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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Spanish Civil War: Vehicles!

I finally finished my first batch of Spanish Civil War vehicles. I bought most of these back with my first Minairons order (from Scale Creep) and have been painting them in stages. I finished the paint on the T-26 a couple of weeks ago, but I only now got to finish it up with weathering powders and mud in the tracks.

All four are Minairons kits. The tanks are plastic (possibly Plastic Soldier Company, like the AT Guns?), and the armored cars are resin. The tanks went together easy, and the kits are very inexpensive, but the final product felt... less than?  Honestly, if this were All Quiet on the Martian Front, I'd be raving about the quality, but Minairons sets a higher standard, and those tanks just don't have the same level of detail as Minairons metal kits do.   The resin however... easily the best resin vehicles I've come across. Surprisingly little flash (for resin), little sanding needed, and no bubbles or cavities like in most of the resin kits I've seen. I'm very impressed.

UNL-35 Armored Car. I've read that some consider this the most successful armored car of the war. I don't know about that, but it has two machine guns so whatever...

The rivets and detailing on this resin model are really quite nice. Even my wife made a comment when she noticed it (still unpainted) about what a nice model it was.

"Bilbao" Armored Car.  I have a soft-spot for this one. A clunky "Tiznao" vehicle (so in CoC it's "unreliable" and "easily catches fire"), the Bilbao can also take 6 passengers. Who also can catch fire.

The Panzer I - while a less successful tank than the Russian made T-26, these were still in service for the invasion of Poland and made up about 1/5 of the German tank strength for the Invasion of France. What strikes me is how tiny they are. One might almost call them "cute". Except dual machine guns don't like being called cute.

And finally, the tank of the Spanish Civil War - the T-26b. Imported in droves by the Russians, so many of these were captured by the Nationalists that by the later stages of the war they were able to field an entire battalion of them. That's the way of fascism though - "hey, you have better stuff than me. I'm coming over. Hope you like bratwurst."

I used some Martha Stewart (clearance!) "pumice gel" mixed with burnt umber pigment as my base for the mud in the tracks, and played around a bit with other pigments on the hull and for detail. Those buggers are hard to control!  I overdid it in a few places, but thankfully it seems that my matte spray blew some off and blended the rest far more than expected. An accidental bonus, as the vehicles ended up better than they looked last night.

One thing I'm not too keen on with the T-26 is the plastic half-figure they included. It just doesn't stand next to the Minairons figures at all. I'd break it off, but I lost the tank hatch. That's ok, I'm working on a second T-26 and I just tossed the figure. 


  1. Great stuff! The UNL looks tiny though - in the first photo almost like 15mm alongside the 1/72 scale Bilbao. Probably just perspective distortion.

    Why were so many T26s lost intact? Robert Alexander's "The Anarchists In The Spanish Civil War Vol 1, pg 170 suggests a clue: " Mariano Casasus Lacasta of the 25th Division, recalled an incident in the battle of Teruel, in which his unit was ordered to go up a sharp incline and take the city cemetery. They were accompanied by three tanks, driven by Soviet soldiers. Following what they claimed to be their orders, the Soviet tankmen refused to move beyond a certain point, whereupon the 25th Division soldiers got them out of the tanks, recruited their own
    Spanish tank drivers, and completed the push up the hill and took the cemetery."

  2. The UNL is pretty tiny, and the 3-man crew was probably very uncomfortable. The Bilbao however is also a transport, holding 6 men beyond the 3-man crew. It's essentially a truck next to a sedan.

    That is an awesome story, btw. Love it. As for why so many were captured, there was also the fact of them getting bogged down, flipping over in the hilly terrain, and of course breakdowns, slipped treads, etc. Most of that is easily fixable, but not under enemy fire.

    I've also heard of one incident (although I can't find the source now) early in the war where Nationalists managed to raid and steal almost a whole delivery of tanks intact. Now that I'm trying to remember it, I'm not even sure if it was a intercepted ship at sea or on land.

    It is also conceivable that I don't know what I'm talking about. ;)