Operation Herrick British Battlegroup – Airfix 1/48 Warrior, Jackal, Coyote and Land Rover

Some group shots of the finished Brits …..

Taken last week before the convention, unfortunately they didn’t get on the tables as the games were scenario based battles between Taliban and ISAF Infantry with players playing three games with each side. The games were played in great spirit by all and I was jammy enough to have a bit of luck, winning 5 and drawing 1, although I’m claiming that one as a moral win for my Taliban as I prevented the ANA from gaining their objective. What I learned was that a mob of Taliban can look much more scary than their skill/stat lines would show (I took a force of 15 so many were really poor quality) and can tie up very small elite special force groups (5 or 6) unless they are handled very aggressively. We also used random event cards which ranged from being hilarious, pinning a sniper with “Jelly belly” to scary effective, my Tali boys being the target of a “fast air” strike and scattering in panic. All in all and even though the vehicles only got to watch it was great fun ……

And as for the Tankies themselves, the build wips are buried in my blog but to recap the Jackal, Coyote and Snatch are straight out of the Airfix box with only aerials added while the Warrior has had a bit more fiddling done to it, and needs a touch more as I still have the armoured glass windows to fit to the turret crew survivability kit. They are brush painted using both Humbrol enamels and GW acrylics and weathered with oils. Now to start building the others …….

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Afghanistan Battlegroup – Fire Team Modern Skirmish

Sneek peek ……

Only one pic, haven’t got any time for anything else as I’m packing for a weekend of beers with some gaming thrown in during the recovery periods. Managed to get everything finished late last night and ready for transport down to Wellington. They’re posing for pictures later next week and I’ll have to travel back down to Welly after that to collect them and back home here for packing and then shipping on to their new homes.

Kit/vehicle list;

M1A1 Abrams MBT – 1/48 Gasoline
Bradley M2A2 MICV – 28mm Empress Miniatures
M-ATV MRAP (x2) – 28mm Empress Minatures
BAE Warrior MIFV – 1/48 Airfix
Land Rover Snatch – 1/48 Airfix
Coyote 6×6 TSV – 1/48 Airfix
Jackal 4×4 PSV – 1/48 Airfix

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Oshkosh M-ATVs Empress Miniatures 28mm – finished

And close behind the Abrams the M-ATVS are also finished …….

The Empress Miniatures M-ATVs are now also finished. And yeah, as finished as they’re going to get for now but they still need stowage and suspension bits fitted to both vehicles (if you look closely you might just see the coil springs, swing arms and sump guard fitted to one of them). These were also finished in the same way as the Abrams, brush painted mostly with Humbrol enamels, detailing with GW acrylics and shading with oils.

They’re big units and we’ll see just how big once they get next to some of my brothers afghan buildings he’s been working hard on at the convention next weekend. Despite the time taken I think I’d like to do a third as a special forces SOCOM truck, as they have some nifty add on mods. Also we might make a couple of CROWs remote weapon stations which were fitted to all the later vehicles (2010 onwards), hopefully making them interchangeable and swappable with the OGPK manned turrets. They’d make a neat comparison to the OLD school Generation Kill style HMMVW unit that I want to build …..

And a list of changes and improvements ;

drilled out the manned turret windows and fitted armoured glass from clear scrap,
fitted a rear ammo ready use bin to the Mk19 turret,
added hatches and joystick traverse controller to both turrets,
added a Rhino IED jammer, mounting bracket, guide rod and wiring to one truck,
fitted an IBIS Tek front mounted tow bar with tie down strap,
added front coil springs, suspension “A” arms and sump guard to one truck,
fitted support chains to the cabin steps
added aerials (x4) to each vehicle,
fabricated coms/jammer transformer box and fitted to the upper rear hull on both,
added support frame and tie strap to the spare wheels,
fitted mud flaps,
added mesh to the rear storage boxes,
remodelled the rear Sat/comms antenna,
added rear mounted folding crew steps,
added lift rings to hull sides,
fitted emergency door pulls to one truck,
added wiring to the front aerial stands
fitted mirrors to the front, doors and turrets of both trucks,
added mesh to the front grills

Things to watch out for and that I’d improve next time ……..

The rear storage bin (entire deck and support frame) is located incorrectly, as it sits the rear wheels don’t have the correct distance between the wheel and mudguard to allow the same suspension travel as the front wheels. It needs to be raised higher so that the top of the frame is level with the roof.

Also on the rear vehicle the storage bins are longer, reaching back almost flush with the real hull. I suspect the floor might also extend back closer to the hull also but can’t find a clear picture of this area. As it sits as supplied any stowage in the back will fall out between the gap with the hull. I fitted a larger storage box from the spare box into each vehicle to fill this gap but it really the bins need to be extended and the gap between the frame and hull filled in with the large wiring conduits visible in this area.

Summary

Great casting and as supplied makes into a really nice gaming model. It’s also big enough to be able to go as far as you want to with extra detailing. I had a couple of casting holes (easily fixable with filler) and one turret casting had shifted off centre which I cleaned up as best as I could with a file. The rear storage area, frame and mudguard assembly really needs raising but TBH is not essential for gaming as not many will notice and it doesn’t detract from the impressive look of the finished model. And I have a cunning plan for glazing the main cabin windows for next time ……

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M1A1 Abrams Gasoline 1/48 – Finished

Yup finally finished ……….

After about 80 or so hours here she is, my conversion of the Gasoline 1/48th M1A2 into an Afghanistan styled USMC M1A1 HC. Even though there’s a couple of things I’d still like to adjust and add they can wait and for now I’m calling it done.

For those interested it was brush painted in Humbrol enamels and GW acrylics, lined and shaded with Windsor and Newton oils and weathered with MIG and homemade pigments. The markings are fictitious and a mix of Gasoline supplied, hand painted and spares box finds.

Below is a list of changes and improvements made ………..

Hull

made a heavy tank patten tow bar and fitted to front,
added deep wading exhaust stack,
fitted infantry phone / coms boxes,
added lift rings to front lower and rear upper hull
added rear tow cable and shackles,
removed drive sprocket guards and trimmed hull resin blocks away from track run,
detailed front track guard springs, added foot step straps and front hull mounted bracket

Gun/mantlet

spaced forward approx 3mm, filled gap and added scribed detail,
added lift/accessory mounts,
rebuilt top hinged rain cover,
removed Simfire training flare launcher,
cut off muzzle brake (the kit one is either modelled backwards or fitted with a muzzle cap) – made new one and remounted the laser

Turret

removed the CITV unit from the turret left top and fitted a blanking plate and bolts,
added front and side CIPS panels,
detailed gunners primary sight and added doors,
added Blueforce GPS tracker,
made M1A1 CWS (commanders weapons station) – cupola, vision blocks and gun mounting,
detailed CWS 50cal, fitted brass barrel and added thermal sight
improved loaders M240 weapons mount by adding shield, armoured glass, thermal sight, handles and barrel details,
cutoff smoke discharger ammo boxes – rebuilt and repositioned,
replaced M1A2 Army smoke dischargers with scratch built USMC M257 8 tube smoke dischargers
added spare roadwheels and mounting clamps to bustle,
made and fitted rear bustle extension,
fitted stowage, fillers from spares box, packs from Blackdog, ammo boxes, cardboard boxes and rear bustle tarp from Paul Wade,
corrected bustle mounted APU and detailed with panels and lift rings,
added DUKE IED jammers FAC aerials and Sat/coms mast,
fitted tow rope, mounting clasps and front bump covers

Things to watch out for

The left front track run is raised slightly, ie the left front roadwheel and forward part of the track is off the ground instead of sitting flat. A fix would be to cut off the LHS front roadwheels (front three), attach the right track first and once thats firmly set fit the left track, repositioning the front wheels and track until they sit correctly with the tank level.

The rear hull plate (with exhaust and light fittings) is too wide for the rear hull casting. If fitted as supplied the edges stick out past the hull sides when they should be flush. I filed the edges back to fit but slightly cut into the light fitting. A proper fix would be to cut off the light fittings, attach the plate and file flush with the hull sides, then the refit the lights.

Summary

As supplied the kit assembles into a very nice US Army M1A2. The castings are clean and very well detailed. There are some minor fit issues with the rear hull plate, the front left track not sitting flat and the front right track being twisted. These are probably due to the age of the master (it’s an early Gasoline kit) but are fixable. Also they may not be noticeable to anyone not very familiar with the Abrams. The kit is also a great base for further detailing and hopefully Gasoline will release an accompanying Bradley at some stage …….

Finally a very special thanks to Oliver at Gasoline who kindly supplied additional roadwheels so they could be mounted as spares to the turret bustle – top customer service!

cheers
Brent

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M1A1 Abrams Gasoline 1/48 – M-ATVs Empress Miniatures

Final detailing complete …………

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A combined post this time as both lots of vehicles are being finished on the painting bench together now and final detailing is pretty much completed.

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The Abrams got CIPs (Combat Identification Panels) panels added. I know they aren’t fitted on Marine vehicles in Afghanistan but this is technically a mild “what if” vehicle anyway with the premise being an escalated Marine deployment somewhere in the near future. I also added the additional twin aerial suite fitted to tanks used as FACs or forward air controllers. Some more stowage was added, a couple of packs from Blackdog and some cardboard boxes from one of Paul Wades excellent modern British stowage sets (that’s also where the large rear bustle mounted tarp came from). A rear mounted tow cable and a mast mounted sat/coms antenna was also fitted. Lastly, and completing everything for the Abrams, I improved the loaders M240 machine gun with handles, detail strips to the front barrel and by adding a thermal sight made from tubing and brass rod.

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The M-ATVs are also now completed apart from some stowage to go into the rear cages which will be added after that area has been shaded but before final pigments go on. I added a tie down strap to the vehicle with the front mounted tow bar, both got wire mesh added to the stowage cages. along with mirrors, aerials and rear mud flaps.

I reworked the front mounted Rhino IED jammer as it had been bugging me for some time. It got beefed up as it was too small, wiring and I added a carbon fibre rod (drivers visual aid) which sticks up to mark the front of the vehicle when the jammer is deployed in the down position and wiring. Finally I fitted two large plastic crates to the inside cage to block the gap between it and the rear hull so the stowage can be fitted without falling out. This gap is incorrect as on the real vehicle the two rear stowage bins sit flush with the rear hull and although I can’t find a pic I would assume the rear deck does also. Stowage will just be mixed packs and crates although I may make a Javelin out of rod as they are also commonly stowed in the rear cage area.

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M1A1 Abrams – Gasoline 1/48th – Fire Team build log 9

Lining and base shading complete …..

Getting close to finishing the Abrams. Panel lining and some pre shading of the lower hull is finished. As mentioned below and with the M-ATVs I used an old school oil paint based mix for the pin washes. I used Windsor and Newton (the tubes are about 30years old lol) Burnt Sienna and Raw Umber thinned down with a lot of turps. Using a very fine brush the wash is run along the panel lines and edges leaving the flat parts clean. As oils don’t dry immediately any excess or mistakes can be cleaned up with a fresh brush and clean turps ……

A quick note on this part of the process, most 1/35th modellers will gloss varnish the entire model (often using Future, a brand of floor polish)before applying any turps based oil washes. This protects the base finish from the white spirit and allows it to flow a little easier. I did varnish the Abrams first, using Testors Dullcoat which is a lacquer based matt varnish. It has a totally different surface tension to gloss varnish however and is only suitable for localised pin washes and not overall sludges washes or filters. It’s just a different method and approach …. and like all methods may or may not work for you !!! lol

Anyway it’s on to the proper weathering and final detailing next ……

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Oshkosh M-ATVs – Empress Miniatures 28mm build log5

Progress with the shading and lining.

Pin washes lining the panels are finished on the M-ATVs and they’re now ready for weathering and final detailing. Instead of the normal acrylics this time I used old school Windsor and Newton oils thinned with standard turps. Apart from the drying time and odour they worked pretty well and will probably replace the acrylic wash mixes until I can source a replacement for GW Chestnut ink.

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Oshkosh M-ATVs – Empress Miniatures 28mm build log4

Base colours laid in ……..

Finished the base painting on the M-ATVs and got most of the details colour blocked in. Panel lining and shading next …. The observant will also notice more progress on the Abrams too, I’m just cleaning up and resizing the pics now for posting that up later.

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