. . . and I don’t mean Christmas, holidays, New Year etc! Here in the UK it’s either cold, dreary, windy, wet, dark or all of the above! So, those of us that normally do our varnishing outside are scuppered! Hence the shortage of blog posts recently! The Paraguayan War project is suffering, so I’ve fallen back on a post about some WW2 stuff I managed to get varnished before winter arrived!
Having made good progress with WW2 infantry battalions of various nationalities in the last year, I’ve started trying to get some support units finished and have concentrated on anti-tank units. First up (photo above) is a Russian 45mm Model 1937 anti-tank gun and crew. Crew are by SHQ, the gun is an old Matchbox PaK 36 converted to a 45mm by adding a longer barrel and an extra armoured shield in front of the lower carriage. It dates from the 80s but has had a complete repaint! I used Matchbox Kfz 69 Protze 6 x 6 trucks to motorise my Germans in the 80s and each truck kit came with a PaK 36, so some ended up German, some Hungarian, some Japanese (!), some converted to Russian 45mm guns and some consigned to the bin! I’m gonna use the crew for various guns, so most of the time the guy with the 76.2mm round won’t look out of place! Still need to sort out a towing vehicle for the 45mm!
Next up (photo above) is a Dutch East Indies 20mm Solothurn anti-tank rifle crew. I originally bought the nice SHQ Dutch team firing (front centre) because that was the only one I could get (even though they are Dutch Army as opposed to Dutch East Indies Army, or KNIL – the collars give them away). But then Early War Miniatures brought out the KNIL team moving (in the background), so I bought that and, surprisingly, painted them both!
Next (photo above) is a Russian 37mm Model 1930 anti-tank gun with Chinese crew. This gun was a licence-built German gun, early versions of which were also designed to be horse-drawn and the Chinese got theirs from the Soviets. The spoked wheels were the smallest I had and are slightly too large, but the gun looks reasonable. Once again, it’s the Matchbox PaK 36! Chinese gun crew are impossible to find, so three are crew from the old Airfix WW1 Horse Artillery set and the last is an Irregular Miniatures gunner in a cap!
Still on a Chinese theme, next unit is a Chinese motorised anti-tank unit, equipped with a German PaK 36 towed by a Kubelwagen (photo above). The German-trained and equipped Chinese units in 1937 were amongst the best Nationalist troops available. Yet again a Matchbox PaK 36 but freshly painted grey. Crew are Tumbling Dice late WW1 German crew painted as Chinese – helmets and packs/full equipment were more common in the German-trained units and all I had to do was paint the boots as putters! The Kubelwagen is an old one by Nitto – their Panzer IV kits came with a Kubel, so I’ve got a few of them kicking around as well, although this one has had a fresh coat of grey as well as the gun. Apparently, Kubels were provided with the PaK 36s the Chinese bought but weren’t up to the job of towing them on poor Chinese roads! The Chinese replaced them with Kfz 69 Protze trucks, so maybe I should dig out a spare one of them and re-paint it grey!
Not really an anti-tank unit (photo above), next up is a Japanese Type 11 37mm infantry gun. This is a model from the Irregular Miniatures Really Useful Gun range. It still served in some Japanese units early in WW2, but it’s also useful for my Chinese Warlord Armies in the 1920s. The crew are SHQ and the Far Eastern scenery (including the excellent fallen idol) is by Mainly Military. Pack horse is the old Airfix model from their German Mountain Troops set!
￼Last, but not least, I’ve used another of Irregular’s Japanese Type 11 guns to stand in as a French 37mm Mle 16 infantry gun serving as a US stop-gap anti-tank gun for the 1942 Philippines campaign (photo above). Crew are Sergeant Major’s Miniatures, a mix of mortar and artillery crewmen. I think the next troops I’ll add to support my infantry battalions will be recce units, but not sure on that yet (I miss painting tanks, so might do some of them).
And since Christmas is nearly upon us, and just as an aside, I never write XMAS in place of Christmas! Probably because I know that X MAS was a WW2 Italian special forces unit (10th Assault Craft Flotilla, equipped with explosive motor boats and two-man submersibles)!
If I don’t get another blog post in before Christmas, hope everyone shares in some happiness over the holiday period! Please don’t tell anyone I’ve said that, ’cause I have a grumpy outward appearance to maintain, bah, humbug! If anyone gets a Christmas cracker with a 1:72 scale PaK 36 in it, it’s nothing to do with me!