Fast build Russians

I've started on my Italian vehicles, but while waiting for the par ts to set I assembled the Pegasus "fast build" sets, They are quite quick, but it does take time to assemble all the running gear, but the end result is better than those where it is all one moulding. Unfortunately because my reading glasses broke I had to stop work on the Italians and these got finished first.

First is the later version of the KV1 the KV1S, the S is for skorostniy (speedy) as the armour/weight was reduced from that in the previous version to improve performance, but it was still armed with the 76.2mm gun so it was inferior to the T34/76 and hence the development of the IS series.

Second is the assault gun version the SU152, armed with a 152mm howitzer, called the "Zvierboy" because of it's claimed ability to kill panthers and tigers.

The one regret is that they are actually 1/72 so I won't be able to mix them with my existing Fujimi KV1. A small fault is the lack of an opening hatch on the KV1S and the lack of decals, otherwise a good deal for £6.00 a pair.




After checking my Italians for the big game I found that I was still missing some bits, so some quick reinforcements by post were required. Unfortunately I couldn't make Partizan so everything was ordered over the internet, which is never as good as seeing the real thing at a show. The other problem, is that I tend to add more to the order to "spread the postage charges".

What has arrived so far

From Hannants

2 x Attack Tatra T-57K Kubelwagens for Italian staff cars
1 x Attack Phanomen Granit 25H Ambulance for an Italian radio vehicle
2 x Hasegawa GMC Dump Truck to complete my RF US Engineer battalion
1 x Italeri Mongol Cavalry because they look nice
1 x Pegasus 75mm IG18 I'm sure I need another one
1 x Pegasus KV1S Just to try, since they are 1/72 they may be oversized compared to my 1/76 Fujimi ones
1 x Pegasus SU152 Ditto

From Rapid Fire/Ready to Roll - a couple of Camionetta Desertica light trucks for Italian Artillery prime movers ( I would have liked 3 but this was all that was available)

Still in Transit are some Italian AT Rifles, Breda AA Crews and a couple of extra guns 100mm Skodas




The Italian equivilents of the LRDG/SAS were the Compagnie Arditi Camionettisti who were equipped with the Camionetta 'Sahariana' AS 42. I have made a start on one of these units with the Italeri kit. It was a lot of parts, but builds into a lovely model. The 20mm Breda is particularly fine, but fragile so it's best in the vehicle.
I still need to find some crew for these. A typical unit would consisted of 10 vehicles, which is represented by two in Rapid Fire terms. More details can be found on the Commando Supremo site

Finally for comparison I have added the BP casts 20mm Breda AA, which can clearly be seen as overscale in comparison with the Bredas on the vehicles.



Warlord Romans

I was distracted by the Free Roman figure from Warlord games enclosed with WI last month and decided to try painting it up (left), subsequently I was passed another and painted it as well. They are nice well proportioned figures, slightly smaller than some metals, but quite close to the size of my Rospak Romans (rear figure) that I bought over 20 years ago

The figures show a dramatic improvement in the quality of sculpting/manufacturing since the originals and the biggest difference comes from the separately cast head and the decently proportioned pila.

If I hadn't got an existing Roman army then I would be very tempted by these figures.


Hurrah! Cossacks finished

At last they are finished, the curse of painting irregulars meant that they took far longer than planned and I always find excuses to complete something else first

In total I painted 48 figures and made up 3 uinits of registered cossacks, 2 units of pancerni and a number of spares for commanders. The latter just need to have flags or whatever added and then based.

Quite dramatic and I think they will be fun on the tabletop.


Polish General

At last a commander for my Poles. The commander figure is one of the Orion cossacks and the winged hussar is from the same manufacturer.

The current forces for the Polish/Lithuanian commonwealth, including cossacks are

3 units of Polish hussars
2 units of Lithuanian Pancerni
2 units of Registered Cossacks
3 units of Free Cossacks
2 units of Haiduks
Plus Cossack rabble, skirmishers and artillery.

Should be enough now to have a game against the Swedes



Volksgrenadier Artillery

Something quite different for my late WW2 German forces. Many of the forces raised in late 44/early 45 were equipped with old or obsolete equipment including their artillery. My volksgrenadiers have been given the 75mm FK-16 nA. Originally built as in WW1 as the 77mm FK-16, the surviving guns in German service were rebarreled during the early thirties in the new standard 75mm calibre.

The gun crew are from the Hat/Armourfast German MG/Mortar crews, The guns and limbers come from the HAT WW1 German artillery, and the limber horses and riders are spares from the Revell WW2 German artillery (they provided 6 horse teams).



Captured M3 half track

Here's my submission to the Guilds group build competition with the theme "captured" I had decided to set myself an additional constraint that I had to source it from my existing stocks. Otherwise I'd just go out and buy a tank and repaint it being used by a different nationality. I decided to use the Airfix M3 half track as a basis and depict it as one captured by the Afrika Korps, they had quite a number after Kasserine.

Those with long memories will remember seeing on in Wargames World issue 5 many years ago (1989).

The crew is basically DAK from my stash, the only modification was the MG gunner that had to be converted from a lying to a standing figure.



On the workbench - May 08

Well the cossacks still remain to be completed, hopefully not too long now. I've also started on the Volksgrenadier crews for the WW1 77mm guns. But generally I will spend the month ensuring that I have all my Italians ready for the big game event -Battleaxe 1941.

One item I had nearly forgotten about was my entry for The Guilds group build competition "Captured" so this is my first priority.



Lake Garda and the local military history

OK, I sneaked off for a weeks holiday on Lake Garda in Italy. Although it was mainly a walking holiday there was a lot of history about as it was on the old Italian/Austro-Hungarian frontier.

Day one was quite stunning as we walked up the mountain at the north end of the lake and passed the remains of lots of fortifications. Monte Brione was covered in fortifications from the water level at Fort San Nicolo through to Forte San Alessandro at the summit. This area of concrete is all that is visible of Batteria di Mezzo part way up.

Late on I discovered that there is a collection of the best sites in the region assembled by Reinhold Messner here http://www.fortezzeimperatore.it/. It seemed that wherever we walked in the area we would come across remnants of WW1. At the refuge at Passo Nota they even had a book covering the fighting in the region (unfortunately in Italian) but with some unusual pictures of troops coping with fighting in the mountains. Quite interesting as we had ascended by a contemporary military road with tunnels, pausing just before the pass at a war cemetery.

Of course the area did not just see fighting in WW1, much earlier the area was controlled by the Scaligeri family who built/extended a number of castles including this one at Malcesine.

It is of particular interest to visit as it details the Venetian expedition to relieve Mantua/Brescia. They had to move 6 galleys, 2 galleons and 26 barques up the river Adige then drag them across the Nago pass to Torbole at the north end of Lake Garda before sailing down to attack the fortifications/dam on the river Mincio.

Even more dramatic was the castle at Arco, though I didn't get chance to visit