Just a quick update as i finished my tank crew for my troop of Cromwell tanks. A couple of very cool dudes from AB Figures painted in tank crew khaki. They finish off my two Revell Cromwells nicely i think. Some more pictures below. Next up i am hoping to write up an after battle report using the excellent Combat HQ rules. Better get playing!
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.
The Sherman Firefly is a very poorly catered for tank model in 20mm. There very few options for the wargamer in 1/72 scale. Armourfast produce some very basic kits, Unimodel have a firefly i haven’t built, and I think Dragon models do a Firefly which i have never seen available anywhere. The Plastic Soldier Company produce the best option in this scale, and i was lucky enough to pick up a box of these crucial tanks while i was visiting PSC HQ in Henfield in October. They come in the usual PSC style in a box of three and are great value for money costing around $22 Australian per box.
Very easy to build, they come in about a dozen pieces, and can be put together in quick smart time. I like having a change from the more complicated builds. The tracks come in a top and bottom section that glue to the running gear. They have a really nice heavy sag to them on the top, an effect which is hard to get with vinyl one piece and link and length tracks. You need to drill out the end of the barrel for realism. Turret hatches can be open or closed so you can add one or two tank crew and commanders. I used my favourite AB Figures tank commander drinking a cup of tea. It was fun to even paint his army issue enamel tea mug with a blue rim. Detail is nice and chunky as usual from PSC. After building fiddly Dragon models with all their delicate bits this made a nice change for a bit of rough and tumble. I added stowage from various places in my spares box, plus some wire aerials and decals from all over the place. My decals are pretty random as i don’t suppose to adhere to any historical accuracy. I just use what looks good. A light weathering with various browns finishes him off. Its a great little model and i am excited to build the other two. I think some camo netting over the turret and barrel next time will be the plan.
Here is my Firefly taking up a defensive position on the edge of town.
As the British moved forward from the Normandy beaches they managed to grab some small towns ahead of the main invasion force. One of these small towns is a little known hamlet called Camembert, on the road to Rochefort. A worn down British Company from the 17th Durham Light Infantry had taken the German forces by surprise and were just holding on by the skin of their teeth. Colonel Frank Mustard was occupying the town with two platoons of infantry, a couple of Cromwells and a Firefly as armour, plus a 17 pdr and a battery of 80mm mortars. In reserve he had the lumbering Churchill AVRE which was fresh from blowing up some Normandy beach defences. So not an insignificant force. Colonel Mustard had orders to hold Camembert against a possible German counterattack.
Just down the road through the bocage the counterattack was inevitably coming. A much bigger German force was on the way including one troop of Panthers, a troop of Panzer IVs, a company of Panzer Grenadiers, an 88mm and some Pak40 AT guns, plus a dangerous Tiger in support. So outnumbered and outgunned the British had their work cut out to hold on. The British plan was to try and destroy some German armour on the main roads leading to the village and block them up, then bring in mortar fire to further mess up the forces and pin them down.
It all started so well as the Firefly took out the lead Panther on the West road and blocked it up, while the 17pdr stalled the Tiger rolling down the East road. That was as good as it got for the Brits. The mortars never found their range and basically did nothing allowing the Germans to continue to advance. The remaining three Panthers got through the bocage and made very light work of the Firefly and his Cromwell friends. Then once the Tiger survived three direct hits from the 17pdr it took one big shot from close range to destroy the doomed anti tank gun. By this time the reserve Churchill AVRE has spent 5 moves moving about three inches and was already too late
Suddenly the Panthers and the Tiger were in the village. The Brits had no answers to the big cats and Colonel Mustard threw in the towel. So a decisive German victory i think. Next time the British need to be more alert and get those mortars firing early to have any chance. Plus be a bit smarter with some ambush tactics rather than just exposing themselves to the enemy so easily.