Escalating Tensions Part 20 – Carry on Carriers

As mentioned last episode, the aim for the month of July was to paint up some Carriers and some M10C, giving the already completed Churchills and Infantry some recce and anti-tank support.  Let’s see how that went!

I decided to start off with the Carriers, leaving the M10Cs till later in the month.  This was mainly because the Carriers needed some work to get the stowage sorted, especially on the Medium Machine Gun (MMG) carriers.

Preparation

During my research, I had found a website showing the stowage diagrams for the MMG variant of the carrier and one of the points of interest were the cages fitted at the back of the carrier’s passenger compartment to carry ammo boxes and the crews packs and blankets.  Another thing I noted was that the MMG mount was central on the engine deck, not the Bren gun mount (though the website does note that Universal Carriers pressganged into MMG use would use this, lacking the dedicated position).

Repositioning the MMG was relatively easy, I shaved the engine deck flat and then drilled a hole for the MMG.  A quick fit check showed the MMG was too low so I cut the MMG with a bit of sprue still attached and built it up with some green stuff for extra strength.  This wasn’t an ideal fix and future ones will likely use a bit of cut rod to create a new MMG mount.  Still, it will do for now.

The cages required a bit more work.  I decided the cages themselves would not be visible so elected not to create the framework but instead just recreated the stuff visible from the top, the ammo tins and the blankets.  The ammo tins were created from styrene rod, cut to the same size as the tin on the MMG.  The MMG must be oversize as I couldn’t get as many tins in as the stowage diagram says I should!

Prior to green stuff

I also cut off the drop down armour covers from the unused Boys AT and glued them to the front of the carrier to complete the (unused) gunner position.

Finally, I mixed up some green stuff and sculpted on handles to the ammo tins and made the blankets, filling the void between the ammo tins and the engine deck.

The recce carriers also got some attention with the section leader receiving a wireless set (made from two pieces of styrene rod) and another having its second BREN stowed by shaving one side flat, taking a little off the butt and muzzle and the gluing it the the interior side.  Some additional ammo tins (again using the stowage diagrams from reference) finished off the recce carrier internals.

The exteriors received a variety of additional stowage in the form of crates, POL tins, jerry cans and tarp rolls using a variety of third party stowage sets and some green stuff. Contemporary photos were used to make the stowage convincing; there were some very laden down Carriers in the war!

After that it was a case of taking the mould lines off the thermoplastic crew (nice figures, rubbish material to clean), glue them, some old metal ones for variety, and the carriers to mounts for painting, and give the airbrush a good clean.

Painting

Ostwinds

To start the month off, I squeezed the Ostwinds into the painting schedule.  I had been using them with their unpainted turret sitting on top of a spare PzIVH chassis.  They had done some sterling work in my games vs Duncan and Nathan so I wanted to get them painted for my game vs Eddie.

Painting them was pretty much as per the Jagdpanthers.  The only real variation was that I adopted a splotch camo.  The airbrushing wasn’t great (foreshadowing events) but added to the character of the units as being hastily painted in the field.  I painted up the Wirbelwind turrets and PzIV turrets too.  PzIVG did turn up in the v3 LW books so you never know what may return in v4!

The Carriers

And here’s where it started going wrong.

I couldn’t get a decent flow of paint through the airbrush. The Vallejo Surface Primer Bronze Green wasn’t too bad, though it seemed a bit blotchy.  But when I switched to the modulation stages of thinned Vallejo Model Colour Russian Uniform and Green Grey (as done on the Churchills) the paint spluttered like it was too thick or running too low on pressure.  If I turned the pressure up or thinned the paint more, the paint spider webbed.

The airbrush needle and nozzle looked fine (though paint was collecting on the guard so I removed that and tried air brushing very carefully…) so attention turned to the compressor.  It was a hand me down Iwata one which had done me well for the last few years but the pressure gauge had broken so I worried it was going to fail.

An inspection of the compressor revealed something I did not know about it; it had a built in moisture trap.

A moisture trap brimming with water.

Thankfully there was a dump valve, which ejected the water.  I had noticed that the moisture trap on the my line seemed to have been very wet recently (the UK having a very humid summer) and I think it was being overwhelmed.  Certainly clearing out the compressor’s trap seemed to improve things a little.

Ultimately, I muddled my way through, but you can see that the modulation on the Carriers lends them something of a Georges Surat quality.

After that, the Carriers were largely painted like the Churchills.  The only exception was a refinement on the ammo tins to base coat them VMC German Camo Black Brown, followed by layered VMC Olive Drab and a edge highlight of VMC English Uniform to better capture the “Service Brown” colour used on ammo tins.

The only other thing of note is that the need to paint the correct Arm of Service markings meant I had to choose what battalion of the 159th brigade I was doing.  I elected for the 3rd Battalion, The Monmouthshire Regiment mainly for the symmetry of being the 2nd battalion of brigade, much like 3RTR in 29th Armoured Brigade.  There AoS number was 62 on a green background whilst the MMG carriers had 64 on a black background.

Showing off both the new recipe for Service Brown and the hand painted markings (albeit the latter obscured by weathering!)

Crew

I used a mix of the new thermoplastic crew plus some older metal crew I had including a chap with binoculars which I believe is from the old Bofors crew and had been given to me by fellow writer Richard Hardy, so thanks for that!

I mentioned in the last article my dissatisfaction with how the Contrast painted infantry came out so I switched back to painting them “the old fashioned” way.

The old fashioned way starts off with an all over coat of VMC German Camo Medium Brown (in this case over a Vallejo Surface Primer Green Brown base coat for lack of a better option).

Next VMC English Uniform is layered on, leaving the Brown showing in just the recesses.

Finally a highlight of VMC Khaki was applied.  Much better!

The Helmets and Webbing were painted much as the previous infantry.  The skin areas were painted by starting with a base of VMC Beige Brown…

…followed by layered VMC Beige Red

…and, finally, an edge highlight of VMC Ivory.

A wash of VMC Luftwaffe Uniform finished the crew off.

After that, it was just a case of putting the crews in.  I discovered that having the guns fitted did mean that the hull gunners required some pretty severe cutting to get them to fit.  In future I’ll paint the Brens separate then add them in at the end.  I placed the PIAT gunner just sitting in the back unglued so I can swap it out as needed.  The added ammo tins means he sits a little high but the flexibility is nice to have.

A gaggle of crewmen!

I also painted up some German AA crew to finish off the Ostwinds ready for games.

Painted Miniatures

A Recce patrol hugs a tree line in France, looking for threats or targets for the rest of 11th Armoured Division.
The month’s output, less Ostwinds

Recce Patrol, 3rd Battalion The Monmouthshire Regiment, 159th (Welsh Border) Infantry Brigade, Normandy

Front View
Rear View to show off stowage

MMG Platoon, 2nd Independent Machine Gun Company, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, Normandy

Front View
Rear view to show off stowage

Ostwind AA Platoon, 2nd Panzer Division, Nordwind*

Apparently I didn’t take any photos with the crew in!

*It should be noted that, rereading the v3 “Ardennes Offensive” book, the 3.7cm AA 2nd had was actually Ostwinds.  So going forward the Wirbelwinds will get used more and I’ll get some Mobelwagons done at some point.

A combination of the British Summer finally turning up for a couple of weeks, the airbrush being a pain, plus the youngest’s birthday and the prep needed for her party conspired to rob me of motivation and time so this ended up being the sum total of July’s output.

Games!

I covered my game versus Eddie in my article the other day.  Other than that Eddie and I then clashed with Gav in Aeronautica and then we played the round robin games at the Barn (covered here).

It was quite a good month for games as it seems to have kicked off something of a winning streak.  I don’t think I lost a game that month, or since!  I’m sure that will end soon…

Conclusion

Whilst not the most productive month ever, it still saw three units leave the painting table and any forward progress has to be a good thing.  

Looking at the Brit 100pt list I posted last month, I still need to get the M10C and Stuarts painted but that should be accomplishable, especially with the airbrush seeming to be behaving itself again.

In terms of the 2021 goals, we can add 9 AFV teams and a measly 13pts to the year’s output.  That brings the running total to:
160 figures (61 AFV, 79 infantry/gun teams*, 14 helicopters and 6 fixed-wing aircraft)
315 pts – though we are continuing to mix LW WW2 with TY points!

We also cleared a box of Universal Carriers from the shelf of shame.  though we did add another two boxes of Universal Carriers to it, plus some Stuarts and M10 boxes to replace the ones I had robbed from the US starter set. Shame! Shame!

Anyway, that’s enough rambling about July, roll on the August report…

Category: Battle of the BulgeBattlefrontBritishD-DayEscalating TensionsFlames of WarGermansLate WarList DiscussionNormandyPaintingPainting GuideRamblingV4

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Article by: Lee

Wargaming since Rogue Trader in 1990; I made the move to Flames in 2006 and have been with it ever since! I play at the Brighton Warlords most weeks.