Sunday, March 29, 2015

The weekend's parting shot

For some reason, I've been on quite a roll this weekend, painting-wise. In addition to yesterday's post on engineers, "More engineering goodness" (March 28, 2015), I've also finished off a full battalion of East German T-72s:
which means I now have two armored battalions (a T-72 and a T-55) toward my goal of a full regiment. I'll still need to churn out another T-55 battalion, a tracked motor rifle battalion (either BMP-1 or BTR-50PK), and the usual assorted support platoons, which are already mostly finished. 

In 1981, the vast bulk of East Germany's small but growing T-72 fleet would have been assigned to the 9th Panzer Division (approx. a battalion's worth), which would take part in the push into (and through) LANDJUT. The 7th Panzer Division in the south would have had no more than a company's worth of T-72s at that time. 

Here's my battalion:
Plus three company command stands:
And a battalion commander:

Not a bad weekend's work! More in my next post. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

More engineering goodness

My 1981 East German pioneer company is now complete. My previous post, "Bridging the gap" (March 8, 2015) was the beginning of this unit, showing a TMM-3 bridging platoon:

The other platoons of the company consisted of BAT-M bulldozers:

A twin-treadway, cantilever-launched, box girder bridge 65.5 feet in length (20 meters) and capable of supporting 50 tons, all mounted on a modified T-55 chassis. 

MDK-2M trench diggers:
Actually, East German engineers in 1981 were more likely to be using the MDK-2Ms predecessor, the BTM:
But I'll have to use what Marcin has provided. I'll just consider my engineers to be extremely well equipped. 

Also IMR obstacle clearing vehicles:
Forgive the last two photos
Photos of the real IMR in action seem to be nonexistent.

IRM "Zhuk" (meaning "beetle" in Russian) engineer reconnaissance vehicles:
Which were specifically designed to reconnoiter riverbeds for suitable sites for bridging:
but also for detecting mines, either on land or on the riverbed, the underwater mining of potential river crossing points being common on modern battlefields:

The engineers themselves were generally mounted in obsolete APCs cast off by the infantry. As my company is to be attached to a motor rifle regiment, the APCs would be wheeled, so I'm using BTR-60Ps:
although BTR-152s or even BTR-40s would be possible for engineers in a reserve or training unit. For a company attached to an armored unit, BTR-50PKs would be the most likely. 

Each divisional pioneer company had its own reconnaissance platoon of BRDM-2s (or possibly BRDM-1s) for scouting and screening:
which for my purpose, is more usefully cascaded down to the regimental level, which is how I represent it.

And finally, the commander of a pioneer company required only a single radio for contact with higher command and so was usually mounted in a 4WD. I chose a UAZ-469:
But other similar vehicles were just as likely. 

And now here is my company:
Engineers, even more so than other types of support units, were prone to have a whole gaggle of various sizes of trucks accompanying them, so to represent that, I added a URAL-375D and a KrAZ-255B to the transport vehicle stands. 

Not a bad weekend's work. Now on to the next project!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

In praise of Mura Miniatures

Very recently, I gave in to the temptation to begin a 6mm samurai project. As I know zero about the entire thing, I've started collecting up some reference works. I also made a small trial order from Mura Miniatues (link is on the right side of this page with all the others, if you're looking at the web version), a one man operation from Sweden making 6mm Japanese buildings. 

Mura's buildings are available as unpainted and unfinished (i.e. still with mold seams, bubbling in the resin, etc) or completely finished and painted. I admit that I have no idea what colors 16th Century Japanese people painted their buildings, so I ordered the pre-painted version. 

Today, a small packet arrived from Sweden and I have to say, the shrine is an absolute little gem!!
And after adding a couple of patches of grass and a small bush, just for a bit of scenic enhancement:
Now all it needs is a blast of Dullcote to take the shine off of it. 

I'm already eagerly looking forward to making more orders. Now I just have to get some actual samurai from Baccus! But kudos and thanks to Mura Miniatures!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Let slip the dogs of war

Or in this case, the Hounds:

The Mil Mi-4 Hound was the WarPac's primary troop transport and medium lift cargo helicopter from its introduction in 1953 until the Mi-8 Hip entered service in 1967, though it actually soldiered on long afterwards, production not being halted until 1979. The Hound was also the WarPac's first gunship platform to enter service, many being armed with unguided rocket pods and a forward-firing gun in the belly. The Mi-4 was steadily phased out of frontline service through the 1970s and by the early 80s, the Soviets had completely retired it, however the other eastern bloc armies were still using it for cargo transport and medivac duties and their navies for ASW and maritime patrol.   

This weekend, I've been tinkering with East German and Polish versions:
Thankfully, they're big enough to get decals on them.

And as long as I was at it, I also finished the Polish Hoplite I've had sitting around.
As with the East German Hoplite in an earlier post, it's too small for even my smallest Polish insignia, so it will have to go without:

That winds up this weekend. Many more things are approaching the finishing stages, so more posts in the offing. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The last Starfighter(s)

Remember that god-awful 1984 movie?
How it gets 3.5 stars out of 5 on IMDB is beyond me. The only saving grace was Dan O'Herlihy, who I always liked. It's a shame that they had to make him up like a turtle. Anyway, moving right along....

I guess the title of this post should actually be "The last West German Starfighters", as I'll still need to do a couple of Belgian ones after this. The Belgians were one of the few other European countries that were foolish enough to use a high-altitude, high-speed bomber interceptor as a ground attack aircraft. 

This weekend, I've finished off my two long-delayed Luftwaffe F-104s and I've given them the Norm 72 camouflage that's appropriate for 1981:

I've worked on a couple of other things this weekend, but neither of them are to the posting stage yet. More from me next time!