Monday, July 31, 2023

Truck and Sno-Mobile

Mostly new Matchbox Hitch & Haul set.
It's a polar version, with the same dogs and human figure they have released before.
Truck, trailer and sno-mobile.
Good truck, nice wheels.
Although the graphics are good, I will probably repaint it yellow as an Adventure Team vehicle.
I like the canvas on the back and the winch.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Howitzer Kit

Late war Sherman howitzer.
Paul Heiser resin model.
I managed to drop a piece of the suspension into the carpet and it disappeared.  So I cut a bit out of an old piece of Roco Z101 Sherman and glued it onto the Heiser model, hence the dark green bit.  Now that I replaced it I expect the original part to show up because that's how these things work.  Once painted it will be indistinguishable from the original.
The kit comes with a whole sprue of little bits such as the bow machine gun and tools on the back in plastic.  HO scale model, easy to build.

Saturday, July 29, 2023


Paul Heiser Sherman 105mm tank and an Artitic Sherman Vc Firefly tank.
This is the Artitec HO scale resin model of teh Sherman Vc Firefly.
It includes a small bit of photoeteched brass for the headlight guards.
I left off the PE bits as too fragile for wargame handling.
The amazing part is that there are only a few parts in this model, the turret, gun barrel, hull, and two suspension sections and two turret hatches.  That's it.
It does come with a large amount of storage and I anticipate putting some on the vehicle before I prime it.
I got three of them and will parcel them out to three different companies as a heavy anti-tank support vehicle.
There is a lot of conjecture about the US Army using Firefly tanks, but there seems to be very little certainty.  The best I can tell there seem to have been perhaps 80 made using a variety of Sherman tank types including the M4A3 that the Americans liked best.  This one is a straight British version and I will use it as one in American service.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Painted Tank

This is an early production 105mm howitzer Sherman tank.
The kit is mostly resin, with tools and bow machine gun in plastic.
HO scale model by Paul Heiser Models.  They have been almost unobtainable for years.
I managed to pick up three of them from Randy at Fidelis Models.
It looks much better in Olive Drab, this is the Testors spray paint.
Three in each tank battalion headquarters and one in each of the three tank companies but few made it into service prior to Normandy.


Thursday, July 27, 2023

Various Models of the Sherman Model

Roco Minitanks Sherman with Heiser late production gun and mantlet and Heiser upper hull.
Original Roco Minitank with Heiser main gun. 
Resin M4A3 but I am not sure who made it, it may be Bill Jr. Models.
Heiser Models all plastic Sherman.
Heiser Models resin and plastic late production Sherman M4A3.
So far this year I have purchased about 70 Shermans.  Including a full battalion of 54 of Heiser Models all plastic M4A3 the standard US Army tank for WWII.
The Calliope is the 1/72nd scale Esci model on a Heiser Models HO scale tank, fits just fine.  I have extra turrets for them without the rocket launcher so they can do double duty.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Secenery and Shermans

This particular set up required a lot of elements.  The Arc de Triomphe is an end table from a furniture company.  It is probably my second most expensive single hobby purchase ever, but at almost perfect HO scale I could not resist it.  It is a giant, heavy piece of resin and is perfect for a Paris diorama or wargame.  I got it by mail from a company called Design Toscano which sells decor items.
The Eiffel Tower is four feet tall, and I got it at a building supply store called OSH in California, that has since gone out of business.  It was intended as outdoor lawn decoration.  I just purchased another one on eBay that is four feet tall.  This one will become the Tokyo Radio Tower which was designed after the Eiffel Tower and is taller than the Eiffel Tower.  This one will be painted red and white like the Tokyo Radio Tower, it's those colors to be more visible to aircraft.  The Tokyo Radio Tower was built in 1958.  Godzilla destroyed a similar but shorter tower in Tokyo in 1952 and the new, three foot tall tower will do double duty as both the Eiffel Tower and the Tokyo "Godzilla" tower.
The building in the left is a Christmas building from WalMart, they go for about $15 so they are very inexpensive.  I painted out all the "snow" and so it is usable for other times of year.  I temporarily added the sloping roof so it fits with the other buildings.  The bright pink and purple buildings are from Dollar Tree.  I get two, remove the roof from one and stack them to make a two story building.  They are a bit large and would likely work for 28mm.  My long term plan is to add a balcony and glue the building together and paint it.  They have a "hinge" on the side so you can attach two of them back to back and make a full building.  The back is open like a dollhouse.  They come with rather nice furniture that will be used for a number of projects.  I changed the movie marquee to the movie "Casablanca."  I showed MRS Bunkermeister and she said, "We'll always have Paris."  She gets me.
The trees are Christmas trees from Dollar Tree.  I washed them to remove the "snow".  They were about 40 cents each, so very economical.  The lampposts are also from Dollar Tree and are once piece resin.  The potted plants are also from Dollar Tree.  The roadway is from Michaels craft stores, they put this out for their Christmas buildings.  I try and pick up at least one of these vinyl mats every year.
This is another resin tank from Paul Heiser Models, it's the M4A6 Chrysler multi-bank engine Sherman tank with lengthened hull which did not see combat with US forces.  But I got a platoon of them anyway because they did see service with the US Army in training in the USA.
M4A1 Sherman from Paul Heiser Models, all plastic, easy to assemble, great kit, inexpensive and easy to put together.
This is an elderly Roco Minitank Sherman.  It has the rear deck of the M4A1 and the M4A3 vents so it's likely inaccurate unless there is some very odd Sherman with that deck out there.  I have only three of these unmodified Old Soldiers in my collection.
This one is a Roco Minitank Sherman with a Paul Heiser resin upper hull.  I was able to get a few of these about 30 years ago, and converted most of my Roco Shermans to the correct upper hull.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Shermans in Many Versions

Paul Heiser eventually made an M4A1 with Continental 975 engine and cast hull, M4A3 with Ford GAA engine and welded hull, and the M4A2 with diesel engine.  The M4A2 was used mostly by the Soviet Union and the USMC.
These three Paul Heiser Models come with a vast array of accessories, and the parts can be mixed and matched with the Roco Sherman.  The early production cannon on the Roco can be swapped out for one of the newer Paul Heiser Models to depict and upgraded older Sherman.  Since you get two gun barrels with the Heiser Model you end up with an extra barrel and this is a good use for it.  I am in the process of doing some of that now.
Paul also makes a number of Sherman tanks that are mostly resin, such as the M4A4 with the Chrysler multi-bank engine.  Most were sent overseas to serve with the British as the Sherman MK V but many stayed in the US for crew training.  Just behind the turret you can see the distinctive hump on the engine deck.
This photo is an all plastic early production M4A3 Sherman, note the narrow mantelet, and the pistol port on the turret, early cupola, like the Roco.  This narrow mantelet is "newer" than the Roco with is very early production.

I have 21 M4A2 with the diesel engine but they are not in this group as they have been Lend Leased to my Soviet Union WWII forces.  The only significant difference from this tank is the engine deck grills.

 At one time Paul Heiser made at least 20 different versions of the Sherman tank and with his accessory sprue you could make dozens more variations.  By adding a few Roco turrets or cannon you could make even more.  I don't have them all, but I am working on it.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Roco Upper Hull and Turret

When Paul Heiser first started to research his plans for an HO scale Sherman tank model to replace the old Roco Z-101 and Z-202 he started by checking out the Z-202 Sherman to see if it is an accurate model.
It's not too bad, but the engine deck seems to combine to different Sherman tank engines, the Ford GAA on the M4A3 and the Continental 975 on the M4A1, based on the grills in the engine deck.
The other parts were acceptable so the first Sherman model he made was a new upper hull, for the M4A3 and a curved one for the cast hull M4A1 tank.  So all you did was remove the old Roco upper hull, and replace it with a new resin upper hull to get one of two more accurate versions.
I was able to get enough of these upper hulls to convert nearly all of my Roco Sherman tanks.  Since Paul was going to make a plastic model of these vehicles, he did not enter these upper hulls into full production and stopped making them when the mold wore out.
The Roco Sherman turret is a very early production turret without the side armor for the main gun and no pistol port and no loaders hatch.
It also has the early production commanders cupola, and it is a cupola not a hatch.  On a real Sherman it can spin around and it turns the hatch so it can open at any angle.  So the little Roco 1/2 hatches can be put onto the model in any order as long as there is one of each type.