The Plastic Soldier Company Loyd Carriers in 1/72 scale

Bren carriers and Loyd carriers were a crucial small tracked vehicle in World War Two and were needed in my army to tow 6 pounder guns. There are limited options in plastic for these vehicles. Luckily the Plastic Soldier Company produce a box of Loyd Carriers with accompanying 6 pounders. They also make an excellent box of three Bren Carriers in a box, which I have waiting in line somewhere. Your only other options are the excellent IBG models who make a very detailed bren carrier, one of which I have stashed away for another day too. You could look to the old Airfix 1/76 scale version but I get the feeling they will look too small and a bit dated compared to anything else.

These are excellent, simple kits, but are packed with detail. You get a bunch of stowage and crew men which you can do whatever you want with. The canvas tilts are optional, so if you want to spend more time on the crew and interior you can, and leave the tilt off. I put three crew in each vehicle and didn’t glue the tilts on, so I can take them off if I feel like it! Everything fits together beautifully, except for the front tool box which takes a bit of guesswork as to where to fix it.

I used olive drab for the hull and khaki drab for the tilt. You do not get decals with the kit so I used some from my pile, including some Airfix numbers which are really handy. A brown wash, some dry brushing, then the usual powders for dust and dirt finished them off. Due to their small size I did mount them on 3mm MDF, but you probably don’t need to as they are pretty sturdy.

The two 6 pdr guns in my photos are actually from Early War Miniatures and not the guns you get with the Loyd carriers. I am saving the PSC 6 pdrs to put in firing positions with their crew on a separate base. When they are finished I will blog them too. These EWM guns I wanted to use when they are being towed around. I decided I really wanted anti tank guns in firing positions and also towing positions. It just doesn’t look right with a vehicle towing a fully crewed gun in a firing position!

For a comparison I also finished off two resin Loyd Carriers from the Ready To Roll range of vehicles from Rapid Fire.  You can see how much smaller these are, and to be honest they don’t really match up to the accuracy and detail of the PSC kits. At four pounds a pop the resin kits are no better value.

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More AB Figures British Infantry in 1/72 scale

Some more finished British Infantry for my Northumbrian division. It takes me so long to paint the little fellas, I have to write myself a step by step list to work through slowly. So this group of fifteen good men must have taken me two weeks to finish off.

First off is a group of six from my ever expanding AB figures range. These are my favourite to paint, the detail and sculpting makes it easier at this scale. I particularly like the officer, his sten gun thrown over his shoulder, pulling a pin out of a pineapple grenade. Great stuff.  Next up are four guys from CP Models in the UK. Another great figure maker and also nice and clear to paint. One soldier is carrying a fuel can and another has pinched a panzerfaust from somewhere. I have a few more excellent British from CP which will be in my next painting batch.

The other figures are from SHQ Miniatures and a company i can’t remember the name of. SHQ are a bit smaller, but still fit fine with everyone else. Their faces are brilliant, but the rest of the figure does not quite match AB and CP. Still nice figures and good for padding out your platoons with some other poses. The figure that I cannot remember where i got him from does not measure up to the others standards. So you don’t need to worry about that then!

If you are looking for metal figures in 1/72 scale then AB Figures (i get mine from Eureka Miniatures in Melbourne) and CP models in the UK, are the best for you!

Airfix Halftracks 1/72 Scale

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.

More AB Figures British Infantry

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.

 

Esci White M3 Scout Car in 1/72 Scale

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……….

British Centaur AA tank from Britannia Miniatures

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unimodel and Armourfast Sherman Tanks in 1/72 scale

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.