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"Help finding 1/144 AA" Topic

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04 Mar 2023 7:39 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP12 Jul 2022 2:56 p.m. PST

I want to use 1/144 miniatures as targets for my 1/144 aircraft. AFVs, trucks, guns, infantry, and other targets are pretty easy to find, but stuff that shoots back isn't.

I can get enough German AA guns from Pendraken and Arrowhead to make a satisfactory array, but for the other nations, I'm having trouble finding options.

  1. Pendraken has only the 76mm AA gun for the Soviets, a couple of light towed pieces for the British (20mm Oerlikon, 40mm Bofors), and just nothing for the Americans.
  2. Arrowhead has a similar selection to Pendraken.
  3. I have no idea what Pithead offers and I ran out of patience trying to find out.
  4. The gashopon options are all pretty much moribund (and therefore unbelievably expensive if found).

What else should I look at?

It occurs to me that 1/144 scale MGs aren't all that easy to tell apart, so for gaming purposes I'd be happy with pretty much any heavy MG model I could use as generic AA-MG by adding appropriately costumed crew. Pointers appreciated.

At this point I'm leaning toward starting with the East Front, since I would can get one common mid-size gun (76mm AA), and I could probably fake in some British or German light pieces as Lend Lease or captured. I'd be much happier if I could find some of the ubiquitous pieces – 37mm, quad Maxims, DShK on AA mounts, etc. 85mm AA guns would be a huge bonus.

I'd be ecstatic to find US and mid-war British AA of various sizes, since I have all the planes for the Italian front painted and decaled and ready to fly out of their storage boxes. I don't have any Shermans or trucks, but those are easy to get and I'd love the excuse for a spending spree. grin

I'd also be really happy to find anything British, American or Italian useful in North Africa. I originally set out to do this project for that front, but it turned into a lot of work very quickly.

- Ix

JMcCarroll12 Jul 2022 3:22 p.m. PST

Everybody used the 40mm Bofors. Can't go wrong buying a bunch.

Thresher0112 Jul 2022 3:36 p.m. PST

I'd love to see someone make a 90mm AA gun for the USA.

You can get a spreadsheet of what's available from Pithead if you e-mail them.

HMS Exeter12 Jul 2022 8:33 p.m. PST

I kitbashed a US 90mm AA gun. I used an 88, omitted the shield and used window screen for the platform.

It wasn't too terrible.

BenMinis13 Jul 2022 3:56 a.m. PST

Pendraken sell some Russian AA machine guns in their Vietnam range. Would they be useful?

Griefbringer13 Jul 2022 6:52 a.m. PST

Pendraken has only the 76mm AA gun for the Soviets, a couple of light towed pieces for the British (20mm Oerlikon, 40mm Bofors), and just nothing for the Americans.

US military used the 40 mm Bofors on ground mount as the basic light AA-gun (though it was a bit too heavy to fit on halftracks, so the self-propelled M15 had to go with 37 mm gun instead).

Could you convert the British guns into US guns? I presume the major issue would be the crews, and especially their helmets. Could you do headswaps or nick suitable crews from somewhere else?

Griefbringer13 Jul 2022 7:59 a.m. PST

Speaking of the self-propelled AA guns, would they actually be acceptable to your purposes? I presume you might be able to find some of the most common US and German ones from some manufacturer or the other.

As for AAMGs, US military had the practice of sticking those all over the place in their vehicles. Would you also be willing to consider these as targets that may be able to shoot back? Tanks, halftracks and armoured cars all tended to have AAMGs mounted on them. As did some of the jeeps and trucks. If you can find spare .50 cal M2 Brownings and trucks/jeeps, the conversion should not be too difficult.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP13 Jul 2022 2:04 p.m. PST

I'd be interested in pretty much any AA one would have found at or near the front, protecting assets that ground attack aircraft sought to attack. The point about the ubiquity of .50 cals in US service is well taken, I'll do something about that.

If I decide to use British 20mm and 40mm guns for other nations, I can just use artillery crews from each country and pop the right gun onto the stand. For gaming purposes I like to keep the gun separate from the crew.

The idea to convert German 88s into US 90s is intriguing. All the minor details look wrong, but the overall impression is certainly in the ballpark. Hmmmm…..

Griefbringer14 Jul 2022 1:30 a.m. PST

What period or theatres of the war are you looking for? The equipment and allocation changed somewhat over the years.

For a British infantry division, AA defense was primarily provided by the divisional light AA regiment, armed with 40 mm Bofors guns. Additionally, the artillery regiments had a compliment of 20 mm AA guns for their self-defence (notice that the Pendraken version is on naval mount, not on field carriage). Early war infantry battalion also had a small AA element, consisting of Bren guns on AA mounts, but this was discontinued relatively early. Glider infantry battalions had a compliment of 20 mm AA guns for their defence. As the war progressed, armoured regiments received their own platoons of 5-6 AA tanks (Pendraken makes Crusader II AA which was used for this role).

For US divisions, integral air defence was limited to AAMGs, infantry battalion having 6 M2 .50 cal MGs mounted on jeeps and light trucks. However, separate AA artillery battalions (towed or self-propelled) could be attached to divisions as required. Towed battalions had a mixture of 40 mm Bofors and .50 cal MGs on quad Maxson mounts. Self-propelled battalions had a mixture of M15 and M16 halftracks (both available from Pendraken).

Late was German panzer and panzergrenadier battalions tended to feature a integral self-propelled AA compliments, so if you are looking towards busting those you might want to get some flak halftracks or tanks. Pendraken seems to produce several.

Soviet air defense on divisional level was mostly relying on 37 mm guns and 12.7 mm DShK AAMGs. These could be mounted on trucks for better mobility. Early war organisations could also employ 7.62 mm Maxim guns on quad AA mounts and the heavy 76 mm guns, though the heavy guns tended to be withdrawn from divisions toward the end of 1941.

Would you be interested in Italians? Pendraken seems to do the famous 90 mm heavy AA gun, though unfortunately not the lighter ones.

Frnech line from Pendraken seems to feature 25 mm Hotchkiss AA gun. Not sure if this was used by any other militaries (though the Germans no doubt captured a number of these).

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