The Char B1 was a French heavy tank manufactured before the Second World War. It was a specialised heavy break-through vehicle, originally conceived as a self-propelled gun with a 75 mm howitzer in the hull; later a 47 mm gun in a turret was added, to allow it to function also as a Char de Bataille, a “battle tank” fighting enemy armour, equipping the armoured divisions of the Infantry Arm.
This Char B1 was on display at Bovington.
Among the most powerfully armed and armoured tanks of its day, the type was very effective in direct confrontations with German armour in 1940 during the Battle of France, but a slow speed and high fuel consumption made it ill-adapted to the war of movement then fought. After the defeat of France captured Char B1 (bis) would be used by Germany, some rebuilt as flamethrowers or mechanised artillery.
It is a big tank, but only for 1940, by the end of the war heavy tanks were huge in comparison.
It is one of my favourite tanks, probably down to the Matchbox kit I got when I was younger.
Though I did eventually convert mine into a German SPG using the armour from a Matchbox Wespe kit. What I didn’t realise at the time was that there was in fact a similarl real version of this, the 10.5cm leFH 18/3 (Sf) auf Geschützwagen B2(f).
Alas I don’t have a photo of my model.
I do though have a 28mm Char B1 for Bolt Action which recently made its way onto the workbench to be made up as a FFI version used in 1944 and 1945.
The Churchill AVRE was one of the so-called ‘funnies’ designed by Percy Hobart specifically for use on the D-Day beaches to break through the German fortified defences. The AVRE was the most successful ‘funny’ type and AVRE vehicles remain in service with the British Army today.
This Churchill AVRE was on display at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford. For many years it had been a target on Sailsbury Plain and then spent a fair few years as a monument on the Normandy beaches.
There was a 15mm resin and metal version of this tank available for Flames of War.
However it has now been replaced for the forthcoming (March 2020) plastic Churchill that can either be a later mark Churchill, the flamethrower Crocodile version or the AVRE version.
In gaming terms most specialist vehicles don’t really work, however this AVRE version with it’s Petard Mortar has a place if your opponent had troops skulking in bunkers.
I missed out on last year’s Battlefront Team Yankee 15mm De Lorean objective and I guess I will probably miss out on this year’s objective too….
To match last year’s wildly popular Delorean objective for WWIII, we’ve delivered on the promise of a Libyan-terrorists-in-a-van Objective to match! Of course, based on the famous scene from the beginning of Back to the Future. Now lets see if they can do 90.
Here is the VW Bus with the De Lorean.
I really like these models, but not sure if I will make it to any tournament to get one.
This Sherman M4A4 tank was on display at the Imperial War Museum in London.
Service history unknow. However, when the object was stripped back for repainting on acquisition by the Imperial War Museum, it was found to be carrying markings commensurate with a tank operating with the Guards Armoured Division in North West Europe, 1944-45.
The M4 Sherman, officially Medium Tank, M4, was the most widely used medium tank by the United States and Western Allies in World War II.
The M4A4 was the most common lend lease Sherman type used by the British Army.
I have posted a few photographs on the blog of Simon’s 15mm British Sherman tanks he has painted for Flames of War.
At the Bovington Tank Museum you can get close up and personal with the first tanks that were built and used in combat, such as the Mark IV Tank.
First World War tanks, namely the British Mark IV, started the practice of carrying fascines on the roof, to be deployed to fill trenches that would otherwise be an obstacle to the tank.
The Mark IV was a British tank of the First World War. Introduced in 1917, it benefited from significant developments of the Mark I tank (the intervening designs being small batches used for training). The main improvements were in armour, the re-siting of the fuel tank and ease of transport. A total of 1,220 Mk IV were built: 420 “Males”, 595 “Females” and 205 Tank Tenders (unarmed vehicles used to carry supplies), which made it the most numerous British tank of the war.
The “Male” tanks were armed with three machine guns and two 6-pdrs. Whilst the “Female” tanks had Five .303 Lewis machine guns.
The Mark IV was first used in mid 1917 at the Battle of Messines Ridge. It remained in British service until the end of the war, and a small number served briefly with other combatants afterwards.
The Comet (A34) was a British cruiser tank that first saw use near the end of World War II. It was designed to provide greater anti-tank capability to Cromwell tank squadrons. It was armed with a 77mm HV, a derivative of the 17 pounder, with the result it was one of the few British tanks with the firepower to challenge late war German designs.
One of the most popular posts on the blog is an article I wrote back in 2011 on the Battle of the Bulge reporting on the news that Flames of War was going to release models and rules for the Battle.
Then I said:
I would like to see two tanks in particular, the M24 Chaffee and the British Comet. These tanks are currently not in the FoW range.
I was pleased when Battlefront released the plastic model back in 2015, however I didn’t manage to get some until now. I am not a great fan of the plastic kits, much prefer the resin models which have more weight.
It was on the eBay I purchased two of the sets containing two Comets each.
The box contains two plastic Comet sprue and were designed as expansions to the original Open Fire starter box. So you get some data cards too.
Though you don’t get the (metal) commanders that you get in the five Comet box.
Really pleased that I have some now, I have been thinking of using them not only for Late War Flames of War games, but also 1950s Cold War games. The Comet remained in British service until 1958. Reading the Hot War books from Harry Turtledove has inspired me to think about gaming some scenarios from the books. British Comets and Centurions versus Russians T34-85 and T54 Soviet tanks with American M26 Pershing and M48 Patton tanks. In the book there are also Sherman manned by (West) German forces.
The Maus was a German World War Two super heavy tank that was completed in late 1944. Five were ordered, but only two hulls and one turret were completed before the testing grounds were captured by advancing Soviet forces.
It is the heaviest fully enclosed armoured fighting vehicle ever built at 188 metric tons. It was armed with a 128mm gun and a coaxial 75mm gun.
The Maus was intended to punch holes through enemy defences in the manner of an immense “breakthrough tank”, whilst taking almost no damage to any components.
I’ve always been impressed with the 1/100th scale models from Zvezda as well as being good quality plastic miniatures they are also reasonably priced. My only real complaint is that the other types of models in the range are designed to fit the box, not the same scale of the vehicles. So the infantry figures and artillery pieces, are 1/72nd, some aircraft are 1/144th and even 1/200th. I have even seen 1/350th boats in the range. This is a pity. The1/100th scale vehicles though fit well with my other 15mm models.
I was intrigued the other day to see that my local model shop had the German super heavy tank Maus in their range of Zvezda kits.
I think it might have been priced wrongly at £3.50 as similar boxes (i.e. the bigger boxes) were £7.00. So I bought two for potential objectives or models for alternate history games set at the end of World War Two.
The model comprises two plastic sprues and look detailed and I think it will capture the feel of this monstrous tank.
The next stage will be to construct the models, even though it says snap-fit, I think I will glue the model together. I will also add some weight to the model too, so give it some heft and ballast. I think a super heavy tank, even at 1/100th scale, should be “super heavy”.
I wonder if Zvezda will produce any other models similar to this? If they did what would you want to see?
My first “experience” of wargaming was back in the 1970s with those bendy and flexible Airfix and Matchbox model soldiers and using Britain’s matchstick firing weapons.
One of my favourite toys and probably the thing that got me into gaming was the 1:32nd Matchbox Counter Attack Playset.
Combining Americans and Germans, with an M8 Greyhound, air pump weapons and an incredible building that you could knock down and put back together. It was an incredible toy that I really loved playing with.
There were of course other models you could buy and I remember having some, but aspired to buy some of those Airfix plastic 1:32 models, such as the Cromwell as well as other Matchbox figures like these Commandos.
I did move onto more “serious” gaming using Airfix Napoleonics. Then I started to paint them, but like a lot of gamers back then, realised the flexibility of the plastic meant that the paint would come off quite easily during games. The magazines of the time (we didn’t have the web back then) had articles about painting the bare plastic with PVA (white glue) and after painting use a range of varnishing techniques (heavy gloss varnish followed by a matt varnish) to protect the paintwork even further. The reality was that I remember discussing with friends what we really wanted were plastic soldiers made out of hard plastic., like that was ever going to happen…
Lets fast forward to last week…
I usually quite enjoy the weekly updates on the Flames of War website. Never quite sure why they feel the need to save all their updates for Thursday, why can’t they post them as and when they’re done. The main result of this is I go the website once a week rather than more regularly.
So what’s the connection?
Battlefront announced they were, having moved from metal to hard plastic, were going to move now to flexible plastic. I had to check twice, was Battlefront really going to release flexible plastic toy soldiers.
The articles talks about the advantages of this *new* material compared to metal, resin and hard plastic.
The new figures are made of a flexible ABS plastic, and combine most of the good points of the other materials.
Like with hard plastic, the casting process involves injecting the plastic into a rigid mould. The moulds themselves are not machined in the same way, but cast – it’s faster and cheaper. Unlike the hard plastic, the material itself is slightly flexible after it cures, so small undercuts are possible – not as much as with metal or resin in a soft mould, but more than with hard plastic.
They also make the point…
The tough new plastic is almost unbreakable – you could drop a rulebook on them and they will bounce straight back.
Guessing dropping rulebooks on them wouldn’t do much for the paintwork. However that would be the same for any model regardless of what material it was made from.
There must be very good reasons why Battlefront are going down this road and these are outlined in the article.
The biggest benefit is the cost – we can produce flexible plastic figures almost 40% cheaper than metal equivalent, and this will be reflected in the price, which is surely good news for everyone!
Cheaper models are always nice, but cost is just one factor amongst many when it comes to choosing models to wargame with. Personally I think it’s a backward retro step, time to ensure I have enough metal models in the cupboard. I don’t mind paying the extra.
The Infantry Tank Mark II, best known as the Matilda, was a British infantry tank. The design began as the A12 specification in 1936, as a gun-armed counterpart to the first British infantry tank, the machine gun armed, two-man A11 Infantry Tank Mark I. The Mark I was also known as Matilda, and the larger A12 was initially known as the Matilda II, Matilda senior or Waltzing Matilda. The Mark I was abandoned in 1940, and from then on the A12 was almost always known simply as “the Matilda”.
With its heavy armour, the Matilda II was an excellent infantry support tank but with somewhat limited speed and armament. It was the only British tank to serve from the start of the war to its end, although it is particularly associated with the North Africa Campaign. It was replaced in front-line service by the lighter and less costly Infantry Tank Mk III Valentine beginning in late 1941.
This model is an SDD white metal kit that I bought in the 1990s.