Well, its been over a month since I last posted an update, so its time to look at what I painted in May (as you can tell, the US book release and the Gazala campaign have backlogged the article hopper somewhat!).
We left April with the Gulf War army well underway, the Challengers and MLRS having passed through depot and received all-over desert light stone ready for the slow boat to the Gulf. The next phase was to get the Infantry’s mounts done; the Warriors.
The Warriors had already been built up in April. Two boxes, graciously provided by Battlefront in a Lockdown care package, netted me a CO IFV, two full platoons, plus one Milan attachment.
We had previously established that the army was going to be based around the Royal Scots who provided the mecahnised infantry for the 4th Armoured Brigade. This was fortuitous as there was a very useful youtube video photo album that I found that had lots of “Day in the life” shots of units that provided a wealth of information on how the Warriors looked before and during the drive to Kuwait. Of particular note was the Milan shipping containers strapped to the side of the Milan post equipped Warrior. Also noteworthy were all the wedge shaped stowage bins (salvaged from CVR(T) welded all over the tanks, including the applique side plates).
Loading Up – Stowage
I wanted the MILAN Warriors to be noticeable (yes warrior*s*. I plan to buy a third box to add an additional MILAN attachment as well as a MILAN section) and the strapped on shipping containers for MILAN reloads seemed an easy way of doing that!
Sadly, a quick google didn’t find any 15mm MILAN containers on the market so I was going to need to scratch build them. With lock-down in full effect, I was going to need to do this with the materials I had to hand. Thankfully, two Styrene rods laid on top of each other gave a rectangle that was roughly right (maybe a little undersized in the square section). I cut these into lengths that were proportionally correct, paired them up with some Polystyrene Cement and let it cure. Once it was done, I then shaved the corners away to produce the hexagonal shape, leaving the four corner stands on each side. I think it captured the look well enough! A pair of green stuff ratchet straps to “hold them in place” finished the look off.
Cargo Net Hammock
Another feature I wanted to catch was the use of aircraft loose cargo nets as stowage “hammocks” on the side of the Warrior. There are a couple examples in the video gallery of this arrangement (I saved one in the gallery above, the “OC” vehicle).
I decided the best bet was to stick the stowage on the side first, then build the net around it. I tried to put the stowage in a rough arc with “heaviest” items lowest.
Next, I mixed up some green stuff and rolled it to a long sausage then, rolled the flat. I then cut thin strips and laid three aligned horizontally and spaced vertically apart; one below the cargo, then two more spaced a few mm apart, with the top one being a few mm longer. I then moved them into rough arcs, trying to keep them roughly parallel and giving the impression of sagging under the weight. I left this to dry over night.
The next day I added shorter longitudinal lines spaced onto horizontally a few mm apart and again left this to dry. When it was, I used a file to sand the new ones down a little to blend it all in.
I’m not great at sculpting, but I think it captured the flavour of what I was after.
Jerry Can Rack
One of the images of a warrior filing past a line of Iraqi POW shows a large rack of fuel cans fixed to the side of the applique armour (again, see the gallery above). I replicated this by glowing some cans together in a long row, thin end to thin end. I then fixed this to the side.
Using a match, I extruded some excess sprue into a thin rod, then cut this to length with a few mm excess at each end, a little longer than a can is thick. I fixed this to the cans, then used needle nosed pliers to fold it down to form to meet the panels. Finally, I cut shorter lengths of sprue and formed them into an L shape to create the base, gluing these onto the bottom of the cans, so the meet the main bar and the panel as shown.
The same principles can also be used to create single can holders.
The allied tanks of Desert Storm can rival any WW2 tanks for sheer quantity of stowage carried. With a large fast advance into the sparsely populated deserts of the Saudi Arabia/Iraq/Kuwait border to contend with, crew prepared for being at the end of a long logistic by filling the stowage bins to maximum, then welding some more on for good measure.
The CVRT kid had stowage bins a plenty and my mid-80s recce squadron meant I had some to spare. I also built two of the Challengers from the box with the mesh stowage bins so I had two of the long double bins from that kit spare (also CVRT prow bins in real life).
The CVRT bins generally got used where ever I needed a vertical mounted bin, on the tank side (and the vdieo gallery showed these could be at some odd angles!). The Challenger bins got cut in half then, had their existing latches cut off. I then glued these to the chisel nose top surface of the front applique armour on their back, then sculpted on some new latches to realign.
After that, I applied green stiff camo nets, ration boxes, jerry cans and bed rolls using the techniques discussed in the previous editions of this series. I also used some Skytrex Sherman road wheels for cable rolls.
Priming and basecoat
This followed a similar process to to that sued on the Challemgers, albeit using the right primer! I applied Vallejo Surface Primer (VSP) Desert Tan to prime, Vallejo Model Air (VMA) Light Stone as a base coat.
My cheat method doing the tracks that I had tried out on the MLRS and Challengers seemed to work nicely so I kept going with it. After the priming and basecoat stages, I picked out the roadwheels and trackpads with VMC Black Grey, then applied a wash of Citadel Nuln Oil, then Agrax Earthshade, and Sepharim Sepia, allowing the latter to go part way up the sides of the side plates and hull plates for some easy weathering. Once it was all dry, I then drybrushed the whole model with VMC Dark Sand, followed by VMC Buff.
Stowage and Detail
In general, I followed the process I had used on the earlier vehicles, but the Warrior did introduce some new things to consider!
Firstly the Milan and its shipping container both needed to look Olive Drab so I started with a base coat of VMC Olive Drab (which I believe is now renamed Olive Brown), then a coat of VMC Brown Violet (which has been renamed Olive Drab) before a final highlight of VMC Khaki on the tips. I also added a Citadel Yriel Yellow band to the front of the launch tube (High Explosive – the warhead) and a VMC German Camo Medium Brown one to the rear (“low explosive” Solid Rocket Motor). Some squiggly lines to denote text were also added to tube and box, using actual photos of the items for guidance.
The crash netting I painted VMC German Fieldgrey, followed by VMC Grey Green and then a final highlight of VMC Stone Grey.
On the Challengers, I had painted these green/brown like my Chieftains but looking at the photos and the camo nets looked decidedly more, well, desert coloured.
I settled on leaving the camo nets untouched in their Light Stone base coat, then applying a Seraphim Sepia wash all over to bring the texture out. Finally I drybrushed on Dark Sand. This made for a very quick and effective scheme!
Finally, I glossed the model and applied a pin wash of Seraphim Sepia. Finally I applied a matt coat, then drybrushed on Buff, heavily on lower surfaces, lightly on flat top surfaces.
There we go, ten Warriors painted!
At this point, I’ve taken a fairly large chunk out of my 100pt Op Granby force in terms of points; about 70pts depending on how you point the Warriors separate to the infantry.
Of course that does leave a lot of cheap units still to paint! I now have one last care package with Spartan and Scimitars in my possession, plus I have a box of FV432 surplus from the 1985 force to provide some mortars. These will all get painted next in a massed painting session, polishing off the formation. That leaves the Rapiers to procure.
Infantry wise, I plan to paint up some more for my 1985 force and use them for now, in woodland DPM. This is in the vain hope of finding some ’91 Gulf infantry down the line.
This bought me up to late May, at which point I took a two month break from painting desert to do some pallet cleansers in the form of some Games Workshop Imperial Knights and the new Aeronautica Imperialis releases. You can find out more at our non-Battlefront games side venture: “Breakthrough Assault Plays…”
With those asides out of the way, its time to return to the gulf!