Sunday, 29 December 2013

Australian Dingo Light Scout Car

At the beginning of WW2, Australia was not well prepared when it came to Armoured Fighting Vehicles.   Britain, the Australian Army's traditional supplier, was not able to supply suitable vehicles due to her own commitments, so Australia turned to her own resources.   The Dingo Light Scout Car (not to be confused with the Daimler Dingo) was made by Ford and commenced production in 1942.   They never saw action overseas and remained in Australia.   They were armed with a .303 Bren Gun.  

The models were made from 20, 30 and 40 thou styrene sheet.   The wheels were obtained from a cheap 1/32nd-ish toy semi trailer.   I picked up quite a few of these toy semis, as they supply 5 usable road wheels per truck.    The toy truck wheels are placed in a recess cut into a piece of pine board that was cut to the required depth and width with a Speed Bore drill bit and then the wheel was cut down in width with a razor saw using the pine board as a depth stop.   The two halves are then glued back to back to give the result I was after.

They look a bit odd without the mudguards fitted.   In the background are the two crew figures which I made up from the Airfix 8th Army Multipose set.

Mudguards fitted and looking more like what they should look like.

A completed Dingo.   The rolled Canvas Tarp was made from Milliput and the radio aerials from fine brass wire.   The paint used on this model was Humbrol Bronze Green.   On the second Dingo, Humbrol Desert Sand and Green were used.

WW2 Standard Beaverette Mk III

The Standard Beaverette was first produced in 1940 at the instigation of Lord Beaverbrook, the Minister of Aircraft Production.   The vehicle itself was based on the chassis of the civilian Standard 4 x 2 Motor Saloon   The Mk III differed from the first two variants in that it had all round armour and a turret fitted with a Bren Gun.   
Beaverettes were used by the Royal Airforce for airfield protection and by some Home Guard Units.

I built these two models for a fellow modeller in the UK.
The two Beaverettes under construction are on the left in the photo below.

The models are a simple box superstructure constructed from 20 and 40 thou.   The panels were represented by 20 thou overlays.   Weld lines were formed by masking where the welds were to go and then applying a mixture of chopped up bits of plastic sprue, liquid cement and plastic filler (which I call "Goo") to the gap between the masking tapes.   This may have to be done again to build up sufficient height in the weld.

The road wheels came from Ertl tractor rear wheels and the turrets are able to rotate.   The main armament is the excellent Bren Gun from the Airfix Multipose sets.   The front louvres were made up Evergreen strip.   Rivets were applied using 30 thou rod.

Their new owner, Phil Redman, painted them in their camouflage colours. 

Australian Diggers to show scale.   I don't think they ever worked with them!

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Making Wagon Wheels - Part 1

As part of some projects I am planning to undertake in 2014, I have a requirement for a number of wagon wheels.
In this post I will attempt to describe my method of construction of wagon wheels for wargaming models.   The method generally follows the same principles as described in the post Making Wheels but with some differences.


Precision Mitre Hand Saw.   -  For cutting conduit.
Stanley Knife
Emery Paper
Bench Sander/Linisher - optional but highly recommended.
NWSL/Micro Mark Chopper – again optional but definitely a should have.
Dremel or similiar Motor Tool.
Drill Stand to suit Motor Tool. (though there is an alternative).
Drill Bits to suit 30 thou Rod.


Electrical Conduit 47mm and 32mm.   
214    1/8 Rod  - for axle/hub.
226    3/16 Tube  -   for hub spacer.
154    .60 x .80 Strip   - for front spokes.
155   .60 x .100 Strip   - for rear spokes.
210     .30 thou Rod - to pin spokes. 
20 thou sheet - for hub faces.
105     .10 x .100 thou strip - for Iron Tread.
Tamiya Plastic Cement.
Pegs, mini clamps etc.
Various offcuts of wood, cardboard, etc.
Spoke Template, available at Builder's Construction Templates


A square of Pine or MDF 5”x 5”
A piece of Pine beading 19 mm x 19 mm
Offcuts of thickish card.

Making up the Jigs

Find the centre of the Pine/MDF and mark.     Drill a 1/8th hole through the centre.   Enlarge slightly with a round file.
 Draw circles of diameters suitable for sizes of wheels you intend to make.
Print off the spoke template for the number of spokes you require for each type of wheel.

Using the 19 mm Pine beading, drill a pilot hole to suit a length of plastic rod (smaller
than 1/8th) so that it is a firm fit in the hole. Drill partway through the same hole with a 1/8th bit. The idea here is to allow you to use the smaller diameter rod as a depth stop.

In Part 2, I will describe the construction of the Wagon Wheels.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Mini Post - LVT 4

As I mentioned in an earlier Post, I have a great liking for the Amtrac/Amtank series of vehicles.   This model was constructed at the same time as the LVT (A) 1 late model which features alongside in the Work in Progress photos.
As per the LVT 2 model (and indeed all of my Amtracs/Amtanks) the running gear was made in half relief.   20, 30 and 40 thou styrene sheet was used and slices of knitting needle for the road wheels.   Corrugated plastic sheet was cut into strips and then applied to the tracks to form the distinctive grousers these vehicles had.

The particular Buffalo modelled is "Platypus II".   This vehicle was used in the Balikpapan, Borneo campaign in June, 1945.   The vehicles were crewed by Americans but were transporting Australian troops and materiel during the landings.

LVT 4 on the left, LVT (A) 1 late model, on the right.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Painting, Painting, Painting Addendum

The last Schneider painted.   Colours used were, Lifecolour Mimetic Italian Yellow, Vallejo Light Grey, Humbrol M70 and M102.   Vallejo Black, thinned was used for the black lining.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Painting, Painting, Painting!

Well, I have been flat out like a lizard drinking, painting, painting, painting!
The BA 64s are now complete and are shown below undercoated.   I used Dulux Grey Metal Primer as the undercoat.   I never have problems with this particular brand, it coats well and dries fairly quickly.

The model I have kept for myself was airbrushed with Vallejo Model Air Camouflage Green.   This paint is made especially for use with an airbrush and has given very good results.   It says it does not need thinning but I added a few drops of thinner anyway.   Camouflage Green was chosen to represent the Russian Green which is no longer available apparently.

The Tyres were painted with Humbrol M67 which gives a good representation of used rubber.
I just have to scout around now for some "Patriotic"decals and numbers in Cyrillic to add to the sides and turret.

Also finished is the first of the Schneider CA1s.   This particular model was painted in the "Flames"scheme.   Vallejo Uniform Green and Humbrol M70 was used for the camouflage stripes.

The tracks were painted with a base coat of Vallejo Beasty Brown and Black, then dry brushed with Beasty Brown, then Leather Brown and finally Gunmetal.   If the Gunmetal was too obvious in places, another drybushing of Beasty Brown was then applied.

The last Schneider, the 4 colour scheme model should be finished shortly, just needs varnishing with Satin Acrylic.   I hope to post photos shortly.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Work in Progress - Schneider CA1s and BA 64s

Better late than never!   I have started on the first application of the camouflage for the Schneiders.   The first is a scheme called the "flames"and the second will be a more conventional four colour scheme of yellow, light grey, red brown and green.   The paints used are Vallejo acrylics, slightly thinned with their medium thinner.   The schemes are brush painted.   The "flames" scheme consists of Uniform Green and a medium brown (yet to be applied)

Four colour scheme on the left, "Flames"on the right.

The only drawback I am experiencing is that I have to finish painting each component before I start on the next.    This is so I can line up the various markings i.e. upper hull with lower hull, lower hull with running gear.

I was toying with the idea of applying the cross hatching seen on some tanks that was applied to confuse German riflemen from firing at the vision ports.   Sanity has prevailed and I will go with the colours being outlined with a thin black line.

The BA 64s are now completed, with the exception of some undercoating and they should be on their way to their new owners shortly.

The photo above shows the turrets under construction.   30 thou styrene was used, with the mating edges filed to a slight angle.   The turret "bin" was made from 25 mm PVC conduit.   I had to turn these down to 24 mm in my hobby lathe as the holes in the roof I had cut at 24 mm!   Next time I will cut the holes to a standard pipe size.   The NWSL Chopper was used to cut the angles on the turret plates, which made life much easier!   To the left can be seen the exhausts mad from tube, rod and thin strip.   These are fitted just aft of the front right mudguard.

The 7.62 DP 28 Machine guns under construction, along with MG mounts.   These are an approximation as I used a casting of an MG 42 with the barrel cut short and stock removed.   A new wire barrel was fitted along with a new wire stock.   A drum magazine was attached to the top of the weapon and a little slice of tube was glued underneath to enable the gun to be mounted.   Also shown are the headlights  which I turned up from a knitting needle and made castings of.   A small dimple was cast into the headlight to enable the drilling of the hole for the mounting wire.   Much easier than trying to drill without it!  

The first five BA 64s undercoated.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Work In Progress - On the Workbench

Although the weather in my little slice of heaven has not been conducive to airbrushing I did manage (finally!) to spray my Schneider CA1s in their base coat.

The picture above shows the various components of the two tanks on their painting stands.   The stands themselves are made up square beading and dowel mounted on old offcuts of tablemats that are past their use by date.   I also have some stands that have clothes pegs attached for holding small parts.    I modify the ends of these pegs by sanding off the ends and/or sanding the ends to a taper.

The colour used for the yellow basecoat was Life Colour's acrylic "Italian Mimetic Yellow".   This was thinned with their acrylic thinner by 3 parts colour and 1 part thinner.   This gives a consistency like milk, which I find works well for me.   I used my new Ryobi compressor for the first time for this job and was very happy with the results.

The actual airbrushing was done with a Badger single action airbrush.
I will give the tanks about a week to harden off completely before starting the first of the camouflage colours.   More to follow.

Secondly, I have progressed a little further with the BA 64 Armoured Cars.

As can be seen in the photo above the hulls are now complete, with the exception of the radiator louvres, headlight and of course the turret. 
  Also in the photo at the rear is some castings I am working on of some Napoleonic 42nd Highlander Officers.   There is also a Napoleonic Royal Marine Officer as well.   I am an avid collector of the Britains Deetail range and was always disappointed that their English Napoleonic set had an Officer to lead their Line Infantry but no Officer to lead the 42nd Highlanders.   I took a cast of their Line Officer and the head from the Airfix Highlander kit, carved away the sash from around the waist and added a new sash over the left shoulder. (Thanks Les!).   The Royal Marine Officers head was from an Armies in Plastic Egyptian Army head with a brim from plastic sheet, straps and a plume from modelling putty.   Putty was also used for the turn up on the brim.   As these figures are for my own use I was happy to take castings from the original Britains figure.   It sure beats carving up one!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

WW2 Russian BA 64 Armoured Car - A Work in Progress

A bit of departure from my usual posts, this time it's a Work in Progress.   This project came about when a fellow member of the Littlewars Forum suggested I make one of these.   I ended up constructing 12 in total.   Never having made any Russian equipment, I thought it would be interesting.    Also, I thought being small, they would be fairly easy to  make.   More on that later.

The chassis' were constructed first, being a simple frame of 60 x 125 thou, with channels let in for the 3/16th axle holders.   These allow me to use a 1/8th rod for the axles.   The wheels were cast, (all 60 of them!) using a suitable master in resin.

The hulls were then started.   40 thou plastic sheet for the floor pan and 30 thou for the sides and ends.   20 thou with 10 thou was used for the bonnet panelling.   Great use was made of my two NWSL Choppers, in order to get the angled surfaces identical.    Bracing was applied internally in the form of  bulkheads and triangular bracing where necessary.   As many internal joints as feasible were also reinforced with scraps of plastic strip.   The holes for the turrets were cut with a circle cutter.

I mentioned earlier that I thought, due to their size, they would be fairly easy to make.   To a point they are but all the angles make it very challenging.   Not only as many of the joining edges as necessary are mitre/filed to a 45 degree angle but much care has to be taken to ensure neat joints.   I'm getting there (putty is my friend).

In the second part of the post I hope to have progressed further with the construction and hopefully the painting of them.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Mini Post - Japanese Chi Ri Medium Tank

I scratch-built these two tanks when I re-started my interest in 54 mm Toy Soldiers back in 2009.   Previously I had bought AFVs from Classic Toy Soldiers (Chi Ha's, Sherman's, Churchill's etc) and thought I would have a go at making my own.   Unfortunately, having read somewhere that CTS models were about 1:38 in scale, I made these two the same.   Bad move, I have since made all my models since to 1:32nd scale.
Anyway, the Chi Ri was designed for rapid manufacture using readily available components    This was at a time when invasion of the Japanese mainland was inevitable and Japan needed armour for the defence of same.   The tanks however, never went into production.   They would have had a crew of 6 and were armed with a 75 mm gun, 37 mm gun and 2 x Type 97 7.7 mm Machine Guns.

The tanks themselves were constructed from laminated 20 thou sheet to produce 4o thou (it was early days!) and Evergreen styrene strip and shapes were also used.   The main armament was turned up from plastic tubing in the trusty Black and Decker Drill.   Road wheels were from old Game Counters from a long forgotten Board Game.   Insulin needle covers were also used as well as various bits of wire and aluminium.

The tanks were painted with a tan undercoat and that is as far as they got!   I will probably make these tanks again one day in the correct scale (as can be seen from the first photo, compared to the figures they are a bit on the small side.)  but as they were my first attempt at scratch-building for so many years, they still have a place in my collection.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Mini Post - German WW2 SdKfz 222 and 223

The Leichter Panzerspahwagen (Light Armoured Reconnaissance Vehicle) were a series of four wheeled vehicles developed by the German Army between 1935 and 1944.
The two variants modelled are the SdKfz 222, which was armed with a 2 cm Cannon and an MG 34 Machine Gun and the SdKfz 223, which was armed with just the MG 34 Machine Gun.   It was, however, fitted with a large "bed frame" type antenna over the top of the vehicle.   It operated as a Radio Car in this role.

The models were constructed from 20 and 40 thou plastic sheet.   Evergreen styrene strips and shapes were also used.   The wheels were from Ertl toy tractors, detailed with the little triangular "hub caps".

The main armament on the 222's was made from plastic tube of various diameters and the MG 34s were from the Airfix Multi-Pose set.   The anti-grenade netting on the turrets was made up from Eduard fine mesh of the correct type as was the rear engine grill on the rear deck.
The turrets are able to rotate and the armament can elevate and depress. 

The aerial frame on the 223 was made up from brass wire, soldered to wire supports.   The 222s were painted with Tamiya Panzer Grey and the 223 in Model Master Afrika Mustard.   Fairly generic decals from an Archer Fine Transfers sheet were used for both models

As a postscript, the 222 series of vehicles were examined by Russian designers before they made the very similar BA 64, which will be the subject of a future post.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

WW2 German PzKpfw II

The PzKpfw II was designed in 1935 as a stopgap measure while the larger German tanks were being developed.   The tank was made in various marks, the most obvious difference between them was the curved bow of the Aus C as opposed to the sloped armour of the Aus F but later many Aus C's were given add on armour giving them an appearance similiar to the later marks.   Aus E and D also had different suspension to the remainder of the models.

I built six of these tanks in total, three Aus C and three Aus F.   Four were for a fellow modeller in the United States whilst I kept two for myself.

Construction began with the lower hulls.   30 thou plastic sheet was used and reinforced where the suspension units entered the hulls.   The actual suspension arms were also made up, laminating styrene strip to make the springs.   Jigs were used to ensure holes and alignment of parts was uniform.   The bows on the Aus Cs were originally made from sanded pine but I eventually skinned these with 10 thou sheet.

The upper hulls were made next, again from 30 thou sheet, with 20 thou overlays where panels were to be represented.   The various grills and openings on the rear engine decks were made up and cut in.

The shapes of the upper hulls differ slightly in that the Aus C's had a few angles and the Aus F's had a straight front plate.   A start was made on the turrets, which are basically the same for the two marks being modelled except that the early C's had basic hatches for the tank commander whilst the F's had a cupola with vision blocks.   Many F's were also fitted with a rear mounted turret bustle. 

I employed resin castings for the first time and was generally happy with the results.   60 road wheels were cast, the masters being made up from styrene sheet turned in a Dremel, slices of knitting needle and 30 thou rivets.   I also used resin for casting the drive sprockets and the rear idlers.   The rear idlers presented a challenge in that they are slightly domed outwards on a flat surface.   I recreated the slight dome by  carefully cutting a circle out of a ping pong ball and gluing that to a disc of the required diameter and height.   Castings were made and then detailed to represent the two types of idler and then castings were made of the completed idlers.

Construction of the tracks was made by using 20 thou sheet cut into strips with a pair of Pinking Shears.   This gave a series of triangles along one edge.   These were then cut down in length and height until the required size for the links was achieved.   A piece of 40 x 40 thou was then added with a slight offset to the rear edge of each link.   This allowed the points of the two triangles to be glued to the offset of the next link and so on.   A simple jig was used to ensure alignment.   Originally, the completed of lengths of made up track were applied directly to the tanks but this proved a bit flimsy so a strip of 10 thou was added around the driver/road wheels/idler assembly.

Turrets were made up from 30 thou sheet and the main armament was turned up in my hobby lathe.   They were then detailed to represent the two types of turret being modelled.   The main armament is able to elevate and depress.

The tanks were then detailed with storage boxes, headlights, exhausts and that strange channel thing on the left hand side.   Notek lights were made by the method that Shep Paine outlines in his book "Modelling Tanks and Military Vehicles", a very useful book indeed.   All the large details were left unattached so that painting would be easier.

The Aus F model (left) was painted with Model Master Afrika Mustard and fairly generic decals were applied.   The Aus C (right) was painted with Tamiya German Grey and again decals are generic.   The tracks on both were painted with Vallejo Acrylics using a mixture of Beasty Brown, Cold Grey and Gunmetal.