Thursday, 31 December 2020

20mm WW2 German infantry in winter smocks

Another bring and buy bargain, a mixed bag of Caesar WW2 German winter infantry in camo smocks.  The only figures missing were LMG teams, which I made up with some MG34 armed Panzergrenadiers from Raventhorpe.

The platoon with a recce infantry section at the front.  The recce section is painted in all white camo, while the rest wear a mix of white and more regular camo gear, some with white smocks, others white overtrousers.  I notice for the picture that I have managed to put one figure of the recce section in with the HQ section.

The recce section in all white camo - I figured they would get the most suitable clothing to fulfil their role on the battlefield.

HQ section.

Rifleman in mixed camo clothing.

CO, rifle armed so he blends in with his troops.

Similar figure pose in mixed camo clothing.

MG34 and assistant.

Advancing SMG and rifle-armed figures, both in mixed camo clothing.

I still need to add some snow to the bases, I will probably use my favourite recipe of baking powder, white paint and PVA glue.

So, last post for the year.  What a year 2020 has been!  Here is to 2021, new and effective vaccines and the end of Covid-19.  Happy New Year and thanks for looking!

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

20mm British Pioneers and Home Guard

I recently ordered a mixed lot of figures from Raventhorpe, which included a couple of packs of WW2 British pioneers (three figures per pack).  The figures are armed with a flamethrower, Bangalore torpedo and pole charge, making them really useful for lots of battlefield engineering tasks.

I also ordered a "special" Raventhorpe pack of familiar Home Guard infantry.  A pack of 9 figures, including an ARP warden, officer, medic and youthful Tommy gunner wearing a scarf, plus rifle armed volunteers with fixed bayonets and a Lewis gunner.

The officer.

Young Tommy gunner.

ARP warden.  Put those lights out.



Assorted troopers with rifles, Lewis gun and Molotov cocktail.  Just realised the guy with the Molotov appears to be smoking a fag, which makes him look like bit like a spiv.

All nice figures with good raised detail and easy to paint.  I shall need to source quite a few more Home Guard types to make up a platoon, so will scan the manufacturers to see what is on offer.

Thanks for looking.

Thursday, 24 December 2020

20mm PSC SS Panzergrenadiers

I was impressed with the example photos of the new Plastic Soldier Company ultracast SS Panzergrenadiers, so decided to give myself a pre-Christmas treat and ordered a box.  At almost £20 plus postage for a box of 35 figures, they are not cheap, working out at over 57p per figure.  I was also somewhat surprised at the box content as there are 6 MG34 teams of 2, 3 prone firing and 3 advancing.  However, that leaves 3 kneeling commanders, 3 NCOs with SMGs, 3 Panzerfausts and 20 figures armed with rifles.  Now, my calculations suggest that for a platoon in PSCs premier WW2 rules system, this leaves you short 1 rifleman, which seems a really odd mix, especially as my box contained sprues which had been cut up already, so presumably are a mix and match from the casting machines.

The image below shows the basic 30 man platoon that can be assembled (I opted to use the advancing LMG teams, saving the firing teams for another platoon), but there is an odd figure from another manufacturer - I will let you try and figure out which and from which plastic figure set. 

Pose quality and sculpting are excellent (as might be expected given their Adler pedigree) and they are nicely equipped with water bottle, bread bag, gas mask canister, entrenching tool or spade and bayonet sheath, and a scattering of zeltbahns.  Riflemen appear to carry the Kar 98K, NCOs the MP40.  Those armed with panzerfausts also have a slung rifle.  Loaders for the LMGs carry ammo boxes and one has a belt of ammunition draped around his shoulders.  There are quite a variety of poses, walking, running, aiming firing, loading, etc., which makes for a nice mixed look to the unit.

The ultracast material is lightweight and easy to paint, requiring no base/undercoat coat.  However, that is where the benefits stop.  The material does not fully fill the molds properly, resulting in poorly cast arms and entrenching tools in particular.  Missing arms, from elbow or shoulder to hand, required the use of paste to fill/resculpt.  In particular, the tips of entrenching tools also proved particularly challenging to repair and I eventually gave up.  Then there are issues with strong curvature on entrenching tool handles, which are adhered to the backside of the troopers, making them curve to their bodies.  Rifles were also curved and, in at least one case, rippled with multiple curves, making straightening them a challenge.  To add to the problems, some of the webbing, especially rifle and SMG slings, is markedly distorted, with random blebs of plastic and occasionally, there are rounded blebs of plastic adhered to the chest of some figures - no indication if this is a mis-cast item like a grenade or just a blob of spare plastic, but it is too well adhered to the figure to remove without a lot of cutting.  I regret to say that in my opinion there is some really poor production quality and quality control in the manufacture of these figures, which spoils what were clearly beautiful figure sculpts.  Having said that, I am quite pleased with how they have turned out, but I am not going to rush out and buy more or their new 8th Army figures until I hear production quality has improved.

The 6 figure command squad - to me the three kneeling figures look more suitable (in fact perfect) for a higher level HQ (FHQ in BG), rather than a combat platoon.

Three advancing MG34 teams.  Nice dynamic poses.  I have painted these guys in a spring oak leaf pattern,

Three 5 man rifle teams, each with a panzerfaust.

Another view of the riflemen.

And the LMG teams.

So, I thought about what spare figures I had and how they might be incorporated into the basic set.  I picked up some Britannia SS figures from Paul at the Defenders club a couple of years ago and was pleased to see that they compare well in style and size.  This got me thinking that, at 65p/figure, the Britannia metals might be a better bet, although the variety of poses from PSC is nice.  Anyway, these figures were in pea dot camo and there were enough riflemen and an LMG team to do a recce infantry section (at the back in the photo below), plus a suitable commander and a grizzled veteran with arm in sling for the command team (front row, round bases), freeing up the three kneeling PSC figures to form a battlegroup FHQ.  As a bonus, there were also sniper, panzerschrek and MG34 tripod teams as well (on left in photo below).

Comparison of Britannia figures (round bases on left) and PSC (square bases right) showing good compatibility - at least I am happy with them.

So, all in all I am really pleased with the way they have turned out and they form the basis of a nice looking SS Panzergrenadier kampfgruppe.  I already have one using entirely Britannia figures, so these should fit right in for larger actions.

As its Christmas Eve and, according to Norad, Santa is preparing for his great journey around the globe, I will take the opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas.  I hope you are able to be with the ones you love, and if you cant, then you can at least meet up on social media.  Take care and keep safe, as ever, thanks for looking.

Friday, 11 December 2020

20mm WW2 Goumiers

A small 8 figure unit of Goumiers (Moroccan soldiers in French service) from Raventhorpe, representing a section for Battlegroup or Company for Rapid-Fire.  Four different poses, walking and advancing with rifles (3 of each) with a single SMG gunner with what looks like a Thompson and a single LMG gunner armed with what appears to be a Bren or perhaps more likely an FM24/29.  Their helmets appear British, while their webbing looks to be US, so suspect these are aimed at the post-Torch fighting in Algeria and Tunisia, although they would also be suitable for Sicily and Italy, possibly even the south of France, although I suspect there would be progressively more US weapons and equipment as the war progressed, in line with the rest of the French army.

These guys are depicted wearing their traditional striped coats in various shades of brown, sand and off-white.  Helmets are Russian uniform and webbing is khaki lightened with Iraqi sand.  All are washed in Agrax earthshade before gloss and matt varnish.

Three riflemen and the LMG gunner, Bren or quite possibly an FM24/29.

3 more riflemen plus the Thompson SMG gunner.

Rear views.

At some point I will probably bring them up to platoon/battalion strength, with a suitable French officer and a Hotchkiss HMG for support.

Thanks for looking.

Friday, 4 December 2020

20mm WW2 British Shermans for NW Europe

A troop of Shermans marked up as 27th Armoured Brigade.  75mm Sherman command tank is a PSC freebie with Torch, I think, while the other 75mm and the Firefly are Ready-2-roll resin castings.

The PSC kit, nice and easy to assemble.  All these vehicles are base coated in Russian uniform, washed in Agrax earthshade and dry brushed Iraqi sand.  Tracks are German camo black brown, washed in Agrax and dry brushed.

Ready-2-roll Firefly, some very minor bubbles to fill before painting, but a lovely model.

Ready-2-roll 75mm Sherman.

Another view of the troop.

There is a slight difference in size between the PSC and Ready-2-roll versions, with the PSC version being 2-3mm longer, although this isn't really noticeable on the tabletop.

The PSC commander - "Driver, advance right!"

So, all ready to roll off the beach head in Normandy and fight their way to the Seine.  But who am I kidding, I'm not enough of a zealot that I won't also use them in Holland and Germany, despite 27th Armoured being disbanded before the end of the Normandy campaign (their tanks were reallocated and just haven't been given the new markings in my universe).

Thanks for looking.

Thursday, 3 December 2020

20mm WW2 British carrier section dismounts

My first Raventhorpe Miniatures, one of Tony's special packs of British Recce Infantry, effectively three, three man teams, one 2" mortar team, one PIAT team and one Bren team, plus an officer figure.  Perfect for dismounts for a carrier section dismounts.  Figures are in campaign dress, including battledress, camo smocks (?Denison or similar) and leather jerkins, with a mix of berets and despatch rider/paratrooper helmets.

Uniform is English uniform with some khaki added, golden olive for webbing and black grey for boots and equipment.  Russian uniform for helmets and painted equipment.

First up, the bren team.

The PIAT team, PIAT gunner in centre and the guy on the right with Thompson SMG has also picked up a Panzerfaust.

2" Mortar team, the gunner and No 2 using a felled tree as cover.

The whole unit, with officer at the front.

These are my first Raventhorpe minis and they won't be the last I'm sure.  I've got some Goumiers, a Home Guard section and some German MG34 gunners in the pipeline.

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

More 20mm WW2 Crusaders

 Lots of things stacked up on the painting table.  Unfortunately, real work and the loss of my painting mojo through getting bogged down in trying to shift a load of WW1 German infantry has resulted in a bit of a hiatus on the painting front.  Gradually building back up again, so got these three Crusaders finished - they only needed decals and matt varnish, so were relatively quick to wrap up.

I went for these in plain stone grey washed in Agrax Earthshade.  All are Armorfast Crusader II kits with a PSC commander.

The command tank.  Hatches needed to be cut with a craft knife to open them up.  Stowage is from various Sgts Mess packs.

Nice propaganda pic of the troop.  Should have Jerry quaking in his boots.

Lots more on the go, with NW Europe Shermans and various German panzergrenadier platoons.

As ever, thanks for looking.