Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Australian Captured Italian Tanks

These eight tanks represent two platoons of captured Italian tanks from the North Africa theater that were turned against their original owners by the Australian army. In order to prevent friendly fire the plucky Aussies painted every available surface on the tanks with Kangaroos to make sure everyone knew who was inside. I originally saw a black & white photo of one of these tanks in a reference book and fell in love with them. When Battlefront came out with their Hellfire and Back army list book there were two different forces that were allowed to represent these tanks: the Australian divisional cavalry squadron and the Australian Commonwealth Infantry Company which can take up to two platoons of these tanks as a divisional support asset. That's all it took to seal the deal.

I've been working on the other elements of my Australian force for quite a while as followers of this blog are well aware. These hulls have been painted and patiently awaiting the release of the iconic kangaroo decals. Monday night I was able to pick these up at Adler hobby and get the tanks finished. I think these will make for a fun force to push in the early war.

Each platoon consists of three M11/39 tanks but can optionally be upgraded to include one of the slightly heavier M13/40 tanks in place of one of the lighter M11/39s. Since most of the photos I've found of this force (see below) include a mix of tanks I've chosen to make my platoons of this mixed variety. The extra two tanks are for the squadron CO and 2iC for when I choose to field these in a Divisional cavalry squadron.

The only complaint I have about these decals is that the sheet only includes one size kangaroo. Since this has to be small enough to fit on the small M11/39 turret it is a little too small for the hull. Another small nitpick is the sheet only contains 'roos facing one direction so you have to apply half of them glue side up. It takes very careful work to prevent silvering when doing this.

Next up are my final platoon of Crusader I tanks for early, or more likely mid, war and my last platoon of Australian infantry to finish up my commonwealth infantry company. I'm not sure what order I'll finish these in. It all depends on what I'm motivated to work on over the next week or two.


The Kiwi said...

Awesome job. Good advice on the Decals as well.

Ben Gilmour said...

I love the photos of these tanks and always thought those blokes had balls of steel to drive Italian tanks. I think I'd want Skippys on every vertical surface, too!

You've done a great job with these little beauties.

Rodger said...

Great looking tanks AJ.

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Italian tanks are just the bee's knee's... nice work AJ!

AdamC1776 said...

Nice Too bad about the sillyness regarding those decals.

Still they look great I look forward to facing them :)

Leigh said...

How do you apply decals glue side up?

I have needed to do this in the past and never know how.



AJ (Allan) Wright said...

Use some decal set on the non-glue side, then when dry overcoat with more decal set, and then a layer of clear coat.