Battlefront 15mm M3 Honey Stuart Armoured Squadron – British 8th Army 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade for Flames of War

Battlefront 15mm M3 Honey Stuart Armoured Squadron - British 8th Army 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade for Flames of War, 1:100, 1/100, Battlegroup, What a Tanker

The next of my Commonwealth 8th Army units, we have my Brethren from across the ditch – some models representing the 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade in Africa.

Battlefront 15mm M3 Honey Stuart Armoured Squadron - British 8th Army 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade for Flames of War, 1:100, 1/100, Battlegroup, What a Tanker

The Kiwis also notably ran quite a few Shermans in WWII, though I’d already painted a half-dozen Shermans as my first models for the 8th Army. Also from my research, it seems that the NZ forces didn’t begin using their mud grey/blue-black camouflage until they hit Italy, before that time period their tanks were simply painted in the pale desert buff shade – so essentially what I’d been using as my base for the British Commonwealth forces to this point. Since using Honeys and leaving them bare of camouflage appeared to be the only way I could include the Kiwis with a reasonable accuracy for the late ’41-mid-’43 time period my force is set in.

Battlefront 15mm M3 Honey Stuart Armoured Squadron - British 8th Army 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade for Flames of War, 1:100, 1/100, Battlegroup, What a Tanker

Being rather light tanks for this period of the war, they’ve been given diamond decals (well, squares applied on an angle) to represent the Recce vehicles being part of the Regimental HQ. NZ decals aren’t exactly easy to come by, if they do happen to actually exist, so I spent a few hours in Photoshop one afternoon putting some Silver Fern regiment decals together so I could run them through my printer.

Battlefront 15mm M3 Honey Stuart Armoured Squadron - British 8th Army 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade for Flames of War, 1:100, 1/100, Battlegroup, What a Tanker

These tanks also represented a bit of a first for me – the first time I’ve used milliput to add stowage to models. Bedrolls and tarps and duffel bags. Basically with these tanks being smaller than any of the other British tanks I’d done to this point, the official clip-and-glue stowage (aside from jerry cans) seemed a bit large and awkward. I did nick a couple of small crates from another kit, but if I wanted to add any more differentiation to what is otherwise a pretty samey group of tanks, it would have to be via milliput! I also used a mixture of the two upper hulls provided in the kits – I couldn’t really find a specific difference in my limited research on the additional stowage, though I did make sure to use the turret variant associated with British use – though most sources I found online don’t really distinguish between the M3 “Honey” in British/Commonwealth service and the M3 Stewart in U.S service.

Battlefront 15mm M3 Honey Stuart Armoured Squadron - British 8th Army 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade for Flames of War, 1:100, 1/100, Battlegroup, What a Tanker

Finally, I realised last night that two of the three commander models for these tank troops have moustaches! Possibly a bit of a stretch, but I’m thinking this might qualify those two tanks models at least as something for Roger’s “Mo’vember” painting challenge!

Battlefront 15mm Lee/Grant Armoured Squadron – British 8th Army Desert Rats for Flames of War

Battlefront 15mm Lee/Grant Armoured Squadron - British 8th Army Desert Rats for Flames of War, 1:100, 1/100, Battlegroup, What a Tanker

Here are the Grants for my British 8th Army force. This time, I’ve skipped over including individual shots of each of the Tank Troops, and am just giving you the gist of them with these main pics. The only differences between all of them are the exact stowage I’ve glued down. These were the final models I painted in October, and as you can see above, I decided to paint both the Lee and Grant variant turrets for each of the models to give me further flexibility in how I use them. In my research, reading up and viewing videos on them, I found a note somewhere that talked about how while the majority of the lend-lease tanks had the Grant turret, some in British service did indeed still have the smaller Lee turret with the commander’s machinegun, though the British troops at the time tended to refer to them all as “Grant”. What this tells me is that much like all the “what exact shade is field grey/dunkelgelb/etc” discussions and arguments, the actual truth of the matter on the ground in the field at the time was much less perfectly uniform than we often tend to think about things today from our desks.

While looking for camouflague options to paint my tanks, I found the above boxcover for a model kit, which looked interesting and really piqued my interest.

A little more digging found the above colour plate, with some unit and date references. Looking at the placement of the brown blotches, it seems like they’re both based on the same photograph, which I wasn’t able to locate. I did adjust the unit markings from the photos – I originally tried using yellow circle decals, but the ones I was using (PSC) were almost invisible, so I carefully removed themn off the first couple of models before they were fully set and replaced them with blue squares.

After having completed these Lee/Grants, I actually found that the M3  Stuart at Bovington is painted in the same pattern. Seeing how different the shades are for the brown across the three images I’m not too upset about having chosen a more orangey shade – which was closer to a different image that I seem to not have forgotten to save into my reference folder…. but then again – what exact shade is field grey?

Battlefront 15mm Lee/Grant Armoured Squadron - British 8th Army Desert Rats for Flames of War, 1:100, 1/100, Battlegroup, What a Tanker

Yet again, a pic to show the four sides of the camouflage pattern applied…

Battlefront 15mm Lee/Grant Armoured Squadron - British 8th Army Desert Rats for Flames of War, 1:100, 1/100, Battlegroup, What a Tanker

…and the “aerial” shot.

Battlefront 15mm Lee/Grant Armoured Squadron - British 8th Army Desert Rats for Flames of War, 1:100, 1/100, Battlegroup, What a Tanker

And now we have all twelve completed Grants on the “Desert” flats, alongside their alternative Lee turrets. Yes, I decided to paint a full armoured Squadron of them. When will I use them all? I guess I’ll have to have a real big game sometime this coming summer! 😀