Tuesday, 28 September 2010

14 Panzer Division

As mentioned a few weeks ago, following the death of my dear friend John G Robertson ('JR' hereafter) I remembered about some splendid converted 20mm vehicles he gave me some years ago.  After a programme of refurbishment I used many of these to form 14 Panzer Division (mine is also known by the honorific 'JR').  A quick word of explanation is required here for those of you unacquainted with my Megablitz game.  Being the dangerous megalomaniac I am, I use a single toy on a stand to represent the area taken up by a battalion sized unit.  At this level a (1941+) Panzer Division fits in a foolscap box file.  The box file was possibly the greatest leap forward for me as a wargamer (thanks Chris Kemp) and from small beginnings (3 boxes in 1993) I now have, well let's just say lots. 

Anyway, back to 14PD.  All but one of the vehicles in the division came from JR and many were converted by him from Airfix kits in the 1960s.  The dodgy paintwork is all mine.  The photo above shows both battalions (Abteillung) of the Panzer Regiment - represented by a Panzer III and Panzer IV.  The III is built on the hull of the StuG II kit, but can you identify the origins of the IV?  Comments welcome...

The next two pics show the Recce (Aufklarungs) Abt.  This has 4 company sized stands.  Firstly we have the Airfix Sdkfz 231/234 built as standard from the kit with (in the background) a Sdkfz233 with a short 75mm - a straightforward conversion from the same kit.  This and all other photos were shamelessly posed on my wargames table.

The slightly less serious half of the Aufkl Abt - the bAirfix M3 Halftrack with a small turret added - as seen in many a '60s Hollywood war film!  In the foreground is yet another combination of the Sdkfz 234 parts.  Both of these vehicles are liveried in accordance with what Ian Drury calls 'Gow's Third Law' - the less plausible the model then the bigger the black crosses!

The Artillery Regiment is armed with a SiG33 - a Panzer III hull with a 15cm infantry gun in a boxy superstructure.  I know it should have a roof but it wasn't until the 1990s that I saw a photo of the original vehicle from this angle.  Oddly enough, I built one (also open-topped) in the 1970s using a Matchbox Panzer III hull.
The two Panzer Grenadier Regiments ( 2 Btls each) are equipped with an assortment of Airfix and ROCO lorries and halftracks - here we see a lorry converted from the Austin K6 fire tender and an Sdkfz 250 with a short 75mm gun.  The latter uses much of the running gear from the Sdkfz 7 kit.  The infantry I used in 14PD just had to be the Airfix originals - they have a certain period charm!

Finally we have the division's CO with his Dodge (or dodgy) command car (a battered ROCO model).  He is of course the officer from the same Airfix set as his infantry.

JR was slightly appalled when I told him that I was using his creations in wargames - he regarded them as rubbish and was about to bin the lot!  Long may they serve.


Paul said...

One of your best posts yet Tim, nice story and background, great photo's and super kits.

I think alot of people do not post photo's of their odd-ball stands because the are embarrased by the ill assortment of vehicles or figures or are waiting until they finally get the correct versions etc down to pat.

I think these people are rivet counters myself, and need to get back to basics.

Once again great post!

Tim Gow said...

Thanks for your kind words Paul. An "ill assortment of vehicles and figures" describes my 20mm collection rather neatly. Indeed I am not above fielding outrageous models just to provoke the rivet-counting fraternity.

I notice you've not ventured an opinion about the origins of the Panzer IV - come on, I'm counting on you!


Paul said...

Mmmm Airfix Assault Gun Chassis (StuG III), with a Airfix Panther turret (of sorts)...The amount of road wheels has me stumped?

Tim Gow said...

Very good - truly you are a sad case (I speak as one who knows). The hull is StuG III with one and a third StuG's worth of road wheels. The turret is indeed a cut down Panther. The ensemble is a bit longer than a 'real' Panzer IV but it's a convincing effort. Amazing to think it pre-dates the Airfix Panzer IV kit. More JR conversions soon.

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Modelling something that you could not get was part of the joy of wargaming in the 1960s and 1970s. I just wish that I still had some of the coversions that I did then ... they would make nice additions to my Megablitz forces (e.g. Italian tanks built on ROCO Minitank Panzer IV chassis).

These JR conversions are a joy to behold, and I cannot wait to see them in action on a tabletop battlefield sometime soon.

All the best,


Tim Gow said...

14PD was used in a Megablitz demo game at COW sometime in the late 1990s. I will make demn sure it has a role in the next big Megablitz game. Watch this space.

Don M said...

Tim, looking over your old postings here, and I just wanted to say that I
enjoyed this tribute to your friend
JR the most, I find his conversions
charming and innovative for the day,
and am very glad you shared them... I shamelessly copied the idea for a German SP artillery piece I just completed....)

Tim Gow said...

Don M
Glad you enjoyed it - 14PD seems to have acquired quite a fan base!