Sunday, 22 April 2012

Finnish artillery Part 2 - Putilov gun & crew

Time to assemble my gun, but wait - what about a crew? (Much head scratching...)

This part of my plan is a little vague and really shows how much I have to learn in order span the divide between making models and playing war games. This model is very much an experiment in creating a war game gun section and as such I do have a senario in mind - mid-war Finnish - and so I need a crew that reflects this.

Problem is that there doesn't appear to be a 1/72 scale Finnish Continuation War artillery crew out there. TQD do a very nice set of figures for exactly this job and I bought some, but here's were my inexperience let me down. 20mm isn't the same as 1/72, in fact it's closer to 1/76 - this despite the fact that some people on the internet seem to be under the impression that these sizes are interchangeable. They're not (as I am sure any experience modeller would agree).

Anyway, I've had to do a bit of lateral thinking and come up with a usable alternative. As it happens HaT - who made the Putilov gun I am modelling here - also make a range of gun crew sets - WW1 British, Italian, Russian and Austrian. Of these the Austrian figures bear the closest resemblance to a Finnish WW2 crew, dressed in what is essentially a German style tunic and peaked field cap.*

Above: Two examples from the 1/72 HaT Austrian gun crew (grey plastic) and
the 20mm TQD Finnish gun crew (white metal). You can see that the 20mm
figures are just a little smaller.

There are some minor details I will have to modify, such as removing the cap cockaid and turning the WW1 style leg putties into calf length boots, but once painted in the Finnish blue-grey the effect should be acceptable.

The HaT figures aren't as detailed or expressive or even as attractively posed as the TQD ones, but they are the correct scale for the HaT field gun (I shall keep the SHQ ones for a 1/76 project). The other advantage of The HaT crew is that they come in a box of 32 figures for just £3.83 from The TQD figures were £1.95 for three.

Of course, when it comes a company of Finnish infantry I shall have to think of something else as the equipment used by the Finns made them pretty distinctive, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

Above: The constructed Putilov 76mm and gun crew ready for painting. The
extra figures in light grey are from Revell's 1/72 WW1 German Infantry set. These
wear the distinctive WW1 'coal scuttle' helmet - the M1916 Stahlhelm - which
was common in the mid-WW2 Finnish Army. I thought these figures could
further expand the variety of my gun crews.

Together with the gun the little group looks quite nice, the extra accessories which come with the HaT gun crew - like ammo crates and even a couple of spare shells - help to create a nice little scene. All that's left to do now is to paint them!

NEXT: Basing and painting the gun and crew

In fact the mid-war Finnish infantry used WW2 German style tunics (in blue-grey), a mix of German WW1 and Italian helmets, with Mosin-Nagant variant rifles and Suomi KP/-31 SMGs. The thicker blue-grey tunic gave way to a thinner lighter grey version in the summer.

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