The Universal Carrier was the workhorse that grew out of the pre-war tankette programmes, and which survived when the tankettes became outclassed by heavier tanks. It found its niche as a light-armoured personel carrier, being superceded in the British army by the US-produced M3 half track, and eventually by the FV432; but not before some 113,000 had been built according to Wickipedia.
PSC have produced a game-changer with their 15mm box of 9 carriers. The variations available have cracked open the market, with a plethora of spare crew and accessories to use after your preferred choice of model has been built.
I doubt if many gamers will be building seven FOO versions straight out of the box – but you can if you want to, and that is the strength of this offering. In price and flexibility they knock the spots of everyone’s resin offerings; okay, so you have to stick them together. Grow a spine youngsters, you are living in the Golden Age of 15mm kit offerings!
My motley crew are undercoated, tarted up with a few extra FOOs and heading off to their artillery regiments for active service. A couple are left for a Soviet lendlease example used by the divisional scout company, and a spare carrier for a motor rifle battalion.
That just leaves the India Pattern Carrier, a FoW resin offering that has been waiting for some Sikh crew. Spare PSC bodies from the carrier set and a couple of Peter Pig heads completed the job. Here they are in all their silver-headed glory, waiting for some paint – Raman Singh and Jamansing*. The Soviet crew in the carrier behind are from the Command Decision tank Riders, and a PP Scout Commisar.
*Jamansing is a Gurung. I’m not quite sure how he ended up in a Punjabi regiment.
Having enjoyed myself determinedly over summer, this is what the fruit of a Summer of Fun looks like when autumn finally comes:
Just visible on the CMP Quads are some buttons standing in as spare wheels, as they went onto the extra 25pdrs that were made up from the spares on the sprues. The buttons will be covered by cam nets – every bodger’s friend! It turned out that the Sherman front casings did work on my Stuart bodges, with a bit of judicious trimming, and metal exhaust cylinders can be seen on some of the Stuart hulls.
There are more unmade kits in the pile, but I’m concentrating on gaps in my orbats before I go making stuff up speculatively. The vehicles haven’t loaded up with their crews yet, as they are being painted separately.
Both fans of my previous M5 to M3 Honey conversion* may be wondering how well it stands up. It is even more of a pointless conversion now that the kit it represents is available straight out of the box. At the time I built it, I thought it was too bulky in the front glacis plate. I turns out that I was right, as the comparison shots show.
My mid-production round-turreted M3s that are tricked out in olive paint can head off to the Soviet army now that their slots in the orbat are filled with PSC kits. The M5s are still waiting for me to sort out American troops for Tunisia.
Originally, about 170 M3s were sent to 7th Armoured Division, 4th Armoured Brigade in March – mid November 1941. My 5 out of the box represent 150 scaled at 30:1 ….sorted. The PSC box gives enough spare parts to make another full kit from each sprue with a bit of bodging missing bits. It is worth noting that on the instruction sheet, the green and red coloured hulls have been marked the wrong way round. Do a trial fit first to see what I mean.
I think that the spare M4 Sherman forward hull casings might stand in with a bit of trimming. I shall have to check that.
*YesthatPhil, and me!
With a face that only a mother could love, the StugIII is ugliness personified, yet it extended the use of the PzIII chassis to the end of the war in four ways:
- It was cheaper to build (82,500 Reichsmarks (RM) compared to 103,163 RM for a Pz III, and faster too – no turret.
- The profile was lower, making it harder to hit – did I mention the turret?
- By employing artillery crews, it put more guns and troops under armour at a time when the panzer arm was struggling to keep its strength up.
- By limiting the traverse of the long 75mm gun, it enabled it to be mounted on a lighter, existing chassis without shaking it, or the crew, to bits with the recoil.
So throwing a heap of stowage onto the back of mine only enhanced the brutalist Corbusier look that was going on. PSC is very generous in the amount of stowage that it adds to its sprues*, so a pile has been added to the back decks.
All the photo tutorials argue that natural lighting is a bad thing, casting shadows. But hang on, isn’t that how we view objects in true-scale?
*Customer feedback – throwing extras into a kit increases sales, it does not diminish them. I get two models out of some of PSC’s sprues, but it does not mean that I buy half as many kits as a result.
The Sturmgeschütz sprue gives the option to make up later variants of the gun from G onwards with the earlier box mantlet or the Saukopf. With a bit of creative bodging, two models will come out of this sprue, as long as you are happy to have an early and a late G model respectively.
I’m fairly relaxed about mocking up close approximates of tracks from dowel and card, but it struck me that I had a redundant old RoCoPz IV in 1/87 scale, so the tracks were cut down to make a “close enough” match. Having accused German production of being ramshackle in my last post, in the picture above, I have exceeded anything they could have cobbled together.
The profile at the back doesn’t look quite right from the side, but the Schurtzen plates will hide most of it.
And from the front, I’m not going to notice unless I’m really bored enough to count rivets.
So … two models for the price of one. I shall stick some stowage and camouflage on to hide the odd missing bits, and probably a few tank riders for good measure.
This finely-modelled offering makes its successor, the T-70, look like a hunky, over-engineered brute! It falls under Kemp’s law: If you can see over the top of a tank, standing up – it doesn’t count; so not a suitable tank to go Rommelling in.
The model can be seen next to a T-70 in the pictures below, and the chap standing next to it is one of the PSC 25pdr gun crew. He would be able to see over the top if the sculptor had put the correct anatomical length into the knees and abdomen, but as it is, he is the same height as the crouching loader, who is standing next to him on his left.
Three years ago, I would have needed lots more of these little tanks, but as the campaign is now entering 1943, the T-70 is more prevalent. You don’t last very long if you go to war in a biscuit tin.
The plan view shows the tiny size of the T-60. The lovely Mrs K. wandered past and made noises to the effect of “Awww look adda cyuute lidduw tank”. She has a point.
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.