After finishing my AB vickers machine guns I figured I should get these older plastic ones from HAT done too. They came in a box of four sets plus some other support weapons. Great value but not on the same level as the AB metal figures as far as detail etc. The plastic on HAT figures is also really soft and weird. Impossible to sand and also cuts strangely. Anyway did the best I could. Based on small circular plywood with some clay and sand. The figures are all identical so I tried to vary the bases with extra bits and pieces and walls and shrubs…… That is enough MGS for my British battalion, just some infantry mortars and I think it could be finally finished…….. oh no hang on I bought something else……
Milicast Models Humber Armoured Car
I have been window shopping on Milicast’s web site for ages but never jumped in and bought anything for the usual reasons. One, I already have enough stuff. Two, they are expensive. Three, they do not quite fit into my usual plastic model kit rules. But with a sale incentive (I think they were offering one half price model with every two purchased) and a weakening of will power I caved in and bought a few. My experience of resin kits is not that great. I have found poor moulding with bubbles, fragile bits that snap and pieces tricky, ill-fitting and hard to glue. Not so the case with Milicast so far. The only issue I did have was the front axle being a bit wonky and I had to do some surgery on it to get it straight. We could not have one wheel spinning in midair now could we?
The instructions do leave a bit of room for error, they could definitely improve them with clearer pictures and arrows etc. I had to supplement the instructions with other internet research so avoiding major screw ups. A couple of little bits had snapped in transit but nothing my DIY skills could not overcome. I added a plastic aerial to the turret but nothing more on the detail front. An olive drab paint job as usual with an ink wash and a dose of European earth weathering powder. You need to add your own decals as none are supplied. I picked out an AB crew figure who sits nicely in the larger open hatch. If you look closely you can see the excellent Company B decals on his arm. These are 28mm decals that they can downsize to 20mm and save me from struggling to paint anything so tiny!! Based on 3mm MDF to save his axles from damage. I compared this kit to my Hasegawa Humbers and there is no comparison. These Milicast models are far superior in detail and proportions, and I am looking forward to building the next one.
Plastic Soldier Company Chevrolet Truck in 1/72 scale
Another cool truck this time from The Plastic Soldier Company. I bought just one sprue of this little truck as they had some sale on over there in the UK. Very simple one sprue of soft grey plastic. Nice chunky detail as always from these guys. It is a super quick build, although I did pre paint the two crew that come supplied before constructing the cabin. A few additions also add value to the vehicle. I found a pair of spare wing mirrors in my bits box that were added, you have to have wing mirrors for effective combat driving don’t you? I also added clear plastic windows as things do not quite look right without a working windscreen. You do not get decals with any of these PSC kits so I raided my well stocked decals folder for some random bits and pieces. Oh yes and I really did not like the handling of the canvas rear cover, it looked way too unnatural at the back. So I chopped out the back section and replaced it with a rolled up bit of foil and string to represent a canvas roll down door thing. Much better.
Paint scheme i did an overall olive drab for the cab and chassis, and a khaki for the canvas back. Then did a mickey mouse black camo scheme over the top. He is a groovy little truck. Lined up next to him are the Airfix bedford and Tilly from one of their diorama boxes.
AB Figures British Vickers MGs in 1/72 Scale
Nearly finished all my British troops for Normandy, just finishing up some support weapons and then should be able to field a battalion or full company depending what system I use. This is AB figures British vickers MG teams, you get two MGs and gunners plus three loaders and a sighting seated figure. I already used the sighting figure some other time. So i had a spare MG and gunner from another bunch of metal figures no idea who. This made up three MG teams. Not much to say about AB figures apart from they are the best! Painted in my usual British uniform plus tiny arm decals from Company B. Based on hardwood bases covered in clay and sand. Lots of tufts and grass finishing them off. I have four infantry mortar teams to go and that is it for the British! Finally!
Airfix Tilly Car in 1/72 scale
I totally forgot that I had already built one of the cool vehicles from the Airfix Diorama Kit. This is the Tilly car I made a few weeks back. Awesome little car for your officers to cruise around in. It must be a new AIrfix mould as it comes in the same nice grey plastic that makes building a breeze. Loved it. The windshield and doors are all transparent plastic so need care when painting. It is a tiny little car but simple to build. I added an AB driver and left the doors open so you can actually see some insides.
Here is Colonel Mustard emptying his trusty pipe while Corporal Smith keeps a keen watch out for any hostiles on the horizon. Or maybe he is seeing if the next village has a good cafe where they can grab a baguette and a coffee.
Zvezda British Soldiers in 1/72 scale
I think these guys are from two smaller packets of Zvezda British Infantry but I dont quite remember. I have had them hanging around for ages and since they were the last plastic figures I had based I thought they should be painted. They are more 1940 early Brits but who cares maybe they just kept their old equipment heading into Normandy. I cant say I really like painting plastic figures as the detail is always a bit muddy compared to metal ones. Anyway i was happy i managed to finish them in between building three Dragon Tigers which have been keeping me busy!!!
US GMC Trucks In 1/72 Scale
I am slowly building up some US forces and I really like building trucks. Especially these super cool US GMC trucks. I cannot help myself as far as trucks and armoured cars go. These guys come from Heller (Airfix) and Hasegawa. The Heller kit has finer detail and is more delicate. It comes with an excellent gun ring on the roof, and its dimensions are longer and thinner than the Hasegawa kits. The Japanese kits are very solid and chunky and very quick to build. You can get them super cheap direct from Japan. They do have weird metal axels which need super gluing otherwise the wheels rotate. I added windshields with plastic and also added some thin chains on the front fender as i had seen photos of this somewhere. My drivers are all AB Figures as usual. They are such cool trucks. I have an IBG Diamond Cargo Truck just arrived in tbe post which I am now itching to make!
Airfix Churchill Crocodile in 1/76 Scale
Airfix kits just have that nostalgic smell and something that takes me back 35 years, and I love them. They may not be as well detailed or the same size or fit together as well as any other more modern brands, but I don’t care. Even the cardboard box and the instructions have a deja vu type feeling for me. To complete my recent Churchill tank building spree here is the Crocodile flame thrower to join them.
The wheels are fiddly as you have to add them individually and get them straight. But apart from that this went together pretty easily. The tracks were toast in this particularly eBay purchase, but luckily I had a nice new set of flexible tracks from a Dragon kit left over. Very nice. The fuel tank towed at the back is particularly well put together and obviously a different, newer mould than the actual tank. The turret hatches are all moulded shut which is always a shame. You could do some tweaking and open them up, but I am always too worried about making a pig’s ear of it. I did add an aerial but that was about it.
In plastic I do not think there is another alternative for this vehicle. It is a bit smaller than my other 1/72 scale Churchills, but not too much so that it really makes much difference. In the last photo for comparison I have put an Esci, Plastic Soldier Company, Dragon and finally an Airfix Churchill together. You can see Mr Airfix is a touch shorter than the others. Now he really needs a flame to show the flame thrower in action. Ouchy hot.
Esci Churchill Tanks in 1/72 Scale
This weekend I finished painting three more Churchill tanks for my British forces. These three were all Esci kits bought on eBay (one of them was boxed as Humbrol, but it is the same Esci kit in the box). The kits are identical except for the Humbrol branded one comes with one piece plastic tracks rather than the link and length tracks in the Esci kit. Luckily the one piece tracks are usable and not the super annoying vinyl ones that mess with my sanity. It also helps that the design of the Churchill means a lot of track is not even visible so you have plenty of scope to make a mess and then cover it all up.
These kits may be old, but they are still great. No fiddly wheels as the running gear comes in just two sections that you have to line up. The detail is good and the parts fit together well. I only had to fill a few gaps here and there with putty, mostly near the front fenders. I think the old plastic had warped a bit. You can leave the commanders hatch open, which I did, and added my usual AB Commanders. Turrets fit nicely and turn easily even after a couple of layers of paint. I added some aerials but left off any stowage, just for a change felt like some clean looking vehicles.
They were all undercoated in matt black then a coat of olive drab. A layer of gloss varnish before I added a whole heap of decals, some from the kits plus a bunch of other spares. I like seeing names down the side of the Churchills so these three got that treatment. A brown wash and a coat of matt varnish finished these guys off. Plus some dark earth and European earth pigments just to dust them up a bit.
I also finished my furry field and sandy track for the Churchill troop to be driving down. Perfect photo opportunity for everyone. These kits may be old but they are just as good as modern offerings from Dragon, and better than more simple kits like Plastic Soldier Company. If you can find them for $10 on eBay well worth the money. I built an Airfix Churchill Crocodile at the same for comparison. You can see him next,
AB British Flamethrowers and Observers
I have been trying to finish up my remaining piles of British Infantry and all the support weapons and other bits and pieces. Unfortunately I keep getting tempted by more AB figures and bought another squad of British just because I like them. So I think as many other figure painters find, it is one step forward with reducing stocks, and two steps backwards as more figures and kits are added to the collection…..
Anyway here is a fancy looking AB figures commander smoking a pipe, with some observation teams. Also a commander from Stonewall figures and two radio men. I added an aerial to the one with a radio backpack. The flamethrower team and support man with an SMG are from AB figures again. I am going to make a flame attachment to show them firing. Probably out of wire and some kind of painted sponge and flock I think. Will have to think about that. One day I will complete my British Battalion and actually get a game going. My friend Jim at Combat HQ has released his version 2 rules of Combat HQ so I want to try and get a game in and write up a battle report/review.