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Friday, 31 August 2018

Le Musée des Blindés de Saumur

The Le Musée des Blindés de Saumur (http://www.museedesblindes.fr/) was easy to find, being well sign posted from the local roads. There’s lots of free parking within the museum’s grounds and it’s reasonably accessible for wheelchairs/buggies etc.
Entry fee was 8.50 Euro with an additional 5 Euro charge to take photographs (how old-fashioned!). There was also an option to buy a combined ticket for the nearby Museum of French Cavalry for 12 Euro.
Cutaway Chaffee at the Museum entrance
The Museum was split into 12 Galleries and, on entry, you are provided with a printed colour leaflet which gives the museum’s history and a map. Signage throughout is in French, English & German and whilst brief, is probably sufficient for the casual visitor.

The 12 Galleries consisted of; -

The Great War (Examples of St Chamond, Schneider, FT17 Command etc.)

Germany in WW2 (2 x Panthers, Tiger 1 & 2, Pzkfw II-IVs, Jagdpanther, Bergpanther, Jagdpanzer IV, Hetzer, Hummel, Wespe, Marder I-III etc…)
The WW2 German Gallery

Tiger II

One of 3 Panthers



Damaged Hummel

88mm Anti-Tank Gun

WW2 German Gallery - rear view of Tiger I, Panther etc.

Pak40 75mm Anti-Tank Gun
Italy WW2 (M11/39, Autoblinda armoured car & Sermovente)

France WW2 (Char B, Hotchkiss H35, Renault AMR35 etc..)

Char B
Warsaw Pact 1945-present (T54, T55, T72 cutaway, BMP1, SU122, BTR70, MTLB BRDM 2 etc…)
Warsaw Pact Gallery

Iraqi T55

An immaculate SU122 "Carnation" SPG
Allied Armour WW2 - Primarily British & USA (M3 Lee, M4 Sherman, M10, Stuart, M8 etc.. Comet, Cromwell, Churchill, Matilda, Valentine etc..)
Staghound Armoured Car

M10 Tank Destroyer with interesting damage to hull side!

Allies WW2 Gallery
France 1945-present (Indo-China vehicles – DUKW, Buffalo, M3 Half-tracks, AMR, AML & AMX10 Armoured cars, AMX 30, AMX 30B2, LeClerc, AMX 13, AMX50, AML 44 etc..)
Leclerc Mock Up

French Para Vespa with Recoilless Rifle!

EBR 75 Armoured Car

Interesting list of vehicles used in Indo-China by the French Forces in the 1950's

Selection of more modern armoured cars


 “Celebrity Corner” – Waxwork military Celebrities displayed on appropriate vehicles! Monty, Rommel, LeClerc, De Gaulle etc)
Monty in his Bren Carrier!
Engines & Transmissions – from Tiger 2, LeClerc etc.)
The ultra slim engine (13" height I believe) from a EBR75 Armoured Car
Rest of the World 1945-present (Merkava Mk1, Conqueror, Centurion, Chieftain, M47, M48, M60, Leopard 1, Leopard 2 prototype, and many APCs…)
An incredible example of a MkI Merkava

Modern Rest of the World Gallery

Viewed from elevated viewing gallery, which also housed the model collection
Scale model cabinets and viewing gallery.

Outside – various individual AFVs (Easy 8 Sherman, Roland Missiles on AMX 30) scrap/spares area ( Sherman DD for restoration and another Panther) & AMX collection (Every variant of the AMX13 + some Gulf War exhibits)
Iraqi T72

A DD Sherman with incorrect 76mm Turret
As well as all the AFVs there were a few soft skins and many towed artillery/anti-tank guns. Additionally, there are random displays of cutaway munitions explaining things like the Monroe (hollow-charge) effect and how Anti-tank wire guided missiles work.

Many of the vehicles are in running condition and appear regularly at military shows (St Chamond, Tiger 2, Panther & Char B for example).

Whilst there was a large, well-stocked shop (Large selection of Heller Models, paints etc.) there is no café. There was, however several vending machines that all needed Euro coins to buy anything from them.

There is also a kid’s play area with a DAF APC that they can climb on. Also there are several APCs in the Rest of the World 1945-present area that can be entered.

This is a fantastic museum for the AFV enthusiast. Visibility and accessibility is good. The exhibits are in good order and painted in authentic schemes. There are so many unique exhibits (AMX50, ARL 44, Merkava Mk1 etc.) you won’t know what to do with yourself!!

Allow at least 3 hours to get the most from it, longer if you can afford it. If you’re like me you’ll find yourself back in the German WW2 armour gallery again, and again…….it’s amazing.

Really can’t recommend it enough if you find yourself in the area.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

I'm Still Here!

I have just changed jobs which now means I am travelling a good deal more than before, so I need to get into a new routine to ensure I keep the blog updated.

My recent activities have centred around painting up some 28mm German & Russian figures I acquired (Black Tree Designs primarily).
These are nice figures to paint , full of character and not too cartoonish.
I hope to use these for both Chain of Command & Bolt Action2.
I am using some crewed weapon bases from Rubicon. These are 60mm diameter and have a stippled finish  and a raised lip to help with terrain adherence and finish. I rather like them and at £1.50 for 5, they aren't going to break the bank.
My dear wife gave me Warlord Games' Blood Red Skies for my birthday, so I'm also busy painting up the 12 fighters that come with the introductory set. Sadly they do not come with decals, just stickers, which really aren't very good.

They now produce decals separately, but they are £3 per set. This adds to the overall cost quite a bit, so I'm going to try my had at painting RAF roundels and use some old Dragon decals for the Maltese Crosses.

Finally, as I'm now working largely in France, I found time to visit the Musee des Blindes in Saumur.

This has to be one of the best tank museums in the world and I will put a separate blog entry to cover this.
Suffice to say I really enjoyed myself!!