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!
I finished another squad of the fantastic AB Figures British Infantry. I get these from Eureka Miniatures in Melbourne and what fine figures they are. Easily my favourite metal World War Two range out there. They have a wide selection which covers infantry, support, artillery and tank crews. Everything you could possibly need. The sculpting and detail are just amazing. It makes them very easy and a great pleasure to paint.
I have two more squads of these guys to paint up. Plus some other British i bought from CP Models and SHQ miniatures. Slowly phasing out my plastic squads as i am leaning towards metal being a better choice for painting and wargaming. Will do a comparison on those figures when i get to painting them up.
This classic British tank was on sale at BNA Model World for $12.50 a few months back so could not resist but pick up a couple of them. That’s just too good a bargain to pass up for a couple of Dragon kits. I needed some more Churchills to add to my Plastic Soldier Company versions and make up a full troop. Now i have four including the large calibre AVRE for support.
These are excellent kits and pretty easy to put together compared to some Dragon kits which can be fiddly. The best thing about them is the running gear which comes in a few pieces for each side but with the wheels already connected in two halves. So you don’t spend hours making and gluing individual wheels and then trying to align them. As we all know the Churchill has as many wheels as a centipede has legs. Well nearly as many. The detail is better and more delicate than the PSC Churchills. You can model the hatches open or closed, which allows you to add some tank crew. In my case i added a couple of excellent fellow from AB Figures, one relaxing against his hatch, the other carrying some kind of map case ready to get on the CB radio.
The only real problem i faced with this kit (both times i made it) was trying to get the upper hull to fit on the bottom hull straight at the back. Either side at the back remained at a funny angle. Not the end of the world and i probably need to get some clamps or something to keep it glued in place for longer. You get some decals with the kit but i used some other PSC decals i had. This gives me plenty of Churchills now. The only ones i had as a kid were from Airfix, and these Dragon models are certainly a great improvement on them. There is an Esci model Churchill out there which i will try and get my hands on too sometime.
These kits from Polish company IBG are just always a total pleasure to build. This is only my second truck from their range but i it was just as awesome as the first one. They come packed in a way oversize box with just a couple of sprues. Detail is great and the kit goes together very nicely with no issues. You don’t get any crew so i added my usual driver from AB figures. Always remember to build and paint the interior of the cab before putting on the roof and the driver in. I have made this mistake before……
Not much else to say. I really enjoyed making this kit. if you want a good range of smaller trucks then look no further than IBG. I painted mine in standard olive green and added some dirt and dust and mud. Great fun. They have some very cool looking US trucks too which i want to get my hands on. You always need trucks and plenty of them. Some lucky officer will get to swan around in this baby.