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.