Category Archives: Modelling

Everyone likes to talk about, and browse pictures of, fondly remembered badly painted toys. This site is no exception

German 15mm Zundapp and BMW Motorcycles by Skytrex

My obsession with 15mm two (and three) wheeled German heavy metal bikers continues with the purchase of some Skytrex BMW and Zundapp motorcycle troops¹. Having previously commented that the QRF combo was lively but a bit blobby around the cylinder heads, I can report that Skytrex offer both a BMW and a Zundapp, and that you can easily tell the difference between the two.

Skytrex 15mm German Motorcycles (L) Zundapp, (R) BMW

Skytrex 15mm (L) Zundapp, (R) BMW

The castings are clean and flash-free. It is only when you look at the casting head-on that the model’s main flaw stands out: the handlebars and rider’s arms are comically close together. Peter Pig and QRF overcome this respectively by  casting the bars and arms separately, which is a better way of dealing with the problem.

From L to R – Skytrex Zundapp, BMW; QRF BMW?, Peter Pig BMW

You could overcome this by a bit of sawing and sticking (YesthatPhil probably will) or by ignoring it – my preferred option. Either way, on balance, it makes Peter Pig the best of the bunch  for ease of assembly and accuracy. Having said that, my personal favourite is the QRF, for sheer exuberance.

The Skytrex sidecar combo comes with an extra spare wheel and tarpaulin for that overloaded Eastern Front look, but has no MG42 for the combo passenger. Points lost for missing out on Hollywood clichés there! All the Skytrex models come with two separate panniers. I only stuck one onto the bikes as the exhaust casting on the Zundapp gets in the way – a not insoluble problem.

  1. I say purchased … YesthatPhil  did all the hard work. I just gave him some money afterwards.
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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Modelling, Motorcycles, Wehrmacht, WWII

Marmon Herrington FAT

Marmon Herrington FAT (2)

Marmon Herrington Field Artillery Tractor (FAT)

The QRF Chevrolet truck with clear windows is a much better model than their solid cab offering, despite some of the flash being thicker than the supporting pillars that it clings to. However, at £4.50 compared to £6.50 the solid cab wins the day for 3 crude models that are going to be chopped about for wargaming, even though the window alignment between the front and sides is cheerfully approximate. I simply added the ammunition storage lockers and seats for the Alamein game, then afterwards cut the rear cargo body to size, and added the canopy struts and soft cab top at leisure. QRF are remodelling their WWII range to bring it up to the standards of their modern stuff. I wait in hope.

This YouTube clip was invaluable for more detail: YouTube  Marmon Herrington FAT with 25 Pdr

Marmon Herrington FAT and Chevrolet Truck towing 25pdrs

Marmon Herrington FAT (L) and Chevrolet Truck (R) towing 25pdrs

It is worth looking at YesthatPhil’s conversion of the open cab kit into a Tanake for the ALAMEIN game at Shedquarters in October 2018.

For Corps Scale Orbat (CSO) and above (Front – FSO) I have been modelling the tractors and guns together on the same base. It is less flexible, but gives players one less opportunity to muddle units up in a large game, and as umpire, I don’t have to keep reminding folk that the tractor goes with the gun, that it doesn’t matter if they show it limbered up or not, and that yes, in a move lasting from four hours to a day, they can move and fire.

Marmon Herrington FAT Work in Progress

Marmon Herrington FAT Work in Progress

Brass rods are a pig to line up for canopies. I used a card jig for the first one, but may use a solid jig for the next ones, or just leave the canopy off! I left off the spare tyre frame, wing mirrors and front bumper as being too fiddly and too fragile respectively.  Card and a thick coat of paint rectify the poor window castings, with some cloth covering the roof of the cab to give an approximation of the canvas cab tilt. Altogether, I think that I need about ten FATs for the whole of ALAMEIN if I am to do it all at once.

Marmon Herrington FAT with 25 pdr

Marmon Herrington FAT with 25 pdr

 

Marmon Herrington FAT and 25 pdr

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, 8th Army - British and Commonwealth, Artillery, Modelling, Trucks, Western Desert, WWII

Hubert Pölz’s famous Stuka Gets a Nose Job

Stg2 Hubert Polz's Ju-87

Stg2 Hubert Pölz’s Ju-87

Hubert Pölz has been scooting about quite happily in his unfinished die-cast Stuka since 2012¹. His Ju-87 finally got a nose job and some spats to finish the project. The usual 5 minutes of Google “research” suggests that the whole Geschwäder adopted the Schlange as its emblem. I would support that view based on pictures showing what I believe are slight variations of the snake with different serial numbers and camouflage patterns on the Stukas pictured. The variations show sharp-edged lines in angular or wavy lines, and spotted upper wing surfaces.

Stg2 Hubert Polz Ju-87

Hurricane’s-eye view of Stg2 Hubert Pölz’s Ju-87

What is less clear, is if the snake was an outline only, or sand or red. I went with red, after having originally painted just an outline, based only on the tonal differences in black and white pictures between the infill and the sand camouflage on the adjacent cowling on one of the pictures. It is entirely possible that all 3 variations are correct for different aircraft in the Geschwäder at different times! Pictured fuselage serials are T6+CP, T6+DP, and T6+MP or T6+AN, with the aircraft letter repeated on the front of the spats. I’m less worried about the underwing letters of  J, D, B, K as they cannot be seen in a wargame. It is suggested that Pölz actually flew T6+CP.

Stg2 Hubert Polz Ju-87 T6+AN

Hubert Pölz’s Ju-87 T6+AN enjoying taxi-ing on a proper set of wheels and spats.

 

The spats and nosecone were modelled out of Milliput Finecast, glued on once set, with a spare wheel cut in half to finish the job. The Stuka now sits at a properly rakish angle when on the ground and looks a little more convincing.

  1. One of the benefits of this blog is that it has helped me to realise how time is slipping by.

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Air Forces, DAK, German Airforce, Modelling, Western Desert, WWII

Romanian Infantry Division Finished

Romanian Infantry Division with attached Armour and AA (2)

Romanian Infantry Division with attached Armour and AA

As a reward for performing well on the DNEPR line, the Romanian Division has been rebased and finished¹ after many years. They have always been at the end of the line for arms and equipment. Their artillery has been, and still is, a cast-off Airfix 20mm standing in as a field artillery piece.The logistic truck was made originally by Ian Lowell for his French 20mm Rapid Fire army. It looks ridiculously large next to the R-1, which is fine.

Romanian Infantry Division with attached Armour and AA

Romanian Infantry Division with attached Armour and AA

The Schneider 47mm anti-tank gun came from a tank game, kindly donated by Bob Cordery, many years back. It had some 1/200 panthers in it, the tracks of which came in very useful for the extra Raupenschlepper Ost models in the PSC pack. The oxen are not strictly legit, but I had them lying around already based, and they are fun.

Romanian Anti-tank Battalion

Romanian Anti-tank Battalion

The divisional command stand is an eclectic mix of command figures from both World Wars. I painted the officers’ lips red, as they were allowed to use makeup if of field rank or higher!

Romanian Divisional HQ with AA and Recce Companies

Romanian Divisional HQ with AA and Recce Companies

  1. They will, of course, need their armour updating as the war goes on into 1943…. and varnish 🙂

 

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Eastern Front, Finished, Modelling, Romanian Army, WWII

True North B-4 203 mm howitzer M1931 and Voroshilovez Heavy Tractor Review

 

203 mm howitzer M1931 (B-4)

True North B-4 203 mm howitzer M1931 and Voroshilovez Heavy tractor

I have had my eye on a True North M1931 203 mm howitzer¹ from Old Glory UK for some time, as although Irregular Miniatures offer one in their Really Useful Guns range, the casting is a tad too generically vague, even for me. I know that this shouldn’t matter for a representational piece in a corps scale game, but I’m allowed to be irrational and inconsistent if I want.

The tractor fits together with little trouble with a gap that needs filling or hiding between the engine block and the cab, which is in 5 pieces. Mine came with two left doors, and I couldn’t be bothered to ask for a right door. Someone has a kit somewhere with no left door!

 It is a little trickier to fit the tracks square to the howitzer. If you just stick them to the trail, they will angle inwards. Everything else goes together with a minimum of filing. There is no obvious point to mount the derrick,but the picture below, and others show it on the left hand side of the trail, looking towards the barrel. The seats that flank the gun are a little tricky to line up, but again, pictures show them knocked out of position, and I wonder how much they were actually used in practice.

The gun was towed in two pieces, and the 350 horsepower Voroshilovez Heavy tractor was used to pull the carriage, replacing the 131 horsepower Komintern heavy tractor shown above. The Komintern was retained to tow the barrel on its separate carriage. For such a solid model, my usual cork bases are not stiff enough, so I used 5mm structural plywood. This will not be an issue for anyone mounting the gun and tractor separately. The inclusion of the trolley used for moving shells is a nice touch. Pictures show all sorts of makeshift ramps in gun positions. All in all, a very satisfying solid pair of models for annoying your German opponent. They should be an essential part of any Soviet wargamer’s collection.

True North B-4 203mm and Tractor

True North B-4 203mm and Komintern Tractor

After  a couple of basecoats, some muddy brown and a highlight, the piece is battle ready rather than finished. It is just waiting for some Piggie crew, base texture and more mud!

  1. The link is to the picture on the US site as the UK one is down at the time of writing. The derrick is shown in the stowed position. It should really look more like the picture below.
B4 M1934 203mm howitzer

B4 M1934 203mm howitzer

 

 

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Filed under Artillery, Modelling

Butlers’ Printed Models Review 39M CSABA Hungarian Armoured Car

 

CSABA M39 front left quarter by Butlers' printed models

CSABA M39 by Butlers’ printed models

This model is a little gem. Previously, I have been used to seeing slightly skew, slightly over-chunky renditions of this multi-angled Hungarian armoured car. Not so with this model, which renders the sloping faces and angles convincingly. Missing is the frame antenna, but this can be added, and I would rather have a clean model than one with a heavy square antenna obscuring the profile.

CSABA M39 rear right quarter by Butlers' printed models

CSABA M39 rear right quarter by Butlers’ printed models

The usual downsides to printed models are here – visible print lines and the odd stringy bit of support that refuses to detach, but these are not overly obtrusive and will yield to patient trimming. I only need one model for the whole Eastern Front campaign, and mine is now battle ready waiting for its tri-colour camouflage to be applied.

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Filed under Modelling, tank, WWII

Butlers’ Printed Models Review Krupp Kfz70 Protze

 

The 15mm Krupp Kfz 70 Protze breaks out of its supports cleanly with the usual fine print lines visible on shallow sloping surfaces. These are prominent on close-up inspection, being most noticeable on the long sloping bonnet, but disappear at wargames distances. Eye protection should be worn and a thorough vacuum-up afterwards as plastic shards can ping for quite some distance when removed.

15mm Krupp Kfz 70 Protze

BPM 15mm Krupp Kfz 70 Protze

Detail is good for a wargames model although rudimentary on the tyres.  Painting consisted of a black spray, a sand spray, then brushed coats of Dulux acrylic paints. The model scales well, and as with most printed models, is properly square where it should be and the overall impression is good. This version is of the Kfz 70 Troop carrier.

This model is excellent value at £2.75 :

 The Protzes were most often seen towing Pak 36s as the Kfz 69, but photos show that the ’70 was also used for this. The Kfz 81 towed the 2cm Flak. Sometimes the Pak 36 and Flak 2cm were mounted en portee directly onto the back of the truck. It might be thought that the Pak 36 disappeared from orbats by mid to late war, but it soldiered on in Volkssturm divisions and second-line units, as did the Protze.

 

Mine are off to fill gaps in the orbats of early and war infantry divisions.

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Filed under Modelling, tank, WWII

Spring 1943 Infantry Divisions Evolving towards the Type 44 (Neu Art) Order of Battle

The winter of 1942/43 was hard on the Wehrmacht’s infantry divisions. Attrition had reduced most front line units on the Ostfront to shadows of their prewar strength. The Type 44 (Neu Art) orbats introduced in 1944 were only formalising a process that had been gradually forced onto divisions since the winter of ’42/3. Accordingly, the divisional infantry in my boxes are spreading out as the same number of troops absorb newer equipment, and fill more boxes.

Infantrie Division Neu Art Motoriziert

Infantry Division Neu Art (Motorised)

Above is a Neu Art division that is benefiting from a mostly motorised supporting tail, with self-propelled anti tank guns and artillery on obsolete tank hulls. Below is a division that is being forced to rely on mostly horse drawn transport. Even here though, the anti-tank and pioneer battalions are motorised.

Infantrie Division Neu ArtInfantrie Division Neu Art (Horsedrawn)

As destroyed divisions were reformed away from the front in ’43, they did not always receive their full allocation of manpower or equipment. The type 44 Orbat recognised the dwindling manpower and sought to compensate with heavier weaponry. Gradually, the reconnaissance battalions were replaced with bicycle-mounted Fusileer battalions.

The new NQM  Orbat for the Type 44 Infantry Division looks like this (CSO in Blue):

Divisional HQ

Comd (C3) in Kubelwagen or staff car, possibly even on a horse

Signals Vehicle (C3) Kubelwagen or Lkw

Flak stand (S3) portee, or if towed, on an integral S3 stand

Fusileer Battalion

Comd +  2 Rifles (CF3), MMG, Mor, Atk Rifle (S3)

Infantry base on Bicycles (F3)

Wehrmacht Fusileer Battalion

Infantry Regiment HQ x 3

RHQ Comd, 8.1 or 12cm Mortar (CS3), 0-1  panzershreck or 75mm/150mm Regt Gun (CS3) [or simply show a support weapon and commander on a single CS3 stand]

Regt Comd with Regt Gun or 12cm Mortar (C3)

Neu Art Wehrmacht Infantry RegimentA two battalion Neu Art infantry regiment with RHQ is shown above

Infantry Battalion x (3-6)

Comd + MMG + 50mm Mortar or LMG (CS3)

3 Rifles (F3)

Infantry stand (F3)

Wehrmacht Infantry Battalion

Artillery Regiment

RHQ Comd (C3)

FOO (O1)

10.5cm Divisional gun (S3) + limber most likely horsedrawn (L3)

10.5cm Divisional gun + limber most likely horsedrawn (S3)

A horsedrawn and a Motorised 10.5cm Artillery BattalionA Horsedrawn (late war) and a Motorised (early war) 10.5cm Artillery Battalion

Anti-tank Battalion

3.7cm/5cm/7.5cm/7.62cm Gun (S3) +Limber (L3)

3.7cm/5cm/7.5cm/7.62cm Gun +Limber (S3)

 

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Filed under Modelling, Wehrmacht, WWII

Butlers’ Printed Models Review BA-64

 

BA-64 Front Quarter 1:100 Butlers' Printed Models

BA-64 Front Quarter 1:100 Butlers’ Printed Models

The BA64 breaks out of its supports cleanly with the usual fine print lines visible on shallow sloping surfaces. These are prominent on close-up inspection but disappear at wargames distances.Detail is good for a wargames model although rudimentary on the tyres. As it is a one-piece model , there is very little sticking together. I used Evo-Stick on the turret¹, and to stick it to the wargames base. Painting consisted of a black spray, a sand spray, then a brushed coat of Tamiya Olive Green. Weathering will be done when it has fought a few battles.

BA-64 Rear Quarter 1:100 Butlers' Printed Models

BA-64 Rear Quarter 1:100 Butlers’ Printed Models

The model scales well, which of course means that it looks a little  small compared to other offerings, but this is a recommendation, not a criticism. PSC and FoW are particularly guilty in this respect, with some of their figures approaching 20mm proportions.

Hitherto, Shapeways’ prices have been prohibitive, but this model is excellent value at £2.00 :

https://www.butlersprintedmodels.co.uk/15mm/ww2/soviet/ba64-armoured-car.html  The next photo shows that with my wargames standard of weathering, even the smooth-hulled Zvezda BA-10 looks a bit rough close-up in this scale, so I am not anticipating any problems with 3D models.

BA-64 with BA-10 1:100 Butlers' Printed Models

BA-64 with BA-10 1:100 Butlers’ Printed Models

  1. The new clear formulation is more like Bostik. I have yet to use it as a true contact adhesive. Usually a dob of glue with the two parts in place is enough, then let it dry .

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Filed under Modelling, tank, WWII

Butler Printed Models

These printed 1:100 models arrived in the post today. Review to follow. First impressions are very good. The pictures highlight any printing imperfections, and I suspect that paint will smooth out the lines. Everything is finely printed and spot-on square. The supporting web peels off easily with pliers.

The nylon printing material looks tough , so I am not expecting fine detail to break off in play.

There are some printing flaws, but if they don’t buff out, they already pass the three foot test.

Lines are most obvious on circular and sloping surfaces. Intricate detail can be printed in one piece.

The support webs are well designed and peel away quickly. To be continued …

 

 

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Filed under Artillery, Modelling, tank, Trucks