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Model Mate

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  1. Two updates in as many days! Must be a record for me, and all because my work laptop had a hissy fit and required someone from India to spend all day fiddly with it remotely. Useful modelling time while I patiently waited and clicked a button to restart the pc every half hour or so. I added some thin strips of plastic card and wine-top foil handles to each of the charge tubes, leaving a couple empty. I glued them in place and added a shelf to the top over the first three ammo tubs. The rear couple sit under the fuel tanks that I’ve already added to the roof. Another squirt of primer and Bob’s your uncle. While I had the rattle can out, I primed the new mudguards and doors/hatches The top still fits thankfully and it’ll all look suitably busy inside once the engine is back in - result! And that (I think) is it for construction. I have a can of Halfords white primer, so I’ll try a bit of azimuthal preshading using that, then add dark grey and black preshading around hatches, panels and so on with the airbrush before the paint job proper. Next job then is to finish off the gun painting and then get back to the figures.
  2. Into the belly of the beast..... There's not much to go on in relation to the interior of the Mk1 gun carrier; at least not much I can find. I have a technical drawing indicating three large circular ammo bins on either side and the card template I'm basing this model on shows a number of smaller, but also round ammo bins. I'm guessing (and it really is a guess) that the most reliable reference is the card template, so that's what I'll go with. The round ammo bins had me wondering.... why round? It's certainly not the most efficient in terms of space, and the Darlington propoganda footage shows the external cab plates stacked high with ammo, so why is there storage inside? Incidentally, I'm wondering if the Darlington photos actually hastened the demise of this vehicle, at least in its originally intended role. Perhaps after seeing Darlington with stacks of storage all over it, the powers that be realised its greater potential as a supplier carrier instead of a gun carriage. Certainly all the deployed vehicles were soon stripped of their offensive armament and converted to rather less glamourous supply vehicles. Still; why round and why inside? Maybe the round drums were rolled into place and lifted into the carrier i.e. they weren't fixed permanently in position, but were re-stocked as these round drums? And inside? Well, the 6" BL howitzer, despite looking reasonably modern, was something of an evolutionary rather than revolutionary step in artillery development it seems. The "BL" in the title indicates "breech loading" implying that this was a bit of a novelty, and the ammo it used at the time would have been fairly familiar (at least in concept) to the old brass-barrel and touchpaper generation of gunners inasmuch as it consisted of separate shells and charges. The charges in the form of canvas bags filled with gunpowder/cordite were supplied in leather or cardboard tubes and needed to be rammed into place behind the shell. The Darlington photos show the shells stacked up on the outside, along with a few wooden boxes, and maybe it made sense to store the charges separately inside where they could be kept dry and relatively safe? This is the story I'm going with. Here's what the charge tubes look like: (I think) I popped to Wickes and bought a length of 15mm plastic pipe, which I cut into sections and glued circular plates on the ends, with smaller circles on the faces to represent the ends of the leather tubes. I'll drill out at least one of these and have the tube leant up nearby I think. Here they are in place - they're pretty plain, but without knowing what they really look like, I'm not sure what other detail to add on them. Maybe just some loops of tape to represent the charge-tube handles poking out. They aren't particularly visible from the outside, so that's fine I guess, but as I'm still hoping to be able to lift the lid when it's finished, I think I'll add a bit of supporting framework and a shelf on top; they must have needed somewhere to store tools, ropes, chains etc.
  3. lovely finish to this one - not as garish as the coloured photo thankfully! Really nice stuff.
  4. Ahh, sorry Echen - history doesn't record a funky three-tone Mk1 gun carrier I'm afraid - I wish that wasn't the case!
  5. fabulously neat and detailed work so far as expected - lovely stuff!
  6. thanks chaps - the gun has been fun to do; I'm quite tempted to do a 60 pounder or 8" howitzer as a later project. Lots of fiddly bits, but pretty rewarding. The main vehicle will just be boring brown I'm afraid John.
  7. Checking references can be a dangerous thing! (part two)….. In researching the “shoes” that support the gun wheels when they are strapped to the sides of the carrier, I saw that there are two mounting points where chains can be fixed to tie the wheels back to the body. The rear ones appear to be simple cleats/hoops and so these were fashioned from silver wire glued into a couple of holes. The front ones seem to be an extended rod to which the chains are tied/fixed. These are really hard to see on the photos and so I simply inserted a length of wire with a loop formed in the end. They look a bit Mickey-Mouse to be honest, so I might review these once I see what they look like with the chains in place. They’re pretty fragile as well, so they might not actually survive until I get the chains on anyway; we’ll see. I carried out my plan to snip off the driving seats and install the flat plates running along the top of the tracks before painting, with the seats to be slipped in after, and it appears to have worked really well. I fixed thin strips of 0.2mm card to the external edges of the plates to represent a flange that is evident in the photos and glued the plates in place, with an additional piece of card stuck to the bottom/front and extending into the cabs. These will be the mounting points for the seat units, and whilst not quite Tamiya-level engineering, it does seem to work nicely, providing a firm and level base for the seat units to glue onto later – result! I checked that the upper hull still sits over the plates and all is good. I’ve also mocked up a pile of (very poorly cast) ammo in place to show what it’ll eventually look like. The photos I have of “Darlington” show even more than this – a tottering pile of shells and boxes. The gun got a bit more attention next. I’d painted the barrel and carriage separately a while back and fixed them together, but there were a few handles, brackets and so on that needed adding once it was married up. Most prominent of these are the brake mechanisms – one either side. Photos and drawings of the gun with wheels attached show these toed-in towards the front of the gun, but photos of the gun installed in the carrier seem to show the same wheel-handles toed the other way. My assumption is that with the wheels removed, the brakes could rotate closer to the carriage frame to save space, so I modelled my approximation of this. The components were a few bent lengths of iron wire, some small plastic card brackets, curved plastic card “shoes” and control wheels made from silver wire and plastic card. On a visit to work on my boat I picked up some paints to allow me to finish off the gun. As with superglue, I have something of a love/hate relationship with my airbrush; the results are great, and very often essential to get certain effects, but the aggro of setting up, cleaning and so on means I often (perhaps too often) ask the question “can I get away with brush painting?”. At the moment, my DIY fully manual compressor remains in storage and I don’t have anywhere set up to carry out airbrushing, so in this case the answer was easy. The three-tone camo also means I’m quite happy to justify brush painting the wheels, so they (along with the new brackets) got a water-diluted splosh of Tamiya green. I’ll give them another coat and then add the camo. Though they’ll not be mounted for this project, and despite the re-positioned brake pads getting in the way and pushing the wheels out a bit too far, I couldn’t resist popping them on to give an idea of what the gun would roughly look like off the carrier.
  8. Yeah - hands on fettling - that’s the way! (For me at least). Nice work so far.
  9. brilliant work - for the chap leaping out the back, I'd have his foot landing on a box or something - I'm never a fan of "invisible" supports....
  10. multi layer tyres!? That's bonkers..... Even I wouldn't scratchbuild them that way! Miniart kits are great, but they do come up with some "interesting" construction methods
  11. Lovely tidy work - I know exactly what you mean about extra jobs making themselves apparent - these fiddly little brackets and greebles seem to come out of nowhere!
  12. Your wheels are, as you say, very "punchy" but they certainly look great, and will presumably get toned down a bit with mud/dust later. I like the cardboard tip - long live drybrushing!
  13. Checking references can be a dangerous thing! Every time I look at the photos and video I have of Mk1 gun carriers, I spot yet another bracket/strap/shelf/panel etc. etc. While I was researching the rear doors, I couldn’t help but see a couple of new ones of course. Firstly, at the rear, there are a couple of round sockets which I assume were fixing points for the steering wheels. Like the Mk1 tank, these were in the form of a trolley with a pair of large carriage wheels dragged behind the vehicle and intended to make turning easier, though I can’t really see how they would help and apparently neither did the crews, so they were universally omitted. A lot of the photo evidence I have is from the proving ground where the steering wheels were attached, so it’s been tricky to see these sockets in most of the photos. I also added the curved, riveted strips against the tracks at the rear which I assume were a safety feature to prevent anyone or anything entering the rear of the tank getting caught up in the tracks and to be fair, I did know about these; I just hadn’t made and fitted them up ‘till now. Could have avoided a few hidden rivets if I’d thought that one through a bit more…. While I was checking these items in my references, I spotted a tubular bracket and curved plate poking out of the side of the vehicle. These can’t be seen in pictures where the gun-carriage wheels aren’t attached and so were easy to miss. I’m guessing they were attached as part of the process of strapping the wheels on and make perfect sense – I had wondered how these heavy wheels were successfully fixed to the sides and these provide the answer. I placed the wheels in position and traced around them with a pencil to show where the brackets needed fixing. A length of 2mm tube, curved plastic card and a bit of hex rod, and they were done. I also added some spacer pieces around the wheel circumference to allow them to be glued to the upper hull section. I’m hoping they can be permanently fixed to allow the top part to be removed (with wheels attached) once it’s all done to view the interior, though the multitude of chains fixing the upper hull to the gun will need a bit of further consideration to allow this. One advantage of the wheels being attached is that a lot of my messiest super-glued rivets will get covered up. I also think there are some tiny fixing points for the chains that hold the wheels in place that I need to add too – back to the photos…. So back to what I originally opened up the photos for – the rear doors. Pretty simple; just flat plates with a bit of hinge and handle detail. I’ve continued to mull over the painting schedule, with the main challenge being the seat units. They’re fixed onto long plates that run from the driving cabs right back into the rear hull, and cover the tops of the tracks. I had been planning to paint them up, insert them into place and then do the main paint job; masking them as best I can to prevent them getting messed up by the general painting, but on further reflection, I may try snipping the front, seat sections off, gluing the track-cover plates in place and inserting the shortened seat units into place AFTER painting the tank. Either way, the track-cover sections can afford to be a bit messy, as they’ll get covered with a ton of junk (mostly ammo) later on.
  14. your ad-hoc photo booth seems to be doing a pretty good job - excellent photos of an outstanding model.
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