M11/39 Italian Tanks (and some US Steel for the 8th Army – a Grant and a Sherman), plus an Aussie! For What a Tanker

I have been heavily engaged hobby-wise since December at building out both 8th Army and Panzer Army Africa tank forces.  This blog post describes my last few tanks (well, for now) for What a Tanker© in WWII North Africa.  As I plan on running this scenario at HAVOC in April, my goal was to create a diverse-enough tank list so that the players could have a very fun game that also would reflect the wide diversity of tanks and tank destroyers used by both sides from 1940-1943.  I analyzed my respective armies’ 15mm/1:100 scale tank rosters, and concluded a couple things.  First, my Italians lacked some rivet-laden death traps, also known as Fiat Ansaldo M11/39’s. Second, my British could use another M3 Grant and an M4 Sherman to deal with the German’s Tiger I.  Upon further research, I learned that the Australians captured several of the M11/39’s – so that inspired me to build one for the 8th Army as well.  Therefore, I built 3 M11/39’s, one Grant, and one Sherman.

This overall North Africa project has been documented in this blog in five previous posts, (which you can read about here, here, here, here, and here) and I plan on a summary post as well in the near future.  There I will detail more about the game scenario and how I run it.  These 5 tanks brings me to a total of 46 tanks since December for this scenario.  

M11/39’s

The M11/39 designation meant that it was an 11-ton tank, built in 1939.  100 were built by Fiat.  It had a 37 mm hull-mounted gun and a turret with double 8 mm machine guns.  It did not do well in combat, due to its inferior design, especially the turret having no anti-tank capability.  For What a Tanker© games, this means that the tank’s turret is meaningless – it is like having a tank destroyer without the benefits of a tank destroyer.

I decided to try a different source for the tank models, and found that I could get three from Old Glory for $25, which seemed reasonable.  I also bought a few other vehicles for other scenarios.  I was surprised to see that they were completely made of metal – even with a lead warning on the package!  As a metal aficionado, I was pleased.

I did have however a concern with the quality of the castings.  They all had significantly problematic mold lines on the machine gun turret, and the details on the hull were much less clear than Battlefront models.  Still, the price reflected that, so it was up to me to make it work.  Which I did. 

Two of these would be for the Italians, and one would be an Australian-captured M11/39 tank.  While technically not a squad, they certainly could have started out that way in the Italian Army!  For that reason – and because my good friend Azazel runs a fun painting challenge each month (and is an Aussie) – these three will constitute a submission from me for March’s “Squad March” painting challenge.

3 turret mold line
The turrets needed a good amount of surgery and filing.
4 M11 39 assembled and filed
After assembly and a lot of filing.  I glued the machine gun turrets as it made no sense to have them be movable for What a Tanker games..
5 all three M11 39 assembled and filed
The three M11/39’s assembled.

For priming, I went with a brush, as these seemed to be very smooth castings.  I worried that it would be difficult to get the paint to “bite”.  They also were hollow at the bottom, so I needed to devise a way to mount them for painting.  I ended up using a small square dowel and poster tack on small plates.

I did not take as many pictures during the process as I wanted to get these done for a game this weekend, but unfortunately some snow took care of that, and they will get a chance next weekend.  I list all the paints I used at the end of the blog for those interested. 

8 M11 with poster tack
Poster tack on the M11/39’s as they are prepped for camouflage paint.  I use gauze on the spray booth filter to extend the life of my spray booth filters.
9 M11 with poster tack close up
Close up of the poster tack before painting.
10 M11s after camo
This is not a fine Italian meal by any stretch!
11 after pulling poster tack off
After the poster tack was gently removed, I got this result.

Then I used washes, pigments, decals, and other paints to finish them all up.  There will be an eye-candy section following the sections on the tanks.

12 M11's with book
My Italian M11/39’s with the model I used.  I ended up with more green, but I still liked the results.  In any case, I always want my tanks dusty and dirty.
13 Aussie M11
And here is the M11/39 the Aussie’s captured that will join the 8th Army forces.
14 Aussie M11
A nice comparison with a photo of the actual Aussie M11/39’s used.  I love the ‘roos.

I read that the Aussies used these until they ran out of diesel (their tanks had gasoline engines so diesel was rare).  Then they blew them up.  I believe that there are no surviving examples of the M11/39 in the world.

M3 Grant

I already had one M3 Grant painted, but with the Germans having a Panzer IVF2 and a Tiger I in the DAK inventory, I wanted to augment the 8th Army’s later war desert forces with another Grant and a Sherman.

3 Grant painted and washed
Awaiting decals, pigments, and varnish.
4 Grant with book
The completed model with the one I used as a guide.  There was no way I was going to be able to pull off the white and black outlines here on such a small model.   I do like how it came out – again dirty and dusty.

M4 Sherman

The major difference in painting here from the M3 Grant was the camouflage pattern I used.

3 Sherman painted and washed
M4 Sherman awaiting decals, pigments, and varnish.
4 Sherman with model in book
The completed model with the guide in my research material.
5 Grant and Sherman with model in book
Here are the two with images I printed out from Battlefront’s web page.

Please let me know any feedback in the comments section, I do appreciate your thoughts.  Now it’s time for…

Eye Candy

0 all M11's
Here are the three M11/39’s, with the Aussie on the far right.
1 M11 left front
Right front view of one of the Italian M11/39’s.  The main gun is the antitank weapon, and can only be moved with the tank itself as the turret had only machine-guns.
2 m11 left side
Left side view of the M11/39.
3 Italian M11's on road
The two Italian M11/39’s hit the road.
4 backs of Italian M11 39
Rear view of the two Italian M11/39’s.
5 Australian M11 39
The Australian M11/39 with ‘Roo markings so as not to attract friendly fire.
6 Australian M11 39 left side
Gotta say I love the ‘Roo.
7 Australian M11 39 right side
Other side.
8 Australian M11 39 drives by Panzer IV wreck
Aussie M11/39 driving by a wrecked Panzer IVD.
9 M3 Grant front right
M3 Grant with Desert Rat markings.
10 M3 Grant front left
Nice left side view of the M3 Grant.
10 M3 Grant front
Coming at ya!
11 M3 Grant rear angle
Rear view.
12 Sherman left side
The M4 all dusted up.  I also gave the M4 Desert Rat markings.
12 Sherman right front
M4 Sherman moving out.
13 Sherman driving by wreck
I don’t want to end up like Heinz!
14 Sherman rear angle
Rear view of the M4 Sherman.  I had to pin the bustle rack, and at certain angles it looks off, but at a distance its unnoticeable.
15 all 8th Army this project
The 8th Army additions all assembled.
16 all together at the wreck
All the tanks that were completed for this post.

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THE M11/39’s:

  1. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  4. Vallejo “Dark Sand”
  5. Battlefront “Dry Dust”
  6. Battlefront “Army Green”
  7. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  8. Battlefront “Monty Shade” (shade)
  9. Army Painter Quickshade “Soft Tone” (wash)
  10. Army Painter Quickshade “Strong Tone” (wash) – on Australian version only
  11. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  12. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Rust Wash” (wash)
  13. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  14. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  15. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  16. Vallejo “Light Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  17. Vallejo “Desert Dust” (pigment)
  18. Vallejo “Natural Umber” (pigment)
  19. Gorilla Glue
  20. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  21. Microscale Micro-Set
  22. Microscale Micro-Sol
  23. Microscale Satin
  24. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  25. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  26. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  27. Aleene’s poster tack
  28. Sponges

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THE M3 GRANT AND M4 SHERMAN:

  1. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  4. Vallejo “Dark Sand”
  5. Battlefront “Chocolate Brown” (M3 Grant only)
  6. Battlefront “Tommy Green (M4 Sherman only)
  7. Vallejo Game Air “Black”
  8. Battlefront “Monty Shade” (shade)
  9. Army Painter Quickshade “Light Tone” (wash)
  10. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Rust Wash” (wash)
  11. Vallejo Mecha Color “Dark Rust Wash” (wash)
  12. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  13. Battlefront “Dry Dust”
  14. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  15. Secret Weapons Washes “Armor Wash” (M4 Sherman only)
  16. Vallejo Model Air “Wood”
  17. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  18. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  19. Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
  20. Vallejo “Desert Dust” (pigment)
  21. Gorilla Glue
  22. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  23. Microscale Micro-Set
  24. Microscale Micro-Sol
  25. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  26. Microscale Satin
  27. 1/8″ rare earth neodymium magnets
  28. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  29. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  30. Aleene’s poster tack
  31. Sponges

Thanks for looking and for sharing your feedback!

ON MY RESEARCH MATERIALS

As for research materials, I used the same ones as I cited in previous posts plus Google searches and Battlefront’s website.  Here the books are in case you are interested – you can find them on Amazon and I highly recommend them all:

  • Jean Restayn:WWII Tank Encyclopaedia, 1939-45
  • Smithsonian/DK: Tank: The Definitive Visual History of Armored Vehicles
  • Michael Green:Axis Armoured Fighting Vehicles of the Second World War (Images of War)
  • Robert Jackson:Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles Visual Encyclopedia

I would again easily recommend all of these books as really good resources for gamers and modelers.  Thanks for looking and for sharing your feedback in the comments section.

Now I might go back to retro sci-fi for a bit!  Still have many more tanks to do, but those will be for other scenarios.

Do you have a favorite tank of the ones here?  Why?  Let me know!

 

Terrain for What a Tanker: Making a Panzer IVD Wreck and Blast Markers

I have been trying to amass and put together more desert terrain and terrain markers for running What a Tanker© games set in North Africa in WWII.  A few months back I received a defective Panzer IVD model from Battlefront Miniatures –  in that it came with two left tracks.  Battlefront did a nice job in rectifying that situation and sent me a brand new model.  I finished that as a DAK Panzer IVD and wrote about it here.  But, I still had most of a Panzer IVD model that I could use for something.  I decided to make it into a wreck  – that would also be a nice addition as a terrain feature.  As I will be running a WaT game at HAVOC in April, so I decided to knock out four more smoke/blast markers to support that as well.  Both of these projects will be covered in this post.

These projects are my February submissions for Azazel’s February Community Painting Challenge, which he supplemented to include terrain.  This week I also started a new job!  So, I wanted to wrap up these projects this weekend.

Panzer IVD Wreck

I decided to base the wreck on an old CD that was surfaced with play sand and Elmer’s (PVA) glue.  To cover the hole, I affixed some leftover polystyrene bits.  Then, I used sandpaper to lightly scratch the CD, then applied the glue, then the sand, and let it harden overnight.  I removed the front and rear sprockets from one of the tracks and cut away some road wheels, so as to be able to flip them on the CD and make them available for the right side of the wreck in the correct locations as debris.  I carefully cut away the road wheels and part of the track and some fender, and washed everything to prep for painting.

After all the pieces had dried, I then I assembled the model to look “messed up”.  I put the gun and mantlet on slightly crooked.  The turret and bustle rack were put on a bit akimbo as well.

I took a 1/8″ drill bit and drilled a hole into the hull between the missing road wheels to simulate the impact of a hard shot into the weaker flank of the tank.  In my portrayal, that shot hit ammunition, causing an explosion.  I scattered the resultant debris on one side of the tank to simulate that, affixing everything with E6000 epoxy.  I then mounted the CD onto a disposable plastic plate using poster tack for ease of painting.  I applied a coat of Citadel “Imperium Primer” as the E6000 was a bit rubbery and smooth – and I was worried that it would not hold paint well.  To double up on priming, I then airbrushed on another primer coat – Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”.

4 Wrecked primed
My initial basing and priming 

My next thought was to do a bit of the original Panzer IVD paint on the wreck before I changed it into a wreck, as perhaps some of it would survive (I don’t think much eventually did, but I thought, better safe than sorry).  This consisted of the same basic pattern I followed on my previous German tanks.

5 base coat (first)
First some grey…
6 base coat (second)
…and then some more DAK colors.

My concept at this point was to portray the Panzer IVD as having been hit, having caught fire, then after being abandoned, rusting away.  The fire would have destroyed all or most of the original paint on the hull.  Any metal debris would have rusted afterwards in my opinion, so I decided that decals would be a waste here.

7 early rust
Here, I worked on rusting things up with several different rusting products (all listed at the end of the post).

The sand and PVA glue texture was insufficiently granular for the base, so I used Citadel “Armageddon Dunes” to roughen up the landscape.  It also allowed me to make the doomed German tank’s last tracks in the desert at the rear of the vehicle.  I darkened them up with Citadel “Agrax Earthshade”.

8 after Armageddon Dunes on base
After using the Armageddon Dunes texture paint to gain a better surface on the base.

Then I went into using various Vallejo weathering pigments to create soot, smoke, and dust on and around the model.  I especially like the soot!

9 pigments and weathering and rust, impact side
Impact side, after weathering but before varnishing.
10 pigments and weathering and rust, left side
Opposite side of the tank before varnishing.
10 pigments and weathering and rust, top side
Top of the tank before varnishing.

For varnishing, I used two coats.  First, I applied a Vallejo “Satin” varnish with my airbrush.  After that had dried, I applied a light coat of Vallejo Mecha Color “Matt Varnish”.   I did not want to overly dull the tank, but I definitely did not want it too glossy.

12 after varnish, front
After first coat of varnish.

I am reasonably happy with the final results.  Here are some eye-candy shots on my desert game mat – you be the judge!

13 on mat complete, impact side
Completed Panzer IVD wreck model, impact side.
14 on mat complete, rear side
Completed Panzer IVD wreck model, rear side, showing the track marks in the sand before its final moments.
15 on mat complete, left side
Completed Panzer IVD wreck model, left side.
16 on mat complete, impact side
One of my favorite views.
17 that could have been us
An intact Panzer IVD crew drives by the wreck, thinking it could have been them!
18 that could have been us
Let’s be careful Heinz!  We don’t want to end up crispy like that one!
19 holding it
A little different angle – plus my hands for scale.
20 holding it top
Nice view of the top – some of the original paint can be seen here I think.

Smoke/Blast Markers

The next project was making some more (and better) to put on the tabletop when tanks meet their demise – or for any explosions in general.   I took tea lights, and hot glued thin strips of pillow batting to them in a “closed lily” type of shape.

1 unpainted smoke markers
After building the markers, but before painting them.
2 unpainted smoke markers lit up in dark
Lit up with the lights down.

I then painted them black and grey, trying to make them less dark thank my previous attempts.

3 painted smoke markers
Completed and lit in the light.
4 painted smoke markers lit up in dark
Look much better in less light!

Thanks for looking at these – and I hope that perhaps these give you some ideas.  In any case, I hope you enjoyed seeing them and my processes.  Please share any feedback you have in the comments section!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THE PANZER IVD WRECK:

  1. Play sand
  2. Used CD
  3. Elmer’s Glue
  4. Battlefront model #GE040
  5. E6000 epoxy
  6. Gorilla Glue
  7. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  8. Citadel “Imperium Primer”
  9. Polystyrene bits
  10. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  11. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  12. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  13. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”
  14. Vallejo Model Air “German Green Brown”
  15. Vallejo Model Air “Light”
  16. Vallejo Model Air “German Green Brown”
  17. Vallejo Model Air “Hull Red”
  18. Vallejo Model Air “First Light”
  19. Vallejo Model Air “Brown”
  20. Citadel “Armageddon Dunes” (Texture)
  21. Battlefront “Monty Shade” (shade)
  22. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Rust Wash” (wash)
  23. Vallejo Mecha Color “Dark Rust Wash” (wash)
  24. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (wash)
  25. Vallejo “Dark Sand”
  26. Battlefront “Dry Dust”
  27. Vallejo “Titanium White” (pigment)
  28. Vallejo “Carbon Black” (pigment)
  29. Vallejo “Pigment Binder”
  30. Citadel “Typhus Corrosion”
  31. Citadel “Ryza Rust”
  32. Vallejo “Desert Dust” (pigment)
  33. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  34. Vallejo “Light Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  35. Vallejo Model Air “Satin Varnish”
  36. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  37. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (wash)

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THE SMOKE/BLAST MARKERS:

  1. Tea lights (battery operated)
  2. Pillow batting material
  3. Hot glue from glue gun
  4. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  5. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  6. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  7. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”

Italian Armor for North Africa

I have been really enjoying building armored forces for the tabletop war game What a Tanker©.  This, my latest group, rounds out my Panzer Army Africa forces with Royal Italian Army armor from 1940-1943.  This post will show these tanks and tank destroyers, as well as a German Panzer IVD that was left off from my last group that I previously detailed here.  These are all 15mm (1:100) tanks, which are very small (1-3″). 

My ultimate goal is to have an excellent game that I can run at conventions or club meetings.  I now have that, but will probably add some Marder III’s, M3 Grants/Lees, and M4 Shermans to be complete.  

I will share here both the Italian vehicles and the Panzer IVD – and some of their in progress photos.  Then, you will get a chance to view some eye candy shots!  Because I have been very busy seeking new employment (and it looks good on that front!), I was able to finish the tanks and run a couple of play tests before I could finish this post.  So there will be a few shots of the play tests I have been running with these tanks.  I also share the materials and research used at the end for those interested.  

Royal Italian Army Armor

The vehicles I assembled for the Italians make up about 2/3 of the list of the models in the What a Tanker© rule book.  I already had 5 Italian tanks from Wargame Models in Ohio that are very affordable (but not as nice as those from Battlefront Miniatures).  My current Italian Army consists of 12 vehicles:

M14/41 Tank

This tank is basically the M13/40 with a better engine and slightly better armor.

I used a painting scheme that attempted to match the one example in the Bovington museum.

7 M14-41 after decal
After applying decal and varnish, but before adding weathering powders.
8 M14-41 with photo of actual tank
The completed M14/41 tank model next to one in the book.

Semovente 47/32

In the WaT rules, this vehicle is interesting.  It is small (tougher to hit), low profile (tougher to acquire), fast (can move every turn), and a tank destroyer (can aim easier).  It also is, like the Panzerjager I, open-topped, so never buttoned (and more vulnerable).  Each blister had two vehicles, and I bought two at the 50% off sale!

3 Semovente 47-32 primed and base coated
The tiny tank destroyers primed and base coated.

Semovente 75-18

I had two of these, with one being a command model (carro comando), that had a range finder (called a goniometer).  I used a slightly different camouflage scheme with these and love the triangle vehicle marking decals that these got.  

6 Semovente 75-18 rear view after camo and decals
Hey, matching licence plates!
7 Semovente 75-18 with image
I used this color scheme, and went with the decals anyways.

Panzer IVD

My previous Panzer IVD did not make the last project group as it came with two left tracks.  Battlefront sent me a replacement, and I plan to use the defective one soon as a wreck project.

Italian Repainting

For my Wargame Model in Ohio tanks, I decided to give them a makeover with paint and decals so that they were less different than the newer Italian vehicles.  They are still not perfect, but I decided to stick with what I have done with them now.

2 Wargames Models of Ohio repainted
My repaint of the other Italians

I hope you liked the in progress stuff above – and now…it’s Eye Candy time!

Eye Candy

1 M14-41 front shot
Front view of M14/41.
2 M14-41 rear shot
Left rear view of M14/41
3 M14-41 side shot
Right side view of M14/41 on the road
4 Semovente 47-32 convoy
Little Semovente 47/32’s in a convoy
5 Semovente 47-32 front shot
Front left view of Semovente 47/32
6 Semovente 47-32 rear shot
Rear right view of Semovente 47/32
7 Semovente 75-18 side shot
Semovente 75/18 right side view.
8 Semovente 75-18 right side shot
Left front view of Semovente 75/85
9 Semovente 75-18 rear shot
Rear view of the Semovente 75/18 tank destroyer
10 Semovente 75-18 Carro commando rear shot
In comparison, here is the Semovente 75/18 Carro Comando version from the back
11 Semovente 75-18 Carro commando right side shot
Semovente 75/18 right side
12 Semovente 75-18 Carro commando left side shot
Semovente Carro Comando  75/18 right side.  Note the goniometer on the top in front of the crewman.
14 Semovente 75-18s
The two versions of the Semovente 75/18’s together
15 Pz IVD right side
Panzer IVD left side
16 Pz IVD left side
Panzer IVD left side
17 Pz IVD rear side
Rear view of the Panzer IVD
19 All Italian AFV's
Italian Group shot!

Lastly, I am thankful to Chris Rett, Ryan MacRae, Frank Ramsay, and Mike Morgan for helping me to start to play test the scenario and rules tweaks that I will use to make this work at HAVOC in April for up to 10-12 players.  Here’s a few shots!

1 Great Stories
At Great Stories in Uxbridge, MA – Chris, Ryan, and Frank have fun.  The Brits made a comeback and won here under Chris’ command.
3 Mike Morgan
Mike Morgan maneuvers his Brits to a narrow victory at my house.
3 Kill Rings
One of my innovations – Kill Ring Cards!

Thanks for looking – and I hope that you found this post interesting and fun.  As I add more tanks/tank destroyers, I will share them.  I also hope to add better pics from future games.

Please let me know your thoughts and feedback – as always – in the comments section!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THIS TANK GROUP:

  1. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  4. Citadel “Imperium Primer”
  5. Battlefront “German Camo Orange Ochre”
  6. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  7. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”
  8. Army Painter Quickshade “Mid Brown” (wash)
  9. Battlefront “Dry Dust”
  10. Vallejo Model Air “German Green Brown”
  11. Battlefront “Monty Shade” (shade)
  12. Army Painter Quickshade “Strong Tone” (wash)
  13. Battlefront “Army Green”
  14. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  15. Battlefront “Panzer Gray”
  16. Vallejo “Neutral Grey”
  17. Vallejo Model Air “Green Brown”
  18. Vallejo Model Air “Light”
  19. Vallejo Model Air “Cam. Grey Green”
  20. Battlefront “Black”
  21. Battlefront “Battledress Brown”
  22. Vallejo Mecha Color “Light Rust Wash” (wash)
  23. DecoArt “White Pearl”
  24. Army Painter Quickshade “Light Tone” (wash)
  25. Battlefront “European Skin”
  26. Battlefront “Skin Shade” (shade)
  27. Vallejo “Dark Flesh”
  28. Vallejo “Dark Prussian Blue”
  29. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  30. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  31. Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
  32. Vallejo “Desert Dust” (pigment)
  33. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (wash)
  34. Gorilla Glue
  35. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  36. Microscale Micro-Set
  37. Microscale Micro-Sol
  38. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  39. 1/8″ rare earth neodymium magnets
  40. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  41. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  42. Aleene’s poster tack
  43. Sponges

Thanks for looking and for sharing your feedback!

ONCE MORE – ON MY RESEARCH MATERIALS

As for research materials, I used the same ones as I cited before – but for completeness here they are in case you are interested (you can find them on Amazon):

  • One by Jean Restayn:WWII Tank Encyclopaedia, 1939-45
  • One by the Smithsonian/DK: Tank: The Definitive Visual History of Armored Vehicles
  • One by Michael Green:Axis Armoured Fighting Vehicles of the Second World War (Images of War)
  • One by Robert Jackson:Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles Visual Encyclopedia

I would again easily recommend all of these books as really good resources for gamers and modelers.

Building a Panzer Army Africa Tank force for What a Tanker

January has been a busy hobby month.  After I had built a significant number of 8th Army British tanks for What a Tanker© games set in WWII North Africa.  Subsequently,  I really needed to build out an opposing and suitably-sized group of Panzer Army Africa tanks and tank destroyers.  This post focuses on my January efforts on German forces.  I will augment these with Italian tanks and tank destroyers on my next project.

OVERVIEW

I finished a total of 17 tanks/tank destroyers this month.  These were all 15mm scale and from Battlefront Miniatures.  Thirteen of these were for North Africa, while four would augment my forces for my France 1940 scenario.  The largest single number were nine Panzer II variants.  I had purchased a box of five Panzer II’s previously, and built one for France 1940, but the box was short one tank guns.  Battlefront made good on this, and sent me another entire box of five tanks!  This allowed me to convert an extra British A10 gun I had lying around into one for a Panzer IIC.  It’s not perfect, but should work on the tabletop.  I also had a Panzer IVD from Battlefront, and discovered that it had two left tracks.   Battlefront has done right by me on that too, and replaced that entire tank as well.  I will probably take the extra Panzer IVD and make it into a wreck later on.  So this post will review these 17 tanks I built and painted:

  • 2 Panzerjager I’s (one for France 1940 and one for North Africa)(15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE100)
  • 3 Panzer IIC’s (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX108) for France 1940
  • 6 Panzer IIF’s (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GBX108) for North Africa
  • 2 Panzer IIIE’s (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE030) for North Africa
  • 1 Panzer IIIH (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE031) for North Africa
  • 1 Panzer IVF2 (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE042) for North Africa
  • 1 M3 Stuart “Honey” tank (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#BR006) –  one captured by the Germans for use in North Africa 
  • 1 Tiger I (15mm/1:100 scale), from Battlefront Miniatures (#GE070) for North Africa 

I will review each briefly, and give bigger shots in the eye candy section.  Of course, I list the paints and other materials I used at the end for those interested. And there were 61 decals!

PANZERJAGER I’S

Images that I used for modeling.

In the end, I chose a camouflage pattern for my Panzer Army Africa version similar to what you see on the Marder II image.

PANZER II’S

There were nine Panzer II’s!

I modeled my Panzer IIF on this image.

PANZER IIIE’S

I had two unpainted Panzer IIIE’s left over from France 1940. They were not easy to put decals on – so that was minimal.

PANZER IIIH

Panzer IIIH assembled
After camouflage applied.

PANZER IVF2

After camouflage – Panzer IVF2.
I modeled this tank on this image.

CAPTURED GERMAN M3 STUART “HONEY”

The Germans did a good job of recovering all kinds of AFV’s in North Africa. This included enemy vehicles – so I decided that an M3 Stuart would be a good addition.

I saw this and had to give the Germans a little American-made steel.

TIGER I

The last tank that I will share here is the centerpiece of the collection – a true behemoth – the early Tiger I. I modeled this one on the famous #131, which was captured virtually intact by the British in 1943 in Tunisia. A lucky British AP round lodged in the Tiger’s turret ring, and its crew abandoned it. Today, it is the only functional Tiger I on the planet and is at the Bovington tank museum.

Assembly of this model was NOT easy. There were 21 pieces and no assembly instructions, which is amazing given that Battlefront has assembly instructions for much simpler models. I also had issues with getting the tracks to fit the hull as there were no slots for the detents on the metal tracks.

Turret close up after decals and crew added.
One of the three images I used to finish the model.
The second image showing the rear of the actual Tiger 1 #131.
The third image.

I wanted to install a radio aerial, but in the end I decided that it was impractical due to the size of the model and the likelihood of future damage. I also wanted to include this Tiger as my “centerpiece model” in the January monthly painting challenge that I participate in – run by Azazel (whose blog is well-worth following).

So now, its time for…

EYE CANDY!

Panzerjager I, right side
Panzerjager I, left side.
I completed two Panzerjager I’s – one obviously needs to get a paint job for North Africa!
Rear view showing the crews of this early tank destroyer.
The three Panzer IIC’s that will be for France 1940. The one on the far right has the converted gun.
The six Panzer IIF’s for North Africa.
Panzer IIF convoy.
Front close up of Panzer IIF.
The two Panzer IIIE’s.
Rear view of the Panzer IIIE’s.
Panzer IIIH, right side.
Panzer IIIH, left side.
Front view of Panzer IIIH, with nice view of DAK decal.
Panzer IVF2, right side.
And the Panzer IVF2, left side.
Front view of the Panzer IVF2.
Captured German Stuart “Honey”.
Other side of the German Stuart.
AND THE TIGER I!
Tiger I, left side.
Tiger I, right side.
Tiger I, rear view.
German motor pool! The 13 German tanks for Panzer Army Africa.
All 17 German tanks for January! Bigger motor pool!

This was a big project – and now on to the Italians (and my replacement Panzer IVD).

I thank you for looking and hope this was enjoyable for you. What tanks are your two favorites (I know the Tiger I will be a big favorite!). Please share your thoughts and any feedback in the comments section!

PAINTS, INKS, GLAZES, SHADES, WASHES, PIGMENTS AND FLOCKING USED ON THIS TANK GROUP:

  1. Vallejo “Flow Improver”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Black”
  4. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  5. Battlefront “Dark Gunmetal”
  6. Secret Weapons Washes “Armor Wash” (wash)
  7. Battlefront “Panzer Gray”
  8. Vallejo Model Air “Base Grey”
  9. Vallejo “Neutral Grey”
  10. Vallejo Model Air “Green Brown”
  11. Vallejo Model Air “Green Brown”
  12. Vallejo Model Air “German Green Brown”
  13. Vallejo Model Air “Light”
  14. Vallejo Model Air “Cam. Grey Green”
  15. Vallejo Model Air “Bright Brass”
  16. Battlefront “Boot Brown”
  17. Battlefront “Dry Dust”
  18. Battlefront “Black”
  19. Battlefront “Oxide Red”
  20. Army Painter Quickshade “Light Tone” (wash)
  21. Battlefront “European Skin”
  22. Battlefront “Skin Shade” (shade)
  23. Vallejo Game Air “Moon Yellow”
  24. DecoArt “White Pearl”
  25. Army Painter Quickshade “Mid Brown” (wash)
  26. Army Painter Quickshade “Strong Tone” (wash)
  27. Vallejo “Dark Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  28. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  29. Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
  30. Battlefront “Rommel Shade” (shade)
  31. Battlefront “Bradley Shade” (shade)
  32. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (wash)
  33. Citadel “Nuln Oil” (wash)
  34. Gorilla Glue
  35. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Gloss Varnish”
  36. Microscale Micro-Set
  37. Microscale Micro-Sol
  38. Microscale Liquid Decal Film
  39. 1/8″ rare earth neodymium magnets
  40. Appropriate decals from Battlefront
  41. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish
  42. Aleene’s poster tack
  43. Sponges

Thanks for looking and for sharing your feedback!

ON MY RESEARCH MATERIALS

As for research materials, I used the same ones as I cited before – but for completeness here they are in case you are interested (you can find them on Amazon):

  • One by Jean Restayn:WWII Tank Encyclopaedia, 1939-45
  • One by the Smithsonian/DK:Tank: The Definitive Visual History of Armored Vehicles
  • One by Michael Green:Axis Armoured Fighting Vehicles of the Second World War (Images of War)
  • One by Robert Jackson:Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles Visual Encyclopedia

I would easily recommend all of these books as good resources for gamers and modelers.