Slow September?

Well, September’s nearly over and I’ve only managed a single blog post up until now! On the the real life front (as opposed to painting and wargaming) I’ve had a week’s holiday and a couple of weekends at our caravan, a week working away, a wedding anniversary and some painting and decorating indoors to catch up with.

This doesn’t mean I haven’t been painting wargames stuff, it’s just that I haven’t finished much until now. I’ve been bashing on with getting the basic shade colours done on those Paraguayan War units I want to finish for the end of the year, but also mixing that in with painting some bits for the September Neglected Model challenge. Since I’ve painted vehicles for the latter, I’ve had to do them when I’ve been home, keeping figures to paint when I’m away (if I can).

2018_0922_16510900So, the models for the September challenge are all shown in the picture above, all 20mm WW2 figures or vehicles for the early Pacific War campaign in the Philippines. For the US Army there are eight infantrymen, a two-man HQ, a Ford staff car, a Dodge T202 field car and an M3 light tank. On the right of the picture is a Japanese Type 95 Kurogane light pick-up truck.

The infantryman and HQ figures nearly made it into August, but not quite. I think they’re a mixture of Sergeant Major’s and East Riding Miniatures (the latter were formerly the Platoon 20 range). These figures give me some extra troops for my US force (a recce unit and a battlegroup HQ) and I’ll hopefully get another post done in the near future that shows all of my US Army stuff together. The figures have been hanging round since the start of this year waiting to be finished!

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I’d originally wanted to try and get some light vehicles for my HQ units and artillery observation team, but that didn’t prove easy – most US transport models are for vehicles used from mid-1942 onward, so it was a challenge getting any earlier vehicles. In fact the Ford staff car is a 1942 model I think, but it looks the part for late 1941. It’s a plastic kit that I haven’t made a particularly good job of assembling – close inspection reveals that not quite everything is straight! Can’t remember who make the kit, but I have a feeling it might be Russian in origin.

The Dodge T202 was a resin model from Wespe Models in Romania and is the second of two that I’ve made. I think the original vehicles were in production in 1940/41 so I’ve assumed they’d be available to US forces in the Philippines. Could do with finding driver figures for them, but these will be used as a battalion HQ vehicle and a prime mover for my 75mm field gun (in the absence of anything more appropriate). The model shown here has sat round undercoated since December 2016 (but you can see the other one here).

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Last US vehicle shown here is the M3 light tank and this model has had a chequered history! Having looked at various M3 models I bought two resin M3s from Milicast quite a few years ago. They are good quality and come with optional upper hull decking and turrets, but they are not without their problems. The top deck is tricky to fit snugly, it’s difficult to fit the front hull hatches and the lower run of tracks proved thin and required strengthening with paper on the underside to hide thin areas. After building this one about three years ago I got quite disenchanted with M3s and thought I’d never get one I was happy with. But then I found Frontline Wargames made the early M3 model so I got two of them and finished them in time for the 75th anniversary of the first US tank combat of WW2. OK, the Frontline models have simplified detail and sit low at the back, but I didn’t have to do much to get them ready. Anyway, having recently thought more about playing quick games with just a handful of tanks per side, I thought I might as well finish the Milicast one off (and might even do the other one I’ve still got). Of course the Plastic Soldier Company now do M3s and that would probably have been my first choice if they’d been available sooner (you know what you’re getting with PSC stuff).

Figures were painted in Vallejo acrylics, washed with Vallejo sepia wash and then highlighted. The two-man HQ team was washed with GW Agrax Earthshade (I think) and didn’t need much highlighting afterwards. This is my first excursion with a GW wash and I’ll try it again. Vehicles were painted olive drab, but wheels and running gear were done in Vallejo German Camouflage Black-Brown. All details were lined by hand in a black/olive mix (only took about an hour per vehicle, which is not bad), lower portions were drybrushed with Humbrol Dark Earth and then the whole vehicles were drybrushed with a sand highlight. The black-brown base colour for wheels and running gear provides a good shade for the earth weathering. The two cars were painted in Vallejo brown purple whereas the M3 was done in Humbrol 155 olive drab – the two colours are identical! Figures and vehicles were varnished with Railmatch matt varnish, but I had trouble with the spray head and overspray (very unusual for this product) but a light coat with Humbrol enamel matt varnish spray gave a nice matt finish.

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The Type 95 Kurogane pick-up shown here was the first model I managed to get of this vehicle, although I subsequently bought and painted the SHQ model. It’s a resin model I got from Scale Link in the UK, painted in Humbrol 110, given a black/brown muckying/shading wash and then drybrushed with a sand shade.

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With this lot done, I thought I’d try and rush through the last of the stuff for my US force (shown above just after varnishing) and I got these bits finished a couple of nights ago. The two figures are US pilots from the East Riding Miniatures Wake Island range, but I thought I’d use them to represent bailed-out tank crewmen. I originally bought them in 2001 when I’d thought about doing ground forces in 20mm to complement the Crimson Skies boardgame I was playing a lot of then (I thought then, and still do, that the Crimson Skies aerial combat game was one of the best games I ever played and I managed to collect and convert over 100 model planes for it).

Last item is a US 37 mm anti-tank gun, a neglected model only because it’s sat in its packet for years! Cannot remember who make it, but it was quick and easy enough to put together and finish. It’s a metal model and came with the trail legs open, so I had to carefully bend them closed and make up a towing eye to add a bit of strength to the joint. I invariably make up split-trail carriages in the travelling position so I can represent them travelling or firing.

Am pleased to have my early Pacific War US troops finished, which is surprising because I got my Japanese and Dutch infantry battalions done first. The latter still need to have some support troops added, so I think maybe they should get done sooner rather than later. Sorry it’s been such a long post, so if you’ve stuck it out to the end I hope you’ve enjoyed it. US and Filipino forces fighting in the Philippines in 1941/42 had a tough time of it but put up stiff resistance to the Japanese and forced them to revise their timetable and commit reinforcements. Their contribution is often overshadowed by Pearl Harbor and Midway but it shouldn’t be forgotten.

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14 comments

    • Sorry about that! You do realise that I only dump just enough scenery out to put the figures and vehicles in perspective, but I’ll try harder! Need to be getting more scenery done anyway. But the plants and trees are aquarium stuff. The buildings are scratchbuilt and I’m sure you meant to add that they look outstanding but you maybe hit “post comment” too early! 😉

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    • Ooh, I’m no authority on this and my experience with acrylic washes is limited! I find Vallejo washes OK but I always have to re-paint raised details to stop them appearing too dark. The GW wash was the first one of theirs I’d tried and I thought it was better, but I need to try a lot more. I’ve only tried an Army Painter wash once and didn’t like it at all! I think I’m better with thinned enamel washes on vehicles, but have never got them to work well on figures! So, I’m happy to stick with Vallejo but will definitely try more figures with GW washes – not really much of a recommendation I’m afraid!

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