Friday 30 May 2008

Fighter Aircraft of the Great War

Following the earlier post showing the 'kit built' Sopwith Camel in 1/72nd scale I have up-loaded these images of scratch built 1/100th scale WW1 fighters that were intended as gaming pieces for a WW1 wargame that I never finished.

Plans were re-drawn from 1/72nd scale illustrations and detail taken from additional plans, photos and illustrations of aircraft.

Each model has a fuselage carved from wood, wings from plastic card and detail from a whole host of material, e.g. card, matchsticks, staples, Biro pen barrels and plastic rod. The last two images show two additional aircraft under construction.

Each model was painted with acrylics and the markings were hand painted. The models were then varnished and mounted on an 'early style' GW flying base.

I produced nearly a dozen separate models and even had a brief comment printed in MARS, an American gaming magazine.
They were great fun to produce and helped to improve my early drawing and modelling skills, however now that you can buy ready painted 1/144th scale WW1 airplanes the idea has lost most of its interest.

Sopwith Camel F1

This particular model is a 1/72nd scale Sopwith Camel F1 from ACADEMY. It was bought for me by my wife after I commented that as a young boy I had modelled a similar aicraft. The kit is built almost straight-from-the-box, with only a few additions. It is painted with acrylics and mounted on a 'charity shop' lid.

It was a great weekend modelling project that actually took closer to three weeks to complete due to poor fit and excess flash, but I am pleased with the result. I had planned on adding rigging, but in the end left it un-rigged for simplicity.

The coloufull scheme is a mixture of kit decals and hand painting, following the box artwork.


Tuesday 27 May 2008

Narrow gauge model railway layout part three

When I got rid of the part built OSO Salt layout, I built myself a 'coffee table layout' called Ogam & Stone. A stonemasons yard with a simple 'kidney shaped' track plan and the main buildings in the centre. There are very few pictures of this particular layout, but here is one - looking towards the foremans office with Bob the workman, sneaking an early lunch.

Layout and figures are 'O Scale' or 7mm = 1foot.

Almost all of the items you see in this picture are scratch built using a variety of different materials (as OSO Salt) and inspiration from an actual stonemasons yard in the South West. I found myself parked at the side of the road, making quick pencil sketches on any piece of paper I could find, later the sketches were refined and off to work I went!


Narrow gauge model railway layout part two

Here are examples of the narrow gauge engines I have scratch built in plastic card. Each based on an actual diesel or 'high pressure steam' engine design.

They are built to the scale of 7mm = 1foot or O gauge and run on HO/OO track - 16.5mm.

In order they are a 6 wheel Kerr Stuart Diesel, a 4 wheel Kerr Stuart Diesel, an Avonside Diesel, a Sentinel High Pressure Steam Engine, a Kerr Stuart High Pressure Steam Engine and a Simplex WW1 Protected Tractor.


Monday 26 May 2008

Narrow gauge model railway layout

Some years ago my son, Gareth and I built a narrow gauge model railway layout - that never got finished. Earlier today I came across these photos of the layout being built. The models are all 'scratch built' to the scale of 7mm = 1foot and to the narrow gauge of 2foot 3inches (16.5mm or HO/OO track). For anyone interested the correct notation is O-16.5 (with O = scale of the figures and 16.5mm = the track gauge).

The top four photos show the right hand side of the layout, that was very near to being finished. The whole layout was mounted on an old internal door and the track layout was an oval or 'bone' shape. The end that was fully finished was meant to be the supply yard, while the other end was to be a factory unit.

The fifth photo shows the main engine shed and water tower before being attached to the baseboard. The next two show items of 'clutter' that were painted but never added to the layout and the final photo show the right hand side of the layout in full - with motive power and wagons.

The engines are models of Kerr Stuart, four wheel narrow gauge, diesel engines and the wagons were based on designs and drawings from the Welsh Highlands Railway. The engines and wagons won a modelling competition at the 7mm Narrow Gauge Railway Association some years ago, but have since been very badly damaged, maybe beyond repair.

The buildings are a mix of designs, built from card, balsa, DAS modelling clay and plastic card. The track and points are from PECO.

Ground cover is a mix of ground foam, scouring pads and flock. I also experimented with painted lint from the lint filter in a tumble drier. I painted diluted PVA glue on to the base board then attached the lint, when dry I pulled the lint off and what was left was painted with green acrylic paint. I thought it looked OK but not fantastic.

The OSO Salt name and logo is copied from an actual salt company based in Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire which used the same pale blue and red livery on its fleet of road lorries. Sadly the company closed down some years ago - the offices are to be pulled down and a housing development is planned to be built on the site.

"The soil colour in this region is red when dry and dark brown when wet. I had tried to include this distinctive feature when modelling the ground colour, in fact some of the texture is dried Droitwich Spa soil sieved and glued to the base board!"

I would hope that some day - OSO Salt could be resurrected and the layout rebuilt, maybe a little project for my retirement!


Sunday 25 May 2008

Shipyard - The CSS Aeronef Fleet

Now that details of CSS Ranger has been posted (see earlier post) I have included with this entry the remaining Confederate States Aeronefs. They are all based on the 28mm Cloudships of Mars models seen at Salute 06 and ACW 'Iron clads'.

The construction of each follows the same techniques used with CSA Ranger.

CSS Texas - an up-armourd Ranger, with a fully enclosed hull and a 'can-opener' ram. I think this is my favourite of the Confederate fleet! 140mm long.

CSS Dixie - larger and better armed than Texas, this particular Aeronef has a forward firing gun as well as a formidable broadsides. 150mm long.

CSS Hazard, modelled after a CSA 'iron clad' of the American Civil War. Hazard is the best armoured of the whole fleet having blue painted metal plating on the whole hull. 120mm long.

CSS Havana - a flying fort, eleven gun ports with a fully enclosed hull and steam engine. 120mm long.

The thinking behind this whole fleet is that The Confederate States are using ex-Martian hulls and expertise with salvaged steam engines and reinforced hulls to improvise a fleet to counter the might of the Northern States. I wanted a feel that reminded me of the sea battle between the USA Monitor and CSA Virginia.

The names were all inspired by old westerns and The Dukes of Hazard. Texas is a bit of an strange one as regular readers will know that in my Space 1889/Aeronef universe Texas is an independent state, however like the Alamo - Texas inspires great things in the minds of the Southern States!


Saturday 24 May 2008

Shipyard - CSS Ranger

This is a modified Martian skiff, reto-fitted with a steam engine and screw. The model is highly influenced by the 28mm Cloudships of Mars models first seen at Salute 06, in particular the martian ship Ah'ny uthar which is based on a Star Wars toy and as such is in fact a model of a model of a model! See;

Construction started with the main deck/hull which is balsa with a sheet of plastic card added to the top. The bow and stern housings are balsa blocks carved and then sanded to shape with either plastic card or paper detailing.

Starting at the bow, the ram is plastic card with added plastic card rivets, the hand rail is plastic scrap super glued to the out building and the stearing wheel is a section of plastic rod attached to a plastic card mounting. The gun outriggers are sections of knitting needles, first sliced and then cut in half before being super glued to the hull. The engine is a section of knitting needle with scrap plastic and rod added to hint at detail. The hand rails are sections of 1/180th scale plastic ladders. The flag pole is a section of cocktail stick, sanded to a taper and the rudders are pieces of plastic card.

Other detailing is taken from the scrap box or as previously described on earlier Space 1889/Aeronef models.

The finished model was painted with acrylic paints - first dark brown and then drybrushed with lighter shades. The engine is black, drybrushed with dark grey and the two rudders are linen with white highlights. The flag was first downloaded from the internet then cut and glued in place before being over painted with acrylic paints. Finally the model was varnished and the clear plastic disc was added to the propellor shaft.

The model is 110mm long - tip of the ram to rear of the propellor shaft.

The ship is named CSS Ranger and was the first of my 'made up' CSS Martian Fleet. In my own alternative universe The US States are still at war with The CSS states and Texas is independent.



Wednesday 21 May 2008

Another inspirational miniature painting site

I recently came across this Blog by Dave - Rabidbatstudio. I would say that these are some of the very best painted 28mm miniatures I have seen, in fact they look more like professionally painted 54mm display miniatures! I wish that I could paint miniatures to this standard.

Another bookmark for inspiration.


Sunday 11 May 2008

Yours in white wine sauce Blog competition - The Fenian Airship Toucan

Back in early March 2008 the 'Yours in white wine sauce' Blog launched a competition to produce a Victorian Science Fiction or VSF model in 80 days, called "Around the World in 80 models". I pledged to produce two separate entries - a group of German Steam Tanks (available as a separate Blog entry) and an Irish/Fenian Airship.

One of the rules of the competition was that photos should not be posted until the end date, but regular written up-dates were allowed. These up-dates have been posted on both this Blog and the 'Yours in white wine sauce' Blog.

This first photo shows the finished model - The first Fenian Airship 'Toucan' with its distinctive gold harp and black envelope. The model is 130mm long and built to a scale of 1/300th or 1mm = 1foot and is based on a 50mm round base.

It was my intention to produce an airship to support the two Fenial Hullcutters I had already produced for my Space 1889/Aeronef collection and use techniques that were first used to produce the Airship Hyperion (see earlier posts).

I also wanted to have sone fun with the colour scheme, naming and background of this particular airship. Details can be found in earlier Blog entries.

This photo show most of the construction completed, a 'blue foam' blimp, was first cut and then sanded to shape before being covered with a mixture of PVA glue, filler and acrylic paint. The envelope was further shaped and sanded smooth before the whole thing was painted with acrylic white paint to achieve a smooth finish.

The envelope shape was achieved trough trial-and-error and checking with 'blimp' airship shapes found via GOOGLE searches.

The gondola is thick plastic sheeting used by builders to clad uPVC double glazing units, first cut and then sanded to shape. The tail sections are plastic card and the propellor shaft is a section of metal rod. Additional detailing is plastic rod, plastic card and sticky-back plastic.

These next photos shows the first stages of painting. The envelope was painted 'linen' by Foundry (or Cote d'Arms), while the black is Vallejo 'black' and Foundry 'charcoal'. (sorry about the quality of the photo, but I have added it to show the progress that has been made.)

The airship is intended to be an aerial bomber - and defensive armament is resticted to two small calibre machine guns, one to each side firing from an open window or gun port in the lower envelope.

The harp motif was hand painted, and copies the Guinness harp design and colours. The name 'Toucan' was initially intended as a joke or nickname, but as the built continued, the name stuck!

The tail has the Irish tricolour - green, white and orange. You can also see the clear plastic disc added to the propellor shaft, which was cut with an 'OLFA' circle cutter from clear packaging material.

The built was easy, allthough I feel the whole model is a little too large or bulbous when compared to my other Space 1889/Aeronef models.

The painting of the harp motif, was a great deal of fun and not too difficult - just take your time. I started with a pencil sketch, then watered down 'spearshaft brown' from GW and built up the gold colour with successive lighter and more detailed coats, finally highlighting with pure white.

The Gondola was painted dark brown, then areas were picked out with lighter brown to look like varnished wood and finally the windows were painted dark blue, mid blue and highlighted up to pure white.

I am not sure that this is a model I will keep, but as a project it was fun to do - thank you to 'Yours in white wine sauce' for the impetus to start this project. A project that I can confirm came close to not being finished at all! I think I had given myself a very tough challenge to complete both entries.


Yours in white wine sauce Blog competition - German Steam Tanks and Steam Walker

Back in early March 2008 and to celebrate there second anniversary, the Blog 'Yours in white wine sauce' proposed a competition where suitably minded gentlemen would agree to produce a Victorian Science Fiction (VSF) model within an eighty day time frame. The competition was called - 'Around the World in 80 Models' and I agreed to two separate entries, an Irish or Fenian Airship called the 'Toucan' (please see separate entry) and a set of German Steam Tanks.

The German Steam Tanks were successfully completed on time and budget and can be seen below.

One of the conditions of the competition was that photos of the finished models could not be up-loaded until after the 80 days were up, however regular written reports were allowed and these are available here and on the 'Yours in white wine sauce' Blog. I hope you enjoy reading about all the different projects.

The idea of the competition was to tempt readers to start or more interestingly finish projects that had laid dormant. One such project was this set of steam tanks and a steam walker, which I had started making some time ago, but which had been overtaken by other more pressing modelling projects.

In addition I am intrigued by WW1 German aircraft - the brightly coloured 'Flying Circus' mounts of Richtofen and others aces. I had begun to wonder if the same colour schemes could be used on tanks, this project has proven that they can be and I think they look very good.

The following photos show firstly how the models were constructed and secondly how they were painted, but first, some background.

Each of the models are constructed to the scale of 1/180th or 10mm = 6foot. A scale I came to as I had just purchased some GHQ 10mm ACW CSA cannon crew for use as crew in a test model of a Space 1889 Airship from the game Sky Galleons of Mars. The figures dictated the scale of the models and the shape was dictated by a cheap novelty pencil sharpener bought from Wilkinsons, a home wares group of stores in the UK for 39p each.

Each pencil sharpener is 66mm long.

I had always planned that this group would include a variety of Assault Tanks and Command Tanks. The actual group of four models ended up being;

Two Steam Powered Assault Tanks, a Steam Powered Command Tank and a Steam Powered Assault Walker.

First we have the two Assault Tanks;

Construction was based around the pencil sharpeners, with plastic card wrapped around the outside and various bits of plastic card and plastic rod added to the structure. The catapillar sections of all the tracked models were cast with car repair resin in a home made mould from a scratch built model which used the wheels from a toy train. The whole process from making the master, preparing the mould and casting the track sections was very easy and quick - I would recommend that anyone tempted should give it a try.

This photo show the construction completed. I have tried to achieve a 'busy' feel to the whole model, separate panels, rivet detail and even an exit ladder. The funnels are sections of plastic tube which are the handles of sweet lollipops.

The main gun is a section of plastic rod, sanded to a taper, the secondary gun mounts are sections of half round sprue which were first drilled and then plastic rod was added. The search lights (mounted on two of the control houses) are thin slices of plastic rod and the flag pole on the Command Tank is a piece of cocktail stick.

The next two photos show painting begun, but still far from finished, the 'Red Baron' Steam Tank was first undercoated grey, washed with Klear (Future in the US) and black ink and then drybrushed with a slighty lighter grey, before the control tower was painted red. The second 'Blue' Tank used a made up colour scheme that just developed as I painted. The colour was first added with watered down dark blue, then highlighted and further refined with lighter blue.

The photo below shows the finished 'Red' Tank on a game display base. Note the 1/180th scale figure to the side.

While this photo shows the finished 'Blue' Tank. Note the naval anchor on the main entrance doors. The transfers on all of these models came from either an Airfix 1/72nd Gannet or a set of GW knights transfer sheet.

Next we have the Command Tank;

Photo one, shows initial construction - two separate pencil sharpeners stacked on top of one another, but otherwise as the assault tanks.

This photo shows the model completed and ready for paint.

Here we have the painting begun but still not finished, once again the colour scheme was just developed on the model, I was aware of a German WW1 Albatross fighter that had a similar colour scheme, but there was no pre-planning with the painting of this model.

The finished model on a display base and flying the German Naval ensign! See comments in earlier Blog entries.

Finally in this build-up report we have the Steam Walker;

The first photo shows the initial build - a fighting compartment made from another pencil sharpener on a Wild, Wild West toy. The second photo shows the construction complete.

The next two photos show the initial painting and then the finished model. This time there was a plan behind the colours used - After undercoating with grey, a wash of Klear and black ink the model was drybrushed with lighter grey. I had read that German WW1 aircraft were sometimes painted Violet and Green on their upper surfaces, I used acrylic paints to copy this scheme.

That completes the 'how I did it' article. I hope that you enjoyed the earlier Blog articles as well as this tutorial. I really enjoyed painting VSF Steam Tanks in bright Flying Circus colour shemes and would recommend the idea to either VSF or Sci Fi modellers as a great distraction from all-over green and grey schemes.