Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Real Time Project!

I am rather proud of these three items. While other projects on this blog have been dragging on for years if not tens of years, these three wagons were essentially done in "Blog-time".  Meaning they were started and completed in the last few weeks as they were blogged about:

The 'mythical' Civil War Coffee Wagon. Regular, decaf and ...

Fido is napping under the tongue of this field forge.
Another view.

The Boat Howitzer with a Redoubt VMI cadet for size.

This is on a 2 inch frontage movement stand, needs a crew and hopefully wil see some action. The forge and coffee wagon are on freeform bases as they will simply add colour (and targets) to the game table.

Abe Lincoln and Me (more on scale)

Abe Lincoln was 6 foot 4 inches tall, and I am also 6 foot 4 inches tall. This setting is at the Tredegar works in Richmond, Virginia:

I have a steel rule graduated in 1/64th of an inch.  It is practically the smallest measurement I can make and I try to work to 1/64th tolerances.
Six foot 4 inches is: 72 inches plus 4 inches: which is 76 inches. 76 inches times 64ths is 4,864.  You then devide the number of 64th by the scale to give you a size in "scale" of the item.  You can convert this to metric to get a 'figure" size.  Here are rough equivalents of a 6'4' figure in a couple of popular scales:

Scale      64ths         Inches       Metric (mm)
1/20.3   239.41      3+ 47/64       96
1/24      202.67      3+ 11/64       81
1/32      152           2+24/64        61
1/48      101.33      1+ 12/64       40
1/56      86.86        1+ 23/64       36
1/64      76             1+ 12/64       30
1/72      67.55        1+ 4/64         27
Then we go to this picture:

We know Lincoln is six foot four. If we print out the picture and measure Lincoln, we measure 6 inches. We can then calculate what scale the photo is (1/12.67) and working back and forth we can fiugure the height of the other two chaps (Pinkerton on the left and Genl McClernand on the right). This would make them approximately 5 foot 8".  (Red is the known measurements, blue is the measured size on the photo--the rest are calculated.)

 Person        Height     Photo Height   Scale       Model Height
Lincoln           6‘4“        6"                 1/12.67         31
Other Guys    5‘8“        5+ 3/8"          1/12.67         28

You're still stuck with the top of the head/ to the eyes measurement problem, but what is significant is that Lincoln is roughly a head taller than anyone around him. So if you figure size is 28mm (whatever that is) your Lincoln figure should be significantly taller.

The same methodology applies to building models from phots. Measure the size of a known item and base your "scale" or at least relative size on known objects.

I was once in a very crowded theatre hallway with my son who is several inches taller and several pound heavier than I . As we looked across a sea of heads, he turned to me and said, "Dad did you ever notice we are always the tallest people in the room..."

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Boat Howitzer--and scale...

Scale is kind of a dirty word around miniture figurines, since most are a size, not a scale.  So when a sculptor makes a master figure he makes it 28 mm or so. (or 15 or 6 or 20 or whatever.) But, and you can read a lot of debates elsewhere and see the math elsewhere, it boils down to what size is the original and what size is the model?  For a figure the classic problem is where to measure, to the top of the head or to the eyes. And then how tall is the guy anyway?  I've noted I often work from photographs and sometimes you have a measurement. Sometimes you compare the guy standing next to the object, and if that guy happens to be six foot tall you can figure out the rest...
The boat howitzer, with Redoubt VMI cadet for comparison.

I am looking at doing a gun-sling (Google is your friend) and trying to calculate the wheel sizes.   Many AFV models available now for 28 mm are 1/56th scale.  I calculate 28mm (for a six foot or so man) closer to 1/64th.  But since many use main-stream kits at 1/48th scale...So other than dizzy where does that leave us? I am not sure it really matters. Close enough is good enough.   But having said that I am looking at doing some converted/scratch navy gunner types and maybe redoing the boat howitzer for limited production.  In that case I will spend the Google-time to find some measurements and check the "scale".  The wheels here are good, I think; the gun is a little long and too big.  It will work with large 28s such as the Redoubt shown, but will dwarf my Dixon and especially my RAFM "true-25s" artillery.
Looks a bit more to "scale" at this angle.  Wheels are good, but the gun and carriage are "heroic" scale for 28mm.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

By popular demand...

Well one guy on TMP asked about it. Here are a couple of shots of the ambulance. It is scaled (roughly) for 28mm.  The wheels, horses and patient are Dixon, the driver is an RAFM figure.  The main body is, of course, Evergreen styrene.  The hoops for the tilt are thin flat section brass, the covering itself is paper and the rolled up window screens are green stuff sculpted in place.

And, still in progress, the coffee wagon:

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Confederate Pontoons in 28 mil

Here is a shot of a Confederate pontoon in 28mm.  Pontoon, wagon and wheels are scratchbuilt. The mules are Old Glory.

And just so you don't think I made this up, I did some web research (and everybody knows if it is on the internet...)

I made an initial pontoon from a wooden dowell, "skinned" in  Evergreen plastic and filled and sanded to shape.  I then made a latex mould and cast some full shape pontoons in Alumilite.  Two of the pontoons were used for the wagons and two were embedded into plasticene that was sculpted into a water-wavey surface. Here the single mould, and the original and mould (with plaster back-up--the single pontoon mould was made with heavy string in the brush-on rubber for necessary stiffness) for the dual units:

Here is a sample of the Alumulite dual, floating unit:

The bridge was built in two sections, with a joining piece to link them. I can then use a full crossing or use "two" bridges as an entry was for a game.  The full bridge:

Two halves:

And the Confederate pontoon wagon train:
The Confederate tube-pontoons, I am assuming were made of metal, so I painted then a variety of metal-flake siver colours with some corrosion.  Hard to see in the photos but the bridge is very regular, to suggest a pre-made assembly.  The side rails are 'angle-iron" and rivetted at the joints.
For the Union bridge:

 Sample boats on display at Tredegar, and I believe near Fredericksburg are standard army green. However, a model at the Chancellorsville visitors' centre shows a boat in white:

I wonder if the model builder here, like me, just decided not to colour the model? In any case I used white boats, and stained the bridge-wood green to simulate a pre-made bridge, assembled by the engineers when required.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

'Toons in the white!

Years ago in my 25mm Minifig Napoleonic days I wanted to build an army with "everything". Well, most of my French Napoleonics are still unpainted in a box, "Pontoniers" and all. Our group does 28mm ACW, so I have begun collecting and creating to "build an army".
This is a 28mm ACW Pontoon wagon in the "white".
The model is is Evergreen white styrene sheet, in this case 20thou scribed siding to simulate the planks of the boat.  I built a cardboard form for the boat with the downside up and laid the sheet plastic onto the form, grooved surface down. I then laid another layer of the plastic over the first, with the grooved surface up. This gave me a 40 thou pontoon, textured inside and out. Some narrow strip for the gunnels and thinner strip for the ribs...some metal wheels and...
This is a "chess" wagon. Again some metal wheels, Evergreen strip and some model railroad barrels. Initially I was toying with the idea of moulding a pontoon and casting several in resin. I felt the walls of the boats were too thin to cast properly and also I only wanted a limited number of boats. I felt it would be as much work to mould and cast as to build the boats required individually.  (Yeah, you would think I would know better.) Anyway, I built two boats and two wagons for the "train" and built four shallower boats--"waterlined" for a bridge. 

And again just a teaser:
An ambulance. The nice thing is: that the bulk of the ACW troops are painted and based. Some have even seen some action in game. I have Confederate and Union Bands (also painted) and the ambulance, pontoon wagons and even a bridge are painted and complete!  I even have a nifty Confederate bridge as well! You'll have to stay tuned to see what makes it so nifty! 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Sharpsburg Church

Just a quick post to start the New Year!  Lots of inspiration on the internet!  Often when I start a project or an interest I will Google images and "save as" to fill a folder with images or plans of what I want to build. A trip to the local library is always of use as well.  For the ACW there are many collections of pictures and engravings to suggest projects. 
This is an engraving of a church in Sharpsburg:
And here is a 15mm model:

A pretty simple model, card and balsa, with a bit of plasticard for the tower to provide stiffness. Standard liquid plastic model cement will bond plastic sheet to wood and Contact Cement will bond just about anything to anything. (Careful though, too much Contact Cement will melt and distort the plastic sheet.)
The building is textured with a craft quality stone texture paint.  The roof is strips of masking tape.  The window frames (mullions) are white pencil crayon on black construction paper taped inside over the window openings. 
I believe the crumbling stucco in the engraving is just age, not battle damage.