27 November 2023

Norwegian Home Guard

 Very quick post today as I'm trying to get ready for another Cold War game (well 2 more actually) but I just finished this figure and had to post it up straight away.

This all started when I asked what I thought was a simple theoretical question to Matthew Hingley of Elhiem Miniature fame.  I wondered how hard it would be to change a weapon on a figure stl file.  The figure I was thinking of was one of his WW2 German Gebirgjager figures, which he has already converted into stl files.  What I was thinking of was converting one to look something like this:

Rather than simply answer the question, Matt had a crack at it and then sent me the file!

Unfortunately I've recently been having serious, head banging against the wall kind of issues with my 3d printer.  But last week I finally managed to get a print of this figure off it, so I had to paint it straight away.

Here's how it turned out:

OK - my basing is pretty crap, but I just love the figure.  Now I have to work out how to convert at least a squad more!  At least the MG34 gunner is already taken care of, and the MP40 armed NCO is also easily done (as in they already exist in the Gebirgsjager range), I just need the rest of the AG3 armed Home Guard.

Another problem for another day...



11 November 2023

Matchbox M24 Chaffee & Matador Models NM116 Conversion Set Review

Jumping to the next random topic - today I want to take a look at the Matchbox M24 Chaffee and the Matador Models NM116 Conversion Set.

I managed to get a hold of 2 of the Matador Models NM116 conversion sets 3 or 4 years ago, but only snagged a couple of Matchbox M24 Chaffee a couple of years back - so of course it wasn't until this year that I was able to have a crack at these.  Then once I started I was so put off by the whole thing that it probably took me all year to finish the two kits.

First off I love the NM116.  It's the epitome of a teeny weeny tank trying to take on the Soviet war machine - my kind of against all odds weapon system.  Here's a few pics of what it's meant to look like:

Here's a lovely side shot.  Some great stowage ideas as well that I will be stealing!

This is a more widely seen photo of the NM116.  A good view of the muzzle brake.

Not really an "in action" - more of a static display shot - but it does show in some detail the interesting Norwegian hard-edge cam pattern used on their vehicles.  Something I'm looking forward (ha!) to replicating. 

Now onto the models.  These are obviously not painted, and not even a "finished" build.  However I thought this was a good point to stop to show the original Matchbox Chaffee, the Matador Models conversion bits, and my dodgy add-ons.  Here's a couple of photos:

So looking at the 2 photos above, obviously the grey and green tanks are all Matchbox.  The 90mm new main gun barrel, raised engine decks, smoke dischargers and spades (which you can't see) are Matador Models. The white plastic card on the track guards cover the hole created when I cut of the large boxes that come with the Chaffee kit.  I also had to remove the sand guards (?) from these as I've not seen an NM116 photo showing a tank with these.  I added a couple of boxes from my PSC bits box on each side of the track guard - as also seen in lots of photos.

Significantly I also had to add, from plastic card, rod etc, the Simrad LV3 laser rangefinder and what I believe is the passive night vision sight for the gunner.  Before I can call it finished - in terms of converting - I also need to add a small rod in front of the commander's hatch which was an additional attachment for the turret roof mounted .50 cal.

This shot shows the Matador Models engine deck a little better:

You need to clean off any detail on the models engine deck before you can fit these.  I also need to severely trim one of them to get the turret to fit correctly.

This next photo was an attempt to get a closer shot of detail on the turret & main gun:

So I'm happy with the smoke dischargers - which are really pretty basic, but the main gun barrel is a little disappointing and I think the muzzle brake is completely wrong.  They were also very annoying to try and bend the resin barrel back into straight lines and I feel I was only partly successful.  Also I felt a bit let down that I had to make the laser range finder - something I consider to be fairly fundamental in changing the tank from the Chaffee to the NM116.

You do get a bunch of other bits and pieces - mainly WW2 stowage - from Matador Models, but these are really just to spice up the M24 Chaffee - they're not really for the NM116 - and I didn't use them at all.  I did use a big bit of stowage I made on the grey tanks glacis plate.

Final thing to say.  Even though I am a little disappointed overall with the conversion set, I am pretty happy with the overall look of the NM116.  Needless to say, I'll be liberally coving both tanks in cam netting and foliage so they'll end up more like the next photo anyway - so you won't be able to see much of the tank at all!

What tank?

So - that's it for now


07 November 2023

New Project - The HMMWV Horde

 So time for another new project.  This one has been brewing for years but now I'm in a position to actually transition from the plan to reality.  I mean who wouldn't want to field a horde of dinky little HMMWV's up against a swarm of much more heavily armed huge Soviet tanks and other AFVs! 

First up, I needed some kind of plan.  Luckily you get a lot of info in FM 17-98, FM 17-95 and FM 17-97 - which provide some great information on the use of HMMWVs in Cavalry and Scouting operations.  It also led me to be able to draw up this basic plan of what was needed: 

Obviously I won't be getting everything on this TO&E plan - as each Scout Platoon would have operated independent of the other one, and the HQ and Maintenance Sections wouldn't have wanted to spend that much time up in the enemy's face - I think...

So - I decided one Scout Platoon would be the core component of my force.  So 5 of these:
and 5 of these
I'd attach one Antitank Platoon with 4 or these:
And also have the Mortar Platoon available - they use something like this:

The FIST also needs to be available.

I want to add some other HMMWV mounted units to make the force more interesting.  Firstly I think the unit needs some Air Defence, so an Avenger is necessary
I'd also like to have a small squad of engineers attached and I think they would look good if I could make their ride look like this:
As I have the model I'd also like to have an Ambulance:

Finally - I think an imaginary WW3 is the perfect opportunity to introduce some weapons systems that never made it into production, but that have a certain coolness factor and would certainly fit into this unit for a little fire support.  So I need to add a couple of these:
This of course also opens the door - and takes care of some of the vehicles for another project - a Motorised Infantry Company from the 9th  Infantry Division (Motorized) - the High Technology demonstration division for the US Army in the 1980s.  So at least a couple more odd HMMWVs are required for that as well, plus loads of other goodness.

As part of this project I'm also working on a very small army list for a Light Cav Company for my old unofficial Battlegroup: Cold War variant and I'm also hoping to use this force as a starting point for my own unique game.

Hopefully I'll have some progress on all fronts to show off in the next little while.

Thanks all