The new CMP tractor sits nicely in size in between the Fow 1:120 and the Denzil Skinner 1:100 scale Morris Quads, so a crafty wargamer will place the Skinners closest, the CMPs in the table centre and the FoWs at the far end to give a false sense of perspective. John Sandars was a past master of this wheeze, except that he used 1/35th and 1/72nd models in his dioramas.
Here are the WIP photos. I was delighted to see that the British gunners look like people, and not Orkses. They are still a little short in the leg, but they fit in nicely with everyone elses’ caricatures. I should have gone in for fantasy gaming *sigh*
I thought it would be fun to see if the kit could produce one of the cut-down narrow-wheelbase 25pdrs used in Burma. The nearest unfinished gun is a reasonable enough approximation. The cam net on the back of the CMP hides the fact that I struggled to get a close fit at the back of the tractor. It also frees up a spare wheel. I am going to need a total of 8 for the extra four 25 Pdrs that can be part assembled from the kit sprue, and will have to find four spare limbers from somewhere.
In Summer last year, I backed the PSC kickstarter, being particularly interested in the CMP gun tractor, for which no-one makes a kit. Cutting a long story short, they arrived this week, after a few emails. They were originally posted in November last year, but never reached me, thanks to the chaos surrounding the postal strike – thanks posties!
Will and Anita at PSC came up trumps, and were a pleasure to deal with. The kits themselves are well worth the wait, and have added some much-needed artillery to my collection. The CMP trucks will form the basis of brigade signal wagons for my infantry divisions in the Western Desert as I think that they may have tended to use soft-bodied 15cwt vehicles rather than the office-bodied Morris 15cwt that the RAF used. I am happy to be corrected on that assumption, but I have based it on my own experience of the RAF – they don’t like draughts when they are sitting on radio stag duty in the wee small hours 🙂
Based on appearances, the Piggie in the middle appears a little too short, and is a bit coarser in features, but all are good models.
Flatbeds are much more useful on the wargames table than trucks with covered canopies, but having overdosed on PSC 15mm Raupenschleppers the tinkerer in me thought,
“what would a tilt frame look like?”
Here is the answer: For good measure, I added some canopy struts to one of the QRF Bedford QLBs that had been assembled earlier. Now it is just crying out for a couple of scruffy gunners lounging in the back.
I took a break from the massive heap of nowhere-near-finished British Desert Infantry to complete something achievable. It turned out to be a true-scale door (don’t ask) and this practically free Raupenschlepper Ost with the scratchbuilt tracks.
It turns out that a creative bit of paintwork on the wheels can fool the eye into thinking that it is a proper model. I’ve grouped it with a Peter Pig Pak 38 to lend it some credibility, and because it is heading straight to one of my Neu Art German infantry divisions. Note the over-the-top superdetailing on the grenadier’s collar tabs. He is very proud of his new Waffenfarben.
Tyres provide the modern wargamer with the equivalent of button painting. Every wheeled vehicle has at least four of them, often more, and don’t get me started on wheeled Wehrmacht Aufklärungs vehicles with eight wheels apiece, or panzers with rubber rims to their wheels!!
there are some bright spots though: muddy tyres and tracks just need a wash or a dust over, and the 8th army were fond of roughly painting wheels to spill over onto the tyre itself. Excellent!
A range of options from “merely passable” to “If he’s paying attention to the tyres, he’s probably losing the battle” can be seen above and below.
I start by painting tyres black or charcoal grey. Some years later, they may get a drybrushed highlight in a lighter shade, or some mud or dust splashed over them. Visit Olicanalad or YesthatPhil to see properly painted tyres.
Camouflage nets come to the rescue on my Raupenschlepper bodges. Even though the Germans don’t need them for a (game) year or so, I dressed them and put the crews in place, because they were fun to do.
One more ‘Schlepper was eked out of an einheits cab, tilt and side panels, with the track coming from a 1/200th approximately set of Panther tracks. These came from some models that (I think) Bob Cordery gave me some years ago. Another was built with a scratchbuilt set of tracks.
This brings the theoretical number of models that can be made from the PSC box to twelve; not bad at all! This assumes that you are prepared to fill in the gaps with a lot of card and paper.
As the Maultiers came rolling out of the box, it was clear that eight chassis could be assembled from all the extra options in the box. All that was absent were four sets of tracks. An hour with some Evostick resolved that, and the production line continued to roll in an ersatz German WW2 sort of way: Close enough for wargaming work!
The work of dressing the bare chassis has begun with cam nets and crew. PSC provide plenty of figures and happily, most of these are closer to 15mm than 20mm.
It is possible to score the sides of the late war anti tank mount, fold them up and make extra cargo bodies using the late war cab, if you do not want self-propelled guns.
The new Plastic Soldier Company German Medium Trucks box is an excellent offering – Five easy to build trucks straight out of the box, with options for an Opel Blitz, Mercedes L3000, or Maultier version of either. Five trucks for £17 pounds or so, roughly £3.40 a truck.
Why do I like plastic kits better than resin or metal? They build up into square models, and they are easy to convert. So looking at the sprues more carefully, there are not five trucks in the box, but ten! All that is absent, are five cab backs that cannot easily be seen, five sets of front wheels and five chasses. Any self-respecting bodger will have spare wheels in the spares box. The card from the box itself, with judicious use of cork or plasticard will do the rest. Call it £1.70 per truck – excellent!
Even after giving a sprue away, I rapidly assembled four Blitzes and four L3000s, making half of them into Maultiers. I was looking for photographic evidence of Maultiers in North Africa, but could only find them in Italy. Each sprue comes with a spare tyre, so these were made up into two sets of wheels for two of the trucks. En masse, any slight inaccuracies in the wheels should disappear.
In case anyone is wondering, The four trucks furthest away are complete kit builds and the Maultiers closest to the camera are the bodges. Soaring off into speculation, I think that PSC missed a trick by not offering the Chevrolet cab and the office body on the box art; after all, everyone does a model of a Blitz.
I would have preferred the office body, rather than another cargo body version, but I suspect most wargamers don’t want as many logistic or HQ vehicles as me. Either way, the box is excellent value and is recommended.
L 4500R Maultier, courtesy of YesthatPhil
GSV13 Mercedes Benz L4500R Maultier
This is one of the better models that arrived in my sale order. It is an impressive chunk of metal for £4.50 and all the castings are clean, relatively square and free of miscasts. The late war Einheitsfahrerhaus version is modelled. Some 1,500 of these were built, in response to delays in the Schwere Wermachts Schlepper programme; most were used as artillery tractors or platforms for Flak. As is usual with QRF; the track casting is double sided with no lugs to give a positive fit to the vehicle.
The front wheel axle is a vague approximation of the real thing – I had a look at a few online images of L4500R chasses and still was not entirely sure which way the casting should be stuck on. I’m not complaining as you can hardly see it on the finished article. All in all, a nice wargames model that I haven’t been able to find elsewhere.
This casting simultaneously displays all that is good and bad about QRF models:
GSV07 Sd Kfz 7, 8 tonne tractor with 8 man crew
For £4.50, you buy a huge hunk of metal that sits solidly on the table with square tracks and wheels, in contrast to some of the other models that I bought.
Headlamps are absent. The detail around the back of the body is awful, with simultaneous excess flash, and shrinkage of the mould. the right rear side of the body is narrower than the middle seat. The front mudguards are not square to the body.
After much filing, all the original detail had been filed flat and there were still shrinkage pits and mould lines in the body. Cam nets – every bodger’s friend – may be needed to rescue this casting. One of my tracks should not have passed quality control, but then neither should the body. I have given the model a rubbish undercoat-quality paint job just to get it onto the wargames table.
The eight crew are a nice bonus; they sit properly on the bench seats without extensive podiatric surgery to make them fit. Although nicely detailed and proportioned, they are too narrow across the shoulders. I can live with that.
Unlike previous reviews, other firms make better ‘7s. My favourite is the Forged in Battle resin ‘K Seven, which exhibits superior detail in every respect. Go with Skytrex if you want a better metal model, albeit at nearly twice the price. It does not demand two hours of fiddling about to produce an acceptable sculpt ready for painting. The Flames of War cast is disqualified as it is actually an Sd Kfz 6. I would still buy it in preference to the QRF one if I wanted another ‘six’.
In summary, I cannot recommend this model at all until QRF renew the master and bring it to the same standard as their postwar stuff. If, however, you are planning to convert an Sd Kfz 7 Flak Mess Truppen Kraftwagen (Flak rangefinding tractor), which is the one with the big box body at the back, then this is a good cheap chassis to start with.