Those who saw the ongoing coverage of my adventures during the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge will know, that I narrowly missed adding some eight Shermans to my total. I finally managed to sit down on Tuesday (well I wanted to have some time off painting after the mad rush towards the end and there were social events as well) and finished them. so here they are!
Now you all know (at least I hope so ;-)) that my infantry is based on the South Lancs. So a some time in February I decided to tackle my Shermans (which I had built some 5+ years ago) and was in for a surprise. They were supported by 27th Armoured Brigade which was useless for my needs. Now they operated mainly Duplex Drive Shermans and no Firefly. Another problem with them was, that they got disbanded and their men and tanks got distributed to other units in the summer of 1944, so there was not much mileage to be had from them. So I looked for another unit and one that would give me mileage. So an obvious choice seemed to be the Guards Armoured Division. They saw their fair share of fighting all through the war and obviously there is their big role in Market Garden. And Market Garden also dictated my choice of sub-unit since these are the Irish Guards. Why… well they were in lead when the tanks started rolling so they seemed like a natural choice. Also this will mean, that I will have a unit from all four countries that make up the United Kingdom in my British WWII forces in the end.
But this also gave me some problems. The Irish Guards actually used Sherman V models (aka M4A4) while these are M4 models. As I said, I build these more than half a decade ago and stuffed them with stowage, so I was in no mood to go and get myself different models really, so these will have to do and I hope I can be forgiven! The other problem was decals. I thought I had enough for two troops of Shermans, but I did not, so some had to be ordered. Easy enough since Dom´s Decals had almost all I needed. [If you need some for your 1:48th or 1:56th scale British tanks go and drop by Dom´s online shop since he has a nice selection that is getting far too little love from customers as far as I know!] Why almost… well the Guards used to fill their tactical markings in black. After some eMailing around, I found someone to do me custom blue tactical markings filled with black. Why blue? Blue is the color for the junior regiment in a Division, which the Irish Guards were. In this case I picked the triangle to show that these tanks belong to A Squadron. While I found no photographic evidence, that the Irish Guards painted the tank number into the markings like some units did, I still did so (freehand) to make sure the tanks could be distinguished on the tabletop.
So on to the models itself. All are 1:48th scale Tamiya models, with the exception of the troops leader for 1 troop, which is a Hobby Boss. They all come with a wide selection of stowage from at least three different aftermarket companies, Tamiya, Hobby Boss and some scratch build. The stowage boxes on the tanks are from Chieftain models. Initially I scratch build them from plasticard, but I was able to talk Crouchie from Chieftain into giving me eight separate boxes. Those who know how long Chieftain has been out of business will know how long these tanks have been sitting around, waiting to be painted! The tankers are by Warlord.
1 Troops comes mostly with additional improvised armor in shape of Sherman tracks welded to the hull and turrets, as can be seen on some contemporary photos. Most of these are by Tamiya as well. I send the good people at Tamiya Germany an eMail asking for a separate sprue of tracks, which they send me. Although it turned out, at a hilarious price. I think I could have gotten almost a complete kit off eBay for that price.
The Firefly got a scratch build stowage rack in the rear. I am really in love with that piece. Especially since it makes the tank appear much larger, so it looks like a real beast on the table!
Now 2 Troop does without the extra track links for protection. The only extra protection is the hessian tape netting on the troop leaders turret. For ages I had planned to use paper punch outs from my comb binding machine. I glued those on last week and frankly was quiet unhappy with the results. But since time was running out on the Challenge I painted them up anyway and would probably even have kept them. But after time had run out, I decided to go back to it. I glued gauze dyed green over the whole mess, cut some punch outs in half, soaked them in white glue, placed them on the netting, gave them another coat of white glue and painted them. And now I am even happy with it all! So a good thing I ran out of time!
And now to leave you with two “aerial” photos to show all the stowage.