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How are the mighty fallen! - British Mk. V Tank - Going to Ground


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  • Bertie Psmith changed the title to How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places.

When I saw the picture above, I thought of this...

 

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The last of my WWI tank stash. I had a bit of a craze on them a year or two ago and bought two Mk. IVs (male and female but I couldn't get them to breed, alas!), a St Charmond and a Whippet. Oh, and a Ford Model T armoured car just for a laugh. They have all been built now, and the sole remainder is a Meng Mk. V. Now why didn't I build that one? 

 

 

 

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That's why. I wanted to make the interior and to make that interior visible. I'm not one of those people who are happy to spend hours on details that will not be seen again "because I know it's there". The question was how to do it. I've seen a few cut open like museum exhibits, which was my first thought. There was one on here recently with a museum style cutaway on one side and a diorama of the war on the other. The cutaway was done by simply removing the sponson, It's an excellent idea and brilliantly done by @Red five. Please take a look at it here:

 

 

Well, I won't be able to improve on that! So I thought about a removable top panel but that seemed a bit inelegant. I don't want to have to keep taking the top off every time I want to look at it. In the factory being built would be very good but is complicated by building the factory and is an idea I'm holding back for a full interior M-3 Lee which is also nagging me from the top of the wardrobe. Then I started looking at battle damage. 

 

These early tanks were made from armour plate but it wasn't very thick. It could sometimes be penetrated by heavy machine gun fire at the right range and angle, and often by those gigantic anti-tank rifles such as the 13mm Mauser 1918 Tankgewehr. And when an artillery piece scored a direct hit the tanks just seem to have broken open. 

 

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A big (?) shell, exploding inside the big steel box, seems to have caused overpressure which tore the armour plates apart where they were rivetted to an 'angle iron' framework. I guess the framework was the weak part, or possibly the rivets themselves. Shells from smaller artillery pieces, I infer from the photo in my first post, exploded against the armour plate and shattered and tore it open without totally exploding the tank. Or maybe splinters from the shells exploding inside did that too? Often a knocked out tank would be targeted multiple times, just in case, so it's not inconceivable that both types of damage could have been present in one wreck.

 

There's a creative way to display my full interior!

 

It's likely that there would have been fire-damage too, but I'm going to assert that this was limited and partial. Explosions don't always include a big barrel of petrol, despite what the movies tell us, and blast and splinters might not even set off all or any of the ammunition remaining in the tank. I'll work this out as I go, depending on the kit parts and how I modify them. I want some fires because areas with the paint burnt off will oxidise and give scope for interesting weathering effects, I don't want too much because a sooty black inside would be a bit boring.

 

I like the first picture because it's not in a sea of mud, I'm guessing this was after the breakout of 1918? I also like that the angle of the tank adds a pleasing vertical aspect to the vignette. I don't want to include the bloody dismembered remains of the crew so I'm setting it a few days after the battle, when the bodies have been buried, but not so long after that the salvage teams would have started hauling away the pieces. I'm not going to do a diorama with multiple figures, but perhaps there will be one or two just for scale. Maybe a surveyor from those engineers?

 

These pictures show Mk. IV Females (armed with machine guns only). My kit is a Mk. V Male with the 'proper guns' as well as MGs but that's not a problem because I'm aiming for a plausible representation rather that an exact replica of an actual event. I reserve my rights to artistic licence. I will almost certainly name the tank 'Jonathan'.

 

And that's about as far as my planning goes at the moment. I am open to suggestions, people. If you have any relevant ideas, or irrelevant ones come to that, please join in. Can anyone recommend a few good resin figures in 1/35 scale?

 

 

 

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  • Bertie Psmith changed the title to How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!
42 minutes ago, Geo1966 said:

Hi Bertie,

Nice project. These are not resin, but they are quite nice and well detailed.

 

http://www.mbltd.info/figures/1-35-scale/world-war-i-era/35146.html

 

George

 

Thanks George. That will do nicely.

 

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"And that, Harry, is why you'll never get me in one of them bloody things!"

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16 hours ago, Stef N. said:

Very interesting photo. If you haven't heard the story of Fray Bentos before you maybe intersted in this too.

 

https://tankmuseum.org/article/trapped_story_of_fray_bentos

 

Thanks Stef. Yes, I did know about this one. It's a story well worth reading.

 

What a name for a tank - Fray Bentos were (and are) a major manufacturer of corned beef - meat in a tin box!

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3 minutes ago, Bertie Psmith said:

 

Thanks Stef. Yes, I did know about this one. It's a story well worth reading.

 

What a name for a tank - Fray Bentos were (and are) a major manufacturer of corned beef - meat in a tin box!

And my favourite, steak and kidney pudd'n... in a tin.

Always referred to as a "baby's head" by my grandad ( who fought in WW1 )

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16 minutes ago, Bertie Psmith said:

 

Thanks Stef. Yes, I did know about this one. It's a story well worth reading.

 

What a name for a tank - Fray Bentos were (and are) a major manufacturer of corned beef - meat in a tin box!

A bit of a random post but I thought it would be an interesting topic for a diorama. But knowing now what you want to plan probably not the best one. (Although plenty of damage.)

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2 minutes ago, Stef N. said:

A bit of a random post

 

I love random - even more than pies.

 

And it is an interesting tale. It astonishes me how they all became wounded while inside the tank. Bullets (or slivers and splashes of them) would come through the vision slits and any crack in the structure. They would cause spalling where an impact on the outside would cause a 'scab' of armour plate to fly off the inside face virtually as fast as the bullet hit the outside. And enemy fire hitting a rivet could drive the whole thing straight through. Add CO poisoning and motion sickness and you have a truly wonderful way to fight a war. Yet the tank men were an elite corps, very proud of their ultra-modern chargers.

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Its a long build indeed. Break it into manageable chunks. Its a tough decision to work out how to display the interior hence why i went down the route i did. The other, more drastic and risky option i thought of was to literally cut it in half but that was too much of a risk for me. The roof does come off ok but i found it a paint to get botb sides on and straight. Might have just been the way i was doing it or a issue with the kit. But either way good luck. If you need any help just ask. Look forward to seeing it. 

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6 hours ago, Bertie Psmith said:

 

We were still using the phrase in the RAF in 1970-90, and they probably still are. (And I still love 'em.) Corned beef was usually referred to as Corned Dog, by the way.

 

I just added a pie to next week's shopping list, thanks for the reminder.

Corned Dog !... I haven't heard that phrase for donkey's years, funnily enough I think it came to us from a mate who was in the RAF :)

ps..last time I had a baby's head i think it came in a plastic "tin" which was most disappointing.

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1 hour ago, Red Five said:

I found it a paint to get both sides on and straight.

 

If you need any help just ask. Look forward to seeing it. 

 

I thought one of the advantages of an exploded tank was that no-one would notice my building inaccuracies.

 

Thank you for that. I may well be in touch!

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30 minutes ago, Bertie Psmith said:

 

Funnily enough, C-dog is also on my shopping list for next week. I love that stuff too. In fact I melted some down in a tin of tomato soup for lunch today. (I live alone. :rofl:)

I always have a few tins in stock, a very handy stand by.

I like the sound of your Tom soup improv. scran malarkey, I'm going to be nicking that idea ! 👍

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Btw, you've probably come across this already, but there's a displayed wrecked tank nicknamed Deborah, this vid gives an impression ( once it gets to the tank shots!) but there's lots of pics on 'tinternet of the tank from various angles.. The way the plating kind of 'shatters' in places is worthy of note.

 

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On 8/30/2021 at 6:54 PM, Pig of the Week said:

The way the plating kind of 'shatters' in places is worthy of note.

 

Indeed. This is one of the weird things about explosives, isn't it. Sometimes an explosion bends things and sometimes it shatters them like glass. It certainly gives me a lot of scope for improvisation.

 

By chance, I'm currently reading a second war memoir by a Major in the Scots Guards which often mentions the fickleness of high explosives. He had a shell land 12 feet from him which left him unharmed while all around him were extinguished. He paced out the distance later. He also recounts encountering three signallers sitting against a wall, one with his microphone still held to his mouth - all dead from blast but without a sign of injury. 

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Careful with air rifle power. You might find yourself having to reconstruct the whole model..................................

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  • Bertie Psmith changed the title to How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished! - Started

I didn't want this topic to drone on for ages without anything actually happening, as can so easily happen. 

 

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So I did this bit. I figure the engine will remain pretty much intact whatever else gets broken up inside.

 

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Cunning. You fit all six push rods in one go and then remove the sprue, keeping everything lined up perfectly. Not something we haven't seen before but it augers well for the rest of the build that those fine chaps at Meng are thinking of me.

 

 

 

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Five parts assembled and already I'm thinking I have to consider that a sub-assembly, meaning it's time to paint it before adding anything else. The next parts are pipes and manifolds which will make accurate painting of this cylinder block difficult or impossible for me. Well, we all agreed that this would be a long build. However, the longest journey begins with a single step and let the record show that the first step has now been taken.

 

 

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  • Bertie Psmith changed the title to How are the mighty fallen, and the engines of war cemented! - Started. Started I tell thee! Started!
2 hours ago, Pig of the Week said:

there's a displayed wrecked tank nicknamed Deborah,

 

Yes, it's another fascinating story. Thank you.

 

34 minutes ago, echen said:

Careful with air rifle power.

 

Ok. How about a nail gun? 

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The plan now is to de-sprue and fettle all of the engine parts up to Stage 19, assembling where I can. Then to prime and paint the bits before assembling them.

 

Usually I like to do as much building as possible before doing as much painting as possible etc. The drawback with this strategy is that I often build too much and then have trouble painting neatly. To be honest, I've just gotten lazy and convinced myself that 'I'd only get glue on the painted parts when I assemble'. That's horsefeathers! I used to paint each piece before assembly when I was a teenager so I know it can be done. It just takes a little more time and careful gluing. Anyway, this kit is so complicated that I really have little choice in the matter.

 

I hope to take the new/old technique back to my more simple projects too - I'm retired, time is not an issue anymore.

 

Just a thought today, not a real update because of pressure of the Phantom GB. I'll get tanking tomorrow!

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I found an hour and a quarter this morning for this build. In that time I cleaned up nine parts, stuck two of them together and modified one. Yes, this will be a long story...

 

 

 

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These are 150 HP Ricardo 19 litre, straight six, petrol engines. This is about as detailed as my book based references get, unfortunately.

 

I thought I had a 'Haynes Manual' on the MkV but on close examination I've discovered that it's for the MkIV. Silly me, I actually built two MkIVs without using the book because I thought... Well, you know.

 

There are photos on the internet of course, mostly taken in museums. And the museums, over the last century have 'restored' their exhibits in various ways. One common practice seems to have been applying a thick black coat of paint to the entire engine assembly, white paint to the roof and walls and red to the floor and walls. Now clearly, those engines aren't black all over. What colours they actually were is open to interpretation, as is almost everything about the First World War. This is a curse and a blessing.

 

I get no help but I do have a free hand to paint this tank pretty much as I like. I will stick to colours which fit my idea of the period, of course. I'll use no brilliant white made with titanium pigments for example, my whites will have to be slightly cream coloured as if pigmented with lead, bound with linseed oil (?) and thinned with turpentine. There will also be a bit of spit and polish going on with the brassware. I know how the army works!

 

 

 

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The moulding of the hundreds of parts is marvellous. There are ejection marks to remove of course but 9/10 of these are slightly raised and disappear with a swipe of a curved blade. there's no flash but the mould line, fine as it is, goes around a lot of corners and takes a bit of shifting.

 

 

 

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This is one of the engine bearers, made from only two pieces. Sorry about the focus. I've done two of these and the clutch assembly pieces today. All to be painted separately.

 

 

 

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These are the floorboards around the engine which were the working surface for the crew. They don't look like wood - yet.

 

 

 

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They cover a lot of the interior and will be very visible.

 

 

 

 

 

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Cutting the gaps deeper has helped them be a bit more woody.

 

 

 

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On at least one side, I want some fire damage to the boards so I sawed them into separate slices.

 

 

 

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Shaped the ends with side cutters and sandpaper, and then a grinding ball thingie in a drill.

 

 

 

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I think I have the makings of a limited fire here, charring the timbers. I ran the carving/grinding ball over the rest of the boards and discovered a new way to texture plastic for wood effects.

 

 

 

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Not bad, eh?

 

 

 

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And a swipe with some 240 grit finished the job nicely. 

 

And that took an hour and 17 minutes, not counting the writing time which was at least another half-hour. I'm going to get tremendous value for money from this kit!

 

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17 hours ago, Bertie Psmith said:

The plan now is to de-sprue and fettle all of the engine parts up to Stage 19, assembling where I can. Then to prime and paint the bits before assembling them.

 

Usually I like to do as much building as possible before doing as much painting as possible etc. The drawback with this strategy is that I often build too much and then have trouble painting neatly. To be honest, I've just gotten lazy and convinced myself that 'I'd only get glue on the painted parts when I assemble'. That's horsefeathers! I used to paint each piece before assembly when I was a teenager so I know it can be done. It just takes a little more time and careful gluing. Anyway, this kit is so complicated that I really have little choice in the matter.

 

I hope to take the new/old technique back to my more simple projects too - I'm retired, time is not an issue anymore.

 

Just a thought today, not a real update because of pressure of the Phantom GB. I'll get tanking tomorrow!

I built mine in sub assemblies. Getting the exhausts to marry up was a bit of a pain. 

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On 9/1/2021 at 2:30 PM, Red Five said:

I built mine in sub assemblies. Getting the exhausts to marry up was a bit of a pain. 

 

Ah, well there I have an advantage. Anything that doesn't line up has been broken by the incoming shells. 🙂

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  • Bertie Psmith changed the title to How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Meng British Mk. V Tank - Full Interior and Diorama

I primed the first set of engine pieces today. most are still unattached but this cylinder block and crankcase show what a remarkable kit this is.

 

 

 

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Already I realise that I've assembled too much for comfortable painting of the details. I must slow down! In fact I was thinking today that to improve my models generally, the key thing would be to work far more slowly, to enjoy the process rather than being focussed on the goal, as I usually am. There is no deadline. I have to remember that. 

 

When I connected the block to the crankcase, I saw that it was possible to fit it the wrong way round. I checked three times against the instructions and still initially glued it together wrongly. It was only when the next piece wouldn't fit that I noticed, fortunately the glue was still soft and I could tear the parts apart. Another way for me to improve my work would be to use less glue. Less glue means less mess and the possibility of correcting errors. Why do I flood every part of a join anyway, It's not got to bear any weight. Silly me!

 

 

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  • Bertie Psmith changed the title to How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Meng British Mk. V Tank - Full Interior and Diorama - Slow Build
  • Bertie Psmith changed the title to How are the mighty fallen! - British Mk. V Tank - Going to Ground

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