Saturday, December 11, 2010

Biting off more than i can chew

Well, here I am again, and as promised I’ve got some pics of a Spitfire 1a and a teaser for my WWII Hungarians. I’m almost finished the second of four planned 10 man rifle sections, and am about halfway through a StuG platoon so will post more pictures in a future update. For now you’ll have to content yourselves with the picture on the right, which is my first ‘Big Man’, Százados (or Captain) György Takács, conferring with a motorised rifleman in front of a Toldi IIa light tank. Tank and big man are from Shellhole Scenics, grunt is from Liberation minis and tank commander is an AB Italian.

Tomorrow I’m going to be getting on with some commission work, hoping to get most of a 12 man unit of Late Roman Legion, the Legio Fortenses, completed.

Considering that 2010 marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and all, I decided to go off on a painting tangent and paint up an Airfix Spitfire. Building the kit took me back, as I haven’t built a plastic airplane kit since I was about 14! I am pleased to say that I managed to complete the build with considerably less gluey fingerprints on the canopy than I remember.

I spent a fair amount of time painting up the pilot, who was then all but hidden in the cockpit. Oh well, I’ve posted a WIP picture of him so you can see him in all his glory. I stole the idea for the flight stand from a modelling forum, and am happy at the way it turned out. I’m going to eventually get a brass engraved plate with the squadron, airfield and date of the plane. Which by the way is No.234 Squadron based at Middle Wallop in August 1940.

In amongst all of these tangents, I’ve been busily planning my D-Day Ouistreham/Riva Bella setup. I’ve picked up some 2’x2’ 6mm MDF board to use as a base for the foam, and have drawn up a rough overview of what I plan to build. I have a feeling that I may be biting off rather a lot to chew, but as my great-uncle Tom used to say ‘aim high, if you don’t quite make it you’re still pretty well off. If you aim low and fail, then you’re in a spot of bother.’

So, if any of you can decipher my scribble, you’ll see by the plan that I’m going to be building up a series of 2’ sq boards, 3 deep and four across. These will represent the area from the German defensive position, or Wiederstandnest 10(b) at Riva Bella through to the mouth of the Caen canal. Even at this size, I’ve had to take a lot of liberties with the layout, and Ouistreham find itself a lot smaller than in reality. I’m going to start with the Casino board, then move onto the WN10b board with the anti-tank wall. Big project, but I don't go back to uni till the end of February so i have to do something to occupy myself, right. :)

I really want to include a selection of the different bunker types, as well as the Casino the 17m high artillery observation post, the flak tower and the light gauge ‘chemin de fer du calvados’ railway with Riva Bella station. Most of the bunkers and some of the buildings will be constructed from blue foam and then coated in filler, stippled and scored before painting. I’m also planning to have them with removable rooves and basic interiors to give Jerry somewhere to hide. I’ve already started on the Casino itself, which contrary to Mr Zanuck and The Longest Day, only consisted of fortified foundations, the superstructure having been removed by the Germans.

So, where am I getting all this from? Firstly, I'm using photos I took on my travels around the area and reprints of the original BIGOT 1:25000 scale maps for Ouistreham and Sword Beach. For bunker layouts, the guys over at the Atlantic Wall forums have heaps of info, including diagrams, of pretty much any bunker you need. I’ve thus far done up plans for bastardised versions of the H644 bunker (with an armoured MG turret), the H626 (with a field gun) and personnel shelters. For anyone interested, the forum, mostly French language, can be found at

In addition to online sources and the Osprey and Battleground Sword Beach books, the fantastic Gold, Juno Sword by Georges Bernage published by Heimdal has been my bible. This book has amazing detail, and is really a must for anyone even slightly interested in the British and Canadian beaches. It gives a great overview of the German defences and the forces involved – including commanders and 2ICs for the individual companies. The description of the action is very detailed, and the book is packed with loads of rare images. Can you tell I’m a fan?

Anyway, a reminder to check out my eBay listings, and I’ll be back soon with some more Hungarian pictures, and hopefully another legion.

For now, here are some pictures of my plans for the first two Riva Bella / Ouistreham boards, as well as the H644, H626 and shelter bunkers. The figures and guns are Britannia 20mm.


  1. I saw the Spit' on Steve Dean; very nice. The little Hungarian tank is great, though, especially as it's 20mm. I thought at first it was a 28!

  2. These are really nice,
    I have always had a soft spot for Hungarian armour and softskins. The Toldi is excellent.

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