Sunday, April 28, 2013

AFV Modeller Issue 70

The AA MG is the Chinese copy of the Dushka, a type 54, without cooling fins along the barrel. A command variant was also employed featuring stowage tube on turret roof for extending antenna, 2 large stowage boxes attached to the rear plate to cany communication equipment, cables, and generator. I decided to depict a type commonly used in the Gulf War, lacking the smoke launcher tubes and boom shields, this particular vehicle is one of the many that found their way back to collections within the UK. Some examples have many fixtures and fittings missing; others have some parts missing but still retain many features, such as lights, AA MG cradle, rubber skirt sections and tracks etc.Many sharp blades have passed since I first started this project, over 10 years ago. Unknown to me at the time was the fact that another modeller Charlie Pritchett had also began the building of a Type 69.

AFV Modeller Issue 69

The Idea for this diorama did not come to me right away. Usually I am inspired to work after seeing archive photos or films, and sometimes after reading veteran's memoirs but with this diorama it was different. I did not have any single source of inspiration for this diorama idea. I wanted make something about the fighting in Southern sector of Eastern Front in Summer-Autumn of 1942. At this time the German offensive against the Caucasus and Stalingrad had the Red Army engaged in heavy defensive battles. After seeing many dioramas and figures I felt there were omissions. Many modellers make dioramas, but what we can see there? Typically Germans near a burned out tank, Germans briefing with pointing figures, Soviet troops walking, Americans shooting, German repairing a tank... and this is all. Are these scenes really representative? Veterans accounts rarely talk about walking and shooting solders. Usually veterans remember very cold and very hot weather, tiredness, and constant danger from air attacks and artillery fire. Between 60-80% of deaths on the Eastern front in WWII were caused by artillery fire and 56.8% of wounded Russian soldiers had splinter wounds.

AFV Modeller Issue 68

At the end of World War II German cities were being conquered by the Allied armies. The Germans made a desperate defence, fighting street by street, often with vehicles designed more for open battlefields, than for the confines of urban combat where they had to manoeuvre through narrow streets and dodging all kinds of different obstacles and abandoned vehicles. In this diorama I wanted to make one such scene where a city street a German tank section and a heavy tank unit of the SS has been ordered to defend that sector. A King Tiger has taken up position under a railway bridge on top of which there are remains of a wagon with a spotlight operating in support of an Ostwind anti-aircraft tank, now abandoned, like a nearby Stug III, which has suffered the same fate... Meanwhile, a group of officers have gathered to discuss the organisation of their defensive plans.

AFV Modeller Issue 67

Over the past years we have been pampered with an increasing number of rather hi-end injection molded plastic kits. Much of these models include unique subjects that many of us would never have dreamed of seeing ten years ago. One string of distinctive themes that has been appearing in plastic is Paper Panzers. It is great to have these subjects available to us in plastic although there sometimes are drawbacks. It seems apparent that the research and level of detail put into some topics can be lacking depending on the topic. This is understandable because some of these subjects never got past the drawing proposal stages (hence the name paper panzers). This makes their history very limited. I have built or worked with at least four kits offered by Trumpeter now and most of them have been rather good. When I started working with their E-75 I immediately noticed a few areas that needed extra detailing. The E-75 Paper Panzer was to be a possible predecessor to the German Tiger II tank.

AFV Modeller Issue 66

The Sherman Firefly was born from the need to improve the 75mm gun of the Sherman, a weapon not able to compete on equal terms with the enemy tanks of the time. The answer was the British 17 Pdr, a most powerful and accurate weapon. The new tank was named Firefly and the suffix C indicates 17 pdr gun on the specific model of Sherman IC (M4 classic and "hybrid"), Sherman VC (M4A4) The "low bustle" turret received a square hatch (on "high bustle" Firefly turrets there was an oval hatch). The radio was contained an armoured box which was moved to the rear of the turret helping to provide a counterweight for the heavy weapon. Another visible difference with the Firefly was the omission of the hull .30 cal. MG to make way for increased ammunition stowage. When I decided to start assembling the Dragon kit I wanted to build a tank called ZEMSTA II, but during the search for references my friend Mr. Luigi Manes suggested to me a photo from the beautiful book "Camouflage and Markings Of The Shermans IN NEW ZEALAND SERVICE - ITALY 1943-45 by Jeffrey Plowman". The tank in the photo is unusual in that it

AFV Modeller Issue 65

The Soviet war machine arsenal in Afghanistan consisted of many varied tanks and APC’s, many T-54’s were old
stock employing more modern capabilities from various upgrade programmes to bring them up to the standard more closer to the T-55. The model here represents a T-54 model 49m with improvements to fire control, L-2G Luna infra red searchlight, D-10T gun stabilization from a barrel counterweight, Rmsh track incorporating the sprocket which is basically the same hub as the T-54/55 which has the alternative ring of 14 teeth found on the T-72. These upgraded tanks also carried the later “starfish” wheels as opposed to the earlier spiderweb pattern. Along with the Idler wheel which is the standard T-55 pattern, earlier ones having a ring at the outer edge.