Saturday, 25 January 2014

The Wild West Town of Saw Butte Part 1

Again, another deviation from scratchbuilt armour, but as I have been busy re-arranging the storage situation in my Games Room, I have no new models I can present at the moment.   Hence this series dealing with my scratchbuilt Western Town.

The Mangy Moose

Every Wild West Town should have a Saloon and the town of Saw Butte is no exception.   Where else could you enjoy the uplifting company of fellow cowboys, in comfortable surroundings whilst listening to an out of tune piano and drinking copious amounts of Corn Likker and and other harmful imbibes?

The model itself was built a few years ago when I was suffering from medically induced cataracts.   I had trouble seeing the television, so to bide my time whilst waiting for modifications to my set of Mk 1 Eyeballs, I built my Wild West Town.

The building itself has a foam core shell, into which doorways and window holes were cut.   The exterior was made up from icy pole/craft/coffee stirrer sticks, which can be bought in bulk from most craft and hobby shops.   These were measured and then bundled together using Bulldog clips and sanded to length on a bench sander.

The roof was made up with a foam core base and covered with a corrugated card and finished with icy pole barge boards.
The windows were made up from craft matchsticks and icy pole sticks, the construction of which will be detailed in a later post.

The balustrade and porch railings were made up from icy pole and cocktail toothpicks and square beading for the porch supports.   Doors were built up from laminated plastic sheet incorporating panels.

The building was painted using Folk Art Acrylics (borrowed from the wife!) and were just slapped on without an undercoat in order to give a suitably rough and ready look.

The various signs on the building were simply made up on the computer, glued to card and cut out.   The edges were distressed with Distressing Ink to give an aged look.

Even though I made the roof removable, I made no attempt to provide interior detail.   I may get around to it one day!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Mini Post - ACW Union Mortar Barge No 5

During the American Civil War, the Union used Mortar Barges to enforce blockades of Confederate ports.   The Mortars were used to attack the Forts guarding the ports and since they came under return fire, armour plating was used to provide a degree of protection for the crews manning them. 

I built this model back in the mid Eighties, when I used to wargame with my son on the Games Room floor.   Whilst the Britains ACW figures were still available, they were getting harder to find and cannon, wagons and buildings were non existent.   Consequently I had to scratchbuild many of the items.

The inspiration for this model was from the July 1985 issue of "Miniature Wargames" magazine which had an article on scratchbuilding one in 28 mm scale.   The plans were rescaled to 54 mm and construction was commenced using a piece of plywood as the hull.

The plywood was skinned on the upper surface with a thin sheet of balsa which was then inscribed with planks and nail holes.   This was then stained with wood stain.

The armour plating was made up from 20 thou styrene sheet with individual plates added as an overlay and detailed with slices of thin rod for the rivets.

The internal bracing was built up from square balsa stock and cleats were carved from pine and added fore and aft.

Finally, the whole thing was painted with Humbrol Gunmetal and weathered with Humbrol Rust. (I really must dust the inside !)

Whilst it is a crude model, it has survived many years and countless Service moves with  only very minor damage.   Of course, there was no access to the internet as we know it back then, so information on these "obscure" weapons was hard to come by.   I guess I will now have to paint up a BMC Mortar and supply a crew to man the barge!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Henry Walter Carpenter - 17th Lancers

Henry Walter Carpenter was the son of Henry Carpenter and Mary Ann Caroline Impey.   He was born at Wandsworth, Surrey, England on the 16th of March 1852.
Henry joined the Army on the 7th of March 1872, specifically the 17th Lancers (Duke of Cambridge's Own) at Westminster, Middlesex.
According to his Army records, he was five foot, seven and a half inches tall, with a fair complexion and brown eyes and brown hair.

His postings in the Army were as follows:

                                     1872     Longford, Eire. (situated between Sligo and Dublin)
                                     1873     Ballinally 
                                     1874     Dublin
                                     1875     Dundalk County, Louth Eire
                                     1876     Dublin
                                     1877     Aldershot, Hampshire
                                     1878    Preston, Lancashire
                                     1879    Hounslow, London

On the 26th of February 1879, Henry’s regiment, the 17th Lancers, embarked for South Africa and the Zulu War.   The regiment arrived in South Africa on the 7th of April 1879.   On the 4th of July 1879 British forces won the decisive battle of Ulundi, which virtually brought an end to the Zulu War.

The 17th's Charge at Ulundi

A Wm. Britains 17th Lancer in Field Dress, 1879
Many Thanks to my Mate Billy, who kindly surprised me with the above model!

   On the 19th of October 1879 the 17th Lancers departed South Africa for India, arriving on the 11th of November 1879.   
As the 17th Lancers were a cavalry regiment, Henry was employed at the Regimental Riding School at Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, as an Assistant Rough.   On completion of 12 years, 57 days service, Henry discharged from the Army on the 2nd of May 1884 at Poona in East India (south east of Bombay).
On his discharge from the Army, Henry received high commendation from his superior officers.   The Riding Instructor of the 17th Lancers stated,  "Pte. H.W. Carpenter has been employed in the Regimental Riding School as Assistant Rough and is a First Class Horseman and Instructor.   Having claimed his discharge at the expiration of his service I can safely recommend him and I am very sorry to part with him ”.

An Assistant Rough (Rider) was responsible for breaking and training remount horses for the regiment.

The following are his Army particulars:

                                       Army Number       1444
                                       Rank       Private
                                       Name       Henry Walter Carpenter
                                       Regiment       17th Lancers (Duke of Cambridge’s Own)
                                       Length of Service      12 Years 57 Days
                                       Service Abroad       5 Years 68 Days
                                       Medals and Clasps East Africa 1879
                                       Conduct and Character     Two Good Conduct Badges and
                                                                                        4th Class School Certificate.

On his discharge from the Army, Henry Carpenter was furnished with a passage to Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, at the cost to the State of two hundred and fifty rupees. 

 Henry settled in the suburb of Richmond soon after arriving in Melbourne.   He quickly obtained a position as a groom, which is understandable noting that his army life was closely associated with horses and that he was a “ First Class Horseman and Instructor ”.
On the 22nd of October 1887, Henry Walter Carpenter, married Ellen Brown, in the Free Church of England, Moor Street, Fitzroy.   Ellen Brown was the daughter of William Brown, a bootmaker, and Ellen Stewart, both of New York, America.   The Browns appear to have emigrated to Australia about 1867.   Ellen Brown was employed as a servant and lived in South Melbourne.   

And the rest is history!

If you have read this narrative to this point, you have probably realised that it has got nothing to do with scratchbuilding tanks.   Henry Walter Carpenter was my  Maternal Great Grandfather.
Though my mother or I never knew him, my late Aunt described him as kindly old man who taught her how to read and count.

Amongst other things, one of my interests is Family History and it has been said that Ancestors who served in the Military are the flowers on your family tree.   Their lives are usually well documented so you can get a better feel for the person.

As time goes by I hope to indulge myself further and post more tributes to my Ancestors who served.

Henry Walter Carpenter
1852 - 1930


Saturday, 4 January 2014

Making Wagon Wheels - Part 2

Making the Wheels

Cut your wheel rims to the required width. I made mine 4.5 mm wide.
Sand faces of rims smooth and lightly file the sharp edge off rims.    Lightly sand internal and external faces.

The rims need to be reduced in size from 47 mm to 44 mm.   This works out to near on 4'8" in 1/32nd scale.   You need to cut out a segment from the rim so that when closed up, the rim is the correct diameter for the wheel being modelled.   I found if I cut a segment  14 mm out of the rim, when closed up it gave me a circumference of 44 mm.

Using Superglue, join the ends of the rim and clamp.  A little piece of copy paper under the join will stop the rim from attaching itself to the jig.

Fill any gaps with Squadron/Tamiya/Whatever Putty.   Allow to dry and sand smooth.

The completed rims can now be placed on the spoke template and the rim carefully marked off for spoke placement.

Mount your Dremel in the Drill stand just off horizontal to obtain a slight angle to match the dishing off the spokes (when inserted later).   Carefully drill at each marked location, making sure the bit is kept square to the work.

(The alternative that I mentioned in the previous post is that if you do not have a Drill stand, is to jury rig your Dremel so that is on the horizontal and slide the rim carefully into the drill bit.   You would need to clamp your Dremel to a suitable support.

Once you have finished your rims , we can move onto the axle/hubs.
Using the 20 thou sheet, you need to make what is basically a washer.   Mine were 11 mm in diameter.   You will need two per axle.   Using a circle template, I marked out and then roughly cut out the circle, drilled a small hole in the centre suitable for the Dremel mandrel and turned them down to 11 mm, 6 at a time, using files and sandpaper.

Once finished and cleaned up, they will need the centre hole opened out to 1/8th.   

Cut a length of 1/8th rod about 25 mm long (this will be trimmed to size on completion).
Chuck the rod into your Dremel and turn one end to a rounded shape.

Adjust your depth stop so that when your 1/8th axle is inserted (domed end first) a suitable amount is left proud when you place the first 11 mm washer on the 1/8th axle and glued.   

The hub spacers need to be cut next and these are made from the 3/16th tube cut into 3mm widths.  (the 3mm allows a minute amount of leeway when inserting the spokes).
Once they are cut and cleaned up, glue a spacer over the 1/8th rod and flush against the first washer.

The remaining washer can now be glued to the axle/hub assembly.   

The spokes are made up from plastic strip.   The key to success here is the ability to cut all these to the exact same length.   This is where the Chopper is ideal.   

   Wagon wheels differed greatly in the number of spokes, some having 14, others having 12 or 16.   

To obtain the length of spoke, measure the inside diameter of your rim, minus the outside diameter of the hub tube and then halve the resulting dimension.   Place your hub on the nail jig and centre your rim.   To obtain the dished effect you need to file a small chamfer on the outboard end and cut a 45 degree piece on the inboard end.

The inboard washer should be flush with your Pine/MDF jig and you may need to raise the rim slightly with some offcuts of cardboard so that when the spokes are glued in, they assume a slight angle. (See Jig Photo in previous post). 

Cut two spokes initially and test fit.   Make any adjustments and cut remaining
number of spokes (plus a couple to spare!)

Working alternately about, fit and glue your spokes into the rim.   If you have
 measured correctly, they should go in very easily.   I used Tamiya Plastic cement to attach my spokes.   It glues well to the plastic Hub/Axle but only just holds to the PVC rim.  Once your spokes are dry, turn the wheel over and reinforce the joint between spokes and rim with Superglue.   After the wheel has dried completly, use the same diameter drill bit to drill into the outboard end of the spoke just a little so that you can pin the spoke for added strength.     

The 30 thou rod is used to pin the spokes through the rim.    This makes for a stronger assembly and stops any chance of the spokes moving when you lightly shave the Arris edge of each spoke with your craft knife.

Cut and fit a strip of 10 x 100 thou for the iron tyre around the circumference of your wheel.

The last thing that needs to be done is to add, using slices of 30 thou rod, the ring of bolts around the outer edge of the Hub.

The front wheels are constructed in the same manner as the rear wheels, differing in that a piece of 179 .100 x .250 strip is let into the 32 mm conduit, which when filed and cleaned up should give a circumference of 33 mm.   The material for the spokes should be smaller than the strip used for the rear wheels, say, .60 x .80 thou.
The washers should also be proportionally smaller as well.

A couple of notes.

You can obviously adjust the sizes of the wheels by using different diameters of conduit if you can get them.   You can also cut the rim and insert a piece to enlarge the circumference a little and cut and shut to the required size.

     The spoke sizes are just what I have used and again they could be varied.   Some spokes were flared from the centre outward, some were round etc.

When forming the 10 strip thou for the iron tyre, cut roughly to length and then pull the strip over a curved surface (such as a craft knife handle) between your thumb and handle and this will add a curve to the strip.   This make for easier gluing to the rim.