Wednesday, May 05, 2010

British Armoured Platoon - Sherman tanks and Firefly VC

I recently bought the Flames of War, Late War British Guards Armoured Sherman platoon boxed set, to give my commando troop a little armoured support.

They were assembled with Araldite 2 part epoxy glue, undercoated black with GW spray, then sprayed with Battlefront's Late War British armoured spray paint. After this all the detailing of stowage and tracks etc. was painted.

Then came the tricky bit - the decals. How to apply them best, and exactly where!?

The bit of "how" was not so difficult; I painted the areas where decals were to go with Humbrol decal fix, and let this dry. Then added decals (after trimming them with scalpel hobby knife) by water-slide method. Then applied FOW/Vallejo decal softener, allowed to dry and then applied another layer of decal fix. Then tanks were varnished in Polyurethane gloss, and finally Vallejo matt-varnish.

Oh, I also glued in the rare-earth magnets to hold the turrets safely in place. These were a bit fiddly and it was tricky getting them right way up. Get them the wrong way round and they repel, not attract!

The interesting bit was learning where to put all the decals.

The boxed set pictures nicely showed the places where the Guards Division symbol, white eye on a blue shield, and AoS or Arms of Service number, the 53, denoting Armoured, went.

After several explorations through the helpful files on the FoW website, and asking many questions to the knowledgeable forum folks, I managed to work out that the allied star marking went on rear engine deck, which I was fairly sure of anyway.

Next came the tactical signs (tacsigns) These are often depicted as various coloured hollow shapes; triangles, diamonds, squares or circles. These normally go on the sides of the turret. However the Guards followed the convention of applying these markings to the hull sides. Also they normally filled in the hollow shape with black, and added a numeral to it. So I had figured out where to put the black squares, with blue edging.

Lastly I added the WD or war department markings; a white number, preceded by a "T" (for tank). I had often seen these on the sides of tanks in pictures, but some confusion occurred here, as one forum poster suggested this may have been a radio call sign that may be added to rear of turret. So I ended up putting one on side of hull and one on rear of turret. At least that way I know which turret goes with which tank and I don't get any magnet repulsions!

So here we have the platoon:

And here's a very handy reference from the FoW website.

The Guards Armoured division took part in may battles through Normandy and onwards, perhaps most famously portrayed in the movie "A bridge too far", with Michael Caine, as Vandeleur, leading the tanks of XXX Corps as the "garden" part of Operation Market Garden.

A good reference is here, again on the FoW site:

Guards Armoured


  1. I'm loving your blog, i like the British Napoleonic Battalion you created. Very nice work indeed.

  2. Thanks, glad you are enjoying it. I have not done much with the Napoleonics after completing these units. My local gaming group couldn't seem to settle on one rules set to adopt for the period, and as Horse and Musket wasn't really my preferred one, I lost interest waiting. Recently Black Powder rules have come along which may catch my attention. The thing with the Napoleonics also is mind numbing frustration you get painting endless battalions of red jackets and gray pants and fiddly white straps... Not sure whether I'll get back to painting up more units. I'm happy at the moment flicking back and forth between 15mm WWII with Flames of War, and GWs Lord of the Rings


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