About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Monday, June 13, 2016

A is for Aurora, Allied & Axis Armour, Amphibious Assault on Anzio and Anti-Aircraft AFV

Today's topic was the subject of the first ever post on this Blog (dated now!), and while a few people would have seen it while scrolling, when it was still on the first few pages, the last time I looked it still only had 26 targeted hits! As we clear the million hits and approach the 1,500th post there will be occasions when we revisit something that was pretty-well covered the first time, and this is one of those occasions...

I only have the three cards, I'm assuming there was at least a fourth, for the Patton, maybe (but unlikely) a fifth - with a jeep; or two? Clearly copies of Roco-minitanks, they are each attached singly to the same card, which is overprinted with the content's title.

The Anzio Beach kit, filled - in the American style - with lots of 'stuff' to make it more of a 'play set', reused the Pz.Kpfw.IV chassis for a Whirlwind self-propelled flack-platform, but the tracks and wheels were really buggered-about with, and no hidden carpet-wheels were provided.

Comparison between the treatments of the underside, I can only conclude that a second vehicle was copied with little or no recourse to the first design . . . and that's assuming the better one came first, maybe it was a latter improved addition. As far as I know the Flakpanzer never got a carded issue, and the Mark Four never got included in either of the two kit/sets which carried the other vehicles; Anzio Beach and Rat Patrol.

The Panther however, came carded AND in both kit-sets, with one at Anzio and two more trying to prevent a pair of 'Rat Patrol'  jeeps from conquering North Africa or; a bunch of tea-time entertainment, Hollywood forgettable's forgotten's take credit for the exploits of the LRDG (Long Range Dessert Group) and SAS!

Again the carded vehicle has hidden wheels while the kit version has none, but here - the Panther - is of better quality overall than the Wirbelwind, but still of poorer finish than the carded example.

Part counts of the kit vehicles are simple; indeed the jeep has more parts than any of the tracked vehicles and even the landing craft! The carded versions getting the additional two hidden wheel/axle combo's.

Again we see a drop-off of quality with the kit version, the two locating slots and the tabs that connect with them being particularly obvious, much rougher and needing cleaning to work properly, apart from the Pz.IV as noted above, all the others seem to be copies of the originals, that is: the carded copies of Roco were then copied for the kits...maybe someone had scrapped the moulds in a moment of madness, however as also touched on above: it may be that the carded ones were letter, cleaner re-designs?

When HO worlds collide!

The Aurora road-tanker in the US slot-racing scale of 1:64th HO, refuels the tank copied from a European 1:90th'ish railway HO which through the late sixties/1970's would be formalised at 1:87th, while an Airfix 'tankie' in a nominal 1:76th HO/OO looks on, he's actually toward the OO/1:72nd end of that particular HO scaling!

Yet they all look OK together . . . the AFV a bit small, but . . . who cares? A few more figures spread about would pull everything together a bit better.

The Patton which I assume had a carded version, these are the two colours of the Anzio Beach sets (the Germans always in grey), and neither have carpet-wheels. Rather anachronistic for Anzio, it was nevertheless the star of many 1960's/'70's war movies (sometimes on both sides . . . the Germans always in grey!), courtesy of the Spanish, Greek, Turkish or Portuguese armies!

Below them the equally anachronistic M38 (?) jeeps, which I suspect didn't get a carded version. Interestingly, the rather tatty Rat Patrol one at the back is a different moulding from the two Anzio variants, with tabs on the otherwise finer windscreen, so again; to get it on the Rat Patrol frame/runner ('sprue') it was re-cut.

The final vehicle from the two kit-sets; A landing craft, which would look more at home on an African river-crossing (sans pom-pom!) than a WWII beach assault landing, but it's a useful asset to war-gamers none the less!

Aurora - rather cheekily - actually included the copy of the Airfix 1st version US Marine's rubber boat in their vehicle total for the Anzio kit, but I'm proceeding on the assumption  you know what that looks like! If you don't: it's on the Airfix Blog.



Ah, The Rat Patrol. The British never really promoted their role in restoring democracy to Europe the way the Americans via Hollywood rewrote history. When the BBC bought The Rat Patrol British veterans finally spoke up at the insult the show perpetuated and the waste of money spend on it. (B)

The Ferrymen said...

Hi Hugh,
When I bought my Rat Patrol set back in the late 60's/early 70's, it only had 1 Panther, but also included a PzIVf2. Strangely, neither of the tanks had a center post in the turret, so they had to be glued to the hulls. Also I can't tell from your pic whether that back jeep has the central pintle-mounted .30-cal. MG; both of mine did.
I still have both jeeps, a few figures, the sandbag emplacement, all of the sand dunes and the oasis with palm trees (minus several palm leaves). Has to be some of the longest-owned kit in my wargaming collection.
Thanks for a blast from the past.

Hugh Walter said...

John...after publishing I was putting the article on the dongle and found the Rat Patrol scans, which show two Panthers...but the blurb mentions a Panther and a Panzer, so I think you're right and I'm wrong on that one! They were issued '66 and '67 (Anzio), but the beachhead set was the better seller by a country mile and was still in the shops in the late 70's...indeed I think there was a very faded one in the window of the model shop at the bottom of manor park in 1989! And I think mine are missing turret locating-studs too...but they are in storage, the above is based on two Anzio's and loose bits.

Brian...I came to know of it from my mate at school David Anderson (we ran away from school together one day, and got dobbed into the Police by the Gypsies on the Heath!), he said he had an Anzio Beach set with tanks and oil drums and trees and everything...being a hard-core Airfix fan I wouldn't believe him, so the next term he brought a few of the boxes, bales, drums and tank-traps for me...which I still have, with their '75/76 paint on!

Hugh Walter said...

PS - yes they both have the pintle-mount, but it's just a wreak shown for the colour variation!