This was a bit of fun, picked up on a whim at the IPMS Nats (in the UK). I
thought it would be nice to get something built quickly. A very nice kit, well
moulded. The kit is finished as chassis 542, but Im dubious about the Unit markings
(kit supplied). Most other kits have a single III flanked by two kreuze, but
I havent seen a contemporary photo of 542, so who can say I m wrong? Thats one
of the great beauties of WWI modelling! As usual, weathering is done with pastels
although this time I used washes of inks. Plenty of dry brushing to simulate
panel fade and highlight the detail (although I tried not to go too Verlinden-barmy).
The Italian Reparti d'assalto (Assault Units, or “Arditi”) were the most elite force in the Italian Army. In Italian, the word "ardito", means brave, bold or audacious. Organized in the summer of 1917 by Col. Bassi, these special forces units were assigned the tactical role of breaching the enemy defences and attacking in depth in order to prepare the way for a broad infantry advance.
The Arditi were considered a separate combat arm from the infantry. In contrast, the Austrian and German "Sturmtruppen" although having a similar combat role, were regular infantry units. The Arditi were generally hand picked from volunteers. The Arditi became an inspiration for the rest of the Italian Army and their chant was “A chi l’onore? A noi!” (Who deserves the glory? We do!).
These are 20 mm IT Figures, which unfortunately are not that accurate. The Arditi used Moschetto carbines, not the usual rifles with which the figures are equipped. They also had open-necked tunics, which are not apparent on the figures. However, they look good! Two of the Arditi are modified with French Dunand visors on their helmets, with additional strap-on cheek pieces. These were for additional protection against the stone splinters thrown up by artillery in the rocky and mountainous terrain of much of the Italian front. They are simple Milliput additions.
The Fiat-Revelli M1914 was the Italy's first mass produced machine gun. Weighing 17kg the 6.5mm calibre Fiat-Revelli was water-cooled and utilised a 50-round magazine (later 100) comprised of ten columns of five rounds loaded via the gun's left side. Unsurprisingly given such a loading method the Fiat-Revelli suffered from frequent jamming; nevertheless it remained the Italian army's standard weapon for the duration of the war. The Fiat-Revelli was theoretically capable of firing some 400-500 rounds per minute and was accurate to 1,500 metres; in practice it fired approximately 150-200 rounds per minute.
The figures used in this mini-diorama are 20mm figures from IT Figures, now sold through Lancashire Games in the UK. They tend to have rather large hands but look ok when painted. Unfortunately the ammunition handler has a box of belt ammunition, which is incorect as the Fiat-Revelli used clips, but this was too fiddly to correct. The figures are painted using a combination of enamels and Vallejo acrylics.
This diorama in 1/300 scale depicts the Suvla Bay landings in August 1915 during the Gallipoli campaign. The earlier April landings were simple affairs and included disasters such as the deployment of over 2,000 troops down gangways from the beached collier River Clyde, which resulted in wholesale slaughter. The August landings at Suvla were more sophisticated and made use of armoured landing craft, or "Beetles", and showed a level of sophistication that was the start of modern amphibious warfare.
The model is a combined effort built by me, Mike Cooper and Richard Marks (all of Berkshire Scale Replicas) for a club display. In fact Mike Cooper did the lion's share of the work as he scratchbuilt the Beetles and was responsible for the superb seascape and groundwork. I painted all the figures, which are from the Irregular Miniatures 6mm range, and Richard added some additional details.
The diorama has a personal connection for me, because my grandfather served in the 3rd County of London Yeomanry (the Sharpshooters). They were part of the 2nd Mounted Division which took part in the Battle of Scimitar Hill after they landed at Suvla. This division (which was dismounted) advanced through the smoke in closed column formation and got cut to pieces by Turkish shrapnel, my grandfather being one of the wounded. We should never forget the sacrifice made by previous generations.
This is the Emhar Whippet in 1/72 finished as A388. This tank was used by the White forces during the Russian civil war. This particular tank was part of the 2nd Detachment, 1st Tank Division in Wrangel's army operating in the Crimea. It was somewhat unique because it had a 37mm cannon installed in the front machine gun position. It took part in the battle of Kakhovka where it was disabled and captured by the Reds. Originally named "Crocodile", it was renamed "Siberian" and although the name is not visible in any photos, I assumed it was likely to have this somewhere on the tank. I added this on the right hand side by cutting up and altering the Russian text included in the Emhar kit.
The kit is finished out of the box except for the addition of the 37mm Hotchkiss, which came from the RPM FT17 kit, and the frames for the stowage boxes, which were scratchbuilt out of plastic strip and stretched sprue (I was too lazy to build the actual stowage boxes!). I chose to finish the kit in brown rather than green, although the colour of British tanks of the period is an area of some debate (all Russian tanks were imported). The brown is Humbrol 29 darkened with a little 98, as recommended by Mike Cooper. The figures are from Presiser sets, slightly converted and re-posed.