Saturday, 1 March 2008

Dwarves in Tanks part five

Dwarves in Tanks 5

How the DampfPanzerWagons have been developed to suit battlefield conditions in ‘black powder’ warfare.

DampfPanzerWagon V (Black Kettle or Black Pots)
The design of the DampfPanzerWagon reached its pinnacle of design and function with the development of the DPW V. The original design was for a single manned (dwarfed), fully armoured and armed “Heavy Cavalry” unit that could be produced in numbers. The finished vehicle was extended in length to accommodate a second crew member as the ‘work load’ was seen as too much for just one and large exhaust extractors were fitted to the roof to try and keep the heat under control.

DPW V’s are the only steam tanks to be produced in numbers with the current dispersal being led by the “BLACK KETTLE” squads.

Ideally the DPW V are used in groups as assault tanks using traditional heavy cavalry tactics ‘punching a hole’ through enemy weak spots and leading an assaults of infantry. In smaller actions they have been used as ‘mobile pill boxes’ to ‘pack-up’ a weak flank or secure a difficult objective. There is no better sight than a squad of Black Kettle’s moving with ‘legionnaires’ efficiency across an open battle field with the humiliated enemy fleeing in rout before them – this is truly the ‘stuff of legends’ and why the DPW’s are so feared on the battle field.

All Black Kettles are constructed of ‘boiler quality’ iron plates, riveted to a steam powered chassis. This particular model is armed with a standard 12pounder breach loading cannon and carries eight rounds of ammunition

Special Rules
1 Can be used in squads of up to 3 PDW V’s
2 +2 moral to all friendly troops within 12 inches
3 –1 morale to all enemy troops within 12 inches per DPW V in action – so a maximum of –3 to morale
4 As with the DPW Ib the DPW V will over heat (the black paint adding to this problem) but the exhaust fans make it bearable, so –1 to the morale of the crew after 10 moves and no other effect

Inspiration for this design came from two sources. The rail tank from Wild Wild West (the movie) and an article I read about a group called the “Kettle Blacks.” I knew what I was looking for and just kept sketching and looking-out for a suitable container on which to base the design. Eventually I found a plastic ‘desk tidy’ and pencil holder, which after major surgery gave me the basic shape. I was able to glue plastic card to the base and top before ‘cladding’ the sides with more plastic card to represent the iron plates. The only problem was the tight curves at the front and back, which needed careful use of plasticweld type cement and selotape to keep the shape. The rivets were cut down rod (which I apply one at a time with a paint brush full of cement and a Swan Morton knife).

The chimney was from a ‘cut down’ biro barrel, the hatch and turret from a button and plastic tube (a snorkel tube) while the gun barrel is the chimney from the Wild Wild West ‘disc throwing’ toy. The four wheels are made from ornamental buttons that were picked up in a charity shop for a few pence.

The colour took some time to perfect. With a dark grey base coat, lots of black and then flesh washes and some subtle ‘dry brushing’. The details were picked out in copper and highlighted with gold. There are no other markings – keeping to the Kettle Black ideal.

The commander is from the Flintloque ‘Deaths Head’ regiment box set, painted black!

I can also confirm that this is my favourite steam tank model (to date).

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