Friday, 22 March 2019

Panzerjäger I

I'm once again back with more Panzergrau in tow, today in the form of the puny Panzerjäger I by Warlord Games. What struck me as rather odd with this vehicle was the lack of any crew besides the moulded in driver. Thus I had to press gang some Perry Miniatures from their DAK range. They're maybe a little scantily dressed for service in France, but they were the only figures I could find out there which seemed to fit.

The Panzerjäger I was the first German built tank destroyer. It was built by marrying the chassis of the obsolete Panzer I with the Czech made Skoda 4,7cm PaK. A gun shield made from 14,5mm tempered steel. The first batch of 132 vehicles was built by Alkett, recognizable by the five sided gun shield. The rest of the 202 in total built vehicles were assembled by a sub-contractor Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz. This final batch has a seven sided gun shield.

Only a hand full of Panzerjäger I and their crews were ready for combat in time for the invasion of France, but as soon as new units were ready they were sent to the front. With its 4,7cm gun and an effective range of about 500 metres against 50mm thick armour it was an important asset for the German army for countering heavier vehicles like the Char B1bis.

The drivers helmet can just be seen between the two other crew members.
 Apart from France the tank destroyer saw service in North Africa and the Russian front. In both theatres its drawbacks, namely a relatively high superstructure and poor visibility, soon became obvious. By 1942 most Panzerjäger 1 were lost. Tanks-Encoclypedia states that some Panzerjäger I saw service at Omaha Beach in 1944 as part of "Schnelle Abteilung 30" but the picture shown clearly is from 1940 as indicated by the berets which fell out of favour in 1941. Furthermore all the pictorial evidence I was able to find shows 4,7cm PaK(t) auf Panzerkampfwagen 35R(f) ohne Turm. So, while I might be wrong here as I'm definitely no expert on Normandy, I'm inclined to believe it was the latter vehicle the Americans had to face at Omaha.

The commander figure originally comes from the 5cm PaK 38 kit and was a perfect fit once the base was cut off. I got the PaK as a gift from the very generous DaveD of fame, which sat idly in the drawer till now. The loader is from their Marder II crew and only needed a little trimming of the 7,5cm shell to make him look the part.

The kit went together rather smoothly but has some serious casting issues with soft or missing details due to a worn out mould. Painting the crew was no fun either as they were of the usual abysmal casting quality which I came to expect from Perry metal miniatures. It's a real shame the twins seem unwilling to sort out the issues with their caster as they offer some wonderful miniatures and poses hard to find with other manufacturers. As it stands I'll stick with other ranges mainly and Perry as a kind of last resort.

Till next time!

Monday, 18 March 2019

T-26 tank

When Rubicon released their plastic T-26 late last year I kew I had to get me one of these iconic tanks. As with others of their kits I was rather impressed by both the quality and detail these guys have managed to put into this kit. Once I had chosen which of the ten possible variants I wanted to make the assembly was straightforward. It also came as a pleasant surprise that there were more than enough parts to build another turret to go with the tank.

The soviet made T-26 tank is based on the British Vickers 6-Ton tank. With 23 different versions in serial production it was to become the mainstay of the soviet army with about 11.000 of all marks produced till 1941. It saw service not only in the Red Army but also in the Wehrmacht, the Finnish Army, with Romania, Bulgaria, Afghanistan and in the Spanish Civil War.

During the Spanish Civil War it was the most numerous tank in the theatre as well as the best one, easily outclassing the outdated Spanish tanks of WW1 origin as well as the German Panzer I's and the Italian CV33 or L3/33 tankette. 281 T-26's M36 were supplied by the Soviet Union to the Spanish Republic. It was captured in large numbers by the Rebels and was highly regarded by their new owners. In fact a not inconsiderable prize money was to be paid to each soldier (or group of soldiers) who managed to capture one of these vehicles in tact. Especially the Moroccan Regulares seemed to be quite adept in this game.

The second turret I built was the M38RT conical version with horseshoe antenna. The two headlights above the main gun give it a quite sinister appearance in my opinion. Should I come round to build me an early Soviet Force for Operation Barbarossa this beauty will come in handy no doubt.

Radio equipment was quite scarce in the red army and thus only the tanks of platoon commanders if any at all were equipped with radios. Communication within the platoon was through hand or flag signals. Arguably not the most effective way of communication especially once the bullets started flying. Thus any tanks captured by the Germans were to be refitted with radio equipment before they were sent to their new formations.

The T-26 was almost obsolete as early as the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Still it soldiered on and even in 1944 some units of the Leningrad front were still equipped with T26's. The last recorded combat action it saw as late as August 1945 during the fighting against the Japanese in Manchuria.

My only gripe with this kit would be the M36 turret missing the rear turret hatch which afaik all Spanish models featured. Still as mentioned above it's an awesome kit and well worth the money. At the moment I'm thinking about getting me another one... or two.

Despite the kit coming with a big sheet of decals, also containing some suitable for the SCW, the Rebel insignia on the M33 turret were painted by hand and honestly I'm quite chuffed how they turned out.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

1940 BEF

Having just added to my Early War Germans I felt it was about time to add a little to their opponents. Some of you might remember earlier efforts of mine (has it really been 4 years again?)  on much the same figures. Believe it or not it took me the best part of a month to get these fellas done and dusted. I blame a rather busy schedule with me being away from home for the most part of that time.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Last rites

"Nicht wofür wir kämpfen ist das Wesentliche, sondern wie wir kämpfen."

- Ernst Jünger -

Friday, 22 February 2019

Over the channel and far, far away...

Just a quick one today as I'm in a bit of a hurry really. At the moment I'm away with work most of the time and thus spare time with family and friends is at a premium. So, let's talk about channels today. When reading accounts about the fighting in Belgium, Northern France and especially Holland in 1940 what becomes clear immediately is the importance of streams, channels and similar water features as obstacles to the German onslaught.

Friday, 8 February 2019

It's a StuG life

Continuing on with my Panzergrau phase todays offering is a early StuG D.  While the diminutive Panzer I's and Panzer II's or their larger brethren the Panzer III's and IV's all have their individual appeal it's always been the StuG which impressed me the most. With its small shilouette and the boxy shape it simply looks both futuristic and menacing. And a StuG in the dark Panzergrau livery of the early days of WW2 is simply the king of 'Bad Ass'... in my books anyway.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

To the green fields beyond...

.. probably football fields in this case.

War is full of strange things. Maybe one of the stranger sights during the Great War would probably have been an attack on German trench lines on 1 July 1916. After eight days of constant but little effective shelling German defenders crawling out of their dugouts could see men storming across no man's land frantically kicking footballs before them.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Back to the Great War

"Das Wort Operation verbitte ich mir. Wir hauen ein Loch rein. Das Weitere findet sich. So haben wir es auch in Russland gemacht"
-Generalquartiermeister Ludendorff-

Another year, another Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge (The ninth so far and and the 6th I'm taking part in) and yet another project. A little more than 100 years ago World War I, or the Great War as it is also known, ended after claiming the lives of millions of soldiers and civilians alike. The tragedy of the whole conflict, especially on the western front, is in my opinion perfectly epitomised by the quote with which I started this post. Translated into English it reads like:

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

More German Infantry

It's been a few days since my last post. Work and private issues have come in the way of either blogging as well as painting. Actually I still don't really feel like wielding a brush, but at least I've managed to get a few figures done I had standing around half finished for a while. As for blogging it actually felt good taking a break away from it for several weeks. It can be such a drain on already sparse free time that I felt I'd need to readjust my priorities.
But enough of that now. On to the miniatures!