East A Bit!

Having covered my recent 1940 Blitzkrieg and 1941 Russian vehicles and guns, some more stuff painted in January and February has finally made it into a post. This time there’s a Far East flavour to things!

First up is a Marmon Herrington CTLS light tank for my Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL) forces (the nearest tank in the picture above). This is a Shapeways 1:72 scale model that has been hanging around waiting to be painted for a couple of years! I bought two CTLS tanks and painted one back in November 2018, but issues with tacky paint put me right off painting the second model. I sort of fixed the tacky enamel paint by sealing it with a coat of acrylic matt varnish and that prompted me to prime the second vehicle in acrylic paint (as a rule I have no trouble with either acrylic or enamel paint EXCEPT with Shapeways fine detail plastic material).

Erring on the side of caution, I left the second primed tank in a box with other vehicles to see how it fared. I was quite surprised to see that after some months it appeared sparkly, so I thought something in the printed model was coming to the surface. Frustrated at this, I found that the sparkly bits just brushed off and left an unblemished primer coat! I have a feeling that maybe the model had a slight residual static electrical charge and this attracted some fine dust in the box it was sitting in (I can vaguely remember GCSE physics experiments where you rubbed a plastic block with a cloth and it induced a static charge in the block). Having got it dusted off, I decided I might as well get it painted and I’m really pleased I’ve got two of them now. The CTLS was built in two versions, the CTLS-4TAC and CTLS-4TAY – these differed only in the placement of the driver and turret. You can see in the picture above that the turrets and drivers are on different sides of the vehicles – the KNIL ordered both types with the intention that they’d operate in pairs to cover the blindspots resulting from the limited turret traverse!

Next up is a British Lanchester heavy armoured car (shown above) used by British forces in Malaya in 1941/2. This is a really nice 3-D print from Butlers Printed Models and I’ve wanted a model of this vehicle for a while. In fact I’d given up on ever getting a model of one a while ago and so I used a Frontline Wargaming Vickers Crossley armoured car to stand in for a Lanchester (both shown in the picture below, the Lanchester in the lead – you can see more on the Crossley here).

The Lanchester is only armed with machine guns but I think it has quite a bit of character in its dark bronze green finish!

Next vehicle to get finished was a Plastic Soldier Company bren gun carrier (shown above). A product of my age and being introduced to Airfix kits at a very young age means I always refer to this vehicle as a bren gun carrier, even though there were different versions with different functions.

I wanted a bit of flexibility with this model, so I put a small block of plastic behind the driver’s bulkhead and drilled through it so that I could change its armament. In British and Commonwealth service, carriers frequently mounted a Boys anti-tank rifle firing through the gunner’s firing port on the left front of the vehicle (not mounted on this model) and had a Bren gun mounted on an anti-aircraft mount over the rear compartment (and that is on the vehicle shown above).

But in late 1941 (I think) a shipment of carriers destined for Hong Kong was diverted to Manila after Hong Kong fell to the Japanese. These carriers were used by the US Provisional Tank Group in the defence of the Philippines and some mounted a water-cooled 30-calibre Browning machine gun in the rear compartment (see picture above). If I switch the weapons over, this carrier can double as a Commonwealth or US-crewed vehicle – since the crew are mostly hidden by the sides of the carrier, and both armies wore khaki drill uniforms with the same style helmet at this stage in the war, I think it all works quite well. The PSC carrier is quite a nice little model!

Last vehicle to feature is an Italian L3/35 tankette (shown above)! I suppose the question is if that’s an Italian tank why’s it surrounded by Chinese troops? Well, the Chinese bought a quantity of L3s from Italy in the 1930s although there appears to be some uncertainty over the exact number of vehicles the Chinese bought! The model is a resin one from Frontline Wargaming and is quite a small vehicle. I had a lot of trouble sorting out the colour scheme for this one, even with having three books with colour plates to refer to! Two of the books showed a red-brown basic colour with green blotches over it and the other described the opposite scheme but then contained text notes that made it all a bit unclear. The two-tone blotchy scheme seems correct for Chinese L3s from photos, but just exactly in what combination of colours remains unclear. I’ve opted for this scheme as being reasonably representative. It’s quite a nice little model in itself, regardless of what colour it’s meant to be!


  1. Great Blog John. Really love some of the pieces.

    I too love the bren gun carrier and purchased enough resin versions from Grubby Miniatures for the 9th Australian Cavalry regiment. They are all painted but still painting the crew. Too many projects.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks Dave! πŸ™‚ I like Grubby tanks models, although I’ve only got a handful of them. Handy if you’ve got them in bulk since they don’t need much assembly. The PSC carrier is a nice model, although I had to find some spare heads in steel helmets for the crew (who came with berets if I remember correctly)!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I have just realized why I haven’t been myself over the last four months mate ! now I know its because i have missed you and the teams great work! I will try to put more back now that I’m retired!
    I love how you have the two different heavies in the Brens !

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Early war tanks and tankettes especially are quite interesting and cool. The L3/35 in Chinese service is cool -and I know you are aware it would have served alongside quite the hodge-podge of German, British, French, and Italian vehicles (plus captured Japanese). The CTLS is cool and I always forget about it as it was for export though it did get emergency employment in the Aleutians. I did not know that the Bren carriers went to the US in the Philippines! The Lanchester was new to me too, so all in all I learned a lot in this post. And not for nothing, your painting here is at its normal level of outstanding John! Great post!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Mark, I thought you’d like this post! πŸ™‚ Hopefully I’ll have a couple of quite rare tanks done before too long and there are also more Chinese tanks in the queue! I’ve seen the photos of the CTLS in the Aleutians and I had to scratch around a bit before I found out about the carriers in the Philippines!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Some fabulous painting there, John, and the pictures are great too.
    Referring to your ‘tacky’ paint issue: It is possible that the miniature was statically charged prior to painting, and this can cause issues, especially if spray painting, though it can also occur when using a brush. The paint itself can take on a static charge and this repels against the charge of the plastic. This can produce tacky paint, as the paint doesn’t form an even layer and dry properly. It can also cause ‘orange peeling’ or tiny craters in the paint.
    It might be that the manufacturing process of Shapeways causes a high static build-up, but things like that are usually taken care of by the manufacturer, as they present a fire risk!
    Let’s all get earthing those minis, eh!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Justin! πŸ™‚ Those are interesting comments indeed, so thanks for sharing them! It’s only the Shapeways fine detail material I have this problem with, not their strong/white/flexible material, and I’ve never had a problem with Butlers Printed Models or Paint & Glue Miniatures. I found some recommendations that cleaning the fine detail model with acetone is recommended, so I’ve tried that on a newer model. Otherwise I just washed the CTLS model with clothing detergent, left it to dry thoroughly, undercoated it in acrylic (which I never do) and let it stabilise for nearly two years! The fine dust it seemed to attract easily brushed off and it looks fine now! But I’m going to keep all your point in mind in the future!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. That situation with the Shapeways sculpt is very curious indeed. I can’t say I’ve ever seen or heard of anything like it. Good on you for powering through it! Your latest batch of vehicles look great and your photography with scenery and infantry looks fantastic as always πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Nicely painted and as usual nice backgrounds too. I’m sorry to read about the problems you had with the paint not sticking to some of the models; I had a similar problem a couple of years ago when I tried to paint some Bones models.

    The tankette was cute. The wiki article about it made for interesting reading. I wasn’t surprised to read that it didn’t perform well in combat.


    The Bren Carrier made me smile because it reminded me of the scene in The Longest Day. “Down, Winston, down!” πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Ann! πŸ™‚ I don’t have any Bones models, but I’ve picked up enough of the comments about them to know thta quite a few people have trouble with them. Most of the time I don’t have any trouble with my stuff, so it’s just a case of being aware where the problems might lurk!

      I like L3/35s as far as appearance goes, but they were generally not much more use than a mobile machine gun position in WW2. I watched The Longest Day recently and thoroughly enjoyed it since it’s been a while since I’ve seen it. The clip you mentioned reminds me of Jago, one of our Chihuahuas (sadly no longer with us) – we were in the village of Grasmere in the Lake District on holiday and two RAF Tornadoes flew over quite low and quite loud, so Jago just had a good bark at them and convinced himself he’d chased them off! Some of the people around us were smiling at the sight of a very small dog defying the RAF!

      Liked by 1 person

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