Saturday 24 September 2022

When you need a break from painting figures

The workbench has been full of figures in recent months while the paint queue of tanks, AFVs and guns hasn't been getting any shorter. So the last couple of weeks have seen the paintbrushes given a rest and the airbrush put back into action. It's been time to finish off several 20mm Second World War projects.

I have several of the Plastic Soldier Company boxed sets of vehicles and I don't always need all three of the models for the same force, which means I can do them in a number of different paint schemes. One of those I had in mind was using spare allied vehicles for lend-lease tanks used by the Red Army.

The first batch include a Valentine and a Sherman (M4A2) from the Plastic Soldier Company and a Matilda from S-Models. PSC do a set of Red Army decals that have come in very handy for this project. Crew figures are from AB Figures.

While not lend-lease vehicle I had a Dragon T34/85 which I've made and intend to eventually populate with tank riders from the lovely AB set (they are primed and waiting paint), in the meantime the tank itself was painted while I had the airbrush loaded with Russian green. All my other T34s are from PSC and the Dragon kit has lots of much finer detail that may make it a little more brittle for gaming but nonetheless a very attractive looking kit.

A much neglected part of my collection has been soft skins vehicles and that's something I'm starting to address for several of my forces. First up has been a few trucks from the PSC German truck set. An Opel Blitz and Opel Maultier and then a Mercedes truck which was built from left over parts from the truck set and a bit of scratch building.

Talking of transport, I've also added this unmotorised version - three mules and their handlers from the 172 Miniatures Japanese range.

Another fairly recent addition for the Japanese is a 47mm anti-tank gun and crew. This is from SHQ. I often find their figures on the slim side compared to the others I use but when used like this in a gun crew and not side by side with the others you can barely notice the difference. 

Thursday 8 September 2022

Armourfest at the Australian Armour and Artillery Museum (part 2)

With so much to see at the museum I've decided to break it down into a couple of posts, if you missed the first one which looks at much of the German and Soviet equipment on display you can find it here.

For this post I'm going to focus on AFVs from the western allies - the US, Britain and Australia. Despite the number of Sherman tanks that were built it's not a tank that seems to garner a lot of interest. Now a Panther or a Tiger, that's a very different matter, but the Sherman which served on almost every front and in the armies of the US, Britain, the USSR and China seems much neglected by comparison.

I've seen the M4A4 as well as the Firefly version, so it was good to have a first look at an M4A1 with a cast hull.

The museum also has a running Sherman Firefly.

One of the ironies of Armourfest was that the Sherman, probably one of the most reliable of the Second World War vehicles on display, was the only tank to have a breakdown. So much so that it was returned to the workshops and we didn't have the chance to see it again.

Nice to see a Churchill MkVII here as well.

The museum has several US-made tanks that served in various allied armies. They have two M3 Stuarts. The early version has an impressive array of machine guns - a co-axial, a bow and two mounted in sponsons on either side of the hull. 

They also have a running M3A1, a later model that can be distinguished by the rounded turret (and the removal of the two sponson mounted machine guns). 

The final stage of the tank's evolution is the M5A1, which the museum also has in its collection.

The M3 Grant/Lee was used by the Australian 1st Armoured Division but never in combat. While they were replaced in most theatres with the arrival of the Sherman, they continued to see use by the British against Japan in places like Burma. The museum has a Grant version.

And a Lee.

The later war is also covered with a Chaffee light tank and a Pershing.

The Pershing mounts the powerful 90mm gun which was also used on the M36 Jackson tank destroyer, another of the running vehicles in the museum collection.

Perhaps a little more unusual is the British Archer self propelled anti tank gun with a 17 pounder mounted on a Valentine chassis.

Talking of the Valentine there is also the original tank version in the collection.

The Valentine, like the British Matilda soon became obsolete for the European theatre but both found a use in the Pacific right through until the end of the war.

There is a good selection of armoured transport from a LVT-4 Buffalo.

To the impressively imposing LVT(A)4.

The M3 White Scout car.

And the mass produced M3 half track.

While not US produced they have a running version of the Canadian Ram Kangaroo APC.

They have several armoured cars and other light vehicles, including a M8 Greyhound in running condition.

For the British they have a Dingo.

And the Canadian manufactured version, the Lynx.

A working Humber.

And a Staghound.

Two countries are under represented in the collection. One is Italy and the other is Japan. There are no Italian vehicles but there is one solitary Japanese tank a Type 95 Ha Go, which was recovered from Rabaul after the Japanese surrender. Unlike many of the other vehicles it has not undergone any restoration work but I rather liked seeing it in this original condition.

So far I haven't touched on the artillery in the museum's collection and there is quite a lot of that, so perhaps I'll save that for a future post.