Colouring the PzKpfw II

The Panzer II was the common name for a family of German tanks used in World War II. The official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen II (abbreviated PzKpfw II). Although the vehicle had originally been designed as a stopgap while more advanced tanks were developed, it nonetheless went on to play an important role in the early years of World War II, during the Polish and French campaigns. By the end of 1942 it had been largely removed from front line service, and production of the tank itself ceased by 1943.

This one was on display at the Bovington Tank Museum.

PzKpfw II

When they first appeared, in 1936, the Panzer IIs were regarded as platoon commander’s tanks. They were also employed to give fire support to the Panzer I in combat with enemy tanks. However by 1940 they had been outclassed and were relegated to the reconnaissance role. This exhibit, an Ausfuhrung (or Model) F featured improved armour and was introduced in 1941.

This tank was captured by British forces in North Africa but it is shown in the markings of 1st Panzer Division at the time of the invasion of France in June 1940.

That was something I didn’t know until a few years ago that the German tanks in 1940 were painted grey and brown, I had always thought they were just grey. I personally blame Matchbox  for this.

Matchbox Panzer II box art

It was only after Blitzkrieg was released back in 2010 by Battlefront that I noticed the grey and brown camouflage scheme.

As recently as ten years ago the overwhelming consensus regarding early war German AFV paint schemes was that they were all painted in uniform overall panzer grey (Dunkelgrau – RAL 7021 – formerly RAL 46). However, in 2002 Tom Jentz and Hilary Doyle published an article based on primary sources stating all German vehicles at the beginning of World War II were painted in a two tone camouflage scheme of panzer grey with one third of the vehicle painted in a disruptive pattern of dark brown (Dunkelbraun – RAL 7017 – formerly RAL 45). The order to move to an overall panzer grey scheme was not signed until the end of July 1940.

Back in 2011, I blogged about finding the 15mm Zveda plastic model kit.

Though you can buy a resin version of the Pz II I was plesantly surprised to find a plastic 1/100th scale kit of the Pz II in a model shop for just £1.25. Bargain!

Made my Zveda, a Russian firm… I did manage to pick up three of them. I am going to make them up as PzKpfw IIs for the Western Desert.

Note that the cover art of the box is all grey too… but by the time of the invasion of Russia, all German tanks were grey.

Cruiser, Mk IV (A13)

This Cruiser, Mk III (A13) was on display at Bovington Tank Museum. This example was built in 1939 by Nuffield Mechanisation & Aero Ltd and was used for development of the improved turret armour for the Cruiser IV. It retains this revised turret which is why at first glance it looks like a Cruiser IV.

Cruiser, Mk IV (A13)

This vehicle is one of the 65 Cruiser IIIs delivered between December 1938 and November 1939. It was apparently retained to prove the attachment of armour plates on the turret in fulfilment of the Cruiser IV’s armour specification (30mm), which is the configuration in which it survives. It was held by the School of Tank Technology until 1949, when it transferred to the Tank Museum. It is painted to represent a vehicle commanded by Ron Huggins (who later volunteered at the Tank Museum) of 10th Royal Hussars – a part of 1st Armoured Division, which served in western France in June 1940.”

The Tank, Cruiser, Mk III (A13) was a British cruiser tank of the Second World War. It was the first British cruiser tank to use the Christie suspension system which gave higher speeds and better cross-country performance, previous models of cruiser tanks having used triple wheeled bogie suspension. Like most British cruisers, the A 13 was fast but under-armoured and proved unreliable mechanically. Most were lost in the French campaign in 1940, but a few were used in Greece and the North African campaign in 1940-41.

As you can see in this photograph the Mk III had a slab sided turret.

I have had a 15mm model of the tank for sometime. Don’t remember the manufacturer, though I think it may be an old SDD Miniatures model. It’s made of metal and is quite well detailed. After cleaning the model I gave it a white undercoat.

See the full workbench feature on the A13.

Mark IV Tank with Fascine

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.

Mark IV Tank with Fascine

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.

I have been working on a metal 15mm Mark IV Tank for use with the Home Guard.

Though I do really like the Flames of War Great War models, which have a lot more detail.

Mark IV Male

I also have a gallery of Mark IV tanks from a wonderful 28mm demonstration game at GamesDay 2007.

Mark IV Tank

SDD Matilda II

Matilda II
By No 1 Army Film & Photographic Unit [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Matilda II

SDD 15mm Tiger I

Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf. E
By Capt. Tanner, War Office official photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Tiger I is the common name of a German heavy tank used in World War II, developed in 1942. The final official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. E, often shortened to Tiger. It was an answer to the unexpectedly formidable Soviet armour encountered in the initial months of Operation Barbarossa, particularly the T-34 and the KV-1. The Tiger I design gave the Wehrmacht its first tank mounting the 88 mm gun, which had previously demonstrated its effectiveness against both air and ground targets. During the course of the war, the Tiger I saw combat on all German battlefronts. It was usually deployed in independent tank battalions, which proved to be quite formidable..

SDD Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf. E

I have already purchased a Flames of War blister of the German Tiger I E. This model is an SDD white metal kit that I bought in the 1990s. Unlike the Flames of War model this has just four parts.

SDD Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf. E

I am thinking that I might use it as an objective or in some kind of terrain, one of the reasons for using the image above as inspiration.

British Bedford OXD

British Bedford OXD
By Zandcee (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Bedford OY is an army lorry built by Bedford for the British Armed Forces and introduced in 1939. It was based on Bedford’s O-series commercial vehicles with a modified front end and single rear tyres. The OXD was a general service vehicle, a short-wheelbase version of the OY, designed for a 30 cwt (1.5 ton) payload.

This is a photograph of a Bedford OXD in German army service in Hungary. So I was thinking I could paint it in this style.

British Bedford OXD
Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-715-0212A-26A / Kreutzer, Wilhelm / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
This is an SDD model I bought in the 1990s.

SDD British Bedford OXD

It comprises three parts in white metal.

SDD British Bedford OXD

After cleaning the castings the model will be stuck together and undercoated.

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

This is a laser cut MDF (and card) model of a Chateau from Sarissa Precision.

Sarissa Precision Chateau

It is unpainted model and comes as a flat pack of MDF and card.

The chateau has steps back and front. They comprise the steps and go together quite easily.

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

I like the railings which work well and don’t look too bulky for this small model.

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

The back steps are constructed in a similar manner.

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

The use of card for the window frames, shutters and plinths works well.

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

The most challenging aspect of the model was the roof. It had multiple dormer windows as well as a flat roof with railings (or balustrades)

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

There were multiple components and the construction was quite challenging.

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

The finished models looks very effective, I do think though I do need to give it a coat of paint.

Sarissa Precision Chateau

The rear view.

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

If I was to do this again, I think I might paint the card first, as I did with my Gaslamp buildings.

Finished the 4Ground 15mm Corner Bakery

4Ground 15mm Corner Bakery

Finally finished one of my Christmas presents (from some time ago) was the 4Ground 15mm Shop 4: Corner Bakery. I already have a couple of the 4Ground 15mm buildings, a pair of semi-detached houses and one of the hotels.

The Corner Bakery is a great piece of terrain to enhance your battle board. It comes pre-painted with 4Ground Base paints with high levels of internal detail as well as shop specific signage and acetate shop windows.

Each floor is removable allowing access to each one and the different rooms usable doors. To keep the floors in place there are little locking lugs in each corner. The external walls are rendered with cracked detailing and acetate window.

The model comes as flat pieces of coloured MDF which has been laser cut. Having put most of it together, I went ahead and finished it.

There are lots of details and depth to the models. The instructions are clear and the model is easy to assemble.

The model has separate floors allowing models to be placed inside the building.

As you can see the model’s pre-coloured MDF does make these stand out and quick to put onto the table.

4Ground 15mm Corner Bakery

In the end I found the model challenging to keep together as separate floors so I removed the lugs and stuck the whole building together.

I have added glazing to the windows and used the included posters on the wall.

4Ground 15mm Corner Bakery

I quite liked how the signage which comes with the model includes English signs, Operational Sealion anyone? Or what about a 1930s VBCW scenario? Though of course the building is quite continental in appearance.

SDD Daimler Dingo

The Daimler Scout Car, known in service as the “Dingo” (after the Australian wild dog), was a British light fast 4WD reconnaissance vehicle also used in the liaison role during the Second World War. In 1938 the British War Office issued a specification for a scouting vehicle. Out of three designs submitted by Alvis, BSA and Morris, the one by BSA was selected. The actual production was passed to Daimler, which was a vehicle manufacturer in the BSA group of companies. The vehicle was officially designated Daimler Scout Car, but became widely known as Dingo, which was the name of the competing Alvis prototype.

I bought some SDD models in the 1990s.

SDD British Daimler Dingo

Not sure how I will use these, potentially desert models or as wrecks.

Another option would be to use them as part of my modern English Civil War background.

Heer 1946

One of the games at the wargames show at Bovington that I did a good look at was this 15mm 1946 game complete with a range of alternate German and Allied tanks that were designed, but either were too late for action, or never got further than the drawing board. I have to admit I never got round to checking what actual models were represented on the table, but there were E-100 and E-50 tanks as well as Panther IIs.

This photograph shows a Sarissa Precision Factory. I really do like this model (and the huge one for 28mm too). Around it are finished and partly finished tanks of a variety of types.

IMG_2910c

A large tank on a railway wagon. The table also had a lot of HO 1/87th scale buildings that did not seem out of place on the table. There are a range of HO buildings that would be ideal for 15mm games, especially those of the industrial variety.

IMG_2910b

Here is another Sarissa Precision factory with a couple of JagdTigers outside. As with the other, it looks like the RAF has been busy trying to stem the production of these new German tanks.

IMG_2910a

Here is a overview of the table. There were TT scale trains, wagons and track (which are just about an appropriate scale for 15mm).

IMG_2910

In the box to the side of the tables were 15mm models of the Black Prince, the Tortoise and Centurion Mk1 tanks.

Tortoise

All of these could be found (for real) in the Tank Museum itself.