Monday, July 21, 2014

28mm Spanish Civil War Republican Anti-Tank Gun and a New Book: 'The Shattered Peloton: The Devastating Impact of World War I on the Tour de France'


I thought I'd bash out a few more Spanish Civil War figures in preparation for an upcoming game I have scheduled in a few days with the fine lads from the Fawcett Ave Conscripts. 

Here is a 37mm Bofors anti-tank gun with a Republican crew. Even though the Bofors fired a relatively light shell it could easily penetrate the armour of any tank used during the Spanish Civil War. From my reading its reliability, low profile and high rate-of-fire made it well liked by its crews. 


This is a great little set produced by Empress Games. Paul Hicks sculpts with his typical great character touches (I love the gunner who is raising his sunglasses to better see the effect of their shot.)


I decided to keep the gun in its basic green colour, without the black camo 'blobs' which are often seen in period pictures.


I have a few other SCW figures in the wings but I'll roll those out in later posts.

Also a brief book review! 


Every July for me is sheer heaven as it means that for three weeks I can bask in the summer heat while following my favourite sporting event: the Tour de France.


This year's Tour is the 101st time the event has been held. The now world famous race began in 1903 and has continued to this year uninterrupted, except for the years of the two world wars. And so upon this theme, I came across, 'The Shattered Peloton' when we were on vacation this past spring - and immediately ordered myself a copy as it focuses on another passion of mine: the Great War and its impact on the riders of the 1914 Tour.

Believed to be Guiseppe Azzini during a mountain segment of the 1914 Tour.
The book describes the start of the 1914 Tour which occurred on the 28th of June, at 3am, where 145 riders met in Saint-Cloud, a suburb near the edge of Paris.  Little did those riders know that, later that day, archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie would be assassinated in Sarajevo, beginning a spiralling sequence of events. By the end of the Tour in late July it was regarded as inevitable that a general war in Europe would soon begin -  and a few short days later the First World War began. 

French cyclists doing what they do best...
The organizer of the Tour de France, Henri Desgrange, although being fifty years old at the war's outbreak, volunteered into the French army and encouraged all French cyclists to do the same. Many of the riders from that 1914 Tour de France were killed during the war, including three winners of previous Tours. Patriotism's bitter harvest.

I won't go into any great detail regarding the book other than to say that it's a good read for anyone who enjoys military history and the sport of cycling. It doesn't break any new ground in the historiography of the Great War or for competitive cycling, but it does a nice job of joining the two disparate topics together for a very interesting and poignant perspective. Recommended.

31 comments:

  1. Nice paintjob on the AT gun as usual with your work!

    Thanks for bringing that book up! As a keen fan of cycling I guess I'll have to put this one into my 'must read' list. I must admit that the early years of Le Tour are a bit obscure for me, so this could really bring some nice new light too. Now if somebody would just do the same for Giro as that's the competition I've always found most fascinating :)

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    1. Thanks very much Samuli!

      I love reading about the early years of the Tour. The routes and rules were incredible. Stages in excess of 400km. Riding through the night. Most roads not being paved. And the list goes on. It's a wonder any of the riders made it back to Paris!

      I'd love to get to know the Giro better. I love Italy so I think a research trip is in order...

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  2. A truly splendid addition to the collection, great paint job Curt.

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    1. Cheers Michael! A little anti-tank will help keep the Fascists heads down (until the ammo runs out...)

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  3. Likewise - I'll have to look out that book. I've been following Le Tour since my late teens, so it would be fascinating to discover some of its history.

    Very nice work on the AT gun and crew

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    1. I knew you were a fan, Tamsin, so thought you'd find it interesting.

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  4. Fantastic gun and crew!!! Great painting work!

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  5. Nice work. Looking forward to seeing more. Great interwar conflict to wargame, what with the armor and terrain. Please post some photos and a battle report from your umcoming engagement.

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    1. I'll definitely try to get myself organized and take some photos of the mayhem in order to post later.

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  6. Excellent work as usual (you're getting too predictible...) and inspiration for my next project about the SCW (already on its way!!) :-)

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    1. Thank you Benito, you're too kind. I look forward to your upcoming project. Is it a campaign?

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    2. Yes it will be a campaign for sure
      Still painitng and learning/testing to handle these army lists, more complex than the IIWW typical OOBs

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  7. As always I'm impressed by your painting skill. That AT gun simply looks amazing. One day I'll definitely get myself into SCW also. It's too tempting.

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    1. That's very high praise coming from you Nick, thanks so much. Keep an eye out in the next couple weeks your figure should be debuting then.

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  8. Must get that book! Thanks for the recommendation!

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    1. Delighted to see that it may find some extra readers - enjoy!

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  9. Top job Curt, and an interesting find on the book. Certainly I am always interested in the impact of the Great War, so one to look out for.

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    1. Yes, it's a nice 'outlier' to the Great War book collection. Thanks for popping by!

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  10. Cracking looking arty piece Curt!

    Christopher

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    1. Cheers for the thumbs-up Christopher!

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  11. I love that model. The crew are excellent, as you say. I find myself getting lost in the gun shield, calculating ricochet angles and cover. Great model and your usual fantastic paint job.

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    1. Thanks Aaron, very kind of you. Yes, I think there are a few 'shot traps' in that gun shield, I'm afraid...

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  12. Can't wait to see that gun in action this week!

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    1. Me too! Now, if I can only get the other stuff on the table ready to go...

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  13. That's a really nice AT gun. Maybe I should get some AT guns for my 10mm SCWs. A little bit of inspiration can do wonders.

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    1. Thanks Clint! Yes, you may want to give your footsloggers some anti-tank to help them though the waves of Pz Is and T-26s.

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  14. Great work Curt and an interesting book too.

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  15. Absolutely stunning paint job on the AT gun! And an interesting book... one hardly realizes how war can effect these things until you suddenly see gaps in football league tables or the winners list for evens like the tour!

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    1. Hey Burkhard, great to hear from you! Thanks very much for the note and I hope the summer is going swimmingly for you.

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