Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Universal Carrier - Part 3

Progress on the Universal Carriers has slowed somewhat in recent days, what with appointments, the Season (and all it entails!) and a shortage of plastic strip.    The last problem has now been dealt with.

Construction has started on the upper hulls using .30 thou sheet in the main with some .20 thou and .10 laminated for those sections that require panels.
The angled plates on the bow were tackled first.   A slot was cut in the front plate for the armament and then attached to the bow.

The right hand angled plate was then cut using a card template to get the angles and the NWSL Chopper was used to cut the angles for the remaining plates.
The driver's plate was cut next with his vision port being let into the front.   The individual plates had their edges bevelled where necessary.   As mentioned earlier, the side plates were made up from .20 thou sheet and panelling added with .10 thou sheet.

The left hand angled plate was then cut and fitted in the same manner as the right hand one, allowance being made for the little step where it meets the running boards.   This was also laminated from .20 and .10 thou sheet as some carriers had a hinged plate in this position.
The left hand side was then attached followed by the rear bulkhead and lastly the rear cover over the transmission.   This completes the basic shape of the Universal Carrier.   The next job will be the internals consisting of the bulkhead separating the driving compartment from the rear compartment, radiator, engine cover and final detailing.   This however will be undertaken at the start of 2015.

As an aside, the Postie has been most generous of late (and it's not even Christmas yet!).   I received my order of 4 Airfix Ole Bill Buses.

I will do one each in their intended livery, another one will be converted to a Mobile Pigeon Loft and I'm not too sure what the last one will end up as.   
I also recieved a delivery from the Toy Soldier Depot of three New Ray Jeeps.   A project for the New Year, I will heat form some canopies for two of them and the third will be repainted as a RAN Jeep from WW2.

Picture courtesy of Australian War Memorial

Add to this 8 British and French Napoleonics (Britains) from EvilBay, my VT-49 Decimator and YT 2400 Outrider for the X Wing Miniatures Game, I feel I am one very lucky man!

Best Wishes to all my readers/followers for a safe and happy Festive Season.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Universal Carrier Mk II - Part 2

First off I need to admit to a mistake regarding the Australian and English versions of the Universal Carrier.   The Australian model differed a little more than I first thought.    This has been brought to light by further research.   Basically, the bow plates on the Australian version are much simplified compared to the English version.   I am therefore modelling the English version,(but with Aussie wheels) and I am also modelling the Australian version.   Anyway, on to the next part of the build - "Making Tracks"

Once the wheels, drive sprockets, suspension arms and return roller have been affixed to the hull sides, a strip of .10 thou plastic sheet is attached to the roller midway at the top and allowed to dry.   The mini clamps are used to set the track sag, which was a very prominent feature on the real vehicles.   Once the strip has dried, it is further glued to the top of the drive sprocket and return roller.   The strip is then worked around the wheels, gluing and clamping as you go.   The join is at the bottom of one of the road wheels.

Once the .10 thou strip has had time to dry off completely, the track's treads are applied.   In this instance .20 x .60 thou strip was cut to the required length on the NWSL Chopper.   These strips were then applied, 5 at a time to each track section.   I would apply 5 to one side and then 5 to the other.    This helps me to keep the spacing correct.   After the treads have been applied to the .10 thou, it stiffens up quite well.   The treads are simplifications of the real ones but still give the right impression.

After the treads have been applied to the tracks, the "running boards" can be attached.   Just prior to this the mudguard sides (back and front) are attached.   The running boards were cut from .30 thou sheet.   It may be noticed from the above photos that the suspension springs are missing from the suspension units.   They will be added later in the build as they are a little fiddly and could be knocked off during the construction phase.

Once the running boards have dried, the little rear mudguards and the curved front ones can be added.   The rear ones are fairly straight forward, but the front ones require a little more effort.   Firstly, .30 strip is formed around a suitable former (pen, modelling knife handle, etc) until the required curve is obtained.   This then curved just that little bit further to reduce the "spring" of plastic.   After cutting to the required length, it is attached with plastic cement along most of its length, leaving the curved part unglued.   This is left to dry thoroughly. (at least three to four hours,preferably overnight).   The curved section is then attached to the mudguard side with superglue,holding it in place until set.   Any excess is then trimmed off and the whole running board/mudguard assembly given a light sand. 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Universal Carrier Mk II or "the Bren Gun Carrier".

Picture Courtesy of Australian War Memorial

My next project will be the Universal Carrier Mk II, or as many people know it,  the Bren Gun Carrier.
I have decided to make 12 of these versatile and widely used machines.   Mine will be the Australian version, but the differences between the English built and Australian built versions are minor.

Construction started on the road wheels and drive sprockets.   The drive sprockets were built up from .60 thou sheet and the method of cutting a raised circle for the face of the sprocket is illustrated below.   A suitable sized hole is first drilled in the plastic sheet, the required diameter marked out and then the waste is gradually removed from around the circumference.   A file is used to finish off any rough spots.

The rings were then laminated to .60 thou circles of plastic sheet and the drive sprockets were made up as per this post: Making Drive Sprockets 

The road wheels were made up from 16 mm aluminium tube with a .20 thou plastic inner rim.   This protruded from the aluminium tubing by .5 mm to give the impression of a rubber tyred wheel.   5/32nd tubing was used as an axle tube and six spokes per wheel were inserted.   As I mentioned earlier, I am making the Australian version and one of the differences is flanged spokes as opposed to the plain spokes of the English version.   The flanges were made up from C channel Plastruct (the old type, before they went to polystyrene).   All of the above were used as masters to create silicon moulds so the road wheels and sprockets could be cast.   This also gives me the option for the Vickers Light Tanks if I ever decide to go down that path.   A jig was made up with the intention of casting road wheels, sprockets, suspension units and tracks as one casting, but on reflection I felt this would have been a nightmare to de-mould, the road wheels alone take a bit of effort!

The lower hull sides were marked out on .30 thou sheet and then cut, care being taken to ensure uniformity.   The NWSL Chopper was used extensively in this process.   The holes for the axle tubes were also drilled out using a simple drilling jig and a drill stand.

Noting that the three bottom road wheel's centrelines bisect the floor, I scribed a cut line through this point so that after drilling the holes, the waste could then then be snapped off.

The side and end plates of the lower hulls were cut from .30 thou sheet, with the width again being cut with chopper to achieve uniformity.   Offcuts were used to brace the sides and ends.

After the axle tubes had been secured to the hull sides, the floor plates were added, these being cut from .40 thou sheet.   These plates were also braced with offcuts of plastic strip.

The above photo shows a completed lower hull with road wheels, drive sprocket and suspension units attached.   I am aware that the road wheels, etc, should be thinner but I have modelled them this way, a sort of bas relief, as I believe it makes for a stronger model. I don't think it will distract overly from the completed model and it is easier to do!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Royal Air Force Rollers!

Again, just a quick update on the painting progress of the Rolls Royce Armoured Cars, this time the 1920 Pattern models.

The base colour for the two cars was Humbrol's Desert Tan Acrylic with the Vickers MGs a mixture of Vallejo Gunmetal and Black.   The headlights were silvered and the decals were sourced from XtraDecal's RAF C and C1 Roundel set.   The two cars are named after my two cats (British Short Hairs) and are respectively,  HMAC China and HMAC Cheetah.   Not sure about the veracity of the name China but Cheetah certainly did exist.

As I mentioned at the start of this series, the main difference between the 1914 and 1920 Pattern models (apart from the wheels) is the higher turret on the 1920s and the thicker, curvier, mudguards.   I scratch built the Lewis guns mounted on the rear of the turret and a searchlight was added to the front of the turret.

Friday, 7 November 2014

New Ray Classic Aircraft Kits

This post will take the form of a mini review.     These particular kits have probably been around for a while now, most modellers being familiar with New Ray's Sherman, Grant and M3 Halftrack kits.   This is the first time I have noticed the aircraft kits in our  hobby shops here in Australia (not that I was particularly looking for them!) but thought they might scale well for 54mm wargaming.

The Sopwith Camel on the left and the Fokker Dr1 on the right.   Also available is the Spad S.VII and the Fokker DVII.

As for scale, the wingspan on the Sopwith is 28 feet which scales to 26.7 cm in 1/32.   The actual model's wingspan is 24.5 cm so it is a little under scale.   The Dr1's wingspan is 23 feet which scales to 21.9 cm.   The actual model's is 21.5 cm, pretty close in my book.

I'll describe the assembly of the Sopwith as the Dr1 is similar anyway.   The parts are pre painted and well moulded with a minimum of flash evident.   Any flash was removed with a sharp craft knife (though I did miss some as evident in the photos!)   Care must be taken with the small crews supplied as there are two sizes as well as various sized small metal pins.   The metal pins act as locators for the fuselage sides and must be put in the correct order.   The one down side I found with the kits is the small size of the instruction sheet.   I'm all for saving the trees but they could have been a little bigger which would have made them easier to read without the aid of a magnifying glass!

Assembly of the actual model is by screws with no glue being necessary (though I did apply some to the tail assembly of the Dr1 as it did not seem to sit properly)   The only fiddly part of the assembly is locating the rudder, machine guns, pilots seat and cowling in situ whilst joining the two fuselage halves together.   The rest of the assembly i.e. wings, struts and landing gear is straight forward, though I did end up using my jewellers screwdriver rather than the one supplied but that's just me.

Fokker Dr1 on the left, Sopwith Camel on the right.

Summing up, good value for money kits.   The scale of the models, whilst not perfect, is pretty close.   Whilst no doubt cheaper in the United States or the United Kingdom ($15.00 Aust) they are still worth getting if you have even the faintest interest in 54 mm scale wargaming of this era.   I could see them being used as objectives where the aim is to capture/rescue the downed pilot or as air support for your ground troops.   They also make nice models in their own right.   Stands are provided if you wish to display them in this manner.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Mini Post - RNAS Armoured Cars

Just a quick update on the painting of the Rolls Royce Armoured Cars.   I have just finished the RNAS Vehicles.   The first one was painted in the Admiralty Gray scheme, Tamiya's Haze Gray being used to represent this colour.   The second vehicle was painted in the Daimler "Khaki Green" scheme and Tamiya USAF Olive Drab was used for this colour.   Decals for both came from the ExtraDecal WW2 RN Pacific theatre sheet.   The Vickers MGs were painted gunmetal and the headlamps silvered.

The White Ensigns were just paper printed up on the home printer and folded around brass ensign staffs.

My collection of RN/RNAS WW1 Vehicles.   The last 1914 Rolls will be in the Army 3 colour scheme but that will take a little while to do.   The 1920 Rolls Royces are currently being painted in a mid stone colour and are awaiting suitable decals from Hannants in England.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Rolls Royce Armoured Cars - Part 6

Details, Details, Details !

Details on a model can really make them "pop".    But, details can be a two edged sword.   Too much and you may run the risk of damage when handling the model.   Too little and the model can look unfinished.   With my models I try and strike a balance.   For example when I was doing the bonnet latches, there was no way I could reproduce exactly the latch but I could make a decent representation of them and they could withstand handling as well.   I guess in the end it all boils down to the modeller's standards, skill and requirements.

First details to start were the Rifle Port covers.   On the actual vehicles there are 4 of these tear drop shaped covers over the rifle ports.   Luckily for me, my Good Lady Wife does a fair bit of Cardmaking and one of the tools she uses regularly is a Die Cutter called the "Big Shot".
Basically the selected metal stencil and the paper/card/plastic or felt to cut is placed on the tray of the machine and the lot goes through like a mangle.   Any way, one of her stencils had a tear drop shape that was perfect for the rifle port covers.   A couple of minutes later and I had more than enough covers.   These were then attached to the body of the armoured cars.

Next detail to be produced was the support brackets which go underneath the side extensions of the rear trays.   The 1914 Pattern had two types: basic metal struts, and a more curved support.   I chose to model the more curved one.

To achieve this effect, 22 mm circles were scribed and cut out of .30 thou sheet.   These were trimmed to size and then quartered.   Flanges were applied using thin strip, cut over length and then trimmed to size once dry.   The photo above illustrates the steps taken.

The 1920 Pattern had the normal curved supports at the front and the middle but the rear ones were even more "curvaceous"!   These were marked out on .30 thou sheet, glued together on the waste end and then the Dremel was used to created the curves.   The waste was then cut off and the pieces separated and applied to the model.

The trench crossing boards were simply strips of .100 x .250 strip, cut to length with a bevel filed at each end.   Small packing pieces were added to the bottom of the running boards to give a little separation between the boards.   This gave the added benefit of "locking"the brass strips well and truly into the running boards.   They aren't going anywhere!

The starting crank handles were made up from 1 mm brass wire and 20 thou sheet strip.   Holes were drilled after being marked on the strip by a simple jig.   The plastic was then trimmed down to the required size and taper, the brass wire glued in and the completed handles attached.

The doors over the 1914 Pattern radiators were simply made up from .30 thou sheet and a simplified version of the opening/closing arrangement made up from .40 thou square strip.   The 1920 Pattern radiator covers had a modified arrangement with louvres which allowed more airflow when the doors were closed.   The photo above shows the steps taken to achieve the louvres.   Also shown is the casting of the Vickers MGs which was taken from the Gun in the Airfix British Infantry Support set.

The gruelling task of riveting commences.   Rivets were applied in my usual manner i.e. individual rivets cut from .30 thou rod on the "Chopper" are applied using the Rivet Application tool shown in the foreground.   The rivet is held in place on the workbench ready to be pierced with the tool, given a dab of Tamiya Extra Thin cement and then applied to the model.   I do most of the rivets by eye, but I will measure out salient rivets so that correct spacing is ensured.   A small steel rule is used to make sure the rivets are in alignment every now and again.

Lastly, the headlight brackets were made up from .08 mm brass wire.   Again, much simplified but strong.   One piece of wire was bent up after having a flat hammered into one end.   Another piece was soldered to this.   The soldering setup I used can be seen in the above photo.   A small jig was used to hold the two pieces of wire in position whilst I soldered them. (bottom left corner of MDF)   Lastly another piece of preformed wire made up the other side of the bracket.   I turned up two headlights on my Hobby Lathe as masters and then cast the rest.   Little dimples were drilled into the masters of the headlights as guides for drilling holes to take the bent portions of the wire when they were assembled.

The 1914 Pattern Rolls Royce Armoured Car ready for a wash in warm soapy water and then undercoating.   No prizes for guessing who this one will belong to!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Rolls Royce Armoured Cars - Part 5

Rear Tray, Running Boards and Turret.

The floor of the rear "tray" of the Rolls Royce ACs was made up from wooden planks.   To represent this I used strips of .20 thou plastic sheet, cut over length and then trimmed to size after the glue had dried.

The sides of the tray were made simply from .30 thou sheet cut to size with a back flap that had the boards scribed both sides and strapping applied.   The horizontal surfaces on the tray sides were also made up from .30 thou sheet.   The storage boxes that sit on the horizontal surfaces were also made up from .30 thou scribed sheet.

The body is secured to the chassis with an 8 BA screw and two guide tabs fitted to the rear of the chassis.   Having secured the body in it's correct position I could now proceed to measuring, cutting and fitting the running boards.   These were made from .40 thou sheet and a slight bevel was filed at the end where the board meets the mudguard.

The running boards were attached to the brass brackets with a little drop of super glue and then clamped.   The boards are glued to the front mudguards but not to the rear ones as this allows separation for painting.   

The turrets were made up from a circular floor of .40 thou cut out using a circle cutter and then 11 braces were glued around the perimeter.   Allowance was made for the varying heights of the turret sides and for the MG embrasure at the front of the turret.

A cardboard template was used to work out the required shape, length and curvature required (particularly for the sloping side roofs) and the sides of the turret were cut out from .20 thou sheet.   This was then glued to the perimeter of the turret braces, gluing and clamping progressively.   This was left overnight to dry thoroughly.   A pilot hole for the turret pivot pin was drilled and reinforced with a piece of .40 thou for extra strength.   A smaller disc of .30 thou was also glued to the bottom of the turret floor to raise the turret slightly.

The sides of the turret were panelled with .10 thou sheet in order to reproduce the fabricated construction of the turret.   The centre roof section was glued in and the sloping side roof sections added.   These were cut slightly oversize and then filed down to their finished shape.   Locating tabs for the storage boxes aft were added as was the armoured fuel tank at the rear of the tray underneath.   These were just simple boxes made up from .30 thou sheet.

The Vickers Machine Gun will be added later as part of the detailing process (read, I have to cast some up!)

I'm pretty happy with the progress so far, I feel it is starting to look like a Rolls Royce Armoured Car, obviously the wheels are a concession to the prototype but I think they convey the right impression.

In the next post I will deal with the details such as hinges, rivets, hatches, lights, etc.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Rolls Royce Armoured Cars - Part 4

The Body.

Construction of the body commenced with the marking and cutting out of the "floor".   40 thou plastic sheet was used and the salient points and cutting lines were lightly scribed as well as pencilled in.   This lets you know where to cut and place parts if the pencil lines are accidently erased (or rubbed off!)
A set of dividers were used to mark out the circular section of the hull sides.

A 16 mm hole was drilled in the floor in order to obtain access for securing the turret pivot pin from underneath.
Next, the driver's front bulkhead was cut from 40 thou and was braced with some of the offcuts from the angled sections of the floor.   Bracing, if done correctly does two things.  One, it will help to strengthen the model and two, ensure parts are in alignment and square.
I have found it pays off when you have cut your bracing pieces, to lightly file the corners of the meeting surfaces.   This ensures no little burrs are left behind and the brace will glue true and straight.   Another piece of .40 thou was added to the front of the driver's bulkhead to aid in attachment of the bonnet pieces.

The "firewall" bulkheads were then cut and the braces and glue tabs were added and the complete assembly glued into position.

The glue tabs were just little pieces of .40 x .40 thou strip.   These aid in attaching the sides and tops of the bonnets.   The two sides of the rear of the bonnet were made up and attached.   Then came the top of the rear bonnet and the triangular sloping sections.

The sides of the bonnets were cut and glued to the floor, with glue tabs, again from .40 thou square strip, being used to assist in achieving a solid bond.   The sides were braced with more offcuts and glue tabs attached to the top edges.   A start was made on the iconic radiator, which, for the most part will not be all that visible!

In the photo above you can see the steps needed to make up the radiators.   A backing piece of .40 thou of the required dimension was cut and strips of .40 x.60 thou strip were applied to the edges.   These were made over length and then trimmed once the glue had dried.   A packing piece of .10 thou was glued in and  a piece of fine brass mesh was inserted.   Small strips of .10 thou were glued top and bottom.   This gave the .40 thou rod a good gluing surface and after they were applied another two strips of .10 thou were glued at the top and bottom.   A piece of .60 x .80 strip was cut to length and the top filed down to achieve the sloping profile.   This was then glued to the top of the radiator.

The bonnet covers were constructed after a card template was made up and the .20 thou plastic sheet was used, cut slightly oversize.   They were filed down after the glue had dried thoroughly.   A little triangular fillet was added to the top of the radiator, flush with the front of the bonnet sides, as well.

In preparation for the sides of the driver's compartment, 6 braces, made from .80 x .188 thou plastic strip were glued in position, flush with the external edge.   These braces had the arris edge filed off the contacting surfaces.   They were also cut to length so as to allow them to act as supports for the roof when that is attached.   A 7th brace, made from thinner strip, was added at the very rear of the drivers compartment, on the centre line.   Glue tabs were also added to the rear of the driver's bulkhead.

A cardboard template, to establish length and the 1 mm cut-out where the rear of the side crosses over the floor was used to make up the sides from .20 thou sheet.   The side vision ports were cut out and the sides were then attached to the floor and braces starting from the front.   The sides were glued progressively along their length, clamping as I went.

The roof was cut out from .40 thou sheet to the required shape and glued in.    I had made the side 1 mm higher than the finished side so after the roof had dried, the top edge was filed down flush with the roof.    Any gaps were made good with a bit of Squadron white putty.

In the picture above you can see the finished roof in the foreground (just needs sanding ) and a partly completed roof at the rear.

In the next post I hope to finish off the rear tray, fit the running boards and make a start on the turret.