to beat).

All good.

Horsedrawn WiP …

I think the limber came from old Battlefront, and the horses from QRF … add a cart and some machineguns …

I don’t think anyone makes anything like this in 15mm/1:100 and it will provide some light AA support for the horsedrawn columns.

I have been putting off this build for a while now, but it went together more easily and smoothly than I would have expected.

It will require a little more tweaking, and having fixed the (FoW) guns in on their pintles, I will make the cradles for them out of post-fixed miliput. That should leave them both looking correct but being robust enough for wargame use.

Einmarsch in das Sudetenland. Truppe auf dem Vormarsch (Gefechtstross). 5.10.1938 Abschnitt Kreuzbuche. Sudetenland

More progress next month.

198th ID Staff

(15mm Piggies against a Ukraininan landscape by Arkhip Kuindzhi)

Just diverting from the horsedrawn theme to tidy up the staff component for 198 ID.

The commander at the start of Blau was Albert Buck, whom we met in the last episode. Here’s a bit more:

The command figure is a Piggie Russian with reprofiled cap and jacket. He almost seems to be giving a Nazi salute, although this was clearly not the designer’s intention. I also can’t claim this to be portraiture … we are adding a generic General to represent the man who commanded the division. Of course, given what happened, even at Operational Level, it seems appropriate to have a figure for the man himself, and the unarmoured staff car he would have been driven around in …

The car is an adapted resin Franklin Olympic from Peter Pig’d Spanish Civil War range … I have chopped it about a bit to make it look a little more like it belongs to the Wehrmacht on the Russian Front. It is quite generic, but based on the type 320 (with a touch of Hogan’s Heroes, maybe)

I painted it that greasy green colour, rather than Panzer Grey because of those ‘Operation Barbarosa’ colour photos we used to see a lot of in the 1970s, in which a lot of the vehicles looked quite green – whether this was because of the colour filters used, or was early colourization by technicians who didn’t know the real colours, I am unsure. But it looks right to me.

Anyway, good on general Buck … commanding from (at least near) the front, where wargamers put their generals – and getting killed in an ambush by grenades being lobbed at an unarmoured staff car. If you now more about the attack on Buck’s staff car (and, indeed, more about the car), please add somecomments below.

ID 198 01

What, no horses?  Well, I’ll start my project with an Infantry Division.  Let’s call it ID 198.

It would not have been entirely mechanised.

I need quite a bit of ID 198 for the battle of Rostov scenario, and, in the past,  have drawn suitable components from my PBI company force (as shown in the pictures) … but I’ve added supporting equipment for the higher levels on a somewhat unsystematic basis (i.e. cobbled it together).

As I need to add some typical German horse-drawn equipment to my German collection (and some tows for my 105s), it seems sensible to flesh out a generic infantry division with artillery and supports.

I’m tagging it ID 198 as providing units for 198 will be part of its job, although my intention is something more generic than 198 itself (which was often chronically understrength) and it won’t exactly mirror any specific formation.  Even, say, at Rostov, 22nd Panzer was supported by around a division’s worth of ‘leg’ infantry (mostly 198) but it wasn’t exclusively from ID 198 and not all of 198 was there (reality being a little more ‘ad hoc’, sometimes).

ID 198 02(another way of looking at a German Infantry Division)

The footsoldiers notionally form 3 regiments of 3 battalions each … for 198, they were 305, 308 and 326 (although 326 was heavily depleted by 1942, and by the time the division was redeployed from Russia, all the regiments were down to 2 battalions).

The 3 infantry regiments were supported by Artillery Regt 235.

ID 198 03(the footsoldier bits of the Infantry Division)

At this scale, each battalion is represented by a command stand and an infantry stand, the regimental HQs have some support stands.

ID 198 04

These paired PBI stands take up the same basic space (*wink*) as the wider stands Chris now uses in his NQM set up (so he would call this scale ‘1 base = 1 battalion’, counting PBI ones as half-bases).

So the next phase will involve me basing up lots of horse-drawn limbers and equipment to provide the guns, carts, ambulances etc. to allow all these soldiers to operate in the field effectively.  Hence the title of the post … German Horse-drawn etc. … that’s the job in hand.

Those of you who have followed this blog for some time, now, will know the one element already in place:

ID 198 05

This will keep them in good spirits.  I’m planning to add a bakery and an ambulance to make 3 recovery stands.  But more of the ‘to do’ list will appear in Part Two.

Edit: I should have included that, for Fall Blau, the Divisional Commander was Albert Buck.  He sounds like a wargamer’s general to me: he was an internal promotion, previosly commanding Regt 305 … and he died in action in the Causasus battles in September 1942.

Nebeltruppen 01

German rocket launchers, basically … ‘smoke troops’, but offering lethal HE support from their towed, six barrel, Nebelwerfer 41s …

Surprisingly, my miniature Germans have not previously had this equipment.

The models and figures are by Peter Pig, assembled without and fiddling or adaptation.

Nebeltruppen 02(Peter Pig 15mm Nebelwerfers)

The crew are for reloading … the launchers were fully loaded, then remotely fired with a ripple salvo of all 6 barrels.  They would then often need to be moved as their firing location was visible for miles from the smoke trails …

Nebeltruppen 03

So, in reality, you would be unlikely to have seen men with ammo standing around a nebelwerfer.  But PP do a nice pack of crew figures, and I will use them as ‘deployed’ markers in Operational Games.

Nebeltruppen 04(Nebelwerfer battery assembled and painted by Yesthatphil)

The rocket rounds I have seen seem to be a white-ish alloy colour (although internet searches do show variations) – anyway, I’ve gone with what I’ve seen.

The waffenfarbe for Nebeltruppen was ‘bordeaux’ apparently (a variation on the burgundy/murrey/wine colour?) and I will add some epaulette piping in due course.

Nebeltruppen 05(German rocket artillery on P.B.Eye-Candy)

The launchers are towed by a half track (Sdkfz 11, modified) and a captured Gaz 6-wheeler, both by Skytrex.  Depending on the game scale, there is a Zvezda Opel Blitz available for additional logistics.

Nebeltruppen 06(Skytrex, Zvezda, Skytrex)

Nebeltruppen 07

Nebeltruppen 08

 

Lend Lease Bantam

BPM Bantam Jeep 01

Another post in quick succession!  I’ll park this here as it is part modelling, part review and part new accession.

One of the other new things I got from BPM was a Bantam Blitz jeep … and that has been shipped off to the Red Army (seen above with some other Lend Lease vehicles, somewhere in Ukraine …

First things first … it is a very neat little model, hugely inexpensive and is nicely cast.

BPM Bantam Jeep 02(Butlers Bantam Jeep model stripped of its printing web but otherwise ‘out of the box’)

My only criticism is the solid windscreen.  I wasn’t disappointed, as it were, as the website pictures are clear enough … just it would have been nicer with the frame only, otherwise clear.

So (and here’s the modelling bit) I decided to remove the solid centre.

Technically simple … I drilled (pin vice) a series of holes, joined them up, then smoothed the edges to make it look nice and convincing.  Job done.

BPM Bantam Jeep 03

Actually, it wasn’t quite that straightforward – although the plastic seems hard enough to ‘model’ it is a bit brittle and (although I have done this detailing on the Gaz truck) on this model, it tended to fracture along the printing striations.  I broke it and had to stick it back together (hence you see filler in the picture below).

BPM Bantam Jeep 04

No matter – a sharper knife and a bit of bracing behind the screen would have prevented the problem (but you can file that observation under wise after the event)

I put a driver in from my junk box.  With a Battlefront head.

BPM Bantam Jeep 05(Butler’s Printed Models: Bantam Jeep detailed up and painted by Yesthatphil)

The shape of the grille and bonnet are excellent , and the angles on the mudguard seem to be exactly right.

BPM Bantam Jeep 07

This is an excellent variation on the standard Willys jeep.

Nearly 50,000 jeeps were supplied to the Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War … the majority were Willys MBs but many of the first shipments were Bantams, and the Bantam had a significant influence on the look of the home built variant, the Gaz-64 and 67.

BPM Bantam Jeep 06

Useful as a recce vehiclw, Staff car or as a tow for light equipment such as the 45mm AT/light gun.

BPM Bantam Jeep 08

Extra Heavy

BAA 01

Apologies for what has been quite a big hiatus on this blog during the long lockdown.  I haven’t disappeared … just there has been a lot going on and that, what projects I have been working on that are relevant to this blog have been longer term rather than quick-hit types.

That said, this is one of those ‘pocket projects’: some bigger guns.  Or ‘a’ bigger gun, anyway (at the scale I’m using, a single model will represent the battery) … I’ve had a go at scratchbuilding e.g. the 21cm before (and had planned to dismantle it for casting) but, although I had tried my best with the elusive issue of scale, in the end it still seemed on the small side.

When Butlers released a Big Bertha for their WWI range, I wondered what it would look like a scale down (i.e. I ordered a 12mm scale BB to test out as a 210mm to 305mm equipment for 15mm scale) … I’m more than happy with the result.  It looks how I expected a siege howitzer/mortar to look in this scale.

BAA 02(the Big Bertha model as pictured in the Butler’s online catalogue)

As I suspected, the gun shield was easy to remove with a model saw.  After some experiment I also removed the front gantry and glued this in position on the ‘deployed gun’ base (it would have been folded away for transit anyway, and positioning it on the base actually works very well).  That’s pretty much it for modelling challenges.  I left the rear gantry in the ‘up’ position, which is a little incongruous in the transit mode – but I think you can almost get away with that (wargame modelling always has to allow a certain level of compromise).

BAA 03(the battery deployed)

So this is a battery of older style 21cm ‘mortars’ or maybe a Skoda 305mm.  The Germans made good use of both, and other captured equipment.  For a Morser 16, I really should fair in the recuperators on top of the barrel (but then I might lose its generic quality – please feel free to comment on that *wink*).

BAA 04(battery in transit)

The vehicle is towed by a repurposed French tractor and the crew have a central European look to them.  They are Axis, for sure.

So, the model is Butler Printed Models, the wheels on the scratch built limber/bogey are Skytrex spares.  The tractor is QRF and the gun crew Peter Piggies with headswaps.

BAA 05

As for the model itself, I am very pleased.  The barrel has come out very smooth, and the 3D printing striations are not very prominent at all on this one.  The dry brush finish does bring them out just a touch in photos, but just to the eye, they don’t show.  Seriously – that’s picky old me, saying it.  It is a great model, either of the intended super-gun in 12mm, or as an ‘extra-heavy’ piece in 15mm.

City blocks in Stalingrad, Rostov or Sevastopol are right to be alarmed at this addition to the Wehrmacht artillery park.

BAA 06

 

Some Seasonal Whimsy

attack on spielstadt 01

Happy New Year to you all.

It just so happens that the youngest member of our household got a new play table for Christmas – a layout of a small town with block buildings, railtrack and so forth.

attack on spielstadt 01a

The tranquility hides thr true nature of this heavily contested area of never-never land which locals call Kleiner Spielstadt.  And in the hours before dawn on a surprisingly moonlit night in late December, rapidly moving forces from Eastern Panto tried to take control of the town.

Helicopter landing troops siezed the railway bridge …

attack on spielstadt 02

And tanks arrived in support …

attack on spielstadt 03

The response was instant, and Frap Pershings rolled out of the cover of the viaduct …

attack on spielstadt 03a(an elevated setion of railway had concealed waiting enemy tanks from aerial reconnaissance)

They were immediately engaged by Soviet military advisors …

attack on spielstadt 03b

But the Western backed Frap detachment pressed home their counter-attack …

attack on spielstadt 03c

And a sharp exchange of fire drove the invaders out of the town centre …

attack on spielstadt 04

Rather than take heavy losses, the T55s gave ground and, with daylight approaching, the mission was aborted.

attack on spielstadt 05

The attempt to snatch Kleiner Spielstadt before the children got up had failed.  The forces withdrew and peace settled over little play town almost as if nothing at all had happened.