Saturday, 12 October 2013

Cows with Guns!

No they are not packing Uzi's.   Rather they are hauling 4.7 inch Naval Guns.   I wanted a few more examples of the Britain's 4.7" so I thought I would have a go at making some.   I ended up constructing three in total.   One per the original Britain's model, one as a Coastal/Garrison gun and one as a shipborne piece, destined for a planned Gunboat in the style of HMVS Albert.

The Royal Navy long had experience of landing ship's guns, mounted on extemporized carriages to support it's Landing Parties and the British Army.   This was particularly true during the Boer War.   Whilst the Bullock teams consisted of at least 14 beasts per gun, I chose to model just the 4 as I have a games room not a warehouse!

The Guns themselves were modelled from the Britain's 4.7 but breech blocks were added instead of the spring firing attachment.   The barrels were turned/sanded/filed up from pine dowel in a very old Black and Decker drill mounted in a benchvise. (I have since purchased a Proxxon Hobby Lathe!)   The remainder of the gun was formed from various sizes of plastic sheet and shapes.   Aluminium  and copper tubing was also used at the breech end.   The bases upon which two of the guns sit were made from the bottom section of plastic egg cups.   The various curved sections were formed by wrapping the plastic sheet around a suitably sized former and immersing in hot water for a few minutes and then into iced water to set.    Rivets were applied using 30 thou rod slices applied individually.

Of course, the guns now needed limbers.   A plan of the 4.7" Limber was obtained from the State Library of Victoria's online resources (highly recommended, all free) and they were constructed accordingly.   30 and 40 thou plastic sheet for the bodies and Evergreen strip for the strapping.

The wheels were constructed using 47 mm PVC pipe and were drilled using a Dremel drill press with the drill head mounted horizontally on a slight angle.   This gave the spokes a slight splay as per the prototype.   I hope to illustrate this method of making spoked wheels in a future post.

To haul the guns, you need bullocks.   Britains made a model in the Zoo range many years ago of a suitable beast, but they are a bit thin on the ground these days.   Steers from Classic Toy Soldiers were used but with their horns shortened and positions changed to give some variety.   Yokes were carved from wood and fitted with wire hoops and eyes so that the tow poles could be attached in a realistic manner.   The cows were painted with Vallejo acrylics and washes.   Finally, Guns, Limbers and Cows were attached to perspex offcuts that had been coated with white glue, sawdust and paint.   The Guns are detachable from the Limbers so that they can be deployed on the tabletop.


  1. Great post Col, very original

  2. Thanks Al. I'm all in favour of fighting for Bovine Freedom!

  3. Again, great work Col! Your gun are pretty cool! I also retain the tips of using ABS pipes to built wheels. It's a good response to the challenge of doing gun wheels from WWI. There is almost nothing on the market which could be buy in wooden product.

  4. Follow-up on my 2015 comment. I will retry to do spoken wheels. You mention in your post that you could explain with more details your technique in a future post. Where you able to make it?

    1. Bonjour Petite Infanterie! Yes, I made two posts dealing with the making of spoked wheels. 28th of Dec 2013 and 4 January 2014. Hope this is helpful.

    2. Many thanks Col! I will go read those two posts. Have a wonderful day down under !