Saturday, 29 November 2014

The really little guys

While my core scale is undoubtedly 6mm, I have been looking for a long time at the even smaller models produced by Oddzial Osmy in 3mm scale. I decided finally to bite the bullet, and ordered a few packs of Italian troops from Fighting 15s. Great service, by the way - I ordered them on line just before midnight on Wednesday evening, and I had them in my hands on Friday morning.
The first ones I painted were a pack of medium tanks, M 13/40 - you get 15 of these for £3. I'd say my impression of these is that they are OK - you can't expect the sort of detail that you get on the larger (!) 6mm figures, and for their size these are not bad - rather like the sort of thing we got in 6mm a couple of decades ago.

Next I moved on to a pack of Berseglieri - you get 70 figures for your £3, mostly standing riflemen, but including some prone light machine gunners and mortars. As you would expect they are fairly squat - anything like true proportions at this scale and they would be far too fragile. You can make out enough to paint the flesh, boots and weapons, but it is fairly impressionistic. However my biggest problem came from the metal in which they are cast. This is very hard indeed, and while this gave no problems with the tanks, which are individual models, the infantry are cast in rows of five. You can't use them as they are, they are facing sideways in their rows, so you have to clip them apart. I was able to do this with a pair of metal cutters, but they snap apart very violently, so that I had to do it inside a small bag, to avoid losing figures as they went flying across the room (literally). Worse still, the shock of the cutting caused quite a few of the figures simply to snap off at the "ankles" - seven out of the fifty standing figures broke in this way, and while I was able to roughly glue them back on, it made them even less accurate. Basing them was as much of a chore as with their larger brethren, maybe more so as they are so fiddly to handle.

Overall I am not sure I will get any more - I will probably paint and base the ones I have. They are certainly quicker to paint than 6mm (and much cheaper) but basing is as much work, so the overall time saving is not that huge, and for me the loss of quality is quite significant.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

More Khaki

Just a bit more off the top of the lead pile - a pack of M5A1 Half Tracks (GHQ UK-33) and two packs of 5.5" howitzers, with the distinctive Matador prime movers - that's UK-66. On the half tracks I used some clutter from the detail pack that GHQ do for these vehicles (actually the pack is designed for M3s and M2s, but the M5A1 is effectively the same as the M3, just a different manufacturer and mostly lend-lease). The detail pack (US-54) gives mine rails for the sides of the vehicles, cargo racks (full and empty) for the back, and other bits and pieces (tarpaulins, rolled nets, jerrycans) which can be stuck on all over to give the half tracks that lived-in look. The 5.5" guns are manned by some H&R artillery crews that I had ready painted from a previous batch.

And the big guns:

Saturday, 15 November 2014

And after Grant comes Sherman, of course

I wanted to get a bit off my unpainted lead pile, so I took a couple of packs of British Shermans out - GHQ UK-58, which is the Firefly, an essential for a British squadron, and also pretty handy on the battlefield with its 17pdr gun. Officially this is the Sherman VC - the C denoting the 17pdr armament. The other pack was UK-65, the Sherman M4A4 or Sherman V, with a 75mm gun. This was the version with five auto-engines bolted together, in a slightly extended hull (about six inches longer than the regular Shermans). Almost all of these went to the Allies, especially the British - the Americans didn't want it, but the British were very happy, for various reasons. This version is modeled without sand shields, so it's most appropriate for the late war. For North Western Europe I use an Olive Drab for my British vehicles - Lifecolor UA220. To be honest at this scale it does not make sense to be too picky about exact shades, especially as I give them a sepia wash anyway, which takes the colours down a bit. British tanks are a doddle, compared with the fancy German camoflage - Olive Drab from the airbrush, then tracks and the detail. I gave a couple of them aerials - fine plastic thread which I salvage from the tags which hold labels on new clothes. They are quite rigid, but no risk of piercing your fingers as with a wire version, and free of course.
First, the plain M4A4s:

And the Fireflies:

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


More desert tanks for the British, this time five Grants (GHQ pack UK-7). An ugly tank, very high in profile and with the odd sponson mount, but it was popular with the troops when it arrived, as it gave them a 75mm gun for the first time. I gave the Caunter a break and used a different camoflage pattern I found on a couple of photo - Desert Pink base with a pattern of Dark Olive, outlined in white. I think it looks rather good, and certainly distinctive.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Matilda, Queen of the Desert

The painting continues on the British Western Desert tanks; this time it is the Matilda, a tank which was in its time dominant and indeed almost invulnerable to many of the guns it faced. Eventually, of course, it was outclassed, though it was still in service in the Far East at the end of the war. These are GHQ pack UK-4.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Valentine's Day

Another batch for the desert, though it's fairly marginal. Five Valentines from GHQ - pack UK-25, which is listed as Valentine III and XI. The turrets supplied were five of the 75mm versions plus just two of the 6pdr type for the Valentine III, so I made them all as XIs. I gave them a version of the Caunter paint scheme, which is certainly dubious for the Valentine XI - by the time they arrived the Caunter scheme had been superseded. But if I need Valentines of any mark for my desert battles these will be wheeled out - they're not going to get a lot of use in Europe.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

More new lead

I finished the other GHQ models I bought at Fiasco - five Panzer IIs. Along with the 2 pdr anti tank guns they were the only thing I could find for my new Desert venture. However when I got home and did a little bit of research I realised that these (pack G-113) are the earliest version, A/B/C, which did not fight in Russia or the desert. So I painted them in Panzergrau and they will get an outing if I run any Blitzkrieg battles.