First, let me be clear, I'm not trying to make light of the seriousness of the COVID-19 situation, much less any personal pain anyone has been through with friends and family, I'm simply tipping my hat to the fact that without being quarantined there is no way I could have completed this project.
So, what is the project? Well, for anyone that's followed the blog here, you've seen I have a very strange relationship with 15mm WWII miniatures. I began wargaming in 2009, at which time I spend around $400 on Old Glory US and German forces for Northwest Europe. I painted them up, played a few games, then gave them to my nephews. A couple years later I did it again; I bought about $400 worth of toys from Plastic Soldier Company for US and German forces, painted some of it up, then gave it to Kyote. A couple of years later I switched up slightly; I bought about $400 worth of Plastic Soldier Company minis for British and German forces in NW Europe. I painted up some vehicles and most of the infantry, then sold it off.
Let's get to the details.
*The first of my cataloging the 'not perfect' aspects of my collection: I don't know if this type of camouflage was ever painted on Honeys, but I didn't want to do Caunter on them, nor did I want to leave them plain desert sand, so I painted them up to match the bulk of the rest of the force. Also, I might have used the wrong type of turret on them (I dunno, the PSC kits can build out as three different versions, and I don't know which one they're supposed to be), and the PSC kits didn't have decals so I had to rob them from the Battlefront Universal Carriers, which means these have '60' on the right fenders instead of '40,' like the rest of the tanks.
*Next imperfection: these Battlefront models didn't come with decals, so I again robbed the Universal Carriers, so these have '60' vice '40,' and only on the front, not enough decals left to do the backs of the models.
*These didn't come with decals and I was not smart enough to order decals separately, so all they have are some hand-painted national markings.
*Again, didn't come with decals so I just hand-painted some national markings and pressed on.
*I wish I had two more, so they are even up with the Italians.
Actually, I do have an idea on what to do with those other two AA guns...
*I didn't have enough command figures so I had to steal crewmen from the AAA models; the officer (holding binos, looking up at the sky) isn't really a problem, but on one of those bases (center top) I had to use a AAA crewman carrying a clip of 40mm rounds, which I just smoothed out and painted green to look like an ammo box. Also, I'd like to have a couple more small command stands so there are enough platoon commanders for the various weapons units (mortar, MGs, ATGs, arty).
*Each platoon does not have a 2" mortar, there is only one in the set.
*There is not an ATR for each platoon, there is only one in the set.
To wrap up the Commonwealth forces, I wish I had some early war light tanks (Vickers Mk VI) and infantry tanks (Matilda IIs), and maybe I'll pick some up in the future, but I'll probably just make due with my A10s and Marmon-Herringtons.
On to ze Chermans.
*So the Germans have no actual artillery, just the dreaded '88s,' and the AA gun is stolen from the British set I bought, crewed with some Old Glory (from their 'Command Decision' range) figures I had lying around. I may pick up some German arty in the future.
*Using the Old Glory troops, the Germans are the only force that has all the command units I'd like to have.
*The Germans are one rifle stand short of a full company. It doesn't really bother me as I don't figure the Germans will ever have that many infantry stands on the table at once, but maybe I'll go fish out some more Old Glory figs just to make up that last right stand.
*The Stukas have different squadron markings; above is the long squadron marking decal (T6, national ensign, CS), which I ripped on the other aircraft and had to go with the shorter squadron marking decals.
On to the Italians!
*It's kinda weird; I have tanks/Semoventes for later war, but armored cars for earlier in the war. The reason I ended up this way is that I bought Battlefront's set "Lorenzo's Rams," which provided guns and tanks, but I also want to play out early war battles, for which I have Marmon-Herringtons for my Commonwealth forces, and I didn't want AB41s with 20mm guns beating up on the Marmon-Herringtons.
I wish I had some of the little Italian CV33s and L6s, and maybe I'll pick some up in the future, but I really don't mind making due with the M14/41s for early war.
*One of the AB40s is slightly miscast (just visible at top left), where the spare tire on the right side is missing. Or maybe it's not miscast, maybe some aren't supposed to have one, but the other four models have a spare tire on each side.
*As the eagle-eyed amongst you will note, those are not Italian guns, nor are they Italian crews. Those are German 'puppchen,' which came with the German infantry but which I didn't need, so I decided to repurpose them as Italian 47mm ATGs. The crewman are Germans from the PaK-38 set.
*So, the first issue is that Italians don't have an overall commander (on a medium base with three figures, as I did for the Germans and Commonwealth forces). Second, they could still use a couple more platoon command stands, just so all the weapons elements (arty, ATGs, MGs, and mortars) have their own dedicated command stands.
There is a solution to this: Battlefront sells an Italian Company Command Group (IT701) for about $15, which would give enough command figures AND comes with three 47mm ATGs, which would be cool to supplant the two puppchen masquerading as Italian ATGs. So I really should pick that up and buy it, but we'll see; right now I'm just too excited to be finished with this damn project!
*Cool little models, but two points of aggravation: first, these models are actually 10mm models, while the British Hurricanes and German Stukas are 15mm models. Not a huge issue, it's not like the CR.42s and other airplanes are going to be on the table at the same time, but a bit aggravating. The other problem is that these are metal models, whereas the Hurricanes and Stukas are plastic. Again, not a huge issue, but the magnets aren't strong enough to keep the metal models on the stands if you're not being very careful whilst moving them about.
In a perfect world I would go buy some more early war tanks for Brits and Italians, get some German arty, and get the Italian command and ATGs squared away, but the fact is that I'm exhausted, and I don't need any of that stuff to play some games. My boys, of course, absolutely love them, and can't wait to get their little mitts on them.
The sad part about all this is that, once again, I find myself a bit circumspect about 15mm on the tabletop (particularly given the wide open expanses of the desert), despite the massive amounts of money, time, and effort I've poured in. I can't help but look at them and think "man, I wish I'd done this in 10mm." I'm not officially going to put them up for sale, I'm going to start playing games with them, but I could definitely be convinced to come off them, then re-do the whole damn thing in 10mm ;)