Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Egyptian SPG T122mm + review1/72 Blackdog conversion set

 Egyptian T122mm SPG

Another purchase being assembled for the Analogue Hobbies Winter Challenge. While picking up a few bits from my Favourite French hobby supplier during the Black Friday deals I picked up the 1/72 Blackdog conversion set for the Egyptian T34/122 self propelled howitzer, it may of been used during the 6 day war, but did serve during the Yom Kippur War. 

This beast was based on a T34 chassis, in the majority T34/85 had T54 road wheels added also. Two batterys of T122 of 18 guns each did see action in the Yom Kippur. I do note that Syria also done a similar modification of the old T34 chassis. 

The Blackdog kit has the turret, gun and wheels, barrel, baffles, and barrel rest, and finally two boxes. Really nicely cast, although some fine bits that will get damaged from wargaming (the equipment rings on the rear for example). Overall though quite easy to remove from the resin sprue, quite a bit of cleanup on the wheels though to clean out the holes and shape the pear, with two of mine have bad deformity flash from mold wear I suspect and I was supplied one incorrect wheel, although it could be easily modified. With a bit of patience everything cleaned up well and assembly was straight forward. The barrel baffles also need some flash clean up, but not too bad, be careful with the barrel alignment and the baffle assembly to ensure it is square.

T122 Egyptian kit

 The kit recommends the dragon T34/85 or the Italeri. I did note that some people have used the zvesda kit also. My kit was a Italeri and upon dry fitting I needed to sand more off the bottom of the rear of the turret to get it to fit correctly. I also removed my front guards as per the surviving example in Israel. 

Overall a great addition for anyone wanting to do something different or wanting like me to add it to your Egyptian army for 67 or 73 wars. 

Overall a simple addition armour build, scoring a nine out of ten. 

Plan to get some paint on it soon, when I do my next batch of Egyptians. 


Friday, November 24, 2023

volvo c303 pansarvarnspjasterrangbil -Gecko 1/72 Kit review

Volvo C303 Pansarvärnspjästerrängbil

As I start preparing for the Analogue painting challenge I have been focusing on building kits for our “Whisky on the Rocks” Cold War Wargames Holiday from the 3rd to the 7th of May 2024. My Swedes need quite a bit of anti armour to deal with the Soviet VDV division that will oppose them. The 

Volvo C303 Pansarvärnspjästerrängbil 1/72 Gecko Resin kit

Another kit review of Gecko Heavy Industries 1/76th scale resin kit. The Volvo C303 Pansarvärnspjästerrängbil 90mm recoiless anti tank gun. The only model of this kit that I am aware of for 20mm wargaming, I needed to purchase this for my Swedes for our Cold War event “Whisky on the Rocks” at French Wargame Holidays from 3rd to 7th May 2024. 

The kit is resin with four options for the build, a complete clear resin cabin with stowed gun,  a half cabin with stowed gun, a windscreen with roll cage mounted or a firing version with folded down screen and roll frame. 
The resin spruces were simple to remove, do take care though with assembly as the instructions are not that clear, and you will require a few images from the web to fully assemble it correctly, particularly the gun mount. The roll cage will need some work if you are to get close to an actual vehicle, so I opted to fold mine down in the firing version. The clear parts are not that great and I think I will scratch a new windscreen(which will be folded down anyway…. The front seats were also incorrect from what I could see, so I trimmed the kit pieces to suit. Overall a 8.5 out of 10. 

The kit was €22 from panzerfux and worth the price I think as it is such a rare beast. Looking forward to getting some paint on it and I will possibly convert some S&S miniatures Swedish crew. 

Volvo C303 Pansarvärnspjästerrängbil Layed out


Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Yom Kippur War Jordanian Order of Battle

Yom Kippur War Jordanian order of battle

Photos from the Jordanian tank museum 

The least enthusiastic participant in the October fighting was probably Jordan. After the Arab offensive began Jordan commenced calling up reserves on the 10th of October. The 40th Armored Brigade was sent to the North eastern front in Syria the threaten the Israeli border and protect the flanks of the Syrian counter attacks. 

The 40th Armoured Brigade crossed the border on the 12th and arrived in position on the 13th and were then attached to the 3rd Iraqi Armoured division. On the 14th the division was assigned to the southern flank of the counter attack. The assault occurred between Jubata al Khashab and Khan Arinbeh, with the goal of forcing a front to highway 98, near Al Qunaitra and the high ground. This ground was not very suited to Armoured formations as it consisted of volcanic rocks, small ridges, gullies and outcrops, with a number of villages, plus overlooked by high ground that could be defended easily by the Israelis.

 The 40th were placed on the left flank of the Iraqi division, the attack began at dawn on the 16th after a preliminary bombardment of Jordanian, Iraqi and Syrian artillery. The assault began successfully until at 4000m the first centurions were lost to TOW missiles, however the creeping barrage by the Jordanian artillery forced the Israeli infantry to retire and the centurions possibly being mistaken as Israeli armour penetrated the line, in the confusion the Jordanians claimed 20 Israeli tanks, 9 TOWs and three jeeps destroyed or captured for the loss of 14 tanks destroyed, forcing the Israeli troops to withdraw. On the 17th and 18th damaged vehicles were refitted for a renewed assault on Israeli positions on dawn of the 19th, however the assault went in piecemeal and the Jordanians lost a further 4 tanks destroyed, but the Iraqis in the centre were badly mauled. A further assault was planned on the 23rd of October, but never went forward due to the ceasefire. The Jordanians suffered 28 killed and 49 wounded, with the loss of 33 tanks, 18 destroyed and 9 damaged but recovered, and 6 captured by Israel and 2 APCs damaged. 

A good indication of the Jordanian camouflage, medical M113 of the 40th division, the photo I believe is from 1970 during Black September. 

40th Jordanian Armoured Brigade Khalid Hajhouj al-Majali 

Brigade HQ 
Signal Company
Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II 1st Armored Infantry Battalion M113
2nd Royal Tank Battalion  45 Mk7 105mm Centurions
Prince Ali bin Al Hussein 4th Tank Battalion 45 Mk5 105mm and Mk7 105mm centurions
Services Companies
Medical Company
Brigade Maintenance Workshop Centurion ARV
Field reconnaissance battalion 9 x FV-701 Ferret 

Photos from the Jordanian Armour museum

Division Artillery HQ
2nd SP Artillery Battalion 10? M110 howitzer
7th SP Artillery Battalion 10 M52 105mm self propelled howitzer
23rd SP Artillery Battalion 8 M52 105mm self propelled howitzer
18 × M-42 Duster 40mm SP AA 

Jordanian M42 duster, photo from the Jordanian Tank Museum 


Historical encyclopedia of the Jordanian armed forces

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Volvo c303 Tbg11 - Gecko Kit Review

 Volvo c303 Tbg11 - Gecko Kit Review 

Gecko Heavy Industries Volvo C303 TGB11

I purchased this beast earlier in the year when I started formulating a plan to conduct a Cold War wargaming event at French Wargame Holidays, this lead to our “Whisky on the Rocks” event being organized for May 3-7th 2024. 

This also means I need to build some Swedish Army vehicles for my Cold War Collection. Soft skins are a bit of a challenge, particularly the Volvo series of vehicles. So whilst perusing the web I stumbled upon the Gecko offering and duly purchased it along with a few other Swedish specific pieces. 

On first glance the kit is well cast in soft grey resin with two parts in clear resin. Removal from the sprue was done with ease for the grey parts however the clear was a tough job and I had to use my saw blade to remove the sprue from the main body. 

Assembly required hot water to straighten some pieces, the frame and suspension required quite a bit of work to straighten before I glued the frame. The clear resin is very disappointing and I cannot in anyway say that it is satisfactory, I think I shall paint the entire vehicle then add glass effect rather than mask it up and hope that it is translucent. 

Positives the kit looks like the vehicle but lacks fine detail for such a pricey kit €22 from Panzerfux. The instructions are basic with no images, but simple enough to work out. The solid resin body was problematic fitting and cutting, taking more than an hour of clean up. I do note that this was Gecko Industries earliest model and the later kits have separate clear parts. 

Overall a 7 out of ten kit. I plan to get some paint on it next week. 

The kit removed from sprue, note the alignment on the chassis 

Note the huge sprue knob on the clear cast resin 

Piece removed, then wet and dry to smooth to level, a good hour of work 


Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Praga 53/59/70 30mm Anti Aircraft gun - NB models kit review

Praga 53/59/70 30mm AA Lizard

History Praga 53/59

The Praga M53/59 was developed post ww2 and entered service in 1959, mounted on a armoured cabin, the cabin armour was quite thin 10mm on the front and 6mm on the sides making it small arms fire proof only. The vehicle was the Czech V3S 6 wheel drive truck chassis. The chassis, engine and electronic components were upgraded and improved in 1970, these vehicles became the M53/70. Further electronic additions were added in the eighties so electronic air tracking was available via connection to a battery command vehicle using the M85 Zirafa radar allowing it to remain in service for some time in the Czechoslovakian army until 2003. A large number of both models were exported during the Cold War and quite a number still remain in a number of armies today. 

The 30mm cannon was originally designed by Bruno for the kreigsmarine during ww2 as a submarine anti aircraft design. The Czechoslovak designation was the 30mm PLDvk viz.53. The top mounted magazines for the gun held 50 rounds, however weighed a hefty 85 kilos when fully loaded. The guns had a practicable rate of fire of 150-200 rounds per minute, AA effective range was 3500m and on ground targets 2000m. The gunner had optical sights only and manual trigger and hydraulic assisted traverse and elevation, until the 1980s when the upgraded system appeared for targeting. The twin guns could also be dis-mounted from the chassis into a fixed ground position. The vehicle had a crew of five, Commander, driver, two loaders and a gunner, and normally operated in a division of 6 vehicles, plus a command vehicle for the battery of two divisions. 

The Praga had the nickname the lizard due to its code name during its development and was widely used in the ground role during the Yom Kippur war and the Yugoslavian wars, where Praga became the nickname for all anti aircraft SP cannons. 

Review NB models Praga 53/59

A superb offering of the Praga 53/59 30mm SP AA gun by NB models. This is the 1/72 version, there is also a 1/35th scale available too. 

A very crisp 3d print with very little clean up, a bit of light filing and sanding where the supports were, predominately on the underside of the pieces and on the back of the Gun. A little sanding and it was ready to assemble. Assembly was simple and straight forward and  every thing nicely together with no problems, I used super glue gel for assembly giving me time to square up wheels and the gun assembly.

My only critiques are, I would of liked the tyre treads on the wheels to be more detailed, a posable gun for the deployed AA role with removable and spare ammunition drums plus the racks and finally the crew compartment to be open so I could add crew, a gunner and loaders. 

I will mount this on a base to prevent it being knocked about whilst it is on the game table as I can see the mirrors and rear steps becoming detached quickly.  I also left off the clear canopy for painting as it can easily be placed after painting. One will join my Egyptians the other my Iraqis, and I will possibly get them painted before Christmas! 

The Praga 53/59 NB models kit fully laid out, a very crisp kit

Cabin detail is excellent, a few delicate parts…. A few bits to clean up but overall great

The NB models Praga 53/59 Guns and cabin front, the light mounts and mirrors are superb

NB models Praga cabin side, the tools are superb, as are the lights, handles and mirror

The Armoured glass cupola and gun sight…. 


AK interactive- vol III Arab revolutions and border wars. 
You tube training clip of the Praga 53/59 
Praga 53/59 walk around 
Yugoslavian wars use 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Terrain Tuesday - Desert terrain part two

 Desert terrain 

Last week as the Yom Kippur War bug continues to bite I completed some desert shrub foliage cover pieces that could be used for both 20mm and 28mm. Simple mdf base with coir hair mat and, home made tufts and some noch shrub. Quite effective and happy with the result, 30 odd more to come once I make some new tufts in the coming week or so. 

Desert tufts