Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Showcase: Universal Carriers

These models gave me as much trouble as any other models I have painted. Don't get me wrong, the Universal Carrier models from Battlefront for Flames of War are nice little models. My issues with these models stemmed from some new techniques I tried and trying to make the models match the rest of my 11th Armoured Division company. In this post I will share some pictures of my finished platoon of Universal Carriers.

Like the Sherman company commander and 2iC I recently painted, I started painting this platoon several months ago. At that time I airbrushed the green on 7 shermans, a platoon of Stuarts, and this Universal Carrier platoon. The idea was that they would then look the same when finished. Airbrushed layers are not fully opaque and I had used a white base coat to lighten up the overall look. Since April I have changed my painting quite a lot and wanted to add a few more highlights with the airbrush. Unfortunately I ended up with a model that look a lot different as the highlights desaturated the green colour. You can see the unsuccessful attempt below.
The line highlights are too light.

A different colour than the Sherman. I tried using a lot of filters to correct the colour.
Eventually, after trying many layers of filters and washes to change the colour, I sprayed the model again and repainted it. Fortunately with the airbrush the layers are quite thin so I didn't lost much detail on the model. I painted the model in a similar way to my other recent 11th. Armoured Division tanks. I airbrushed a white primer coat, airbrushed Vallejo Model Colour Russian Uniform, added some Vallejo Model Air Olive Drab shadows, and then added a little highlight with some Russian Uniform mixed with Vallejo Model Air Sand.

This platoon was quite time consuming to paint. I painted all of the crew separately and so I essentially painted 10 infantry figures in addition to painting the carriers twice. I wanted to spend a lot of time on them as I thought the crew could really make them stand out. I added a model from a Lorried Rifle platoon and a tank commander from a Sherman blister to mix up the crew a bit.

I got some help from people on the Flames of War forum (leadgend, lap1964, 1stBn, Nigel Maddaford) to get the decals correct. The Universal Carriers were in the 8th Motor Battalion or in the Infantry Brigade and not actually a part of the 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry. For this reason the models have the 61 on green arms of service decal showing they are from the 4th Battalion King's Shropshire Light Infantry (still a part of the 11th Armoured Division). The decals themselves are from Dom's Decals.

I believe this image is from The WW2 Tommy by Martin Brawley, an excellent reference.

 I modelled one of the carriers with a PIAT anti-tank gun. I just used a small piece of plastic rod and cut out a small section and attached it to a cut down gun attached to the crew. It isn't perfect but it will work as the alternative is buying a Sawn of Daimler model to get the PIAT attachment.

I recently had the chance to use this platoon in a game. I've found some people who play a short ways away and so had my first game since moving. The carriers weren't too useful as I was playing an armoured Panzer company. They did have the chance to shoot the PIAT at an 8-rad on the objective at the end of the game. They should be useful as a cheap platoon for recce (as my Stuarts seem to get involved in a lot of fighting each game and not enough lifting Gone to Ground).

Recce during Operation Market Garden.

Building in the background that will be the subject of another blog post in a few weeks.

That's all for this post. Any comments and constructive criticism are greatly appreciated. Thanks for visiting!

Some more 11th Armoured Division posts that may be of interest:
Platoon of shermans
More shermans
Heavy mortars
Bedford lorries
Command Shermans
Universal carriers


  1. I can't criticise at all - they look amazing mate.

    After doing a little research online, I found the same expensive issue with the PIATs on these things. What a pain! My solution was to get some Peter Pig PIAT troopers, magnetise their feet and stick magnets in the passenger area of one of the carriers - that way I can take out the PIAT fellow if my list doesn't include him.

    Wish I'd thought of the tank commander idea though - lovely touch!

  2. The PIAT troops from Peter Pig sound like a good solution. I wish they had more pictures of their models on their site so I could see the quality.

    I put in the tank commander as I get bored with the same poses on each model (like artillery crews). I wish now that I had put a few more rifles in the back of the carriers.

  3. These are smashing - thanks for sharing! I'm particularly keen as mine - when I get around to them - will be 4KSLI too.

    Interesting thoughts on that PIAT too...

    1. The PIAT will not always be used, but if I have extra points it can provide some occasional fun. I think a .50cal MG is more useful overall though.


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