In my defence, it was unplanned and unintentional as it began because of an unscheduled stop in Bridlington while making my way home on the train. I mistakenly caught the Bridlington train instead of my usual Scarborough train, so ended up having to pass and hour or so until the next train home arrived.
What to do?
I knew there was a model store in Bridlington, which I hadn't had a chance to visit yet, so I decided the least I could do was to try and find it so I knew where to go when I had time for a proper visit. Oh, how we fool ourselves!
I have to say, if you get a chance and are in Bridlington make the effort to go to Cropper Models, on Lansdowne Rd, as it is truly a veritable Alladin's Cave (their website - www.croppersmodels.co.uk - doesn't do their amount of stock justice).
No sooner was I inside ("just a quick look") than I spotted this on the top of a pile of Mirage kits...
I mean, it's so rare that you actually come across a proper kit of a WW2 Finnish vehicle that it's just too good to pass on. Even though I am a little luke-warm about the T-26 light tank the fact that was an accurate model of a specific Finnish version, with nice box art showing the Finn's three-colour camo meant I caved in like a chocolate teapot!
The Finnish T-26
Now this is an interesting tank, even though by 1944, it was horrendously out-matched. Having said that, the Soviets themselves were not above throwing obsolete armour against the Finns (reserving their best stuff for use against the Germans). In fact, the last T-26 captured from the Soviets by the Finns actually took place in August 1944! Unbelievable.
That said, I have been more interested in the more 'useful' tanks that the Finns captured - like the KV-1s, T-34s and T-34/85s. But the fact is, the T-26 (in it's many variants) was still the most numerous tank in the Finnish inventory - and it continued in the Finish inventory many years after the war.
Interesting note: The Finns were not the only ones to field obsolete tanks at this late stage in the war. In the Lapland War, where the Finns (to put it bluntly) turned on their former allies, Germany, their old T-26s found themselves up against German Somua and Hotchkiss tanks (which the Germans had captured during the fall of France)!
The one major attraction of this model, however, is that for once it is a good one. This Mirage kit is highly regarded for both its accuracy and quality, so for the very first time I will actually be making a premium quality kit. (No fettling, no tinkering, no DIY 'improvements' - just a straight build.)
You can find lots more about the Finn's use of the T-26 by following these links:
• Andreaslarka.net - Dedicated to Finnish WW2 Armour (lovely colour reference)
• Jaegerplatoon.net - Finnish Vickers 6 ton and T-26E tanks
• Jaegerplatoon.net - Soviet T-26 variants captured (and used) by the Finns