Early Desert War British

This force is based on 3 RTR, inspired by the book Taming the Panzers by Patrick Delaforce.

3 RTR fought in most of the British campaigns of WWII, starting in France in May 1940, then Greece, the Western Desert, Normandy and NW Europe.

My historical licence is to use their early war organisation as an early desert war force, when they were in Greece at this time. Though before they were shipped to Greece their tanks had been painted yellow and purple (!) for the Sudan.

A9 and A10 Cruisers in Caunter Scheme camouflage

The first set of tanks represent the 1940 OOB of 3RTR with 1 squadron of light Vickers Mk VI tankettes, and 1 of cruisers, mainly A9s and A10s with a few A13s.

Aerial view of the above, though arranged in just two rows.

Pendraken Vickers Mk VIs mainly Bs with a C in the middle.

Pendraken Vickers Mk VI B

Pendraken Vickers Mk VI B, close up. A nice clean 2 part model.

Pithead A9s and an A10 (LHS) and Minifigs A13 (RHS). All 2pdr armed tanks, the A9 had 2 hull MG turrets, but these were not very successful, the crewmen tended to become overcome by fumes in the confined space of these mini-turrets. The A9 and A10 suffered from poor tracks and drive train, especially in France and Greece, they were some-what more reliable in the Desert where they had better maintenance facilities.


Close up of Pithead A9 Cruiser, unusually for Pithead this is just a 2 part model, but Phil has managed to get a lot of depth into the running gear, which is sometimes a probe lm with 1 part hulls.

MiniFigs Marmon Herrington armoured car, and 2 Pithead Scout Carriers, although not very clear in these photos the Scout carrier only had one passenger compartment at the rear.

Early shots of the A9s and A10s before dry brushing.

M3 Honeys

In 1941 3RTR was re-equipped with newly arrived American M3 Stuarts. Again hardly a super tank, with a 37mm gun and light armour. But it was fast and fairly reliable, but had very low fuel capacity which limited its range.

In the autumn of '41 3 RTR was part of 4th Armoured Brigade in 7th Armoured Division, along with the 8th Hussars and 5RTR. All three regiments were equipped with Honeys.

Overhead shot with 8th Hussar's tanks on the left in caunter-esque camo, and two 3 RTR tanks on the right in sand.

Frontal view of all 8 tanks.

Minifigs Honeys (aka M3 Stuart) These models look good when assembled, but are a bugger to get the tracks to fit. After trying much filing, I discovered that clipping the joins between the lower and upper suspension, allowed the tracks to be squashed a little, which gave a much better fit.

8th Hussars Honey, a Minifigs tank with the addition of plastic card sand guards. The tank has white/red/white ID flashed on the turret and the sandguards, and unit markings on the front mud guards.

Two Honeys painted to represent 3 RTR with basic sand paint scheme, green tactical markings, yellow pennants, and 7th AD desert rat markings. I need quite a few more to make a full squadron -- but I will need more patience before wanting to assemble them! But I much prefer these to the squashed Pendraken Stuarts.


Comparison of Minifigs and Pendraken M3 Stuarts. From above they are pretty much the same size, but from the side the Pendraken one is tiny. The Pendraken model also has very simplified running gear - but it does have sand guards.

Updated the comparison photo to with a photo a real Stuart. The MF one looks a very good match height wise, although the cupola looks a little tall. The turret of the PD one is about the right height, it is the hull that is too small.


1942 3RTR, Shermans, Grants and Crusaders

In 1942 3RTR reequipped with 1 light squadron with Crusaders and 2 squadrons with the newly arrived Grant. The 75mm sponson mounted gun in the Grant finally gave the British tankers a weapon that could fire HE at German AT guns and a heavy AP shell at German tanks.

In Sept/Oct 42 300 US Shermans arrived in Egypt. 3RTR had 1 squadron equipped with Shermans, which was by far and away the best tank they had had so far. Quite what logistics problems it must have caused in having one regiment with 3 different types of tanks is not stated.

All the 1942 squadron is Pendraken, with Shermans at the back, then Grants then Crusaders.

Another view of 1942 regiment, Shermans, Grants and Crusaders at front.

Crusader Squadron

Pendraken Crusaders, four MkIIs (2pdr) and two MkIIIs (6pdr)

Pendraken Crusader IIs (2pdr armed)

Pendraken Crusader IIIs (6pdr armed)

Mediums; Grant and Sherman Squadrons


Four Pendraken M3 Grants (large, flat turret) and one M3 Lee (back left)

Close up of Pendraken M3 Grant, this is a 3 piece model, hull, turret and hull gun barrel. There is a nice level of detail in these models.

Another shot of Pendraken M3 Grant, showing an irregular green camo pattern.

Pendraken Sherman IIs, with cast hull, in plain sand paint scheme.


Infantry Tanks - Matildas

Pithead Matilda IIs. Very heavy armour, but only a 2pdr gun. I have gone for a plain sand look to contrast with my caunter'd cruisers.


Infantry Tanks - Valentines

Pithead Valentines, the replacement for the Matilda, LH one is a Mk X 6pdr armed tank, the rest are Mk IIs armed with 2pdrs.

12mm Pithead Mk II Valentine

Close up of Pithead Mk II Valentine



Infantry, guns and transport on their storage tray.

Battalion of Infantry; 12 rifle platoons and a command stand. Figures are a mix of MiniFigs and Pendraken. The left hand column have only been base coated. I do like the Minifigs 8th Army infantry, they have a good level of detail, including quite a bit of kit, unlike some other Minifigs figures.

Another view of the rifle platoons, taken by my five year old daughter!

Support stands, command and recce, Vickers MMGs, 3" Mortars and Engineers. Figures are nearly all Pendraken, carrier is Minifigs. The back row is only base coated.

Pendraken Dorchester ACV, with a mix of Minfigs and Pendraken figures. Dispatch rider, Monty and sentry are MF, others are Pendraken.

Another view of CO stand, with Dorchester ACV

'Atmospheric' B&W shot of CO

Three Pendraken Bedford 3tonners

MiniFigs LRDG Jeep and Chevy Truck - at an early stage, with desert pink base coat, Chevy has had a brown wash added. Lots of extra stowage added to both vehicles.



MiniFigs 25pdrs and quads. Part painted at this stage.

FOO -- Minfigs Daimler Dingos, LH stand has Minfigs artillery crew man, RH has Pendraken Officer and Radio Operator

Minifigs 40mm bofers guns with Pendraken 15cwt trucks, LH ones part-painted.


2pdr ATGs Minifigs at the front and Pendraken at the back.

2pdr ATGs Minifigs on Left and Pendraken on Right. The Minifigs one is a nicer model, the Pendraken one is rather chunky. Though it looks like I need to straighten the rear trail of the Pendraken one.

Pithead M7 Priests

Pithead Bishops -- 25dpr Field Gun in a large turret on a Valentine hull

More Tanks

More tanks, Mk VI Tankettes, Shermans, Grants and Crusaders

Most are now base coated, more photos to follow.

Early Infantry Photos

A mix of MiniFigs and Pendraken 8th Army Infantry, with Pendraken late war British engineers.

These photos taken with my Nokia N73 phone -- surprisingly good pictures!


Mini-Figs photos

LRDG Jeep and Chevy Truck

Comparisons of MiniFigs and Pendraken Daimler Dingoes - when seen close together there are some differences. The MiniFigs one is longer, but has a smaller crew compartment, and the engine decks are different.

The Pendraken one comes with molded in crewman, who has a netted helmet so is more suited to NWE.

MiniFigs Stowage (before cleaning up of mold feeds) a very large set with lots of different parts and multiples of each.

Caunter References

KitReivew.com has an article about Caunter scheme and the XtraColour paints to go with it, including photos of the paints and of Colour Chips from Starmer's book.

ClubHyper review of paint colours for a Stuart, with colour swatches

Details on colour schemes and camouflage by Mike Starmer & Mike Cooper's at MAFVA

White Ensign Models do a range of pre-mixed military paints (the WEM references above) . These are apparently the same range as the Xtra Color range available through Hannants and others. Apparently the drying time of these paints seems to be very long (6hrs+).

Matador models descriptions on paint patterns

There is some discrepancy about the colours, see these photos of an A10 at Bovington