Thursday, December 29, 2016

Old Blood and Guts

There he sat, big as life even at that distance. His hair was silver, his face was pink, his collar and shoulders glittered with more stars than I could count, his fingers sparkled with rings, and an incredible mass of ribbons started around desktop level and spread upward in a flood over his chest to the very top of his shoulder, as if preparing to march down his back too. His face was rugged, with an odd, strangely shapeless outline; his eyes were pale, almost colorless, with a choleric bulge. His small, compressed mouth was sharply downturned at the corners, with a lower lip which suggested a pouting child as much as the no-nonsense martinet. It was a welcome, rather human touch. Beside him, lying in a big chair, was Willie, the bull terrier. If ever a dog was suited to his master this one was. Willie had his beloved boss’s expression and lacked only the ribbons and stars. I stood in that door staring into the four meanest eyes I’d ever seen.

– Bill Mauldin

George S. Patton Jr. was a colorful and controversial military figure who was considered a central figure in the development of American armored warfare doctrine during, and between both world wars.

His peers in the North African Campaign included Montgomery and Rommel, but unlike the later two who have likenesses in plastic, metal, and probably resin, you'd be hard pressed to find a figure representing Patton at all.

I only know of one metal 20mm figure from Sgt Major Miniatures in the General Patton set (GUTS).

The figure is wearing a B-3 bomber jacket, and has a pair of Colt SSAs at his hips. The stars on his helmet are overscale, but can be easily removed if so desired.

A 15mm figure in the General George S. Patton set (Flames of War US885) from Battlefront Miniatures also exists, but the set is only useful because it comes with a figure of Willie which is more suitable for 1/72 scale than 15mm.

I increased the size of the figure a bit to bring it in line with Patton's actual height.

Patton had his flaws (some pretty spectacular ones at that), but I think he was a lot more complex than what detractors or conspiracy theorists make him out to be.

Document everything, leave nothing to chance...
because one day, some cockroach will crawl up
out of the latrine and deny all this ever happened.
God damn them!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Leonardo da Vinci is most well known for his paintings, but he was an inventor and engineer among other things. Some people credit him with the invention of flying machines and the tank, but both claims seem like a stretch to me, since he did nothing beyond make designs for these machines. If anything, these designs should be considered the first paper panzer and Luft' 86 projects.

The da Vinci armored car is still popular to this day, with a modern reconstruction displayed at the Burning Man festival, and an appearance in the Assassin's Creed video game.

RetrokiT offers a 1/72 scale version of da Vinci Tank (RetroSF RSF016) in resin.

It comes in 16 pieces on 7 blocks, and includes a decal sheet bearing three fleurs-de-li.

The resin is good quality, but the huge casting blocks on the upper and lower hull made clean-up difficult, and resulted in damage to the edges of the hull pieces that required repair.

I'm not sure why the kit came with the fleur-de-li decals since the armored car was designed while da Vinci was under the patronage of the Duke of Milan, but I guess they could be used if someone wanted to model a French beutepanzer.

The RetrokiT model differs from the original sketch in that it has six cannon which protrude through the upper hull. The sketch on the other hand, shows a vehicle with a multitude of cannon that protrude from the lower hull.

I was undecided about how to paint the tank, but decided to go with a natural wood color.

However, after painting the Milanese Bissa heraldry on the front, the model just didn't seem to look right. Now I can't decide whether to paint the hull in different colors, strip the heraldry. or just leave it as is...

Anyway, to go with the armored car, I purchased the Leonardo da Vinci mounted and on foot set (HOT102) from

The bearded 15mm figure looks like a dwarf compared to George (the mounted da Vinci even more so, due to having shorter arms).

I embiggened the figure by widening and lengthening the body. The arms were also lengthened, but the head and feet I left alone.

After this first layer of Kneadatite hardens, I'll finish up the arms and refine the sculpt with some details.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Takara Ships of the World

The Takara Ships of the World (世界の艦船) product line consists primarily of pre-built 1/700 scale surface vessels and submarines, with a scattering of 1/144, 1/100, and 1/72 models.

The 1/72 scale models were only produced in series 1, and consisted of two Marder mini subs. Each box contains an insert with a base, a clip, and a sprue with the front sight.

The first model (Series01 No. 10) is a Marder with torpedo, 1944 (マルダー・実戦用弾頭 1944年).

The second model (Series01 No. 11) is a Marder with training torpedo, 1944 (マルダー・訓練用弾頭 1944年).

The length of the submarine seems to be accurate, but my first impression after looking at various period photos was that the positioning of the cockpit seemed too far back. This was probably due to the angle of the shots, and possibly because many photos are actually mislabeled.

Having some scale reference in the photos helps, and the model seems to look pretty close to the submarine shown in the following image.

The models also look good when compared to the illustration of the Marder in the Osprey book on Axis Midget Submarines.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Filipino Guerrillas

After the American forces in the Philippines surrendered to the Japanese, hundreds of independent guerrilla units composed of both civilian and military personnel formed throughout the Philippine Islands.

Many of these groups were recognized military forces that worked under the command of MacArthur's SWPA General Headquarters.

In 1944, the recognized guerrilla units were inducted into the Philippine Commonwealth Army to take part in operations to retake the Philippines from the Japanese.

I think that figures representing Filipino guerrillas only exist in 20mm, and are produced by Sgt Major Miniatures.

The two sets (RAID4, RAID5) are part of a line of figures that represent the forces that took part in The Great Raid.

The figures are a bit on the chunky side, but are among some of the better sculpts produced by Sgt Major for their 20mm line. Two of the figures are duplicated between the sets.

Two other sets that I purchased from the line are Raiders (RAID1, RAID2) representing members of the 6th Ranger Battalion.

I think these are the only American WWII figures in 20mm (or 1/72 for that matter) that I've seen wearing Daisy Mae hats and field caps, which is why I bought them in the first place. Unfortunately, the figures are tiny and almost like 15mm figures.

I think the two crouching poses of the second set could almost pass for 1/72 scale, but I'll probably just decapitate the other figures and reuse the heads with more suitably sized bodies.