Miniature Ordnance Review looks at the world of historical and fantasy miniatures wargaming and model building. From 15mm Flames of War, to Warhammer 40K, to 1/35th scale tanks, with some potential surprises on the horizon - you'll find them here!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Polish Vickers Tank for the Black Brigade

The Vickers Mark E, or "Six-Ton" tank, was a privately developed tank developed by Vickers in the United Kingdom. Though the British Army rejected the design, it was widely exported to other nations in Europe (and even a few in Asia!) with Poland, Finland, and the Soviet Union becoming the largest users of the design.

In the USSR, the design was modified and became the T-26 tank, of which over 12,000 were produced. The Finns used a few Vickers during the Winter War with the Soviets, to poor effect, but then modified their tanks and several captured Soviet examples as the T-26E for use in the Continuation War. Poland used the Vickers and also used it as a platform for the development of the indigenous 7TP tank. The Poles encountered issues with the air-cooled Puma engine overheating, so they added large air intakes on either side of the superstructure.

Unfortunately no good 15mm example of the Polish Vickers tank is available (at least that I've found). So I've set about converting a master which I hope to cast up to supply the Black Brigade with its light armored support. For the chassis, I've started with the Battlefront T-26 obr 1933 (SBX21) as it provides a reasonable platform for modification. It even includes the shield over some of the engine deck screens. The first step was to remove the side stowage boxes and add the air intake structure so characteristic of the Polish tanks.

I still need to add screens to the front of the intakes, but I'm combing my bits box as I'd rather not have to scratch build the screens. As you can see from the photo below, the air intakes integrate well with the tracks of the T-26

The next step was to begin working on the superstructure of the tank itself, as the T-26 and the earlier Vickers have several differences. I removed most of the detail on the upper hull front and replaced the plates with thin plastic card. I'd considered simply using a pounce wheel to replicate the bolt pattern on the plastic card, but it didn't integrate well with the other bolt detail on the miniature. I therefore bit the bullet and began punching out individual rivets using my sub-micron punch set and the smallest punch I have. As you can see from the photo below, the rivets are exceedingly tiny!

So far I've got the front superstructure done, and now I'm moving on to the air intake (which is similarly riveted). I put plastic down first as it is far easier to bond styrene to styrene than styrene to resin. Dealing with a liquid styrene glue is far more forgiving than superglue!

I'm hoping to get the master ready to cast by Friday. I still need to make up a turret for the Polish 47mm gun single turret version, but that should be fairly simple by comparison as it is a basic conical turret. For the twin-turreted version I'm going to use the turrets from the Battlefront 7TP (PL050) miniature.  I'm just going to use the T-26 tracks as I have several extras now that I've performed surgery on a few of the models!

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