I have been a busy bee trying to finish eight different things at once and ultimately failing to really finish anything. Also a ten day trip overseas for work also interrupted my building and painting production line. I have, however, managed to complete some Airfix halftracks. I found these kits for some bargain price on eBay, i think less than five pounds each and had them delivered to my mum’s address in the UK before a trip there. Any chance i get to avoid shipping to Australia i take it! I have a fondness for any Airfix kit I previously built in the early 1980’s and this was no exception.
I have always read many complaints about the accuracy of this kit. To be honest I don’t care. It’s a great little kit and I loved building it three times. It goes together very nicely with no problems. Only fitting the front bonnet was a bit tricky to make sure everything was square, but apart from that i had a great time making these. The interior is sparse, but again you can easily paint up some figures to put in the back. The driver is a horrible figure and this time I didn’t bother with one as you can’t really see him anyway. I may put a machine gunner in the turret to fire the 50 cal, but I may not.
It definitely helps to add some stowage. I used all sorts from Black Dog, SHQ and anything else i could find. The decals that come with the kit are excellent and are thin enough to mould to the surface detail. I added some more numbers and symbols from other decals i had. Nothing historically accurate but who cares. Plenty of weathering powders and muddy bits all finished it off. Here they are together and also with my White Scout and IBG Models Chevrolet Radio truck on some reconnaissance.
I finished up another squad of AB Figures British Infantry this week. I am slowly replacing all my plastic figures with metal ones. The AB ranges are just the best. Not much else to say! There are enough different packs to make up plenty of squads without repeating the same guy twice. The detail is so clear on these figures it makes them a real pleasure to paint. I find that just blocking in the colours and then doing some highlighting is good enough. I did buy a proper set of British Army Uniform colours, shadow, base and highlight, which has helped a lot. Trying to mix a British khaki is really tricky so i stopped trying to do it!
These guys are all based on Australian 10 cent coins which are not only useless for anything else but perfect size for individual bases. If you don’t own any AB Figures in your collection you really need to change that. I pick up all mine from Eureka Miniatures in Melbourne, they have such a great range of World War Two figures, its tempting to keep loading up. Next up i need to paint three PIAT teams to try and finish my British company. Check out my pictures below, i am still struggling to take half decent photos with my phone. Lighting seems to be difficult with small figures.
One of my favourite, if not top of the charts, World War Two vehicles is the White Scout Car. So my quest to find one in plastic kit form in 1/72 scale was an important one. In the whole world there is not one company now that makes this vehicle in plastic kit form. Esci, now Italeri, no longer make this kit, even though i think they do still have pictures of it on their web site. So my quest turned to the internet as usual. Thank you eBay for the seller of this old kit for only about five pounds. I would have paid more for sure as it really seemed to be the only available kit in the known world. So i was a happy chappy when this turned up on my doorstep. I think this kit must have been years old judging by the box, but inside everything was still sealed in its plastic bag. Only the decals were unusable, but that didn’t matter as they were French and Russian anyway.
My Scout Car was going to be Allied/British. The kit build was great, a pleasure to make, all parts fitted nicely and i had no issues. The only thing wrong with this model was the rear axle sits too far forward resulting in the wheels not being central within the wheel arches. This annoyed me enough that i had to cut the rear axle and suspension off the chassis and move it maybe half a millimetre to align the wheels centrally. That was the only problem i found. The kits comes with two machine guns on the back, a 0.50 and 0.30 calibre, one on each side, and some stowage. I added a bit more from my supplies and also added a British driver from AB figures. The decals came from spares. I always base my wheeled vehicles, no one likes a broken axle. The finished scout car was given the usual olive drab treatment with a dark brown wash, highlights, and then some weathering powders. I might add some other crew or commander at some point, we shall see.
I do have a couple of metal and resin versions of the M3, which i may make as a comparison. And the chances of finding another plastic M3 kit are about as good as England winning a game in the Ashes……….
My own self written rules of engagement are that I have to stick to making plastic models of any vehicles for my WW2 armies. However, if there is some unusual vehicle required for a unit that is not available in a plastic kit form, I do have an allowance (Clause 8c) that allows me to buy resin or metal vehicles. I guess this would stretch to die cast as well, although I have not found a need for that yet. To be honest I just like making model kits as opposed to having the vehicle already constructed (or in only 3 pieces).
So on this occasion I needed an Anti Aircraft tank or the Centaur AA. I think its based on a Cromwell chassis but with twin AA guns in the turret. This one comes from Britannia Miniatures in the UK, you can buy from https://www.grubbytanks.com
Andy at Grubby has a huge range of troops and vehicles, including a lot in the “hard to find in plastic model kits” bracket that I am after. I also picked up a Sherman ARV recovery vehicle who will be built soon enough, and a Dorchester HQ truck which looks like fun. This Centaur comes in only a few parts, with a hull, turret, two sets of tracks and wheels, AA guns and hull MG. So armed with some superglue it doesn’t take long to put together. I did take a little while cleaning up the resin hull (the tracks and guns are metal), and next time I will spend a little longer doing clean up. The detail is good and it actually made a nice change to be painting quickly rather than building for hours first. I did add an aerial and one bit of stowage (a box) plus I used various decals. Paint job was a simple olive drab, like always, plus a dark brown wash and plenty of dusty powders for rust and dirt. Worth checking out Britannia for their massive range of stuff, I am sure I will go back for more.
Colonel Mustard has been off line for a while due to an unfortunate battle with a local Australian spider, which he soundly lost. So after a month long fight with serious pain and immobility i am finally recovering. It was a war against neurotoxin that i couldn’t win!
So onto my latest Sherman tanks for my British forces. I needed to build up my Shermans to get to a full three troops. So i picked up a couple of boxes of Armourfast Shermans from Hannants in the UK, plus a Unimodel Sherman from my favourite Ukrainian hobby store. The Armourfast tanks are amazing value at 6.25 GBP for two. They are about as simple a kit as you could get, you can count the number of parts on one hand. That said the detail is average, but what do you expect for such a cheap price? If you are prepared to dress them up with some extras they can really turn into a great little wargaming tank. I added some tools, some lifting rings, headlights plus spare tracks and stowage. Oh and of course an aerial. You do not get decals with the kits, so i used some Canadian markings i had from The Plastic Soldier Company. Once you have tarted up your Armourfast kits they really turn out well. If you want to bulk up your tank regiments i cant recommend them highly enough.
The Unimodel Sherman is a proper model kit. I really enjoy building Unimodel kits. Lots of parts, fun to build, but definitely a challenge. Detail and end result was definitely better than Armourfast. I only added some stowage and an aerial. The kit comes with some very tricky PE parts. I managed to ping the headlight protectors across the room never to be seen again and had to make my own out of some thin wire. So don’t try this kit if you have deep carpets……. losing bits is a risk. Unimodel gives you some cool decals so I called this Sherman “Comet”. The only struggle was fitting the top hull to the bottom which left a huge gap at the front. So i had to file down parts of the lower hull around the front wheels in order to get it to fit. I would leave the front part of the hull off the lower hull section and do a dry run first before gluing as you may have the same problem.
All the tanks got the usual olive drab paint job with some dirt and dust and mud. Fun times.
I have continued building up my British forces this week finishing off another troop of Cromwell tanks. In 1/72 scale plastic the Cromwell is not well supplied. You can build an Airfix one in 1/76 scale, but that’s going to be too small for me. Armourfast make some very simple but very cheap kits ($10 for two), but if you want something with a bit more detail the only option is the Revell Kit. And what a great little kit this is. The best value i found for these was from Hobby Easy in Hong Kong for $16-17 a kit. So significantly more expensive than the Armourfast kits but much more of a challenge and the end result is worth it.
I bought two of them to make up two thirds of my next Cromwell troop. They are great models, Revell kits seem to be consistently good. Detail is fine and the kit is a challenge. Tracks are excellent link and length and a huge improvement over the Armourfast kit. I particularly like the headlight guards on the front of the tank. If you need some Cromwells for your British army in Normandy you really need to go and pick up some of these awesome Revell kits.
The third Cromwell in my troop is in fact an Armourfast kit i had lying around plus the camouflage hessian kit from Black Dog. This is a resin extra with a camouflaged turret, camo netting for the front and stowage for the back. Rather than waste this on a fine Revell kit i thought i would use it with the much cheaper and less detailed Armourfast one. I had to hollow out the lower hull so the resin turret would fit. Also i had to pad out the front camo netting with my own concoction of bandage and tea leaves. Which was the same recipe i used for my camo nets on the stowage at the back of the other two tanks. The Armourfast Cromwell is slightly wider and taller than the Revell Kits but not enough that makes them incompatible. Oh one thing about this Black Dog turret is that they put the turret MG on the wrong side. So i had to switcheroo the main gun and the MG so it matched all my other Cromwells.
Other stowage is from all sorts of places including Value Gear and Sgts Mess. The Revell decals are excellent. You have to paint in white the little circle in the rooftop Allied star. You also get the option for the hedge cutters at the front of the tank. I read somewhere that Cromwells didn’t actually use these, but who cares i think they look cool. I will be adding some AB Figures tank crew, who are in the painting queue, in due course.
I had a lot of fun with these kits. If you need Cromwells get some Revells!