Monday, 20 February 2017

From LeeH - Italian Ariete Tank Company - (60 points)

Time for a change of direction! Today's post moves me away from the Hellenistic Period to the North African battles of the Second World War. Up to now I have focused on the battles of 1942 leading up to and including El Alamein. But for the Challenge I am moving back a couple of years to the opening moves of the North African campaign and the British Counter offensive against the Italian invaders of Egypt. Operation Compass has always fascinated me, not least because the British victory was so complete and (in some quarters at least) so unexpected.

Ariete Tank Company


I have started by painting Italian tanks and have chosen to depict vehicles from the Ariete Division. This company has three platoons of M13/40 Medium Tanks, Two Platoons of M11/39 Light Tanks and a reconnaissance platoon of L3/35 Tankettes. Italian nomenclature during this period is easy to understand with the weight in tons followed by the year it entered service (so the M11/39 weighed 11 tons and entered service in 1939).

M13/40 Medium Tanks

The M13/40 featured such modern developments as a rotating turret!

The earlier M11/39's only had a limited traverse gun mounted in the hull.


Some of the tanks of the Ariete Division had a a really neat splinter camouflage pattern during this period and so I have opted to paint these to that scheme. All the tanks also have white air recognition crosses on their turret roofs so the Italian Air force does not bomb them by mistake. I've never quite understood the value of these markings because any symbol that identifies friendly units is surely just as valuable to enemy aircraft!

Add captionL3/35 Tankettes were tidy two man coffins with little to recommend them.

Italian tanks of this period were woefully inadequate compared to their British and German counterparts. Armour and armament were significantly inferior and the Italian army in North Africa suffered generally from poor logistical support and command. Having said that the tank crews were often very brave and showed great elan in battle, befitting their elite status. The Ariete Division went on to be a vital if often unrecognised part of Rommel's forces in the coming years.



Painting these as one big batch has had two effects. First it means I have been able to achieve a consistent look across the whole company. But secondly it has meant I am now way ahead of the schedule I set myself at the beginning of the Challenge. In fact there is a very real chance I will run out of things to paint before the finale in March! I may have to get my thinking cap on and hunt through my lead mountain for something else to work on. Unheard of!

Thirty tanks at 2 points each will hurtle me across my personal finishing line of 500 points. Combined with my recent Bonus round entry and other projects in the pipeline I'm on schedule to break my personal best in the three challenges I have participated in. Completely unheard of!

MilesR: Avanti! what a great looking formation.  A very change change of pace within your scale of choice.

24 comments:

  1. running out of things to paint... result!

    grand stuff Lee

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    1. You know the old saying that if a wargamer paints his last model he'll expire on the spot. Lucky I have a trade show to attend at the weekend...time for some more ill advised impulse buys!!

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    2. Better wrap yourself up in cottonwool until Saturday and make sure someone else tests all your food and drink before you consume it - if you don't have any unpainted lead there is a serious risk of tempting fate ;)

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  2. Great work on the little tanks and tankettes Lee :)

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  3. Tiny Masterpieces, quality work

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  4. They look great, I like the basing and the big rocks here and there. I might have to try that.

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  5. Lovely work and an interesting period, all ready to be pitted against Wavell and O'connor!
    Best Iain

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  6. I've never been much of a micro armour fan, but your work does tempt me at times. Excellent little tanks, and really like the basing. I am also removed by Operation Compass, there's a great set of scenarios put out by the Lardies.

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  7. These are great! I'm a big fan of how you label your bases.

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  8. Not enough points for these. Great job

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  9. Your on roll this challenge Lee! Wonderful work!

    Christopher

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  10. Terrific tiny tanks, Lee! These will look great massed for action on the tabletop.

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  11. Excellent. The addition of the bull dust is top work as well. Chers

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  12. Very, very nice indeed - they will be a lot of fun to field on the table.
    Congrats on making your 500 point target Lee!

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  13. Little Italian tanks are always a great sight and these are very well done indeed.

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  14. Grand to see the Italians get some love too and in such an eye pleasing way to!

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  15. Great work Lee - amazing to see the little tankettes done so well at this scale.

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  16. Nice to see your return to North Africa, Lee!
    I quite like your basing with the identity plates as well as the vehicle plumes. You just keep refining them! ;)

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  17. Fabulous work Lee. I've always liked your approach to micro-armour. Also, congratulations on hitting your points target - well done!

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  18. Lovely work, even in the small scale, the camo scheme works. I think the turret air recognition symbols are very comforting when higher tells you that you enjoy air superiority. Discovering otherwise, not so comforting.

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  19. Wow how cool, so much detail, how do you do it.....?

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