I've finally got around to doing something constructive over the last two weeks in terms of converting lead (and plastic) into fieldable forces. The catafracts still lying on my sidebench still looked too daunting a task for just a few evenings, so I went to my moderns trays to see what could be fruitfully pushed forward.
Dragoman, done, like all my Shapeways purchases, in the cheapest plastic available - nylon-12 (aka Shapeways' "white strong & flexible"). The PM-55 is essentially a truck-borne version of the MT-55 bridgelayer, and thus suitable for MBTs to cross. WarPac MBTs at any rate; with a rating of 50 t, some western MBTs would be straining things... A model like this is only required for the single game turn it takes to set the bridge up - but it's such a beautiful model, I couldn't resist. The truck concerned is the Tatra-813 ("Kolos") 8x8 vehicle in production from 1967 to 1982, and with exceptional off-road capabilities due to its tubular frame split axle configuration. Karl Heinz sells not only the unfolding version shown above, but also a
version in travelling configuration (plus a deployed bridge section).
And this is Karl Heinz' model of the AM-50, a lighter VLB that is also based on the T-813, and more suitable for infantry units being carried around in APCs. Like the PM-55, he sells an unfolding version; I've already paointed one of those up - you can see it in action here. The AM-50 was first trialed in 1972, with more substantial numbers coming in1974.
vz.53/59 self-propelled AA gun. I've taken an H&R (?) BTR-152 model, and sawed off the back. Then I've stuck a ZPU-23/2 on top, and stuck on plasticard box on top of that to represent the distinctive ammo bin, and added some crew members from the artillery crew pack, The guns are noticeably too small (to me, anyway), since the vz. 53/59 sports twin 30 mm cannons, as opposed to 23 mm, and the curving superstructure on the left of the mount is missing in my model (not that you would see it from this angle, even if it was there...). IIRC, I've now made up sixteen of these conversions; this is the last, and will form part of my 183rd Battery of the 82nd AA Brigade - this unit was primarily equipped with SA-4s, but also had some SPAAGs for close-in air defence. The Czechoslovakians used this instead of the ZSU-57-2, which offered them no advantages. However, they never replaced it with anything more modern (such as the ZSU-23-4), and its lack of radar would have meant it would have had severe problems keeping enemy aircraft at bay in any conflict in the 70s, let alone the 80s. The Czechoslovakians trialed the SA-4 from 1974, and the 82nd AA Brigade went operational in 1976 (the 2K11M, i.e. "SA-4b Ganef").
Tatra 815 VT 8x8 prime movers, distinguished from the T-815 VVN truck mostly by having a shorter deck but a longer cab, so it can accommodate an entire howitzer crew. The T-815 series (also available in 6x6 and 4x4 versions) suceeded the T-813 starting from 1981, and going into full production in 1983. In addition to hauling artillery pieces, it could also be used to tow tank-transporter trailers, etc.
Now when your artillery is as ancient as these pieces, you need a lot of them to have any hope of doing anything! This is the H&R M-30 122mm howitzer (I think they call it something like mk. 31/37), or the vz.38 to the Czechoslovakians. These pieces were found in the artillery battalion of the motor rifle regiments: 3 batteries of 6 pieces, which translates to 4 models in MSH. The vz. 38 designation tells you they are a 1938 production piece, so they have, by 1970s and 80s standards, a truly horrible range. These pieces soldiered on until the demise of the Czechoslovakian state (there were grand plans to replace them with 2S1s in the late 70s/early 80s, but few of these were actually purchased). My close-in eyesight has detriorated markedly over the last two years, so I now need separate glasses to paint with. Even so, I found I couldn't be bothered painting the faces on the crewmen here - I just couldn't see them! And I certainly can't see them at a gaming arm' length away...
Tatra-111 trucks; one of which was already painted. Another of my Shapeways efforts - these ones have suffered from very noticeable "stepping" during the print process. These trucks can be used not only for Cold war Czechoslovakians, but also for WW2 Germans, being produced from 1942 to 1962 (by which date the cab had been given a more modern look).
Czechoslovakian ones were not even inflateable!
So, a bunch of rear-zone elements for the most part, but that's fine, logistics can be fun too!