Sunday, January 6, 2019

'Reconnaissance' from BenitoM: British Armour Leading Forward

My project for this Bonus Round will have a very British flavour and of course related to my WW2 British Airborne project this year. Let me introduce you my trio for this round.

The first is a Humber Car, widely used by the armoured divisions in the roles of command vehicle and also for scout purposes. In this case, the model is representing the vehicle of  Brigadier J.O.E. Vandeleur (aka Michael Cane), who led the spearhead of the XXX Corps across the infamous Hell’s Highway in Holland September 1944.

The model has the marks of the 3rd Battalion Irish Guards (32nd Guards Division) who together with the 2nd Armoured Battalion Irish Guards were the leading elements of advance towards Eindhoven, Nijmegen and finally (failed) Arnhem.


This model is a resin + metal kit from Warlord Games and will be part of my support elements of the British Airborne platoon.

The second model for the bonus round is this Cromwell tank.

The tank has the markings of the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment of the 11th Armoured Division (Black Bulls) and the white cirlce in the turret indicates that it belongs to the C Squadron. 

This is the Warlord plastic kit (the resin has been discontinued) and although presenting good detail, generally I still prefer the Rubicon models (sadly no Cromwells yet in their catalogue).

The Cromwell will also represent my first entry (not the last!) for the What a Tanker! contest (hi Rich, hi Nick).

My breakfast mug for those really hard working days
My third and last entry for the bonus round is the eponymous Willys jeep of the famous 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron led by Major Gough. This was the first unit to engage in combat with the Germans defenders a few hours after glider-landing, failing to achieve its key objective, the bridge at Arnhem over the Rhine river.

The jeep depicts the well-known “Mickey Mouse” camouflage pattern used by the British and shown in many contemporary photos of the Market Garden   operation.

The model is a superb resin and metal kit made by Warlord, which include the four-man crew as presented here and a nice decal sheet of the 1st Airborne.

In addition to painting, the most challenging aspect of this entry for me has been untangling and understanding how the British war-era vehicles marking systems worked, especially for the lighter vehicles.
After much researching and gazing in Internet I found a couple of interesting sites that I share now you.
The first is a real and amazing trove of information called “Arnhem Jim”, curated by a  retired US Naval officer. In 2012 he posted a very detailed and well research report on how the Bren Carriers and the Jeeps brought by the British Airlanding Division were marked. Lots of original sources and contemporary photos, quite inspiring to provide authenticity for a project like mine.
The second source is this short but very clarifying video in YouTube made by Fog of War called Understanding British Vehicle Markings.
Finally, the Flames of War website  has extensive documentation about the different British Armour units like for example the post on the 11th Armoured Division linked here.

All models have been painted using my recently acquired skills with the airbrush, a fantastic tool to reach a new painting level; I know airbrushing can be fearsome for many but I can assure you that it is easier than you may think and, if I regret something, is not to have tried it before. 

These models also have been my first attempt to use AK pigments for the weathering phase. I may have gone too far is some cases but I found the final result to be more "natural" than my previous attempts with piants using the dry-brushing technique. As with the airbrush, I strongly advise wargame painters to test and experiment with the pigments, don't be afraid. 
Finally, my score for this entry would be calculated as follows:
Bonus round 50 points
Humber 20 points
Cromwell  20 points
Airborne Jeep 20 points + 4 x 5 points crew = 40
Total: 130 points
I don't know if the trailer and the tank and Humber crews will also merit addditional points, so I'll leave this to the discretion of Lord Campbell of the Snow.
I hope you enjoy the work presented today and find the references useful for some of your projects.


  1. Really fine work on these vehicles Benito. Really enjoying this project.

  2. Fantastic work Benito, this is shaping up to be an amazing collection - prepping for the CoC Arnhem supplement? The airbrushing and the pigments look great, particularly on the recce jeep.

  3. Great looking vehicles, and I love all the terrain in the background, you have a great collection there

  4. Fantastic models and pictures. You have done a lot of research and are putting new skills to great use on this project.

  5. They look great Benito!
    I did almost the same entry a few challenges ago :-)

  6. Superb work Benito! I love that jeep and crew.

  7. Superb work Benito.
    British WW2 armour markings always leave me baffled...

  8. Really nice! Great stuff. cheers

  9. Excellent job, Benito

    You have my vote, sir

  10. You'll see I painted the HUmber car up, too. I think yours is the better job. And ther Cromwell is one of my favourite tanks, so a great entry.

  11. Fantastic painting as I worked my way down they just got better and better, the Jeep and trailer are particularly fine, lovely work!
    Best Iain

  12. Lovely work, looking forwards to seeing your WWII collection in one shot, it will look great.

  13. Many thanks as usual for your very kind comments, glad you like it. These are my first steps with the airbrush, I started just last summer working with this fantastic tool. Now I'm experimenting (this is the right word) with other products like the pigments and the streaking effects.

    In relation to my research, this hobby delivers a lot of pleasure to me not just on painting and playing games abut also for the study of the historical operations, the uniforms, the vehciles, etc.

  14. That's lovely work, Benito - such attention to detail! Bang on theme as well!