Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Archeaology of an plastic Sherman

Portrait of the artist as a Young Sherman

We've been in Chez Kinch for quite a while now - so long in fact that I thought it was time to finally unpack some of the boxes we've been toting around for so long. Some of these were packed two house moves ago I think if not before.

When I had a regular Thursday game, we usually played Memoir '44 either with the plastic figures that came with the box or 1/300 scale figures. I've been playing more Memoir '44 recently, mainly because I think it's a good game and I enjoy it and also because I don't want to flog Napoleonics to death.

A change being as good as a holiday and all that. With that in mind, I've set myself the task of running up some forces for Memoir '44 in 1/72.  But before I start buying kit I think I shall see what I have packed away. 

This doesn't look like an Airfix Sherman to me - damned if I know who made it

I genuinely don't remember painting these models - though I'm relatively sure that they belong to my second period of wargaming, when I played a great deal of Warhammer Panzer Battle by Phil Yeats. I attended a club at the time and it was dominated by fantasy and science fiction gamers, so I played what was available. I was around twenty and to be honest, my research mainly consisted of looking at what the model shop had in stock and painting them according to the back of the box. Occasionally, I would have a rush of blood to the head and paint up something from a movie. I did do Mark Hamill and Lee Marvin from The Big Red One.

There was an American army which was painted entirely with Goblin Green covered by Ork Flesh wash. They fought a seemingly endless series of late war German armies replete with Tigers and Panthers, though they also did some service against a Soviet army that posed as Koreans when the mood took us. 

I presume this was for Tunisia, another kit I have no recollection of painting or assembling

It remains to be seen whether anything can be done with these kits. I'm not even sure if they're 1/72 or 1/76. If I recall correctly, the Airfix sherman had a thinner gun barrel, so they are probably not Airfix. I think I remember using the Grant during an Operation Torch scenario pitting American Rangers against Vichy French. My opponent had a rare and extremely dangerous Char B1 which did considerable execution.

Decals were something that happened to other people

It's been fun digging up these relics of a previous era - though I must say I enjoy my wargaming rather more now than I did then. I think it's a combination of having a wargames room, simpler rules and more time spent playing games.

Still, there may be life in these old dogs yet. They will definately need a repaint and possibly some rebuilding, once I puzzle out what they are exactly.

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  1. I think the Sherman is the Matchbox 'Firefly', but can't help with the Lee, looks like Airfix with that gap down the rear hull top, but don't remember side-shields over the running gear?


    1. The general feeling is that you may be right Hugh. Though a troop of Fireflies might be a bit hard to pull off - though with the options available now from Armourfast and PSC there are lot more cheap shermans available for those of us who find kits a bore.

    2. iirc the Airfix Lee/Grant had stowage boxes moulded on both sides of the rear hull superstructure, and a moulded circular cable.

  2. Awesome. I think we all have these 'little creatures' stored away in the dank, dark corners of our hobby storage. I seem to recall some Ral Partha pig-faced orcs that I painted in oils with a toothpick cropping up from time-to-time (shudder). Always good to let them out to breath and remind us of our humble yet innocent beginnings.

    1. Definately a humbling experience. I had a look at your blog, I particularly liked your Lovecraftian game. Strong stuff, though I haven't played Call of Cthulhu in years.

  3. Your Sherman looks like the Matchbox kit of the Firefly.

    1. Full marks Master Gow. Though apparently it's missing a muzzle break.

    2. Well if you're going to be picky about details...

  4. Conrad Kinch,

    Nice to see that you are going to give MEMOIR '44 a go in 1:72nd/1:76th-scale. I am planning to do something similar but for the Eastern Front.

    The Sherman looks like a Matchbox Firefly to me ... and the Grant looks like a Hasegawa kit ... but I may be totally wrong.

    All the best,


    1. What ho the Cordery, returned from your voyages across the seas!

      It seemed silly not to as I know I have Second World War stuff squirrelled away somewhere. I have the Eastern Front covered in 1.300 scale, but as I grow older I am keener on proper toy soldiers.

      The Grant, though I'm told it's a Lee, the British version lacked an MG apparently, was a kit I picked up in a pound shop as an impoverished student. It was awful and I made several of them. The others appear to have disappeared...

  5. There is much to be said for the stage of innocence in the wargaming life, before one discovers that all kits must be painstakingly weathered and based. Oh for the days when I knew nothing about historical orbats or MIG pigment weathering kits to give treads that proper rust effect. So much easier to paint the treads silver and be done with it.

    1. INTO my heart on air that kills
      From yon far country blows:
      What are those blue remembered hills,
      What spires, what farms are those?

      That is the land of lost content,
      I see it shining plain,
      The happy highways where I went
      And cannot come again.