Let’s see…where to begin?
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always collected small plastic soldiers; 1/72-1/76, starting in the stone ages (I think I was five), finding my first one, an early series Airfix WWII German soldier (holding an artillery shell no less) at the bottom of a heater vent. Soon it was on to collecting Airfix, then Atlantic, stopping then re-starting when I discovered Esci, then Revell, and onto HäT and Italeri, then as new companies arose, happily buying from them as well.
And to this day, I still collect…just not as rabidly!
Never feeling quite right with Atlantic’s strangely small plastic vehicles, I soon moved into 20mm metal and 1/72 Esci and 1/76 Airfix plastic, and so on. From there, meeting like minded people while working briefly in the miniature gaming industry (not as fun as you would think), then on to working in a military book and hobby shop, it seemed logical to progress into gaming – figures, vehicles, etc…or at least, wanting to.
So, here I am, many years since first starting, but still with the same admiration for those little one-inch(ish) beauties, their vehicles and scenery. (Is that the statement of a sane person? As I write this, I’m not so sure.)
Still, I want to start with some of the work I’ve been slowly bringing to fruition…and when I say slowly, I really mean…s-l-o-w-l-y.
So, without further ado, may I bring you:
WWII…The Early Stuff! (part 1)
I thought I would start with one of the few pieces I’ve actually finished; one that I can honestly say…HAD HAUNTED ME FOR DECADES!!!!
Back in the early nineties, I got it in my head that I wanted to game WWII, but the early stuff; Dunkirk and before – and, in 1/72 scale. What a fool I was, for unless I wanted to buy resin or metal tanks (which I didn’t) I was going to have to scratch build, which at the time, I also wasn’t too keen on.
But hey, I was game enough to try, especially since what I wanted to build first was the German 15cm sIG 33 (Sf) auf Panzer I B:
What a big, square, flat-sided beauty! I already had the 1/76 Fujimi PzKpfw I, all I need was the artillery piece that sat astride it and the three-sided shield. Both easier said then found!
I knew I could cobble together something that looked reasonably like the 15 cm sIG 33 (ah Caesar and Ace models, where were you when I needed you?) it was the shield I was going to find hard to make (What can I say, I was young and ignorant, and hadn’t even heard of Evergreen plastic sheets). As luck would have it, I used to get old plastic figures through a mail-order vendor (no internet in the stone-age) and one month, he had an ad in his flyer for a guy who sold resin after market upgrades; in this instance, along with some other goodies, he was selling the exact shield I was looking for. I couldn’t believe it…how lucky was I?
So, scrounging up my coin – resin, then as now, being a pricier venture – I stuck it in an envelope, popped it in the postbox and waited…and waited…and, waited.
A month later, still nothing.
After one call, two weeks later, still nothing.
Another call, no profanity but a little nudging, and two weeks later I get a box in the post; inside, a crumbly, wafer thin “u” shaped piece of bubble-filled resin (along with some other conversion pieces that looked about the same calibre).
Okay. Am I disappointed? Yes.
Does it put me off attempting the project? Sadly, yes.
Do I forget the project? Heck no.
2010…twenty years later, with Italeri re-issuing the Esci Panzerjager I 4.7 cm PAK (in glorious 1/72 scale, not the Fujimi 1/76):
And Ace models providing the amazingly rough-around-the-edges artillery piece:
AND thank heavens, finally discovering Evergreen plastic sheets!
Holy Cow! I was ready to try again!
To top it off, I found this book:
…it looked like nothing was going to stop me!
So after a bit of reading, followed by some measuring, cutting, sanding, fitting, gluing, (fiddling with a bit of modeling clay):
priming AND painting:
…I got this as a result:
I’ve got to admit, even though it took me a couple of decades, and yes, it’s merely a drop in the bucket for what I’m going to need, I’m still pretty darn happy with it…now on to the crew; yes Caesar Miniatures, I’m looking at you!