domingo, 16 de julho de 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm Gulf War - Saladin's Division (part 6) - The Mechanized Regiment of the 6th Armoured Brigade

The second Mechanized Infantry Regiment I'm showing you now has a few differences from the first one (the Mechanized Regiment of the 12th Armoured Brigade). Again you can see three Skytrex BMP-1's but for the rest there are many differences.

The command group has a Toyota pick-up (Majorette mini), ESCI figures, including SAM-7 and a radio man from Skytrex.
Most of the figures are using the summer uniform. Some of them like the RPG-7 firer are ESCI from the Vietcong set with US M-1 helmets.
Another toy truck with another scratch built ZU-2-23mm. The figures are Atlantic.
The heavy weapons company uses ESCI and Hasegawa figures. The Milan A/T guided missile was also scratchbuilt from Evergreen plastics.
Next: the 8th Mechanized Infantry Brigade.

sábado, 15 de julho de 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm Gulf War - Saladin's Division (part 5) - The 6th Armoured Brigade

The full 6th Iraqi Armoured Brigade of the 3rd Saladin Armoured Division prepares to leave its barracks for the invasion of Kuwait at first light, 2nd August 1990.
The models are a total 21 T-62's mostly from ESCI but also a few Altaya Die-cast and Chinese copies of the ESCI kits I was lucky to find in a Lisbon's Toys'R'Us shop.

The two Altaya's became the Co's of two of the companies. They needed a scratch built Dshk 12,7 MG, figure, plastic covers for the two searchlights and the laser range finder to properly portray the T-62M version which, alongside the T-62A, made this Brigade.
One of the twelve ESCI T-62M. Both side skirts and range finder are already included in the model but again the covers for the searchlights had to be scratch built.

Same vehicle, another view. When this model came out in the 90's it was criticized for being several milimeters too long, but on those days its was the quickest way to find model tanks for Saddam's army.  

Some of the ESCI models were T-62A models without side skirts and they had to be scratch built in plasticard.


Now for the last seven Chinese soft plastic copies I found in Toys'R'Us inside the usual transparent bag (had to buy seven bags...). As usual they carried a buch of big green soldiers, palm trees and trucks who went to some neighbours kids. There were also other bags with a model of the Merkava, again a copy of ESCI's, but on those days I already started the Lebanon War of 82 in 1/87th scale, so I left the Merkavas aside.

They had to have a number of additions: metal Dskh 12,7mm MG from Skytrex; searchlights, range finders, turret handlers, external fuel tanks, antennae,front excavator tool and side skirts everything had to be built from EverGreen plasticard. Also many thin lines on the front part just beneath the headlights protector had to be sanded.
Placed side by side with the ESCI models the Chinese copies are almost undistinguished from each other if you add the mentioned details to the Chinese copy.
Next: the Mechanized Regiment of the 6th Armoured Brigade.

quinta-feira, 13 de julho de 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm Gulf War - Saladin's Division (part 4): the Mechanized Infantry Regiment of the 12th Tank Brigade

This post completes the 12Th Tank Brigade of Saladin's Division. Here you have its Mechanized infantry battalion (Regiment, in Iraqi terms) made out of 6 men in each of the 3 companies, plus command, AT, AA and mortar detachments.

The command of the battalion only has these two SHQ figures, and a Cararama Land Rover. In the future I'll add maybe two more figures and a 12,7mm HMG.
Each company has a Skytrex BMP-1 and six SHQ figures, one of them with RPG-7. Third from the left an Iraqi sniper from the command group looks for a position for his deadly job.

The A/T team has a Milan ATGW taken from the Revell Modern German Infantry, the firer (ESCI US WWII) and a famous figure from Matchbox, with moustache, of course.
The 82mm Mortar has figures (L-R) fom Revell US WWII Paratroppers, Revell US WWII infantry and Matchbox modern British for Falklands campaign.

The AA weapon is a twin 23mm mounted on a 3/4-ton vehicle. The twin 23mm was scratch built in Evergreen and the truck is a supermarket toy resembling closely the Gaz 66 or a civilian truck requested for military service.

The figures are old Atlantic figures.

Thunder(bolt) view!

Next: the 6th Armoured Brigade with its T-62's.

terça-feira, 11 de julho de 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm Gulf War - Saladin's Division (part 3): 3rd Tank Regiment of the 12th Tank Brigade

More of the same? No, not exactly. The 3rd Regiment had the same equipment as the other two but now the models are from different brands. The two companies of T-72 (left) are metal Skytrex models; the Co tank (center) is the Revell T-72M1 and, yes, the T-55 company is again Skytrex.

The older T-72A from Skytrex had a number of additions: rubber skirts; the Chinese dazzler and the smoke grenade dischargers all made in Evergreen plasticard.

Then Skytrex produced the more recent version who fits nicely the Iraqi T-72M1 and no more plasticard was necessary.

The Revell T-72M1 is probably one of the best around and only the figures and some stowage was necessary to complete it. Of course, it became the Co of the Regiment with the characteristic '9'.
So this brigade needed a total of 6 T-55 and 15 T-72 (7 tanks X3 Regiments). I still need to find some recovery vehicles and all armoured units of the brigade will be done.
Next: a change to something lighter, the Mechanized Regiment of the 12th Brigade.

segunda-feira, 10 de julho de 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm Gulf War - Saladin's Division (part 2): 2nd Tank Regiment of the 12th Tank Brigade

This Regiment is almost identical to the one showned previously. Four of the T-72s are Revell T-80's conversions, T-55 are also Skytrex and only the T-72 of the Regimental commander is an Altaya model.

The Altaya model had to be repainted and for this one I only added the Chinese electro-optical dazzler you can see on above the number '9' that identifies the Co of an Iraqi tank regiment.
The last of the conversions of the T-80 into a T-72: again the Chinese dazzler and all the add-ons I told you about in the last post. If you compare the Altaya model with the converted T-72 I think its worth the effort as they became pretty similar.

I used as tank commanders the nice ESCI soft plastic tank commander of the Warsaw Pact box. With bended arms they became nicely fit into the turret hatch. I also placed some Iraqi flags on the side skirts of some of the models for colour.

The venerable Skytrex T-55 painted many years ago when I still had all my hair...
Next: the last tank regiment of this brigade.

domingo, 9 de julho de 2017

Rapid Fire! 20mm Gulf War - Saladin's Division (part 1): 1st Tank Regiment of the 12th Tank Brigade

This post start a very long series of probably over 20 post dedicated mostly to the 3rd Iraqi Armoured Division ('Saladin's' Division) but also to other units of the Iraqi III Corps during the war of 1990-91, like the 5th 'Mohammed al-Kasem' Mechanized Division. With little effort the same models can be used for most of the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88 and up to the 2003 Iraqi Freedom operation, that is, the US invasion of Iraq.

I chose this Iraqi Corps because its the one that participates in the Khafji battle and ends up fighting with the majority of the big allied units: 1st UK Armoured, 1st and 3rd US Armoured, etc.

Another resaon is the great article by Cookie Sewell on the Saladin's Division on Military Modelling magazine Vol.30 No.8. Along 10 pages you can find almost everything on how to model this division.

The Saladin's division was one of the best Divisions of the Iraqi Army, almost equal to the Republican Guard division, equipped with the best Iraq ground forces had: T-72 tanks, BMP-1's and 2S1 and 2S3's artillery systems.

I'll start with the 1st Armoured Regiment of 12th Armoured Brigade of the Saladin's division.

In spite of using the British term 'Regiment' the Iraqi tank units (in fact all branches of the armed forces) were mostly organized in the soviet style of three companies with a total of 35 tanks, thus 7 models for the Rapid Fire! set of rules.

The three Regiments of the 12th Brigade had 2/3 of T-72 tanks and 1/3 of older T-55.

Four of these T-72 are in fact conversions from the Revell's T-80 (first row, first picture). Many years ago the model of the T-72 was rare and, few months before the UN intervention started, there was the suspicion of the Russian T-80 have been sent to Iraq. Even the well informed French magazine Defense et Armement, included the T-80 as a potential weapon of the Iraqis. This led me to buy all Revell T-80s I could find. After finding it was false I had to do something with some 10 of them. So I converted them to T-72s.

I used my trusted EverGreen plasticard to build the 'V' shaped optical protection to the front; the engine grill on the back and plenty of parts in the turret: smoke dischargers; snorkel; fire extinguisher and searchlight. Also the side skirts suffered some changes as well as the drums placed at the rear. Like this they look like the T-72M or the 'Assad Babyl' T-72M1, built from knock-down kits supplied probably by Poland. The one on the second photo is an early version with gills instead of the rubber skirts.

The command tank of the Regiment is a Forces of Valour model. Impressive and expensive the model has some mistakes namely on the height which is too much.

Finally the T-55 was still present in the Division and would probably have been replaced if the Iraqis had more T-72s. All the T-55 of this Division are metal Skytrex. They are simple but nice renderings of the real tank.

Next: prepare your self for many posts like this one or change to another cable TV channel.

Rapid Fire! 20mm Gulf War - Some new Iraqi helicopters

The mighty French SA321 Super Frelon was also used by Iraq. Not much is knowned of its actions during Desert Storm, with one at least being destroyed. A few years before this aircraft got distinction in the famous Tanker War with Iran thanks to its Exocet missiles.

The model is a ready made Altaya with painted Iraqi symbols (and, pardonnez moi, erased French ones, of course...).

The other addition are the home-made pilots I told you about a few posts ago.

The other new member of the Iraqi Aircraft family is this Altaya Mil-Mi 4. I only applied the sand camouflage, corrected the under carriage blue colour to the Iraqi version and painted the Iraqi markings leaving the original Russian green colour to be showned. And two home made pilots, of course.