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The Road to Singapore: Malaya 1941-42
TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 31, 2016
KitMaker: 114 posts
Armorama: 112 posts
Posted: Thursday, January 09, 2020 - 10:15 AM UTC


Dear all,

After (finally) finishing my Liberation, Italy 1944 diorama this is going to be my next throw of the dice.

The Malayan Campaign began with the Japanese invasion of the Peninsular (now modern day Malaysia) on the eve of Pearl Harbour - 7th December 1941 - and ended with the surrender of Singapore (the island which lies at its tip) on 14 February 1942.

Like Italy, this is a relatively unsung corner of WW2 - but it is equally fascinating. I am certainly no expert, although I have been mugging up on various Youtube videos and other sources.

It was, of course, a disaster for the Allies - mostly British, Australian and Indian troops - who fought a desperate rearguard action throughout.

At the same time, of course, it was a triumph for the Japanese, who copied German blitzkrieg tactics to advance at speed and out-manouvre their enemies - even though there were very few roads.

In terms of equipment, the battle was notable for the fact that, whilst the Japanese had mostly light tanks, the Allies had precisely none. One of the best known engagements - and a rare victory for the Allies - was between Japanese Type 95 Ha-Go tanks and Australian 2 Pounders near the Muar river (shown in the images above and below).

My inspiration comes from this duel: tanks and guns which seem almost laughably small compared to what came later in the war, but which were potent adversaries in their time and place...

obg153
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Texas, United States
Joined: April 07, 2009
KitMaker: 964 posts
Armorama: 950 posts
Posted: Thursday, January 09, 2020 - 01:19 PM UTC
Definitely going to follow along. As others might agree, PTO scenes seem to be few & far between. I also suggest checking out a thread by Nahuel19431 in the Armor forum. He's done some really fine work on various Japanese tanks & figures.
dhines
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Nova Scotia, Canada
Joined: November 17, 2015
KitMaker: 337 posts
Armorama: 306 posts
Posted: Thursday, January 09, 2020 - 04:06 PM UTC
Sounds like a great project Tim, I will follow with much interest. The early PTO campaigns involving the British do not get much attention. I have often thought about doing a fall of Hong Kong dio with the Canadian part in the campaign. I look forward to seeing your build unfold. Best regards....Dale
SpeedyJ
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Bangkok, Thailand / ไทย
Joined: September 17, 2013
KitMaker: 1,423 posts
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Posted: Thursday, January 09, 2020 - 05:06 PM UTC
Very interesting. Will follow along.

Kind regards,

Robert Jan
Golikell
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Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Joined: October 25, 2002
KitMaker: 1,408 posts
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Posted: Thursday, January 09, 2020 - 07:50 PM UTC
I'll sit in the front row, with my blankie, if you don't mind
jrutman
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Pennsylvania, United States
Joined: April 10, 2011
KitMaker: 7,541 posts
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Posted: Friday, January 10, 2020 - 02:19 AM UTC
Very very nice to see a change in pace for subject matter. A nice tangent indeed,much like Tims' epic build.
The peashooter AT gun reminds me of the one sequence in the old old film concerning Aussies in the western desert. I seeem to recall the film using a gun like this one.
J
Jberardi
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Georgia, United States
Joined: July 10, 2007
KitMaker: 77 posts
Armorama: 70 posts
Posted: Friday, January 10, 2020 - 02:57 AM UTC
Following along here. I too really enjoy reading/learning/modeling some of the more obscure subject matter. Loved the Liberation build by the way. Fantastic work.
bill_c
Staff MemberCampaigns Administrator
MODEL SHIPWRIGHTS
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New Jersey, United States
Joined: January 09, 2008
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Posted: Friday, January 10, 2020 - 06:47 AM UTC
Looks very promising, especially since we get so few Pacific War dios. Bravo.
TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 31, 2016
KitMaker: 114 posts
Armorama: 112 posts
Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - 11:10 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Definitely going to follow along. As others might agree, PTO scenes seem to be few & far between. I also suggest checking out a thread by Nahuel19431 in the Armor forum. He's done some really fine work on various Japanese tanks & figures.



Thanks for the tip Jack. He has certainly been busy!

TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 31, 2016
KitMaker: 114 posts
Armorama: 112 posts
Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - 11:15 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Sounds like a great project Tim, I will follow with much interest. The early PTO campaigns involving the British do not get much attention. I have often thought about doing a fall of Hong Kong dio with the Canadian part in the campaign. I look forward to seeing your build unfold. Best regards....Dale



Absolutely Dale! THe great thing about this forum in particular is the breadth of international contributors. Sounds ambitious though!
TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 31, 2016
KitMaker: 114 posts
Armorama: 112 posts
Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - 11:18 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Very very nice to see a change in pace for subject matter. A nice tangent indeed,much like Tims' epic build.
The peashooter AT gun reminds me of the one sequence in the old old film concerning Aussies in the western desert. I seeem to recall the film using a gun like this one.
J



Thanks Jerry.

I have done a bit of research on the 2 pounder which I will reveal in due course. A very interesting piece - although I cannot help thinking that all-round traverse on an anti-tank gun was only going to be of much use if you were planning to be surrounded..!
TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 31, 2016
KitMaker: 114 posts
Armorama: 112 posts
Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - 11:20 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Following along here. I too really enjoy reading/learning/modeling some of the more obscure subject matter. Loved the Liberation build by the way. Fantastic work.



Thanks J.

As I say, this won't be quite as ambitious...
TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 31, 2016
KitMaker: 114 posts
Armorama: 112 posts
Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - 11:23 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Looks very promising, especially since we get so few Pacific War dios. Bravo.



Thanks Bill. We will have to see how it turns out...
TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 31, 2016
KitMaker: 114 posts
Armorama: 112 posts
Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - 12:04 PM UTC
OK, so the basic idea is the 2 Pounder anti-tank gun versus a Japanese tank - in an appropriate 'jungle' setting.

The tank I have chosen is the Type 95 'Ha-Go'. For better or for worse, I chose the FineMolds Imperial Japanese Army Light Tank Type 95 Ha-Go 'Malayan Campaign.



I picked this kit up when I was in Tokyo. At the same time I also acquired the turned brass gun barrel and photo-etch fret which are available as extras.




There are other kits available - and, for reasons that will soon become clear, it may be that I should have chosen one of the Dragon versions. But I am already wedded to the FineMolds kit...

For the 2 Pounder there are only two options: Sovereign 2000 in resin and Vulcan in plastic. Both have their strengths and weaknesses and I am contemplating a kitbash.

It may be better if I post these builds in the Armour section.

At the same time I have been gathering some interesting figure sets - some obvious, some less so - as well as some appropriate flora.

So watch this space!
edoardo
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Milano, Italy
Joined: November 30, 2007
KitMaker: 639 posts
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Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - 06:06 PM UTC
i have my pocorn ready for the show!
so, no, don’t post the tank and gun build in the armour section! it will force a painful change of chair!
ciao
edo
mikado
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Singapore / 新加坡
Joined: July 10, 2005
KitMaker: 328 posts
Armorama: 253 posts
Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - 09:28 PM UTC
Ahh....interesting...Will follow your post closely...

Thanks to the British...All Abled Singaporean Males after 18 years old have to do 2 years of full time Military Services followed by 10 years of reservist duty.

The British, then, our colonial master turn tail and ran when the Japanese came; Left us how to hang and dry on our own...

Now all Singaporean are taught from young age the following :

"Whatever you can't defend, doesn't belong to you”.
strongarden
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Florida, United States
Joined: May 14, 2012
KitMaker: 727 posts
Armorama: 621 posts
Posted: Friday, January 17, 2020 - 10:27 AM UTC
Great idea Tim! I'll be following this as well, looking frwd to how this comes about. Do you have any idea how large this might be?

Regards
Dave
TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 31, 2016
KitMaker: 114 posts
Armorama: 112 posts
Posted: Friday, January 17, 2020 - 11:58 AM UTC

Quoted Text

i have my pocorn ready for the show!
so, no, don’t post the tank and gun build in the armour section! it will force a painful change of chair!
ciao
edo



Thanks Edoardo.

OK, OK I will keep it all here! Although I may put a 'sign post' in the Armour section to catch those nuts and bolts types who rarely venture into this exotic world...
TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 31, 2016
KitMaker: 114 posts
Armorama: 112 posts
Posted: Friday, January 17, 2020 - 12:07 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Ahh....interesting...Will follow your post closely...

Thanks to the British...All Abled Singaporean Males after 18 years old have to do 2 years of full time Military Services followed by 10 years of reservist duty.

The British, then, our colonial master turn tail and ran when the Japanese came; Left us how to hang and dry on our own...

Now all Singaporean are taught from young age the following :

"Whatever you can't defend, doesn't belong to you”.



Thanks Mike,

It's always a particular pleasure to have someone who actually lives in the part of the world I am trying to recreate.

I hope you won't mind if I bombard you with questions about trees, road surfaces and other mundane topics once I get to that part of the diorama. I have never been to Malaysia or Singapore (Japan is the nearest I have been) so my knowledge of the area is limited to what I can find on the internet.

As for the history... yes, I quite understand. There is a very powerful documentary on the History Channel about this conflict which shows the British 'rulers' in a very poor light.

Yes, there was bravery amongst the soldiers, sailors and airmen - but also amongst the civilians who were ultimately abandoned to their fate by a dying British Empire. There's no getting away from that.

Which is, I suppose, one of the reasons why this is worth exploring. Uncomfortable truths are often the most interesting!

TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 31, 2016
KitMaker: 114 posts
Armorama: 112 posts
Posted: Friday, January 17, 2020 - 12:34 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Great idea Tim! I'll be following this as well, looking frwd to how this comes about. Do you have any idea how large this might be?

Regards
Dave



Thanks Dave.

Well now, there's a question...

I am determined not to let this become as large and complex as my Italian dio. Although the Muar River action is my inspiration, there are quite a few issues with modelling this event.

First of all, there is one of distance. You will note from the image at the top of this post that the gun is actually in quite close proximity to the Japanese tanks.

I had already suspected that this was not the range at which they engaged and, having watched the History Channel documentary (which is on Youtube), I believe I am right. One of the veterans talks of the anti-tank guns being moved up AFTER the tanks had been knocked out.

Yet they are still such a distance away that, in 1/35 scale, this would make for a very large (or at least long) diorama.

Also, whilst I am tempted to depict the Australians triumphant, I recognise that this hardly captures the essence of a campaign in which the Allies were almost always in retreat.

So my plan is to depict Japanese forces moving up past an abandoned 2 pounder on a road similar to that shown in these images.

That means that I can have a backdrop of suitable trees and bushes and Japanese tankers and infantry with a juxtoposition between the colourful Ha-Go tank and the Aussie gun, strewn about with empty shell casings and other abandoned equipment.

So, in a sense, it's the flipside of my Italian dio, with the Axis forces advancing to victory and the Allies in defeat.
TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: August 31, 2016
KitMaker: 114 posts
Armorama: 112 posts
Posted: Friday, January 17, 2020 - 12:41 PM UTC
Meanwhile, here is another powerful image of a knocked out Ha-Go tank from the Muar River action. These are all taken from the Australian War Memorial Site, although most are also on Wiki.

This is the lead tank in both images above.



The elaborate camouflage on Japanese tanks has always fascinated me: surely influenced by the French, whose own tanks were painted in a very similar style?

I also suspect that the trees across the road were not battle damage - but felled by Allied forces to block the Japanese advance. Otherwise why did they fall so conveniently (or inconveniently for the Japanese)?
jrutman
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Pennsylvania, United States
Joined: April 10, 2011
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Posted: Friday, January 17, 2020 - 04:44 PM UTC
as if on que Andy Cairns is in the middle of producing a large group of Japanese tankers in resin sitting on and around a tank. You may want to check it out.
J
SpeedyJ
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Bangkok, Thailand / ไทย
Joined: September 17, 2013
KitMaker: 1,423 posts
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Posted: Friday, January 17, 2020 - 10:09 PM UTC
Hi Tim.
This will be very nice to follow. Gives me as a Dutchman a lot of finger itching wanna do an Indonesia Diorama. Timeline is the same.
Beginning of a dark period for the Colonial Power The Netherlands still were round that time. Bloody interesting...

All the best from Pathum Thani in Thailand,

Robert Jan
Golikell
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Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Joined: October 25, 2002
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Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2020 - 05:56 AM UTC
Your idea is forming up nicely. Do you intend to ad a dead soldier to the gun, or depict it merely abandoned?
cheyenne
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New Jersey, United States
Joined: January 05, 2005
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Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2020 - 10:17 AM UTC
Welcome to the jungle Tim , nice scene and excellent subject matter .