More Desert Kit and Equipment from Scratch

These two Pound Store jeeps have been converted into Jeep ‘Trucks’ for my desert raiding Force. Extra stowage, fuel tanks, winches and spare (button) tyres came from what was to hand in the scraps box, in keeping with their pound store origins.

The old tiny version 1 Airfix as crew do look a little undersized – probably less so with version 2 Airfix which are slightly larger – but if you think of them as desert trucks like the old LRDG Chevrolets, it kind of works.

Jeep trucks, windscreens trimmed – with LMG crew in place in game and without, with crew.

Monday Update: Responding to comments (below), trimming the windscreen does work to rescale it. It was not easily possible to remove the whole windscreen thing.

Goggles and tiny windscreens on this LRDG Matchbox kit.

They started life in the pound store, a Christmas gift from a charity shop, the usual mismatch mixture of scales.

This shows how the jeeps started off. The Airfix Centurion China copy tanks would be in scale for the vintage OO HO Airfix figures.

Improvised oil tanks from toothpaste lids – reused, not recycled!

I wanted to mock up fast a desert storage facility at a railway yard / airfield. Something for Airfix Commandos to blow up. These party popper storage tanks (first conversion attempts) are a bit wonky, as cutting off the necks and inserting this down into the flimsy body did not work as cleanly as I wanted.

The mysterious tarpaulin covered or camouflaged shapes are offcut blocks of wood, wrapped in some light brown serviette tissues I found in a cafe and glued with PVA wood glue.

A few additional figures that might prove useful, so I have painted and rebased some useful figures.

Desert Arabs from the early Airfix set, painted about 40 years ago and rebased.

A few Airfix Luftwaffe ground crew make good train staff, aircraft mechanics and oil tanks staff.

A handy antitank gun from the Airfix ready made solid plastic vehicle range, the gun that accompanied the halftrack. A little surprise or an extra bit of protection for the facilities at Wadi Yu Min.

These all add some potential for these desert raid scenarios.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN on 12 January 2020.

Aerial Reconnaissance Photos Western Desert 1941

Gridded aerial reconnaissance photo from one of our Aircraft. What can you see?

1941: Somewhere in the desert, North Africa

One of our plucky Reconnaissance pilots has noticed some enemy activity around one of the old railway halts on a tired old desert branch line that served a pre-war oil prospecting expedition and abandoned desert air strip.

Some building work and fresh build up of stores appear to be in progress.

Using the photos, a sketch map is quickly being prepared by the Intelligence Officers for some of the misfits in our LRDG (D) Long Range Desert Group (Demolition section) to scout it out and if necessary, “light it up” and disrupt the railway.

Civilians or service personnel may be present. Local people should not be attributable for blame or harmed due to LRDG (D) actions. Enemy personnel should be taken prisoner where possible for interrogation.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN 1 January 2020

B.P.S. Blog Post Script

Intelligence reports suggest that some armoured vehicles may be present and there is the possibility of concealed weapons pits.

That Vintage Airfix Afrika Korps Gun 1962

My recent post about my Vintage Airfix Version 1 Afrika Korps received a nostalgic welcome from many readers who started their wargaming hobby (career?) with these slight plastic 20mm figures.

The box listings suggest the kneeling officer should also crew the German anti tank gun as the Gun Commander.

There were also some interesting reader comments about the strange inclusion of the “weird anti-tank gun” which was correctly identified by Ian Dury as a taper bored German anti-tank weapon called the 2.8cm schwer Panzer Busche 41 with a link to

2.8 cm schwere Panzerbüchse 41 (sPzB 41) or “Panzerbüchse 41” was a German anti-tank weapon working on the squeeze bore principle. Officially classified as a heavy anti-tank rifle (German: schwere Panzerbüchse), it would be better described, and is widely referred to, as a light anti-tank gun …

The sPzB 41 was used by some motorized divisions and by some Jäger (light infantry), Gebirgsjäger (mountain) and Fallschirmjäger (paratrooper) units. Some guns were supplied to anti-tank and sapper units …

The last gun was built in 1943; the main reason for the discontinuance was the lack of tungsten for projectiles (Wikipedia)

Wikipedia image source
The gun is slightly more clearly seen in this picture of a captured gun, one of several on Wikipedia Commons.

A crew of three for our “weird anti-tank gun” on an armoured car, not unlike our Airfix model.

The illustrations show a fairly clear depiction of this early antitank gun which featured in both the first version German Infantry and the Afrika Korps figures.

Vintage Airfix Box art showing the German anti-tank gun pictured in Jean-Christophe Carbonel’s excellently illustrated book, Airfix’s Little Soldiers HO/OO from 1959 to 2009.

The sPzB41 Gun shown on the Airfix box art.

… and some opposition on the painting and basing table – 1962 version 1 Airfix 8th Army Figures, that I first painted as a child in the late 1970s / early 1980s.

A crew of three for the Airfix 8th Army heavy weapon – a Vickers Heavy Machine Gun

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 21 December 2019

Man of TIN Blogvent Calendar Day 16: Vintage Airfix Africa Korps 1962

Over the last few days I have been repairing, repainting and basing some 1962 vintage Airfix Afrika Korps that were in the package of 1960s Airfix that Tony Adams kindly sent me earlier this year.


Such 50+ year old (almost 60 year old) plastic figures are getting rather fragile now but I thought it better to paint them up and use them for gaming with care whilst still intact.

Before and after basing: Fragile enough 1960s figures that the stick grenade tops have fallen off.

Some of Tony’s originals are seen here in their 1960s paintwork by Tony.

As they arrived from Tony with cryptic base markings and helmet colours

As is usual with Airfix, some of the paint had flaked. I have tried to keep most of Tony’s original paintwork where I can, mostly repainting hats and rifles.

I tried a little bit of Citadel Agramax Earth wash or shade, but this didn’t do much for them, having such muted detail as early Airfix generally had. I could have painted in straps and equipment, but this was not only fiddly but mostly this was dust and khaki colour on khaki.

I thought the mix of old and new paint / uniform makes them look like veteran troops.

I also wanted to keep them slightly non-specific, as the ones in the Bergmutze soft caps had the look of a generic private army such as James Bond villains often had, especially the way Tony had painted them with dark or silver caps. I wanted to be able to use them in ImagiNations as desert forces or desert raiders. This is why in the first batch I have included no figures with the distinctive German helmets.

A Rommel looking figure besides a battered childhood Airfix halftrack.
Another battered old childhood Airfix model an armoured car from the desert reconnaissance set

In Jean Christophe Carbonel’s book Airfix’s Little Soldiers HO/OO 1959-2009, this set is listed as being introduced in 1962, the same year that Donald Featherstone’s War Games was published.

News of the only Airfix WW2 figures available in 1962/3

Mention is made in 1963 of these desert figures arriving in the wargaming chapter of Donald Featherstone’s Tackle Model Soldiers This Way here

The short-lived version 1 set (1962-1973) is unfavourably reviewed on Plastic Soldier Review

I have tried to keep simple paintwork as shown on the early Airfix boxes.

Eventually for opposition I will paint and base some of the version 1 Airfix Eighth Army figures that Tony Adams had in the parcel he sent me and some of my childhood / family original figures.

The 1973/4 update sculpts (version 2) of these desert troops are still available over 45 years later (2019) from Airfix stockists or online.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 15/16 December 2019.