Monday, 30 January 2017

T17 Staghound, Natal Mounted Rifles, Italy 1944

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.

At the end of World War 2, the South African 6th Armoured Division listed 15 Staghound T17E armoured cars amongst their equipment. It was not recorded how these were allocated within the Division, and according to Marshall's Camouflage and Markings of the 6th SA Armoured Division, there is only one (poor) photograph known to depict a South African Staghound, and unhelpfully, the AoS number is obscured. The logical allocation would either be to divisional and brigade HQ squadrons, or to the regimental HQ of the dedicated reconnaissance units - the Natal Mounted Rifles. Given that we know the divisional HQ used M8 Greyhounds, the idea that the Staghounds were then rather allocated to frontline regiments is not implausible. The photograph also doesn't provide any clues as to the colour or patterns used - as the vehicle is appears extremely dirty. So this is, again, a speculative representation, and I will be happy to be proved incorrect if anyone can bring to light more complete information on their use in the SA 6th.

The Staghound was a big beast of an armoured car - 14 tonnes worth - with armour as thick as a light tank, and with some innovative drivetrain features. They arrived on the frontline just in time for the Italian campaign, and saw service until the end of the war. In fact, they continued to serve with many commonwealth forces well after World War 2 - the Rhodesians, for example, kept their's going until 1976.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.


This miniature was built from the Die Waffenkamer resin kit - pretty much out of the box with the exception of the replacement of pintle-mounted .30 Browning with one that came from a Rubicon Models stowage set. One of the crew figures is the kit offering, the other is from Warlord Games. Stowage is either scratch built, or from Die Waffenkamer and Rubicon Models, and decals are from a variety of suppliers: Warlord, Dom's Decals, and Starmer.

I really enjoyed the process and the result of this build. While unashamedly a wargames miniature, it has piqued my interest in building a good scale model of one - who knows, the Staghound might end up being my first 1/35 build in decades...

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.


© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.



© Golf Alpha Zulu 2017. All rights reserved.

Monday, 16 January 2017

M10 Achilles, 1/11 Anti Tank Regiment, Italy 1945

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Here is the first of the M10 variants I have been working on: a 17-pdr equipped Achilles operated by the South African 6th Armoured Division in Italy during the last months of the Second World War.

It depicts a vehicle in the second battery of the 1/11 Anti-Tank Regiment (an amalgamation of the 1st and 11th regiments, due to manpower shortages). The conversions from the 3-inch equipped vehicles were undertaken in April 1945, and it is unsure how many of them saw action before the war ended.

© Copyright Golf Alpha Zulu 2017

The model is based on the Rubicon Models kit, and I had ordered it with the intention of building a M10A. I wasn't even aware that the kit included the option of building the Achilles variant (and the M36 Jackson), so when presented with the opportunity to build one in plastic, I took it.

As with all the Rubicon offerings, the kit was extremely well presented, with clear instructions and comprehensive decals. The sprues were free of flash and significant split lines, and the fit of parts was absolutely first class. Proportions, scale and details look correct. As mentioned, above, the kit can be used to produce a comprehensive range of vehicle variations.

On the downside, the track detail leads a little to be desired, and the undersides of the track guards were omitted from the kit. This last point might not bother many builders as the tracks would obscure the omission, but for my build process (painting before fitting the track assemblies) it would have resulted in overspray into the interior spaces (visible through the open turret.) Also, the grouser racks proved to be a bother. First, they are supplied with grousers cast on, and it takes a fair bit of careful work to cut them off. Given that the majority of M10s were equipped with tracks that could not fit grousers, it means the building to the kit instructions will likely result in an incorrect depiction of the vehicle. Also the racks are fitted into a recess on the hull sides, meaning they cannot be positioned differently, or omitted altogether, without some tricky filling of the recesses, and replication of the rack mounting points.

Extended baggage racks and interior floor detail (only visible by peering into the turret) were added. No crew figures are supplied with the kit, so my crew were recruited from various Warlord Games kits. Baggage and stowage was sources from the Rubicon "Allied Stowage Kit 1", Die Waffenkamer, and scratchbuilt. Decals from Marshall/Starmer/Dom's Decals and Warlord.

© Copyright Golf Alpha Zulu 2017
© Copyright Golf Alpha Zulu 2017


Monday, 7 November 2016

Pretoria Regiment Shermans, Italy 1944-5

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016
A pair of Shermans to add some teeth to my 28mm South Africa 6th Armoured Division force. They are my first attempts at SCC 15 - the British and Commonwealth interpretation of Olive Drab. By all accounts, this paint color faded towards light green, as opposed to the US paint mix, which faded towards a brown ochre hue.

I have been putting off adding olive drab vehicles to my South African force, simply because I enjoy the look of the Light Mud + Black camo pattern, and wanted to keep the force coherent when fielded together. However, that did limit me to vehicles used for a particularly narrow time period - that is from April until September 1944. From that point, more and more SCC 15 - and indeed US Olive Drab  - vehicles become evident in pix of the division.  That is not to say there were not camo pattern vehicles around after September 1944, and it is clear from the evidence that the SA 6th Armoured division was not particularly diligent about the general order to repaint, and the latitude afforded by the order - it gave a range of priorities for repainting - was well exploited... But the bottom line is this - if I want to accurately depict the SA 6th Armoured in Italy, I know I have to become friends with SCC 15.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016


The Firefly VC is the older Warlord kit released in resin, and was a fine kit to put together. A glance at the newer plastic kits compared to the resin kit suggests that the detail on the resin kit is a bit crisper, and "deeper" than the plastic kit - which betrays its origins as a scale-up of a 15mm kit. (I haven't yet built a Warlord plastic Sherman VC, so this criticism might be misplaced and unfair, but my first impression of the plastic offering is that the detail is "flat" and "soft".) Crew figure is from Perry Miniatures, and the baggage bits and bobs from Die Waffenkamer and Warlord Games.

It depicts a vehicle from C Squadron, Pretoria Regiment. Its not overly clear from the evidence I have at hand as to exactly when the Fireflies were issued to the South African tank regiments, and when and in which units they were replaced by 76mm Shermans. There are photos of the Pretoria Regiment at a parade in 1945 with both 76mm Shermans and Fireflies, so clearly not all were retired in 1944 as suggested by some sources.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016


The Sherman 105 is the (now discontinued) M4A3 kit from Rubicon Models. Very easy to put together, it produces a model with plenty of neat detail. However, the track detail leaves a lot to be desired, and I assume this was one of the reasons it was withdrawn from the Rubicon range (and apparently there were detail errors on the 76mm turret option included in the kit). Rubicon have announced it is to replaced by a more detailed Sherman kit, and the 3D renderings of the track parts do indeed show much more detail. Again, crew from Perry Miniatures, and stowage from Warlord and Die Waffenkamer.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016


It depicts a vehicle from HQ Squadron, Pretoria Regiment. Again, it is not clear to me exactly how the 105-equipped Shermans were distributed amongst the troops, but Marshall does mention that they are eventually grouped together to provide additional field artillery support, so I have assumed that the HQ squadron was a good enough place for that to happen.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016


And finally, another couple of family portraits, the last one together with an earlier attempt at a Sherman V as used as an OP vehicle by a field artillery regiment...

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Konflikt '47

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Just off the painting table, a kit for the weird WW2 game by Warlord and Osprey - Konflikt '47.

This is the "Spinne" light mech from Warlord and Clockwork Goblin. This kit was lightly modified - I added steps and grab handles, an antenna mount, baggage, and some mesh turret hatch covers. I wanted the commander figure to be a bit more dynamic than the kit offering, but all the panzer crew I had on hand were a bit too "authentic". So with a Heer infantryman torso from the bits box, and a gasmask head from Westwind Miniatures, I managed to knock together something more to my taste. Yes, I am fully aware that webbing and helmets and turrets dont go together, but guess what,  it is ultimately a for fantasy genre, and if there is anywhere strict authenticity can be dispensed with, its here. Camo is the 1948 "leopard toad" pattern in the western Europe colour mix.


© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

And then a unit of genetically modified wolf/dog/human stormtroopers... the majority of these figures are from Westwind miniatures - one is from Warlord Games.

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

And finally, a few Steppe ghouls produced by mixing parts from the Mantic ghoul and zombie sprues, and the Warlord Games plastic Russian infantry sprues. (Figures in the background are Westwind Russian zombies...)

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

Sunday, 11 September 2016

PWG: somewhere in Afghanistan, sometime in the 1980s...

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016
These are some pix of a recent Peninsula Wargames Group game - using the fanmade Bolt Action "Modern Wars" rules (available here). The rules, as we used them, worked well, and the scenario - the Russian objective was to get a convoy of soft skin vehicles through the valley - was a lot of fun.

All appears peaceful...

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016
© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016But the Russians are taking no chances, and send in some infantry and supports to sweep the village...

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016
© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016
 Afghani regulars keep watch from a hilltop position.

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First signs of trouble... an armoured car is knocked out, before having an opportunity to report on any hostile forces...

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Heavy air support arrives to help to identify Muhajideen positions, but falls foul of American-supplied anti-aircraft tech... "How do you say Black Hawk Down in Russian?"...

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© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

Realising they are in a fight, the Russians respond with a slow and steady approach - using air cover and heavy weapons to destroy the village, building by building... while cautiously advancing their infantry...

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016


However, the Russians keep taking casualties, and the convoy halts as the advance falters....

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

© Golf Alpha Zulu 2016
 And the locals begin a counter-attack...

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The game was conceded by the Russian players after 7 turns. Their tactic of destroying buildings to deny cover hadn't done enough to degrade the Muhajideen forces to a point that the soft skins could enter the village safely.

Many thanks to those PWG members who supplied all the figures, vehicles and terrain for the game.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Paint your wagon...

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Nothing is easy for a landser. Just when they get a nice new wagon to carry their kit, the military police throw red tape across their every path...

© Copyright Golf Alpha Zulu 2016


© Copyright Golf Alpha Zulu 2016

© Copyright Golf Alpha Zulu 2016


Just off the painting table, the HF2 field wagon is from Warlord games, and the MPs from Black Tree and Warlord. Apologies for the grim little vignette of the firing squad - I debated whether I should paint these figures. In the end I figured they didn't have to be seen to depict a summary execution of, say, a partisan. Completely plausible that they could depict a post-court-martial execution of a deserter. No less grim, but at least not a depiction of a war crime...

© Copyright Golf Alpha Zulu 2016



© Copyright Golf Alpha Zulu 2016