Saturday, 4 March 2017

Probably my favourite Airfix military vehicle kit

Just before Christmas a small model shop opened less than two miles from where I live, and since then I have paid it several visits. Today I bought three Airfix Bren Gun Carrier and 6-pdr Anti-Tank Gun kits ...


... which is probably my favourite Airfix military vehicle kit of all time.

The kit has been about for many years, and formed the basis of the first every 'kit bash' that I did. This was the result of an article that appeared in an issue of AIRFIX MAGAZINE that showed how to convert a Bren Gun Carrier into a Pzkpfw IA ...


... and even into a Panzerjäger I.


In the latter case the 6-pdr anti-tank gun formed the basis of the Czech 4.7cm KPÚV vz. 38 anti-tank gun.


The barrel was cut down and inverted, and although it was not 100% accurate, it certainly passed muster on the tabletop.

The models that I made back then have long since gone, but I remember them very well, and they did great service whilst they lasted.

One 'kit bash' that I also did was to convert the Bren Gun Carrier and 6-pdr Anti-Tank Gun into a Russian ASU-57 airborne anti-tank gun.


This was quite a simple 'conversion' and served my Soviet force faithfully and efficiently until it too became 'lost'.

24 comments:

  1. I am blown away that you converted this model into different tanks especially the Panzerjager 1....you must have had an incredible wargames table!

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    1. Solo wargaming-on a budget!

      To be honest they were not very good conversions ... but they were my conversions and I was proud of them!

      During the 1970s I converted three Bren Carriers in 15mm Vickers 6-ton tanks ... and although I say it myself, they looked quite reasonable.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. This was a true journey back into time when the dearth of appropriate models led gamers to do all sorts of conversions.

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    1. CelticCurmudgeon,

      We had to make do with what we could get, and no one usually looked too closely at our dodgy conversions.

      Nowadays some wargamers seem obsessed with only using stuff that is supposedly 100% 'accurate' ... whatever that really means.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. Bob,
    Back in the 1970's Conversion was the way to go with AIRFIX - a whole new world opened up- I cannot say I did as you had done Bob with your vehicles - I tended to convert AIRFIX Figures - bizzare when I think about it ....imagine AIRFIX British 8th Army converted into Greek Hopolites using plasticine, styrene sheet, thumb tacks and pins...and the results were terrific! Great memories Bob. Cheers. KEV.

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    1. Kev Robertson,

      I never converted the Airfix figures with anything like the success I managed with their model kits, although I did see some marvelous examples. Your conversions of British 8th Army into Hoplites must have been quite awesome to see!

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. It did work - and later British 8th Army into Mahadists for the Sudan...oh, and Finger Nail Varnish was used to seal the plasticine....very fiddly and I wouldn't be able to do it now - have not the patience now for it. Cheers. KEV.

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    3. Kev Robertson,

      8th Army into Mahdists! I am even more impressed!

      I did try using the much trumpeted Plasticine and Banana Oil combination to alter figures ... but could never get the stuff to harden properly. Perhaps I should have used Nail Varnish!

      All the best,

      Bob

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    4. The elusive Banana Oil. What would be a alternative? Or is the stuff still sold commercially? No sarcasm about having no Bananas today.

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    5. Disregard last signal. Found it on Amazon! 30 odd years too late. Now what do I do with it again?

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    6. Stephen Briddon,

      I also found it on sale on a craft website devoted to cooking!

      Apparently it Is used as an artifícial flavouring as well as being a solvent for nitrocellulose and a substance that can be used to test respirators! Furthermore it has a flash point of 25 Degrees C ... which sounds rather low.

      I'm amazed that we were ever encouraged to use it as it sounds quite dangerous.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    7. Stephen Briddon,

      According to the Urban Dictionary 'banana oil' is archaic American slang from the 1920s for insincere words someone might say to you.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. Hi Bob,

    The kit I seemed to do a lot with back in the day - meaning that I made a number of them including a single conversion - was the 88mm gun and tractor. I remember lashing up a 37mm anti aircraft gun to go on the half track - it was a pain to do but huge fun. As I recall the first game it took part in it lasted around three moves before being destroyed.....

    All the best,

    DC

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    1. David Crook,

      I suspect that a lot of us who were growing up when Airfix was the main source of models have favourites that we enjoyed making and converting.

      I remember converting Airfix Sherman tanks into Israeli M50s using the tracks from ROCO self-propelled 155mm guns, turret bustles carved from balsa wood, and brass tubing for the gun barrels.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. Hi Bob

    This was also one of my favourites. I dabbled in WW2 before I got into Napoleonics, and I well remember this Airfix model. I never did any conversions, I just liked the look and feel of the vehcile, gun and crew.

    Much later I did convert some of the Airfix Napoleonics, particularly the cavalry. And the mention above of plastercine hardened with nail varnish brings back a clear memory of the horrible smell using the nail varnish.

    Happy Days!

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    1. Thistlebarrow,

      I always felt as if I had got a lot for my 2/- when I bought this kit. A vehicle, a gun, and crew; what's more to wish for?

      I'd stopped buying Airfix figures by the time the Napoleonic figures came out, so I never bought any. I did have some of the hard plastic ones that came with the Waterloo wargame, and some of the cavalry were carved about and ended up as World War II Russians.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. Buy the airfix kits when you see them Bob- from what I've heard from my local model shop they have gone out of production for good now.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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    1. Pete.,

      I've heard this from several other sources, but Hornby - who own the Airfix brand - maintain that production is continuing, with manufacturing taking place in China.

      That said, I don't usually need an excuse to buy Airfix kits!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  7. Ah, happy memories, although I recall thinking about the possibilities more than actually realising them.

    I've got a stockpile of Airfix kits, particularly the two airfield sets. The Airfix magazine guides, which I still have, contain a few kit-bashing examples that provide inspiration. Sadly my collection of Airfix magazines has long gone, although the odd article was saved.

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    1. Sun of York,

      I also have a stockpile of unmade kits, mostly so that one day get I can get around to fighting my much-planned-for Operation Barbarossa campaign.

      I have a small collection of old Airfix Magazine articles stashed away in my clippings files, and one day I hope to 'kit bash' some of the conversions they describe.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  8. I always found that carriers being in such short supply in my British armies, I never had enough for conversions of this kind! I used to find putting the wheels on the gun a challenge, especially as I wanted them free to turn. Then watched as with any sort of slope the gun would run off and hurl itself onto the floor.

    Probably my favourite Airfix kit was the 25pr gun/howitzer, limber and Quad, and that for its own sake. With certain caveats, the T34 came close, and is still my T34 of choice if ever I want or need more...

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    1. Archduke Piccolo,

      In my opinion you can never have too many Bren Gun Carriers!

      I am afraid that all the wheels on my vehicles were glued on and did not turn. As a result I never had any problems with downhill roll!

      The 6-pdr was also quite convertible, and I turned several into rather poor copies of the Italian Bohler 47mm anti-tank gun ... and even the German Pak38. (The latter had Panther road wheels and a new set of trails made from carved sprue!)

      The 25-pdr gun/howitzer and Quad kit had its uses, and quite a few of the former ended up as all sorts of stand-ins for other artillery pieces. The latter could, with a bit of cutting about and a new rear body, become a very passable light truck.

      The 5.5" and Matador were very usable 'as is' (The Matador was my standard heavy truck, regardless of whatever army it was serving in!) and the gun provided the basis for all sorts of 152mm/155mm artillery and even some coastal defence guns.

      I have only ever had one Airfix T-34 kit. That was because I had - and still have - large numbers of ROCO ones. As to the kit ... well the turrets ended up on a very bad armoured train that I built - and then gave away - and the wheels went into the spares box.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. I believe the Airfix 5.5" gun, with a suitable change of gun barrel (the short one with the 'shark's gill' muzzle brake) and a couple of extra road wheels outside the existing ones would make a very fine Russian 152mm piece.

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    3. Archduke Piccolo,

      Tim Gow and I have both converted Airfix 5.5" guns into Russian 152mm guns. All they need is a gun shield and new double wheels ... and the conversion is pretty well complete.

      All the best,

      Bob

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