Observer Section: Part One ... Part Done

Deployed observation section for the western desert
 It sometimes seems to me that a model army for WWII is never finished. There's always something extra to add. Some time back I completed my RHA battery for the early war in the Western Desert. To be precise, they were intended as part of my Jock Column. As I wargame using Rapid Fire rules, no battery of guns is able to  engage in indirect fire without an observation crew - a good motivator to cover off on the more interesting units. As my battery of two guns required four 1/72nd scale Airfix 25pdr kits - two deployed guns and two towed - I had two Quad kits left over as I only previously required two vehicles to pull or park beside my different gun assemblies. How neat? I had just the kits I required for my observers.

The kits required some major conversion. I cut away most of the rear cabin and set about scrounging my bits and bobs collections to gather enough campaign detritus to identically fill the rear tray sections. I was careful to ensure that the models represented the same vehicle - one on the move and the other a deployed variant with the same equipment but moved and utilised in part. Luckily, most parts were to hand, including the radios which I fitted with aerials.

I used the usual Green Stuff to create tarpaulins and rolls, bound planks in wire and created a large box with balsa and more Green Stuff. The real creating came with the construction of the ladders- one in travel mounts and the other fixed and elevated behind the passenger compartment - both made of plastic card. In modelling the deployed observer, I only had one picture to go by which I have in my Osprey Campaign Series issue, Operation Compass.

A few assumptions about what I was looking at were made but the general idea is the vehicle deploys behind a ridge or in a depression - the vehicle hidden from view except the observer, ready for the get-away. Alternatively, the unit can be in the open desert looking from the extent of the horizon. When the model is complete, the deployed variant will have a support cable or chord from the ladder to the cabin, the chap with the coil will have an extension line running to the aerial, and the make-shift table will have a map on it. Anyway, there's a little touching up to do before I'm ready to undercoat and paint this lot as you can see but that won't be for some time. Nevertheless, I'm a lot closer to finishing them off than I have been for years - I've been wanting to build them for a long time.

On the move.


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