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On Heather's Workbench - vehicles and other bits for 1/72nd scale 1940 period dioramas and vignettes


Heather Kay

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I wasn't at all sure which forum to post this little exercise in. It's military vehicles, but not; it's aircraft related, but not. So, rather than risk the ire of the moderators, I will post here.

 

I like to create vignettes or small dioramas when taking nice photos of my model aircraft efforts. For years now, I've been trying to make sure any supporting vehicles are period correct - no easy task, especially when you leave the comfort of UK airfields in 1940. Anyway, one of those jobs I planned to get around to was sorting out some suitable bomb trolleys and their loads.

 

Airfix was kind enough to produce a 1/72nd scale set of airfield accessories a few years ago. Vehicles, ladders, platforms, bombs and so on, it all came in handy. The bombs in the set were mostly for a bit later in the Second World War for me, but the trolleys were more or less correct. Only a pair of them, though. A bit limiting if you want to reproduce the classic bomb train images often seen on bomber airfields at the time. Back in 1966 Airfix had produced a kit for the Short Stirling, and that included a David Brown tractor and four bomb trolleys. Having one in the stash, I raided it for parts, and hoped I could use the bomb load as well.

 

Tiny Bombs

 

Here's a shot showing the four Stirling trolleys with one of the later Airfix ones at the front. The Stirling kit ones are basic, but of their time. They do represent something like the trolleys in service at the start of the war, and as such will do until something better comes along. 

 

The only enhancement I could reasonably do was to spin the rather conical-shaped wheels up in my Dremel and sand them down to a better tyre shape.

 

Right, that's the carrying set-up organised. What about loads. How do the Stirling bombs stack up?

 

Tiny Bombs

 

Tiny Bombs

 

Well, to be charitable, and considering they're from a mould nearly 60 years old, they're vaguely bomb-shaped. The bomb casings were split in two and needed gluing together, but that left a ridge that would need sanding down. The tail rings, though, were nasty. Shaped more like buckets, with thick sides. Could I spend hours refining these? I felt I could better.

 

Tiny Bombs

 

I piled into my brass tube stocks, and amazingly found a suitable diameter right away. The task then was to cut off 16 pieces more or less the right size, and fit them to the bomb cases.

 

Tiny Bombs

 

Some time later, and after having made a fair stab at making the bombs more or less the right shape, I was ready to assemble things.

 

Tiny Bombs

 

Even later, and I got to this stage. I hope @Selwyn approves! I also hope he will correct any major errors I've made. Now, this pile of 250lb GP bombs is far from perfect. The shapes are pretty much anywhere, and I failed to glue the rings on square in many cases. The colour, trying to get close to the "buff" specified, was mixed from Humbrol 93 and Humbrol 24. The eau de nil and red rings were painted with a very fine brush and steady hand while the bomb was clamped in a battery-powered Black & Decker spinning as slow as my trigger finger would let it. I'm still unsure about the red tail rings - which denoted delayed action fuzes, apparently - but felt they would add a little variety to the load. I am open to correction, but assumed such bombs would be spread around in a normal bomb load for some variety.

 

Tiny Bombs

 

Trolleys loaded, Small Bomb Containers ready, and just masking tape straps to fit to stop the bombs bouncing off the trolleys as they head out round the perimeter track to their intended aircraft.

 

I feel I want to do better, so I may well swap out the Stirling bombs in time. I have several modern Airfix bomber kits which have ordnance in them which will make a better fist of the overall shape. I also know Flightpath have some trolley kits which include bombs, so I shall save my pennies to get those.

 

If there's enough interest in my 1940 rabbit hole I may well keep this thread going as I add other bits and bobs to my set dressing collection. I am trying to get good information on French, Belgian and Dutch airfield support equipment, and adding some German military stuff for the Luftwaffe. Perhaps you, dear reader, might be able to point me in suitable directions there.

 

Thanks for looking!

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Here's a couple of tips: The DB tractor supplied in the Stirling and Bomb Support kit was not (AFAIK) available at the start of the war so a Fordson may be more appropriate for 1940.  Similarly the Bedford MW has the later cab, whereas earlier ones had an open cab with small individual windscreens for the driver and passenger.  There was also a different pattern of openings in the sides of the bonnet. 

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More tiny bombs


All safely strapped in. It was difficult to work out how the straps were located, so I’ve gone with best guess. As they’re masking tape they can be moved about if required.

 

Incidentally, I found this video on YouTube quite instructive.

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Heather Kay said:

I wasn't at all sure which forum to post this little exercise in. It's military vehicles, but not; it's aircraft related, but not. So, rather than risk the ire of the moderators, I will post here.

 

I like to create vignettes or small dioramas when taking nice photos of my model aircraft efforts. For years now, I've been trying to make sure any supporting vehicles are period correct - no easy task, especially when you leave the comfort of UK airfields in 1940. Anyway, one of those jobs I planned to get around to was sorting out some suitable bomb trolleys and their loads.

 

Airfix was kind enough to produce a 1/72nd scale set of airfield accessories a few years ago. Vehicles, ladders, platforms, bombs and so on, it all came in handy. The bombs in the set were mostly for a bit later in the Second World War for me, but the trolleys were more or less correct. Only a pair of them, though. A bit limiting if you want to reproduce the classic bomb train images often seen on bomber airfields at the time. Back in 1966 Airfix had produced a kit for the Short Stirling, and that included a David Brown tractor and four bomb trolleys. Having one in the stash, I raided it for parts, and hoped I could use the bomb load as well.

 

Tiny Bombs

 

Here's a shot showing the four Stirling trolleys with one of the later Airfix ones at the front. The Stirling kit ones are basic, but of their time. They do represent something like the trolleys in service at the start of the war, and as such will do until something better comes along. 

 

The only enhancement I could reasonably do was to spin the rather conical-shaped wheels up in my Dremel and sand them down to a better tyre shape.

 

Right, that's the carrying set-up organised. What about loads. How do the Stirling bombs stack up?

 

Tiny Bombs

 

Tiny Bombs

 

Well, to be charitable, and considering they're from a mould nearly 60 years old, they're vaguely bomb-shaped. The bomb casings were split in two and needed gluing together, but that left a ridge that would need sanding down. The tail rings, though, were nasty. Shaped more like buckets, with thick sides. Could I spend hours refining these? I felt I could better.

 

Tiny Bombs

 

I piled into my brass tube stocks, and amazingly found a suitable diameter right away. The task then was to cut off 16 pieces more or less the right size, and fit them to the bomb cases.

 

Tiny Bombs

 

Some time later, and after having made a fair stab at making the bombs more or less the right shape, I was ready to assemble things.

 

Tiny Bombs

 

Even later, and I got to this stage. I hope @Selwyn approves! I also hope he will correct any major errors I've made. Now, this pile of 250lb GP bombs is far from perfect. The shapes are pretty much anywhere, and I failed to glue the rings on square in many cases. The colour, trying to get close to the "buff" specified, was mixed from Humbrol 93 and Humbrol 24. The eau de nil and red rings were painted with a very fine brush and steady hand while the bomb was clamped in a battery-powered Black & Decker spinning as slow as my trigger finger would let it. I'm still unsure about the red tail rings - which denoted delayed action fuzes, apparently - but felt they would add a little variety to the load. I am open to correction, but assumed such bombs would be spread around in a normal bomb load for some variety.

 

Tiny Bombs

 

Trolleys loaded, Small Bomb Containers ready, and just masking tape straps to fit to stop the bombs bouncing off the trolleys as they head out round the perimeter track to their intended aircraft.

 

I feel I want to do better, so I may well swap out the Stirling bombs in time. I have several modern Airfix bomber kits which have ordnance in them which will make a better fist of the overall shape. I also know Flightpath have some trolley kits which include bombs, so I shall save my pennies to get those.

 

If there's enough interest in my 1940 rabbit hole I may well keep this thread going as I add other bits and bobs to my set dressing collection. I am trying to get good information on French, Belgian and Dutch airfield support equipment, and adding some German military stuff for the Luftwaffe. Perhaps you, dear reader, might be able to point me in suitable directions there.

 

Thanks for looking!

Heather,

Those are C type bomb trolleys which were introduced in 1940.  The earlier Type B (alvis stroussler) Trolley could only take up to two 500lb bombs so the Type C was introduced which could carry up to 4000lb  of bombs.

Both the bomb trolleys and bombs look great, best I have seen for a long time. One extremely minor nit pick is that the Eau de Nil band should be around the widest part of the bombs, yours are a little bit forward of that.

The Red tails are correct and would as you say be a random part of the bomb load. I personally use sections of a plastic straw to replicate the ring tails!

Other alternatives you might consider for the future is that early on some bombs were seen with a 1/3 to 1/2 the of the bomb roughly painted green as a camouflage measure, because open bomb store stacks  had the top bombs covered in paint to hide them from arial view. Of course if the top bombs were lying on their side in the stack the green section would be on the side of the bomb, not necessarily the top.  Later GP bombs were painted overall Deep Bronze Green from manufacture (same coloured hazard stripes!). From 1941 onwards the GP bombs were progressively replaced by the more effective cylindrical MC type bombs, but GP bombs could still be seen till late in the war as they were used to "make up the weight" during bomb shortages.  

Your bombs as seen on the trolleys appear as they would when being towed. parked beside the aircraft they were often seen with the bomb carriers fitted ready to be hoisted into bomb bays which you could maybe try replicating in the future?

 

The SBC's look great as well. They usually carried bundles of 4lb incendiaries (some of them had random explosive charges to discourage firefighters trying to put them out) If I recall the RAF dropped about 4,000,000 of them over Germany in WW2!

 

Selwyn

 

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11 hours ago, Selwyn said:

One extremely minor nit pick


Thanks Selwyn! Your comments cheered me up no end! :yahoo:
 

I was following a note that the green band was 6in from the nose. I won’t change these bombs, but I’ll note "round the thickest part" for next time. 
 

The Flightpath kits have moved further up the wish list now. There is the B and C type trolley in the range.

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  • 2 months later...

A little sideline from other workbench jobs.

 

Airfix Magazine Guide 27


I have owned this little book since the late 1970s. It’s been a guide and inspiration for numerous vehicle models over the past nigh-on five decades, but one model eluded me. It was the Humber Super Snipe staff car, a vehicle that could be found in all branches of the British military before and during the Second World War. Scarborough's build involved sheet styrene, scrap wheels from the Airfix Bloodhound Land Rover, and a substance called Milliput. Even now, that level of dedication is beyond me.

 

Then, out of Ukraine, up steps Ace Models. Not only do they produce a Snipe staff car, they also make the estate "woody" heavy duty version. How could I refuse?

 

Ace Humber Super Snipe

 

Remember, this is 1/72nd scale. The detail is insane! The front axle assembly is made up from seven individual pieces, not counting the wheels. The front seats sit on tiny representations of the steel tube runners - which will never be seen again once the model is finished! I love it!

 

The build is best approached with a relaxed state of mind, strong magnification and steady hands. The instructions are very much a guide to where parts are supposed to go, but not necessarily the correct order of construction. Insert your own Eric Morecambe and Andre Previn sketch here. The rear axle, for example, was best assembled with the leaf springs and brake mechanism before attempting to fit it to the chassis. The fuel tank needs to go onto the rear floor before the chassis is fitted, and so on.

 

Ace Humber Super Snipe

 

I decided the saloon should be finished in the pre-war blue-grey. The kit includes markings for two Army vehicles at different points in the conflict, plus a couple of options for captured Snipes in German service. There is also a tiny PE fret with some extra details, including incredibly tiny wipers. I’ve added number plates from a Langley Miniature Models detail fret. RAF vehicles, up until the end of 1940, were registered with and carried civilian numbers from Middlesex County Council, so I’ve made up a number with the correct letters for that authority. Equally, the small RAF roundels were not applied until 1941, so the only clue to the service is RAF on the doors and the colour. 
 

Ace Humber Super Snipe

 

Painting the letters and numbers more or less worked out okay. They look rough in these close-up shots. Perhaps I ought to see if I can commission some custom transfers.

 

Anyway, I’ve now got a Snipe staff car in my collection, with a heavy duty shooting break waiting for the next time I’m relaxed enough to deal with the teeny tiny little parts. That will get finished in camouflage, though.

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16 minutes ago, marvinneko said:

So glad I stumbled on this thread as I don't review the AFV section. I have been thinking about 1:72 support vehicles in Canada for the BCATP circa 1942 so following with great interest. 


i know little of such things, being very parochial I’m my interests. You just sent me down a rabbit hole, though! 
 

My instinct was to suggest support vehicles in Canada would have been very much influenced by equipment bought or licence built from the USA. A quick survey of period photos seems to support my initial thought, with what appear to be contemporary GMC and Ford vehicles much to the fore. I suppose some UK vehicles may have found their way across the Atlantic, but that doesn’t seem likely considering the effort required.

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3 hours ago, Heather Kay said:


i know little of such things, being very parochial I’m my interests. You just sent me down a rabbit hole, though! 
 

My instinct was to suggest support vehicles in Canada would have been very much influenced by equipment bought or licence built from the USA. A quick survey of period photos seems to support my initial thought, with what appear to be contemporary GMC and Ford vehicles much to the fore. I suppose some UK vehicles may have found their way across the Atlantic, but that doesn’t seem likely considering the effort required.

 

Thanks.

 

I think there was two-way travel on vehicles but I need to check. For instance I think we got some cars from the UK (my uncle mentioned being met by a staff car when he entered 34 OTU as an officer in 1942-- not sure what kind it was but I'll probably dig into that). But we also manufactured lots of vehicles as well in Canada and USA and sent them over to you guys. Ex. the link below mentioned lots of vehicles were lost by the UK in the retreat from Dunkirk so we sent lots over.

 

FYI this link has lots of links for what auto manufacturers worked on in WW2-- on planes, on support vehicles... and it looks like diff mnfctrs built the same vehicles too.

http://usautoindustryworldwartwo.com/index.htm

 

Specific Page for GM-Canada with images and some info that show the wide variety of vehicles including support vehicles for RAF and RCAF

http://usautoindustryworldwartwo.com/General Motors/gm-canada.htm

 

Hm: Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) trucks with different functions. Used in UK, Commonwealth. Never knew this.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Military_Pattern_truck

 

And a place making 1:72 versions

http://www.ibgmodels.com/72054-2/

 

Ok... sorry for hijacking! I need to get back to work!

 

 

Edited by marvinneko
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  • 5 months later...

Elsewhere, I’m working through building up British bombers for my collection. I didn’t realise the AEC O854 6x6 refueller was entering RAF use late in 1940. I thought that would look smarter in vignettes than just the towed bowsers.

 

Latest acquisitions


I re-acquired a copy of the old Airfix Refuelling Set. Yes, I know it's 1/76th scale. These things really don’t bother me. Anyway, knowing the kit version of the big AEC was a slightly later variant, I sought upgrade details to make a conversion. The Mick Bell Plans site has a couple of useful scale drawings, too.

 

Matador Models has an upgrade set with the earlier style cab roof and sundry other details. I duly placed an order, by post with a crossed cheque, because Matador Models are resolutely old school. That was back in September, and I’m still waiting for the 35 days' delivery window to elapse. Having no email address or phone number to contact them, I can’t even verify my order arrived. If I don’t get something in the next couple of weeks, I guess I’ll have to send another letter. How old fashioned. Have you seen the price of stamps these days‽ 

 

With a lack of upgrade parts, so far, I’ve begun to consider contingencies. Back in the day, you could acquire various cast metal upgrade parts from various cottage industry companies. Most have, sadly, fallen by the wayside, occasionally passing on moulds and stock to other companies. I’m out of the loop with who does what these days, with only Milicast covering some of what I need. On their web site, I found an upgrade set for the Airfix Matador gun tractor kit. I’d need two sets to give enough wheels for the O854 - and of course it’s out of stock at present.

 

Perhaps you know of suppliers of detail and upgrade parts for 1/76 and 1/72nd vehicles I’ve forgotten or missed? Please feel free to recommend them.

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42 minutes ago, Heather Kay said:

Perhaps you know of suppliers of detail and upgrade parts for 1/76 and 1/72nd vehicles I’ve forgotten or missed? Please feel free to recommend them.

 

I found these Heather:

 

https://www.roadtransportimages.com/

 

I was actually looking for a company with a very similar name that is or was, based out of Whitstable, but can't seem to find them. Maybe that is the same company, now based in North Ayrshire?

 

I also recall Langley models, which I'm sure you've heard of. More in line with railways really, but I do recall they used to do 50's era stuff....

 

https://www.langleymodels.co.uk/awd1/index.php?route=product/category&path=193

 

HTH!

 

T.

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Thanks Terry. Yes, I am aware of those two. I’ve got quite the stash of Langley lorry kits!

 

While they both do spares and wheels, they don’t really do the military pattern stuff. They’re both more orientated towards Civvy Street. RTI has the later Leyland refuellers as kits, but I’m not sure the wheels are correct for the AEC military type.

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22 minutes ago, Heather Kay said:

I’ve got quite the stash of Langley lorry kits!

 

I must confess, I have one or two!

 

You also may remember the Bellona series of drawings. I have a couple of the vehicle ones somewhere. I found this site selling them.....

 

https://www.paulmeekins.co.uk/products/category/1271/~/~/Bellona-Military-Vehicle-Data

 

Good drawings as I recall.

 

T.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Part of my 1940 obsession includes anti-aircraft artillery. I’ve acquired kits for various British AA guns and towing vehicles, but I also felt some kind of logistical support vehicle would be useful as well. To that end, I bought a Milicast Albion CX6N 6x4 10 ton GS truck.

 

Revamping an Albion

 

I have views on Milicast kits. I won’t go into them here, but let’s just say I am not entirely impressed with the quality of the resin castings. With this kit, I was not enamoured of the wheels. Finally, I decided to do something about it. Having rummaged in my Bits Box, some of the contents of which dates back to the late 1970s, I chanced upon a set of wheels from some Far Eastern model of a US tipper, probably of the GMC variety. The truck had long gone, but wheels are always worth keeping. You can see them on the lower left, compared with the things from the Albion. I managed to dismantle the model without breaking too much, thanks to some poor application of CA on my part!

 

Revamping an Albion


A better view of the Milicast wheels. They’re not even toy-like. They had been nagging at me from the display cabinet for too long. They had to go.

 

Revamping an Albion


The donor wheels had been designed to press-fit on to metal axles. The moulded bosses were chopped back, and the centres drilled right through to take 0.9mm brass rod.

 

Revamping an Albion


The front axle was drilled for the rod, whihch I also bent to give the steered wheels a little life. You can see the rod poking out from the right hand wheel. I chopped it back once glue had set.

 

Revamping an Albion


I could, with hindsight, have left the driven wheel bosses intact. Instead, I dry assembled the body and placed the rear bogie on the chassis to gauge wheel setting by eye. Again, the rod was chopped back later.

 

Revamping an Albion


A while later, a coat of suitable paint to cover my handiwork. The main prop shaft was an early victim of disassembly.

 

Revamping an Albion

 

Revamping an Albion

 

Now, that’s better. Perhaps the wheels are little under size, but they’re a million times better than what was there before. The original wheels are so bad, they’re not even headed for the Bits Box. Straight in the workshop bin with them!

 

Now, what else has been bugging me on the vehicle shelf? 

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Another Albion in need of some TLC. This time, a Matador Models AM463 3-way refueller.

 

Another Albion revamp

 

Another Albion revamp

 

I’ve never been happy with the windscreen. The last effort was filthy, scratched and had yellowed. Time to try again.

 

Another Albion revamp

 

Clear material from some packaging was cut to size. Originally, I was going to attempt painting the centre bar and leave the split screen to parallel score marks. Then I thought I’d try slapping paint on some self-adhesive paper label. Aside from the fine white edges, which are only visible really close in, I think I’ll call that successful. I’ll touch in the corner pillars when the Kristal Klear used to fix the panel in place has dried.

 

I think that’s all for titivating vehicles. Two models have been improved, and won’t nag at me again. I’m tempted by a new kit. Stay tuned!

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I used to love building these braille scale trucks, many years ago. I may still even have one or two left. Yours are looking really good Heather. Nice work (especially with the turned front wheels).

 

John.

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1 minute ago, Bullbasket said:

(especially with the turned front wheels).


Ta. I always enjoy putting these relatively tiny models together. I ought to do a survey of which way I’ve turned steered wheels. I’ve a feeling a lot head the same way!

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