The PGM resin cyclists and motorcycle combinations in 15mm are the most absurdly perfect 15mm prints that I have seen. Anatomical proportions of the riders are correct. Animation is both realistic and lively. The cycles have chains and spokes. There are over ten different models.
I am fully expecting bits of the finely detailed weapons and wheel spokes to snap off in game use. I’m sure that my Soviet Artillery painting style¹ will not do the figures justice, but who cares. These figures need to be seen before my paint brush gets to them for the detail to be fully appreciated.
If the Soviet motorcycle combo looks like a BMW, it is no coincidence. I owned a Cossack Dnieper in the ’80s and it was clearly a BMW copy, made from scrap iron by rural tractor mechanics. Like everything else Soviet, it did the job after a fashion. There were enough of them to win the war.
- Throw all your paint at the target. Some of it will hit.
The ground is firming from the south on the Eastern Front, and troops that have been sat in marshalling yards are approaching the front; some faster than others. In no particular order are a pair of Skytrex 10.5cm LkW Feldhaubitzer , previously posted German motorcycles, fifty Soviet truck-mounted troops and a few Butler’s Printed Models dovunque trucks. A lollipop stick’s worth of PSC artillery officers have been lounging about in Cairo hotels, wondering when the next big push is coming. They have taken second place to canoeing over the summer, and biological and chemical warfare on a new allotment, but their time is drawing near.
The rest of the world knows that dry-brushing colours over black is the quickest way to paint large numbers of troops. I have always resisted it in the past, but gave in when faced with fifteen or so blocks of seated troops. Likewise, the motorcycles have a lot of undercut shadows, so got the same treatment. As usual, they look fine to me at a distance.
The seated Soviets are gradually replacing the more active truck-mounted troops that used to leap about on the flatbeds in heroic poses.
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 (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.
- I say purchased … YesthatPhil did all the hard work. I just gave him some money afterwards.
Thirty third and third motorcycle battalions, belonging to 15 and 21 panzer divisions respectively, were attached to Panzer Armee Afrika. In NQM terms, each battalion should comprise 6 strength points as shown above (3 for the CSO Orbat).
They are most usefully employed as recce, in single strength point elements to cover the front on the move; but there is no reason why they should not be amalgamated into two 3R elements per battalion to fight with more endurance if desired. There is also no reason why they should all be mounted on motorcycles; the orbat included Kfz 11s and 18s (and probably 15s for all I know).
Most troops were mounted in sidecar combos, single motorcycles appearing at headquarters. A company had about 11 motorcycles and 60 M/C combos at full strength, and they did not stay at full strength for long.