Friday, February 12, 2016

How did this happen?

I have allowed myself recently to become distracted from my Napoleonic and Army Men projects to have a look at my World War Two collections.  I started with my German AFVs.
What to do with all this?  I have left off my trucks and half
So I laid these chappies out on the table.  Surveying this lot, methought - 'How the hell did that happen?'  Somehow or other I had acquired a whole bunch of stuff I didn't know I had...

A very large ambush of Tigers.  Or is it a streak?
 First: Panthera Tigris:  In the picture are 4 Airfix Tiger Is, accompanied by their little friend, the Fujimi PzIIIN.  Behind are three of larger scale Tiger Is,  the two flanking ones being the ready-made ready-painted fellows you can get from book stores; the centre one, very slightly smaller, having been donated to the cause by a friend (Brian, I think).  That one was lacking its outer road wheels.  In another article I'll discuss what I did about that.  The sand coloured one is a later type of Tiger I with the later type of road wheels and zimmarit coating on the hull and turret sides.  This trio forms a company in Command Decision Game terms with its accompanying PzIIIM or skirtless PzIIIN as desired.  A couple of Hunting Tigers (Jagdtigers) complete the picture.  Out of shot are my two King Tigers, and my three ROCO Tiger Is (Thanks to Robin for that trio).
The prettiest AFV design of the War, though the British
Crusader, and some of the Russian designs, come close. 5 Matchbox,
the other, unknown, needed work.
 To my mind the most aesthetically pleasing German AFV has to be the Jagdpanther.  Five of these are Matchbox.  The yellow one was given me in somewhat battered condition, but the refurb proved straightforward enough.  For some reason I can't explain, I'm quite taken with the ... erm ... livery as received, so it will probably remain that way.  The two beside it will also retain their monochrome appearance.  The three behind them have been in my possession close on 40 years...
Revell horse gun-teams.
 I thought I would include here three of my Revell horse drawn gun teams.  A fourth is at the moment under construction, or will be soon.  Although I have had the guns for years, I put the teams together just a few weeks ago.
Matchbox JdPzIV/70, and Fujimi and ESCI

Jagdpanzer IVs.  The leading three are matchbox JgPzIV/70s, the rear two are JgPzIV/48s.  The unpainted one is ESCI; the other is Fujimi, I think.  The latter is lacking its side skirts, but I may well leave it that way. Of the Matchbox vehicles, the centre one lacked one of its side skirts (a problem I often found with Matchbox was bits missing).  The far item was given me looking as though it had been roaming the streets beating up on other tomcats.  Painting over everything (I didn't bother to strip it first) has freshened the vehicle up quite nicely.
A sprint of Panthers... or is it a claw?
 The larger part of my collection of panthera pardus - 9 Airfix and 7 Matchbox kits.   Some of these I bought second hand, others I built myself, others were given me as surplus to the donor's requirements.The uniquely patterned camo on the one top centre will keep its appearance, and will probably become the recon vehicle of the battalion.  The rest of the battalion comprises 4 companies of 3 vehicles each.  To the picture you will find my only Marder II, and sIG33 (Bison) infantry gun mounted on a PzI chassis.
Let's call it a whole bunch of panthers - 16 in all.
The remainder of the Panther collection.  The three on the right of the picture will form the 4th Company of the Battalion.
Panzer IVG - being photo-bombed by a mis-located
British 6pr portee.  More about the latter in a future posting.
Four Panzer IVGs of my PzIV inventory.  These are the good old wargamers' standby, Eidai 'throw-together' kits.  Somehow my scratch built British 6pr anti-tank gun portee got into the picture.  More on that item another time!
A whole lot more PzIV of various types - total:
 3 PzIVF1, 4 PzIVF2, 13 PzIVG, 1 PzIVH.
The other 16 of my 20 PzIV.  Actually, I have 22 - a couple are in the other room awaiting finishing work.  Of the inventory as a whole, the two panzer-grau and the sand coloured ones are the pre-asssembled metal types that come in plastic display cases.  The three desert coloured ones are ESCI PzIVG.  In front of them, an ESCI PzIVH given my years ago by Dave Blick.  I never did put the side skirts on, but they might end up on another vehicle.  To complete the array, are three more Eidai tanks, and 4 Airfix PzIVF2s.  The Panzer III Specials leading the column are Matchbox kits.
PzIIIG (Armourfast) and L (Matchbox).
One of the Gs has had a turret bin added to make it an H.
 Panzer III variants:  The Matchbox  PzIIIL from the previous picture, two PzIIIGs from Armourfast, and a Fujimi StuG III D, with the short 75L24 gun.  The tracks on this last vehicle had to be extemporised, as the kit as received lacked them.  A topic for another posting.  Finally a lone PzII.  I think there is another PzII kit in the house somewhere, but it has been a while since I saw it...
A stack of StuG III and IV.
 How my collection of StuG vehicles got to the size it is, I can't think.  Along with the Fujimi vehicle about (built about 6 weeks ago), here are 3 Airfix, 2 Armourfast (I think - Paul 'Jacko' Jackson gave me these, and very fine AFVs they are, too) with he 'box' mantlet, and 2 StuG IV (These might be Eidai, but I won't bet on it).  I still have a Fujimi StuG III G to build...
StuH/105, Opel Blitz, and an interloping Su85. A bit of a story
attaches to the Russian vehicle, but that will have to wait.
I have included this picture for the StuH/105 knocked together from a very tired pre-hammered vehicle.   Also in the picture: an Opel Blitz I built a couple or so weeks back; my only SdKfz250-type vehicle, a lot of HaT Motorcyclists and M/C combinations.  These are way over scale, but I rather like them because they are over scale.  They look good.  They came with some useful additional foot figures,
Armoured cars...
 I never realised until I laid them out, just how extensive (and unbalanced) my armoured car inventory had become: 4 SdKfz 222s (3 Airfix, the other I'm not sure - possibly Dragon); 4 Pumas (the closest to the camera is slightly larger, but I don't know the provenance of any of them; I bought them second hand at a bring and buy); 2 resin SdKfz231s; a Rodin SdKfz234/3; and a SdKfz233 that I don't recall the maker of.  Between the resin 231s and the 233, is my attempt about 25 years ago to scratch build a SdKfz231 from the Airfix 234/4 kit (of which I somehow ended up with several). Lacking good information at the time, I got the turret size rather wrong, and the shape even more wrong.  But I haven't the heart to deep-six it... This will be included in my coming article on scratch-building and extempore methods of supplying missing bits of kit.
Towed ordnance.  Be careful what you wish for.  For a long
time I was concerned that tanks outnumbered my guns...
 One is inclined rather sadly to omit the artillery side of things, probably because in most rule sets the artillery gets left off the table.  I prefer to have them on if I can, which probably explains my predilection for 'the bigger picture' type of rule set for WW2.  The assortment here includes 5 metal 10.5cm howitzers (one is mostly out of the picture), my four unlimbered Revell barely make it into the picture by the look.  Several PaK40 anti-tank (Matchbox, ESCI, HaT, and a couple of scratch builds). Ten or twelve years ago, I made up a couple of Matchbox ones to double my PaK40 inventory to 4. Quite what happened after that is anyone's guess.  I also have a couple of PaK38s, two or three Wehrmacht 'doorknockers', and a couple of very under scale PaK38s that I think I will adapt into PaK41 tapered bore weapons.  For them it will probably suffice to replace the gun shield...
Infantry guns: 4 metal, 2 cardboard.
 Here I thought I'd focus in upon my infantry guns.  The centre and right hand pair as you see them are metal.  The two on the left ate my cardboard scratch builds.
Fully tracked traction!
I just HAD to have these: fully tracked tractors with towed PaK40 anti-tank guns.

SP Artillery.  Still to decide what to do with the gunless
vehicle closest the camera.
Let us finish with these: two 'battalions' of SP Artillery.  The nearer Hummel (#34) was the subject of a series of postings in mid 2012 - a semi-scratch build.  Since then I have been given - I think it might have been from Paul on the Coast - some bits that might well form the basis for yet another Hummel. The Wespe hull closest the camera lacks its gun.  A number of possibilities spring to mind.
1. Use the vehicle as is, or slightly modified, as a ammo-carrying vehicle.
2. Shove in a gun from one of my Airfix Kfz234 armored cars and call it a Marder II.  It seems that the marrying of this particular PzII hull and that gun won't do, though.  Damn.
3. Sacrifice one of my Revell gun kits to supply the weapon for the Wespe, and substitute the Airfix armoured car gun for the missing gun on the Revell gun carriage as a 7.5cm field gun.  I know the Germans did deploy field guns similar to what I have in mind, but haven't found any pictures that would confirm or validate this course.
4. Scratch build the necessary ordnance.


  1. Ion

    You should never do this.. at our age it is far too terrifying an experience.. I wouldn't dare. Interestingly I find myself spending more time developing my 20th Century collections than anything else at the moment.

    1. It was probably just as well I did. Today's earthquake shot much of my German lorried transport onto the floor, and I dread to think what else is in that pile... Not much got turfed, but the cupboard in which I keep a fair bit of my stuff got tipped, and stuff got thrown to the floor when i tried to straighten it up. Damn.

  2. Looking good there Ion! As to the Wespe, I'd stick with it as an ammo hauler myself, but if you do want to make it a SPG again, I can look to see if I can find you a spare 105mm.

    1. Cheers, Brian. Id have to see what modifications were made to a Wespe chassis to make an ammo carrier out of it. An understength SP battalion would otherwise be acceptable.

    2. I am sure I have a barrel or two lying about if in the unlikely event Brian fails to find one Ion.

    3. Thanks, Paul, but it looks as though I might be going down the ammo carrier track...

  3. Such a grand tour of the motor pool! Very nice. I agree with "Uncle Brian"; make the dis-armed Wespe an ammo carrier or an observation vehicle. Great work!

    1. Thanks Grenzer - well, an ammo carrier is likely the simplest solution to that vehicle's lack of weapon. i hadn't thought of 'obs' vehicle, but I was thinking of a PzII or PzIII for that role.

  4. How did it happen? A question I often ask of my own toy collection. As regards the gunless Wespe, I'd go with the ammo carrier.

    1. Hi Tim - Consensus seems to be weighted in favour of ammo carrier. Do I sense a conspiracy against the Presidium of Orotina...?! :-) Nah. I like the idea myself.

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks, Al. Had it been properly planned it would have looked a bit different, with fewer Tigers and more open topped AFVs, but I'm not complaining. I won't be adding to it though. Much (still could use a couple more marder II or Marder 38(t) vehicles)...

  6. Looks like the 'Munitions Schlepper auf Wespe' will be a simpler conversion than I thought...

  7. Impressed I am Ion. I never knew you had so much of a problem. Lucky you.

    Some nice schemes in there. I love seeing these types of pics. Great post.

    1. Thanks, Paul. I've been thinking, judging by your postings, that your own WW2 inventory must be pretty impressive!

  8. A fine collection! Needs more trucks :O)

    Kind regards, Chris.